Message From Kosher OC Magazine Kosher OC is here to give the Orange County Jewish community news when it happens, here and around the world. We combine the best of modern media and dedicated journalism to give you timely and interesting stories about the movers and shakers of the community and the great events they hold. We also talk about Jewish trends and trendmakers in Israel and throughout the globe with interesting ideas about celebrating holidays and celebrating each other. Join us for a window into the world of Judaism, and let us have your insight and input.
JUDAISM 21 Halacha vs Minhag
STUDENT VOICE Schools out for summer!
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Table of Contents FEATURED 4 TVT Students Embark on Poland-Israel Experience 5 iFest: Protests Stifle Conversation
LOCAL 8 Temple Beth El Grief Support Group Brings Together People of all Faiths 9 Project-Based Learning Produces Strong Scholars at The Hebrew Academy
26 Israel Has Robust Presence at Major Oil and Gas Trade Show 28 A Student Named Greenberg Has a ‘Koufax Moment’ 30 After Decades of IOC Silence, Slain Israeli Olympians Headed for Recognition
OPINION 32 Illinois gets it Right on Dealing with BDS 33 Pomp and Circumstance – and Some Advice 36 How Should Pro-Israel Voices Tackle the War of Ideas on College Campuses? 38 Say It Loud, Say It Clear: No World Cup for Qatar
10 TVT Holds Class of 2015 Graduation 14 UC Students Concerned About Antisemitism at University of California 15 Olam Montessori Uses Tower Garden as a Teaching Tool 16 Teen Israel Program Engages People of All Jewish Persuasions 18 Mitzvah Tones Perform for Seniors 19 CSP Holds 12th Annual Retreat
How to Reach Us
20 Jewish Events in Orange County
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE
Kosher OC Magazine PO Box 7054 Newport Beach, CA 92658 Email: email@example.com Web: www.kosheroc.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/kosheroc Twitter: @kosheroc YouTube: www.youtube.com/kosheroc Issuu: www.issuu.com/kosheroc
From Strength to Strength
A Marvelous Milestone This issue marks the first anniversary of Kosher OC Magazine. We thank the Orange County Jewish community for making our dream a reality, and we hope to keep exceeding your expectations. Some of our stories have brought the year to a full circle while some of the events and personalities in the community continue to surprise and intrigue us. There are many more stories to tell – whether breaking news, human interest stories or analytical features – and we’re here to find and cover all of them. Just as our first issue in June 2014 covered the Tarbut V’Torah (TVT) graduation and the Community Scholar Program (CSP), our current issue again takes readers through “Pomp and Circumstance” in Irvine and Memorial Day weekend learning at Brandeis Bardin. We cover other great Jewish schools and other exciting community programs all over Orange County, and we introduce you to the incredible people who make them happen. We also bring you the various perspectives on Judaism expressed by religious and community leaders here and elsewhere. Judaism requires lifelong learning, and we can tell you where to find more of it. Israel is everybody’s concern, and we want everybody to know as much as possible about it – not just the politics and policies, but the history, the technology and the unique features of everyday life in the Jewish homeland. As an electronic medium, we can tell you what happens when it happens. Adding analytical savvy to the mix, we can tell you why it happens, whether the news involves a conflict, an election, a negotiation, a discovery or a chapter in the social history of Israel. Finally, the most important aspect of any publication is its ability to reach people by being interesting, informative and interactive. Interact with us for immediate feedback and the ability to share your views. During year 2, we hope to interact regularly with all of our readers, give the community even more news and insight and keep sharing the excitement of Jewish institutions, programs, events and personalities. With your support, we will grow together in year 2. ILENE SCHNEIDER
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
Journey to our Roots
TVT Students Embark on Poland-Israel Experience By Robin Silver-Zwiren
They’re off! The junior class trip to Poland and Israel is something to look forward to, but now the day has arrived for the class of 2016 to depart. At the 2015 graduation May 26, several seniors spoke of their experience — how classmates bonded, how amazing and life changing the experience was. Now the incoming senior class is about to take off for the adventure. I watched Irving Gelman giving out diplomas and hoped many more TVT graduates would get to share these moments. Papa Gelman was standing center stage with a great smile on his face. When he hugged the students, they were not strangers. Over the years, they have shared many wonderful occasions, and each teen knows the beloved “Papa.” May Irving and Rochelle Gelman live to 120. We need to be thankful for these moments to hear about the struggles of the Shoah firsthand. The youngest Holocaust survivors are now in their mid 80s. The class of 2016 will meet with Holocaust survivors at Auschwitz or on city streets, but their numbers are dwindling. We must be thankful that Hitler’s Final Solution did not become reality, that in sunny Southern California our children are attending 4
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a Jewish day school founded by a Holocaust survivor. I know that Nira Roston (z’l) is smiling from her perch above, knowing that her grandson, Jacob, will be making this trip. Part of her Jewish Polish ancestors lost their lives, but, generations later, he will walk the streets they did with dozens of his classmates. Dear friends of ours slept in Auschwitz bunks for many years. In a few days my daughter, who is named for their own beloved child, will stand outside their bunks. Matana will stand by the ovens that took the lives of their family members. If she wants to spit on the dirt, I can’t say I would blame her. March of the Living is an excellent program, but hearing from Tarbut students over the years, maybe having a more intimate one is better. Everyone has come back changed in a positive way — more mature, understanding and gracious. I look forward to hearing from not just my daughter but her classmates. Hoping that KosherOC high school pages get filled with memories students want to share too. Thank you Tarbut v’Torah, the school of Irving Gelman’s Polish childhood, that led to the vision of our Irvine dream.
iFest Protests Stifle Conversation By Nick Gallo
On Thursday, April 23, I attended the Israeli Independence Day Festival (iFest) hosted by Anteaters for Israel. This fun and well-organized event was the culmination of many months of planning and preparation, complete with dancing, music, games, free food, charitable fundraising and informational posters about Israeli culture. The event attracted students throughout the campus, many of whom left with a free iFest T-shirt or shot glass. Apparently, all of this upset the Muslim Student Union (MSU) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Walking up Anteater Plaza, I heard their mindless, hate-filled (though, to their credit, quite catchy) chants long before I saw them. For two hours straight, 60 students, flanked by a dozen police officers, blocked Ring Road, scared away other students and drowned out the music with their thinly-veiled rhymes calling for the destruction of Israel (their chant, “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free,” demands the entirety of Israel be surrendered to Palestinian control). What other group on campus would so diligently and deliberately attempt to
ruin an event put on by another group? How could their actions be justified? They must have a very important message to convey, right? I, an American non-Jew very interested in the Israel-Palestine conflict, got as close to their line as the cops would allow, raised my hand high, making eye contact with the protest leader. “Can I ask a question?” I yelled. Ignored. I tried again. Ignored. “Why do you hate Israel?” No response. “Does Israel have a right to exist?” No response. “Do you support a two-state solution?” No response. An hour later I tried talking to people holding signs. “Don’t talk to him! Don’t talk to him!” their leaders yelled and they all promptly turned their backs on me. My Jewish friend held up a sign saying “Let’s talk it out,” which two Muslim girls later laughed at and mocked. Why would these groups stage such a massive protest, then refuse to answer very basic questions about why they are protesting? How could students who so frequently populate the University-funded Cross Cultural Center show such little interest in “cross cultural dialogue?” Far from being an isolated incident,
this is par for the course “anti-Israel” campus activists, whose ignorant playbook consists of the single, tired play of putting out one-sided propaganda, lies and half-truths about Israel, stifling any sort of rational discussion about the conflict, then either chanting to shut down “pro-Israel” speakers and events or pressuring students with no knowledge of the conflict to boycott the Jewish state. By far their most famous exploit is centered around the montage of tall wooden “anti-Zionism” boards that you will see running through Anteater Plaza this week. While I desperately want to believe these groups are simply determined to alleviate the suffering of innocent Palestinian civilians (repeatedly inconvenienced by Israeli checkpoints, exploited by their corrupt leadership and caught in the crossfire of war) by building a coalition of students interested in discussing, debating, learning about and ultimately resolving the conflict, the reality on the ground paints a very different picture. Israel is uncritically depicted as a monstrous “anti-black,” “racist,” “apartheid,” “genocidal” state, hellbent on making Palestinian life as KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
miserable as possible. Its West Bank barrier is dismissed as an “Apartheid Wall” and its checkpoints as an excuse to abuse Arabs (not to prevent suicide bombings as both policies have been effective in doing). Death tolls are vacuously quoted without discussing the many measures Israel takes to minimize civilian casualties, nor how opposing militants recklessly endanger Palestinian civilians by firing rockets from homes and stockpiling weapons in schools. Hamas — the radical Islamist terrorist group that controls Gaza, carries out suicide bombings, executes gays and calls unapologetically in its charter for the annihilation of Israel and a mass slaughter of the Jews — is never even mentioned, let alone condemned,
and has even received lavish praise in previous years from speakers like Malik Ali. This is all meant to “prove” that the entirety of Israel (not just disputed West Bank territory) is an illegal “occupation” and therefore should not exist. Far from helping the Palestinian cause, these groups have done nothing but alienate potential allies on campus, manufacturing for themselves an echo-chamber of irrationality, uncritically championing ever more radical and impractical positions.
childish antics and to respectfully engage and ally with the very many students on this campus (Jewish, Muslim and others) interested in practically and justly resolving this conflict. — Nick Gallo is a second-year Ph. D student in the Department of Computer Science. His article originally appeared in the New University school newspaper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am writing to urge my very passionate friends in the MSU and SJP to take a step back, to reconsider your missions, to abandon your
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Temple Beth El Grief Support Group Brings Together People of all Faiths By Sara Gold
After Phyllis Blanc lost her 18-yearold nephew to the swine flu in 2009, she was hard-pressed to find a nonreligious grief support group that met in the evenings to accommodate a 9 to 5 work schedule. Rather than giving up, she was determined to change this fact. A member of Temple Beth El in Aliso Viejo, Blanc consulted with Shirley Einbund, the temple’s Caring Committee chairwoman, and rabbis Allen Krause and Peter Levi to ask whether the temple could potentially house a non-denominational grief support group. Upon receiving their encouragement, Blanc formed a Bereavement Support Committee in 2010 with seven other temple members. “If Phyllis sees something that needs to be done, she will put her tireless energy and passion into it and get it done,” said Cantor Shula Kalir-Merton, Temple Beth El’s cantor emerita, who has served on the committee since it started. For the past five years, the Bereavement Support Committee has partnered with Vitas Healthcare to present a non-sectarian grief support program two to three times per year. Each eight to nine-week program is 8
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led by an experienced professional and designed for a group of 10 to 12 people The next eight-week program starts July 6 and runs Wednesday nights July 8 through September 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. through August 26. The meetings will be led by Vitas Healthcare hospice chaplain Fran Chalin, who is also an ordained cantor. While the meetings are held at Temple Beth El, they are open to the general public and have traditionally attracted a mix of Jews and non-Jews. “Our goal was to serve the greater community by creating an option for people looking to find grief support outside of the spiritual aspect,” said Blanc, a Mission Viejo resident. “With a small, intimate group, the program is designed as a bridge between individual counseling and being around people in a safe environment, where you can talk about how you feel.” The Bereavement Support Committee, in partnership with O’Connor Mortuary of Laguna Hills, also hosts a periodic guest lecture by William Hoy, a nationally known bereavement and end-of-life consultant. He will return to Temple Beth El on August 19 to
present a lecture from 7 to 8:30 p.m., designed for grieving individuals and their friends and families (participants must be 18 or older). Hoy’s past presentations have attracted up to 200 people from the general community. From personal experience, KalirMerton can attest to the importance of emotional support for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. She remembers when her father died a few months after she started her job as Temple Beth El’s cantor in 1988. The demands of running High Holy Day services and performing her other cantorial duties left her “numb,” with little mental energy to grieve, she said. “Looking back, I realize how beneficial it would have been to take time to emotionally process the loss and grieve properly,” the cantor said. “These kinds of support programs are the kind of lifeline you need when you are raw and wounded from the death of a loved one.” Blanc agrees that the grief support program has greatly benefitted her personal healing after the loss of her young nephew. “The best part for me is seeing participants who tell me about how they have found healing and formed
Project-Based Learning Produces Strong Scholars at The Hebrew Academy By Kosher OC Staff
friendships through the program,” she said. “It has been therapeutic for me to contribute to something to help not only myself but also others who are going through their own grief.” — To register for the eight-week grief support program that runs July 6-August 26 from 7-8:30 p.m., contact Linda McMahon at Vitas Healthcare by calling 714-734-2753 or emailing linda. email@example.com. To register for William Hoy’s guest lecture on August 19 from 7-8:30 p.m., contact Becky Lomaka at O’Connor Mortuary by calling 949-581-4300 or sending an email to blomaka@ oconnormortuary.com. Both programs are held at Temple Beth El, 2A Liberty, Aliso Viejo. Contact Phyllis Blanc at phyllis.j.blanc@gmail. com with any questions about the bereavement support programs. To consult the Bereavement Support Committee’s booklet on grief support resources in Orange County, contact Temple Beth El at 949-362-3999.
Thanks to the Alevy Middle School grant, The Hebrew Academy has implemented a highly engaging and challenging program that helps our students develop strong math, science, engineering and communication skills. For example, during the third quarter of this year at The Hebrew Academy, the middle school students in the Math and Science House engaged in a project-based learning unit that required them to think critically and apply classroom concepts to an exciting real-world problem – building roller coasters!
math and science concepts learned. The projects were presented to and celebrated by members of the community, staff, and students.
As students learned physical science concepts such as potential energy, kinetic energy, speed, acceleration and velocity, and polynomial functions in math, they were constantly introduced to various applications of content. The culminating project included small groups of students who each built a model roller coaster that demonstrated their knowledge of the KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
TVT Holds Class of 2015 Graduation By Kosher OC Staff
Forty-six students graduated from Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School on Tuesday, May 26. Each one got special words of recognition and encouragement from a member of the faculty. Many of the faculty members showed emotion as they praised the students’ accomplishments. Nineteen of the graduates have been at the school for their entire academic lives. Many of the graduates referred to TVT as a family. One of them, Joshua Neutel, talked about the “TVT thing – “a sense of community and family, all being in this together, being kind to one another and creating special bonds.” The graduates (with colleges they are attending in parentheses) are:
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Leah Lirona Ahdoot of Irvine (University of California, Davis) Ariana Jordan Arakelian of Irvine (San Diego State University) Jacob Michael Ast or Irvine (Duke University) Aaron Attarian of Irvine (University of Colorado at Boulder) Jason Samuel Barbarosh of Irvine (Claremont McKenna College) Maya Arielle Bard of Mission Viejo (University of Southern California) Aaron Jacob Berdy of Irvine (University of California, Los Angeles) Sarah Michelle Bonner of Irvine (University of Oregon) Evan Matan Bozanic of Fountain Valley (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University) Yadin Bromberg of Laguna Hills (Irvine Valley College) Zoe Frances Bruck of Corona Del Mar (The University of Arizona) Alena Rachel Cisneros of Mission Viejo (New York University) Benjamin Nathan Cohen of Laguna Niguel (The Ohio State University) Jonah Arthur Cohen of Santa Ana (University of Colorado at Boulder) Marlie Rizel Cymberg of Lakewood (Sonoma State University) Benjamin Aaron Gillman of Newport Beach (Stanford University) Talya Danielle Glass of Newport Beach (Chapman University) Reva Talya Greenbaum of Newport Coast (Jewish Theological Seminary of America) Mikaela Hope Handler of Long Beach (University of Hawaii at Manoa) Alton Jacob Heller of Laguna Beach (Sonoma State University) Naomi Sara Hyman of Irvine (University of Southern California/Music Indiustry) Benjamin Levi Kaplan of Long Beach (Santa Monica College) Noah Benjamin Katz of Newport Beach (Tulane University) Sophie Nicole Kuel of Mission Viejo (University of Southern California) Dora Marie Klein of Newport Beach (University of California, San Diego) Ryan Howard Maister of Newport Beach (University of California, Berkeley) Ben Abraham Menahem of Huntington Beach (The University of Arizona) Ron Eli Menahem of Huntington Beach (The University of Arizona) Logan Alex Miller of Newport Beach (Claremont McKenna College) Joshua Chad Neutel of Irvine (University of Southern California) Benjamin Elliott Razin of Newport Beach (University of Colorado at Boulder) Dina Rosenberg of Irvine (University of California, Santa Cruz) Rachel Elizabeth Sass of Irvine (University of California, Los Angeles) Erin Baily Scheftz of Irvine (University of Michigan) Bennett Volkas Segelman of Lake Forest (San Diego State University) Ilan Sevilla of Irvine (Drexel University) Kayla Rebecca Taft of Irvine (University of California, Santa Cruz) Thalie Marissa Timsit of Tustin (University of California, Santa Barbara) Michelle Cicilia Voronel of Irvine (Chapman University) Elan Hermann Weiss of Huntington Beach (Orange Coast College)
LOCAL Cara Lee Wolder of Tustin (San Diego State University) Jessica Ann Wolder of Tustin (Sonoma State University) Liora Rachel Wolder of Tustin (Sonoma State University)
Graduates joining the Israel Defense Forces (IDF): Zohar Elbaz of Tustin Noam Gur of Newport Coast Gabrielle Victoria Penn of Long Beach
Students winning awards were: Special Award
Erin Scheftz (Joshua Joseph Gelman Leadership Award)
Aaron Berdy, Noami Hyman (Arts, Performing) Kayla Taft, Dina Rosenberg (Arts, Visual) Mikaela Handler, Noah Katz (Athletics) Joshua Neutel, Zoe Bruck (English) Joshua Neutel, Dina Rosenberg (Hebrew) Ryan Maister, Benjamin Gillman (History) Leah Ahdoot, Bennett Segelman (Jewish Studies) Aaron Berdy, Sophie Kuel (Mathematics) Joshua Neutel, Leah Ahdoot (Science) Bennett Segelman, Talya Glass (Spanish)
Jacob Ast (Achiever & Life-Long Learner) Aaron Berdy (Critical Thinker & Problem Solver) Erin Scheftz (Effective Communicator & Listener) Ryan Maister (Leader & Team Player) Michelle Voronel (Moral & Ethical Adult) Yadin Bromberg (Strongly Identified Jew)
â€” View Photo Gallery visit http://kosheroc.com/go/bpo34
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
OUR HEARTS WERE BROKEN
Part of fire damage from Temple Beth Sholom blaze, February 15, 2014.
When fire ravaged the campus of the historic Temple Beth Sholom last year, it was so much more than just a kitchen fire. THE FIRE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED • Sacred Torah scrolls and mantles • Our daily and High Holy Days prayer books THE FIRE DESTROYED OUR BUILDINGS • The Temple Sanctuary • The Social Hall • Administrative Offices • The Gift Shop • The Boardroom • Our kitchen, where we prepare Mitzvah Meals for over 350 people every Sunday
WE NEED YOUR HELP. If you are willing and able to help with a donation of any amount, please visit www.rebuild.tbsoc.com or call us at 714-628-4600. Thank you.
2625 N. Tustin Avenue • Santa Ana, CA 92705
An Open Letter to Our Community From Rabbi Heidi Cohen, Temple Beth Sholom, Santa Ana Orange County’s First Synagogue, Founded 1943
n Saturday, February 15, 2014, a fire broke out in the kitchen of our beloved Temple Beth Sholom, in Santa Ana. The fire completely demolished the kitchen and did devastating damage to the Temple’s Sanctuary and Social Hall building as well as to most of its contents, including our sacred texts. All regular Temple activities, with the exception of education, have been moved either off-site or to temporary trailers, or they have been suspended until we are able to move back into our facilities. The Temple’s Mitzvah Meals program, which feeds hundreds of hungry Orange County homeless and displaced people, has been temporarily relocated to one of our generous congregant’s catering kitchen (Parties by Panache) in Brea. Unfortunately, insurance will only cover a portion of the funds needed to rebuild, refurbish and replace what we have lost. The balance must come from donations. So many members of our TBS family, as well as the Jewish and non-Jewish communities have been extremely generous with their financial support. And many have Help rebuild our beloved volunteered hundreds of hours of their time Temple Beth Sholom with and expertise to help us rebuild. Now, we are asking you to find it in your heart to help Orange County’s oldest synagogue with your financial support. Your generosity can truly make a difference in perpetuating our community’s Jewish future as we rebuild TBS for today—and for generations to come To make a donation, please visit www.rebuild.tbsoc.com or call me at 714-628-4600. On behalf of our entire Temple Beth Sholom Family, Thank You! Sincerely,
your generous donation. ❒ $18 ❒ $36 ❒ $118 ❒ $360 ❒ $540 ❒ $1018 ❒ $1800
❒ Other _________________________ Name___________________________ Phone __________________________ Address _________________________ ________________________________ City ____________________________ State & Zip_______________________ ❒ Check Enclosed ❒ Discover ❒ Visa ❒ Mastercard Card # __________________________ Signature _______________________
Rabbi Heidi Cohen
Exp. Date ________________________
UC Students Concerned About Antisemitism at University of California By Sharon Shaoulian
The presidents of Israel campus organizations across the UC came together to draft this letter. It is important always, but especially after our campus experienced “AntiZionism Week,” two years in a row. The State Department categorizes the delegitimization of Israel and the denial of the Jewish people their right to self-determination, as antisemitic, and so should the UC.
delegitimization of Israel and denying the Jewish people their right to selfdetermination — as anti-Semitic.
We join the 23 organizations that have recently written to you, urging you to take the following steps in order to adequately address the rising tide of anti-Jewish bigotry at the University of California:
Dear President Napolitano and the Board of Regents, We are students at the University of California, who have heard about, witnessed, or experienced antiSemitism on UC campuses. AntiSemitism targets Jewish students, but it has a negative impact on all students. In direct response to the alarming escalation of anti-Semitic activity, the student governments of UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara have all unanimously passed resolutions against anti-Semitism. Each one of these resolutions invokes the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, which recognizes certain kinds of anti-Israel expression – including the demonization and 14
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UC student leaders have spoken out and taken action to protect Jewish students by identifying antiSemitism according to the U.S. State Department’s definition, and forthrightly condemning it. Now we ask you to do the same.
Formally adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of antiSemitism in order to identify all forms of anti-Semitic expression on UC campuses. Charge UC chancellors with training campus administrators and staff involved in discrimination prevention, student affairs, and equity, diversity and inclusion, to identify anti-Semitic behavior, and direct them to develop clear protocols for addressing campus anti-Semitism with the same promptness and vigor as they do other forms of racial, ethnic, and gender bigotry and discrimination. Charge UC chancellors with
developing initiatives for educating the campus community about anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish discrimination. Thank you for listening and responding to our concerns. We are counting on your leadership to ensure that all students, including Jewish students, are safe and free from bigotry and discrimination at the University of California. Sincerely, — Sign your name and pass along by visiting http://kosheroc.com/go/kqobf It’s time to rise up!
Economical, Environmental, and Just Plain Innovative
Olam Montessori Uses Tower Garden as a Teaching Tool By Ilene Schneider
When Carol Koenigsberg wanted to make a meaningful donation to the Olam Jewish Montessori of Beth Jacob Preschool, she decided to do something that would reach the children on many levels. The hydroponic tower garden would enable them to learn how to grow organic plants for food in a small space without a lot of water or soil. “We will relate the drought friendly garden to Judaism as well and teach them the blessings for the things we plant,” Koenigsberg said. “There will be ongoing maintenance and classes that the kids will participate in with their parents too.” Koenigsberg called upon her friend, Winnona Gaviglio, a Wellness Coordinator at Juice Plus+ to set up and demonstrate Tower Garden®, a state-of-the-art, 5-foot-tall, vertical aeroponic growing system that fits in just about any relatively sunny place outside and accommodates 20 plants. Gaviglio, who calls her work “a marriage between nutrition and education,” explained how the system functions with a special watering system and liquid minerals and comes with everything needed to start and maintain the garden. Using aeroponics and a specially
formulated plant food, the tower garden grows many vegetables, herbs, flower and fruits in less time than it takes in soil. According to Gaviglio, recent studies have shown that Tower Garden generate as much as 30 percent more produce than traditional soil gardening during the same time period. She said that the garden is a smart choice, both environmentally and economically. “A whole curriculum will go with this garden,” explained Symone Sass, director of the Olam Montessori. “There will be ongoing education about brachot for the different foods, learning their names in Hebrew and
understanding what makes them grow.
Irvine Teen Attests
Teen Israel Program Engages People of All Jewish Persuasions By Ilene Schneider
Lee El Yehezkel, an Irvine teen who is a senior at the Orange County School for the Arts, has been to Israel many times. Still, she wanted to tour Israel and Poland in a way that would allow her to explore her roots. Born in the US to Israeli parents, Yehezkel has family in Israel and a sense of connection to Judaism through Jewish preschool, day school, synagogue attendance and youth group participation. A trip she took last summer deepened that connection, giving her the impetus to do a gap year study program in Israel and attend Brandeis University. “The trip was a taste of whether to do the gap year, and it’s 100-percent responsible for my decision to do it,” she said. Yehezkel is living proof that people across the Jewish spectrum who participate in a modern Orthodox teen Israel experience show higher levels of Jewish connection and Jewish identity than do similar young adults who did not share this experience. That is according to a new study by sociologists Steven M. Cohen, a professor at Hebrew Union CollegeJewish Institute of Religion, and Ezra Kopelowitz, CEO of Research Success Technologies (ReST) in Israel. 16
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The Jewish Impact of The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey (TJJ): Increasing Jewish Engagement among Conservative, Reform & Non-Denominational Youth found that “non-Orthodox TJJ alumni significantly out-perform comparable Jewish young adults on several critical indicators of Jewish engagement,” including monthly service attendance, participating in a Shabbat meal, dating mostly Jews and feeling that it is very important to marry another Jew. In addition, 92 percent of TJJ alumni feel emotionally attached or very attached to Israel. While Yehezkel’s family belongs to Chabad of Irvine, and she belongs to NCSY, the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union (OU), she says she is “not completely Orthodox, but I like the movement. It’s the closest to Judaism as I see it.” TJJ, a four-week summer program for public high school teens, provides hands-on experiences, taking participants on a Jewish heritage trip to historical and modern sites in Israel. Yehezkel was part of the TJJ Ambassadors Corps, a subset of the program that spent a week in Poland learning about the Jewish culture that existed in Warsaw and Krakow and the demise of that culture in the
concentration camps. In Israel, the group’s activities were somewhat limited by Operation Protective Edge, but participants managed to get a taste of Israeli life in various parts of the country. As Yehezkel explained, “Operation Protective Edge colored my feelings. We experienced Israel under stress and saw that people bonded together and united.” The participants, who spent three days in New Jersey bonding before embarking on their journey, came from all Jewish backgrounds, “from Orthodox to hard-core Reform,” Yehezkel said. She enjoyed that, as well as the sense of everyone in the group bonding with Israelis, in spite of the language barrier. She stayed on kibbutzim, in hotels and with her grandparents, doing such things as hiking, boating, going to the Kotel, hearing speakers and watching a reenactment of a Biblical town. “For me, the biggest change was seeing the Jewish people as an enduring people and culture and having a more concrete basis to reflect on what the Jews have done,” Yehezkel said. TJJ — the trip, the subsequent
LOCAL educational activities, and other consequences of participation — appears to play a major role in generating increased Jewish engagement in various areas, according to the report, which was commissioned by the NCSY. The findings not only testify to TJJ’s “power and potential,” said Prof. Cohen. “They also testify to the educational power and potential of Israel and, specifically, of teen trips to Israel. Not every teen will have the opportunity to take a Jerusalem journey. But in a world where they will soon be facing enormous challenges to their commitment to Jews, Judaism and the Jewish people, young people before college need to have the opportunity to encounter Israel, its meaning and its complexities.” The teens on the TJJ’s trip received what Cohen has called a “crosscultural experience,” with the nonobservant participants influenced by their more observant peers. The Internet study — the first national study of teen Israel trips — was conducted last spring, reaching out to TJJ non-Orthodox alumni who had participated in summer programs since 2007. Survey invitations were sent to 1,784 alumni, with more than 20 percent providing usable responses. The study compared responses from TJJ alumni with three other recently collected data sets: the Pew Research Center survey of Jewish Americans (2013); the Jewish Community Study of New York 2011 (2011); and the Birthright survey of applicants for years 2001-5 (2010), but who never participated. The findings were statistically adjusted to resemble the pre-trip Jewish background of the TJJ alumni. Rabbi Micah Greenland, international director of NCSY, said that TJJ was emblematic of NCSY’s successful methodology. “Within the NCSY structure, TJJ is an important example of how relationships built and sustained between passionate, dedicated advisors and role models lead to long-term impact on teenagers’ Jewish engagement and connection,“ he said.
Allen Fagin, executive vice-president of the OU, commented, “TJJ is our rallying cry and we have anecdotal evidence that it works well, but we wanted to have a statistically sound method of knowing it works. Now we have that.”
Making Music and Smiles
Mitzvah Tones Perform for Seniors By Ilene Schneider
Matthew Kontur wanted to find a mitzvah project that combined his talent with his passion. The 7th grader at the Orange County School of the Arts loves singing and acting and has a dream of being on Broadway. He became aware of Heritage Pointe, the Jewish home for the aging, because his friend’s great grandmother lives there. He knew that his congregation, Temple Beth Sholom in Santa Ana, invited the residents of Bubbe & Zayde’s place, a senior residence, to share holiday services. “All of my life, I’ve loved theater,” Matthew said. “What better way to do something I love for the people I love than to perform for the people at these places.” Beginning in January, Matthew assembled a group of twelve 7th to 11th graders – six boys and six girls, including him and his sister, Devyn, who goes to El Dorado High School. Only three of the friends he selected from OCSA are Jewish, but all were excited to be part of the group that he named the Mitzvah Tones. Matthew said he “appreciated that his friends would do this for me.” Rehearsals began immediately, and people were assigned specific songs 18
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and choreography. There were solos, duets and whole-group numbers. The group found songs from older musicals that the audience would know and appreciate. The Mitzvah Tones’ performances on two successive Sundays, at Bubbe & Zayde’s on April 26 and at Heritage Pointe on May 3, were a rousing success. “People were thrilled, and they were so nice to us,” Matthew said. “The audience went nuts, and it was so much fun.” Nobody has to twist Matthew’s arm to do it again. As he said, “I loved seeing people’s faces light up in the audience. It was all the thanks I needed.” Matthew is excited about celebrating his Bar Mitzvah on November 14. He will have a big party and then continue his Jewish education, along with his intensive schedule at OCSA. I have a feeling that Matthew’s talent and perseverance will take him all the way to Broadway. I sense that his kindness will make him even more special. It already does.
A World unto Itself
CSP Holds 12th Annual Retreat By Ilene Schneider
Held at Brandeis Bardin Institute in the Simi Valley over the Memorial Day Weekend and Shavuot, CSP’s (Community Scholar Program’s) 12th Annual Retreat was the best vacation a family can take, said more than one family at the event. Pictured above is scholar Marc Michael Epstein who was the visiting one month scholar two years ago and if anything was more dynamic in his presentations about medieval Judaism and art (complete with a 50-page color handout that was a visual treat). Also pictured is Amir Magal, who did Jewish body painting, turning children into little bits of Hebrew autographs and Israeli heroes and heroines.
world unto itself, a Jewish kibbutzlike feeling with all the amenities — pool, equestrian program, fabulous dining hall, comfortable cabins. It is a fabulous background for the content of the retreat, including Prayersong by Cantorial Soloist Amy Robinson Katz and presentations by past Community Scholar one-month scholars Marc Michael Epstein and Hartley Lachter.
Families were engaged in Shabbat (see the candle lighting above) and Shavuot, with wonderful programming and Torah reading (and the required delicious dairy food) to honor the holiday. In addition, there was a B’nai Mitzvah of a brother and sister duo with more than 200 people attending — guests and those attending the retreat. The Community Scholar Program’s Jewish content is exceptional. While the Brandeis Bardin campus of the American Jewish University is only 90 miles from Orange County, it is a KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
Jewish Events in Orange County Plan your month with our June 2015 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, festivals and our favorite picks. CSP Holds Shabbat Alive The Orange County Community Scholar Program (CSP) will hold Shabbat Alive XII: Moshav Band on Friday, June 5, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in Bommer Canyon in Irvine. Dress is Bommer Casual, and participants are asked to BYOSP (bring your own Shabbat picnic). Space is limited to the first 150 people to RSVP. The event features Yehuda Solomon, Duvid Swirsky and Moshav Band. The cost to attend is $10 per person for CSP donor families, NextGen participants and Shalom Family/PJ Library families, and $18 for others. For more information about the CSP, please call (949) 682-4040 or visit www.occsp.org
Happy 25th Anniversary to Heritage Pointe Heritage Pointe marks its 25th anniversary on Sunday, June 7, from 12 to 4 p.m. The celebration, which is free and open to all, will honor Meryl Schrimmer and Loretta Modelevsky and bring together seniors and their families, as well as Heritage Pointe’s family of donors and volunteers. The timing between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day commemorates the day Heritage Pointe’s doors opened for the first residents on June 6, 1990! With food, music, games, a resident art show and more, Heritage Pointe will say “thank you” for providing the perfect home for its Community of Parents. To RSVP, contact Pamela Davis at Heritage Pointe by June 1 at (949) 364-0010 or firstname.lastname@example.org
community,” giving people an understanding of her culture. When she first brought the idea of writing about a group of women rabbis, a minion (10) of them, to her mentor, the late Pulitzer-prize-winning author, Carol Shields, Shields response was, “Are you crazy? Pick one.” Having picked Rabbi Tovah Feldner, someone she invented out of whole cloth, Barrie featured this rabbi in all three books. As Barrie explains, “She’s the link between the novels. You get very fond of a character. She’s a secondary but important character in the first novel, a teacher, in The Binding, explaining the Holocaust to her non-Jewish neighbor., crucial to the story. She’s the main character in The Rabbi’s Husband and then again, secondary in the An Unorthodox Romance. “My ‘real’ women rabbi friends are a little put out that I didn’t use them as my main protagonist”. Barrie says. The novels are available on Amazon, on Kindle or by calling her. Couvert is $18 for members and $23 for guests — or $36 to become an annual member, plus $10 couvert. Barrie will autograph books with proceeds going to Hadassah. For details, call (562) 430-5055.
Hadassah Hails the 60s Hadassah Southern California Long Beach-Orange County Area will hold “The 1960s: The Times They Are A-Chaingin’” with Larry Maurer, Bowers Museum educator, at the Bowers Museum, 2002 Main Street, Santa Ana, on Thursday, June 25, at 1 p.m., followed by dessert and coffee at 3 p.m. The event will explore rock and roll as the soundtrack for significant political change. Cost of the event is $36, plus a minimum annual gift of $180. For details, contact Michelle Shahon at (562) 430-5055 or email@example.com
Evening with Brenda Barrie
Come to the Cabaret
The Atid Group of Hadassah will present “An Evening with Author Brenda Barrie” on Wednesday, June 24, at 7 p.m. at the home of Aviva Forster in Corona del Mar. With the third book of her trilogy complete, Barrie will talk about her books, her inspiration as a novelist and the process of creating the books.
The Sharon Carmel Group of Long Beach/Orange County Hadassah is dedicated to purchasing a stainless steel instrument table for the operating rooms at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The group is planning California Cabaret, an entertaining afternoon on Sunday June 28, at 2 p.m., featuring Sinatra, Gershwin and Cole Porter favorites. The event is being hosted by the Alpert Jewish Community Center in Long Beach.
Her novels, The Binding, The Rabbi’s Husband and An Unorthodox Romance, are what she calls a casual trilogy. For the resulting trio, Barrie, a best seller in her native Canada, has been called ” the Amy Tan of the Jewish 20
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The cost is $36 for general admission and $50 for preferred seating. For details, call (562) 430-5055.
Halacha vs Minhag By Robin Silver-Zwiren
Sometimes it is difficult to know what is actually a Halacha law and what is a Minhag tradition especially when some people hold the latter so fervently. How we dress, what we eat may be determined as much by Halacha as by the Minhag of our community. Sometimes the custom is so ingrained in a lifestyle that it is accepted as law.
brought her daughter and toddler aged granddaughter to meet the Pope and both adult women are seen wearing lace mantillas. Add the Kepah-like cap the Pope wears and Maimonides comments seem up to date. It is actually a centuries old tradition that is still followed in certain places but it is not a Biblical law.
Moses Ben Maimon who is well known as the great scholar Maimonides was born in 12th century Spain. A radicalized Islamic sect was persecuting Jews and his family, who refused to convert, first moved to Morocco then Israel and Egypt. (Note that even then Muslim extremists were threatening Jewish life so Jews moved to Israel- not Palestine!). Nonetheless Maimonides became well respected by Jews, Christians and Muslims throughout these Mediterranean lands.
In fact Rashi who lived in 11th century France would not expect his wife and daughters to wear Spanish lace mantillas. Nor would this great Sage have ever thought that black fur hats and sheitels would be commonplace Orthodox Jewish attire. It was not until the mid 1500â€™s that some Rabbis permitted women to wear sheitel and there are still many who discourage women from wearing wigs. Imagine if these brilliant Rabbis saw the stylish wigs of today that some accept as fulfilling the obligations of tzniut modesty?
In the Mishneh Torah Rambam writes how one should prepare their clothing in a distinguished manner before praying. He adds that a head covering and shoes should be worn to show respect. In countries like Spain and Italy today the majority of citizens do not cover their head daily. However while reading a popular magazine the other day I learned that when visiting the Vatican it is proper for women to cover their hair. A European Queen
Like my female ancestors I cover my hair when I go to Shul. Being more traditional I also cover my head when attending a wedding, Brit Milah or funeral. My Modern Orthodox beliefs are also followed by brilliant, educated women like Blu Greenberg so I certainly donâ€™t feel alone. Growing up that is the way all the wives of Yeshiva University ordained Rabbis I knew
held too. Rambam acknowledged the fact that clothing is influenced by where we live, the times we live. Dressing in a respectful manner when praying to HaShem certainly makes sense. What is a respectful manner depends on what is acceptable and the norm of the society. Having some standards, even in sunny SoCal, is a good thing though. Although it is common to see women walking around in shorts and bikini tops it is not acceptable in a house of worship. Studies even show that dress codes in schools is a positive thing and certainly less distracting. Bare midriffs are no better placed in an academic establishment as they are in the workplace. However there is certainly no need to cover up in furs and suits because it is not the norm, the Minhag, in Southern California. Minhag Avot refers to the traditions of our fathers. That is why some continue to wear the Chassidic garb of their ancestors even when living in Florida or California. Minhag Avot is why some people wait 6 hours between eating meat and milk and others only three or even one. There is no law anywhere in the Torah that states how many hours to hold between meat and milk. Oftentimes people take these KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
JUDAISM minhagim to be halachot but they are not. There are 613 mitzvot, some negative and some positive. There are many that we can no longer do because the Bet haMikdash, Holy Temple in Jerusalem, no longer stands. Try to do a few hundred out of all those we can do though. Some are ones you probably do daily like being kind to a stranger, helping a person in need, giving tzedaka and of course praying. However formulated prayers are Rabbinic not Toraic. When Eli the Kohen Gadol saw Chana praying by the Temple she was not reciting from a Siddur like we do today. She was speaking from her heart, praying for a child. If that is how you choose to pray then HaShem our G-d will listen. The answer may not be the one you desire but He is there listening. At school we choose what subjects to study. We choose our profession, our spouses and the names of our children. Some people go to the gym and do specific routines others prefer to swim or walk. Look at this list of positive commandments and try to do all you can as HaShem ordained. Choose the ones that make you a better person. An Ultra Orthodox Jew who commits a crime, no matter what they wear, is not truly Orthodox. Being a mentsch means a lot more to HaShem and those around you than the clothes you wear. That is the difference between Halacha and Minhag.
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Israel Has Robust Presence at Major Oil and Gas Trade Show By Jacob Kamaras / JNS
Photo above: U.S. Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas, pictured at right) addresses Israeli companies at the Offshore Technology Conference on May 6 in Houston. Pictured in center is Michal NiddamWachsman, head of the Israeli government’s Economic Mission in the U.S. Southern Region.
Given Israel’s well-documented penchant for innovation, it was only a matter of time before the “startup nation” established a robust presence at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), one of the world’s largest annual trade shows for the oil and gas industry. “The people in Israel are entrepreneurs in their souls, so as soon as they see an opportunity, they take it,” said Michal NiddamWachsman, head of the Israeli government’s Economic Mission in the U.S. Southern Region. “When we discovered the natural gas [in the Tamar and Leviathan fields off Israel’s coast], they immediately saw the opportunity of developing the technology that would be related to the natural gas and the oil market. We have today over 100 Israeli companies working on unique technologies that can give solutions to the oil and gas industry.” Fourteen of those companies were on display in Houston from May 4-7 at the OTC, which was attended by 94,700 26
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people from 130 countries. It was the Israeli Ministry of Economy’s third year with a pavilion at the trade show. U.S. Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas)— who represents a district with five ports, more than any other district in Congress—visited with the Israeli companies. “Energy is huge in our area,” Weber told JNS.org. “It’s what drives America, it’s what makes America great. It’s what’s going to help drive Israel. It not only will make Israel stronger and more prosperous, but safer. … Israel is under attack from all around, and they need that energy. As I tell people, ‘It’s hard to power a tank with a solar panel.’ So oil and gas are huge for Israel, for America. We’ve got the technology over here. Israel is arguably our best, strongest ally, anywhere—especially in the Middle East. We want them to be safe, secure, prosperous. … To do anything less, in my opinion, is unfathomable.”
A list of the 14 Israeli companies that had a presence at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston from May 4-7.
Niddam-Wachsman explained that before having a presence at the OTC, Israel was already a significant player in areas of technology including water (such as desalination and purification), telecommunication, and security. Israel eventually saw that its existing technological expertise had “a very strong connection” to the oil and gas industry, she said, making the OTC a natural fit for the Jewish state— especially given Israel’s discovery of offshore gas fields in 2009 and 2010. “Eventually, we saw that the interests of the American companies in the Israeli technology was very high, as well as the satisfaction of the Israeli companies to be able to reach those companies and penetrate this huge
ISRAEL market,” Niddam-Wachsman told JNS. org.
or other Arab countries, but it’s under the radar,” Greenberg told JNS.org.
“Here, you can find the connections between the needs of the American companies and what Israel can provide,” she added.
Asked if the Saudi interest in doing business with Israeli companies signaled a general thawing of relations between those two countries, Greenberg said, “I’m not too sure about that, but business is business, that’s the truth. And because of our uniqueness, because we have the only and the first immediate oil-spill response solution, everybody’s interested in this.”
Eric Peterson, director of industrial/ municipal sales for Amiad Water Systems—which is based in Israel but has 10 subsidiary offices around the world—said the company took a few years off from attending the OTC before returning last year as part of the Israeli delegation. He said that exhibiting with the Israeli Economic Mission’s group is no small benefit, considering that the waiting list for companies seeking to present at the OTC is seven years long for those trying to enter on their own, without being part of a delegation. Haim Greenberg, vice president for product and co-founder of Harbo Technologies, which works to prevent the hazardous consequences of oil spills, said the company’s goal at the OTC was “to raise funds for the next stage of our business plan,” and to look for “distributors from around the world” as well as “seasoned experts to join our advisory board.”
Haim Greenberg of Harbo Technologies demostrates the Israeli company’s oil-spill response technology at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.
At the trade show, Greenberg said Harbo received interest from companies in Holland, Norway, Spain, Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, America, Canada, Singapore, India—and even Saudi Arabia. “The truth is, a lot of business is being done between Israel and Saudi Arabia
Roni Levy, marketing manager for Tel Aviv-based Hop Engineering Ltd., said his company has existing export relationships in Asia, South Africa, and Europe, and is now trying to break into the U.S. market. “We think that if we can get contact with some small or medium American companies, it can be a very good platform for us… We have installed oil fields in Indonesia and Azerbaijan, but we think if we could make good contacts here [in the U.S.] and do a good job, it will help us a lot in the local market as well as the international market,” Levy told JNS. org. Gilad Norman, marketing and sales manager for Egmo, an Israeli producer of stainless steel fittings and flow products, called the American oil and gas industry “a huge market, a very sophisticated market, dealing with end-users, engineering companies, equipment manufacturers, and the supply chains… and all of them are here [at the OTC].”
manufacture different products,” Hardy told JNS.org. “We were able to see that, it was well-presented, and [the companies] were forthcoming with all kinds of good publications. I took all of them and I plan to sit down once I’m done with the show here and go over it, and see how we would meld with the potential of doing business with the Israeli oil and gas community.” The casual observer of the U.S.Israel energy relationship might know that Noble Energy, which is based in Houston, operates both of Israel’s offshore gas fields. But Noble is currently the only foreign company that drills in the Jewish state, and “there is a need for more oil and gas companies to come and work in Israel,” said the Ministry of Economy’s Niddam-Wachsman. The OTC should help solve that need, as Israeli companies had more than 400 meetings with major oil and gas companies at and around the trade show last year, Niddam-Wachsman said. Recalling that he has been through two oil crises in his lifetime, in 1973 and 1981-82, Congressman Weber described the OTC as an indispensable networking opportunity for the companies in attendance. “The fact that these companies are here and focused on this is huge,” Weber said. “These are the innovators, these are the job-creators. They’re committed for the long-haul.”
“It’s quite nice to see all these players in the market, in one location,” Norman said. Bill Hardy—sales manager of government accounts for Texas-based Thrustmaster, a producer of marine propulsion thruster machines—was impressed by what he saw at the Israeli pavilion. “It was interesting to see that you had a host of individuals that are both in the [oil and gas] industry and KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
A Student Named Greenberg Has a ‘Koufax Moment’ By Jacob Kamaras / JNS
In 1965, legendary Major League Baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax opted not to pitch Game 1 of the World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers because the game coincided with Yom Kippur. Half a century later, Koufax’s decision is being invoked for a university commencement speech. Don Greenberg—presumably no relation to Hank Greenberg, another famed Jewish baseball player who sat out a pivotal game on Yom Kippur— was slated to be the student speaker at the May 16 commencement
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ceremony for Binghamton University’s Watson School of Engineering. But May 16 is a Saturday, preventing Greenberg from using a microphone for the speech without violating the laws of Shabbat.
director of The Rohr Chabad Center for Jewish Student Life at Binghamton University, where Greenberg is an active member—likened Greenberg’s situation to Koufax’s moment of truth 50 years earlier.
Greenberg told campus administrators that he would not be able to use the microphone, and in a compromise, his commencement remarks were prerecorded and will air during Saturday’s ceremony.
“I’m reminded of when Sandy Koufax refused to pitch during the first game of the ’65 World Series, which coincided with Yom Kippur eve,” said Slonim. “His courage gave many Jews the strength to be unabashed of their Judaism.”
Rabbi Aaron Slonim—executive
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After Decades of IOC Silence, Slain Israeli Olympians Headed for Recognition By Jacob Kamaras / JNS
In September 1972, relatives of the Israeli Olympic team members who were murdered at the Munich Olympics are pictured before funeral processions for the victims at local cemeteries in Israel.
“We have given the best years of our lives to remember—to remember the tragedy of what happened. … Now we are starting to see some light from all of our efforts.” Such is the sentiment of Ilana Romano, widow of Israeli weightlifter Yossef Romano, who was murdered by Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists along with 10 other members of the Israeli Olympic team during the summer of 1972 Olympics in Munich, West Germany. That fateful event became known as the “Munich Massacre.” Since then, Romano and a handful of fellow widowers have fought for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to formally recognize the massacre with a moment of silence or official memorial. While the Games went on in 1972, the tragedy was shooed under the carpet. As recently as 2012, Romano and Ankie Spitzer, the widow of another Munich Massacre victim, pressed top Olympic officials over their refusal to honor the dead with a minute of silence at the opening ceremony of that year’s London 30
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Olympics—the massacre’s 40th anniversary. No such recognition was granted. But the playing field is starting to shift. In time for the Rio Olympics in the summer of 2016, a first-ever IOCsupported official memorial telling the story of the Munich Massacre will be erected in Munich, on the grounds of the Olympic stadium. The memorial, whose groundbreaking ceremony will take place this summer, is being constructed at the initiative of the Bavarian government to bring a sense of closure to this 43-year drama.
An unofficial tribute to the Israeli Olympians murdered at the 1972 Olympics in July 2012 in London’s Trafalgar Square, coinciding with the start of that year’s Summer Olympics in London. That year, the International Olympic Committee declined to grant requests for an official moment of silence for the Munich victims during the Olympics that marked the 40th anniversary of their deaths.
Likewise, it was recently announced that the new president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, will erect an official site at the Rio Olympics for people to go and reflect on the loss of anyone who was hurt or killed in the Olympic Games—including the 11 Israeli victims. In anticipation of the memorial, the Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD) will release a new documentary examining what is widely considered the first act of modern terrorism. The film, “Munich 1972 & Beyond,” will for the first time unravel why and how the attack happened, its aftermath, and its importance in 2015 and beyond. Produced by Dr. Steven Ungerleider, author of “Faust’s Gold,” and GSP President David Ulich, the film will offer new research and information—some of which Romano says she has never seen herself. “The IOC jumping in is the biggest symbolic step at this point,” Ulich tells JNS.org, noting the 40-plus year controversy about the IOC’s level of support—or lack thereof—in remembering the victims. The IOC is among the lead sponsors of the memorial and is supportive of the film. “This was a very edgy, unpleasant,
traumatic event,” says Ungerleider. “First there was denial, then it was buried, suppressed for whatever reason—political reasons, anti-Semitic reasons, racist reasons—and not until a year ago has someone stepped up and said, ‘Now we are ready to move forward, and we need to honor the past so we can move forward and remember those [killed] and never forget.’” Ulich says the memorial is an important piece of the healing process between the Germans, the Israelis, and the IOC, as well as between the victims’ families and the world, and that the GSD documentary will “document that healing process.” Ungerleider and Ulich are currently in the interviewing and filming process for their production. The essence of the film is to tell a story of redemption and reconciliation, and to talk about the upcoming memorial as a space for memory and mourning. While capturing the voices of the victims, the German police, members of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, and other officials, the producers hope to capture the spirit that “we are now moving forward,” Ungerleider says. “There is not room for terrorism anywhere, especially on the Olympic
grounds,” he says. Since that 1972 massacre, security has been at the forefront of every Olympics. According to Ungerleider, an entire Olympic budget is around $15$20 billion, of which close to $2 billion is spent on security. The IOC works closely with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Mossad, the U.K.’s Secret Intelligence Service, and other security bodies around the world. Israeli journalist Yossi Melman, who served as an intelligence and strategic affairs correspondent for the Hebrew daily newspaper Haaretz and is the co-author of “Spies against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars,” says today the world does not need a reminder that terrorism exists. But through supporting the Munich memorial, he says, the IOC is demonstrating that it understands the need to combat terror.
governments understand they have to fight terrorism.” “The fact of the Games themselves, that after Munich the IOC decided to carry on—and it was a difficult decision—that should show we cannot be beaten by terrorism,” Jochen Färber, IOC President Bach’s chief of staff, tells JNS.org. “This memorial will help underlay that message and explain why we must never give into terrorism.” Ilana Romano adds, “Now I can rest a little because I know that I am leaving the record straight for the next generation, from a historical perspective, so hopefully history will not repeat itself.”
“Americans do not need to be reminded after 9/11,” Melman says. “In Russia, Southeast Asia, China—terrorism is all over the place. More or less, most KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
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Illinois gets it Right on Dealing with BDS By Sherwin Pomerantz
I all goes according to plan in the Illinois General Assembly this week, the Springfield body will pass Senate Bill (SB) 1761 which will make it the first U.S. state to adopt legislation countering the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement taking root in America and the rest of the world. Conceived by the recently elected Governor Bruce Rauner, sponsored by State Sen. Ira Silverstein and State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, and co-sponsored by House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, among others, the bill passed the Illinois Senate last week 49-0 (seven voted “present” and three did not vote). The Illinois House is expected to vote on this before the end of this week, and it is expected to pass there and then become law. The law amends the Illinois Procurement Code and prohibits any State agency from entering into a contract subject to the Code with a business that boycotts Israel. Modeled on earlier state legislation that mandated divestment from South Africa, Darfur and Iran, SB 1761 requires the state’s five pension funds to divest from companies that boycott Israel. An Illinois Investment Policy Board will ensure compliance with the state’s three operative divestment laws 34
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(Darfur, Iran and Israel). Referring to the bill during remarks at an Israeli Independence Day celebration in Chicago last week, Gov. Rauner said, “67 years didn’t happen without a fight. And 67 more won’t happen without all of us staying strong and standing up to anti-Semitism – whenever and however it appears. Here in Illinois, we need to do our part. I made a pledge that Illinois would become the first state in America to divest its public pension funds from any company in the world that boycotts Israel.” As a former resident of Illinois, and now contracted by the state’s Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity to encourage further business connections between Israel and Illinois, I am particularly proud of the legislature for passing such a law and to the governor for so wholeheartedly encouraging its passage. While the BDS movement claims to be using similar tactics to what was used to end apartheid in South Africa, the fact is that at its core, the movement’s main objective is to delegitimize Israel and ultimately eliminate the country from the world’s stage.
As attorney Alan Dershowitz opined last year in Ha’aretz “The BDS movement is immoral because its leaders will never be satisfied with the kind of two state solution that is acceptable to Israel. Many of its leaders do not believe in the concept of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. (The major leader of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, has repeatedly expressed his opposition to Israel’s right to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people even within the 1967 borders.) At bottom, therefore, the leadership of the BDS movement is opposed not only to Israel’s occupation and settlement policy but to its very existence.” Sadly many people, including a large number of Jews worldwide, support the BDS movement mistakenly believing that somehow or other this will help bring about the creation of two states for two people in this troubled land of ours. But saner voices understand the ultimate purpose of the movement is as articulated by Dershowitz and others. Illinois is to be given credit for boldly dealing with this within its legal jurisdiction.
Pomp and Circumstance – and Some Advice By Robin Silver-Zwiren
Guiding our children to make choices is an everyday challenge. We need to find the balance between making demands, as many of our own parents did, to giving our children the tools so they can find the direction on their own. Being parents does not end when they get their driver’s license or high school diploma. One of the most stressful times is not when choosing what preschool or elementary school to send them to, but to where they will attend college. That most are not even at the legal age of 18 (let alone that in California the legal age is 21) when they are seniors should tell us that our parental role is not over. Even though our kids think they know everything, parents should be a part of the college decision, especially as we are usually the ones paying for it. My parents had an easier job, because my siblings and I chose between the two English universities in Montreal: McGill or Concordia. In South Africa the Jewish teens also tended to choose between one or two universities. In the United States, though, the number of accredited post-high school institutions is vast. Our choices appear so much greater. Thankfully, programs like Naviance, which they use at Tarbut, can lessen
the search. What our children and their guidance counselors input into that search engine is where our role of parents is truly important. Math, science, literature, psychology, athletics, music, art history, graphic design, veterinary medicine, engineering — the list goes on. However, these are just subjects. What about student life? What about how many other Jewish kids attend the college and how strong the Hillel and Chabad groups are? How many area teens rushed off to colleges only to return after a semester or two of freshman year, because they hated it? Because there was not enough Jewish activity on campus, because they were singled out and wanted something more. I know of several who walk the Chapman campus alongside their TVT classmates once again. As powerful as the BDS movements are in UC schools, how divestment is a daily question, the Jewish students still feel safe walking around UCLA, UCI and Davis. Maybe if we as parents guided them more, they would not have had to suffer in the first place. No matter what post high school institution students choose, getting involved in campus Jewish life has many benefits. Whether our children attend Tarbut, another private school
or area public schools, Orange County is an insular environment. Buses, subways and inner city experiences are not the norm. University life can be daunting. Classes with several hundred unknown people can be frightening. Walking into a Shabbat dinner at Hillel or Chabad Center breaks down some barriers. Join a Jewish fraternity or sorority, and suddenly university life seems filled with more familiar faces. Of course, joining any club or sports team has wonderful advantages, but Jewish groups also give added support. If any exams are given on a Jewish holiday, it is comforting to know that there are others asking professors to reschedule or make concessions. There are some extremely vocal groups on campuses everywhere — many that seem to hate everything we stand for, everything we believe. We do not have to hide our Jewishness and love of Israel. As parents, we should do everything we can to make our children proud of their heritage, so when they go to university, they won’t shrink in shame. Try to gear them towards a college experience that will not only give them wonderful academics but support our inherited beliefs as well. Our rich heritage is thousands of years old and filled with so many amazing customs that our children should be proud to share with others. Each milestone is important, but somehow the one where they leave our nest and start their first (semi) independent life is one that will never be forgotten. Giving them these building blocks for their first eighteen years will make the next years that much more rewarding. Wishing mazal tov to all the members of the Class of 2015 and their families.
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
How Should Pro-Israel Voices Tackle the War of Ideas on College Campuses? By Jeff Barken / JNS
Recent ordeals for Jews on college campuses include being probed on their religious identity in student government hearings, seeing swastikas sprayed on their fraternity houses, and the presence of a student-initiated course accused of anti-Semitism. Pro-Israel voices are fighting back, but who is winning this war of ideas? An episode at Columbia University, a historic hotbed of antiZionism, illustrates the complex dynamics at play. Last month, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), America’s largest proIsrael organization with more than 2 million members, planned a lecture at Columbia concerning the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his support for Israel. CUFI says that the school administration meddled with the event in a way that unfairly singled out the pro-Israel group. The university imposed an “unprecedented level of bureaucratic scrutiny in an effort to intimidate,” says David Walker, CUFI’s national campus coordinator. Walker tells JNS.org that the university moved the lecture to a much smaller venue at the last minute, demanded to know the names of all off-campus individuals expected to attend, and denied the general public entry— all of which he calls evidence of 36
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“bureaucratic bullying.” Some organizations partnering with CUFI on the event proceeded to withdraw their support in the aftermath of the administration’s actions.
Pastor Dumisani Washington, Christians United for Israel’s (CUFI) diversity outreach coordinator. Washington spoke at an April 30 event at Columbia University (not the speech pictured here) concerning the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his support for Israel.
Despite the obstacles, CUFI’s diversity outreach coordinator, Pastor Dumisani
Washington, was permitted to speak at Columbia during the April 30 event. He began by refuting a statement issued by the Columbia Black Students Organization (BSO) in which the group condemned Aryeh, a pro-Israel student organization at Columbia, for using “the image and words” of Martin Luther King to promote Zionist views and co-opting “the black liberation struggle for the purposes of genocide and oppression.” “When I see black students saying these things I know there is a great deal of confusion,” Washington says. His lecture offered a history of the civil rights movement in the U.S., demonstrating how King and his closest followers were always aligned with Israel, both spiritually and politically. By citing the shared experience of slavery as epochs uniting Jews and blacks, recalling songs about Moses, and highlighting excerpts from New Testament and Old Testament psalms that figure prominently in King’s speeches, Washington defended Christian Zionism and King’s legacy as a proIsrael voice. In his presentation, Washington also included a short video that illustrates BSO’s “confusion.” The video recalls the 1975 United Nations General
OPINION Assembly resolution that declared Zionism as racism. Noting the maxim “follow the money,” the video connects the dots of a complicated political strategy devised by the former Soviet Union. At the height of the Cold War, the USSR sought to manipulate and intimidate poorer member states (mostly African) into passing antiIsrael resolutions. The real target of this strategy was not Israel, but rather America, the Soviets’ chief rival. Since the U.S. and Israel are close allies, the Soviets reasoned, any discrediting of Israel’s reputation as a humane democracy reflected negatively on the U.S., creating ideological conflicts of interest. With CUFI’s event going on planned, the pro-Israel side at Columbia University managed to have its voice and narrative heard—at least for that day. Columbia, as it turns out, sits atop a recently published list of 10 American college campuses where anti-Semitism is most rampant. The list was compiled by JewHatredOnCampus.org, an initiative launched earlier this year whose mission is to engage directly with students at institutions of higher learning where pro-Palestinian student groups are using school funding to launch aggressive anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda campaigns. The new website publishes a regular newsletter and provides a portal for reporting anti-Semitic incidents. “Fifty-four percent of Jewish students on college campuses feel they’ve witnessed anti-Semitism,” says well-known conservative writer David Horowitz, the founder of JewHatredOnCampus.org. “The problem is that Jews aren’t fighting back.” But how should they fight back? A 2010 incident involving Horowitz sheds light on the activist’s strategy of choice. In a post-lecture Q&A session hosted by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Horowitz asked a UCSD Muslim student, Jumanah Imad Albahri, to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as genocidal terrorist organizations. Albarhi’s answer
shocked the audience, and the video of their heated exchange quickly went viral. In the video, Albarhi asks Horowitz “to explain the purported connection” between UCSD’s Muslim Student Association chapter and “jihadist terrorist networks.” Horowitz doesn’t answer directly. Instead, he counters by pressing Albarhi to refute the documented statement by the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, expressing his desire for Jews to gather in Israel so that “it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” Albarhi appears rattled. She worries that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will label her a terrorist if she sides with Hezbollah, but denies that pro-Palestinian organizations are aligned with doctrines of hate. “For it or against it?” Horowitz persists, demanding an answer regarding Albarhi’s opinion on Hezbollah’s rhetoric. Finally, Albarhi leans toward the microphone and says decisively, “For it.” (Though Albarhi later denied supporting Nasrallah’s comments.) Indeed, similar YouTube clips and social media debates reveal the intensity of student opinions regarding Israel, as well as the animosity directed at Jewish students and professors. Horowitz believes that one common Israeli public relations strategy—the spotlighting of “all the wonderful things Israel has accomplished, from medical inventions and agricultural advances to being tolerant of gays”—falls short as a proper defense of the Jewish state’s policies. From his perspective, history is what provides a legitimate justification for Israel to exist under its present borders. He cites the original Palestinian Liberation Organization slogan declaring a fundamental intention to “push [the Jews] into the sea” as clear-cut evidence that Israel does not have a partner for peace.
planning another Holocaust openly.” Against the backdrop of that sense of urgency, Horowitz advocates a robust and unapologetic public relations campaign on the part of pro-Israel advocates as the only way to repair the damage done to Israel’s image by its enemies. The press release that launched his JewHatredOnCampus. org initiative lists anti-Jewish acts such as “Israeli Apartheid Week” (the annual anti-Israel showcase on campuses around the world), the interruption of university activities by staging mock “checkpoints” on campus, the hosting of speakers on campus that call for the destruction of the Jewish state, and harassment and violence against Jewish and pro-Israel students. Horowitz’s efforts to counter antiIsrael and anti-Semitic rhetoric has sparked many contentious debates at the more than 400 college campus visits he says he has made. CUFI speakers are similarly accustomed to meeting fiery opposition. On the same day as the recent Columbia event, CUFI Outreach Coordinator Kasim Hafeez—a British Muslim of Pakistani origin and a jihadist-turned-Zionist— had Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) activists walk out on a speech he gave at the University of Toledo. Horowitz concedes that the current debate over Israel on campus is a shallow shouting match to which he contributes his own propaganda. He expresses his desire for an “informed scholarly debate,” but says of proPalestinian advocates, “I don’t believe there is an honest way for them to argue their cause… [when their] side wants to annihilate the other.”
“You have to call it what it is,” Horowitz tells JNS.org. “You cannot make peace with people who want to kill you. These are literally Nazis… KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
Say It Loud, Say It Clear: No World Cup for Qatar By Ben Cohen / JNS
In a normal world, it wouldn’t be Israel that is the target of a campaign for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions. The tiny Gulf emirate of Qatar is a far better candidate. Why Qatar? There are many reasons. Let’s start with its internal system of governance. Although a smattering of ordinances inherited from the period of British rule remain in place, Qatar is a state based on Islamic sharia law. Practically, that means you can be stoned to death for blasphemy, apostasy and, of course, the paramount “crime” of homosexuality. And if you’re a non-Muslim about to fall in love with a Muslim in Qatar, don’t—such “illicit” sexual relations will result in your receiving several lashes. About 2 million people live in Qatar, but only 10 percent of the population, at most, possess the rights accorded to full Qatari citizens. There’s a word for that, and it’s frequently applied, deceitfully and wrongly, to Israel. I’m talking about apartheid, of course. The term is far more accurate in the Qatari case because, as in South Africa during the bad old days, a wealthy, privileged, and enfranchised minority rules over a downtrodden, disenfranchised majority. The group that suffers most from this grotesque system are Qatar’s migrant workers, 38
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estimated at approximately 1.4 million, who come to the emirate to earn money for their families back in countries like Bangladesh and Nepal, and who end up, quite literally, as slaves in private houses or on construction sites. There is, nonetheless, a twist. We know that other Gulf Arab states, most obviously Saudi Arabia, are similarly repressive. Unlike the Saudis, however, the Qatari royal family is extremely skilled when it comes to public relations and marketing, into which they’ve invested billions of dollars of revenue gleaned from their oil and natural gas exports. As a result, many Westerners regard Qatar as an Arab version of Singapore: conservative and traditional, maybe, but also an economic powerhouse that fosters an entrepreneurial business culture. That false image is reinforced by Qatar’s global economic profile, which befits the world’s richest country on a per capita basis. Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, with assets of $256 billion, has bought up choice properties, companies, and financial institutions across the world. If you buy a Volkswagen car, if you shop at the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain or at the exclusive Harrods department
store in the U.K., if you attend a soccer match involving the leading French club Paris St Germain (PSG), or if you bank with Credit Suisse, a good portion of your hard-earned cash will be going into Qatari coffers. Indeed, anyone who watches soccer will be struck by how many top clubs, like Spain’s FC Barcelona, wear jerseys embossed with the Qatar Airways logo. Qatar also promotes itself through the grandly named Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, a “non-profit” that is entirely funded by the royal family. In America, the Qatar Foundation partners with the Weill-Cornell Medical College and has enabled several prominent international universities, among them Carnegie Mellon, Texas A&M, and University College London, to set up campuses in the Qatari capital, Doha. But it is in the world of sport—and soccer in particular—that Qatar has established its dominance. Much of the slave labor in the country is used to build the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup that Qatar, for the moment anyway, is hosting. Like Russia, which hosts the World Cup in 2018, Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup thanks to its
bribery of key officials at FIFA, world soccer’s governing body. This week, 14 FIFA officials were indicted by the U.S. on corruption charges, many of them related to Qatar. Those officials will stand trial here because, in using American banks to carry out these illegal transactions, they broke American laws. In the coming months, we can expect an endless stream of stories that will underline just how FIFA has become the most corrupt organization in the world, and many of those will have Qatar at the center. Now, therefore, is the time to say loudly and clearly that Qatar should be stripped of the 2022 World Cup. Other countries far better suited to hold such a competition, among them England, the United States, and Australia, had their bids dismissed simply because they are not in the bribery business. Handing the World Cup back to one of these democracies isn’t just the right thing to do in terms of morality—it will actually save lives. The International Trade Union Confederation, which diligently monitors the barbaric treatment of Qatar’s slaves, predicts that 4,000 migrant workers will have died by the time the first ball is kicked in 2022. Now, I love soccer, but the idea of watching a competition built upon a foundation of death and exploitation leaves me physically sick.
Just as sickening is the news that the callous Qataris refused to allow Nepalese migrant workers to return home after the recent devastating earthquake. Under the “kafala” labor system that operates in Qatar, employers seize the passports of their migrant workers, force them to work more than 12 hours a day in the searing heat, and then dump them in the squalid, unsanitary camps that pass for living quarters. Tek Bahadur Gurung, Nepal’s labor minister, recently revealed that his country had “requested all companies in Qatar to give their Nepalese workers special leave and pay for their air fare home. While workers in some sectors of the economy have been given this, those on World Cup construction sites are not being allowed to leave because of the pressure to complete projects on time. They have lost relatives and their homes and are enduring very difficult conditions in Qatar. This is adding to their suffering.”
Qatar Foundation’s handle on Twitter is @QF) exactly what you think of their slavery policy, and ask them whether their “community development programs” apply to the migrant workers living in that desert hell. One final point of note: Qatar is the main financial backer of the Palestinian Islamist terror organization, Hamas. That truly is a match made in heaven.
You, dear readers, know what to do with Qatar. Boycott. Divest. Sanction. Tell your elected representatives that this nasty and oppressive little emirate should not be honored with sport’s most popular and lucrative competition. Tell Qatari representatives on social media (the KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JUNE 2015
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