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Growing older — it’s a dying art

4 bay area








None of us thinks we’ll ever be old. When small children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, the idea is an abstraction — they might as well say what they would do with three

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wishes. Teenagers don’t believe their parents understand what it feels like to be filled with joy, consumed with angst and wanting to scream, all at the same time. Even though we’ve been there. Single young adults, meanwhile, tune out conversations about raising kids. Middle-age adults experiencing the aggravation and heartbreak (and good fortune) of having older parents rarely acknowledge that their turn is next — and too soon for comfort. And the elderly, many of whom still identify with a younger version of themselves, won’t or can’t deal with their day-to-day reality. Our collective denial about getting older makes it hard to relate to any age category other than our own. When we are young, older people seem out of touch. When we are old, looking back is like remembering a foreign language, where we still get the gist but miss the rich nuance. Call these birthday reflections (mine was last week). As much as I try simply to relax and enjoy the day, I invariably fall into a contemplative mood: Is my life going in the right direction? Is it moving in any direction at all? Am I doing enough for my family, or too much? How much of my suffering is by choice? Is it still possible to change? Am I old? Daily distractions usually drown out these kinds of questions. But not this year. Even though 52 is not a benchmark age, it feels like one, and I know why: the prospect of my 13year-old daughter going to high school next year. It’s months off, but the preparations are in high gear. I’ve known this event was coming, of course, but that doesn’t mean I am ready. While the approaching milestone is really more hers than mine, I am stepping up to claim it anyway. I would argue that life transitions are much harder on the mother. The child thinks only about what is ahead. The parent also understands what has gone. “We know we’re getting old when

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Demonstrators on Nov. 19 at Israeli Consulate in San Francisco

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J. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California (ISSN 1547-0733) is published weekly on Friday except the first week in July and last week in December, by San Francisco Jewish Community Publications, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, 225 Bush St., Suite 780, San Francisco, CA 94104-4281. Tel. (415) 263-7200. J. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California is available online at: Our email address is Yearly subscription cost is $46.50. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Francisco, CA and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to J. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California, 225 Bush St., Suite 780, San Francisco, CA 94104-4281. ®


J. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California is an independent publication and is solely responsible for its editorial policy. Manuscripts submitted for publication may not be returned. News and advertising reservations must reach the J. ® weekly office no later than Thursday noon eight days prior to the day of publication. Advertising reservations cannot be canceled after noonon Monday of the week of publication. J. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California is a member of the American Jewish Press Association. Copyright 2012 © San Francisco Jewish Community Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. ■ ®

the young draw away and the old draw nearer,” goes the Yiddish saying. I suffer from my own “age problem,” meaning I sometimes forget how old I am. I’m not talking about being off by a year, but more like decades. When I have beer in my grocery cart, I still halfexpect my ID to be checked. When I’m driving my two teens and their friends around, jumping into their conversations, I’m confident they find me super funny and interesting. And when I recognize a name in a j. lifecycle announcement, it takes me a moment to register that I’m not reading about someone I once knew, but that person’s son or daughter. Reality: It’s not for the faint of heart. Not long ago, I read a letter to the editor, signed by a doctor, whose unusual last name matched that of a boy I knew in Hebrew school. I had a crush on him, and he may have felt the same, which he signaled by shoving my desk over backward one day after I playfully teased him. I answered with a hard kick to his shin. Our parents were called. His mother said, “Boys will be boys.” Even at 11, I knew that was sexist, and I was done with him. But I never forgot his name. And now his son is a doctor. My mom frequently used to say, “Time marches on!” It was one of many such adages that made little sense to me as a child. Like, duh! But I think I get it now. Life inexorably moves forward, whether or not we’re ready. I’m excited for my daughter and her potential to do and experience amazing things. She is confident, beautiful and ridiculously talented, and I have little to worry about (one must always reserve room to worry). But if she is growing up, then that means so am I. And inevitably, naturally, that will bring changes in the role I play in her life, and she in mine. I haven’t gotten that script yet, as it’s still being written. But when opening day comes and the curtain goes up, I’ll be ready. Somehow, I always am. ■

Rebecca Spence is a writer and creative writing coach living in Berkeley. She is at work Sue Barnett lives San Francisco. Reach her at on her first novel. Herinwebsite is



| November 23, 2012

bay area K

Teens find ‘sanctuary’ around the Fire Circle steven friedman j. correspondent

Kids munch on pizza, conjure up posh English accents, gossip about high school and gush about sports. It’s a typical hormonally driven teen scene of rapid talk and frenetic energy for the 50 students who gather on Tuesday evenings for Midrasha (Hebrew high school) at Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael. Until classes begin at 7 p.m., that is. That’s one when group — dubbed the Fire Circle — hikes up behind the synagogue to a sloped patch of hard ground covered in leaves underneath a canopy of tree branches. There, the 15 teens plop down in a circle on yoga mats and carpet squares around a fire pit. Nearby sits a pile of wood and kindling that some of them had helped gather about 90 minutes earlier. Then the fire is lit. “We are doing what our ancestors did,” Day Schildkret explained in an interview. The 34-year-old has been leading the Fire Circle for six years. “It connects us to our ancestors, sitting around the fire and sharing stories. The fire is the wisdom that our ancestors have been passing to us. We are the torchbearers. We are the ancestors of tomorrow.”

Day Schildkret and one of the teens, Mollie, at the Fire Circle

Part self-enlightenment, part selfempowerment, part self-expression and part Jewish education, the Fire Circle is a powerful class that keeps students coming back year after year — even after they’ve graduated from high school. Much of the credit goes to Schildkret, who also directs the Tri Valley/Tri-Cities Midrasha in Pleasanton and teaches classes

at Midrasha in Berkeley. “The dude is on fire,” said Rabbi Michael Lezak, associate rabbi at Rodef Sholom. “His feet are firmly planted in Jewish tradition. He’s created a scared space connected to the Jewish calendar and Jewish holidays. There is always a Jewish context. Kids have come out [about their sexuality] at Fire Circle. It draws kids who aren’t necessarily connected

to Midrasha. It’s a real sanctuary.” Schildkret said the Fire Circle, which runs throughout the school year, has three core principles. The first is based on the Shema. “When anyone speaks, people say, ‘Shamati’ (Hebrew for ‘I have heard’),” he says. “If you feel you have really said what you wanted to say then you say, ‘Dibarti, I have spoken.’ ” The second principle, Schildkret said, is that the fire is the teacher and he is just a facilitator who nudges the kids along. “They learn how to build and tend a fire, which is symbolic of [the care they need for] their own lives,” he said. And the third principle is the idea of gifting, Schildkret said. “We ask, ‘What is my unique gift to the world?’ It’s an opportunity to claim a sense of empowerment. But this [entire process] could not happen in the classroom,” added Schildkret, who is a sculptor, a former director on Broadway and an educator who just launched his own one-on-one mentoring business, Humbled and Thriving. On this night in mid-October, Schildkret introduces the Torah portion in which Abraham answers God’s call and leaves his homeland to journey to the Land of Canaan. Schildkret speaks of journeys and courage, showing a real bird’s nest he once found on the forest floor — as he often tries to use things found in nature to connect the teens to ancient Jewish rituals and lessons. He also shows pictures of his grandparents who migrated to America from Russia with little money and unable to speak English. “They left their nest and came to another safe space,” Schildkret says to the teens. “Tonight you must leave something behind. It takes real courage to stand at the edge of the nest and leap.” And then everyone in the group talks a bit about discarding a behavior or a personality trait. “I am ready to leave the nest because people judge me for being a nerd,” says a 13-year-old participant. “But I am proud of that. I’m not going to care what people say.” Reassuring utterances of “Shamati” echo around the circle. Later, Schildkret asks the teens to share what makes them soar. One student talks of plans to take a year off after high school “to explore the world, intellectually and physically, for a break from the life I’ve led up to now.” When the topic turns to what the kids are grateful for, a 15-year-old explains a difficult year in which she left her mother’s home, had to work to support herself and didn’t know where she would be sleeping from night to night. She says she is thankful for the Fire Circle and a stable home with her father after a year of “wandering.” This is the Fire Circle at its best, said Rabbi Lezak, a safe place that allows teenagers at a critical juncture in their lives to express themselves. Schildkret calls it “magical.” “Fire Circle is the one place,” said a 14year-old participant, “where your thoughts don’t sound stupid when you say them.” ■



| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California


Jewish partisans hit the big screen at S.F. premiere A film narrated by actor Liev Schreiber and produced by the S.F.-based Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation had its West Coast premiere in San Francisco last week. The Nov. 13 benefit showing of “The Reunion” packed the house in the 150seat Delancey Street screening room. It was the film’s second-ever public showing after its debut in New York City last month. The 25-minute documentary details the stories of Allen Small and Leon Bakst, two 80-year-olds who were reunited last year in New York after last seeing each other in

1946. The two men grew up close friends in Poland, fought against the Nazis in armed resistance groups and lost their families during the Holocaust. Mira Shelub, 87, is also featured in the film. The native of Poland fought the Germans with her husband before moving to San Francisco in the 1950s. The inspiration for the documentary, written and produced by JPEF’s founder and executive director, Mitch Braff, was a 2011 event in New York City: a JPEFhosted reunion for 55 surviving Jewish resistance fighters, known as Actor Liev Schreiber takes a break during the recording session for “The Reunion.” partisans. One of JPEF’s goals is to get out four to 25 minutes and all of them “PBS the word to the public about the quality,” according to Braff. Some have been narrated by celebrities 30,000 Jewish partisans who fought against the Nazis — and one major such as Larry King and Tovah Feldshuh. way it does so is by making films that Braff said they were thrilled to have are used by teachers in classrooms in Schreiber (who played a Jewish resistance photos/courtesy jpef the United States, Israel, Poland and fighter, Zus Bielski, in the 2008 HollyThe crowd includes Chabad of San South Africa. “The Reunion” was its wood movie “Defiance”) participate in Francisco Rabbi Yosef Langer. 11th such film, each ranging from this project.

Allen Small at the San Francisco premiere of the film

Schreiber wasn’t at the West Coast premiere, but Small, 84, came all the way from Florida, and Shelub also attended. She was said to be a big hit during the Q&A session. The trailer for “The Reunion” can be seen at, and all of the JPEF’s other films can be seen on the website, as well. — andy altman-ohr ■

The Creative Spirit of San Francisco

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| November 23, 2012

bay area USF team serves up a surprise: Jewish heritage night dan pine


j. staff

The final score did not go the Dons’ way, with the University of San Francisco women’s volleyball team losing 3-0 to Saint Mary’s College. But that didn’t stop a crowd of Jewish fans from rooting for the home team at USF’s first Jewish Heritage Appreciation Night. The Nov. 18 event took place at San Francisco’s War Memorial Gym, home court of the USF Dons. Outside, the Old World Food Truck served up Jewish treats, from homemade borscht to chicken schnitzel sandwiches. Inside the gym, the music of Matisyahu blared over the speakers while a contingent of Brandeis Hillel Day School students cheered on the Dons from the stands. Between sets, Chabad of San Francisco Rabbi Yosef Langer, aka the Rally Rabbi, blew the shofar at center court. Since there is no known volleyball anthem, the rabbi played along with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Plenty of Jews were in the stands among the crowd of 300, but they were also on the court and courtside: the USF team includes two Israeli coaches and two Israeli players. One of those players, Rebecca Kopilovitch, is the team’s libero, a position that requires exceptional defensive skills. She showed them off against Saint Mary’s by making 28 digs, an incredibly high total in a three-set match. Though the team has had a so-so season, Kopilovitch, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said she loves playing for USF. An Israeli national team member for three seasons, she served two years in the Israeli army after graduating high school and then played one season for



the Beersheva club team before making her way to San Francisco in 2010. Last year, the 5-foot-8 player ranked second in the West Coast Conference with digs-per-set (4.5) and was named to the conference’s all-freshman team. The other Israeli on the USF roster is also a former Israeli national team member — a team captain, in fact. However, as

college in California, and when they saw the Dons were coached by Gilad Doron, it clinched the deal. Doron, a native of Haifa, was a member of four national championship Israeli teams, and formerly head coach at Temple and Villanova Universities. “Besides being a great volleyball coach, he brings to the team something additional,” Kopilovitch said. “He very personal with his players. You can really tell he cares, not only about volphoto/alexander crook-courtesy of usf athletics leyball but how, after we finish USF Dons defensive specialist Rebecca school here, we will be better Kopilovitch people and more successful.” Hired in 2007, Doron led the Dons to a have faith.” The team’s Israeli coaches and players slightly above .500 finish this season, although it was below .500 in conference were tickled that school and athletic offiplay; the season ended Saturday. A win in cials agreed to host a Jewish heritage night September was Doron’s 77th as USF’s after they thought it up. ”It’s a great way to reach out to the comhead coach, making him the school’s alltime leader for volleyball coaching victo- munity,” said Doron, whose children attend Brandeis Hillel Day School in San ries. Doron brought on a new assistant coach Francisco. “We’re trying to increase our before the start of the 2012 season — Eyal fans, but it will take time. We have to make Zimet, who spent nine years on the Israeli sure we give them a great product. That’s national team and then played for the how the sport will grow.” Added Kopilovitch: “Being away from University of Hawaii, helping lead the team home, I realize how I still feel a big connection to the 2002 NCAA title. Doron said there is no distinct Israeli to the Jewish community, here and in Israel. style of play, per se, but a touch of Israeli It gives me a feeling of home and family.” With so many Israelis on the court, does feistiness has crept into his coaching. “When you are small country playing the coach ever slip from English to a little against all odds, that’s the one thing we try street Hebrew? Normally no, but with one to put in,” Doron said. “This year we beat exception. “Only when he gets a little mad,” Cal twice, the first time in school history, and we beat teams we never had beaten Kopilovitch noted. “He’ll say something I’ll before. We try to overcome challenges, and understand better.”

Israelis (clockwise from top left) Inbar Vinarsky, Rebecca Kopilovitch, assistant coach Eyal Zimet and head coach Gilad Doron

a freshman this year, 6-foot-2 middle blocker Inbar Vinarsky barely saw any match action. Kopilovitch and Vinarsky both set their sites on coming to USF because they liked the idea of playing volleyball and going to

| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California


InterfaithFamily expands to Bay Area

Wilderness Torah ready to ‘Shine’

InterfaithFamily has announced that it is expanding into the Bay Area with the hiring of Rebecca Goodman as its San Francisco director. The expansion is part of the InterfaithFamily/Your Community initiative, which aims to coordinate and provide programs aimed at engaging interfaith families Jewishly in local communities across North America. It was started in July 2011 in Chicago and had “a strong first year,” according to Bostonbased InterfaithFamily. It is being expanded to the Philadelphia area as well as the Bay Area. InterfaithFamily/San Francisco launched last month with a grant from, and a major fundraising effort led by, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. Goodman has a master’s degree in Jewish education and Jewish communal service from Hebrew Union College– Jewish Institute of Religion. She is a Bay Area native and has worked with families for 20 years. A national director of the Your Community initiative will work with Goodman and other regional directors. “There is growing agreement that engaging interfaith families Jewishly requires three elements: a world-class Web platform, inclusivity training of Jewish professionals and lay leaders, and a range of programs and services for interfaith families in local communities,” Mamie Kanfer Stewart, InterfaithFamily board chair, said in a statement. The InterfaithFamily/Your Community model places staff in local communities to connect interfaith families to local community resources; enhance their experience in finding Jewish clergy for weddings and lifecycle events; train Jewish professionals and organizations to welcome people in interfaith relationships; help new couples learn how to talk about and have religious traditions in their lives together; and help people in interfaith relationships learn how and why to live Jewishly. For more information, visit

Nothing says Chanukah like homebrewed beer, right? Especially when it’s paired with an outdoor latke bar. At Wilderness Torah’s second annual “Shine” holiday party and fundraiser on the evening of Dec. 6 — billed as “a celebration of light and giving” — gourmet California cuisine will mingle with traditional Jewish food, against a backdrop of music. Nathaniel Markman and Casey Baruch will play acoustic Jewish music, which will be followed by a lively reggaesoul-funk band led by Eliyahu Sills. There will also be a “short and sweet” program that includes storytelling and highlights from Wilderness Torah’s year. New this year is a silent auction with

more than 75 items, port its environmental including vacations to education-based Jewish Peru and Costa Rica, programming in the original art, spa packcoming year. ages and birdwatching The event runs from lessons. 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. More than 200 peoat the David Brower ple attended last year’s Center, 2150 Allston event, according to Way in Berkeley. Dinner Wilderness Torah cowill be catered by the founder Julie Wolk. Berkeley-based kosher “The idea is to get peochefs of Hearth Healing ple talking about ‘How Foods. Tickets are $36 does Wilderness Torah Eliyahu Sills before Dec. 1 and $54 help you shine your after, if still available. light in the world?’ ” said Wolk. For tickets or more information, visit She added that the Berkeley-based or call (510) nonprofit hopes to raise $40,000 to sup- 926-4648. — emma silvers ■

Israeli consul general to speak in Palo Alto The Silicon Valley and Peninsula will officially welcome Andy David, the new Israeli consul general for the Pacific Northwest region, when he speaks next week at Palo Alto’s Oshman Family JCC. David took over as consul general in August, replacing Akiva Tor after his four-year term ended. David and his staff are based in San Francisco, but the consulate’s region covers all of Northern California and five states. David was scheduled to address the impact of the recent U.S. election on the future of U.S.-Israeli relations in his talk, but no doubt he will also have something to say about the current situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip. The event takes place 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29 at the Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. The cost is $5. For more information, visit, contact Karen Stiller at or call (650) 223-8692. ■


| November 23, 2012

israel & gaza > bay area A new experience: air-raid sirens Bay Area Jews ‘shaky’ but coping while visiting, living in Israel

photo/flash90-gpo-moshe milner

Israelis run for cover as a warning siren sounds in Kiryat Malachi on Nov. 15.

dan pine

began shaking. It’s a shock. You don’t know Last weekend, Muney and his Camp if there’s a missile coming down. My friend Kimama colleagues located 85 children, ages 7 to 16, from the Beersheva area Marissa Halbrecht sat chatting with friends in a Tel Aviv took me home, and we watched the news, and transported them north to the pizza joint last week when suddenly she heard an unfa- but all night I was shaky.” It wasn’t the last time the sirens would camp. He expects to have a total of 110 miliar wail: a civil-defense siren warning of a possible sound in Tel Aviv. The very next day, the kids staying at the camp. He said they missile strike. warning sounded while Halbrecht was in a will stay indefinitely, until the fighting It was a sound not heard in Tel Aviv for 20 years. stops. “My friend said he thought it was just an ambulance,” café. Staffers waved to her to come with He said around 25 staffers volunHalbrecht said Nov. 16. “I said I didn’t think so. The them, and together the crowd hustled into teered their time to work at the camp music [at the restaurant] shut off and everyone realized an adjacent shelter. A few minutes later, they heard an exploand care for the children, some of them it was a [warning] siren. We were shocked it was actually sion. identified as at-risk youth. Though happening in Tel Aviv.” “In some ways, Tel Aviv was a bubble Muney coordinated with the governHalbrecht, 32, is a San Francisco resident and active in ment, the respite camp is being funded the Jewish community. On a six-day AIPAC mission, she before the first missile hit,” she said by entirely by donations. was just one of many Bay Area Jews who happened to be phone from Israel. “As long as the news So far, up at Camp Kimama, the kids in Israel last week when it launched an air offensive in wasn’t on, everyone was living their lives. Marissa Halbrecht in But after that first siren went off, people Tel Aviv are doing fine. Gaza that elicited intensified rocket fire from Hamas. “They seem to be having a great “I had never experienced [an air-raid siren],” said were skittish. It changes reality.” For Evan Muney, who moved with his wife and chil- time,” Muney said. “They have undergone incredible Halbrecht, who has visited Israel numerous times. “I dren from Berkeley to Israel near- stresses in their life. It’s wonderful to see the relief on ly four years ago, the situation their faces.” meant mobilizing quickly. “As Muney and his family live in the city of Modi’in, soon as the missiles intensified halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. So far their from Gaza, we immediately took neighborhood has not come under rocket fire, and no it upon ourselves to do what we sirens have sounded. could do,” he said. But daily life definitely has changed since the outbreak As part owner of Camp of the fighting. The kindergarten class in his daughter’s Kimama, an Israeli overnight elementary school was being held in a bomb shelter this camp in the Upper Galilee, week, and in his own home, Muney has made sure the Muney, 45, decided to bring kids safe room is ready. from the beleaguered south up to “It feels different,” said Muney, who served in the the north for some much needed Israeli army and visited Israel frequently before making respite. aliyah. “I won’t say I haven’t asked myself if it’s irreHe saw it as the least he could do. sponsible on some level to have voluntarily brought my “It was a no-brainer to come family to a place that could potentially put them in up with the concept,” he said. “We danger, and yet I feel it is a manageable danger. What have a campus up north, so what comes out even more so during wartime [is] a magnican we do? It’s such a given here fied sense of community that is stronger and more that people do whatever they can. apparent.” People from every community in For the past three months, Molly Cornfield, 22, has photo/jta-flash90-tsafrir abayov this country out of missile range been living in Tel Aviv as a Masa fellow — one of 14 Bay The Iron Dome defense system intercepts incoming rockets have opened their doors to take Area young adults now in the program — interning with from Gaza in Ashdod on Nov. 15. people in. It’s second nature.” a small high-tech company. Masa Israel is a program that .



j. staff

| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California


Local federations, JNF: We’re here for you, Israel Campaigns under way to raise funds for those affected by missiles from Gaza dan pine photo/jta-gpo-flash90-moshe milner

Medics carry the body bag of an Israeli killed by a missile that hit Kiryat Malachi on Nov. 15.

brings thousands of young adults to Israel for immersive experiences. The last week was quite immersive. “Very eye-opening,” Cornfield said. “I was having fun before, but all of a sudden things got more serious.” Cornfield spent her teen years in Palo Alto, where her parents still live. As a student at UCLA, she was active with pro-Israel advocacy, but it wasn’t until her Masa internship that she felt truly connected to Israel. One thing she likes about the Israelis she has met is how they scoff at danger — perhaps as a mechanism to cope with fear. Even after that first siren in Tel Aviv, Cornfield said her friends’ impulse was to laugh it off. “In Israel, the way to deal with it is take it lightly, be cynical and make a joke,” she said, adding that she doesn’t feel in danger. “I’m not worried for myself. Whatever anxiety I have is for the State of Israel. Statistically, the risk of being injured by rockets [especially in Tel Aviv] is so small.” Still, she said, even though many of her Israeli friends and co-workers downplayed their personal risk, they “are affected by this. Everyone’s going to the [army] and serving the country. That’s a moving experience for me.” Philanthropist, real estate investor and Jewish community activist Moses Libitzky also found himself in Israel during the escalation. The Piedmont resident had been part of a mission with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, traveling with former ambassador Dennis Ross and meeting with high government officials. Then, with Shabbat approaching on Nov. 16 in Jerusalem, Libitzky heard the wail of a siren. “I stuck my head out the window,” he recalled, realizing right away that was probably not the best thing to do. “I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. It was a red alert, but I had never heard that in Jerusalem.” Libitzky observed that life has gone on normally for Israelis outside of the besieged south, though most people are glued to the news. What he does find alarming is the international coverage of the fighting, which he feels favors the Palestinians. “In an attempt to be balanced, [the media] create an equivalence between this terrorist group and Israel, which is trying to protect itself,” Libitzky said. “It strikes me watching [international cable news] how all of a sudden everyone’s hypersensitive, counting every injustice on either side. Rockets were falling for months [on Israel] and the international community didn’t even notice.” From his vantage points in Modi’in and the north, Muney said on-edge Israelis at least had been comforted by worldwide Jewish support. “Everyone I know gets messages of support,” Muney said. “Just hearing ‘We’re praying for you’ actually really helps.” ■


j. staff

pressing needs in the area.” At a community briefing held that same day in San Francisco, Rabbi Doug Kahn, executive director of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council, outlined several suggested responses to the crisis. They include maximizing media relations to tell Israel’s side of the story, using social media to express solidarity with Israel, beefing up security at Bay Area Jewish institutions

In response to the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas, Bay Area Jewish federations and agencies have banded together to aid Israeli victims. At the same time, community leaders have grappled with the meaning and dimensions of the violence. The S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, the Jewish Federation of the East Bay and the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley have appealed for donations to the Israel Terror Relief Fund, which is sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America and its Israel Action Network. Last week, the JFNA executive committee voted to have its 155 affiliated federations, including those in the Bay Area, commit at least $5 million to the Israel Terror Relief Fund. Bay Area federations have launched fundraising efforts to contribute to the total. “The federation is collecting money for immediate humanitarian relief,” said Jennifer Gorovitz, CEO of the S.F.-based federation. “Our show of support is vital.” Monies raised get distributed to the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and World ORT, along with the Israel Trauma Coalition. Those agencies deliver services and assistance in Israel, such as trauma counseling, medical equipment, financial assistance and meals for elderly and disabled, and they also help provide respite for 23,500 children living in danger zones. Another agency providing aid is the Jewish National Fund, which quickly began a multipronged assistance effort, according to Aaron photo/courtesy of jcf Parker, JNF’s regional director in San Francisco. Israeli Consul General Andy David speaks at In Sderot, a town of 24,000 less than a mile from an emergency briefing for Bay Area Jewish Gaza, JNF runs a 21,000-square-foot indoor recre- community leaders in San Francisco on Nov. 16. ation center that it vowed to keep open 24 hours a day for as long as the crisis lasts, at a cost of $20,000 a and fundraising. At the same briefing, attended by about 50 people and day, Parker said. JNF also has been resupplying firefighters taxed by the many fires started by the rockets, and the held at the offices of the JCF, Andy David, Israel’s consul agency opened more than 50 shelters in the north for general for the Pacific Northwest region, offered context for Operation Pillar of Defense. evacuees. He said it is not just a battle of rockets and air strikes. “In the last few days, I received more calls than I typically receive in a month,” Parker said early this week. It is a battle of endurance on the part of Israel’s citizens, “Everyone wants to help alleviate the humanitarian cri- who so far have been “resilient and strong. But we can’t take that for granted.” sis, something we can all agree on finally.” It is also a battle for the legitimacy of Israel’s military JNF and the three Bay Area federations have issued prominent appeals for funds on their websites, and sub- response to Hamas, a battle David worries Israel is losing. “We’ve built up enough power scribers to their email lists have to end this very quickly,” he said, received direct appeals as well as To donate to the Israel Terror Relief Fund, visit “but we neglected building up news updates. the home pages of the local Jewish federations: legitimacy for those actions. The Rabbi James Brandt, CEO of the (S.F.-based), battle for public opinion is an federation in the East Bay, wrote to (East Bay) or uphill battle.” donors on Nov. 16, saying “We are (Silicon Valley). To David explained that, in the early in constant contact with our partdonate to the Jewish National Fund, visit stages of the conflict, international ners in Israel, who are LOCAL, 15 ing efforts on addressing the most ■■■


| November 23, 2012

israel & gaza

> bay area

Israel supporters mobilize in S.F. and other big cities emma silvers


j. staff

Supporters of Israel came out this week — around the Bay Area and throughout the United States — in defense of the Jewish state’s military actions in Gaza. In San Francisco, that support came in the form of counter-protests when proPalestinian groups gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate on Montgomery Street in the Financial District. At a Nov. 19 protest, the third since Israel began launching air strikes on targets in Gaza last week, about 100 people held signs and chanted slogans such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “End the occupation now.” “I’m standing on this [anti-Israel] side of the street because I believe people in Gaza are suffering disproportionately,” said Jim Haber, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace. “I think there are far more attacks on Gaza than are being reported



in this country.” On the other side of the street, roughly 50 people waved Israeli flags and handed out fliers with information about Israeli civilians who have been killed by Hamas rockets. “I don’t think people on the other side of the street understand that Hamas is the real enemy,” said Daniel Sandler, a high school freshman carrying an Israeli flag. Sandler said he heard about the counter-protest through his membership in Club Z, a Peninsula-based Zionist group for teens. Faith Meltzer, a member of StandWithUs/S.F. Voice for Israel, attended the Nov. 19 rally to support Israel. A day later, she said she was “hopeful” after hearing word that morning of a possible ceasefire. “We hope that happens, and we hope it holds, and that the Jewish people and Palestinian people can find peace,” she said. On Nov. 20, a rapidly planned community-wide event called “The East Bay

| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California


photos/cathleen maclearie

Israel supporters (above and next page, left) and anti-Israel demonstrators (far right) show their colors outside the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco on Nov. 19.

Stands With Israel” was set to bring together Israel supporters from 10 different co-sponsoring congregations; other co-sponsors included local day schools, Hadassah chapters, AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, the JCC of the East Bay, JCRC East Bay and J Street. Organizers said the program at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette was to include “prayers for peace and healing, updates on the situation in Israel and the East Bay Jewish community’s response, a live feed from the shelters in Israel, a call to action, information on how to provide humanitarian relief to Israelis affected by the crisis, and an opportunity to write letters to elected officials.” The gathering occurred after j.’s deadline this week. On a smaller scale, the Mendocino Coast Jewish Community planned a series of “constructive conversations about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” at their shul in the

town of Caspar. The first conversation, scheduled for Dec. 2 from 3 to 5 p.m., will be led by Rabbi Dev Noily, education director at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont. Elsewhere outside of the Bay Area, some 1,400 demonstrators in Los Angeles on Nov. 18 voiced their support for Israel’s right to defend itself. In New York, hundreds of pro-Israel demonstrators were expected to gather Nov. 20 near the Israeli Consulate in Manhattan in an event sponsored by Jewish organizations from across the political spectrum. Other Nov. 20 rallies were scheduled in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Seattle and West Hartford, Conn. At the Southern California rally, demonstrators gathered outside the Westwood Federal Building in West Los Angeles to voice their support for Israel at a rally organized by StandWithUs, the Israeli Leadership Council and the Western Region of the Zionist Organization of America. “We are here to [underline] the necessity of peace, the danger of those who would seek to destroy us and our determination to live both in strength and with justice and


with peace,” Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple of Los Angeles told the crowd. Nearby, some 100 pro-Palestinian counter-demonstrators carried signs that read “Let Gaza Live: Free Palestine,” “Stop U.S. Aid to Israel” and “It’s not a war. In Palestine, it’s ■ ■ ■


| November 23, 2012

israel & gaza

> bay area Israel supporters mobilize in S.F. and other big cities from 9 genocide.” In Boston, some 1,000 pro-Israel demonstrators rallied Nov. 19 in an event organized by synagogues, schools and Jewish nonprofit organizations, including the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, J Street, the Anti-Defamation League and ■■■

AIPAC. The Boston rally was “a statement to our sisters and brothers and cousins in Israel that we’re supportive and we feel your pain,” Rabbi David Lerner of Temple Emunah in Lexington, Mass., told the Jerusalem Post. Meanwhile, lay and professional leaders from the Jewish Federations of North America arrived in Israel on Nov. 18 for a two-day emergency solidarity mission. The leaders from New York, Chicago, Boston, New Jersey, Cleveland, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington, Minneapolis and Birmingham, Ala., visited southern Israeli cities under fire, including Ashkelon, Sderot and Beersheva, offering solidarity with the residents and examining areas of need. “The ongoing crisis being faced by the people of Israel, particularly those in the south, will not be fought by the Jewish state alone,” Michael Siegal, JFNA’s incoming chair, said upon arriving in Jerusalem. “We are here to express our firm solidarity and to say that as always, when Israel is in need, photo/emma silvers we are here.” ■

Anti-Israel protesters outside Israeli Consulate in San Francisco on Nov. 19



| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California

photo/cathleen maclearie

JTA contributed to this report.


View from the pro-Israel side of the street

israel & gaza Israel waits on ground invasion As of press time on Nov. 20, Israel was holding off on a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip as cease-fire negotiations inched forward. By the seventh day of Operation Pillar of Defense, five Israelis and more than 100 Palestinians had died, with scores more wounded. Truce talks were complicated by conflicting demands from the two sides. Hamas demanded that Israel stop surgical strikes on Gaza and lift the blockade of the coastal territory, while Israel called for a halt to rocket fire from Gaza on Israel, as well as an end to weapons smuggling from Egypt. “I prefer a diplomatic solution,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before a meeting with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Jerusalem. “I hope we can get one, but if not, we have every right to defend ourselves with other means, and we shall use them.” Foreign leaders pressed Israel to agree to a cease-fire. United Nations SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon arrived in Israel on Nov. 20 to encourage a truce, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was expected to arrive soon after. She was to meet with Palestinian Authority leaders but no one from Hamas, the daily newspaper Haaretz reported. Israel called up 75,000 reserve troops in preparation for a ground operation. The tank and infantry units were massed on the Israel-Gaza border. — jta

Rockets pound Israel for seventh day More than 80 rockets were fired at southern Israel Nov. 20, the seventh day since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, including two aimed at Jerusalem. An afternoon air-raid siren sounded in Jerusalem that day, and two rockets fell in the Gush Etzion area south of the city. Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets aimed at Jerusalem. A rocket struck a building in the Eshkol Regional Council in the south, reportedly injuring several people, including an Israeli reserve soldier. Rockets also hit a home in Netivot and damaged homes in Sderot and Beersheva. A volley of 16 rockets was fired toward Beersheva. One hit the road in front of a bus, damaging the vehicle, which the passengers had evacuated after the air-raid siren. A second rocket hit a house, and a third hit a parked car. Nine of the 16 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. The Israel Defense Forces said in a Nov. 20 statement that it had targeted 11 terrorist squads involved in firing rockets toward Israel and planting explosive devices at the border. The IDF said it also bombed 30 underground rocket launchers and a hiding place for senior terror operatives that was used to store weapons and ammunition. Overnight, the IDF .


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said it targeted 100 terror sites in Gaza, including underground rocket launchers, terror tunnels and ammunition storage facilities. “The sites that were targeted were positively identified by precise intelligence over the course of several months,” the IDF statement said. — jta

Islamic Jihad leaders killed in Israeli strike As Hamas’ leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, brushed off a halt to rocket fire, Israeli air strikes hit a Gaza media center and killed several leaders of Islamic Jihad. The Israel air force strike on Nov. 19 — the second on the center in two days — killed Ramaz Harab, a top leader of Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al Quds Brigades. At least three other Islamic Jihad leaders were in the building when it was hit, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Hamas’ main television station, Al Aksa, is located on the top floor of the high-rise building. In an hourlong news conference in Cairo on Nov. 19, meanwhile, Mashaal said, “Whoever started the war must end it.” Mashaal, speaking before the cease-fire was announced, said there is a new spirit of cooperation among Palestinian factions due to the Israeli operation, which began on Nov. 14. “Israel is the common enemy. Confrontation with the enemy is our moment of truth,” he said. “We must end the political divide and unite around common institutions and around resistance to Israel. Our enemy cannot be treated with words, but only by force. No concessions should be made with Israel, given the new atmosphere in the Arab world.” — jta

NYU evacuates Tel Aviv program New York University’s Tel Aviv program was suspended for the rest of the semester, and its students and faculty were evacuated to London. The university is considering whether to reopen for the spring semester, according to NYULocal, a student news blog. The northern Tel Aviv campus was evacuated due to the current violence between Israel and Gaza terrorists firing rockets into Israel. The 11 students may transfer to NYU overseas campuses in London, Prague or Florence, or return to New York, according to the blog. The NYU administration said it did not think the students were in any immediate danger. “We wanted to avoid a situation where the students would get to the end of the semester and have difficulties returning home,” John Beckman, the university’s vice president for public affairs, told NYULocal on Nov. 18. Beckman said students accepted to study in Tel Aviv for the spring semester have been notified that the campus may not reopen. — jta

> mideast Israel fighting off millions of cyberattacks

on Palestinians and Arabs in retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions, or for Palestinian attacks on Jews. — jta

Israel has repelled some 44 million cyberattacks on government websites since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense on Nov. 14, a government minister said. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told reporters on Nov. 18 that all the attacks have been thwarted except one, which brought down a website for a short time. On Nov. 17, the online terror group Anonymous announced that it had brought down 700 Israeli sites, both public and private, including the websites of several Israeli government offices, such as the Foreign Ministry and the Kadima Party. It did bring down the Foreign Ministry department website that coordinates Israeli aid missions to foreign countries. The group also claimed it had erased the database of the Bank of Jerusalem, though the bank’s website is operational. It also reportedly released the personal information, including national ID numbers and email addresses, of at least 35,000 Israelis. “For far too long, Anonymous has stood by with the rest of the world and watched in despair the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people in the so called ‘Occupied Territories’ by the Israel Defense Force. But when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand,” Anonymous said in a statement. “To the IDF and government of Israel we issue you this warning only once. Do NOT shut down the Internet into the ‘Occupied Territories,’ and cease and desist from your terror upon the innocent people of Palestine or you will know the full and unbridled wrath of Anonymous.” One year ago, Anonymous launched a cyberattack on several Israeli government and military websites, including government ministries, the Mossad and the IDF, after Israel intercepted Gaza-bound ships attempting to break the naval blockade. — jta

Ben Gurion flight paths rerouted due to Iron Dome

and has intercepted numerous rockets since then. — jta

U.S. positions ships for ‘remote’ possibility of evacuation

The flight path of planes to and from Ben Gurion Airport have been rerouted from regular takeoff and landing paths to protect them from Iron Dome. The paths were rerouted to avoid being hit if the Iron Dome anti-missile system is deployed to intercept a rocket over central Israel, Ynet reported, citing Israel Defense Forces officer Itamar Abo, who is the former commander of an Iron Dome battery. Ben Gurion is located near Tel Aviv in the city of Lod. An Iron Dome battery was deployed to the Tel Aviv area on Nov. 17

The United States positioned three warships in the eastern Mediterranean reportedly to evacuate Americans in the “remote” event that the Israel-Gaza conflict should require it. CNN reported Nov. 19 that the 2,500 Marines on board the USS Iwo Jima, the USS New York and the USS Gunston Hall had been scheduled to return to Norfolk, Va. for Thanksgiving, but now are on standby near Israel. The online report quoted two officials as saying that such a contingency was still seen as “extremely remote.” The officials said the ships would not be used in combat. — jta

Lebanon defuses two missiles aimed at Israel The Lebanese army defused two rockets aimed at northern Israel. The Grad rockets, located in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel, were believed to have been placed there since Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza began on Nov. 14, according to a Reuters report, citing unnamed sources. They were located less than a mile from an Israeli military site on Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights. Several Palestinian groups operate in southern Lebanon, though the border has been quiet in recent years. The Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah is also based in Lebanon. — jta ■

Palestinian villages hit in apparent ‘price tag’ attacks Two Palestinian villages in the West Bank were victims of attacks, believed to be by Israeli settlers, according to Palestinian officials. Both attacks occurred on Nov. 18, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported. In the Urif village near Nablus, a mosque was torched and the settlers chased away, according to Ma’an. The settlers were believed to be from the nearby village of Yitzhar. The fire burned the entrance of the mosque and a carpet inside. Israeli settlers also were blamed for a fire set to a Palestinian car in the Sinjil village near Ramallah. The house where the car was parked also was spray-painted with what Ma’an called “price tag slogans.” “Price tag” refers to the strategy extremists have adopted to exact a price in attacks


| November 23, 2012

israel & gaza

> mideast Rage and resilience in Kiryat Malachi in face of rocket fire from Gaza young Sephardic men in T-shirts and jeans. Elderly religious women wearing headscarves walk alongside secular kiryat malachi, israel | They pick Russian immigrants. through the tangled foliage, Orthodox Shteiner calls Kiryat Malachi “one big men with long beards and black kippot, neighborhood.” More than 100 resiwearing white gloves and bright yellow dents pack a small, exposed building to vests, searching for body parts. mourn 24-year-old Itzik Amsalem, a A few yards over and four stories up, newly religious yeshiva student. construction workers drive drills into a Men sob on each other’s shoulders in bombed apartment building. They a tight embrace. A woman walks arm in speak to each other in Arabic. Can they arm with a girl, lamenting the “hit after read the Hebrew banner hanging one hit, hit after hit,” that southern Israel has floor above them vowing to exact a absorbed in the days and years before price for Jewish blood? Or the sign on that Friday afternoon. the other side of the building calling on The weeping continues while a Israel to conquer Gaza? Chabad rabbi, Yaakov Shvika, eulogizes It is noon on Nov. 16, a little more Amsalem, calling his death, “a great than 24 hours after the apartments on wound, an incredible wound.” the top floor had taken a direct hit from Minutes after Kiryat Malachi’s mayor, one of Hamas’ Grad missiles, killing Moti Malka, takes the podium, another three people. siren blares. Mourners scramble in the Operation Pillar of Defense started crowded building. Most take cover once with the killing of the senior military photo/jta-flash90-yossi zeliger more under the roof and against its only commander of Hamas and has targeted A volunteer goes through a wrecked apartment in Kiryat Malachi where walls. the terrorist group’s governing infra- three people were killed last week by a rocket from Gaza. The chaos only grows after the rocket structure and left more than 100 Palestinians dead. It aims to stop the rocket the next tree, inside clothes that are hang- Unlike Shteiner, Zackles wears the tradi- from Gaza explodes in the distance. After tional Chabad uniform — a black wide- the siren, the sadness turns to rage. fire raining down on Israel from Gaza. Last ing from burnt branches. “They go all over the place,” Shteiner brimmed hat and matching suit. “Disengagement criminals!” scream the week, those rockets reached the outskirts of says. “I feel bad, but this is what you have to The tefillin serves, he says, as a spiritual men who had been crying, turning their Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the first time. antidote to the raw physical tragedy — the curses against those who led Israel’s 2005 In Kiryat Malachi, the ill-fated building, do.” Kiryat Malachi’s deputy mayor, Shteiner, “expression of the Jewish people, a sym- withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the solike others in the low-income Har Chabad neighborhood, contains aging apartments also is a member of the city’s haredi bol.” Now Chabad needs some and a peeling yellow exterior. Now its Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch community, highest floors look like a scene out of founded about 30 years earlier to reach out outreach as well. Two of the 1980s Beirut: a bare skeleton of concrete to a growing population of Russian immi- three victims — Aharon Smadja and Mira Scharf — framing a gaping hole where people used grants here. As Shteiner picks through leaves, were Lubavitchers. Along to live. “Can you get a ladder?” yells Chaim 22-year-old Moshe Zackles stands next to a with her husband, Scharf Shteiner, one of the men in a yellow vest. small table on the building’s other side, had been a Chabad emisMaybe the remains of the dead are stuck in offering a pair of tefillin to passers-by. sary in New Delhi, India, where four years earlier to the day terrorists had killed the Chabad emissaries in Mumbai, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg. Shteiner says he feels shaken but undeterred. photo/jta-flash90-miriam alster “This is holy work,” he Mourners attend the funeral of 27-year-old says. “We feel we are on a Mira Scharf, who was killed when a rocket mission. When you’re on a from Gaza hit an apartment building. mission, you get strength from the people who sent you and from called disengagement, into a chant. above.” Calls for silence add to the cacophony. Minutes later, a siren blares across the “Conquer the strip!” the men yell, neighborhood, growing louder as the sec- obscuring the rest of Malka’s eulogy for onds pass. Shteiner and his crew leap over Amsalem. a ledge and press their backs against the Quiet returns by the time Likud Party building’s rear wall, taking cover under an Knesset member Michael Eitan, a Cabinet overhang. After half a minute that feels like minister, addresses the crowd. But the 10, they hear the boom, nowhere near mood has not changed. them. Shteiner exhales. While Eitan declares that the terrorists “They don’t give us rest,” he says. The “want to rain fear on us, but they won’t crowd is already dispersing. The third vic- succeed,” the chants of the crowd and the tim’s funeral begins in 10 minutes. sound of the siren linger in the air. For the The slow procession to the cemetery roomful of mourners, the next rocket is brings together Lubavitchers in suits and not far away. ben sales





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Amid conflict, Israel’s hospitals treat Gazan patients judy siegel-itzkovich jerusalem post

Israeli hospitals are treating dozens of patients who came to Israel from Gaza to get health care unavailable there, and are making provisions for anyone accompanying them. “We at Rambam Medical Center [in Haifa] are taking care of sick children and adults, and we are not looking at their religion or where they come from. At the moment, we have four [from Gaza] — a baby girl in the nephrology department, two children in oncology and an adult in urology,” Rambam director-general and professor Rafael Beyar said early this week. “Family members accompanied them,” he added. “It’s absurd that we are doing this at the same time Israelis are being attacked, but there is no other way. We are used to it. We are very far from politics.” Beyar said he was “extremely upset” when he learned that Arab students at the University of Haifa last week stood for a “moment of silence” when Ahmed Jabari, the military chief of Hamas, was killed by the IDF. “I just can’t accept that,” he said. Beyar said he had received no reports of any tension among Jewish and Arab personnel in his medical center. “We are used to working together to save lives.” The Hadassah University Medical Center in the Jerusalem village of Ein Kerem said that in the past month it has hospitalized six Gazan patients. Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer

in central Israel said that it provides medical services to several dozen Palestinians each month, even during conflict. Most are children who are hospitalized for long periods or youngsters who underwent treatment and return periodically for follow-up, according to Sheba spokesman Amir Marom. “Just two days ago, a 9-year-old girl from Gaza who was hurt in her palm was brought to Sheba,” Mazon said in the days after the escalation. “Her father is an Arab journalist who writes from Gaza for an Israeli newspaper. She was accompanied by her mother. An Israeli boy who was wounded by a Gazan rocket that fell in Kiryat Malachi last week is in the same room with a Gazan girl whose fingers were amputated due to injury. We regard our hospital as a bridge to peace.” Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center said 50 patients, both children and adults, and their accompanying relatives from Gaza were in the hospital earlier this week. Most of them are cancer patients. The relatives live in the hospital’s hotel, and there is a hospital employee who serves as a contact person and helps them. Medical treatment for Gaza residents allowed into Israel is paid for by the Palestinian Authority or by other bodies, including the Peres Center for Peace. ■

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich is the health and science editor at the Jerusalem Post, where this piece first appeared. Reprinted with permission.

photo/flash90-yossi zamir

A medic checks a woman whose house was hit by a rocket in Ashdod on Nov. 18.

Local federations, JNF: We’re here for you, Israel ■■■

from 7

support for Israel’s actions was strong, with Senate and House resolutions and positive statements from Britain, Germany and France bolstering Israel’s posture. But that support will begin to “degrade,” David predicted, if the fighting drags on. The launch of Operation Pillar of Defense roused the Bay Area Jewish community to action and reflection. In an email to congregants, Rabbi Ari Cartun of Palo Alto’s Congregation Etz Chayim wrote, “We will hear from wellmeaning people around us that Israel should not have started this round of attacks on Gaza. Partly this is because until Israel started striking back, our local and national news outlets were too busy looking into General Petraeus’ pants than in covering the hundreds of rockets fired


from Gaza over the last month.” Rabbi David J. Cooper of Piedmont’s Kehilla Community Synagogue had a different take: “Israel certainly has a right to defend itself,” he wrote to congregants in an email. “My distress is that self-defense is not just an activity of violent retribution or preemptive violence … Defense of Israeli peace would have been far more secure had the last four years not been frittered away with the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, thus discrediting [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas, as well as cutting off the necessary negotiations that could bring about a final settlement.” Said David at the meeting: “Deterrence is painful and costly. If [Hamas] stops shooting [rockets in Israel], we terminate this operation immediately.”

| November 23, 2012

U.C. Irvine rejects divestment push Campus administrators at U.C. Irvine rejected a resolution by the undergraduate student council calling for divestment from companies that “profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine.â€? Administrators released a Nov. 15 statement on the resolution saying, “such divestment is not the policy of this campus, nor is it the policy of the University of California. The U.C. Board of Regents’ policy requires this action only when the U.S. government deems it necessary. No such declaration has been made regarding Israel.â€? The student council resolution passed unanimously two days earlier had asked the administration, and the U.C. system as a whole, to divest from such companies as Caterpillar, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard and Raytheon. In a news release, the student council described the resolution, titled “Divestment from Companies that Profit from Apartheidâ€? and introduced by council members Sabreen Shalabi and Shadi Jafari, as “a historic move that could initiate a domino effect across American campuses.â€? Jewish community leaders in Orange County, which includes Irvine, denounced “the nonbinding resolution, drafted and introduced with no forewarning by a small group of students with a personal agenda and deliberated in the absence of students with opposing views.â€? Shalom Elcott, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County, lauded the strong ties between U.C. Irvine and Israeli universities and promised that this work “will not be undermined by divisive efforts ‌ that are contrary to the interests of students.â€? In past years, the Irvine campus has been the scene of numerous incidents between Muslim and Jewish students, with some Jewish groups criticizing the administration for

its failure to take remedial action. However, earlier this year, U.C. Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake led a faculty delegation to Israel that signed cooperation agreements with Ben-Gurion University, Hebrew University, the Technion and Tel Aviv University. — jta

third most important priority, after the economy and job market, and the long-term stability of Social Security and Medicare. Gallup polled 1,009 adults by phone Nov. 9-12. The results have a margin of error of 4 percentage points. — jta

Poll: 57 percent of Americans back Israel in current Gaza conflict

Jewish groups praise Russia’s removal from Jackson-Vanik

A poll showed a majority of Americans backing Israel’s launch of a retaliatory attack on the Gaza Strip. Asked whether “Israel was justified or unjustified in taking military action against Hamas and the Palestinians in the area known as Gaza,� 57 percent responded “Yes, justified� and 25 percent answered “No, not justified,� according to a CNN poll published Nov. 19. The poll also showed a substantial disparity between Democrats and Republicans, according to CNN, with 40 percent of Democrats choosing “justified� as opposed to 74 percent among Republicans and 59 percent among independents. The poll, carried out by ORC International in 1,023 phone interviews Nov. 16-18, has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. Israel launched air and naval attacks on Gaza on Nov. 14 after an intensification of rocket fire from Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas. A cease-fire was to begin at midnight on Nov. 21. Meanwhile, in a Gallup poll, Americans cited keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon among the top three priorities of President Obama’s second term. Gallup asked respondents to rank the importance of 12 issues; preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon was cited by 79 percent of respondents as the country’s

Jewish groups praised the House of Representatives for graduating Russia and Moldova out of Jackson-Vanik provisions that restricted trade. A joint statement from NCSJ (formerly the National Conference on Soviet Jewry) and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations “applauded� Congress for the 365-43 vote to approve the removal of the two countries from the trade restrictions. “In the 1970s, NCSJ and the Conference of Presidents helped to draft and fought for passage of Jackson-Vanik, an amendment to the Trade Act of 1974 that penalizes countries that restrict emigration,� the release said. “The amendment’s adoption in 1974 was a critical tool in pressuring the Soviet Union to allow Jews to escape Communist oppression by emigrating, primarily to Israel and the United States. NCSJ, the Conference of Presidents and other major Jewish organizations support graduation because Russia has a 20-year record of allowing unrestricted emigration abroad.� The U.S. business community had lobbied for Russia’s removal from Jackson-Vanik, in part because it inhibited trade with one of the world’s biggest economies, but also because Russia’s recent ascension to the World Trade Organization would allow it to sue companies that denied it trade. — jta ■

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Cable car menorah — a San Francisco treat

Artistic dreidels from the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Gelt uses fair-trade cocoa from Ghana

Think fair trade or local to link tikkun olam and gift-giving jessica kraft |

menorahs are crafted by well-paid artisans who have been trained by nonprofit organizations to make items for Western commercial markets, including a wide variety of Chocolate gelt is as central to Chanukah — which begins Judaica. The shop also offers fair-trade metal Chanukah at sundown on Dec. 8 — as dreidels and latkes. But gelt flags from Mexico ($16), reminiscent of papel picado didn’t become a holiday tradition until the 1920s, when it (paper cut-outs), and a fair trade glass mizrach (wall ornawas invented by Loft’s, an American candy company. And ment) from Ecuador ($10). it took nearly 100 years for chocolate gelt to become linked While most dreidels should be made for repeated use, to the mitzvah of tikkun olam (healing the world). some are just too beautiful to spin (or Recent media coverage of the global chocolate hand over to children). Miriam’s Well at industry’s poverty wages and use of child the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto is labor in West Africa have prompted a selling a 14 karat gold-plated Hagenauer reform movement. Many chocolate manudreidel produced by the Jewish Museum facturers have signed fair labor protocols, ($36). The dreidel was originally designed but so far only the fair-trade certified in 1920, and combines a pierced ornate companies have ended child labor and floral design with sleek art deco borders, started paying living wages to farmers. typical of the period. Ilana Schatz, the founding director of For eight nights of entertainment, Fair Trade Judaica (www.fairtradejucheck out a selection of adult games,, is pleased to see fair-trade gelt available at most of the stores. The Jewish from the company Divine Chocolate in Bay “Abraham’s Menorah” (left) and ‘Temple” edition of Taboo challenges players to try Area Judaica stores this year. Divine from the CJM to get their partner to say “Chanukah” Chocolate works with a collective of 300 farmwithout also saying “Maccabees,” “menoers in Ghana to source their fair-trade cocoa, and ditional to artistic designs. Artisan jewelry rah” or “jelly doughnut” ($35). The Chanukah Box of helps the communities develop projects with their includes collections from artists around the world, as well Questions ($10) is chock full of conversation starters income. “By being able to sell their products at fair-trade prices, as from San Francisco; books, home décor and gifts for drawing on the themes of light and liberation in Jewish [the farmers] bring in enough money to send their chil- kids round out the offerings. A special selection of CJM history. For those needing to brush up on their Hebrew dren to school,” said Schatz, an El Cerrito resident. The exhibition–inspired gifts include books and toys based on in a fun way, Alef Bet Judaica in Los Gatos recommends Ghana community has invested in drinking water, medical the art of Ezra Jack Keats and the work of New York’s “rad- the Hebrew version of the popular word game Bananagrams ($20). It’s like Scrabble without the board, clinics and women’s entrepreneurship projects, she said. ical” Photo League. All purchases support the CJM. Along with a wide range of metal, glass and ceramic so players can focus on the words, rather than aligning “The fair-trade premium they receive is invested back into menorahs, the Rodef Sholom shop offers fair-trade meno- letters with triple word score squares. Playing with an the community to pull itself out of poverty.” Not only is fair-trade chocolate helping “repair the rahs from South Africa and El Salvador ($36-$40). These Israeli is guaranteed to boost your vocabulary! For those who’d prefer to revive their world,” which is a central tenet of Judaism, but it Yiddish, Alef Bet also has Harvey Gotliffe’s also tastes amazing, said Schatz. new book “The Oy Way: Following the Path of “Divine has had fair-trade milk chocolate gelt Most Resistance” ($14.95), which combines for years, but this year they have a dark 70 percent Afikomen Judaica Contemporary Miriam’s Well Jewish Museum 3042 Claremont Ave. Oshman Family JCC gentle physical exercises with Yiddish vocabucocoa,” she said. “I call it guilt-free gourmet gelt Berkeley 736 Mission St., S.F. 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto lary and phrases, perfect for working off all for grown-ups.” (510) 655-1977 (415) 655-7888 (650) 494-9900 those extra Chanukah calories (or just laughDivine Chocolate gelt is $3.50 a bag and ing them off). able at the Rodef Sholom Sisterhood Gift Shop in And for your Chanukah party soundtrack, the San Rafael, Afikomen Judaica in Berkeley and Alef Bet Dayenu Rodef Sholom DJ at Afikomen recommends new music from Dayenu at the JCC of San Francisco. Sisterhood Gift Shop 14103D Winchester Blvd. JCC of San Francisco Idan Raichel, Andy Statman and Itzhak Perlman, The top flavor for menorahs this year is local. At Los Gatos 3220 California St., S.F. 170 N. San Pedro Road along with Matisyahu’s 2012 album “Spark Afikomen, shop owner Chaim Mahgel has set up (408) 370-1818 (415) 563-6563 San Rafael Seeker” ($17.99), which features the formerly a delightful window display for local artists to (415) 444-8098 Hassidic pop star in his newly shaved and exhibit their menorahs, some of which are reformed rendition. able for purchase. A new San Francisco cable car j. correspondent

menorah is available at Afikomen and Dayenu for $70 — the design is a model of the famous red cars, with candleholders on top to light the way. Dayenu also is offering a San Francisco Giants menorah, commemorating this year’s big World Series win ($88). The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, in its first-ever Chanukah gift guide, offers a handsome collection of menorahs — from tra-

Where to shop


| November 23, 2012

chanukah gifts & food

Eight crazy nights — go wild! diana burmistrovich


The story of Chanukah is about bravery, determination and finding light in the darkest of times. These days, we certainly remember and celebrate the centuries-old victory of the Maccabees, but with a modern and material spin — plenty of gifts. And oh boy, do we like gifts — eight crazy nights of them. Chanukiah options

Chanukah gifts can easily have a spiritual component. This year, consider bringing back the histor ic themes of the Festival of Lights through your purchases. The nine branches of the menorah have signified the Jewish iPad covers from people’s perseverance for more than 2,000 years since the Maccabees’ triumph. Though the story stays the same, your menorah doesn’t have to. Bringing the holiday back to the future, the Brushed Metal Menorah from offers a contemporary take on tradition. Fashion lovers may not get a new pair of shoes for every night, but they can sure pretend with the Menorah Blahnik reinterpretation at Whether it is something themed or traditional,


J., and all have excellent options. On the lighter side

If a dog is a man’s best friend, why shouldn’t he or she get a gift as well? Los Angeles-based Lena Pavia creates Chanukah hats to get your beloved pooch (or pussycat) in the holiday spirit, and sells them on Pavia’s kippahs are handcrafted with a Star of David and peyos that are suited for any “teacup, small and medium”sized pet.

Hands-on holiday

Use old family recipes or new reinterpretations to treat the family every night. Rather than buy gifts, why not whip up a different dessert for every night and package it nicely with blue and white ribbon? Many party stores also offer Star of David confetti and stickers to accent your DIY gift as well. Not only will it be delicious, but your own masterpiece is often more meaningful than anything you could buy. Just kidding

Keep your kinder looking cool at this year’s family dinner with an organic glow-in-the-dark oneKitsch for the kitchen sie or fancy blue and white Jealous of Bubbe’s latkes, sufbib, both from ganiyot and kugel? Strive to Is your tyke a toddler? Outfit him make your grandma proud in some sweet T-shirts from with your own cooking, using Even local the help of some of this year’s department stores are catching newest Chanukah-themed photo/courtesy of lena pavia on; Macys, Target and Walmart cookbooks. Many traditional Caps for your pet all have affordable themed foods are heavy-handed on the oil to assure that we don’t forget what this holiday is options this holiday season. Perhaps you’re feeling more like a and want to give somereally about. But for those looking for a fresh and healthy alternative, Barbara Lori offers the “Healthy thing more meaningful. There’s no better time than now to Chanukah Cookbook: Savory Jewish Holiday Recipes,” give your child his or her own personalized tzedakah box. There are plenty of handcrafted options available on available on Kindle. Even a seasoned pro in the kitchen can cook up some and your little car lover will both love and learn Chanukah spirit with an “Oy to the World” or “Latke Chef from their own train-shaped box from Your tech-savvy teens will surely thank you for the hip, BBQ” apron from, plates and serving platters from, or a cookie cutter new Chanukah-themed iPad covers from or set from including shofar, dreidel iPhone cases from that are fun, festive and protective. and kiddush cup shapes — for the kids.

| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California


PeninsulaTemple Sholom

Fire up your latkes with pungent toppings mollie katzen




Unique & Traditional Chanukah Gifts & Supplies

Chipotle Cream Yields 1 cup

Here’s a fresh twist for the Chanukah table, without intruding on your latke loyalties. How about switching the toppings? You can always have the usual applesauce and sour cream on hand, but consider adding some intrigue and savory twists — in addition to sneaking in vegetables, herbs, nuts and olive oil — to the options on the menu. Add some lentil soup and a green salad, and your Chanukah celebration will be colorful and compelling.

Chipotle chilies are smoked dried jalapenos. They most commonly come in cans, packed in a vinegar preparation called adobo sauce. A little bit of canned chipotles-in-adobo goes a very long way, both in terms of its heat and its powerful smoky essence. In this sauce, sour cream and/or yogurt create a soothing, luxurious vehicle for the chipotle flavor. 1 cup sour cream or yogurt (or a combination) 1 ⁄2 to 1 tsp.canned chipotle chilies, finely minced

Special Holiday Hours: Dec. 2nd & Dec. 9th • 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. & by appointment 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame • For more information call 650-697-2266

Place the sour cream and/or yogurt in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1⁄2 tsp. minced chipotles, and let it sit for about 10 minutes, so the flavor can develop. Taste to see if it needs more chipotle paste, and adjust as desired. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Red Pepper-Walnut Paste photo/wikimedia commons

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri Yields about 2/3 cup

Chimichurri, the “national sauce” of Argentina, is also common in Honduras and other Latin American countries. It’s a complex green paste, similar to a pesto, but containing a greater variety of herbs, and a tart taste from the presence of vinegar. Chimichurri is normally served with roasted or grilled meat or fish, but it’s also delicious on cooked potatoes and vegetables, pasta, grains and sandwiches. It’s also a terrific dab of flavor for latkes — either directly on top, or as a green dollop on the sour cream. 1 1 ⁄4 1 ⁄4 1

cup (packed) minced cilantro cup (packed) minced parsley cup minced scallions Tbs. minced fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried oregano) 1 tsp. minced or crushed garlic Big pinch of cayenne 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar 1 ⁄4 tsp. salt 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Place the cilantro, parsley, scallions and oregano in a food processor, and mince finely. Add the garlic, cayenne, vinegar, salt and process to a paste, with the food processor running until everything is fully incorporated. Drizzle in the oil at the very end. Transfer to a tightly lidded container and refrigerate until use. (Will keep for a week or two if stored in a tightly lidded container in the refrigerator.)

Yields 3 to 4 cups

Based on the Middle Eastern sauce called muhammar, this delicious paste is simultaneously pungent, slightly hot and sweet. I make it often and keep it around for many uses: as a topping for pilafs and other cooked grains, for spreading on pizza, toast, crackers and sandwiches, and as a dip for cooked or raw vegetables. I also love it on latkes. 2 heaping cups lightly toasted walnuts or almonds 2 to 3 medium cloves garlic One 12-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained 1 Tbs. cider vinegar 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 1 ⁄4 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. honey or agave nectar 1 tsp. salt (or to taste) Black pepper and cayenne to taste

Place the walnuts and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground, but not yet a paste. Cut the peppers into chunks, and add them to the food processor, along with the vinegar, lemon juice, cumin and honey. Process to a fairly smooth paste, then transfer to a bowl and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. (Keeps well for at least a week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In fact, the flavors deepen over time.) ■

Mollie Katzen is a Berkeley-based chef and the author of the “Moosewood Cookbook” and other cookbooks.


| November 23, 2012

chanukah gifts & food

New Chanukah kids books: high seas adventures, food and fun penny schwartz



An imaginative historical tale of adventure set on the high seas will captivate young readers this Chanukah season. “Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue” is one of a few new children’s books for the Festival of Lights, which begins this year the evening of Dec. 8. Meanwhile, two fun-filled books aim to get food-loving kids of all ages into the kitchen with tantalizing menus while offering other fun holiday activities.

but his father is fearful, recalling the tragedy of the Inquisition in his home country of Portugal, where Jews were not free to practice their faith. “This isn’t Portugal, Papa. This is

“Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue”

Right from the opening pages, young readers will know they’re in for something out of the ordinary. Set in the 18th century whaling port of New Bedford, Mass., the fictionalized historical tale by Heidi Smith Hyde tells the story of a spirited 9-year-old Jewish boy named Emanuel Aguilar, whose father is a merchant selling sailing supplies and other provisions to the city’s whalers. “Papa, when will I be old enough to go to sea?” Emanuel asks his father, who cautions his son against the dangers of whaling. Emanuel yearns to place the family menorah in the window during Chanukah

America!” Emanuel protests, reminding his father that Chanukah celebrates religious freedom. On the last day of Chanukah, Emanuel stows away aboard a whaling ship, leaving a note for his papa explaining his hope to be free. But a sudden and vicious storm transforms the fun adventure, as Emanuel learns firsthand the dangers of the sea. By story’s end, the reunited father

and son find hope and courage in the light of Chanukah and its power to inspire freedom. Artist Jamel Akib’s richly colored pastel paintings cast a luminous glow across the landscape. His highly detailed, realistic illustrations put readers into the story, from the interiors of the merchant shop and the family home to the dramatic scenes at sea. Hyde was inspired to create the story after reading an article about Jewish involvement in New Bedford’s whaling industry. Jews were an integral part of the industry in New England coastal areas, she learned, serving as merchants, candle exporters and ship owners. Some Jews in the region practiced their faith in secret. Hyde says she was struck by the parallels with Chanukah, with its themes of the miracle of the oil and religious freedom. In “Emanuel,” she wanted to explore what it means to hide one’s identity. “Mostly, I want kids to realize that it’s important to be themselves, not to be afraid of who they are,” she said.

One box tells readers that Chanukah and Christmas coincide once every 38 years. Who knew?

book review

“Hanukkah Sweets and Treats”

This colorful book offers step-by-step instructions for six holiday recipes, including Luscious Latkes, Easy Applesauce, Fudgy Gelt and a Cupcake Menorah. The large-print format with lots of photographs and graphics opens with a two-page spread, “Before You Begin Cooking,” with lists of what you will need, safety precautions, and even a section on how to use measuring spoons. Boxed sidebars offer little-known facts on the history of apples, a note on the nutrition of potatoes (must be before they’re fried in oil) and this astonishing statistic: The largest bakery in Israel produces up to 250,000 sufganiyot (Israelistyle filled doughnuts) on each of the eight days of Chanukah. A simple glossary defines words such as dough, Maccabees, vitamin and Yiddish.

All recipes are marked with a dreidel symbol indicating whether they are dairy, meat or parve — and with a dreidel score “Maccabee Meals: Food ranging from no-cooking ease to the hardand Fun for Hanukkah” er use of hot stove with an adult. Authors Judye Groner and Madeline Wikler Instructions for crafts, playing dreidel and know a thing or two about kids and fun for candle blessings complete the book. the Jewish holidays. The pair have co-written Parents will likely appreciate the page on more than two dozen books, including their party etiquette and this one-liner: first, “My Very Own Haggadah,” that has sold “Remember, good cooks always leave the more than 2 million kitchen neat and clean.” “Emanuel and the copies. Look for other other Hanukkah Rescue” by Heidi “Maccabee Meals” new Chanukah chilSmith Hyde (32 pages, Kar-Ben Publishing, features large, easy-todren’s books as well. $17.95 hardcover; $7.95 paperback) read print, lots of lively Kar-Ben, for example, Ages 5-9 illustrations and a selechas many — including “Hanukkah Sweets and tion of enticing, unique the sweet “Jeremy’s Treats” by Ronne Randall (32 pages, recipes such as Waffle Dreidel,” which includes Windmill Books, $26.50) Ages 8-11 Latkes with yogurt, or directions for crafts “Maccabee Meals: Food Chocolate Star Dreidels. projects; and “The and Fun for Hanukkah” by Inter-spersed with the Count’s Hanukkah Judye Groner and Madeline Wikler recipes and drawings Countdown,” featur(64 pages, Kar-Ben Publishing, $8.95) are short stories and ing Sesame Street Ages 7-12. other Chanukah facts. characters. ■



| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California


Deliciously drinkable gifts for the adults in your family anna harwood


special to j.

The children’s presents are sorted, the latkes have been fried, the menorah polished and ready for candles. Yet when it comes to getting presents for the more mature members of the family, it is often a last-minute dash to the local gift shop. This year, prepare in advance with an easy choice: wine. Israeli wine, all kosher. For mom

A recent poll published in the New York Times found that 52 percent of women (respondents) rated wine as the alcoholic beverage of choice. When choosing the perfect bottle for your wife, mother or woman friend, you can’t go wrong with a fizz-tastic bottle of bubbly to make her night. The Gilgal Brut (approximately $18) is a crisp, floral, dry sparkling wine, made with the traditional grapes and method used in Champagne wines. This wine makes a delicious aperitif but can also be paired with fruity desserts or a light fish meal. With hints of tropical fruits, wild strawberries and fresh flowers, the delicate taste leaves you wanting another sip. Popping open a bottle of bubbly surrounded by the family is a great way for your mom to toast the start of Chanukah. For dad

There is an unfounded myth that women prefer white wines and men prefer reds. Time after time, experiments show that when given blind tastings, women have a slightly more sensitive palate, but in general a good wine

is a good wine, and there is no difference in preferences between the two genders. Surprising him with a strong white wine will open up a new world of wines he may have never thought existed. Last year was a good year for the Golan Heights winery Yarden. In addition to winning the award for the world’s top wine producer at Vinitaly 2011, Yarden also took a Grand Gold medal for its Chardonnay Odem ($20). This white wine is produced from the Odem Organic Vineyard, located at the foot of the Nount Hermon in the North. The wine is a potpourri of aromas and flavors: blossom, citrus and tropical fruit notes are complemented with vanilla, woody and mineral flavors.

that lingers in the mouth long after the last drop is sipped. For grandma

A lovely wine packaged in an unusual bottle with an attractive label gives grandma an excuse for extending gratitude and that all important wet kiss — before she’s even uncorked the wine. The Galil Yiron ($25) comes in an aesthetically pleasing bottle with a delightful image of the Galilee region on its label. The 2008 vintage recently won a gold at the Challenge International du Vin 2012, and the 2009 vintage has been released to the U.S. wine market to rave reviews. The Yiron is a cabernet, merlot and petit verdot blend that has a perfect combination of berry and dark fruit flavors, complemented by a touch of oak. This wine has a long, velvety finish, making it the perfect present for a sophisticated granny.

For grandpa

As we get older our palates tend to change, often becoming less sensitive to taste. Therefore a good, powerful wine is needed to reinvigorate the taste buds. Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon ($20) is a classic, intense wine that perfectly pairs with a full-flavored meal. As with all wines, different years produce different qualities of vintage, but Yarden Cabernet Sauvignons consistently win awards across the international wine scene. If you want to wow grandpa with a bottle big enough to serve the entire family, the Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes available in 1.5 liter magnum bottles. On the other hand, to satisfy the most refined palate, consider the Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon El Rom — a limited edition, exuberant wine with a delicious taste

For 20-somethings

For novice wine drinkers, it takes time to define what one likes in a glass of wine. Learning how to appreciate wine visually, aromatically and to distinguish flavors in a lighter wine is an important education before moving on to more intensely flavored ones. The Golan Sion Creek ($11) is a popular, easy-to-drink wine with notes of melon, guava and other tropical fruits. It strikes the perfect balance between a dry and sweet wine and has enough complexity to intrigue the palate. ■

Anna Harwood is a freelance writer based in Israel.

Nonprofit launches ‘Heifer at Hanukkah’ campaign Dreidels, latkes and menorahs come to mind when one thinks of Chanukah, but Heifer International also wants people to consider goats, vegetable seeds and chicks this time of year.

new program, “Heifer at Hanukkah,” that enables people to make a donation as a Chanukah gift for a loved one. Donation options include a flock of chicks ($20), a women’s self-help group ($72) and a goat ($120). There are also more expensive options such as an “ark,” which for $5,000 supplies a family with 15 pairs of animals. Once the gift is made, Heifer International will send the friend or family member being honored by the donation a card or email describing the benefits of the gift. Heifer International is publicizing its Chanukah campaign at hanukkah. Heifer International’s mission photo/courtesy of heifer international underscores sustainability, both Frony Chaima of Malawi, with a heifer in terms of helping people her family got from Heifer International achieve self-reliance and proThat’s because the Arkansas-based inter- moting environmentally sound solutions national aid nonprofit known for provid- to poverty. ing livestock to those in need has set up a “What I like most about Heifer

International is the simplicity and certainty of donor impact: Donations buy animals and training, which produce food and income, which leads to self-sufficiency,” said Jonathan Blank, the national chairperson and creator of Heifer at Hanukkah. “It’s a formula that I understand, a formula that works.” — george altshuler ■

We’re got Nut-Free Gelt & Divine Chocolate Gelt 415.563.6563 • At the JCCSF 3220 California St., San Francisco

Alef Bet J u d a i c a

We have al great b selection for your Chanukah celebration

Unique & Elegant Jewish Art & Gifts Israeli Art & Jewelry Mezuzot, Talitot Ketubot, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Invitations, Cards & Books Holiday Items & Music

Chanukah gifts that help support Israel Give a gift that supports Israel: the Jewish National Fund has holiday greeting cards, candles and other items available for purchase at its website, Items include hand-dipped Rite Lite Chanukah candles, stained-glass mezuzahs, holiday greeting cards and personalized tree certificates. Shipping is free on all purchases. A portion of sales proceeds will go to JNF, a nonprofit that has planted 250 million trees and built 210 reservoirs and dams among its many projects in Israel.

Nurit Sabadosh 408.370.1818 14103/D Winchester Blvd., Los Gatos


| November 23, 2012


No truce will solve Gaza problem As we go to press, Hamas and Israel are inching toward a negotiated cease-fire that we hope will avert an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza. While we give thanks that the open hostilities might cease — for now— a truce in no way ends the real conflict. Rather, it simply allows both sides to tally the price of war. At least five Israelis died this past week, with scores more injured. More than 100 Palestinians died. Israel did everything possible to minimize civilian casualties, while Hamas terrorists did the opposite, deliberately aiming for civilian centers. On Nov. 20, Israel even sent 24 trucks of food and medical supplies to Gaza; Hamas prevented another 98 trucks from entering. This latest round of fighting revealed much that is new in the military capabilities on both sides and the geopolitical forces at play. Perhaps the biggest shock has been Hamas’ targeting of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Gaza-based terrorists can now reach Israel’s populous center, a disturbing development that cannot be allowed to stand. At the same time, the world witnessed Israel’s extraordinary pinpoint targeting as its air force took out scores of Gaza-based arms depots, Hamas offices, smuggling tunnels and rocket launchers. And then there was the miraculous performance of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which intercepted hundreds of rockets that otherwise could have caused mass casualties. Iron Dome scored a nearly 90 percent success rate. Add it up, and Israel has advanced markedly in intelligence gathering and protecting the homeland. On the other hand, Hamas’ longrange rocket arsenal alters the security equation for Israel. Factor in the close ties between Hamas and the Islamist government of Egypt, and Israel has an untenable problem on its hands. We seem to have reached a stalemate. Each side wants something the other is unwilling to give. Hamas won’t stop waging war until Israel lifts the blockade of Gaza. Israel won’t lift the blockade until Hamas stops the rockets. Because of political changes in the Middle East, especially in Egypt, Israel is in a weaker position internationally than it was four years ago after its last Gaza incursion. At the same time, Hamas can claim greater international legitimacy and more support from the Arab world. This is a harsh new reality, one that threatens to hamper Israel’s position in future negotiations. Two decades ago, Israel recognized that a negotiated two-state solution is the only way forward to peace. This past week, Hamas has paid a steep price for its refusal to give up armed terror and accept its Jewish neighbor. It’s time for the world to press them to do so. ■



letters Support for grieving parents Thank you for honoring and acknowledging the bereaved parent community in our area (“Memory Garden,” cover story, Nov. 9). It is important to recognize there is free support in the Bay Area for families suffering the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. Helping After Neonatal Death (HAND) serves parents from the Peninsula to San Francisco (, and Support After Neonatal Death (SAND) serves families in the East Bay ( There also are free support groups for parents in subsequent pregnancy after loss at CPMC’s Newborn Connections Program in San Francisco ( and at HAND of the Peninsula. Although these groups are not Jewish-specific, parents can expect their experience as Jewish mourners to be honored by group facilitators and participants. Indeed, as facilitator for the pregnancy after loss support group, I often share our Jewish traditions (especially the tradition of giving tzedakah or performing acts of kindness in memory of a loved one) as one of many ways parents may consider memorializing their beloved dead children. As a bereaved parent with two subsequent children, finding meaningful ways for our love for firstborn daughter, Julia, to be present in our family continues nearly 10 years after her stillbirth. The Memory Garden project acknowledges that these children, even in death, continue to matter. Thank you for helping to validate the emotional needs of bereaved parents in our community. Cherie Golant, LCSW | San Francisco Founder and facilitator Pregnancy After Loss Support Group CPMC Newborn Connections Program

‘Raw hatred’ in S.F. protest Witnessing an anti-Israel demonstration can be a chilling experience.

| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California


It’s not just that Palestinians and their like-minded friends are better organized, more numerous and more savvy exploiters of the media war against the Jewish state. Or that their signs are bigger and falsely accuse Israel of everything from apartheid to genocide to homophobia. And it’s not just that their amplified anti-Israel chants are ominous — especially the repeated shouts for another intifada. What produces an unnerving chill is the anti-Israel crowd’s unmistakable message: hatred of the Jewish state and the desire for its destruction. In San Francisco, the unarmed protesters shot their raw hatred across Montgomery Street last week, targeting the few Israel supporters who waved flags and held signs that included the word “peace.” In Israel, this same hatred — magnified by armed Hamas killers — is the message attached to the Iranian rockets and missiles raining down on any and all targets in the Jewish state. In the face of such murderous hatred, whoever cares about Israel should not be silent. June Brott



Israel cannot afford restraint Let’s be clear about who started this round between Israel and Gaza. Since the beginning of the year, more than 800 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel. This never seems to make the news until Israel finally says, LETTERS, 24 ■ ■ ■

letters policy j. welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must not exceed 200 words and must be dated and signed with current address and daytime telephone number. j. also reserves the right to edit letters. The deadline is noon Monday for any given week’s publication. Email letters to or mail to j., 225 Bush St., Suite 780, S.F., CA 94104.


NGOs remained silent as Hamas shelled Israel — condemnation began only after Israel responded Silence is golden. So goes the proverb. But silence can be deadly when nongovernmental organizations claiming the mantles of human rights and peace fail to speak out when the lives of millions of Israelis are threatened by indiscriminate rocket fire. Each rocket from Gaza is a war crime, but only after Israel responded forcefully on Nov. 14 did these NGOs suddenly speak. In the weeks prior to Operation Pillar of Defense, one such group, the Oakland-based Jewish Voice for Peace, lost its voice when Hamas and other terror groups were bombarding southern Israel. JVP was silent as 1 million Israelis were forced into shelters, as dozens were wounded, and children were traumatized. Only after the Israel Defense Forces responded was JVP’s laryngitis cured. In record time, they created a section on their website called “Take Action for Gaza” complete with links to anti-Israel protests around the world (at the Nov. 16 San Francisco protest promoted on this list, “peace activists” chanted “Zionist scum, your time has come”) and a “Gaza protest toolkit.” The “toolkit” offers downloadable graphics with slogans like “Another Jew Against Attacks on Civilians. Stop the Bombs. Stop the Siege. Stop the Blank Check to the Israeli Military with U.S. Tax Dollars.” Yitzhak Santis is chief programs officer at NGO Monitor in Jerusalem. He made aliyah two years ago and is the immediate past director of Middle East affairs at the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Relations Council.

But JVP offers no slogans protesting Hamas war crimes Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Gisha, Palestinian against Israeli civilians. Center for Human Rights, Medical Aid for Palestinians, In a further display of cynically exploiting moral val- BADIL, Sabeel, and many more. ues, JVP’s official press release explicitly blames the Gaza This is nothing new. These groups employ the strategy crisis on Israel. Not until the statement’s fourth sentence, of using human rights language to attack Israel that was without naming Hamas or any other terror group, does adopted during the infamous 2001 U.N. “anti-racism” JVP “also urge the end of rocket attacks from Gaza into conference in Durban. At that gathering, some 1,500 civilian communities in Israel.” Their statement also NGOs embraced a declaration calling on the “internaholds Israel responsible “for the well-being and safety of tional community to impose a policy of complete and Palestinian civilians in Gaza.” total isolation of Israel.” This But JVP fails to hold Hamas declaration of political war, the responsible for the safety of JVP offers no slogans “Durban strategy,” seeks to Israeli civilians. Nor does undermine the legitimacy of JVP’s statement demand that protesting Hamas war the right of the Jewish people Hamas protect Gazans situatto sovereign equality. The boyed near weapons depots and crimes against Israeli cott, divestment and sanctions launch sites deliberately (BDS) campaign is its main placed by Hamas in populated civilians. thrust. Many of these NGOs, areas. including JVP, support BDS. Amnesty International, For these NGOs, the rights which has a history of intense anti-Israeli ideological bias, of millions of Israelis to live in security are secondary to was also silent during the weeks of Hamas rocket attacks. their program of undermining Israel’s right to defend its Like JVP, Amnesty released a statement only after the IDF citizens. In this way these NGOs act, whether by design or responded, condemning Israel for placing “civilians in by accident, as the de facto soft power arm for Hamas and Gaza and southern Israel at grave risk by re-igniting the its ilk. armed conflict there.” In this warped and immoral logic, In the Bay Area, the local manifestation of this antiit is not Hamas that is guilty of war crimes, but rather the Israel NGO network is seen in the numerous anti-Israel IDF and Israeli officials who are defending their citizens. rallies outside the Israeli Consulate. These local anti-Israel The pattern of silence in the face of Israeli civilian suf- groups are plugged into the global NGO network. JVP’s fering, and thunderous condemnation when Israel posting a link on its website to “global actions” against defends its citizens, is repeated by dozens of other NGOs Israel demonstrates this clearly. This is a case of the Bay (primarily funded by the EU, European governments, Area’s progressive values gone awry. Speaking out against and in some cases, the New Israel Fund), such as the policies with which one does not agree is not the NGOs, 24 Alternative Information Center, Oxfam International, ■ ■ ■

For Israel, it’s easier to go into Gaza than to get out Of all the merits of the Iron Dome system, my favorite is its ability to distinguish between a malignant missile and a benign one, between a dangerous enemy and an insignificant one, between wheat and chaff. Had the Americans developed such a system, they would have programmed it to fire at anything that flies, regardless of the cost. They go for quantity; we go for quality. They go for destruction; we go for distinction. In short, Iron Dome stokes Israeli pride. During one of my long nights in Beersheva, between one color red alert and the next, I thought to myself: It’s a shame that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t an Iron Dome. He has learned so many important things during his years in politics, but he hasn’t learned to separate wheat from chaff, to distinguish between a dangerous enemy and an insignificant one. Operation Pillar of Defense was meant to replicate Operation Cast Lead of four years ago, with some marginal improvements. The Israel Defense Forces, at the instructions of then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak, perceived the operation as one round of many: There were Nahum Barnea is a columnist at, where this piece originally appeared.

rules to the game between Israel and Hamas. The rules were gradually worn out to our disadvantage, both in terms of the Palestinians’ activity against the IDF and in terms of the permission Hamas gave itself and other organizations to fire rockets at Israeli communities. The IDF will deal the organizations a series of blows from the air. Egypt will intervene. A cease-fire will be obtained, based on the previous rules of the game. And then the rules will wear out again, and there will be another round, and another wear-out, and another round. Everyone understood that only two moves could break the vicious circle: occupying Gaza and keeping it under the control of IDF soldiers, or accepting Hamas. Netanyahu won’t agree to either one of them. The lessons learned from Operation Cast Lead were tactical: The intelligence improved, allowing Israel to bomb more important targets on the day the operation was launched; the use of different aircraft improved; the number of casualties among Gaza’s civilians was significantly reduced; and, of course, the Israelis in southern and central Israel felt more protected thanks to the Iron Dome system. But the main thing did not change. After days of fighting, and negotiations for a cease-fire this week, the government faces the same dilemma as did the previous government: Hamas is not giving up; its regime has not collapsed; Ismail Haniyeh has not come out of the bunker with his hands up. On the contrary, Hamas rockets have continued to fall, from Beersheva to Tel Aviv.


Compared with Cast Lead, the conditions have become even worse. Then, a large part of the Arab world hoped for Hamas’ downfall. Today, those same governments stand by Hamas. Then, Israel recruited Egypt to force a cease-fire on Hamas. Today, although the Egyptian government did lead negotiations to declare a cease-fire, its heart lies with Hamas, as well. What is the right thing to do? An Israeli agreement to end the operation without tilting the balance — essentially, a tie — will not be seen favorably by the public. That’s what happened at the end of Cast Lead: The voters were disappointed, and in the elections held three weeks later they transferred two Knesset seats from Kadima to the right. Then, Netanyahu was on the benefiting side. Now he’s on the responsible side. He chose a different way: To threaten Egypt and Hamas ENTERING, 24 ■ ■ ■

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 mail to J. the Jewish news weekly,

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| November 23, 2012



NGOs silent until Israel responds

from 22 “Enough!” and fires back. Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas’ military wing, was targeted because he was directly responsible for executing terror attacks. But the first strike was those 800 rockets for a year on Israeli civilians, and that should be noted in every report. So, if you read in the papers or hear on TV or radio the claim that Israel, by responding to terror in its borders, is squandering peace and “reacting disproportionately,” I hope you consider that Israel cannot afford restraint when its children are fleeing for their lives at the sound of warning sirens, and the sounds of missiles are overhead. ■■■

from 23 question. Rather, being selective is. Silence when millions of Israelis are under fire has nothing to do with progressive values and everything to do with ideological dogmatism. The application of anti-democratic double standards and hypocrisy by the anti-Israel NGO network — to which JVP belongs — is incompatible with the moral foundations of universal human rights. If these ideologically motivated groups continue abusing human rights language to attack Israel, the moral foundation governing international law eventually will collapse. ■■■

Entering Gaza easier than getting out from 23 with a ground offensive. Barak, who as defense minister in Cast Lead pushed for a ground offensive at precisely this stage of the operation, saw no choice this time but to join the threats. The call-up of reserve soldiers was aimed at validating these threats. When making threats, it’s not enough to call up forces. You must convince everyone that a ground offensive has a purpose justifying the cost — fallen soldiers, the killing of civilians on the other side, the loss of international support. In Barak’s instructions to the IDF, however, he made it clear that he does not believe a ground offensive will change the situation. And so once again, like in 2006 and in 2008, Israel finds itself entangled. Instead of settling for the goals it achieved, the political echelon is tormented by how to emerge from this affair with a sense of victory. What will they say in Gaza, what will they say in the Arab world and, most importantly, what will Israeli voters say in two months? The government learns once again what its predecessors had already learned: Beginnings are easy, but the way out of Gaza is hard. ■■■

Sheree Roth


Palo Alto

Jewish values voters It surprises me that we interpret the Jewish vote only in the light of a candidate’s perceived views and support for Israel (“The hunt for the Jewish vote,” the column, Nov. 16). We do ourselves a disservice, I believe, when we ignore the importance of Jewish values in the voting decision. Clearly in this year’s election, positions on care for the stranger, the poor, minorities, women, gays, health care, fairness and access to opportunity, all central concerns of our tradition, had to provide a strong foundation for voting decisions. Perhaps this is what Republicans miss about the Jewish vote. It is about Israel, but it is not all about Israel. And the fact that we continue to support candidates who reflect our values should give us confidence that we are transmitting these core beliefs across generations. Barry Sherman



Supporting the arts All of us at the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund enjoyed the Charitable Giving article “Newbie artists find latent talents at Jewish Home” (Nov. 9), about the creative arts program at the Jewish Home. Since 1992, the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund has been

pleased to support the Jewish Home with grants totaling nearly $500,000. This includes a recent grant for long-term sponsorship of the weekly ads in j. featuring art created by residents of the Jewish Home. Debbie Findling | San Francisco Strategic philanthropy adviser Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund

Adelson cartoon ‘disgraceful’ For you to have such an insulting depiction of Sheldon Adelson on your editorial page (Nov. 16) is disgraceful! Whatever your “view” is on his support of the candidate who didn’t win, it is way “beyond” good taste or common sense to make fun of him as you did in that cartoon. He happens to be the main man who financed Birthright! And you depict him looking like a lunatic in that “cartoon”? Maurice Edelstein


San Francisco

Unfair and unbalanced I just spent the past week in Israel. Every day, Hamas sent dozens of rockets into southern Israel. I could not find mention of this in the international media. Every night, Israeli TV showed images of bloody Israelis hit by these rockets. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kept warning that Israel would have to respond. When Israel did respond, the media overwhelmingly made it sound like Israeli aggression. The U.N. Security Council met over this “crisis.” NPR played portions of the funeral of the Gaza leader killed. And BBC radio news is just completely absurd. This type of fraud hurts everyone, including the Palestinians. I have been hearing reports like this out of Israel for many years; rockets out of Gaza are ignored until Israel responds. Nonetheless, it was truly shocking to see it firsthand, and then to hear back in the U.S. the blatantly false reporting by NPR, BBC and others. Art Altman


New York City

Israel’s south holds on, but how much more must we take? For the past year or two, missiles have come raining down on southern Israel every few months. Somehow, as the pundits endlessly talked it out on evening news programs, this became an acceptable situation, as unavoidable as bad weather. The Israeli government was trying to avoid “escalation” in Gaza and confrontation with Egypt, and the oref, the citizens at the front line, would have to tough it out — or not. We, the residents of southern Israel who live within a 60-mile radius of Gaza (that is, within range of a Grad missile), were encouraged to build safe rooms in our house, seek support if we were feeling nervous and otherwise learn to adjust to a situation where we were in ultimate waiting mode — waiting for the next alarm, the next school closure, the next “episode” when an occasional missile or two might fall nearby. And oddly enough, like good lab rats, we did just that. We learned to drive with our car windows open so Faye Bittker lives in Meitar, just outside Beersheva. She made aliyah more than two decades ago from Rochester, N.Y. ..


that we could hear sirens while on the open road. We taught our children how to fall asleep again once they were moved into the safe room in the middle of the night. We developed a whole slew of coping mechanisms that range from “dressing for missiles” — no heels or straight skirts allowed — to black humor, acknowledging the absurdity of living in this kind of situation. A child woke up from a crash of thunder last winter screaming, “missiles,” and we got to make jokes about how children of the Negev are more familiar with the sound of falling Grad missiles than actual rain. We became old war heroes, exchanging stories of close calls from the missiles of 2009 versus those of 2010 and ’11. But as time has gone on, our resistance has worn away. Our kids are showing signs of severe stress. Our spouses have stopped eating when there is news about an attack in Gaza. Our blood pressure goes up as we count off the locations where missiles have fallen, sometimes when we were only a few hundred meters away. The sound of a distant car alarm sets off a crying jag that simply has no real justification other than that burning feeling of not being able to take it anymore. The unified, resilient front is still there, but it is being propped up by a million people living under threat of missile fire, each of us forced to confront our own indi-

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vidual fears. My own response has already become physical — clearly a manifestation of PTSD. And I am not alone. All my rational understanding of the futility of war has simply become raw, unpolished fear that comes over me when I hear that piercing sound of the siren. Forget politics. This is Chinese torture. Adrenaline in overdrive. Kids crying. Powerlessness to the logical extreme. All I want is for someone to make it stop, but for that to happen there would have to be an acknowledgement that something was wrong. There would have to be international pressure on the Palestinians to stop these missile attacks. But when I look at the international press coverage, beyond the scope of my circle of friends and family on Facebook, I find the world is indifferent or even hostile to my situation. Israel is blamed no matter what it does. And this only strengthens the resolve of the extremists in Gaza to keep the missiles coming. So as I sit here at home, listening to the booms of the endless barrage of missiles falling over Beersheva, I want to make myself heard. This is an unacceptable situation! War is not like the weather. Missiles are not something that we have to learn to live with like the seasons of the year. This is not the blizzard of 2012. And telling me and my neighbors otherwise is only turning this forecast into one of despair. ■

Dealing with cancer, one painting at a time emma silvers


going to be a doctor himself.” Weinstein still sees Link, both as a patient — for check-ins and follow-up treatment — Josh Weinstein will never forget March 5, and as a mentor. In recent months, 2010. Then a precocious high school Weinstein has been been shadowing the sophomore, he was living in Irvine with physician on his hospital rounds. his mother, Talya, and had been suffering Link, who speaks Hebrew, also confor a few months from a mysterious set nected with the family over their Israeli of symptoms — coughing fits, exhausheritage, and the doctor’s wife was so tion and occasional dizzy spells. He’d taken with Weinstein’s art that the couple gone to the doctor to get checked out, purchased one of his paintings. It now and on that date, got the diagnosis. hangs in Link’s living room. “I love what I Weinstein had Hodgkins lymphoma, a do,” says the doctor, “but it’s kids like Josh cancer of the immune system, and docthat keep me motivated as a physician.” tors said swift surgery would be necessary In addition to the medical team at to save his life. Talya, upon viewing the Stanford, Talya has glowing praise for X-rays, passed out on the hospital floor. the folks at Chai Lifeline, a national Now 18 and a freshman at U.C. Jewish nonprofit that helps young chilBerkeley, Weinstein — who as a toddler dren, teens and families dealing with came to the U.S. from Israel with his cancer and other serious diagnoses. The mother — thinks back on the past two organization helped the duo throughyears with the studied self-awareness of out Weinstein’s illness, having Shabbat someone who has had to grow up a bit meals delivered to them at the hospital faster than he planned. and arranging for financial assistance Seated on the couch in the small that allowed them to relocate to Palo North Berkeley apartment he and his “The Long Road to Freedom” by Josh Weinstein Alto for treatment. “I’m a single mom, mother share, Weinstein is on the rebound following surgery and months of debilitating work (including T-shirts) online, at www.winningmywar and I stopped working after Josh’s diagnosis to help him — there’s no way I could have done all that on my own,” chemotherapy and radiation. His light brown hair, which Weinstein’s artwork has been recognized in the medical says Talya. had fallen out, is healthy and full. His cancer has been in community as well — in December of last year, he and his “I’m inspired by him,” says Randi Grossman, director of remission for roughly a year. In the room with him are two of the most important mother were invited to the American Society of Chai Lifeline’s West Coast office. “The way he conducted factors in his recovery. There’s his mother, who quit her Hematology’s annual meeting in San Diego, where a phar- himself throughout these trials is absolutely extraordicounseling job in Southern California and moved to Palo maceutical group turned a painting of Weinstein’s called nary.” In a video about the nonprofit’s art therapy proAlto with her son after the two determined Stanford’s “Navigating the Storm” into an interactive mosaic on gram, the organization features Weinstein speaking about oncology department was the best equipped to treat which cancer patients, family members and caregivers how art helped to ease his mind. could write inspirational messages. The mother-son duo have become passionate patient Weinstein’s cancer. And then there’s his art. advocates. Talya, a therapist and life While undergoing sometimes 12coach, is writing a book about the hour-long days of chemotherapy, battle — she was “stunned” by the Weinstein (who says he dabbled in art dearth of personal accounts availas a child but never took it seriously) able when she tried to read up on began to paint and draw. Some of his her son’s illness. “Part of my goal is work — full of chaotic, vibrant color to bring attention to pediatric cancombinations and anxious, tired eyes cer, the fact that it exists and that it — depicts the fear and uncertainty of doesn’t have to be a death sentence, being ill. An ink drawing, a detailed and that it can be handled with hand partially composed of metal and grace,” she says. wires, reflects Weinstein’s frustration Josh has spoken about his expeat being hooked up to machines all rience at a number of schools, and the time. saw firsthand the impact he could Others — like the one of a small, lone have. figure in black, venturing out toward a “There was one time when a litrich, otherworldly landscape — are tle girl came up to me after the about moving on. photos/emma silvers assembly and started talking about “Painting was a way for me to relax, to Josh Weinstein with his mom, Talya, and at home with his artwork. her father dealing with cancer,” he extract some of these negative emoThose who know him — including the doctors and says. “This was something her teachers didn’t even realtions: the anger, the ‘why me?’ kind of feelings,” says Weinstein, who plans to major in molecular and cell biolo- other adults he has met over the last year and a half — ly know about, but she felt like it was a good space to say the teen’s obvious maturity, curiosity and compas- share in, which made me feel good.” gy (he wants to be a doctor) and minor in art. In addition to those in the medical and arts commuDuring treatments, Talya would bring in music — Josh sion have made him a pleasure to work with. Dr. prefers modern opera — and watch her son paint. Doctors Michael Link, who treated Weinstein at Stanford’s nities he’s connected with, Weinstein has recently been got to know his room as the “art studio,” she says, and oncology center, forged a particularly special connection making friends at U.C. Berkeley’s Hillel, attending with the teen. Wednesday evening barbecues and Shabbat dinners. would stop by their breaks in to check out new pieces. “He’s an incredibly talented, sophisticated young man,” Though living with his mother off-campus in a clean, Now, some of these paintings, in addition to others he has created since then, are on exhibit at Berkeley’s says Link. “He was challenging and inquisitive in the best healthy environment makes the most sense in terms of Expressions Gallery, along with a group show featuring possible way: He wants to understand everything, if he’s keeping his cancer at bay, Weinstein is confident he can lead a “normal,” happy, college-student life. local artists ages 16 to 25. It is titled “Celebration, Josh Weinstein’s paintings are on exhibit through “People have been so welcoming, so kind here,” he says. Excitement & Joy.” Last month, Weinstein had a solo Jan. 11, 2013 at Expressions Gallery, 2035 Ashby Ave., Berkeley. “I’m taking everything one day at a time, just being thankexhibit, titled “Painting Through Cancer and Beyond,” at Contact Talya at ful every day.” Berkeley jewelry gallery Zaver & Mor. He also sells his j. staff



| November 23, 2012

the arts Dreams of pop stardom dashed, L.A. cantor creates Jewish spiritual music rebecca spence

photo/courtesy of ikar music lab

Hillel Tigay





In 1999, Hillel Tigay was one-half of the now-defunct Jewish rap group M.O.T. (Members of the Tribe). On songs such as “Kosher Nostra” and “Oh God, Get a Job,” Tigay’s “Hebe-hop” alter-ego, Dr. Dreidel, riffed on such timeworn subjects as Jewish gangsters and gelt-minded mothers. Nearly 15 years later, Tigay, 43, is still taking his musical inspiration from the Jewish experience. But with his latest project, “Judeo,” the rap-inspired sendups of Meyer Lansky and Yiddishe

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mamas have given way to heartfelt Hallelujah choruses and the ancient sounds of Middle Eastern instruments. “There is nobody more surprised by this entire project than me,” said Tigay, sitting barefoot in his wood-paneled living room in West Los Angeles. “If someone had told me 10 years ago that I’d be doing this, I would have laughed like Sarah in the Bible story.” Now a cantor at the progressive Los Angeles congregation Ikar, Tigay’s latest musical undertaking is a CD of Jewish spiritual music, sung in Hebrew and Aramaic, that he hopes will cross over

into the spiritual and world music markets. Like M.O.T., which Tigay describes as a kind of “performance art,” this latest project is concept-heavy. Set for a Dec. 11 release, “Judeo” is based on Tigay’s interpretation of what music might have sounded like 2,000 years ago at the Temple in Jerusalem. While the Bible describes the instruments played — cymbals, drums, lyres and reed flutes, among them — as well as the Levites who sang Psalms during sacrifices, there is, of course, no way to authentically reproduce what the music would have sounded like in the Second Temple period. After the temple’s destruction, the rabbis forbade Jews from playing instruments during prayer services as a sign of mourning and the music was lost. “I had two choices,” Tigay said of the album. “Either go for historical veracity or go for real beauty and resonance, and for me it was a no-brainer.” The result is evident on Judeo’s 10 songs, which owe as much to New Wave and classical music as they do to the haunting sounds of the santur, a steelstringed harp used on the album, or the ney, a reed flute played since antiquity. In a sense, “Judeo” represents an amalgam of Tigay’s diverse influences, including the 1980s pop group Tears For Fears, Peter Gabriel and the Bach fugues he has loved since he was a student of musicology at the University of Pennsylvania. During his last semester at Penn, Tigay left Philadelphia for L.A., where he hoped to land a record deal. He managed to secure one at A&M, but it ultimately fell through. His next break, with M.O.T., faltered when the album was released with no marketing budget the same week as new albums from Seal and Madonna. His dream of pop stardom effectively crushed, Tigay took a job as the cantor at Ikar, where a young rabbi named Sharon Brous was building a synagogue community more dynamic than any he had known growing up in Philadelphia’s Main Line suburbs. As the son of a renowned Bible scholar and Jewish educator, Tigay was heavily steeped in Judaism and had spent parts of his childhood in Israel. But despite his Conservative Jewish upbringing, and the fact that he was getting paid to sing at High Holy Days services while still in high school, Tigay never imagined he’d follow in the family tradition. Seven years later, Tigay does not regret his decision to “go into my parents’ business,” as he puts it. If anything, Ikar has given him a solid platform for creative expression and experimentation. “Judeo” marks the first official project of the Ikar Music Lab, which Tigay and Brous hope will one day become a physical studio space when Ikar acquires its

own building. Over the last several years, as Tigay composed the melodies for “Judeo,” he would bring them to services, where he regularly sings to the accompaniment of a hand drum. “Our community is a living laboratory for the music that Hillel has been creating,” Brous said. “As we learned how to pray more deeply than ever before, there was this beautiful interplay between the real live community and a profoundly talented composer.” Luckily for Tigay, that interplay between composer and community didn’t end with davening. Ikar member Jeff Ayeroff, a music executive who greenlighted Madonna’s career and spearheaded the marketing campaign for Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” proved instrumental in the making of “Judeo.” With a taste for Kirtan, the Hindu devotional music popularized in the United States by artists such as Krishna Das (the

Long Island-born Jeffrey Kagel), Ayeroff encouraged Tigay to create something equally transcendent and uplifting. Ayeroff’s involvement took the album to the next level. To ensure that “Judeo” had broad appeal, he turned to Shiva Baum, the executive producer for Krishna Das’ “Breath of the Heart” album, and called on Brandon Duncan, who had worked on albums by the Rolling Stones and Lucinda Williams, for mixing. Whether “Judeo” finds an audience beyond the confines of the Jewish community is yet to be determined. But Tigay said he’d be happy if the album brings a few unaffiliated members of the tribe back into the fold. “I want to attract disaffected Jews and change things for them,” he said. “If I can give them the religious experience they get from U2 or Coldplay in a Jewish context, then I’ll have accomplished my goal.” ■

by Suzan Berns

Latkes and Biden Singer-comedian Lauren Mayer of San Mateo says she’s “ramping up” to promote “Latkes, Shmatkes,” the comedic album she made last year about (what else?) Chanukah. The series of humorous songs, each in a different musical style, includes titles such as “Eight Is Better than One” and “The Jew-in-a-Gentile-World Blues.” Recently, Mayer says, she’s been “wading into” politics, and the presidential election provided great fodder. In her “Steely-Eyed Joe” video, which is “a tribute to Joe Biden, who gets overshadowed by all the Lauren news about nearly everyone else,” she sings to a Mayer country-western tune: “Paul Ryan might be a studley flirt, but Joe’s who I wanna see without a shirt.” There’s also “Put Me in Your Binder Full of Women” and “It’s a Scary Time to Be a Jewish Mother,” from the perspective of a gay-marriage supporter. About her politics, Mayer says, “All my videos are on the liberal side, but even my friends from high school in Orange County have emailed to say they may disagree with the politics, but they enjoy the comedy.” You can check out Mayer’s clever humor on YouTube, or visit and find out how to include “Latkes, Shmatkes” in your holiday gifting.

Sports report The Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Northern California awarded Golden Bagels to four men for their contributions to sports and the community on Nov. 4. Noted the organization’s Gary Wiener, “As our Golden Bagel honorees sat on the dais, one couldn’t help but notice the diversity: Marc Christensen, who once out-sprinted O.J. Simpson in a track meet, to Jon Greenberg, who has been an inspiration to Potrero Hill kids for over 40 years, to the larger-thanlife multicultural Kenny Kahn, who looks like he could still play football, to the diminutive Len Norack, the official’s official.” Among other things, Christensen is a retired teacher and president of the San Francisco Association of Athletic Coaches; Greenberg runs the 33-year-old S.F.-Bay Area Pro-Am Basketball League; Kahn is a high school football head coach and co-director of Be’chol Lashon’s family camp; and Norack is a former basketball official.

Superstitious? Yep! Pam Baer, whose husband, Larry Baer, is CEO of the San

Francisco Giants, says she always wore a necklace with three charms — a Star of David, peace sign and a heart — during the playoffs. “I find this to be my lucky necklace … it has gotten me through two World Series now!” she says. She also wears one of many scarves with orange in it to every game. “Some are luckier than others, so you often see me for weeks on end wearing the same one.”

Short shorts Historian, teacher and community leader Fred Isaac is the honoree of Jewish LearningWorks’ (formerly the Bureau of Jewish Education) 2012 Phantom Ball. The virtual event, established under the leadership of the late Kerin Lieberman, provides an annual opportunity to support the organization without having to go anywhere or worry about what to wear! Visit to help … Development executive Judith McFadin Alterman of San Rafael has joined American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev as associate director of its Northwest Region. Most recently, she was director of development for Fred Isaac Jewish Family and Children’s Services … Rabbi Elana Zelony of S.F. Congregation Beth Sholom is among 18 fellows of Rabbis Without Borders, an initiative of Clal, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, to help make Jewish thought and practice more available. ■

This columnist can be reached at


| November 23, 2012

the organic epicure

Whether you relish it or not, cholent evokes strong feelings Iris Lax loves her cholent. The marketing director of the Osher Marin JCC, who says cooking is a passion of hers and who loves to entertain, has fond memories of waking up to the smell. “It gives you this warm feeling,” said Lax during a class dedicated to the art of mastering the Jewish stew, part of the JCC’s four-part “Cooking Jewish” series. “It feeds your soul.” For the uninitiated, cholent is a stew that observant Jews have cooked since ancient times. It is started Friday before sundown and left to simmer slowly overnight, thereby allowing religious Jews to have a hot meal on Shabbat without violating the ban

on starting a new fire. According to Claudia Roden, an expert on Jewish cuisine and author of “The Book of Jewish Food,” the word is believed to have its origins in medieval France, combining the words for “hot” (chault) and “slow” (lent). In England, where family cholent pots were often taken to the communal bakery to be cooked and picked up by the children after synagogue, the word was widely believed to come from the words “shul” and “end.” Sephardic Jews have their own version, as well — “hamin” (hot). I was dismayed to read in Roden’s book that “A test of ‘who is a Jew’ is supposed to

be whether you like cholent.” I guess in that carries into my personal kitchen, as well — case I would fall into the not-a-Jew catego- this was a bit troubling for me. I suppose ry, along with many fellow Jews of my gen- one can always use grass-fed beef, organic eration. Perhaps it’s because we didn’t grow ketchup and organic cola. But then there up with cholent, or because it lands in your are those who would say that when it comes to food, I’m way too snobby for my stomach with a thud. While a Facebook post on this topic made me realize that plenty of my friends love it — I got descriptions of a cholent made from duck, a Persian-style vegan one, one made from short ribs and Malbec, and one veggie version that uses jackfruit — I also got this response: “I despise it. And I don’t use that word a lot. Tastes like a burnt accident to me.” And this: “Love, love, love, at least I love my mom’s.” A kibbutznik friend, who had to eat it every Saturday growing up, informed me that all the variations people offered may well be very tasty but weren’t traditional in the least. photo/alix wall Amazingly, while working on this Lori Rifkin (left) watches Iris Lax column, I received a recipe from the season the cholent. j. weekly newsroom that came over the wires: a “happy” cholent, in celebration own good (there is some truth to that), and of Colorado’s new law legalizing marijua- that every once in awhile, it’s fine to relax. na, featuring 31⁄2 grams of marijuana. The So, reader, I leave it to you to decide. unnamed chef who supplied the recipe What I learned in Lax’s class was that “guarantees it will lift your Shabbat spirits.” cholent is an incredibly easy dish to make, In any case, even though I said I was a even for people who don’t cook much. naysayer, Lax encouraged me to come to While there is a bit of chopping of onions her class. Instead of using the ancient and potatoes, it’s mostly just layering method, she taught us how to make everything into the slow cooker, seasoning cholent in a slow cooker. Students came as you go (“The potatoes need more salt with their own, which they then filled with than other things,” Lax noted, adding that Lax’s recipe and brought home to cook for potato chunks should be large, or else the next day’s Shabbat lunch. they’ll fall apart.) While chicken can be Lax’s recipe doesn’t deviate much from substituted for the beef, she said, use the traditional formula of beef, potatoes, thighs, as breasts will be too dry, and take beans and barley. She says it’s a “mishmash off the skin before cooking. of different traditions” she’s tried over the Bill Wild, a Mill Valley resident who years, though it does have some rather describes himself as “curious, with admirainteresting additions that give it a unique tion and respect for Judaism,” said he flavor: a can of Bush’s vegetarian beans, enjoyed the class. “There was a bonding of ketchup, a bouillon cube, lots of emotion with food presentation that Hungarian paprika and a can of Coke, worked for me,” he said, “but learning the which, Lax says, makes the meat Jewish tradition about [cholent] puts it in caramelize. its context.” I know many brisket recipes call for While Lax was an engaging teacher, and Coke, but I had never heard of putting it in proudly told the class how her cholent cholent. A Google search shows it is quite recipe was served to guests at her son’s bar common. I’ll admit that as someone who mitzvah at his request, I’m afraid she didn’t has built my personal-chef business make a convert out of me. Perhaps the around using only whole foods, eschewing short ribs and Malbec version or one with those that are processed or made from jackfruit would be more my speed. genetically modified ingredients — this To find out about the next three installments of “Cooking Jewish,” which focus on chicken soup, challah and Passover, visit A link to Lax’s cholent recipe can be found with the online version of this column. ■

Alix Wall is a personal chef in the East Bay and beyond. You can find her website at Please send story ideas to her at



| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California


cook ‘Gobble gobble’ is weekend’s refrain Having feasted on Thanksgiving dinner just a day or so ago does not give the cook dispensation from preparing three meals a day the following weekend. Enter leftovers, my favorite part of Thanksgiving cooking. Leftovers in my house don’t result from poor judgment. I plan carefully for those extra amounts of stuffing, vegetables and cranberry sauce. While all leftovers usually find their way into the weekend menu, the turkey

takes the spotlight: turkey soup, turkey chili, turkey salad and, of course, a bounty of turkey sandwiches. If your leftovers create leftovers, store slices of turkey in plastic wrap and then in foil, and freeze for another delicious turkey meal in the future. Don’t forget the turkey carcass. Break it down into several pieces and simmer with vegetables for a delicious turkey stock that you can use now or freeze.

Turkey Salad with Dried Cranberries and Arugula Serves 4-6 Salad


1 2 1 ⁄2 1 ⁄2

Tbs. Dijon mustard Tbs. rice vinegar cup olive oil tsp. dried tarragon

4 1 ⁄2 2 4

cups diced cooked turkey cup dried cranberries celery stalks, thinly sliced cups arugula, torn into bite-size pieces salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together mustard and vinegar. Slowly add the oil and whisk until mixture is emulsified. Stir in tarragon. In a large bowl, combine turkey, cranberries, celery and arugula. Toss with dressing and salt and pepper to taste.

The Best Kosher Middle-Eastern Food in Bay Area

Turkey and White Bean Chili Serves 6






28-oz. can tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped 3 cups diced cooked turkey 2 cups cooked white beans salt and pepper to taste 1 ⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Tbs. olive oil large onion, chopped cloves garlic, chopped jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped 3 Tbs. chili powder or to taste


3 1 2 2


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In a large shallow saucepan, heat oil. Cook onion, garlic and peppers until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder and add tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add turkey and beans. Simmer 10 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Turkey Sauté with Autumn Vegetables Serves 8

4 Tbs. oil 1 large onion, chopped 1 large red pepper, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 Tbs. curry powder or to taste 28-oz. can tomatoes, coarsely chopped 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 ⁄2-inch dice

2 cups corn kernels 3 cups diced cooked turkey 1 cup golden raisins 1 tsp. dried thyme salt and pepper to taste 1 cup toasted slivered almonds chopped cilantro


• Latka’s (reg. size) • Latka’s (lge. size) • Zufganiot (jelly donut)

$ 1.00 ea. $ 1.50 ea. $ 1.25 ea.


In a large skillet, heat oil. Add onion and pepper and sauté until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic, cumin and curry powder and stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook until bubbly. Add butternut squash and cook about 5 minutes. Add corn, turkey, raisins and thyme and cook another 10 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro.

• • • • •

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. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to


Brisket (whole) French Roast Chicken (whole or cut up – cheapest price in Northern California) New York Pizza Hanukah Candles (multi-colored)

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| November 23, 2012

Craftswomen of the tribe The work of more than 300 craftswomen, including several whose art focuses on Jewish themes, will fill the Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco for two weekends. The 34th annual “Celebration of Craftswomen” will include art from Gila Sagy and Joyce Steinfeld, as well as Aimee Golant, a metalworker who fabricated the crown for the international Women’s Torah Project. Her work is pictured. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 24-25 and Dec. 1-2, at Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, S.F. $7-$9.


art thursday/6 “Traces of Memory.” Opening of exhibit on Poland’s Jewish history. With keynote talk by Jakub Nowakowski, director of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow. At Osher Marin JCC, 200 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 7 p.m. Free. RSVP required by Nov. 30 to (415) 444-8080. For more art, see ONGOING

on stage sunday/2 “Latkes and Laughs: A Night of Comedy and Nosh.” Stand-up comedy of Jeff Applebaum, Jimmy Gunn and Andrew Norelli. Hosted by Shannon Guggenheim. At Retro Dome, 1694 Saratoga Ave., San Jose. 6 p.m. $54$126. For more on stage, see ONGOING

music thursday/29 “Hardly Strictly Klezmer.” Concert with Bay Area klezmer bands the Red Hot Chachkas, Kugelplex and Charming Hostess. At Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. 8 p.m. $20.50-$22.50.

“Rise and Fall of the Borscht Belt.” Film on Jewish vacationing in New York’s Catskill Mountains. At Congregation Beth Israel Judea, 625 Brotherhood Way, S.F. 7 p.m. Free. (415) 586-8833.

tuesday/4 “Hava Nagila, The Movie.” Documentary on the history and significance of the iconic song. Filmmaker Roberta Grossman will answer questions after the screening. At Rialto Cinemas, 6868 McKinley St., Sebastopol. 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. $15.

thursday/6 “Moses on the Mesa.” 20-minute film on a German Jewish immigrant who ended up in the Wild West in 1869. Discussion with writer and director Paul Ratner. At Jewish LearningWorks, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 7 p.m. Free.

thursday/29 “Arise! Arise! Deborah, Ruth and Hannah.” Artist Debra Brand discusses her book of her paintings of women who took a stand at critical moments. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. 6:30 p.m. Free. Also Dec. 2 as part of “Almost Chanukah Fair” at Congregation Netivot Shalom (see benefits & social events). “The Book of Genesis: A Biography.” U.C. Berkeley professor Ron Hendel on his forthcoming book on Genesis: how it has shaped views of reality and how interpretations of it have evolved. At Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. 5 p.m.

sunday/2 Michael Cooper. Author discusses “Foxes in the Vineyard,” his novel about a son searching for his archaeologist father on eve of Israeli War of Independence. Part of Under One Tent Contra Costa Jewish Book Festival. At Congregation B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek. 10 a.m. Free.

“Inside Jewish Shanghai: Then and Now.” Archival photo exhibit and discussion for young professionals. With Deborah Strobin, author of “An Uncommon Journey” and a resident of the Shanghai ghetto during World War II. At Sens restaurant, 4 Embarcadero Center, S.F. 7 p.m. Free. RSVP required to

wednesday/28 “Navigating Today’s Financial Markets.” Presentation by four top investors. Hosted by S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. At Deloitte LLP, 555 Mission St., S.F. 6 p.m. $18-$72.


“Jewball.” Neal Pollack discusses his novel about 1930s Jewish basketball players in the middle of a conspiracy. At Addison-Penzak JCC, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos. 7 p.m. Free.

“The Future of American-Israeli Relations.” Talk by the Bay Area’s consul general of Israel, Andy David. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7:30 p.m. $5. .


With the dynamics in the Middle East shifting rapidly, Israeli journalist Aharon Barnea, the senior correspondent in the U.S. for Israel’s Channel 2, will visit Congregation Beth El to shed light on recent regional developments in a talk titled “Arab Spring or Dark Winter: The Case of Hamas, Gaza and Israel.” Affectionately known to his readers as “Arale,” he has a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley and is the author of “Mine Enemy,” a hopeful account of his unlikely friendship with a majordomo of the Palestine Liberation Organization. 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Congregation Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley. Free.

| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California



Broadway sing-along. Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, and Lerner and Loewe. At JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. 8 p.m. $15-$30.

“By Summer’s End.” Israeli coming-of-age and multigenerational family tale set in 1978. Presented by the S.F. Jewish Film Festival. At JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $8-$12.

lectures & workshops

“The Art of Financial Well-Being.” Resource fair. Sessions on goal-setting and financing a college education. With Makor Or meditation session, yoga. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Free.

Is ‘Dark Winter’ next?






film, tv & radio


“A.K.A. Doc Pomus.” Documentary on Brooklyn-born Jerome Felder who survived polio, then became a successful musician and composer. At Rialto Cinemas, 6868 McKinley St., Sebastopol. 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. $10-$12.


“Baghdad and the Gaonic Age.” Video and discussion on the Gaonim, the Jewish spiritual leaders in Babylonia following the completion of the Talmud. At Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave., Albany. 4 p.m. Free.

monday/3 “Art as Memorial: Carrying on Creativity.” Lecture and workshop led by artist Susan Duhan Felix. In conjunction with “A Retrospective: Then and Now” exhibit (see ongoing). At Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, 4000 Camino Tassajara, Danville. 1:30 p.m. Free. (925) 648-2800.

november 23 - december 6 “Shedding light on the festival of lights.” Talk by professor Steven Weitzman, director of Stanford’s Taube Center for Jewish Studies. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7:30 p.m. $10.

wednesday/5 “Tel Aviv, Then and Now.” Scholar Ken Cohen discusses Tel Aviv from its birth at the turn of the 20th century to its current role as the business/cultural capital of Israel. At Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada St., Pleasanton. 7:30 p.m. $10, free for federation Israel trip registrants.

benefits & social events sunday/25 Bowling night. With young adults’ group Jews’ Next Dor. At Homestead Lanes, 20990 Homestead Road, Cupertino. 1 p.m. $10.

wednesday/28 “Jewish speed dating.” For people in their 20s and 30s. At Infusion Lounge, 124 Ellis St., S.F. 7 p.m. Free.

thursday/29 Anti-Defamation League Gala. Keynote speaker is ADL executive director Abraham Foxman. At Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market St., S.F. 6 p.m. $300 and up.

sunday/2 Wine and cheese fundraiser. For Congregation Beth Sholom. At Congregation Beth Sholom, 301 14th Ave., S.F. 3 p.m. $100-$125.

A lord, a chief and a rabbi Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has a long list of accomplishments. He’s the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth (that’s Great Britain), has written 24 books, has a Cambridge degree in philosophy, and is a frequent contributor to TV and radio programs. When he comes to the Bay Area next week, his experience will be on display as he addresses two challenging topics: the interplay between science and faith (onstage at the JCC of San Francisco with KQED’s Michael Krasny) and the future of Judaism (at U.C. Berkeley later the same day). 12 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26 at JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. $25-$30. Also 6 p.m. at Berkeley School of Law, Booth Auditorium, 2778 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. Reception at 5:15 p.m. Free; reserve a seat at “Chanukah Bazaar and Crafts Fair.” With performance by live Jewish folk chorus. Children’s games and activities and raffle. Interfaith event. At Congregation B’nai Emunah, 3595 Taraval St., S.F. 11:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Free.

“Chanukah Faire and Boutique.” Crafts, silent auction, Chanukah food. At Congregation Shir Ami, 4529 Malabar Ave., Castro Valley. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free for adults, $5 for children (includes face-painting and crafts).

“Hanukah Palooza.” Holiday vendors, games and bounce houses. At Addison-Penzak JCC, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos. 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Also Dec. 3 8 a.m. to noon. Free.


“Chanukah at the Jewish Home.” Volunteer to visit the seniors with the Young Adult Group of the S.F.-based JCF. At the Jewish Home, 302 Silver Ave., S.F. 10:30 a.m. RSVP to “Almost Chanukah Fair.” Jewish rock and Sephardi/Mizrachi music, crafts, latkes and book talk by Joshua Buchin, author of “Tefilat HaDerech: The Traveler’s Prayer.” At Congregation Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free.

Friendship Circle Chanukah party. Latke lunch, candle lighting and entertainment . With singer/songwriter Lauren Mayer. For seniors ages 55+. At Congregation Shomrei Torah, 2600 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. 11 a.m. $10. RSVP to (707) 528-1182.

thursday/6 Anniversary of freedom march for Soviet Jewry. Evening of story-telling to commemorate 25th anniversary of march on the National Mall in Washington. At Congregation Sherith Israel, 2266 California St., S.F. 6 p.m. Free. “Shine Your Light.” Wilderness Torah holiday benefit party with dinner, acoustic Jewish music and reggae-soul-funk band. At David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley. 6:30 p.m. $36+ (see story, 5)


art “The Art of Prophetic Justice.” Works of San Francisco artist Bernard Zakheim. “Wide-Angle Lens.” Jewish photographers in the 1940s and 1950s. Through Feb. 3, 2013. At Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. “California Dreaming.” Multimedia exhibit exploring Jewish life in the Bay Area from Gold Rush to present. Ongoing. “The Radical Camera.” Photography exhibit on New York’s historic Photo League. Through Jan. 31, 2013. “Stanley Saitowitz: Judaica.” New perspectives from the S.F.-based architect. Ongoing. At Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F. “Imaging Religions.” Visual and textual expressions of religious beliefs. Includes Jewish scrolls, Orthodox coins, Catholic paintings and more. Through Jan. 31, 2013. At Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley. Free. “Reborn: Posters from the European Jewish Cultural Renaissance, 1963-1994,” “Typo/Graphics: Studying Jewish Types in Print and Photography,” “The Inventory Project” and “Modern Jewish History 101: The Art Files.” Through Dec. 16. At Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley.

“A Retrospective: Then and Now.” Ceramic Judaica by Susan Duhan Felix. Through Jan. 27, 2013. At Jewish Heritage Museum at Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, 4000 Camino Tassajara, Danville. (925) 648-2800. “A War on Modern Art: The 75th Anniversary of the Degenerate Art Exhibition.” Selections from exhibit by the Nazis in 1937 that aimed to turn public opinion against modern art. Through Feb. 24, 2013. At Cantor Arts Center, Palm Drive at Museum Way, Stanford University. “You Did WHAT To My Comics?” Illustrations of Torah stories by Brynjegard-Bialik using collages of comic books. Through Nov. 30. At Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. Free.

on stage “Acid Test.” Warren David Keith channels Ram Dass, aka Richard Alpert, the Jewish Harvard professor who dropped acid in the 1960s, found his guru and explored his spirituality. Script by S.F. resident Lynne Kaufman. Through Jan. 5, 2013. At the Marsh Theatre, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley. 8 p.m. Recommended for 17 and older. $15-$50. “Another Way Home.” Anna Ziegler play on obsessive middle-age Jewish parents who, while visiting their son at sleep-away camp, question what they understand about their children, their marriage and their desires. Through Dec. 2. At Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Building D, S.F. $20-$55.

spiritual & holidays friday/23 Potluck Shabbat. With young adults’ group Jews’ Next Dor. 7 p.m. At a private home in Fremont.


When ‘Shalom’ meets ‘Hallelujah!’ To celebrate the spiritual side of the season, Vocolot, the women’s a cappella group that sings world and Jewish music in English, Hebrew, Ladino, Yiddish and Arabic, will perform with the Stars of Glory, an African-American gospel women’s group from Richmond. The event, presented by former Bay Area journalist Bill Schechner, is in its second year; and as was the case last year, dancing in the aisles is encouraged. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4 at JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. $9-$11.

“HUBad SoMa Shul.” Chabad of S.F. happy hour followed by Shabbat services. Free. Dinner $20. Also Dec. 1. Morning services followed by lunch. 9:45 a.m. Lunch $20, suggested. At S.F. School of Digital Filmmaking, 925 Mission St., Suite 108, S.F.

save the date Comedian Avi Liberman, Dec. 24, San Francisco “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy,” Dec. 22-25, San Francisco

jewish calendar Nov. 23, 2012 Kislev 9, 5773 Light candles at 4:36 p.m. Shabbat ends at 5:35 p.m. Nov. 30, 2012 Kislev 16, 5773 Light candles at 4:33 p.m. Shabbat ends at 5:34 p.m.

saturday/1 Chanty sing-along. Yeashore Community sings for Havdallah, then joins a larger group for public sing-along. At Hyde Street Historic Pier, intersection of Hyde and Jefferson Streets, S.F. 7:30 p.m. Free.


calendar submissions Send information about your Jewish event in Northern California to The deadline is 12 p.m. Friday the week before any given week’s publication.

| November 23, 2012

Vayetzei Genesis 28:10–32:3 Hosea 12:13–14:10


Vulnerability, fear mark our path to transformation

b’nai mitzvah

If you were asked with which biblical character you identified the most, what would you say? Moses, the great prophet and leader of the Israelites? Abraham, a man of profound faith and

Temple Sinai in Oakland. Naomi Rieber Daughter of Astrid and David Rieber, Saturday, Nov. 24 at Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City. Emily Steirman Daughter of Anne and David Steirman, Saturday, Nov. 24 at Peninsula Sinai Congregation in Foster City. Zoe Sterling Daughter of Jessica and Greg Sterling, Saturday, Nov. 24 at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland.

strength? Miriam, the smart and engaging prophetess? All of these characters in the Torah are role models for us, but I imagine more people, if really being honest with themselves, would come up with Jacob. Why? Because he shows himself to be less than perfect, less than always noble, and, what’s more, he shows his vulnerability. Jacob is not perfect, and that’s part of what makes him a character with whom we can readily engage. He slips up and sometimes acts badly, yet he dares to dream big and ultimately to be great. When we meet him, he is still in the process of becoming someone better than he has been. The Jacob we meet in the Torah portion Vayetzei has just left everything he has known. He leaves his ancestral homeland and his family members, without knowing when he will see them again. And he leaves home in such a way that he doesn’t feel whole. He has tricked his brother, Esau, out of the blessing of the first-born son, and to avoid his brother’s rage, his mother, Rebekah, urges him to flee to Haran. At the end of the first day of his long journey, Jacob sets himself down to rest for the night. Alone and feeling vulnerable, Jacob has a transformative experience. According to our tradition, he is resting at the very same place where Abraham brought Isaac for the sacrifice, Mount Moriah. In the midst of his fear and regret, Jacob takes some stones and places them under his head and goes to sleep. The biblical text is very selective with details, so we are being told something significant here. Jacob is not comfortable, not even by ancient standards, and in the midst of this, his moment of transformation takes place. As the Torah tells us, “He dreamed and, and lo — a ladder was set on the ground, with its top reaching to heaven, and lo — angels of God going up and coming down on it” (Genesis


Scarlett Bach Daughter of Shelli Semler and Kyle Bach, Saturday, Nov. 24 at

Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. Leo Krinsky Daughter of Sharon and Robert Krinsky, Saturday, Nov. 24 at

Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. Nina Magid Daughter of Amy Toro and Lawrence Magid, Saturday, Nov. 24 at

28:12). As if this were not enough, God appears to him and says: “And here I am, with you: I will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this soil. I will not let go of you as long as I have yet to do what I have promised you” (28:15). Beyond the incredibly powerful and mystical nature of the passage, there is something very relatable about this story. We don’t normally have transformative moments when we are feeling comfortable and secure. The moments where we grow the most, where we see ourselves and our world differently, are usually when we feel the most frightened, anxious and uncertain. It’s not when we are dressed in our nicest clothes and step into the light of a bright new day; rather, it’s when we feel alone and worried or when we lay awake in bed late at night. I recently had a talk with an elderly man in the hospital. His health had been failing and he knew he wouldn’t live much longer. He was ready to talk with me about what his life had been based on: family, community and Israel. Precisely in these moments of fragility, we tend to be most capable of deep reflection and transformation. I know that I may feel the presence of God in moments of great joy, but I feel changed by the presence of God when I feel most vulnerable. That is when I am most open to feeling changed. So it is with Jacob. The next day, the Torah tells us, “Jacob lifted up his feet” (Genesis 29:1) for the day’s journey. Bible commentator Rashi asks why the text doesn’t simply say that Jacob went. Rashi explains that Jacob now knew that God was with him, so “his heart lifted up his feet and it became easy for him to walk.” The spiritual journey, then, isn’t walked with our feet; it’s walked with our hearts. May we trust our heart’s journey and may we, like Jacob, ascend to new heights.

No suspects left in Malmo JCC attack Police in Malmo have no suspects in September’s attack on the Swedish city’s Jewish community center after dropping charges against two suspects. Anders Lindell, a police spokesman, said all charges were dropped against the 18-yearold men arrested after the Sept. 28 attack. “The investigation is ongoing,” he said. The two were arrested shortly after an explosion was heard outside the JCC, which also houses a Jewish day school. The bulletproof entrance door was smashed in the incident. Police at first declined to define the attack as anti-Semitic but eventually classified it as a hate crime. In 2009, unidentified suspects set off an explosive device outside the city’s synagogue. In the past few years, approximately 70 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported annually in Malmo, which has a few hundred Jews amid a population that is 30 to 40 percent Muslim. A number of marches have been held to protest anti-Semitism in recent months, drawing both Jews and non-Jews. — jta

BBC apologizes to chief rabbi over on-air comment The BBC issued an apology to British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks after a presenter asked him about the Gaza operation while he thought he was off the air. Sacks presented the “Thought for the Day” on BBC Radio 4 Today on Nov. 16. After the segment, presenter Evan Davies asked the rabbi’s opinion on the conflict between Gaza and Israel. Sacks responded, “I think it’s got to do with Iran, actually,” and then issued a call for “a continued prayer for peace, not only in Gaza but for the whole region. No one gains from violence.” He then was told he was still on the air. Sacks was said to be angry about the incident, the Guardian reported, citing BBC sources. “The chief rabbi hadn’t realized he was still on air, and as soon as this became

Rabbi Daniel Feder is the spiritual leader at Reform Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame. He can be reached at



| the Jewish news weekly of Northern California


apparent, we interjected,” the BBC said via a spokesman. “Evan likes to be spontaneous with guests, but he accepts that in this case it was inappropriate and he has apologized to Lord Sacks.” — jta

Montreal gets its first Jewish mayor The job may be temporary, but Montreal has its first Jewish mayor. Michael Applebaum, 49, won a city council vote to serve as interim mayor for a year, with a promise not to run in the next municipal election slated for November 2013. He also is the first Anglophone mayor in a century of the predominantly French-speaking Canadian city. Applebaum, who was elected to the council in 1994, replaces Gérald Tremblay, who resigned Nov. 5 in a corruption scandal that linked him to graft and organized crime. — jta

Canadian college alums angry over honorary degree for Jimmy Carter Queen’s University in Canada is facing a backlash from some Jewish alumni over its decision to confer an honorary degree on former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a strong critic of Israel. Shimon Fogel, head of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, told the National Post newspaper that his organization has received about 50 “angry and frustrated inquiries” from Queen’s graduates concerned that the university in Kingston, Ontario, will confer the degree on Carter, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has described Israel as an apartheid state. It will be Carter’s first honorary degree from a Canadian university. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs pointed to Carter’s 2006 book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” in which the former president characterized Israel as an apartheid state and questioned its commitment to a two-state solution. Three years later Carter apologized to the American Jewish community for “stigmatizing Israel” and asked for forgiveness. — jta ■

obituaries Ann Bear, devoted volunteer and leader, dies at 71 emma silvers


j. staff

Ann Bear, a beloved mother, grandmother, sister and philanthropist known for her tireless volunteer work in the Jewish community, died Nov. 17 at her home in Burlingame. She was 71. Born and raised in New York, Ann met Irwin Bear at a JCC regional conference in 1981. Eight years later, the pair moved to San Francisco, where they became known in equal measure for their festive Shabbat and holiday meals and their devotion to Jewish organizations. Her children remember her love of community as central to their mother’s life. “She was about attitude, gratitude and fortitude,” said her son, Richard Landgarten, of New York. “She never missed a wedding or a bar mitzvah or any other kind of event. She and Irwin used to say people were either best friends, or future best friends.” Bear managed to attend her grandson’s bar mitzvah in New York last weekend, despite being seriously ill with cancer. “She showed incredible strength — she was at the service, at the party. She wouldn’t have missed it,” he said. Ann Bear served as president of the Women’s Alliance of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and as a board member of the Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City. At the time of

her death, she was on the boards of AIPAC, the JCF and its North Peninsula Council. The couple were active members of Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame. After leading the Women’s Alliance (now named Women’s Philanthropy), Bear was a recipient of the Judith Chapman Women’s Award for Leadership in 2009. That same year, Mayor Gavin Newsom named May 21 as “Ann Bear Day” in San Francisco. Those who knew her best say she was an inspiration to volunteers and burgeoning philanthropists. “She lived her life for others right up until the end,” wrote Alon Shalev, executive director of San Francisco Hillel, in a blog post this week. He got to know Bear after Irwin, who had been president of Hillel’s board of directors, passed away in 2010. “I visited Ann last week and spent almost four hours with her,” he said. “She insisted that we focus on a project that she was helping me with. When I kept asking if she needed to stop to rest, she refused. She felt a sense of urgency and the need to give as much as she could while she still could.” Her giving nature didn’t stop with people, either. Bear’s love of dogs was wellknown; Koffi, a Labrador, was every bit a full member of the family. A memorial service was held Nov. 19 at Peninsula Temple Sholom and funeral services were Nov. 21 in New York. ■

deaths Ann L. Bear

Passed away at home on the evening of November 17, 2012 surrounded by family and many friends. She will be missed deeply by her brother Mark (Linda) Bayer, children, Richard (Lori) Landgarten, Michael (Stephanie) Landgarten, Susan (Michael) Pearson, and stepchildren Howard (Juli) Bear and Wendy Bear, grandchildren Noah, Joshua, and Maren Landgarten, Isabel and Zachary Pearson, Rachel and Sarah Bear, and niece and nephew Jessica and Danny Bayer. She will also be deeply missed by the many friends that she made throughout her life and throughout the country. Ann had an extraordinary ability to make friends and build relationships with people of all ages and from all parts of her life. Ann was born in New York on December 27, 1940 and grew up in Kew Gardens, New York and later crisscrossed the country living in New Haven, San Antonio, Tulsa before moving to San Francisco twenty-three years ago after marrying her love, Irwin Bear. Wherever she was, she found and built community, much of it formed around her dining room table for Shabbat and holiday meals while her guests enjoyed her delicious challah and chopped liver, or in her kitchen while she baked for her family, friends, neighbors, and celebrations.


She was a strong supporter of Jewish community and was active in many Jewish organizations throughout her life, including the Jewish Community Federation, where she is a past president of the Women’s Alliance and a winner of the Judith Chapman Women’s Award for Leadership. She also cared deeply about Israel, traveled there countless times, and expressed her commitment through her active engagement with AIPAC. She loved dogs almost as much as people and her house was often visited by the many Labradors and other breeds in the neighborhood, searching for a warm tummy rub, a toy to play with, or a treat to enjoy. Her generosity of spirit, unabashed sense of humor, eclectic style, and warm and inviting welcome will be missed by the many, many people she touched throughout her life. Memorial services were held at Peninsula Temple Sholom on Monday, November 19 and funeral services were held in New York on Wednesday, November 21. In lieu of flowers, for those who can, please donate blood, otherwise, donations to Women in Leadership Fund at Jewish Community Federation or Palliative Care Services at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, would be kindly appreciated. Sinai Memorial Chapel ■ ■ ■ DEATHS, 34

| November 23, 2012

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Robert (Bob) Carlitz

October 11, 1922–November 1, 2012 Bob died peacefully at home in Menlo Park, CA, with his son by his side, three weeks after celebrating his 90th birthday. He lived with Alzheimer’s disease for over 10 years, but for most of that time he had a smile on his face and seemed happy, living in the moment. A co-resident of the board-and-care home where he lived since 2008 described Bob as “the heart and soul of this place.” Bob was born in Philadelphia, PA, but happily embraced Bay Area life (and weather) when he was transferred here in 1944 during his Navy service. He met his future wife, Ruth, that year at a San Francisco Jewish Community Center dance, and they were married two years later. They had two children during the Baby Boom and settled in Palo Alto in 1957, where they lived in their Eichler home for more than 50 years. Bob established a very successful accounting practice for physicians and dentists on the Peninsula, and was held in high esteem by clients and colleagues alike. Bob loved baseball and was a devoted fan of the Philadelphia Phillies growing up. Later, he followed the San Francisco Seals, and then became a faithful Giants’ fan. He attended both the first and last Giants’ games played at Candlestick Park with his daughter, and loved teaching his children the fine points of the game. He was a traditionalist — he loathed the terms “ribbies” and “Cubbies” and felt the introduction of the designated hitter was a travesty for baseball.



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Bob’s incredible memory for all things numerical — dates, times, statistics — was legendary, as was his knowledge of trivia. He possessed a wealth of information about history, sports, celebrities and other famous figures, and loved sharing stories with anyone and everyone. He had a gregarious personality and was in his element talking and schmoozing for hours. Bob was a principled man with strong beliefs, and was passionate about the causes he supported. He prided himself on being a staunch Democrat and defender of Israel. He was also a very caring, sensitive man who felt it was important to “do the right thing” and to help those less fortunate, and he could be generous to a fault. Bob had a profound love and concern for animals and had many beloved pets during his lifetime. He volunteered as a dog-walker for Pets in Need in Redwood City after he retired, and he never turned down requests for charitable donations to organizations dedicated to animal welfare. Bob was deeply loved and will be dearly missed by his daughter, Elaine (John); his son, Steve (Carol); his sisters, Roberta and Hemmy; his brother-in-law, Harold; and several loyal, longterm friends. He was predeceased by Ruth after 61 years of marriage, and by his brother, Joe. Funeral services were held at Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma, where Bob was laid to rest on November 4, 2012. The family requests that any memorial donations be made to Pets in Need, 871 Fifth Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94063, or Edward H. Land

As a devoted husband and father, Ed died of natural causes on Nov. 13, 2012 at Silverado’s Senior Living Center in Salt Lake City, UT. Ed was 83 years young. Ed was born on March 5, 1929, in Des Moines, IA, the youngest of 7 children, to Russian immigrants Jacob and Mary Ginsberg. The family moved to San Francisco, CA, where Ed attended school. He met his wife Lillian just before shipping out in the navy during the Korean Conflict; he served as a journalist in the navy. After he was honorably discharged, he worked a few jobs before he went into business for himself as an independent meat jobber, delivering bulk meat and cheese items to restaurants and corner grocery stores all over San Francisco. Upon retiring, Ed and Lillian traveled extensively; they especially enjoyed cruises and took their last cruise to the Panama Canal two years ago. Ed was an athlete and enjoyed tennis, bowling, and golf in particular. He also enjoyed big band and classical music. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and served as Noble Grand, and was a member of the Masons and Scottish Rite. He was president of the brotherhood at Congregation Beth Israel Judea. He was an avid dancer, ranging from ballroom to square dancing. He was known as a joker to all his friends. He was very loved by his family, who affectionately referred to him as “Papa.” Ed is survived by his beloved wife Lillian, his loving children, Steven Land in Colorado Springs, CO and Sheryll Vanderhooft in Salt Lake City, UT, and his adored grandchildren, Cristina and Steven Land Jr. and Peter and Lauren Vanderhooft. Graveside services were held on Sunday, November 18, 2012, at Olivet Memorial Park, Colma. Sinai Memorial Chapel

Marvin Selcer Siegel

April 10, 1936–November 18, 2012 Marvin died suddenly on November 18th after nearly a decade of living to his full capacity with Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his beloved wife, Bonnie Siegel, his devoted children, son Dan Siegel (Lisa Langer), daughter Larissa “Lara” Siegel, and his adoring grandsons, Jacob and Ben Siegel, his step-daughters Anne Scholes, Sara Myers (Thane) and their children, Jake and Tess Restaino, Tegan and Cole Myers, his sister Rhoda Samuels (Peter), sisterin-law Eleanor Coffman and his niece, Rachel Goldberg (Jason) and nephews David Coffman (Heather) and Rabbi Joshua Samuels (Nicole). Marvin was predeceased by his first wife Jerrell Siegel. Marvin was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and graduated from University of Michigan as a proud ZBT. He was introduced to California by his cousins Bernard and Charlotte Siegel. Once he came to attend Stanford Law School he moved to Menlo

Park/Palo Alto permanently. Marvin established a well-respected law practice, Jorgenson, Siegel, McClure and Flegel. He was a past president of the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County and served on the boards of Congregation Beth Am, JFCS and Sinai Memorial Chapel. He took up bike riding midlife and biked until the week before he passed away. He was an avid sports fan, in particular the S.F. Giants and Michigan Wolverines. He and Bonnie loved to travel together. Due to his enjoyment of gadgets and photography, he owned several cameras with which he took thousands of pictures although few were ever seen by his family. He was an avid bridge player and enjoyed spending time in Palm Springs with his family from Minneapolis. He was an honest, ethical, smart, decisive and trusted advisor, loving, goofy, gadget-loving, family man. His twinkle and special presence will be deeply missed by all those who knew him. Like his father, he was a giant of a man committed to his community and family always thinking of future generations. The family prefers contributions to: Congregation Beth Am Fund for the Future, JFCS Jerrell Siegel Home Health Care Fund or the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. Services were held on November 20 at Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA with interment at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park, Colma, CA. Sinai Memorial Chapel

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our two cents


‘Who’s a Jew?’ is no dilemma. It’s easy! Jessica



As a Jewish parent, I’ve followed all the requirements for creating Jewish-identifying children, such as observing holidays, sending them to Jewish camps, enrolling them in religious school and explaining why nebulous physical symptoms that, remarkably, occur each Sunday morning are not sufficient reason to miss religious school. Most important, I’ve made absolutely certain for the sake of Jewish pride that they know nearly everyone who’s a famous person is Jewish. This carries on a tradition I recall from my youth, when my mother constantly pointed out famous people who were Jewish. From experience, however, I’ve learned children can find this irritating. They actually learn in grade school and high school that there are famous non-Jews. This shouldn’t stop us from identifying famous Jews, but requires that we be more selective and aim high. So while kids know Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Billy Joel and Albert Einstein are Jewish, they need to know Christopher Columbus was Jewish. Also Abraham Lincoln. I know what you’re thinking: There’s so little proof. But this is the beauty of the Rule of Close Enough. If the famous person has a Jewish name, Jewish parent, a large number of Jewish friends, contributed to Jewish causes, behaved Jewishly, went to Israel — any of the above — and done extraordinary things, that person is Jewish. Under this rule, you can confidently and without guilt tell your children that, for example, based on your best information and belief, Johnny Cash was Jewish. (He went to Israel five times. He had a Jewish manager. The Jewish Studies program at Southern Methodist University includes him in the curriculum.) This is one of the best answers to Jewish assimilation in America. Point out the behavior of a Close Enough Jewish person, and your child or young person will stand a little straighter and suddenly realize that there aren’t 6.5 million Jews in America, but probably twice that number or more! Growing up in Portland, Ore., I knew from my Jewish upbringing that a) anyone who did something extraordinarily good was clearly Jewish, and b) someone will contest that view because Jews like to argue, get mad and, if possible, leave their current synagogue and form a new breakaway congregation. (Just recently, I


Dr. Sharon Ufberg and her three children offer advice about family, love and life. Send your questions to

Teacher worries about sharing Jewish traditions I’m a second-grade elementary school teacher, starting my second year at a small private school. My class is a culturally diverse group of children, but none this year are Jewish. I always look forward to teaching the class about a mix of cultural holiday celebrations, and often my students and their parents share family traditions, foods and rituals in the classroom. Though there are no Jewish students in my class, I am contemplating making latkes and playing dreidel, but am worried that I may have to deal with some parents unhappy about my sharing my holiday since no children in the class celebrate Jewish holidays at home. Should I send out a notice telling them what’s to come, or just send home the latke recipe when we have our Chanukah celebration? C.B., San Francisco Alexis: It’s fantastic that you want to share a diverse mix of

holiday celebrations with your students. The exposure you give them will make them more open, curious, tolerant and understanding adults. In most classrooms, teachers teach about traditions, religions, cultures and communities that their students aren’t part of themselves — but that’s the whole idea. Do not write a notice to parents forewarning them of a potential latke recipe or dreidel coming home with their children. This is your classroom. A notice makes it seems as though you’re doing something wrong, when it sounds like you’re doing everything right. As long as you make sure to acknowledge more than just Jewish holiday traditions, you’ll be set. Jessica: It’s so great that many days out of the school year the kids will have an

excuse to celebrate. I have wonderful memories of being in third grade and having my mom come in and make latkes for the class, and when the moms came in during Chinese New Year and handed out sweet candy and red envelopes. Anytime this happened, it made the school day special! I don’t see any reason for you to “alert” the parents. If you give the parents a heads-up every time the class is going to participate in another tradition, then it seems appropriate to let them know; otherwise, you should send home the recipes, etc. from that day as usual. Saul: Any Chanukah celebration you plan for your second-graders should most definitely include Chanukah gelt! No matter what the tradition, kids are always most interested in the treats that go along with it. Sharon: As a teacher, I imagine some of the joy of your work is connecting with the children and their families. Sharing your own personal story, traditions and family rituals makes you that much more part of the second-grade classroom community that you create each year. The more involved, motivated and enthusiastic you are, the closer each student feels with you. Some of my fondest memories from elementary school were with teachers who generously shared their personal story with me, or brought their own children into the classroom. It makes you as a teacher a real person, which is very bonding for those children who hold you in such high esteem. What better way to bring them into your world than to share a holiday tradition that you care about and enjoy? ■

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



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actually was heartened to see the headline “Synagogue Fights Decline,” until I realized a Virginia synagogue was fighting the decline of membership.) I am certain, just as I’m revealing the Rule of Close Enough, people are turning on their computers to write me a nasty comment, or calling their rabbis to announce they’re leaving the congregation. This pugnacious attitude doesn’t upset me, because in Portland I grew up hearing about threats of breakaway congregations. In 1880, the rabbi and president of my (eventual) synagogue in Portland, who’d long disputed which prayerbook to use, got into a fistfight in downtown Portland. The rabbi pulled out a pistol and twice shot at the presidentelect. No one was hurt, but the rabbi left town shortly thereafter, disgraced for being such a poor marksman. So don’t let threats keep you from using the Rule of Close Enough. Just be certain you can muster enough evidence. For example, I recently found out that Franklin Pierce, not Abe Lincoln, was the first Jewish president. Pierce’s name (often Jewish in itself) appears on the charter of a synagogue, Washington Hebrew Congregation (1856). Seven years later, in keeping with custom, half the congregation left Washington Hebrew to start their own synagogue. The other Jewish president was Ulysses S. Grant. My mother used to say frequently, when we needed to move quickly, “Go like Grant took Richmond.” Years later, I learned Grant didn’t take Richmond, the Confederacy’s capital; a Gen. Godfrey Weitzel did. But Grant is still credited as the hero of the Civil War. Though Grant, when he was a general, was responsible for issuing an insane order in 1862 that would have expelled thousands of Jews from their homes had not President Lincoln stopped it — this was during Grant’s self-hating Jew period — Grant totally transformed himself during his presidency and fought antiSemitism. When he died, he was mourned in synagogues across the country. If that isn’t enough under the Rule of Close Enough to make him a Jew, consider that Grant came to the 1876 dedication service of Adas Israel in Washington, D.C. He not only donated $10 to the synagogue’s building fund, he stayed for the entire three-hour service. Any questions? ■

Trudi York Gardner lives in Benicia and can be reached at or via her blog,


J. Weekly Nov. 23 issue