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Having a cup of Judaism with the Coffee Shop Rabbi
6 bay area
This story starts out with a young girl in Tennessee who grew up on a farm that raised cattle and racehorses. Her family gave her a Catholic upbringing, and as a young woman she married a man and
then and now
had two children. She taught at a Presbyterian church in Memphis. But in a transformation that gives new meaning to the phrase “You’ve come a long way, baby,” this country girl is now a Jew, and a lesbian — and a rabbi — living an urban existence in the Bay Area. Her name is Ruth Adar, and no, that’s not the name she was born with. “I took the name because I love Israel,” says Adar, 56, of San Leandro. “I was born in the month of Adar [which begins Friday, Feb. 24], and my Hebrew name is Ruth. As for my old name, I never use it anymore.” Adar is telling me this at the Ultimate Grounds coffee shop in Oakland. Of course that’s the scene, because in addition to all of the above, Rabbi Ruth Adar is the “Coffee Shop Rabbi.” In cafés from Fremont to El Cerrito, she meets with people who have questions about Judaism. As for me, I just love hanging out in coffee shops. So when I stumbled upon @CoffeeShopRabbi one day on Twitter, I knew it was a potential interview made in heaven. A double cappuccino in front of me, a regular coffee in front of her, Adar gives me examples of people she meets with. A woman who just discovered she had one Jewish grandparent wants to know if that makes her Jewish or not. A man who grew up with a mother who always described herself as 25 percent Jewish wants to know where that leaves him. A secular Jew is about to host her first seder and is in a panic. Adar meets with them and talks things through. “It’s a weird rabbinate, but I love it,” she says. “Outreach is my true love. I feel I’m doing what I was born to do.” She’d better love it, because being the Coffee Shop Rabbi isn’t making her rich: In three years, she has seen fewer than 50 clients. Plus, her rates aren’t exactly padding her retirement. “I tell people, ‘Pay me what it’s worth to you,’ ” she says. “If a cup of coffee is all
marketplace classifieds 26
& travel guide
cover photo/cathleen maclearie
Faina Avrutina, proprietor of Israel’s Strictly Kosher Meat & Deli Market, with a fresh tray of pastries
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you can afford, or if that’s all it’s worth, then just buy me a cup of coffee.” Sadly, some people have done just that, although usually she gets $10 or $20 for a one-hour session. She also makes money with part-time teaching gigs at Lehrhaus Judaica and a couple of local synagogues. So how did Adar come down this path? In 1986, after completing a master’s degree in the history of Christianity, at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago (and not long after getting divorced), she moved to the Bay Area and was helping a Jewish friend from Brooklyn find a synagogue. “I felt embarrassed how little I knew about Judaism,” she recalls. That lit a spark, and soon she was knocking on Rabbi Steven Chester’s door at Temple Sinai in Oakland, asking how one becomes a Jew. She converted in the mid-’90s, worked as an outreach director for the Union for Reform Judaism, then decided to become a rabbi; in 2008, she was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. As a hearing-impaired person, she put her sign-language skills to use working at Congregation Beth Solomon of the Deaf in the San Fernando Valley. After returning to the Bay Area, she drew up a business plan and started www.coffeeshoprabbi.com. Though she bought ads on Facebook, clients mainly find her via her classes or agencies such as Jewish Gateways and Building Jewish Bridges. Sometimes she gets people hooked up with a congregation or a Jewish group. Other times the meetings are simply educational or therapeutic. “Often a synagogue is an intimidating place for people,” she says. “But meeting with me in a coffee shop is very low key, very low overhead and very accessible.” As she tells me this, Adar takes a sip from the Magen David coffee mug she totes everywhere. This cup of joe is caffeinated, but if she’s already had a couple, she’ll switch to decaf. “There’s no point in being the jittery rabbi,” she says. ■
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| February 24, 2012
bay area W
Berkeley congregation publishes its own commentaries dan pine
When it comes to drashot, the Hebrew term for commentaries on the weekly Torah portion, Art Braufman is a black belt. Braufman started writing and delivering Torah lessons back in the 1960s. For the last 23 years, he has been in the regular drash rotation at Berkeley’s Congregation Netivot Shalom, of which he is a founding member. “There’s nothing more pleasurable for me then to dig in, pull out [Torah] verses and expound,” said the Berkeley resident. He’s not the only one who feels that way. At Netivot Shalom, rabbis have always taken a backseat when it comes to delivering Torah commentaries. Most weeks, congregants take to the bimah to do the honors. Now, under the guidance of Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Art Braufman Rabbi Emeritus Stuart Kelman, a group of Netivot Shalom volunteers has collected and published an anthology of their Torah commentaries in a hardbound volume titled “Paths of Torah.” A celebratory launch (and learn) party is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26 at the congregation. Three years in the making, the book was a true community effort. Sixty-six people, all Netivot Shalom congregants, contributed their interpretations of and insights
into the 54 Torah portions. Publishing and the person who overEach portion is introduced with a saw the production of the book. “Just as précis and an illustration, and some we are blessed with people skilled to do feature up to six commentators. drashot, so are we blessed with people Volunteers edited the material, and skilled to create a book.” EKS printed congregants’ children provided the 1,000 copies. illustrations. “What’s interesting is the diversity of “With even a cursory read, you see opinions and interpretations,” added both profound insight into the Torah, Valas, who wrote one drash in the but also who we are as commentators,” book. “For centuries people have Creditor said. “Torah is not about looked at the text. What sets this apart scholars. The Torah that Netivot is you get people from all walks of life: Shalom represents is the normal perstudents, therapists, lawyers, doctors. son seeking meaning in the world.” Everyone brings a unique understandThe material is made up of 20 years ing.” of drashot, and congregant Peter Braufman, 74, contributed five comStrauss offered to edit it. As part of that mentaries, making him the book’s most task, he met weekly with Creditor, prolific analyst. His method is to put in “hacking and slashing” (as he put it) their way through the hours of research, reading the sages’ interpretations and commentaries and selecting the best of the best. then trying to “figure out what were they concerned about, “Lots of it was really stunning,” Strauss said. “We draw what issues they brought up, and what I can expound on a very strong academic community in Berkeley. There upon in modern times.” are some fine minds, which contributed drashot over the Torah scholar that he is, Braufman said he is proud of years. It gave me a much deeper appreciation for Jewish his congregation’s collective wisdom. “I think it exemplischolarship generally.” fies Netivot Shalom’s participatory culture and the value of For those involved, it wasn’t enough the diversity we personify.” “Paths of Torah” (307 pages, simply to collect the drashot. They Then he couldn’t help but quote the EKS Publishing, $30). Available at wanted to create an heirloom. Torah — Numbers 11:29 to be exact: Congregation Netivot Shalom and “I knew if we were to do it, I wanted “Would that all the Lord’s people were Afikomen Judaica in Berkeley, or it to be professionally done and beautiprophets, that the Lord would put his www.ekspublishing.com. ful,” said Claudia Valas, founder of EKS spirit upon them.”
| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California
S.F. State Hillel officials singing the financial blues emma silvers
The Creative Spirit of San Francisco
San Francisco Hillel, which strives to serve more than 3,000 Jewish students every year at 12 local colleges, is struggling financially, according to officials responsible for the house’s programming. After losing major funding from both the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation (which has been reducing grants to many Bay Area organizations since the recession hit) and the soon-to-be-defunct Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, San Francisco Hillel was forced to lay off programming staff and reduce Shabbat dinners to every other week, officials said. S.F. Hillel also began charging for Shabbat dinners — only $3 per student, but charging nonetheless. The Hillel house, a 1,370-square-foot home built in 1949, with three bedrooms converted into office space, is located in a residential neighborhood just across 19th Avenue from San Francisco State University. It’s a location that serves SFSU students well, but students on other campuses have begun to feel the pinch of the reduced funding, said Adam Eisendrath, an S.F. Hillel board member. “We’re in a unique situation in the Bay Area, because we have 12 campuses to serve,” Eisendrath said. “And what’s happened is, since we’re so close to San Francisco State, we wind up serving mainly them, which means USF and Hastings and the arts schools and culinary schools really aren’t getting the attention they used to.” Eisendrath was referring to the University of San
Francisco and U.C. Hastings School of Law. S.F. Hillel also serves Jewish students at UCSF, local community colleges including the College of San Mateo and Skyline College in San Bruno, and specialty colleges such as the Academy of Arts University and the California Culinary Academy. Eisendrath said the fact that some of those schools have smaller Jewish populations means they’re more in need of Hillel’s services, not less. “When I was at USF, there wasn’t really a large photo/yochai shavit Jewish presence on campus,” he said. “I would The San Francisco Hillel house at 33 Banbury Dr. have appreciated more of an opportunity to build community, to have a place to go.” Jordan Sills, president of S.F. Hillel’s board of directors, At SFSU, Hillel’s limited ability to provide events has alluded to the fact that San Francisco colleges and univergrown more pronounced as the university itself expands, sities don’t tend to have donor-oriented alumni. said Alon Shalev, S.F. Hillel’s executive director. He said S.F. “It’s nothing against Stanford or Berkeley; those are both Hillel lost roughly 30 percent of its overall budget in 2011. wonderful Hillel communities,” Sills said. “But there’s so “We’re going to see continued growth [at the university] much prestige involved, and they have so many alumni over the next 10 years, and with our budget, with a small, who give money back. There’s a built-in network ... someold residential house, we have to be really careful about thing the San Francisco universities just don’t have.” how we spend our money,” he said. In addition to making individual gifts, people can supStressing that they realize many Jewish organizations port S.F. Hillel in many ways, Sills stressed. For example, he have lost funding over the past few years, Hillel staff and said, donors can sponsor a Shabbat dinner for $500. student leaders emphasize that they’re not simply com“But the No. 1 thing they can do is help spread the plaining — but they do want to get the word out that word,” Sills added. “Whether it’s the great things we do for they’re kicking their fundraising efforts into high gear, and students on campus, Torah study opportunities, pro-Israel need the community’s support. A fundraising poker tour- messaging, or social events … we’re just trying to raise the nament is planned for April 21 at the JCC of San profile of Hillel in this community. Some people just don’t Francisco. realize how much we have going on.”
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| February 24, 2012
Served with love Faina’s kosher market is the heart of ‘Little Russia’ in the morning to cook. Or fall asleep here, in a chair.” Her stuffed cabbage is many cusIn the heart of San Francisco’s tomers’ favorite item, though her Richmond District, on a block of housemade gefilte fish (made with Geary Boulevard that’s also home to tilapia, carp, dried saltfish and fried a Chinese grocery store, an Irish bar onions) is popular, as well. Special holand an old-fashioned barber shop, a iday menus around Passover, Rosh decades-old sign juts out from one Hashanah, Chanukah and Purim draw storefront: in additional customers each year; and “Israel’s Strictly Kosher Meat & her cherry and raspberry sufganiyot are Deli Market,” it reads with “kosher renowned in local Israeli circles. meat” in Hebrew and an Israeli flag “And when I told her I was purchasunderneath the English. Below, the ing multiple tastes to share with my costore’s main window showcases a workers, she threw in extra,” wrote one veritable banquet of Eastern person on Yelp.com. European baked treats: piroshki, “She doesn’t know how to cook anybabka, strudel with every imaginable thing in small amounts,” says Maya, filling. “Grandma’s Kitchen — eyeing her mother as she brings out Homemade Lunches” reads another another dish of food. Maya was 10 sign. when her family moved to San Step through the glass doors, and Francisco two decades ago, and she has you’ll encounter shelves upon the slightest trace of an accent. “Always shelves of imported Israeli and food, food, more food,” she says. “That’s Russian goods. Boxes of matzah, why my mother has a saying: ‘There has giant jars of borscht and pickled to be a lot of a good person.’ ” vegetables, gefilte fish in varieties According to the elder Avrutina’s you never knew you wanted. Whole friends — and there are many — no kosher chickens and cuts of beef are one is better equipped to talk about stacked neatly in a standing freezer. photos/cathleen maclearie what being “a good person” really Russian and Israeli wines line the means. As the owner, butcher, baker shelf behind the cash register. The Faina Avrutina serves up some bitochki (Russian beef balls). and, really, sole employee of the homey smell of frying onions fills store, she does more than just feed the community. every corner of the room, while the sounds of chatter She’s helping to preserve a culture. and gossip in Russian rise up out of the kitchen. Against The Russian Jewish community has been a highly visthe back wall, a defunct neon sign reads “Live Poultry.” ible part of the Richmond District for nearly a hundred As a visitor who just walked in off the street, you’d be years, with a wave of Jews emigrating to flee religious hard-pressed to remember you were in the United persecution following the 1917 Russian Revolution. States — let alone San Francisco. Prior to World War II, Russian-owned bakeries and Lack of live poultry aside (the sign is a relic from a other businesses were the commercial backbone of the time before the health department had rules about that neighborhood. kind of thing), this all-kosher market — the last of its And while the area is now home to a diverse mélange kind in San Francisco — is an almost perfectly preof Asian cultures in addition to Eastern European and served taste of the Old Country. Irish groups, immigrants from the former Soviet Union And for the close-knit, deep-rooted Russian Jewish have continued to settle in the area — actually labeled community it serves, owner Faina Avrutina is its soul. “Little Russia” on Google Maps — in steady waves over At 55, Avrutina has shoulder-length reddish hair, an the past few decades. Avrutina, a native of Nikolaev, easy smile and a bashful manner as she flits around the Ukraine, came in 1990 with her daughter and her husstore, preparing a seemingly never-ending banquet of band, Aleksander, who now drives a taxi in San hot food for her visitors: cucumber-and-tomato salad, “She acts as butcher and baker, she cleans the place, she Francisco. beef and potato piroshkis, golden-battered fish, beef balls, She also came with a culinary degree. chicken, seasoned rice, pickled cabbage salad and, of helps every single person who walks in here,” says another It’s mainly first-generation immigrants who have course, an array of strudels and other flaky pastries for friend, one of the many Russian Jews who stop by the store almost every day not only to shop, but to chat with become devoted to her food — and the attitude she takes dessert. toward it. She emphasizes the importance of making food She makes many of these dishes — and more — each Avrutina. On this particular Thursday afternoon, a group of about by hand (“It takes time. If you want it to be good, it always week, typically on Thursday nights, for her regular customers who come in on Friday morning to pick up food five Russian-speaking friends have gathered to sample takes time”), and using not only good ingredients, but also for Shabbat. She’ll often cook up a storm on Sundays, as some of whatever Avrutina decides to cook; over the the best accoutrement. For example, she insists on using real china and glassware when she caters a party, no matter well; kosher parties for bar mitzvahs and weddings keep course of an hour, three more stop by between errands. “If someone can’t afford something, she helps,” one how much more convenient paper or plastic might be. her busy on the catering side. (One friend had Avrutina Avrutina’s shop serves as an epicenter to the concencater his wedding. “It was wonderful,” he says. “So much friend says. “I’ve seen her sell things for less than they cost her. I’ve definitely seen her give things away for free.” trated community in the Richmond District, but she’s food, you wouldn’t believe it.”) “She’s bad with the ‘no’ concept,” is how Avrutina’s known beyond its borders. In 2011, at Chabad of San But perhaps more importantly, Avrutina’s store provides a meeting place for friends — including an estab- daughter, Maya, puts it. “Also, she really doesn’t sleep. When Francisco’s annual menorah lighting ceremony in lished group of Russian speakers who blur the line she’s preparing food to cater a wedding or a party or other Union Square, Rabbi Yosef Langer — a longtime fan of event, she’ll leave the store at night and then come back at 3 Avrutina’s — brought her up for the honor of lighting between customer and friend. emma silvers
| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California
Products from Israel, Russia and elsewhere flank the counters and line the shelves at 5621 Geary Blvd.
the candles. It was an emotional moment for her whole family. “I think that was maybe the first time she started to understand how important she is, how many people love her,” says Maya. “She was so, so excited.” Her adopted city of San Francisco means the world to Avrutina. “There’s so much culture here, we’re so lucky,” she says. On her rare days off, she takes long walks around the city and visits museums. A love of helping her community is a big part of what keeps her going, she says. After all, there’s certainly not much of a financial incentive. When she took over the market from its previous owners — her husband’s cousins — in 2002, fresh kosher meat was the store’s big draw, with Jews coming from all over the Bay Area to buy it. The store has been there for almost 70 years, according to Avrutina, with only three owners — the original being Israel, the shop’s namesake. But business isn’t quite what it used to be. Avrutina says she’s done her best to keep the store as it was when she
took over. But as more Trader Joe’s locations began popping up in the Bay Area, regulars who shopped at Israel’s just for meat stopped coming in. At present, aside from the hot food Avrutina cooks a few times a week, the store sells only frozen meats. Big grocery stores present a challenge for small businesses like hers, she says. “People will come in and say, ‘Well, I saw this for this much at Safeway, why is it more here?’ ” she says. “And I have to explain, everything here is kosher. It’s quality, kosher food.” Her establishment is overseen by the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of San Francisco. Avrutina had two butchers when she first took over the store, but now she’s technically the only employee — she Israel’s Strictly Kosher Meat & Deli Market, 5621 Geary Blvd., S.F. Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (415) 752-3064.
says she can’t afford to hire anyone else. Maya helped out frequently as she was growing up, but now says she has no desire to take over the store or to work in food service. “Dealing with people all day, sometimes angry people — Russians are tough customers — it’s not for me,” she says with a laugh. “And I don’t want to work every hour of my life, like she did.” Maya is currently attending City College of San Francisco and studying business. Maya says many of her Russian Jewish friends who were raised keeping kosher don’t anymore, so it makes sense that business is dwindling as members of the older generation pass away. But she’s not overly concerned about the Russian Jewish culture in San Francisco being diluted. “My kids are learning Russian alongside English,” she says. “If I have the ability to give them another language, why deny them that? “Besides,” she adds, glancing around at the store as her mother brings out yet another kind of strudel for her friends to sample. “This is all part of them. And I don’t think it’s going anywhere.” ■
| February 24, 2012
bay area Young Zionists flex their diversity at Florida confab renee ghert-zand
Muslim groups. Raina Blumenthal, a 19year-old from Windsor in Sonoma County, said she Last month, 130 Jewish colgained valuable insights from lege students and young proconference goers who had fessionals from throughout spent more time in Israel than North America staged a she had (one Birthright trip mock Zionist Congress in last summer). Miami Beach. And like at all “People who had done a Zionist Congresses, dating gap year program there, or back to the first one presided photo/courtesy of world zionist organization who were born or lived there over in 1897 by Theodor Attendees at the Young Zionist Leadership conference in Florida came together for three for some time, could share Herzl in Switzerland, atten- days of programming and training — and a little bit of beach time. even more in-depth informadees voiced a wide range of central programs. Presenting issues such as illegal immi- tion with the rest of us,” said the sophomore at Lewis and perspectives and opinions on the Jewish state. Turns out young Zionists are not all cut from the same gration to Israel, the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap and Clark College in Portland, where she is a leader with Hillel. whether diaspora Jews should have the right to vote in San Francisco State senior Brianna Brostoff, a student cloth. “I thought it would be all right-wing, but it wasn’t,” Israeli elections, the congress was specifically designed to intern at Hillel for three years, was one of those who had Oren Gotesman, a junior at U.C. Santa Cruz, said of the encourage discussions and elicit different views — for spent a gap year in Israel. “It was Young Judaea Year Course Young Zionist Leadership Conference, held Jan. 20 to 22 in attendees this year represented an unprecedented variety that really opened me up to the world of Zionism and loving Israel,” the 22-year-old from Los Angeles reflected. Florida. “What impressed me the most was how open peo- of Zionist persuasions. Most of the college students were affiliated with a Hillel “Growing up in the Jewish community was important to ple were to hearing one another … It was really about chapter or an Israel action committee; the young profes- me. I feel particularly safe being surrounded by Jews. Being expressing yourself.” Gotesman, 20, was one of at least 10 Bay Area students sionals in attendance were leaders from a wide spectrum in Israel felt like an extreme version of that community, that attended the conference, which was run by the World of religious and non-religious Zionist youth groups; and especially at that time in my life. Living in Israel changed Zionist Organization and included Zionist programming, others were representing pro-Israel organizations with my perspective on everything.” Many of the local attendees said they leadership training and professional develenjoyed the opportunities to explore and opment. There was also educational proshare those personal and emotional connecgramming about Israel’s culture, politics and tions to Israel. history. Blumenthal was impressed by an art activiAmelia Cavalier, 22, a San Francisco State ty in which students introduced themselves University senior from Walnut Creek, origithough drawings that they made to represent nally was reluctant to attend. “I had gone to what young Zionist leadership meant to some less-than-exciting Israel advocacy semthem. Cavalier pointed to the secular Friday inars, so I really thought not to go to YZL,” night service, and an elective program about said Cavalier. the intersection of the Israeli music scene But she did end up going and “was blown with Rastafarian traditions. “It really got us away.” For her also, the diversity of the parsinging and talking,” she said. ticipants was a huge draw. However, while photo/jamie blumenthal photo/miriam ross-hirsch Gotesman and Brostoff noted that they she enjoyed meeting people from all over the Raina Blumenthal Brianna Brostoff Oren Gotesman would have wanted more of an emphasis on continent, she was also appreciative of the work done in regional groups. “I made meaningful con- campus initiatives — from StandWithUs on the right to J core political issues and current news headlines from Israel. nections, especially with people in the Northwest [mostly Street on the left. The conference included a keynote address by former “There was no discussion of the occupation, of a Bay Area] group, which will help us in doing joint proIsraeli Cabinet Secretary Israel Maimon, who talked potential Palestinian state, or about [Prime Minister gramming among the different campuses,” Cavalier said. Affiliated with the Israel Coalition at San Francisco about serving under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Benjamin] Netanyahu as a leader,” Brostoff said. “It was Hillel, Cavalier was offered a WZO internship on the final (when Birthright Israel and MASA Israel Journey were all educational. It was too civil, without enough controcreated, marking the first time that the Israeli govern- versy. They were playing it very safe, but I also understand day of the conference; she took it. The main goal of the conference was “to bring together ment made a decision to invest in young adults in the that dealing with those topics wasn’t really the goal of the conference.” the future of Zionist leadership for discussion about diaspora). Gotesman, who is outreach coordinator for the Santa Nonetheless, Brostoff and the others said they were Zionism, their individual connections to Israel, and what being a Zionist means,” according to Samantha Vinokor, Cruz Israel Action Committee, thought that speech was happy they made the trip, warmed by the memory of gathWZO’s communications director for the YZL conference. “great,” but he was even more impressed that the confer- ering together on the beach at the close of the conference The mock Zionist Congress was one of the conference’s ence included a session on building bonds with campus to sing “Hatikvah.” j. correspondent
ADL condemns ‘hate-mongering’ activist’s Oakland talk The Anti-Defamation League is condemning an appearance by Gilad Atzmon, an Israeli-born, Londonbased musician, author and activist who is scheduled to speak in Oakland Saturday, Feb. 25, on the grounds that Atzmon’s work and point of view are anti-Semitic. “For over a decade, Gilad Atzmon’s writings have employed traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes while demonizing Israel, Zionism and Jewish culture and identity,” Nancy Appel, the ADL’s associate regional director, said in a press release, calling on “community leaders and people of good conscience” to speak out .
| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California
against the writer’s “hate-mongering.” “Atzmon is a prolific promoter of classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories who has even gone so far as to distribute the writings of well-known Holocaust deniers and to claim that the Nazi death marches ‘were actually humane.’ ” In his writing and in interviews, Atzmon has referred to himself as an “ex-Jew” and a “Jew who hates Judaism.” Atzmon is to appear in conversation with KPFA radio host Dennis Bernstein at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, 1428 Alice St., Oakland, as part of a
fundraiser for the “Global March to Jerusalem.” That campaign seeks to coordinate anti-Israel groups from around the world to cross Israel’s borders into Jerusalem on March 30 and “demand [its] freedom.” The ADL noted in its press release that the campaign’s Facebook page is rife with anti-Semitic comments. StandWithUs/San Francisco Voice for Israel plans to hold a vigil outside the event from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Vigil organizers say that signs offensive to any racial or ethnic group, including but not limited to Arabs, Islam, or Palestinians, will not be allowed. —emma silvers ■
Obama, Netanyahu to meet, address AIPAC President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet early next month when both are set to address the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C. Obama will speak to the gathering on March 4, and Netanyahu will speak on March 5. In a statement Feb. 20, the White House said the two leaders will meet on March 5. Obama “welcomes the opportunity to speak to the strength of the special bond between Israel and the United States,” said his spokesman, Jay Carney. The announcement of Obama’s participation in the conference came after Tom Donilon, Obama’s national security adviser, concluded a three-day visit to Israel during which he met with Netanyahu as well as Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the military chief of staff. The meetings, the statement said, “addressed the full range of security issues of mutual concern.” Meetings between top U.S. and Israeli officials have been more frequent in recent months as tensions between Israel and Iran have intensified. — jta
McFarlane calls for Pollard clemency Robert McFarlane, who served as National Security Advisor under President Ronald Reagan, has called on President Barack Obama to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard. McFarlane wrote in a Feb. 9 letter to Obama that an affidavit filed by then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, which is often cited as the reason for Pollard’s continued incarceration, was “surely inspired in large part by his deeply held animus toward the State of Israel.” “His extreme bias against Israel was manifested in recurrent episodes of strong criticism and unbalanced reasoning when decisions involving Israel were being made,” McFarlane wrote of Weinberger. Pollard, who has been imprisoned since his 1985 arrest, received a life sentence in 1987 after being convicted of spying on behalf of Israel. He is said to be ill. McFarlane wrote that the “imprisonment of Mr. Pollard for more than 26 years is more than excessive and well beyond what any court would award for the same action today. Mr. Weinberger’s unduly harsh and unwarranted severity was disgraceful and mean-spirited. It has resulted in a great injustice that I encourage you to mitigate by awarding clemency and commuting Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served.” A recent push for clemency has garnered support among congressional Democrats and a range of former officials of Republican and Democratic administrations. — jta
Adelson to give $10 million more to support Gingrich Casino and hotel magnate Sheldon Adelson reportedly plans to give an additional $10 million to a group supporting Newt Gingrich for the Republican presidential nomination. The donation to Winning Our Future, an independent committee, or Super PAC, that is run by former Gingrich associates, reportedly will be delivered in the coming days, CBS News reported, citing an unnamed source close to Adelson. The infusion of cash to the Gingrich campaign comes two weeks before the March 6 Super Tuesday primary vote. Ten states — Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia — will hold primaries or caucuses. The donation would bring the amount Adelson and his wife have spent to support the Gingrich campaign to $21 million. Adelson, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., is worth more than $21 billion, according to Forbes magazine. He is a major giver to Birthright Israel. — jta
Interfaith coalition: Don’t misuse religion in campaigns Several Jewish groups joined an interfaith coalition calling on presidential candidates to refrain from using religion as a political wedge issue. Fifteen religious organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and the Union for Reform Judaism, issued an Interfaith Statement of Principles advising the candidates to abide by principles of religious liberty and avoid religious discord as they campaign for the November race. The principles include calls for candidates to be responsive to constituents of all religions, conduct campaigns without appeals for support based on religion, reject messages that reflect religious prejudice and avoid actions that encourage religious division in the electorate. “Candidates should reject appeals to voters that reflect religious prejudice, bias or stereotyping and avoid statements intended to encourage divisions along religious lines,” said Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, in a statement. Other signatories included the Interfaith Alliance, the Islamic Society of North America, and the National Council of Churches USA, as well as other Hindu, Muslim, Protestant and Sikh groups. — jta .
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White House chief of staff meets with Jewish leaders
planned. Obama has intensified outreach to Jews in recent months ahead of the November election. — jta
Jack Lew, President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, met with Jewish leaders in New York and fielded questions about U.S. differences with Israel. Lew, an Orthodox Jew, met Feb. 17 with a group convened by the New York Jewish Community Relations Council. According to meeting participants, he was asked about reports of tensions between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, particularly over Iran. Lew said differences exist, but have been blown out of proportion in the media. He said sanctions are effectively squeezing Iran, and said Israel is sovereign in making decisions about its defense. Also discussed were a range of social issues, including medical care. In addition, Lew told the group that, as of two weeks ago, the White House kitchen offers kosher options. An administration official said further meetings are
Israel education program launched for camps A new Israel education initiative for camps is launching with grants of $3.6 million. The Larry and Lillian Goodman Foundations has awarded a four-year, $2.3 million matching grant to the iCenter and the Foundation for Jewish Camp to establish the Goodman Camping Initiative for Modern Jewish History. The grant will be matched by the Marcus Foundation and the Avi Chai Foundation, who are jointly contributing a $1.3 million grant to the program. The objective of the initiative is to enhance and expand the teaching of modern Israeli history and culture at nonprofit independent Jewish overnight camps. Beginning in summer 2012, participating camps will feature an in-house modern Israel educator and five trained senior staff.
A recent study by the Foundation for Jewish Camp found that Jewish camp alumni are 55 percent more likely to feel emotionally attached to Israel. — jta
Thousands of female Chabad emissaries meet in N.Y. Some 3,000 Chabad women emissaries serving in posts around the world came to New York for their annual international conference. The conference, which concluded Feb. 19 with a gala banquet, brought together thousands of day school principals, Hebrew school directors, adult educators, counselors, motivational speakers and their supporters for several days of workshops, inspirational programs, networking opportunities and celebrations. Since its establishment, the event has been held near the anniversary of the 1988 death of the wife of the last Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Chaya Mushka Schneerson died on the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. — jta ■
| February 24, 2012
u.s. AP’s Alan Gross story could hamper his release from Cuban jail Those close to the case say privately that the AP’s revelations would not be news to the Cuban authorities. For the Jews of Cuba, it was the ultiHowever, they are concerned that mate Internet connection. making them public will inhibit any The high-tech equipment that Cuban willingness to release Gross. U.S. contractor Alan Gross brought The AP story describes Gross’ miswith him to Cuba in 2009 to help sion as setting up hundreds of connect local Jews to the Internet Cubans — particularly the island’s reportedly included a SIM card that 1,500 Jews — with Wi-Fi hotspots for makes it almost impossible to track unrestricted Internet access as part of satellite signals and is generally democracy promotion by USAID, a unavailable to civilians, even in the State Department program. United States. “He did nothing wrong other than That was one of the revelations in to connect peaceful non-dissident an Associated Press report earlier Jewish communities to the Internet,” this month that has exacerbated consaid Steven O’Connor, the spokesman cerns that Cuba will hang tough on for Development Alternatives Inc., its stated determination not to the USAID contractor that hired release Gross, a 62-year-old Jewish Gross. man from Maryland who was in The Cuban government, however, Cuba to do work for the U.S. Agency considers USAID’s democracy profor International Development, or motion campaign as a political USAID. Gross is serving a 15-year weapon aimed against its regime. prison sentence in Cuba for crimes Gross’ wife, Judy, addressed the described as “acts against the integriphoto/courtesy of the Gross family AP story’s claims for the first time ty of the state.” Alan and Judy Gross at the Western Wall in the spring of 2005. Feb. 19 during a breakfast meeting at Yet the news report, apparently Congregation Chizuk Amuno in based on mission reports by Gross, Gross’ mission was straightforward and we’re doing,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the helps reinforce the claim that Gross, his not at all nefarious: He wanted to hook up executive vice chairman of the Conference Baltimore. “To suggest that Alan had any ulterior family, his employer and the State Cuba’s Jews with their brethren worldwide. of Presidents of Major American Jewish Department have made all along — that The AP article “doesn’t change what Organizations. “We never argued the mat- motive other than to help Cuba’s small ters that were raised” regarding Gross’ Jewish community improve its access to information through the Internet and activities, he said. According to the AP story, Gross Intranet is categorically false,” she said. understood the dangers he faced. That is “Unfortunately, in countries like Cuba, the evident both in his reports — he called free flow of information is forbidden, and his enterprise a “risky business in no therefore it should come as no surprise that uncertain terms” in one memo — and his Alan had to be careful and discreet while he actions. He recruited Jewish tourists to was in Cuba.” Judy Gross described her husband’s mishelp bring in the devices, and the most damaging evidence, according to the AP, sion as setting up unfettered Internet was the sophisticated SIM card he had in access to communicate with Jews outside Cuba and an Intranet so the communities his possession. Yet the story also makes clear that Gross, — some in remote areas — could commuwho was arrested on Dec. 3, 2009, hardly nicate with one another, “allowing them to fits the profile of a spy, which is how Cuban share things like recipes, prayers and even sports scores.” President Raul Castro described him. Gross’ backers still hold out hope that “Alan Gross was working as a contractor for the U.S. government to promote the Cubans may consider his release, democracy in Cuba,” said William Daroff, although news from the last year is not the Washington director for Jewish good; his lawyers have exhausted the Federations of North America. “He was Cuban appeals system, up to and including convicted by a court in a country that a plea to President Castro. Additionally, the reported Cuban does not respect the rule of law. His now over two years in a Cuban prison is unjust request in exchange for Gross’ release — and we demand the Cuban government the release of the “Cuban Five,” U.S.-based release him and that the American gov- Cuban intelligence officers arrested in 1998 ernment use all of its influence to bring and convicted in 2001 — would be difficult at the best of times. In an election year, it is him home.” The JFNA and the Jewish Community seen as impossible given the anti-Castro Relations Council in Washington have sentiments prevailing in Florida, a swing taken the lead in pushing publicly for state. Hoenlein said the Presidents Conference Gross’ release, using online petitions and vigils outside the offices of Cuban repre- is continuing its appeal to figures and countries that may have influence with Cuba. sentatives. USAID spokesmen did not return mulGross is said to be ill, having lost 100 pounds of the 250 pounds he weighed tiple requests for comment. State before his arrest. His daughter and mother Department officials, including Secretary have suffered bouts with cancer during his of State Hillary Clinton, have said that securing Gross’ release is a priority. incarceration. ron kampeas
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Palestinian prisoner ends 66-day strike Khader Adnan, a Palestinian held in an Israeli jail without charge, agreed to end his 66-day hunger strike. Adnan, 33, ended his strike Feb. 21 after the state prosecutor’s office agreed not to renew his administrative detention, which is set to end on April 17. His appeal before Israel’s Supreme Court, scheduled for later in the day, was canceled. Adnan has been held in administrative detention since his arrest on Dec. 17 on the basis of “secret evidence” that he is a threat to regional security. A prisoner can be held in administrative detention, without charges being brought, for up to four months. He reportedly is a member of Islamic Jihad. Doctors had warned Israeli officials that Adnan could die at any moment. The hunger strike reportedly was the longest ever undertaken by a Palestinian prisoner in Israel. — jta
Hebron and in the Gush Etzion bloc. Meanwhile, nearly a half-foot of rain fell on the Golan and northern Galilee. — jta
Netanyahu’s bureau chief resigns Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
bureau chief resigned over a sexual harassment scandal. Under a plea agreement signed Feb. 20, Natan Eshel resigned from his position and promised to never again work in civil service. Eshel admitted to unprofessional behavior with a female subordinate. The woman, known only as R, has refused to press
charges or testify against him. Some 16 co-workers testified to the Civil Service Commission that Eshel had an inappropriate relationship with R. He is accused of stalking R, reading her emails and taking inappropriate photos of her. Bureau director Gil Sheffer was named to replace Eshel. — jta ■
Israel strikes Gaza sites after weekend of rockets Israel’s air force struck two sites in the Gaza Strip after a weekend of rocket attacks on southern Israel. On Feb. 18, Israeli aircraft struck a weapons manufacturing site in northern Gaza and a home in Gaza City that a statement issued from the Israel Defense Forces called a “terror activity site.” Three people were injured in the strike, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported. Two Kassam rockets were fired Feb. 17 at southern Israel and three long-range Grad rockets landed near Beersheva on Feb. 18. No injuries or damage were reported. That same day, according to the IDF, an anti-tank missile was fired at Israeli soldiers near the security fence that damaged the fence. Following the soldiers’ arrival on the scene, an explosive device was detonated in Gaza. Israeli soldiers responded with tank fire, according to the IDF. More than 30 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel so far this year, according to the IDF. — jta
Rain, snow replenish Sea of Galilee The Sea of Galilee’s water level rose by about half a foot following a weekend of rain and snow, sending its levels well above the lower red line. Even with the rise, the Galilee remains 4 yards shy of what is considered full. The lower red line is a government-recommended level below which water should no longer be drawn from the lake to prevent damage to the ecosystem. Nearly 8 inches of snow fell in the northern Golan Heights. Snow also fell in
Claude Lanzmann is a legendary French journalist, political commentator and filmmaker whose most renowned work is the classic nine-and-a-half-hour documentary Shoah (1985). After the liberation of France, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, and it was in Paris that he came to know Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. As the editor of Sartre’s political-literary journal, Les Temps Modernes–a position that he holds to this day–Lanzmann has long been at the center of postwar French culture. In an event tied to the publication of the English translation of his memoir, Lanzmann will be reflecting on his life and work in conversation with Regina Longo, a scholar of Film and Media Studies who served as the principal archivist responsible for initiating the preservation of 350 hours of outtakes from Lanzmann’s seminal film Shoah.
| February 24, 2012
mideast As Iran ‘red line’ shifts, West pushes for Israeli restraint josef federman
The U.S. and Britain on Feb. 19 urged Israel not to attack Iran’s nuclear program as the White House’s national security adviser arrived in the Jewish state, reflecting growing international jitters that the Israelis are poised to strike. In their warnings, the chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and the British foreign secretary, William Hague, said an Israeli attack on Iran would have grave consequences for the entire region and urged Israel to give international sanctions against Tehran time to work. Dempsey said an Israeli attack is “not prudent,” and Hague said it would not be “a wise thing.” It was not known whether their messages were coordinated. Both Israel and the West believe Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb — a charge Tehran denies. But differences have emerged in how to respond to the perceived threat. The U.S. and the European Union have imposed harsh new sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector, the lifeline of the Iranian economy. With the sanctions just beginning to bite, they have expressed optimism that Iran can be persuaded to curb its nuclear ambitions. On Feb. 19, Iran’s Oil Ministry said it had halted oil shipments to Britain and France in an apparent preemptive blow against the EU. The semiofficial Mehr news Lindsey Graham agency said the National Iranian Oil Co. sent letters to some European refineries with an ultimatum to either sign long-term contracts of two to five years or be cut off. The 27-nation EU accounts for about 18 percent of Iran’s oil exports. Israel has welcomed the sanctions. But it has pointedly refused to rule out military action and in recent weeks sent signals that its patience is running thin. Israel believes a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to its existence, citing Iran’s support for Arab militant groups, its sophisticated arsenal of missiles capable of reaching Israel and its leaders’ calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Different takes on Amman meeting In a recent meeting with a delegation of Jewish leaders, Jordan’s King Abdullah praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for working to bring the Palestinians to the peace table, according to a spokesman for the delegation. But the Jordanian media reported the opposite. The delegation of nearly 100 Jewish leaders, participants in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’ annual meeting in Jerusalem, had a “remarkably candid and open exchange” Feb. 19 in Amman with Abdullah, said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Presidents Conference. Hoenlein said Abdullah expressed “appreciation” to Netanyahu for taking steps to help in “creating a climate in which negotiations [with the Palestinians] .
Last week, Israel accused Iran of Party remains spooked over the being behind a string of attempted political fallout of its acquiescence attacks on Israeli diplomats in a decade ago in the buildup to the India, Georgia and Thailand. Iraq War. There is precedent for Israeli “There are clearly plenty of peoaction. In 1981, the Israeli air force ple, especially in the Democratic destroyed an unfinished Iraqi Party, who are reluctant to drive to nuclear reactor. And in 2007, war with great rapidity,” a Jewish Israeli warplanes are believed to Democratic activist said. have destroyed a target that foreign Tensions with Democrats are experts think was an unfinished expected as the American Israel nuclear reactor in Syria. Public Affairs Committee leads the Analysts, however, have quesdrive among pro-Israel groups to tioned how much an Israeli operaratchet up pressure on Iran this year. tion would accomplish. With Iran’s AIPAC is expected to make the nuclear installations scattered and resolution an “ask” when up to buried deep underground, it is 10,000 activists culminate its annubelieved that an Iranian strike al conference March 4-6 with a day would set back, but not destroy, of Capitol Hill lobbying. Iran’s nuclear program. The resolution’s sponsors There also are concerns Iran seemed eager to suggest that the could fire missiles at Israel, get its resolution reinforces Obama local proxies Hezbollah and administration policy. Hamas to launch rockets into the In fact, the president has never photo/ap-vahid salemi-file Jewish state, and cause global oil Iranian oil worker repairs a pipe used the “nuclear capability” prices to spike by striking targets in in Tehran in September 2000. phrasing, speaking instead of Iran the Persian Gulf. “getting,” “obtaining” or “acquirMeanwhile, a bipartisan resolution introduced Feb. 16 ing” a nuclear weapon as a red line. on Capitol Hill would seem to shift the longstanding U.S. Senators sponsoring the bill said capability is the more red line — from Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon to hav- sensible red line when it comes to a belligerent regime such ing the capability to build one. Such a shift would bring as Iran’s. U.S. policy in line with Israel’s approach. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governThe resolution, a nonbinding Senate statement backed ment reportedly has pressed the Obama administration to by AIPAC, calls on the United States to prevent Iran from adopt Israel’s “capability” standard. According to media acquiring the capability to build nuclear weapons. reports, Netanyahu refuses to give the U.S. advance warnIt was introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), ing of an Israeli strike unless the Obama administration Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.) and agrees to make capability its red line — to strike before has 32 co-sponsors, roughly evenly divided between Iran enters an “immunity zone,” in the words of Israeli Democrats and Republicans. To garner Democratic support, Defense Minister Ehud Barak. the resolution’s authors toned down its original language. In recent weeks, there have been signs that the Obama But the bill already has provoked jitters among administration has moved toward Israel’s posture; Defense Democrats anxious over the specter of war. A number of Secretary Leon Panetta now speaks of the “development” senators asked Graham to include an explicit denial that of a nuclear weapon as a red line. the resolution authorized military action; he flatly refused. Jewish Democratic insiders note that the Democratic The JTA’s Ron Kampeas contributed to this report. ■
can move forward.” Meanwhile, Jordan’s state news agency says that in that same meeting, the king blamed Israel for the deadlocked peace process. According to the Associated Press, Jordan’s Petra News Agency reported that in the meeting, Abdullah was specifically concerned over Israel’s “unilateral policies,” including changing the identity of the traditionally Arab sector in east Jerusalem and tampering with Muslim holy shrines there. On Feb. 20, Netanyahu told the Conference of Presidents group that the Arab Spring movement has placed “enormous pressure” on Israeli defenses and has itself hampered the peace process. Netanyahu said that with most of the Arab countries that had rebellions now being run by Islamists, achieving progress with the Palestinians is difficult because they “pile precondition on pre-
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condition” in order to appease their radical patrons. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met five times in Jordan in January in an attempt to jump-start direct negotiations. The Palestinians have said they will not return to the negotiating table until Israel halts building in all settlements. — jta & ap
Tel Aviv wants to run buses on Shabbat The Tel Aviv City Council approved a resolution to allow public transportation to run on Shabbat. The measure was approved Feb. 20 by a vote of 13-7. The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality must now seek a permit from the Israeli Transportation Ministry, but the ministry said in a statement, “There is a decadesold status quo regarding operation of public transportation on Shabbat, and the
Transportation Ministry does not intend to violate it.” If the ministry rejects the request, the resolution provides for the creation of an independent transportation service. In general, public transportation does not operate on the Sabbath in Israel, except in Haifa and Eilat on a limited basis. It is part of the “status quo,” a doctrine that regulates the public relationship between the religious and secular positions in Israel. In a public letter addressed to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, who supports the measure, Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau called for the decision to be reversed. “This is a severe blow to the holiness of the Shabbat, which is a remnant of Creation, a reminder of the Exodus from Egypt, a day of rest for every worker and a day of spiritual ascension and the unity of the family,” Lau said in the letter. — jta
Second Jerusalem church vandalized A church in Jerusalem was vandalized with an anti-Christian slogan for the second time this month. “Death to Christians” was painted Feb. 20 on the walls of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation. The words “price tag” and offensive language about Jesus also were written, according to reports, and the tires of several cars in the area were slashed. Two weeks ago, the 11th-century Monastery of the Cross Church was similarly vandalized. “Price tag” refers to the strategy that extremist Jewish settlers have adopted to exact a price in attacks on Palestinians and other non-Jews in retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions, or for Palestinian attacks on Jews. — jta
Israeli troops foil terror attack Israeli troops thwarted a terror attack on Israel’s border with Egypt. During a routine patrol on the IsraelEgypt border to prevent smuggling, Israeli soldiers witnessed a man leave a bag on the Israeli side of the border and flee back to Egypt. The bag was found to contain a
“powerful explosive device,” according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces. Army sappers detonated the device in a controlled explosion. According to the IDF, terrorists probably were planning to use the explosive device as a roadside bomb against Israeli soldiers patrolling near the southern border. “This incident is a reminder that the smuggling routes along the Israel-Egypt border are constantly being used by terror organizations to execute terror attacks against the citizens of Israel and IDF soldiers,” said the IDF statement. — jta
Israeli Arabs protest against Assad Israeli Arabs demonstrated against Syrian President Bashar Assad a day after the U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution condemning his crackdown on dissenters. Thousands of Israeli Arabs demonstrated Feb. 17 in Kfar Kanna in northern Israel chanting slogans including “Bashar al-Assad leave” and “Let the people live.” The General Assembly voted Feb. 16 by a vote of 137 to 12, with 17 abstentions, to approve a nonbinding resolution that condemns Syria for its 11-month crackdown on protesters. The measure also endorses an Arab League plan that would
require Assad to step down in favor of a democratically elected government. More than 5,400 civilians have been killed during the 11-month uprising, according to the United Nations. — jta
Knesset: All Israelis don’t have to serve The Knesset rejected two bills that would have required all Israeli citizens, including the haredi Orthodox, to serve in the military or national service. Both the national service and defense service bills, proposed by the opposition Kadima Party, were voted down Feb. 22 by a vote of 55-27. Debate on the bills came a day after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the Tal Law, which allows yeshiva students to delay their military service, is unconstitutional. The vote was 6-3. The law, named for retired Supreme Court justice Tzvi Tal and enacted in 2002 under then–Prime Minister Ehud Barak, allows full-time yeshiva students to delay their army service until age 23. At that time, students either can continue to study full time, or perform a shortened army service or a year of national service. Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delayed a Cabinet vote on
extending the law, which is set to expire in August. If the law expires without something to replace it, haredi Orthodox will be required to enlist. “The law, which has already been found in violation of the right to equality as part of the right to dignity, does not meet the proportionality standard and is therefore unconstitutional,” Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch wrote in the majority decision. Barak, now defense minister, reportedly welcomed the decision. He has said that he would like to end the Tal Law and have a fairer system put into place. — jta
Palestinians attack Christian tourists Palestinians worshipping at the Temple Mount attacked a group of Christian tourists with stones. The Feb. 19 attack reportedly was in response to a rumor that a group of Jewish rightists was scheduled to visit the Temple Mount and had plans to destroy the Al-Aksa mosque and build the Third Temple on the site. Some 18 Palestinians were arrested in connection with clashes with Jerusalem police. Three police officers were injured. — jta ■
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| February 24, 2012
Jews, Palestinians clash in London Jewish students at the London School of Economics and members of the university’s Palestinian Society clashed during an Israel Apartheid Week protest. The Palestinian Society protesters created a mock checkpoint Feb. 20 outside a campus building, stopping students by asking for identification and reportedly harassing Jewish students. Counter-protesters, said to be members of the Students’ Union Jewish Society, threw water balloons at the Palestinian Society protesters, spurring a fight that injured at least one student, the Jewish Chronicle reported. University security had to separate the protesters. “The Union of Jewish Students has consistently opposed these fake security check-
points as being intimidating against Jewish students,” a union spokesman told the Jewish Chronicle. The school’s Students’ Union said in a statement that it supports the right to peaceful protest but condemned the violence. The union said it would undertake an investigation of the incident in conjunction with the school. — jta
Azerbaijan arrests terror suspects Suspected terrorists with links to Iran and Hezbollah were arrested in Azerbaijan, while bombs intended for use against Israeli targets in Thailand’s capital were discovered hidden in inexpensive portable radios. The suspects in Azerbaijan are accused of planning terrorist attacks against foreigners in Baku, the Azerbaijan capital, the National
Security Ministry said in an announcement Feb. 21 on Azerbaijan state television. According to reports, the suspects had gathered intelligence on identified targets and bought weapons and explosives. Last month, at least two men were arrested after planning an attack on two Israeli teachers, Chabad emissaries at the Or Avner school in Baku. The arrests come a week after bomb attacks targeted cars belonging to Israeli Embassy staff in India and Georgia, which borders Azerbaijan, and after bombs exploded in a central Bangkok house that were said to target Israelis. The devices found in the radios were seen in surveillance photos being carried last week by a member of an alleged Iranian terrorist cell in Bangkok. The alleged terrorist had his leg blown off when a bomb he was carrying exploded. A photo of one of the devices was shown on ABC News. The bomb looks “strikingly similar” to the bombs used in the attacks on the cars of Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia, Ynet reported, citing Israeli authorities and U.S. bomb experts. The bombs in the radios also contained magnets, meaning they were designed to be stuck to the side of the car, as was the case in the Feb. 13 attack in New Delhi, where the wife of an Israeli diplomat was seriously injured. — jta
German Jews lament top pol’s resignation Germany’s top Jewish leader, Dieter Graumann, met the resignation of German President Christian Wulff with “respect, appreciation and regret.” Wulff, 52, who recently was awarded the Jewish community’s top prize, announced his resignation Feb. 17 amid a growing scandal involving possible financial improprieties and attempts to hush up the media. Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement that Germany’s Jewish community was especially grateful to Wulff for his “special attention and friendship,” for “consistently defending the rights of religious minorities, and his special sensitivity toward the darkest chapter of German history.” In November, the Central Council presented Wulff with its highest annual honor, the Leo Baeck Prize. The German presidency is a symbolic office whose holder is considered to represent the country’s moral conscience. — jta
Canadian journalist slammed for bias A Canadian journalist’s reports from Israel have been declared biased and inaccurate by her own news outlet’s standards watchdog. In a pointed rebuke, the ombudsman for Radio-Canada, the French-language arm of Canada’s state broadcaster, said reporter Ginette Lamarche was biased, used unverified information and was inaccurate in her recent reporting on Israel. .
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Pierre Tourangeau late last week overturned Radio-Canada’s earlier dismissal of complaints from Honest Reporting Canada over five reports by Lamarche from the Middle East that aired in December. Tourangeau found that the reports failed to show balance, impartiality and accuracy as required by Radio-Canada’s journalistic standards. In one report, Lamarche claimed that “many Palestinians spend a good part of their youth in jail for participating in a demonstration or throwing stones” without citing a source. According to Honest Reporting Canada, convicted stone throwers in fact spend an average of seven months behind bars, with the longest sentence consisting of 15 months. Tourangeau said the reports offered only a Palestinian viewpoint, and that Lamarche did not verify or challenge claims or data submitted to her. “I am very happy with the decision obtained by Honest Reporting,” said David Ouellette of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, which regularly collaborates with Honest Reporting Canada. — jta
Karski honored for WWII resistance work The Polish Senate has posthumously honored World War II hero Jan Karski for his work in revealing details of the Nazi genocide taking place in Poland. During a special meeting Feb. 15 of Upper House of the Polish Parliament, guests including U.S. Ambassador Lee Feinstein and Polish Foreign Minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld were briefed on the program to commemorate the centennial of Karski’s birth that will take place in 2014, Polish Radio reported. In addition to special events, a monument will be erected in Warsaw in his memory, and a Warsaw street will be named after him. Born Jan Kozielewski in Lodz, Karski adopted his nom-de-guerre after escaping from a German POW train and joining the resistance. Karski served as a courier between occupied Poland and the Polish government in exile. After World War II, Karski settled in the United States and taught at Georgetown University until his death in 2000. — jta
Court clears Sabbath observer An Orthodox Jew was found not guilty by a Hague appeals court of failing to produce an ID card on the Sabbath. The man had faced a fine of nearly $200 for failing to prove his identity when requested to do so by Dutch police. Orthodox Jews are not permitted to carry any objects in a public place on the Sabbath. The Hague appeals court ruled last week that the man’s religious requirement was more important than the law, according to Dutch News, citing the Telegraaf. The public prosecutor could appeal the ruling. — jta ■
Terumah Exodus 25:1–27:19 I Kings 5:26–6:13
Next YouTube hit: Revelation at Sinai, on eternal loop A recent Time magazine article about YouTube reported that every minute, 60 hours of video are uploaded to the video site. At this rate, more than 10 years of footage are added each day. We are now a fully recorded species. The Torah originates in a vastly different world, without cameras or video. Perhaps this allows us to explain the last third of Exodus, beginning with this week’s parshah, which focuses almost entirely on the construction of the Tabernacle. Such intricate description and attention to detail highlight the importance and sacred nature of the Tabernacle, as well as its purpose in preserving a holy moment and allowing it to be shared and experienced by future generations. At its core, the Tabernacle (Mishkan) aims to record the moment of revelation at Sinai experienced by more than 600,000 recently freed slaves. In this way, we may consider it as the ancient form of YouTube, preserved for eternity on eternal loop, to be experienced anew by each visitor. The word “mishkan” itself hints at this. The closing verse of last week’s parshah reads, “the presence of the Lord abode on Mount Sinai” (Exodus 24:16). The word for abode comes from the same root as Mishkan. This root may also be conjugated to produce the words for neighbor (shochen), neighborhood (schunah) and God’s essence on Earth (Shechinah). This connection hints at the fact that the Mishkan is built to serve as the meeting place for the Israelites and God, based upon their original covenantal encounter at Sinai. In his introduction to the parshah, the commentator Ramban argues as much, writing, “The mystery behind the Mishkan is that God’s presence, which abode publicly on Mount Sinai, would discreetly do the same in the Tabernacle. … One who carefully examines the verses describing the giving of the Torah, and understands what we have written concerning them, will understand the mystery of the Tabernacle.” In “Leviticus as Literature,” anthropologist Mary Douglas writes that the tripartite construction of the Mishkan is meant to reflect the tripartite division of Sinai. While the Israelites dwell at the foot of
Sinai, the elders are allowed to ascend higher, and Moses alone reaches the top to meet with God. Likewise, the Tabernacle is constructed in three sections, with the Israelites on the outside, the priests in the inner court and the high priest entering the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. Our sages add that Moses ascended Sinai on the first of Elul, meaning he remained until Yom Kippur —another connection to the ritual within the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle. Finally, the curtain shielding the Holy of Holies resembles the cloud that separates Moses from the elders below. In this way, we may see the Tabernacle as not just a reconstruction but also a re-enactment of Sinai, to be experienced in perpetuity by later Israelite generations. God chooses to preserve not the site of revelation but the act itself. Following the giving of the Ten Commandments, Mount Sinai ceases to play a sacred function in Jewish life. The Israelites move on, choosing to replicate Sinai within their portable sanctum over making pilgrimage to the historical site. Parashat Terumah is about preserving history through prescription of ritual rather than commemoration of geography. The mountain itself is not holy — it is only made so by God’s presence. Each time the people stop throughout their journey to the Promised Land, they may experience Sinai anew. This week’s parshah includes the commandment, “Build for me a Tabernacle and I will dwell among them” (25:8). In the Haftorah, King Solomon builds the Temple in Jerusalem, following the same structure as the Mishkan. In the Haftorah’s final line, God quotes from Torah to Solomon, saying, “I will dwell among the children of Israel” (1st Kings 6:13). The connection between Torah and Haftorah teaches that in every generation, we have the opportunity to relive the sacred connection between God and Israel. Seeing a picture or watching a video is one thing, but there is no substitute for personally reliving that moment as if for the very first time. ■
Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe is a rabbi at Reform Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
| February 24, 2012
Jewish Music Festival is ours for a song One of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Bay Area’s Jewish cultural calendar is the annual Jewish Music Festival. Set to launch its 27th season next week, the music festival runs March 1-25 at premiere venues across the East Bay and in San Francisco, bringing to our region the best and the brightest in the realm of Jewish music. So what exactly constitutes Jewish music, anyway? The answer to that question seems to broaden every year in the capable hands of the festival’s executive director, Ellie Shapiro, who never fails to book a compelling lineup of performers. Rock, hip-hop, klezmer, jazz, folk, liturgical, Mizrachi: Every musical style has a place at the Jewish Music Festival. But as our story on page 19 notes, Shapiro took quite a leap of faith this year by programming almost entirely original music. That is, artists and bands on the 2012 festival lineup wrote all of their own tunes, drawing on the rich history of world Jewish music, while giving it a contemporary spin. And for the sixth year running, the music festival has commissioned a new composition, in this case a song cycle, “Orphic Machine,” written and performed by former New Klezmer Trio clarinetist Ben Goldberg and his jazz ensemble. By commissioning new work, the Jewish Music Festival plays a vital role in sustaining a future for Jewish music. In an age when budget cuts to the arts threaten our cultural survival, it is heartening to know that a leading Bay Area arts institution continues to step up, to just say yes to new music. It’s all well and good for this publication to urge readers to attend the festival. Indeed, we feel strongly about the importance of financially supporting Bay Area Jewish community institutions like this, and we never shy away from saying so. But this is about more than mere dollars and cents, or doing whatever we can for the Jewish Music Festival. Rather, think for a moment what this festival does for us. Can there be any doubt that Jewish music provides food for the neshama, the soul? Nationwide, there’s been a surge of new interest in Jewish music, from the klezmer revival of the 1990s to today’s Shlomo Carlebach–inspired shul bands like L.A.’s Moshav, the haunting Ladino melodies of the Bay Area’s Jewlia Eisenberg, the Arab-Jewish fusion music of Israel’s Yair Dalal, and — yes — the formerly Chassidic-inspired reggae/hip-hop of Matisyahu. All these genres, and more, have been represented at our own Bay Area festival. We value what Ellie Shapiro and her festival offer the community, just as we value all of the Bay Area’s creative Jewish energy. We are truly fortunate to live in a place where so much Jewish cultural bounty lies within easy reach. All we have to do is show up and take it — if we’re not creating it ourselves. ■
letters Poles were victims, too The article “Reporter-activist relishes Poland’s Jewish revival,” (Feb. 17) included the line: “[Konstanty] Gebert concluded that Poles have put in a lot of ‘hard work’ to come to terms with their complicity in the Holocaust.” I doubt Mr. Gebert said all Poles were complicit in the Holocaust. Has j. erroneously suggested he did? A small minority of Poles were traitors to their country and participated in the Holocaust; these included several hundred pogromists of Jedwabne and elsewhere, the snitches who informed on Jews, and the few partisans who murdered them. But the Holocaust was conducted by Nazi Germany. The overwhelming majority of Poles were not complicit. The Holocaust of 6 million Jews also killed over 2 million Polish gentiles, of whom 50,000 were executed just for helping Jews. These Poles were Holocaust victims. Poland fielded 1 million troops, including thousands of Jews in Polish uniform, who fought Germany right up to Hitler’s bunker. Grouped by nationality, Poles represent the biggest number of people who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Polish representative Jan Karski requested President Roosevelt help stop the Holocaust of Jews: America ignored the appeal from its ally, Poland. Now, the questions are whether Jews have done enough to recognize Polish friendship during the Holocaust, and whether Americans have done enough to acknowledge their own indifference. Harry Poznanski
Jewish Republicanism Rabbi Shmuley Boteach announcing his run as a Republican for Congress is a perfect example of Jews embracing Republicanism in pursuit of both reasonable and unreasonable values (“Why I want to be the voice of values in Congress,” Feb. 10). The evaluations and solutions stated by Rabbi Boteach are very wrong-headed and simplistic. The party whose banner he plans to run under praises unbridled materialism, greed and self-interest. The obsession with abortion and gay marriage is a Republican obsession. Does he really believe that a political party that strongly holds that America is a Christian country will look on public funding of yeshivahs more favorably than funding madrassas (Islamic religious schools)? The purpose of publicly funded education is to enable people to be ready to participate in American society, not to LETTERS, 18 ■■■
Unsung hero As Dan Pine’s article noted (“Quick help for people marooned by Contra Costa JCC,” Jan. 26), there have been many heroes who have aided the preschool children from the CCJCC to find new schools to attend. I feel it is important to give a big thank you to one hero in particular, Jen Paul.
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Jen is one of those people in our community who thinks about everyone’s kids, not just her own or even those in her child’s class, but literally every child in the school. She is also the type of leader who never (ever) does the work she does to receive credit, but does it because she is a mensch like no other. Just thought it was important in the face of a tragic and truly sad situation to give a shout-out to a shining star among us. Thank you, Jen Paul.
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A progressive approach to strengthening Jewish life around the world A favorite talmudic story tells of a king whose confiscatory tax policy caused great hardship to his subjects. The king dismissed their protests by saying: “That’s not my problem; that’s your problem. I need money for the kingdom, and if you don’t have enough, that’s too bad.” One day an elderly man wanted to see the king. “What can you do,” The townspeople asked, “when all of our protests have been to no avail?” “No worse than you have done so far,” he replied. And off to see the king he went. When he arrived, the king said, “If you’ve come about the taxes, you’re wasting your time. That’s not my problem that’s your problem …” “Oh no, your majesty,” the man answered, “I just thought that since it is such a beautiful day, you would like to join me for a ride in my boat.” Taken completely by surprise, the king accepted. When the man rowed into the middle of the lake, he took a hammer and an awl and began to chip a hole in the boat’s bottom. “Stop, Stop,” the king exclaimed. “I am going to drown!” “That’s not my problem,” the man exclaimed. “That’s Rabbi Stephen Fuchs is the president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (www.wupj.org). He recently visited several Bay Area synagogues.
At Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills on Feb. 17, Rabbi Stephen Fuchs (right) attends an oneg with (from left) Fred Half, Barbara Stern, John Stern and Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser.
your problem. You see I’m just making the hole under my own seat.” The king then realized that we are all connected. We are all responsible for one another, and there is no such thing as just “under my own seat.” He rebated much of the tax money back to the people. It is a lesson well worth the Jewish community’s attention — even during these difficult economic times. Although congregations and communities struggle and tighten their belts in North America, our plight here is nothing as compared to what Jews experience in other
parts of the world. Whatever a Jew or a group of Jews does in one place has impact on other Jews everywhere. There is no such thing as “only under my own seat.” In the seven months since I became president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, I have spent time with communities in Germany, Kiev, Hungary, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and, of course, Israel. I have spoken in several communities around this country as well. I came to the Bay Area last week to raise awareness about the vital necessity to promote Progressive Jewish FORGING, 18 ■■■
Don’t yank student loan forgiveness from religious workers A question has been thrust to the forefront of the religious community: Are clergy and other professionals within religious nonprofits truly public servants? Is the work they perform equal to those who work for other 501(c)3 organizations? Since 2007, the federal government has maintained the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. It was designed to forgive the student loan debt of longtime public service or nonprofit employees — after they made 10 years of payments. The original law included clear language on qualifying employment: basically, anyone who worked for the government or a nonprofit that had been designated as taxexempt by the IRS. The law also noted that “the type or Rabbi James Greene is the director of the Center for Jewish Life and Learning at the Addison-Penzak JCC of Silicon Valley. He is the vice chair of the Reconstructionist Educators of North America.
nature of employment with the organization does not matter for PSLF purposes” But that was then, and this is now. Last month, the Department of Education introduced new language restricting participation in the program. It says that, in general, a person’s type or nature of employment (with a government organization or a nonprofit) does not matter for PSLF purposes. But then comes this zinger: “If you work for a nonprofit organization, your employment will not qualify for PSLF if your job duties are related to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing.” I am deeply troubled by the exclusion of clergy and other employees of religious organizations from this program. After all, the PSLF program was designed to encourage public service — and Congress never included this religious exclusion in any part of the original legislation. Clergy and other people of faith serve the entire public good. For example, I work for the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center, where a full half of our
membership is not Jewish. Our programs reach out to the entire South Bay. Clergy and other faith community leaders are often the first line of assistance to those in need and the last support structure for the most vulnerable in our communities — regardless of religious affiliation. Particularly at a time when governmental agencies rely more and more on the faith community for desperately needed social services, it is wrong to penalize those who choose to provide these social services in a faith-based setting. This new language places an undue burden on people of faith at a time when we need to encourage more STUDENT, 18 ■■■
Local voices welcomed J. welcomes your local voice on timely Jewish issues and events of the day. Submissions will not be returned and are subject to editing or rejections. Approximate length: 750 words. e-mail text, not attachments, to firstname.lastname@example.org mail to J. the Jewish news weekly, 225 Bush St., #1480, San Francisco, CA 94104
| February 24, 2012
Forging worldwide Jewish links ment and founder of the Israel Religious from 17 values, learning and practice in Israel and Action Center, we remain at the forefront of around the world. Society has never needed the struggle against those who want to turn those values — justice, righteousness, caring, Jerusalem into an ultra-Orthodox enclave that discriminates against women and noncompassion, and community — more. The world today is dividing rapidly between Orthodox Jews. In Germany, the WUPJ strives to help our those who, on the one hand, dismiss religion as foolishness and fairy tales, and fundamentalist rabbinical seminary, the Abraham Geiger Kolleg, cement a formal relationship with the fanatics on the other. The WUPJ strives to connect progressive- University of Potsdam, making possible generminded Jews (Reform, Liberal and ous government support for rabbinical, cantoReconstructionist Jews) in 1,200 communities rial students and those planning careers in and 47 countries on six continents around the Jewish education. In Kiev, we are working world to the land of Israel, to each other and — together with our community to help them get hopefully — to us. All told, the WUPJ repre- the synagogue building they so desperately need. sents nearly 1.8 million people. In Hungary, we lobby vigorously with govAs an umbrella organization, the WUPJ connects these communities through leadership ernmental and parliamentary representatives training, educational programs, summer camp for inclusion of progressive Jewish commuexperiences, para-rabbinic training and advo- nities in the pending “church law” — which cacy initiatives worldwide. The WUPJ head- will make tax dollars available for our comquarters at Bet Shmuel-Mercaz Shimshon, part munities. In South America, we work with of a picturesque educational campus in community leaders on how to train more Jerusalem, is a beehive of activity as groups of rabbis and cantors to work in for congregagap-year students, NETZER (international tions there. Rabbi Tarfon said in Pirkei Avot: “The day is youth group) representatives and many other short, and the work is great.” adult groups gather to From Feb. 7-18, Rabbi We hope Bay Area residents study, learn, tour and live Stephen Fuchs spoke at will look beyond their “own for a time in our hostel Congregations Sherith Israel and seats,” redistribute some of and guest house there. Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco, their wealth and priorities, and In the vital realm of Peninsula Temple Beth El in San support our sacred middle advocacy, different comMateo, Congregation Shir Hadash in ground of serious non-fundamunities have different Los Gatos, Temple Sinai in Oakland, mentalist religious engageneeds. As the primary Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos ment in Israel and around the builder of Israel’s proHills and Temple Isaiah in Lafayette. world. gressive Jewish move-
Student loan forgiveness is needed from 17 people, not fewer, to get involved and lend a hand. Additionally, the Department of Education did not exclude clergy or religious service employees in their regulations, issued in October 2008. So after telling the public that almost all nonprofit service qualifies — even going out of their way to tell us that neither the work nor the nature of the organization mattered — the Department of Education slipped in this exclusion last month without any public comment or process. In fact, the federal government already recognizes the important public service that clergy provide. The government subsidizes loans for seminary students, allows graduates of seminaries and other religious colleges to consolidate student loan debt through a federal program, and instructs the IRS to recognize synagogues and other houses of worship as nonprofits — without question, making no distinction between secular and faith-based organizations. By extending these various benefits to faith organizations, the federal government already recognizes the role that faith organizations provide to the public service. It is simply unjust for the government to provide help to people of faith as they pursue the higher education necessary to serve the ■■■
organizations of our community, and then exclude them from the PSLF at a time when they are most at need and engaged in the important work of performing social services. We ask a lot of our clergy. I was in a five-year seminary program, from which I graduated in 2008 — and many of my colleagues spent six years earning their rabbinical degrees. During my time at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College — five years studying at the campus in Wyncote, Pa., and parts of several summers in Israel — I worked, but I also took out student loans to help cover my family’s living expenses while I was a student. Many rabbis graduate from rabbinical school with well more than $100,000 in student loan debt. To pay down that debt in its entirety would cost around $200,000. That kind of burden, placed upon our community leaders after the fact, is simply unacceptable. I think this issue was well summed up by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield in his “For God’s Sake” blog in the Washington Post. In his Feb. 9 posting, he wrote that “[w]hile church-separation is a wise and necessary policy, separation is not about discrimination against, or hostility toward, religion. The regulation, as newly reformulated is clumsy at best, insensitive for certain, and may even be illegally hostile to religion. This one needs to change.” I could not agree more.
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from 16 polarize it into separate factions, which is still allowed but must be funded without taxpayer funds. The GOP’s social conservatism might sound good to a Jewish conservative, but history has shown that increasing the power of the religious majority, which is never Jewish, always results in antiSemitism, discrimination and worse. I suggest that the rabbi re-read the Jewish prophets to get a better understanding of Jewish social positions.
Humor fan club I found it so pleasurable reading “Lord love a duck!” (Humor, Feb. 10). Trudy’s column was a joy!! I was in business many years ago and received a ton of catalogs, one of which advertised “Jewish Ducks.” I still have eight of them. Anyway, loved the column and look forward to more. Harry Levy
Selective human rights? Three years ago, Gaza’s rocket attacks drew an Israeli response: “Operation Cast Lead.” To minimize Arab civilian deaths, Israel warned residents before attacking military sites, resulting in the lowest civilian-to-military casualty rate in modern warfare. Even Hamas conceded the point. Yet in subsequent weeks, Rabbis for Human Rights blasted Israel. Fast-forward to the present: Syria’s Arab rulers have killed more than 6,000 civilians, pulling the sick from hospitals and dumping their tortured bodies in the street like garbage. Sudan’s Arab rulers have killed a million. Iraq and Egypt have expelled hundreds of thousands of aboriginal Christians. Yet to my knowledge, no rabbi who slandered the IDF has condemned these atrocities. Have Arab civilians no feelings? If an Arab is shot, does he not bleed? Or does he bleed only when the IDF is involved? When rabbis excoriate Israel while claiming to fear for their jobs, or rail about critical leaflets on their fence, visualize hundreds of thousands of rape and murder victims in Sudan, and ask yourself whether Rabbis for Human Rights cared enough to notice. Seth Watkins
‘True Renaissance man’ I was saddened to learn of the death of Roman Halter (“Roman Halter, 84, artist and Shoah survivor,” Feb. 17). To the world, Halter was a Holocaust survivor who became a renowned architect, artist and author. His story was memorialized in British historian Sir Martin Gilbert’s book “The Boys,” and later in Halter’s own memoir, “Roman’s Journey.” Halter’s experiences inspired his paintings and stainedglass works, and he designed the gates of Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem. But to me, Halter was a link to my family. He grew up in Chodecz, Poland, where my grandfather Aaron spent his childhood from age 6 until he immigrated to the United States in 1909 at age 19. Halter’s father and grandfather worked in the town’s timber industry, as did my great-grandfather, Naphtali Zilberberg. Halter was one of only four survivors from Chodecz’s 800-member Jewish community. His memoir recounts the unimaginable horrors he had to endure. My grandfather’s stepmom, Sura, and his three brothers, Szlama, David and Noech Silberberg and their families, did not survive. I was fortunate to have corresponded with Halter, who was always kind and generous. A true Renaissance man, he has left a remarkable legacy. Stephen Silver
‘Shameful behavior’ Regarding the haredi public assaults on women (“Women’s rights in Israel moves to the front of the bus,” Feb. 3), the Talmud states that humiliating someone in public is like shedding his blood. Also, an Orthodox man does not even touch a woman because she may be in ritual impurity. Radical haredi men are guilty of abomination by their public treatment of women. It would seem that the haredi community, as dedicated adherents to strict Torah law, would resolve this situation themselves. The silence of the haredi community leaders just encourages this shameful behavior. Lawrence Weiswasser
Festival stretches boundaries of Jewish music, culture dan pine
Don’t expect any golden oldies at this year’s Jewish Music Festival. The event — which runs from March 1 to 25 — is all about new and original music, promises festival executive director Ellie Shapiro. The 27th annual festival takes place at several East Bay locations, primarily in Berkeley, plus a full afternoon and evening of music on March 25 in San Francisco. The opening night headliner is the Israeli group Hadag Nahash. With its hybrid of rock and hip-hop, Hadag Nahash has been one of Israel’s most original bands since its 2000 debut. Co-sponsored by the S.F.-based Israel Center and the Taube Koret Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood, the concert takes place March 1 at Oakland club New Parish. Every year since 2006, the festival has commissioned a new piece of music. This year, that honor fell to clarinetist and New Klezmer Trio founder Ben Goldberg. He will give the world premiere of his song cycle, “Orphic Machine,” in a March 4 concert at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage Coffee House. “We’re very excited,” Shapiro says of the premiere. “[Goldberg] started in the
klezmer scene and now is avant-garde jazz.” Also premiering his latest music is fellow clarinetist Michael Winograd, an undisputed rising star in the realm of neo-klezmer. His six-piece band, including the award-winning vocalist Judith Berkson, will perform March 3, also at photo/courtesy of jewish music festival Freight & Salvage. Israeli rock/hip-hop group Hadag Nahash opens the Jewish Music Festival. Hadag Nahash isn’t the only Israeli band in the line-up. Shapiro is thrilled Heschel. part of the soul, expressing liturgical she managed to book the Bustan Quartet, a “Basya is fascinating,” Shapiro says. “She yearnings from Eastern and Western group made up of Jewish and Muslim grew up in ultra-Orthodox Borough Park Jewish traditions.” musicians including Taiseer Elias, one of [Brooklyn], and came to the conclusion For the kids, the festival brings back the the world’s great oud players. she wanted to be part of the wider world. popular Instrument Petting Zoo, on March Their March 22 concert is co-sponsored She started a band 10 years ago and has 4 at the Jewish Community Center of the by the Magnes Museum and U.C. blossomed.” East Bay in Berkeley. On display and availBerkeley’s Music Department. And if the notion of a Jewish liturgical able for blowing, plucking and banging will “This is our most important collabora- mash-up sounds appealing, Shapiro has be all kinds of musical instruments, along tion with U.C. Berkeley,” Shapiro notes. one ready to go. with experienced players to offer tips. “[Music Department chair] Benjamin A March 25 concert by Klezmatics Though sustaining the Jewish Musical Brinner wrote a book that prominently fea- trumpet player Frank London and Israeli Festival for 27 years is not easy, especially in tures the Bustan Quartet. This is a band that oud master Yair Dalal will blend the word- a down economy, Shapiro takes pride in brought Israeli music to the world stage.” less nigunnim melodies from the the festival’s daring aesthetic. Shapiro is especially excited to present Ashkenazi tradition with the piyyutim “We’re really taking risks,” she says. “[The singer and songwriter Basya Schechter, who melodies of Middle Eastern Jews. festival] is not nostalgia, not chestnuts, not will present a new series of “I came up with the idea comfortable. It’s music that stretches concepJewish Music compositions based on the 10 years ago to bring these tions of what is Jewish music and culture. We Festival (510) 848-023 or Yiddish poetry of the late together,” Shapiro recalls. never know who the audience will be for this. www.jewishmusicfestival.org. Rabbi Abraham Joshua “Both speak to the same Everything we’re doing is musically exciting.” ■
Clarinet virtuosos do right by the reed dan pine
for everybody one kind of success at the limits of the autonomy of the will.” Not exactly Ira Gershwin, but Goldberg felt his Programmers for the 2012 Jewish Music Festival mentor’s words generated a kind of propulsion that decided to get on the stick. The licorice stick, that is. lent itself to music. So he turned them into songs. Two festival headliners this year are pre-eminent Ben “There’s not a wasted word in them,” he says of clarinet virtuosos in the Jewish music world and Goldberg Grossman’s writings. “If you want to write a song out beyond. Ben Goldberg and Michael Winograd have of his words you have to start pulling and pushing not only mastered the instrument, but also emerged on them, especially words not set out metrically to as composers as well. work in 4/4 time.” In the festival, Goldberg and Winograd will preThough his former trio consisted of traditional miere their new works. klezmer instruments — clarinet, bass and accordion At a March 3 concert at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage — Goldberg’s expansive new piece includes parts for Coffee House, Winograd and his ensemble will debut the very unklezmer vibraphone and tenor sax. new music from a soon-to-be-released CD. Musically it reflects Goldberg’s strong jazz leanings. On the following night, also at Freight & Salvage, Still, Goldberg is the first to admit, you can take Goldberg will give the world premiere performance the clarinetist out of klezmer, but you can’t take the of “Orphic Machine,” a song cycle co-commissioned klezmer out of the clarinetist. by the Jewish Music Festival. “The sounds of Jewish music and klezmer are A Berkeley resident, Goldberg is best known in deep inside of me,” he says. “I couldn’t get away from Jewish music circles as co-founder of the New those if I tried. My whole musical life has been Klezmer Trio, a pioneering ensemble of the klezmer involved with getting inside that stuff and finding revival that flourished in the 1990s. His new jazzphoto/courtesy of jewish music festival out what’s in them. I’m not worried about making flavored opus stems from the esoteric writings of sure there’s a Jewish sound in my music.” Allen Grossman, Goldberg’s former literature prorelationship to this amazing book,” Goldberg says. “But Winograd could say the same. The New York City resifessor at Johns Hopkins University. Grossman’s primer on when I started to write, I was stumped. I couldn’t figure poetics, “Summa Lyrica,” deeply influenced Goldberg. out how to translate these cryptic sayings. The book is dent will take the festival stage to perform mostly original klezmer pieces, accompanied by a six-piece band that “When I first got the commission, I thought I’d just made of aphorisms.” CLARINET, 21 write instrumental music that had some sort of structural Aphorism such as: “The function of poetry is to obtain j. staff
| February 24, 2012
the arts Sausalito writer pens upbeat ode to his family dan pine
Judaism was important in the household, especially to Broder’s mother. Still, Broder early on felt the gravitational pull of American As a writer of fiction, Bill Broder is accustomed secular society. After his father died when to wrestling with characters in his mind. Broder was 14, it was just a matter of time Telling his own life story proved no different. before he set sail into a beckoning world. Broder’s “Prayer for the Departed” is a He joined the Navy and later attended memoir, but reads more like a collection of Columbia University, where he studied creshort stories peopled with vivid characters. ative writing. But through it all, Broder never They just happened to be his real-life family forgot where he came from. members. “Every American Jew has common ground,” “I’m a storyteller,” says the Sausalito-based he says. “If you grow up in a strongly Zionist, author. “This book was written deliberately as kosher household, you are a different person, a story. I believe that all writing, all intellectuno matter what happens.” al pursuit, is a matter of selection and storyA strong-willed mother, obdurate brothers, telling.” loving aunts and uncles, lovers and other Broder will read from his book on Sunday, strangers round out the book’s dramatis perFeb. 26 at Book Passage in Corte Madera. sonae. Broder recalls events from more than Broder, 80, grew up during the Depression, half a century ago with remarkable detail. the grandson of Jewish immigrants. His parThat’s not because he has a photographic memory; he actually ents typified the generation of Jews that grabbed the American Dream, achieving success while opening the door to assimilation, took notes. The text is “based on a tremendous number of journals I kept,” he says. especially for their children. After marrying and moving to Northern California, Broder Yet Broder did not want to be the star of his own autobiography. “I didn’t think of the book as a personal journey. It’s a story worked as a writing professor, freelance writer and playwright. about a family. My impulse was to create an Bill Broder He wrote “A Prayer for the Departed” as a image of this family that I saw as separate 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, at Book Passage, kind of Kaddish for those who made his a from me, a family in the 20th century.” 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera happy life. “I loved those people,” he says of Broder’s father had known abject poverty, and with Horatio Alger-inspired gumption “A Prayer for the Departed” his colorful family members. “They weren’t by Bill Broder (233 pages, Nobel prize winners, just good, kind people determined to make something of himself, Ainslie Street Project, $12.99). who tried to live. launching a successful coffee-roasting business. j. staff
Beatles cover band to rock PJCC gala A Beatles-themed fundraiser featuring the White Album Ensemble of Santa Cruz will take place March 10 in San Mateo. The dance concert — along with a wine, cheese and dessert reception, live auction and raffle — will benefit programs at the Peninsula JCC in Foster City. The event, which begins with refreshments at 6:30 p.m. and culminates with the concert, will be held at the College of San Mateo Theatre, 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd., San Mateo. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com. For information, call (650) 378-2707.
Journalist’s book wins prestigious literacy award Journalist Gal Beckerman has won the $100,000 Jewish Book Council’s Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for his 2010 book, “When They Come for Us We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry.” The prize recognizes the important role of emerging writers in examining the Jewish experience. The award of $100,000 — one of the largest literary prizes in the world — honors a specific work as well as the author’s potential to make significant contributions to Jewish literature. Beckerman’s book — his first — is a comprehensive chronicle of the history of the Soviet Jewry movement. Beckerman, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is an opinion editor at The Forward. The runner-up is Oxford University lecturer Abigail Green, for her biography, “Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero.” She received a $25,000 prize. The authors will be honored at an awards ceremony April 11 in Jerusalem.
Two Israeli films take Berlin prizes Two Israeli films that deal with relationships between Israelis and Palestinians were recognized at the Berlin International Film Festival, which ended Feb. 19. The top Berlin Today Award went to the humorous short film “Batman at the Checkpoint” by Rafael Balulu. The 10minute film was one of five finalists for the award, which goes to films produced in Berlin, though they may be filmed elsewhere. “Batman at the Checkpoint” features 6year-old Yuval, an Israeli, and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud, who are stuck with their parents in traffic at a checkpoint outside Jerusalem. The two cars sit side by side, and eventually the children get out and end up play fighting over a plastic Batman doll in an impromptu game of hide and seek. A Caligari Film Prize honorable mention went to “Bagrut Lochamim” (“Soldier/Citizen”) by Silvina Landsmann. The sobering documentary follows young Israelis completing high school education after military service. — jta ■
| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California
faces by Suzan Berns
Clarinet virtuosos do right by the reed
Sightings at the CJM
from 19 includes singer Judith Berkson, recipient of a prestigious National Foundation for Jewish Culture fellowship. Some of the tunes originated in Jewish Ukrainian songs collected more than 100 years ago. For others, sung in Yiddish, Winograd collaborated with lyricists who know the Mamaloshen and strive to keep the language alive. Winograd tends to stick more closely to traditional Jewish modes than does Goldberg, but he, too, lets in outside influences, from jazz to classical minimalists such as Steve Reich. He’s only following what klezmer musicians have always done. More than a century ago, itinerant Jewish musicians in eastern Europe borrowed from the Turkish, Hungarian, Bulgarian and Moldovan tunes they heard on the road. “Now we say that’s traditional,” Winograd points out. “That is the canon of klezmer, and even using the word ‘traditional’ comes with issues. All these tunes had to be written by someone.” photo/courtesy of jewish music festival Winograd says playing klezmer music Michael Winograd can accentuate one’s Jewish identity. He grew up in an observant household in Long Klezmer Trio, which he calls the “Big Island, N.Y., but when he got into klezmer Bang” of his musical life. “All of a sudden there was a strong purmusic as a teen, he gradually dropped his pose,” he says. “I knew exactly what I needobservance, replaced by the music. “When I got involved in the klezmer ed to do at the moment.” Though he eschews the klezmer label, community, that became Jewish for me,” he says. “Ultimately, klezmer isn’t just Goldberg still reveres that music. He says there’s much more going music, not just a language; on in the music besides it’s a culture, a real Jewish life Michael Winograd Ensemble with style. It’s something he going on.” Judith Berkson, describes as “friction.” Goldberg has a similar 8 p.m. March 3. “It pushes ahead of the tale. Though he studied clasBen Goldberg, beat, pulls way behind sical clarinet through col8 p.m. March 4. the beat and scurries lege, a 1985 private lesson Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, around,” he says. “It’s from Klezmorim clarinetist 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. nudging. It’s Jewish conSteve Lacy changed his artis$23-$26. (510) 848-0237 or sciousness, the Jewish tic direction. From there he www.jewishmusicfestival.org way of doing things.” went on to form the New ■■■
Trees abound in the latest exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum — including, at the opening last week, an unidentified guest wearing a branch for a hat. Among the identified guests at the VIP reception that preceded the opening of “Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art and Jewish Thought” were CJM board chair David Levine and three generations of Saxes: Dorothy Saxe with her children and grandDorothy children. Waiting patiently in the security line, which Saxe snaked down the block, were numerous community leaders, including Dana Corvin with her mother, Adele Corvin; Eleanor Myers, Barbro and Barney Osher; and Jeff Farber plus curators from SFMOMA, the Fine Arts Museums and Pacific Film Archive. A number of the artists whose works are included in the exhibit as part of the Dorothy Saxe Invitational also were present. Saxe’s invitational asked artists from diverse backgrounds to create Jewish ritual objects inspired by a theme, this year Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees. The CJM exhibit will run through May 28. Visit www.thecjm.org for details.
Was it b’shert? Clevelanders looking to relive their ballpark hot dog days, complete with Cleveland’s brown “stadium” mustard, can find it at the Deli Board, Adam Mesnick’s South of Market deli. According to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Cleveland native serves the dogs, plus combo sandwiches like the Gold-N-Berg-N-Stein — pastrami, corned beef, brisket, kosher salami, Muenster cheese, house slaw and Thousand Island dressing in a fresh baked French roll. The restaurant is located on Folsom, near an alley named Cleveland, which Mesnick says was a sign that his restaurant was meant to be.
The literary life Jerusalem Post – and j. – cartoonist Barry Hunau has a cartoon included in the newest edition of “Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year,” published by Pelican Press … Proud mom Carol Benet of Belvedere writes that her daughter Gillian Benet Sella was one of four people named to Avenue of the Giants for Redwood High School (Larkspur). Sella, now a harpist with the Cincinnati Symphony, was formerly the principal harpist for the Israel Philharmonic … Randi Fields, director of Jewish Coalition for Literacy, reports that JCL is among three agencies chosen by S.F. Congregation Beth Israel Judea’s youth and family proBarry Hunau gram as recipients of its tzedakah fund. BIJ congregants Risa Salat-Kolm and Rachael Tobener, both of San Francisco, and David Zeff of Daly City are volunteers for JCL, which tutors public school students in reading. The other tzedakah recipients are Hazon Yeshaya soup kitchens in Israel, and Shalom Bayit.
60 years of service
Israel Philharmonic string quintet to play benefit concerts at Bay Area homes
Arthur Becker of San Francisco turned 100 and Hebrew Free Loan
honored both his birthday and his six decades of service to the organization, including a stint as president, at a Donors Appreciation Brunch at Lake Merced Golf Club on Feb. 12. Becker, unfortunately, was under the weather and could not join the celebration. His children, Steve Becker and Susan and John Klein, accepted a plaque naming their dad as the first winner of the inaugural Arthur Becker Leadership Award. On the program, Annette Shulman, who received a loan from the agency to open her San Francisco floral studio, said she left the city’s flower market, where she was stocking up for Valentine’s Day — “the busiest weekend of the year for a florist,” she noted — to tell the audience how important their donations are. “I’m the proud owner of the most beautiful flower studio in San Francisco, and I wouldn’t be here today without Hebrew Free Loan,” she said. The agency provides interest-free loans for business, education and more. Visit www.hflasf.org for information.
Musicians from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will perform at a pair of Bay Area concerts to raise money for the famed orchestra. American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is sponsoring the musicales, both to be held at private homes, on Wednesday, March 28 and Thursday, March 29. The IPO string quintet — Eugenya Pikovsky, Elyakum Saltzman, Dmitry Ratush, Vladislav Krasnov and Felix Nemirovsky — will play excerpts from masterworks by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and Mendelssohn. The first concert takes place in San Francisco, co-hosted by Sloan and Roger Barnett, and Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt. The second performance takes place the following evening, at the Hillsborough home of Fran and Bobby Lent. Both events include cocktails, concert and reception with the musicians. Tickets are $1,000, with all proceeds benefiting educational programs of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. For information and tickets, visit http://ipoquintet.eventbrite.com.
This columnist can be reached at email@example.com.
| February 24, 2012
music friday/24 Eastern European Jewish music. With Michael Alpert and Julian Kytasty. At Temple Beth Sholom, 642 Dolores Ave., San Leandro. 8 p.m. Free. www.tbssanleandro.org. Also Feb. 25 on a yacht in Emeryville, a benefit for the Jewish Music Festival. 7:30 p.m. $60-$120. www.jewishmusicfestival.org. (See story, 19)
thursday/1 Hadag Nahash. Jewish Music Festival presents Jerusalem superstars performing mix of hip-hop, funk, reggae, rock. At the Parish, 579 18th St., Oakland. 9 p.m. $21-$26. www.jewishmusicfestival.org. (See story, 19)
saturday/3 George Komsky. Bay Area native sings. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 8 p.m. $30-$40. www.paloaltojcc.org. Michael Winograd Ensemble. Jewish Music Festival presents West Coast debut program of klezmer, folk and chamber music, with vocalist Judith Berkson. At Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. 8 p.m. $21-$26. www.jewishmusicfestival.org. (See story, 19)
sunday/4 Ben Goldberg’s Orphic Machine. Jewish Music Festival presents chamber-jazz suite featuring Goldberg, Marla Melford, Carla Kihlstedt, others. At Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. 8 p.m. $21-$26. www.jewishmusicfestival.org. (See story, 19)
on stage friday/24 Batsheva Dance Co. Israeli modern dance company performs “Max,” Ohad Naharin’s invention for 10 dancers. At Novellus Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F. $35-$60. 8 p.m. http://tickets.ybca.org.
sunday/26 “Out of Sight.” Juggler Sara Felder presents one-woman play followed by discussion of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., S.F. 4 p.m. $5-$25 suggested. www.sarafelder.com.
monday/27 “Esther Stories.” Word for Word presents stylized staged reading of Peter Orner’s story collection. At JCCSF, 3200 California St. 7 p.m. $10-$15 suggested. www.jccsf.org.
Kosher comedy A Haman hat will be part of the costume de rigueur when the comedy troupe Killing My Lobster and the Hub at the JCCSF present their unorthodox Purim sketch comedy show “The Whole Megillah 2: Uncut.” This is the Book of Esther you never got to read as a kid. March 1-10, Jewish Theatre San Francisco, 470 Florida St. $10-$20. www.jccsf.org
“Merchants.” Contemporary drama about two Jewish sisters during the current recession. At Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy St., S.F. 8 p.m. $10-$20. Also March 2, 3 and 8. www.theexit.org.
“Ahead of Time.” Documentary about journalist Ruth Gruber. At Congregation Beth Israel Judea, 625 Brotherhood Way, S.F. 7 p.m. Free. (415) 586-8833.
“Blazing Saddles.” Classic Mel Brooks comedy. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 1 p.m. Free. www.paloaltojcc.org.
“The Flood” (“Mabul”). Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival presents Israeli coming-of-age drama. At Camera Pruneyard Cinema,1875 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell. 4:30 p.m. $9.50-$20. www.svjff.org.
“Dice.” One-man comedic show by Charlie Varon about an elderly San Franciscan who refuses to buy a cellphone. At Congregation Ner Tamid, 1250 Quintara St., S.F. 6:30 p.m. $25. Advance tickets required. RSVP to (415) 242-9992. www.nertamidsf.org. ■■■
For more on stage, see ONGOING, 24
friday/24 Spanish Jewish history. Talk about Jews of Spain and Portugal by Marti Krow-Lucal, a lecturer on 19th-century history and
“Literary Feasts: Savoring Jewish Cookbooks.” Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder leads a discussion on the history of Jewish cookbooks over a Shabbat meal. At JCCSF, 3200 California St. 6:30 p.m. $35-$40. www.jccsf.org. Potluck and text study. Tri-Valley Cultural Jews hosts dinner and evening of learning. 7 p.m. At private residence in Livermore. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remembering ‘Shoah’ French director Claude Lanzmann, 87, will reflect on his life’s work, 27 years after the release of his revolutionary nine-hour documentary, “Shoah,” made cinematic history in 1985, featuring in-depth interviews and testimony from Holocaust survivors and concentration camp workers.
film, tv & radio thursday/1 “Binah.” Author and chef Gabrielle Hamilton discusses her book “Blood, Butter and Bones.” KALW 91.7 FM. 12 p.m. www.jccsf.org.
| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California
lectures & workshops
Yiddish literature. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 10:30 a.m. Free. www.paloaltojcc.org.
7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, JCCSF, 3200 California St. Free. www.jccsf.org. Also 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29 at CEMEX Auditorium at the Knight Management Center, Stanford. Free. jewishstudies.stanford.edu
february 24 - march 8 sunday/26
“J Street: A New Voice for Israel.” Temple Sinai’s Israeli education committee sponsors panel discussion. At Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland. 2 p.m. Free. www.oaklandsinai.org.
“Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Quest.” Michael Krasny discusses his book. At Congregation Shir Hadash, 20 Cherry Blossom Lane, Los Gatos. 9:30 a.m. Free. www.shirhadash.org.
“If It Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews.” Presentation by NYU music professor Mike Moloney exploring Tin Pan Alley and vaudeville. At JCCSF, 3200 California St. 4 p.m. $18-$20. www.jccsf.org.
Talk and bagel brunch. Bella Barany talks about her childhood experiences during World War II in Holland. Presented by B’nai B’rith. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave. Berkeley. 10:30 a.m. $5. www.afikomen.com.
Yoga and Otiyot Chayyot. Meditation and yoga based on the Hebrew alphabet. At Congregation Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon. 10 a.m. Free. www.kolshofar.org.
MindFlow class. Standardized-test reading preparation for students in grades 6 to 9. At JCCSF, 3200 California St. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. $300. www.mindflowclass.com. Israeli Soldiers Speak Out. Israeli reserve soldiers talk about their experiences. At Jewish Community High School of the Bay, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 1:30 p.m. Free. Also at Temple Beth El, 3055 Porter Gulch Road, Aptos. 7 p.m. Free. Also Feb. 27 at Martin Luther King Library, San Jose State University. 12 p.m. Free. www.standwithus.com. “Arab State-Sponsored Anti-Semitism.” Presentation by Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa’s Sarah Levin, director, and Rachel Wahba, speakers’ bureau. At Congregation Beth Ami, 4676 Mayette Ave., Santa Rosa. 2 p.m. Free. www.bethamisr.org.
tuesday/28 “Healthy Brain Aging.” Business Leadership Council of S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation presents a panel discussion with local medical professionals. At Morrison & Foerster, 425 Market St., S.F. 6 p.m. $25-$60. www.sfjcf.org.
monday/5 “Latke vs. Hamantaschen.” Debate presented by Graduate Theological Union Center for Jewish Studies. At the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. 5 p.m. Free. www.gtu.edu. photo/agnieszka
Who says Purim is a kids’ holiday? A stylish, delicious celebration with a Moroccan theme will include a costume party, a Moroccan dinner and a Megillah wine tasting (five characters, five Napa varietals), on a Napa estate. The event is co-sponsored by the Free Run Chavurah of Napa, Nehirim and Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA).
Shimon Peres speaks. Israeli President and Nobel Laureate Shimon Peres, as part of his visit to the Bay Area, will give a public address on “Israel and the Jewish People: The Vision for Tomorrow.” At Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., S.F. Free, but RSVP with full name and phone number is required by March 4 to email@example.com.
4 p.m. Saturday, March 3 in Napa. $36. For information and location, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book talk with author Diane Ackerman. Discusses “One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing.” At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7 p.m. $10-$18. www.paloaltojcc.org.
Dennis Ross. Former Middle East envoy speaks at American Technion Society’s “Perspectives on a Changing Middle East.” At Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market St., S.F. 7:30. $65 RSVP by Feb. 25 to email@example.com.
Elder-law consultation. S.F.-based Jewish Family and Children’s Services in Santa Rosa offers consultations with attorney Janice Steinfeld about estate planning, wills, trusts and Medi-Cal planning for seniors older than 60 and their families. 9:30 a.m. By appointment at JFCS. Free. RSVP to AnitaW@jfcs.org.
“Lunch and Learn.” Talk about John Muir by park ranger Daniel Prial. At Temple Isaiah, 3800 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. 11:45 a.m. $10-$12. RSVP to (925) 283-8575.
benefits & events
“Beyond Emma Goldman: Radical Yiddish History.” Presentation by muralist and scholar Anna Torres. At Green Arcade Bookstore, 1680 Market St., S.F. 7:30 p.m. Free. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Extremes of Esther.” Talk by Bible professor Isaac Gottlieb of Bar-Ilan University. At 450 Serra Mall, Stanford. 12 p.m. Free. www.stanford.edu/dept/jewishstudies.
“Israel in the ‘New’ Middle East.” Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor speaks about regional politics and the Jewish state. At Congregation B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek. 7 p.m. Free. RSVP required by Feb. 27 to email@example.com.
Russ Feingold. Former Democratic senator discusses his book “While America Sleeps: A Wake-Up Call for the Post-9/11 Era.” At S.F. Club office, 595 Market St., S.F. 5:30 p.m. $7-$20. www.commonwealthclub.org.
“It’s a Mystery Festival.” Readings by Jewish mystery writers Lisa Lutz, Keith Raffel, Cara Black, Ron Arons, Rita Lakin, others. At Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. 1 to 5:30 p.m. $15. www.pjcc.org.
What is the future of Bay Area Jewry? Participants (including Abi Karlin-Resnick, shown with husband Andy Cheng and children Jordan and baby Noah) will share personal stories that reflect their diverse experiences of identity as part of Lehrhaus Judaica’s in-depth study of the Jewish community. “Where We Are Heading” is the follow-up to the seminar “How We Got Here,” which looked at the Bay Area’s Jewish past.
Shabbat Hop. Part of young-adult synagogue crawl in Silicon Valley. At Congregation Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Ave., Palo Alto. 6 p.m. Free. www.jvalley.org.
saturday/25 Brotherhood dance party. Includes performance by Temple Emanu-El’s Brotherhood band. At Emanu-El, 1010 University Ave., San Jose. 7:30 p.m. $10-$18. www.templesanjose.org.
1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. $15-$25. www.paloaltojcc.org
Israeli folk dance party. Hosted by Café Shalom. At St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, 1399 43rd Ave., S.F. 7:30 p.m. $5-$8. www.groups.yahoo.com/group/CafeShalom. ■■■
February 24, 2012
Social action day. Volunteer on the farm, hosted by San Jose’s Congregation Sinai. At Full Circle Farm, 1055 Dunford Way, Sunnyvale. 10 a.m. Free. www.sinai-sj.org.
Mah jongg tournament. Includes prizes and lunch. At Congregation Beth David, 19700 Prospect Road, Saratoga. 10 a.m. $36. www.beth-david.org.
Books — the old-school kind, made out of pulp and paper — will be on hand at BookFest Sunday, the anchor event of the JCCSF’s annual literary event, where authors of note and lovers of books will meet for conversation and learning. The day’s schedule includes writers Nicole Krauss, Harold Bloom, Joyce Carol Oates, Adam Levin and U.S. poet laureate Philip Levine.
Hamantaschen baking. Young adults visit the kitchen with Jews’ Next Dor. At private residence in Cupertino. 1:30 p.m. $10. JewsNextDor@beth-david.org. Back-to-camp movie night. Summer camp info session, camp activities, dinner and screening of “Kung Fu Panda 2.” At Addison-Penzak JCC, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos. 4 p.m. Free. www.siliconvalleyjcc.org/camp. “Feast Your Mind.” Fundraising dinners to benefit Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School, with guest speakers including architect Olle Lundberg and Giants president and CEO Larry Baer. 4:30 p.m. reception at the school, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City, followed by dinners at 7 p.m. $250, $36 alumni dinner. www.feastyourmind.com.
sunday/4 Philosophers’ Café. Discussion of ethical consumerism hosted by Tri-Valley Cultural Jews. At Café Rumi, 799 Heyer Ave., Castro Valley. 10:45 a.m. $5 suggested. (925) 240-5612.
spiritual & holiday friday/24 “Shabbat Across America.” Congregation Beth Ami and National Jewish Outreach Program present a night of food, dancing and music by Zim Zum. At Congregation Beth Ami, 4676 Mayette Ave., Santa Rosa. 6 p.m. $16, children free. www.bethamisr.org.
save the date “Becoming Grace,” Jewish Theatre play March 15-25, San Francisco Jewish Family and Children’s Services’ Family Awards Gala March 24 , San Francisco “Holy Harmony” music weekend March 25, San Francisco
jewish calendar Feb. 24, 2012 Adar 1, 5772
Torah viewing and discussion. Showing of the Women’s Torah Project video following Havdallah. At Keddem Congregation, 3900 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 5:30 p.m. www.keddem.org.
“Occupy Purim.” Megillah reading, political satire and dancing. At Ashkenaz, 1317 Sam Pablo Ave., Berkeley. $12-$15. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mikvah tour. Followed by discussion and nosh. At Mikvah Taharas Israel, 2520 Warring St., Berkeley. 5 p.m. Free. RSVP to (510) 540-5842.
Lecture and bagels. With Rabbi Moshe Levin. At Congregation Ner Tamid, 1250 Quintara St., S.F. Free. 10 a.m. www.nertamidsf.org
“The Whole Megila-la-la-la with Isaac Zones.” Purim program of music, stories and silliness. At BJE Jewish Community Library,1835 Ellis St., S.F. 10:30 a.m. Free. www.bjesf.org.
Purim Megillah reading. At Afikomen Judaica. 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. 11:30 a.m. Free. www.afikomen.com. Western Purim. Megillah reading with barbecue and mechanical bull rides. At Chabad of Contra Costa, 1671 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek. 4:30 p.m. $12-$18. www.jewishcontracosta.org.
tuesday/28 Women’s Torah Project. Poetry readings by Marcia Falk. At Easton Hall, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Graduate Theological Union, 2401 Ridge Road, Berkeley. 7 p.m. www.gtu.edu.
Peatot Israeli Purim party. Israeli rock and pop, costumes, prizes. 21 and older. At Club Fox, 2209 Broadway St., Redwood City. $20-$25. 8:30 p.m. www.thepeatot.com.
Women’s Torah Project. Talks by Julie Seltzer, Wendy Graff and Aimee Golant. With an artists’ bazaar. At Kehillah Hall, Hillel of Stanford, 565 Mayfield Ave., Stanford. 6:30 p.m. http://hillel.stanford.edu.
RitLab Purim. Art mask workshop. At Addison-Penzak JCC, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos. 7 p.m. Free. www.siliconvalleyjcc.org.
Canine-friendly Presidio hike. Jewish hikers club. Meet at Laguna Street and Marina Boulevard, S.F. 10:30 a.m. $1. (408) 738-1319.
sunday/4 Purim carnival. Costume show with silent auction, raffle and hamantaschen. At Temple Beth Hillel, 801 Park Central, Richmond. Free. 12:30 p.m. www.tbhrichmond.org. Purim carnival. Face painting, hamantaschen and Jewish Music Festival “Instrument Petting Zoo.” At JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. $1 for games. 2 p.m. www.jcceastbay.org.
Light candles at 5:40 p.m. Shabbat ends at 6:38 p.m.
Jewish Mardi Gras. Purim festival with crafts, comedy, cocktails. 21 and older. At JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley.7 p.m.$5 suggested. www.jcceastbay.org.
Send information about your Jewish event in Northern California to email@example.com. The deadline is 12 p.m. Friday the week before any given week’s publication.
11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, JCCSF, 3200 California St. $17-$30. www.jccsf.org
Purim family fun day. Mesibah (party) for families with children 2-10. Bounce house, arts and crafts, storytime. At Addison-Penzak JCC, 14885 Oka Road, Los Gatos. 3 p.m. Free. www.jvalley.org.
| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California
thursday/26 Brunch and schmooze. Hosted by Haverim Connection. At Michaels Restaurant, 2960 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View. 11:30 a.m. Also March 4 at Café La Tartine, 830 Middlefield Road, Redwood City. firstname.lastname@example.org.
monday/27 Jewish singles game night. A new group for Jewish widow/widowers 55-75. Bring dessert, nosh or drinks to share. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7:30 p.m. Free. email@example.com.
sunday/4 Beginners’ b’nai mitzvah. Ritual tutor Arik Labowitz leads information session on having an independent bar/bat mitzvah. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave. 11 a.m. Free. www.afikomen.com.
“Bernard Zakheim: Art of Prophetic Justice.” Photo exhibit explores life and work of the Jewish muralist. Through March 29. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. www.paloaltojcc.org. “Black Sabbath.” Studio exhibit on blackJewish ties in recorded music. Through Feb. 28. “California Dreaming.” Multimedia exhibit exploring Jewish life in the Bay Area from Gold Rush to present. Through Oct. 16. “Do Not Destroy Trees.” Tu B’Shevat–themed exhibit that explores tree design, purpose and Jewish thought. Through May 28. “Stanley Saitowitz: Judaica.” New perspectives from the S.F.-based architect. Through Oct. 16. At Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F. www.thecjm.org. “Book Sculptures.” Works by Brian Dettmer. Through March. At JCCSF, 3200 California St. www.jccsf.org. “Dissolving Localities.” Multimedia exhibit by Israeli musician Emmanuel Witzthum connecting Berkeley to Jerusalem. Through July 3. At Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. www.magnes.org. “King Solomon Tarot Cards.” Paintings by Israeli artist Orna Ben-Shoshan. Through April 1. At Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. www.pjcc.org. “Memories.” Digital photo-collage portraits by Israeli Gideon Spiegel. Through Feb. 29. At Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. www.marinjcc.org. “More Than Enough: Redefining Excess.” Jewish artists answer “When do we need more than enough?” Through Aug. 5. At BJE Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. www.bjesf.org/library.htm. “Pictures of Resistance: The Wartime Photographs of Jewish Partisan Faye Schulman.” Exhibit of historic photographs. Through Feb. 28. At Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland. 7:30 p.m. firstname.lastname@example.org. “Spectacles of Devotion.” Barry Shapiro’s photo-collage images of religious devotion. Through Feb. 29. Art for sale, with a percentage to benefit JCC. At Addison-Penzak JCC, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos. www.svjcc.org.
on stage “Higher.” World premiere of American Conservatory Theater play about American architects competing to design a memorial in Israel. Through Feb. 25. At Children’s Creativity Museum theater, 221 Fourth St., S.F. 8 p.m. $45$65. www.act-sf.org.
lifecycles Bistro-style food at home? Jew-la-la! Restaurants come and go. What’s hot today is not tomorrow. The restaurants that seem to flourish even in a down economy are bistros. My neighborhood on the Peninsula boasts several, including Menlo Park’s Left Bank and and the glatt kosher Kitchen Table in Mountain View. A bistro is a small neighborhood restaurant that serves unpretentious
b’nai mitzvah Ilana Basman Daughter of Olga and Alexander Basman, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo. Oliver Bass Son of David Bass, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. Koryna Boudinot Daughter of Yulia Kalk and Tion Torrence, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette. Bradley Berkman Son of Andra and Stephen Berkman, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette. Bonnie Castleman Daughter of Robin Wolaner and Steven Castleman, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. Jacob Freiman Son of Janet and Harold Freiman, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Congregation Beth Chaim in Danville. Sonia Hauser Daughter of Tam Putnam and Gary Hauser, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Or Shalom Jewish Community in San Francisco. Bethany Kharrazi Daughter of Lisa and Martin Kharrazi, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland. Justin Levine Son of Jennifer and Scott Levine, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City. Laura Wiseman Daughter of Caryn and Benjamin Wiseman, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills. Gigi Wyatt Daughter of Zefra and William Wyatt, Saturday, Feb. 25 at Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael.
fare in generous portions at reasonable prices to a loyal clientele. The food is simple, earthy and seasonal. Given that definition, you can see how well bistrostyle cooking moves right into entertaining in the home kitchen. This bistro-style dinner includes a chicken in white wine perfumed with garlic and herbs and a citrus tart that holds a chocolate surprise.
Coq au Vin Blanc Serves 6
6 cloves garlic, chopped 1 ⁄2 cup mixed fresh herbs leaves (such as thyme, rosemary, sage, chervil), chopped 4 Tbs. olive oil, divided 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar 3 large chicken breasts, cut crosswise in half
6 chicken thighs salt and pepper 3 onions, chopped 11⁄2 Tbs. flour 1 cup dry white wine 2 Tbs. tomato paste 4 cups chicken stock 1 ⁄4 cup chopped parsley
Combine garlic and herbs with 2 Tbs. oil and vinegar until you have a paste. Place chicken in roasting pan and spread herb mixture over entire chicken. Cover and chill 4 hours or overnight. Scrape herb mixture off chicken and reserve. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 Tbs. oil in large, heavy pot. Cook chicken until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to roasting pan. Add onions to pot and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle flour over onions and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add wine and tomato paste and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Boil until liquid is reduced by half. Return chicken and herb mixture to pot. Add stock, cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove chicken from liquid and boil cooking liquid until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, sprinkled with parsley.
Tart Citron-Chocolat Serves 8
1 ⁄2 cups flour pinch salt 1 Tbs. grated lemon zest 1 Tbs. grated orange zest 10 Tbs. margarine 1 egg, lightly beaten 1
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
4 egg yolks 1 ⁄2 cup sugar juice and grated zest of 1 medium orange juice and grated zest of 1 small lemon 4 Tbs. margarine 1 cup heavy cream, whipped powdered sugar
Synagogues set for Shabbat Across America A handful of Bay Area congregations have signed up to participate in Shabbat Across America, joining hundreds of synagogues across the United States. The 16th annual event is scheduled for March 2. Sponsored by the National Jewish Outreach Program, the Shabbat program includes various explanatory services and events, depending on the synagogue. The event is designed, in part, to welcome new people to synagogues, and it cuts across all
denominations and affiliations. Local groups taking part include Chabad of the East Bay (Berkeley), Sonoma Hillel (Cotati), Temple Beth Sholom (San Leandro), Temple Beth Hillel (Richmond), Congregations Beth Sholom, B’nai Emunah and Ner Tamid (San Francisco), Kol Emeth (Palo Alto) and Shir Hadash (Palo Alto). For more information, visit www. njop.org or call (888) SHABBAT (742-2228).
help wanted Senior Marketing and Communications Manager The Jewish Community Relations Council ( JCRC) seeks an experienced, creative, and dynamic Senior Marketing and Communications Manager. The ideal candidate has developed and implemented successful and strategic mar/com plans, utilized traditional and new media channels, written and designed collateral and an online advocacy presence, and handled media relations. Min. 5 years senior management, strategic communications, and/or media relations experience. We are a fast paced public aﬀairs and community relations organization with a talented, goal driven, collaborative environment.
Combine flour, salt and zests. Cut in margarine until mixture is crumbly. Stir in egg until mixture holds together. Form into flat disc, wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight. Roll dough out to fit 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. With fork, prick dough in several places. Freeze about 20 minutes. Bake in 450 oven for 10 minutes, then turn down to 350 and bake until light brown, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool on rack. Spread melted chocolate on bottom of tart shell. Let chocolate harden while preparing remaining filling. In a heavy saucepan, combine yolks and sugar over low heat. Add orange and lemon juice and zest. Stir, adding margarine a little bit at a time. Cook until thick, stirring constantly. Let cool and fold into whipped cream. Fill tart shell with orange lemon cream. Place tart in refrigerator, about 1 hour, to firm up filling. Remove from pan onto a serving plate. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.
Send cover letter & resume to: Abby Porth, Associate Executive Director, 121 Steuart Street, San Francisco, 94105; email@example.com. Full job posting: www.jcrc.org
Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
| February 24, 2012
husband of Ruth, father, grandfather, Master Mason of San Francisco Lodge No. 120, and WWII veteran and member of the greatest generation. He is survived by his two sons and daughter, daughters-in-law, and six loving grandchildren. Funeral services were held Feb. 13 at Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma, CA, and were officiated by Rabbi Raphael Asher of Temple B’nai Tikvah. Sinai Memorial Chapel Esther Leah Greenfield Goldbaum
In San Rafael, Feb. 15, 2012, nine days before her 91st birthday. Esther was born in San Francisco on Feb. 24, 1921 to Hannah and Jack Greenfield. In 1930, the family moved to San Anselmo, where Esther resided until her death. She attended Main School (now Wade Thomas) and graduated from Tamalpais High School. A gifted artist and seamstress, she also attended the California School of Fine Arts. In 1945, Esther married Lt. Col. Sam Goldbaum, USAF ret., whom she had met in 1939 while he was stationed at Hamilton Field. They had one daughter. Only 16 years later, Sam died. Esther, then 40, remained a widow the rest of her life. In her middle years she was extremely active in the community. She served as president of the Brookside School PTA and the Ross Valley Council PTA. She was a charter member and served as president of Marin Chapter #266 B’nai B’rith Women and of the Central California Conference of B’nai B’rith Women. She served on the board of directors of Congregation Rodef Sholom. She was proudest, however, of being a founder and the first woman president of the Marin Jewish Community Center. Esther enjoyed her family, her garden, poker and mah jongg. She will be fondly remembered as a strong woman, fiercely independent, and stubborn to a fault. In addition to her husband, Sam, Esther was preceded in death by her sister, Doreen Colvin Glicksberg. She is survived by her daughter Janis Hernandez and son-in-law Cesar Hernandez Chavez of San Anselmo, her adored grandson Sam Hernandez of Oakland, and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be private. Donations in Esther’s memory may be made to the Jewish Community Federation, 121 Steuart St., S.F., CA 94105-9926, Jewish Women International, 2000 M St. NW, Suite 720, Washington, DC 20036, or the charity of your choice. Sinai Memorial Chapel Joan Louise Leshgold
Joan Louise Leshgold died Monday, Feb. 13, 2012 at the age of 75. Joan was born in Grants Pass, Oregon to parents Nettie and Sam Gold. Nettie and Sam, separately, moved to the United States from Russia as young teens, to escape the pogroms. Joan and her sister, Helen, were raised in Coos Bay, Oregon. Joan went on to study at the University of Washington in Seattle. There she met the love of her life, Dick Leshgold, whom she married in May, 1955. At the time, both Joan and Dick
were in college, but quickly left for Japan, as Dick was shipped off as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Dick and Joan lived in Japan for three years before settling in the Seattle area. Joan worked as a librarian. Dick became a dentist and Joan was extremely supportive and involved in his career. Joan found tremendous joy in her three children Bruce, Beth and Gary and her five grandchildren. Joan was a natural and gifted homemaker, with a wonderful knack for cooking and entertaining. She made everyone feel welcome in her home. Hers was a house filled with great food, great warmth and lots of love. She loved to travel and planned great trips. She enjoyed golf, attending Mariners games, playing mah jongg and she loved to laugh and have fun. Joan was widely known for her devotion to her many longtime friends but even more so to her family who were the light and center of her life. She was loved by all and will be sorely missed. Joan is survived by her husband, Dick; sons Gary Leshgold and Bruce Lipian, daughter Beth Nesis and her grandchildren, Sam, Nick, Danielle, Nicole and Benjamin. Funeral services were held on Feb. 19 at Butterworth-Arthur Wright Chapel, 520 West Raye St., Seattle, WA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Joan’s name to the charity of your choice. Judith Lipshitz
Dec. 24, 1925 – Feb. 16, 2012 In San Francisco at age 86. Beloved wife of the late Israel Lipshitz; loving mother of Uri (Lea) Lifschitz and the late Ronit Reich; adored grandmother of Patty Lev (Kenny Mills), Shira (Eric) Lompa, Daniel Lifschitz and Talia Reich; proud great-grandmother of Hanna, Jameson and Abigail; dear sister of David Buri. Judith was everyone’s Safta. Funeral services were held on Feb. 17 at Mt. Tamalpais Cemetery in San Rafael. Donations to American Cancer Society, preferred. Sinai Memorial Chapel
cooking and green thumb in the garden! A celebration of Alice will be held in the spring. Please contact Karen at email@example.com for information. A longtime member and volunteer at Rodef Sholom, contributions in Alice’s memory may be made to either Congregation Rodef Sholom or to Zen Hospice Project, 44 Gough St., Suite 303, S.F., CA 94103, a loving and supportive residential hospice where she received extraordinary care during her final month. Sinai Memorial Chapel Dr. Edward G. Stein
May 2, 1925 – Feb. 19, 2012 Born in Hamburg, Germany, Dr. Stein came to San Francisco with his family in order to escape the Holocaust. He served in the U.S. Army, and later received his doctorate of optometry. He embraced every aspect of his life. After 63 years of marriage, he leaves behind a loving wife, 3 daughters, 4 grandchildren, and 2 greatgrandchildren. Private services to be held. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to: UCSF Foundation, P.O. 45339, S.F., CA 94145-0339, please designate donations in the check memo line to Parkinson’s research, Michele Thompson; Stanford University Medical Development, 2700 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94028-7020, please designate donations for Steven Coutre, M.D. ,CLL research; San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, call Heidi Wohlwend (415) 564-3239 x304, please designate donations toward a memorial paver that has been set up in Edward Stein’s name. Lewis Weil
Sept. 4, 1922 – Feb. 15, 2012 Lewis was born in Landau, Germany. At age 16 he left his family and came to America. San Francisco was Lewis’ “dream city” and he lived his dream. He was married to the
wonderful Helen Jean for 50 years and raised three beautiful children with her. He is survived by Dave, Linda and Rob, daughters-in-law Adrienne and CoAnn, and grandchildren Elana, Natalie, Audrey, Addison and Helena Rose. In the last five years, Lewis was blessed with the love and friendship of Phyllis Wolf. Lewis made his career in desserts and confections. He started at Blums and then joined his brother Ernie as co-owner of Fantasia Confections. Together, for 35 years, they built a wonderful company that was enjoyed by customers and employees alike. Lewis had a passion for tennis. If he wasn’t with his family, and wasn’t working, he was on the tennis court. His love of tennis was passed down to his youngest son and grandson. A cherished memory is the three generations playing tennis together. Forever an optimist, with many friends and admirers, a generous, kind man; one of his favorite lines was, “May all your dreams come true.” His greatest love was his family and he delighted in every event and milestone in his grandchildren’s lives. Every friend of every one of these grandchildren adopted Lewis as “their” PaPa. Lewis had a wonderfully positive attitude about life and will be missed dearly. His “joie de vivre” lives on in all of his children, grandchildren, and beloved family and friends. Memorial service for Lewis was held at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, CA on Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. and at Maui Kaanapali Villas on Kaanapali Beach, Maui, at sunset. Donations in his memory can be made to Frankel Learning Center, c/o Karen Weil, 1209 Bonita Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709; or the Samaritan House, 4031 Pacific Blvd., San Mateo, CA 94403.
Alice (Buchholz) Staller
Born 1923 in Vienna, Austria, and died Feb. 17th in San Francisco. Alice, a Petaluma resident for 30 years, was a Kindertransport child leaving on one of the last trains out of Vienna at age 15. She spent the war years in London before immigrating to the USA in 1949. She lived in NYC before moving to San Francisco, where she met and married Irwin Staller in 1958. Alice was the beloved mother of Leslie, Karen (Hugh Molesworth) and Richard (Dianne) Staller as well as doting Oma to Maude, Talia, Simon and Vivian Molesworth. We are grateful for her strong devotion to family, her passion for Jewish culture and traditions and her love of nature. She will be remembered for her generosity and volunteer activities helping other immigrants, Jewish causes, ushering at events and performances, local politics and her ongoing lifelong fight against injustices. As well as her delicious
| February 24, 2012
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Alice Barauck of Palo Alto, California passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by her loving family on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. She was 90 years old. Alice was born on Nov. 28, 1921 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Nathan and Minnie Wilner. She was the youngest of three children along with her eldest brother, Rabbi Herbert Wilner, and sister Ruth Wilner Orchin. Alice was raised in Rochester, New York, eventually attending the University of Rochester where she earned an Associates and Bachelor of Arts degrees. She continued her education at Case Western Reserve in Ohio where she received a master’s degree and was honored with the Phi Beta Kappa award. In 1948, Alice married Alfred Howard Barauck. They soon settled in San Francisco, CA where they had two children, Lisha Cassingham (Dvora Rachel Barauck) and Mark Noah Barauck. In 1966, they moved to Palo Alto where she lived the remainder of her life. Alice was a passionate licensed clinical social worker for over 40 years. This devotion to social work often translated into several
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NOTE: Be advised! Readers are responsible to check for contractor’s license. Status of licensed contractors can be found at www.cslb.ca.gov or (800) 321-CSLB.
Deli revival built upon our forebears
In the Talmud, Ben Zoma advises: “Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.” That might be so. But in the two generations since the Fillmore’s Jewish delis closed up shop, San Francisco has not learned the secrets of Katz’s in New York or Langer’s in L.A. and has failed to keep a superior pastrami sandwich on the market. With the opening of Wise Sons Deli in the Mission District, do we finally have a chance? Between the 1906 earthquake and World War II, the Fillmore rivaled the Lower East Side in Jewish cultural and culinary energy, if not in population. Catering to a robust Jewish population were photo/j. files Diller’s, Langendorf’s, Waxman’s, A minyan of wise sons at Shenson the Ukraine, and Shenson Bros. Bros. Kosher Sausage Co. Kosher Sausage Co., food purveyors that sampled from the Mexican, Greek, Italian and Chinese cuisines around them, just as they introduced classic European Jewish foods to the larger San Francisco community. The foodie buzz suggests that wise sons Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman have learned their lessons from the pop-up and locally sourced food movements, as well as from the history of the Fillmore, where a correlation between pastrami and population density must surely have existed. If so, perhaps the Wise Sons’ transition from pop-up deli to full-on restaurant in the Mission, a neighborhood as dense and dynamic as the old Fillmore, will be a wise move.
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placing an ad ❑ Website: www.jweekly.com ❑ Email: email@example.com ❑ Fax: 415.263.7222 ❑ Phone: 415.263.7200 x10
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Henry M. Daniels
Comfortably passed away on Feb. 9, 2012, following angioplastic surgery at Northridge Hospital in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. Beloved son of Gladys,
B AY A R E A
outlets of activism in support of ideals that she strongly believed in, such as civil rights, the welfare of children, world peace and freedom. She was a devout follower of the cultural arts and music, enjoying annual Shakespeare festivals, classical operas, ballets, and Broadway shows. She was a world traveler, an avid reader, a lover of nature and the outdoors. In recent years she enjoyed many of these pastimes with her loving companion Sidney Simon. Her greatest pride and joy, however, was her beloved family and extensive group of friends. She is preceded in death by her husband, Alfred Barauck, and her son Mark Noah Barauck. Alice is survived by her devoted daughter and son-in-law Lisha and Keith Cassingham, her granddaughters Ashley Higashi, Emily and Kimberly Cassingham, and her great-grandchildren Ethan, Ella and Fynn Higashi. Funeral services were held Feb. 17 at Congregation Kol Emeth, Palo Alto. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a charity of your choice. Sinai Memorial Chapel
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This column is provided to j. by the Contemporary Jewish Museum (www.thecjm.org), where “California Dreaming: Jewish Life in the Bay Area from the Gold Rush to the Present” is on view.
| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California
advice our two cents
A new front in bagel wars As a child in Portland, Ore., I learned the Basic Rule of Bagels: Superior bagels are always made on the East Coast. And the
first corollary to the Basic Rule: If not from the East Coast, bagel store owners will commit major crimes, like passing off steamed, doughnut-shaped bread with holes as “bagels,” and flavoring these with the likes of jalapeño, chocolate chips, cinnamon crumbles and kitty litter. Further evidence: Over the past six years, Portlanders flocked to the Kettleman Bagel Company, which offered the first authentic boiled bagels in four decades. The place was owned and run by New York transplant Jeffrey Wang, but in November he sold out to Colorado-based Einstein Noah’s Bagels. At first Einstein Noah’s tried to mollify the furious Portlanders. Then the company announced it was getting rid of all but three Kettleman Bagel recipes. The reaction by Portlanders is unprintable, but this outcome was foreseeable, because once again the Basic Rule of Bagels had been violated. If you ask Jews what makes a great bagel or where to buy one, everyone has a strong, feisty opinion. Bay Area locals have capitulated for years, settling for adequate or inferior bagels and thinking unless they go East or go south to L.A., they’re doomed to eat faux bagels. And they’re possibly right, because the Jewish man responsible for the greatest bagels in American history is deceased. He was Harry Mosler, whose famous rye breads and bagels existed in Portland for more than 43 years, the same length of time his fresh-baked bagels lasted. Barely 5 feet tall, 115 pounds, with an egg-shaped head and drooping undereye bags, Mr. Mosler did his own dough mixing. He kept his own variable schedule, rising at 1:30 a.m. to mix by hand and bake. Nothing was written down: His recipes were entirely in his head. Without machines, which he scorned, he could turn out in one 14hour day 500 individual loaves of rye bread, 150 dozen bagels and 125 dozen rolls. On Sundays we went to Mosler’s Bakery in old south Portland, the immigrant community of Jews and Italians that diminished as the two ethnic groups
Dr. Sharon Ufberg and her three children offer advice about family, love and life. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missing family time As the single mother of three pre-teen and teenage children, I am looking for some practical advice. Our schedules have gone haywire this this year. We are always going in different directions. Working full time and juggling my three kids’ busy calendars has left me feeling somewhat disconnected. Days can go by without us ever spending any time together. Is this just what happens in the teenage years? I miss my kids! D.P., Sonoma Sharon: Just recently I read something that I posted on my fridge ages ago. I don’t
even know who wrote it, but the advice seems to still be good. It’s titled “10 Ways to Enrich Your Life — Every Day.” Two of the ways directly relate to your question. No. 5 is “have breakfast and dinner with your family.” This is the time to reconnect with your kids. If every day is unrealistic or impossible, then pick two mornings and two evenings to all eat together. When kids are young, it’s easy to have mealtime as a moment to share stories. Try to create some mealtime ritual for your family. As it becomes routine, you will be amazed how much there is to find out about one another. We chose Friday nights as a way to keep alive a family tradition of Shabbat dinner and made sure there were no exceptions to everyone showing up, even if it meant being late to something that they ran off to later that evening. No. 9 is also good: “Hug and kiss your family. Tell them you love them.” No kid gets too old for love and affection. Even if you don’t have as much time with them as you would like, a supportive hug or expression helps makes those teenage days a bit more bearable. Some of my favorite times with my family as a teen were when we all invited friends over for Shabbat dinner. My friends loved being included in our family time and grabbing a great meal before we went out. I also would recommend trying to make some time with each of your kids individually. It is nice to get that oneon-one attention from Mom and not be interrupted by another sibling’s opinion. Saul:
Alexis: The teenage years are certainly a time of increased independence and involve a lot of activities that don’t pivot as conveniently around sacred family time as afternoon ballet class once did. I suggest brainstorming a fun activity that you’ll all enjoy doing with one another, regularly. Find a time in the week when all of your calendars are a bit more flexible and squeeze something fun into that free window. Even better, if you have a routine activity that your kids might like to get in on (I could never decline an invitation to get a manicure with my mom), offer to bring them along. If you’re all committed to spending more time with one another, I’m confident you can make it happen. Jessica: While Shabbat dinner was my favorite time with my family, we had dinner together almost every night. I think for families with kids who play team sports, the dinner hour is a more difficult time to coordinate. One suggestion I have is for family members to make an effort to sit together, even if only one person is home late and eating dinner. One of the kids may have missed dinnertime, but that doesn’t mean they have to be on their own. I often get home late from work, and having someone to listen to me while I rehash my day over dinner makes it so much more enjoyable! I certainly appreciate the company. ■
Dr. Sharon Ufberg is a Napa-based radio host, journalist, consultant and integrative health practitioner. Her daughters live in San Francisco: Lawyer-turned-writer Alexis Sclamberg, 28 and married; and hair colorist Jessica Sclamberg, 26 and single. Saul Sclamberg, 24 and single, studies chiropractic in Los Angeles. Read more at http://r-2-cents.com.
| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California
became more prosperous and gradually moved to the suburbs. Mosler’s remained the popular destination for the after-church crowd as well as Sunday school kids and their frazzled parents. We weren’t afraid of Mr. Mosler exactly, but arriving at the bakery, those of us in the car under 10 suddenly developed mild panic attacks, agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) and phagophobia (fear of being eaten). My chicken parents would hand me cash to pick up the bagels and rye bread, then kick me out of the car, admonishing me not to take too long, as if I had control over that in Mr. Mosler’s bakery. While it’s undoubtedly true Mr. Mosler had a soft spot for kids and would give them each a free bagel, my memory is limited to the heavenly aroma of fresh-baked bread and lines of people buzzing about his shop, wondering aloud what made his bagels and breads so good. Mr. Mosler, wearing a plain white T-shirt and smudged white apron, would survey the crowds with a glare — the image of an old-fashioned Austrian baker or, more accurately, a very short Sweeney Todd. He yelled a lot. “So they want bagels? So they should wait until I get to them.” And wait they did. When Mr. Mosler died, taking his bagel recipe to the grave, the Jewish community reeled. Mosler’s Curse, part of the Basic Rule of Bagels, is that nobody anywhere will ever make bagels like Harry Mosler. Later generations have never known great bagels. Recently, in fact, an online poll for best bagel was illustrated by a photo of hamantaschen. The clueless younger generations believe bagels are doughy round rolls with a hole in the center. Occasionally, though, I hear them pass down a little bagel lore that cheers me about the future: “Great for toasting and spreading with cream cheese or peanut butter.” (Peanut butter?!) “Lox? That bright orange stuff?” And best of all: ”Dude, sesame seed bagels are better than the poppy seed kind. Sesame taste better and you won’t flunk a drug test.” ■
Trudi York Gardner is not a rabbi, rebbbetzin or spiritual leader. She’s not a Jew-by-Choice; her mother made her go 13 years to religious school and there was no choice. She lives in Walnut Creek and can reached at email@example.com or via her blog, www.tygerpen.wordpress.com.
Come and Welcome the President of the State of Israel
His Excellency Shimon Peres On the Occasion of his Historic Visit to the Bay Area
Nobel Laureate President Shimon Peres will address the Jewish Community on the theme of:
â€œIsrael and the Jewish People: The Vision for Tomorrowâ€? Temple Emanu-El, Main Sanctuary Two Lake Street, San Francisco Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30 pm The Bay Area Jewish Community and the general public are invited. RSVP with full name required by March 4th to: firstname.lastname@example.org If unable to register by email, call (415) 751-2541, ext.185. Seating is limited. Please arrive early. This historic evening is hosted for our community by Congregation Emanu-El, and is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Community Federations of San Francisco, the East Bay and Silicon Valley, and the Board of Rabbis of Northern California, in cooperation with the Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest.
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