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Globe Shamir remembered Late Israeli PM stood firm on no concessions

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JULY 5, 2012 tammuz 15, 5772

Vol. 56, No. 8

Pittsburgh, PA

Mega Mission memories

$1.50

Jewish providers: Medicaid expansion top question after health care ruling BY TOBY TABACHNICK Staff Writer

Yosef Adest photo

Pittsburghers were treated to a private reception at an Israel Defense Forces base with a special performance by famous Israeli singer Einat Sarouf along with the base’s soldiers. See photos, page 5.

From family tree to Tel Aviv kitchen, mission made lasting impact BY JUSTIN JACOBS Chronicle Correspondent

On the last night of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Israel Centennial Mega Mission, the participants gathered by the sea in Tel Aviv to say goodbye. Enjoying dinner outside of their hotel, they ate, drank and talked as the sun set over the Mediterranean, filling the water and sky with a soft orange glow. The setting had all the makings of a party, but the mood was subdued. It was time to go home. But each participant, whether they were making their first trip or their 21st, knew this one was

something special. Any trip takes planning — numbers and logistics and maps and reservations. But for the Mega Mission, which just returned to Pittsburgh late last week, the planning was staggering: nearly 300 people, eight days, six buses. “This mission was like planning a different wedding every day for 10 days, each with 300 guests,” said Becca Hurowitz, Centennial Mission manager. “All that planning and envisioning and dreaming is gone,” she said. “You get to the moment and you’re so anxious, you need to tell yourself to step back and enjoy it. You get to the last night, and you

just don’t want it to end.” Looking back on the trip, which wound all over Israel from June 19 to 28, the 290 Pittsburghers won’t remember the logistics. It’s the stories and the memories that will last. ••• Few stories carry as much weight as Paul Fireman’s. He joined the mission for his family — most of whom he didn’t know. While Fireman wanted to give his kids, Annah and Leah, a taste of Israel, he felt ecstatic to connect with an entire branch of his family tree that he had never met. Sitting at a table by the sea, after his Please see Mission, page 9.

While the heads of local Jewish service agencies breathed a collective sigh of relief last Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the bulk of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul, some remained concerned that many of the poorest in the community might still be left without health insurance. At issue is the expanded Medicaid provision, which the Supreme Court affectively held is optional for states. Under the original Affordable Care Act, which was challenged by 26 states including Pennsylvania, states would get additional federal money if they expanded Medicaid to include more people. The federal government would pay all of the cost of expanded coverage for three years, and then gradually reduce the federal share to 90 percent in 2020. States choosing not to expand would lose all of their federal Medicaid funding. The Supreme Court struck down that provision, allowing states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion without suffering a penalty. But the ruling could leave many people whose family income is between 100 percent and 133 percent of the poverty level without health care coverage. If a state opts not to expand its Medicaid program, these families will make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to qualify for subsidized coverage through health exchanges. “I have some concern about how the Medicaid provisions will roll out,” said Susan Friedberg Kalson, CEO of the Squirrel Hill Health Center, which provides affordable health care to the community at large and is funded, in part, Please see Health care, page 15.

B USINES S 12/C L AS SIFIED 11/O BITUARIES 14 O PINION 6/R EAL E STATE 13/S IMCHAS 10

Times To Remember

KINDLE SABBATH CANDLES: 8:35 p.m. DST. SABBATH ENDS: 9:42 p.m. DST.


2 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012

Metro Committee votes for divestment

Jewish leaders join debate at Presbyterian General Assembly BY TOBY TABACHNICK Staff Writer

The Committee on Middle East and Peacemaking Issues of the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved a resolution Tuesday in favor of divesting from companies doing business in Israel by a 36 to 11 vote. The resolution now goes to the larger church body for a final vote later this week. Members of the committee deliberated Monday on the issue of divestment at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where their 220th General Assembly is being held. The divestment resolutions are directed against three companies purportedly doing business in Israel: Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions. Proponents of divestment say that Caterpillar supplies the bulldozers and earth-moving equipment used by the Israel Defense Forces to clear Palestinian homes and orchards; Hewlett-Packard provides biometric monitoring at checkpoints and information technology to the Israeli navy; and Motorola supplies surveillance equipment to “illegal settlements” in the West Bank, and communications equipment to “occupation forces.” If the PC (USA) passes these resolutions, it will be the only mainstream religious group in the United States to

formally adopt divestment policies to- parties to the conflict. That will happen ward Israel. The United Methodist not by outside judgments, such as diChurch defeated two similar motions to vestment, but rather by a renewed comdivest by a large margin at its General mitment to peace by Israelis and PalesConference last month. tinians, and, indeed, through the historic The committee listened to hours of interfaith connection and dialogue betestimony from both sides of the debate, tween Presbyterians and Jews which I including the voices of a few American — we all — cherish.” rabbis imploring their Presbyterian A letter signed by 1,500 rabbis, repreneighbors to examine both sides of the senting a range of political and denomiin conflict national aftheir effort to filiations, foster peace in urging the “The Jewish community was the region. church to re“Our shared ject the dimisrepresented this afternoon, and goal is furthervestment in a big way.” ing peace, and resolutions, we believe was sent to that the divestthe PC ment initiative (USA) prior Jeffrey Cohan does not furto the Generther peace beal Assembly. cause it is a Likewise, the judgment, an oversimplification, against Jewish Council for Public Affairs and one side in the conflict,” Rabbi Noam the Israel Action Network amassed sigMarans, director of interreligious and in- natures of over 22,000 Jews to a “Letter tergroup relations at the American Jew- of Hope,” also urging the church to reish Committee, told the committee. “That ject divestment. is how most American Jews understand Rabbi Alvin K. Berkun, a past presithis initiative and they hope the church dent of the Conservative movement’s will join with the many in the American Rabbinical Assembly, and rabbi emeriJewish community who believe that the tus of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Congreonly path to peace is a return to negotia- gation, also addressed the committee, tions without preconditions, so the con- pointing out the significance in having flict can be resolved mutually by the the Jewish community so united on any given issue. “I want to thank you,” he told the Presbyterian committee members. “Every two years, you bring the Jewish community together.” Acknowledging that the church had received another letter with only 18 rabbinic signatures from the pro-divestment group Jewish Voice for Peace, Berkun explained that the letter signed by 1,500 rabbis from the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Reconstructionist movements was evidence of where the Jewish majority is on the issue. He also warned the committee members that “boycott, sanction and divestment (BDS) is going to lead to delegitimitzation.” While many Presbyterians spoke out in favor of divestment, failing to acknowledge any wrongdoing on the part of Palestinian terrorist groups, and calling Israel’s “occupation the worst form of terrorism,” others advocated against the resolutions. Jan Armstrong, executive presbyter of the Santa Barbara (California) Presbytery, noted that in 2006, the committee issued an apology for voting to divest in 2004, and that the “witness and testimony” of the committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) — the fact-finding body recommending divestment — “was flawed, false and at many times an outright lie.” A former member of the MRTI, Jill Schaeffer of the Susquehanna Valley Presbytery, was visibly upset by the one-sided arguments presented by those in favor of divestment. “My conscience is pricked that I am

not hearing both sides,” she said. “I am offended by the silence about arms being smuggled to Hamas and the arming of Hezbollah. In the lack of data and concern [for Israelis] I find pro-divestment to be a very bad strategy.” The arguments in favor of divestment ranged from not wanting to be invested in companies that “participate in the occupation,” to using it as a method to “get Israel back to the negotiating table with the Palestinians.” But the one-sidedness of these positions is problematic, said Bart Gingerich, research assistant at the Institute on Religion and Democracy, who has been attending the committee meetings this week. “With divestment, you become a partisan with the issue (of Middle East peace) instead of a bridge-builder,” Gingerich said. “For effective peacemaking, there needs to be more give and take. If the Presbyterians want to be part of it, they need to build bridges, and not just take a partisan position.” Gingerich said that divestment appeals to those on the left of the political spectrum because of a movement to equate the situation in the West Bank with apartheid. “There is a heavy push from the wider BDS movement to make this like apartheid South Africa,” he said. “The leftists pick up on that because it’s an advocacy issue, and a lot of their efforts are pushed toward political advocacy.” In fact, members of the fledgling Jewish Voice for Peace may be influenced by that same push. “Jewish Voice for Peace supports divestment from the occupation,” said Russ Greenleaf, a member of the group who came from Kentucky as an observer to the General Assembly. “We’re just saying the occupation must end so there can be peace and security for Israel. If we know it has to end, we shouldn’t be investing in it. This kind of divestment is good for the Palestinians, it’s good for the Israelis, and its good for the Presbyterians.” “I think divestment is the most promising path to get the Palestinians and Israelis to the table as equal partners,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, director of campaigns for JVP. Although JVP “doesn’t tend to use the word apartheid to describe the situation” in the West Bank, Wise said, she noted that Desmond Tutu did describe the situation as “parallel if not worse than apartheid.” Although the organization is relatively small, members of the JVP turned out in force for the General Assembly, with many wearing signs over their chests reading “I’m young, proud, Jewish and for divestment.” About 10 members of JVP took the podium, imploring the Presbyterians to divest, many saying that doing so was “a Jewish value.” “While I find it disturbing that 10 Jews would be promoting anti-Israel divestment, on the other hand, there’s no Please see Debate, page 14.


14— THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012

OBITUARY LEFF: On Sunday, July 1, 2012, Melvin Leff; beloved husband of Wanda (Rachel) Leff; beloved father of Brenda (Bruce) Elliott; brother of Ruth (Rushie) Leff; grandfather of Britney and Brandon Elliott; also survived by many cousins. Melvin was a cherished husband, devoted brother and sincere friend to many. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel; interment Machsikei Hadas Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Sivitz Jewish Hospice, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. www.schugar.com ROBINS: On Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Ruth K. Robins; beloved wife of the late Henry E. Robins; beloved mother of JoAnn Klein and Harry Robins; sister of the late Ann Greenfield, Kayla Pearlman, Ethel Goldman, Pearl Mandel and Harry Kerovitz; grandmother of Stephen Klein, Debra Klein and Jeffrey Klein; great-grandmother of Lanny, Zachary and Ashley; also survived by many nieces and nephews. Services and interment were held at Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Charles M. Morris Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. www.schugar.com ROSENSTEIN: On Thursday, June 21, 2012, Harry Rosenstein, 63, of Cheswick, Pa.; beloved husband of Diana Rosenstein; loving father of Jennifer and Jason Rosenstein; cherished son of Myrna Rosenstein and the late Martin Rosenstein; devoted brother of Barbara (Marc) Yergin, Judi (David)

Peacock, and Anna Rosenstein; brotherin-law of Dorothy Doring and Donna (the late Gary) Kletke; uncle of David and Ilana Yergin, Dana (Richard) Schultz, and Deanna Kletke; also survived by a host of family and dear friends. Harry passed surrounded by his loving family. Services and interment were held at Homewood Cemetery. Arrangements by the Rapp Funeral Home, Inc., 10940 Frankstown Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. www.rappfuneralhome.com STAHL: On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, Florance “Ponce” Stahl; beloved wife of the late Judge David Stahl; mother of Judith (Wayne) Amtzis of Kathmandu, Nepal, and Jerry Stahl of Los Angeles; sister of Betty (Edgar) Belle of Mt. Lebanon and the late Marcella Rhein, Elaine Messer, and Sylvan Goldman; grandmother of Rachel Amtzis of Singapore, Stella Stahl of Los Angeles and Nico Stahl of Austin, Texas; also survived by loving nieces and nephews. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel; interment Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the Judge David Stahl Memorial Scholarship Fund, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Alumni Development Dept., 3900 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. www.schugar.com WILNER: On Sunday, July 1, 2012, Shirley Pearlstein Wilner; loving mother of Joel and Kelly Wilner, Geoffrey and Laura Wilner and Felice and John Loleit; sister of Rita and Al Wenkert, Morris Pearlstein and Frannie Weisberg; grandma “Shirley” of Christopher,

Julia and Joshua; also survived by nieces and nephews. Wilner was born and raised in Homestead and lived in Santa Fe, N.M., for most of her adult life. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel; interment Homestead Hebrew Cemetery. Contributions may be made to American Lung Association, 11676 Perry Highway #2104, Wexford, PA 15090. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. www.schugar.com YAHR: On Friday, June 15, 2012, Edith “Petey” Yahr of Phoenix and formerly of Pittsburgh; beloved mother of Jan Judith (Steve) Binder and Neil (Debra) Yahr Siegel; grandmother of Ann and Sarah Siegel, grandson Matt (Anne) Dutro; greatgrandmother of James, Genevieve and Eloise Dutro. Edith “Petey” Yahr Edith was a beloved mother and accomplished thespian. A true original, Yahr sang opera, light opera, had a supper club act and featured roles in “Bye Bye Birdie” starring Orson Bean and “How to Succeed In Business”, among others. In addition, she taught a course at the University of Pittsburgh titled “Anyone Can Sing.” Legally blind since the age of three, Yahr overcame many obstacles to achieve her goals in every aspect of her life. Services and interment Mount Sinai Cemetery in Phoenix. Contributions may be made to WQED Multimedia, 4802 Fifth Ave.,

Debate: Continued from page 2. secret that there is diversity of opinion in the Jewish community,” said Jeffrey Cohan, director of community and public affairs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “While pro-divestment Jews are a very small minority, they obviously put forth a great effort to organize to get people here. The Jewish community was misrepresented this afternoon, and in a big way.” The decision to not bring more anti-divestment Jews to the General Assembly was intentional, according to Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of interfaith affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. “The choice of fewer Jews rather than more was deliberate and unanimous,” he said. “There is a huge cadre of people (in the Presbyterian church) who are sympathetic to Israel. That makes this church very special.” For the last several years, Adlerstein and other Jewish pro-Israel advocates

Pittsburgh, PA 15213. www.wqed.org ZIFF: On Thursday, June 28, 2012, Dan Ziff, 61, of Pittsburgh and formerly of Greensburg; beloved husband of Ella Zeilinger Ziff; son of the late June and Eddie Ziff; brother of David (Carla) Ziff of Illinois, and Jesse Susan Ziff Cool of Palo Alto, Calif.; beloved Uncle of Josh (Yuko) Danovitz, Aaron (Sheila) Ziff, Jonah Cool and Eve Clark. After receiving his master's degree in social work from San Jose State University, Dan spent his entire professional career in service to our veterans. He was a nationally recognized post-traumatic stress disorder clinical therapist. Ziff passed from complications from MDS, he will be forever missed by many coworkers, friends, family and all those he touched throughout his life he has now found the best box seats behind the Pirate’s dugout in heaven! Services and interment were held at Homewood Cemetery. Contributions may be made to American Friends of Israel War Disabled, 1100 Frick Lane, Pittsburgh PA 15217. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. www.schugar.com.

Unveiling LIPSITZ: A monument in loving memory of Helen Nobel Lipsitz will be unveiled Sunday, July 15 at 10 a.m. at Adath Jeshurin Cemetery, 148 Howard St., Penn Hills, PA 15235. Relatives and friends are invited. RSVP is appreciated to help ensure a minyan. 412-5215859 or Recep@hlipsitz.com.

have been engaged in bimonthly telephone conferences with leaders of the Presbyterian church on matters important to Israel. Those in the church who are anti-divestment decided “it was better to have the points presented by Presbyterians than Jews,” he said. Adlerstein noted that the subject of divestment comes up at each General Assembly, and despite the interfaith dialogue, “we take one step forward, and two steps back every two years.” “There are people who have managed to take an agenda of theirs and have maintained it front and center of the church, causing divisiveness,” he said, wondering why the suffering of Christians in other Middle Eastern countries was not given the same prominence at these meetings. “Have you heard discussions about Christians in Iran and Pakistan, instead of focusing on olive trees getting uprooted in Israel?” he asked. “It’s a moral outrage.” (Toby Tabachnick can be reached at tobyt@thejewishchronicle.net.)

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THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012 — 3

METRO Briefly Jim Busis, has been named interim chief executive officer of The Jewish Chronicle. He succeeds David Caoin who resigned in June. Previously the director of the Asia Pacific Institute at the American Jewish Committee in Washington, D.C., Busis has a long background in business and Jewish commuJim Busis nal affairs — both nationally and internationally. Before joining AJC, Busis was vice president of strategy and planning at Giant Eagle, Inc. He also co-founded and became the CEO of Wishbox.com, Inc., a high-tech startup. Prior to Wishbox, Busis was a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, the global management consulting firm. He worked in Chicago, Paris and for seven years in Singapore. As a consultant, he led projects for private multinational and national corporations, state-owned firms, and government agencies, including media companies. While in business school, Busis received a fellowship to intern at IBM Japan in Tokyo. He began his career at Plenum Publishing Corporation in New York. As a volunteer, Busis has served a variety of international, national and local Jewish organizations. He was on the National Council of the AJC and a vice president of the Pittsburgh regional office. He was the founding president of the United Hebrew Congregation (Singapore) and served on the board of governors of the World Union of Progressive Judaism. He also served on the boards of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh, Agency for Jewish Learning, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh and Rodef Shalom Congregation. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Busis — a son of Sidney and Sylvia Busis — graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1978 with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. He also received a master’s degree in international business, finance and marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1985. He is married to Maureen Kelly Busis and has three children: Ethan (19), Hannah (16) and Abigail (13). The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is allocating more than $21 million to support social, health, community building and educational needs in Pittsburgh, Israel and around the world. At a June 4 meeting, the federation’s board of directors approved the distributions, which are comprised of funds raised through the Centennial Year Annual Campaign, the Jewish Community Foundation, government relations, and supplemental gifts. Additionally, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation provides a block grant of $900,000, specifically for health and human services. The federation funds organizations that care for people in need, and nurture and sustain the Jewish community today and for future generations. “This community has so much to be proud of in regard to the generosity and

trust of its donors, as well as to the programs and institutions that provide exemplary care and service to those in need,” federation chair Louis B. Plung said in a prepared statement. “There is a tremendous emphasis placed on continuity and linking one generation to the next. The federation is seizing the opportunity to fund organizations and projects that range from new and innovative to programs that have been serving this community invaluably for decades.” Because the 2012-2013 floor allocations were determined last year, the funding committee spent this year undergoing an intensive learning process centered around key communal issues, in order to more fully develop a strategic plan that incorporates an in-depth understanding of the needs of the people being helped; the impact of collaboration; other planning models from around the country; and a deeper understanding of Jewish peoplehood. “Two of the most important roles of the funding committee are understanding the needs of the community and understanding the most effective ways to address them,” planning and funding committee chair Meryl Ainsman said in a prepared statement. “This year, we took the time to form a more comprehensive understanding of the entire ecosystem of organizations and programs to understand how they relate to each other. This learning process positively affects every single decision that we make.” This year’s allocations are based on a record $12.9 million raised by the annual campaign, which provides sustaining, core operating dollars to support agencies and key initiatives. Should the goal of $13 million be reached, the planning and funding committee has set priorities for funding important additional programs. The allocations also include funds raised through the Jewish Community Foundation and, within the foundation, the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future, which specifically funds Israel experiences for youth, Jewish day schools and Jewish camping experiences. “Because of the federation’s approach, this community took major strides in several key areas like special needs inclusion, Jewish education, youth groups, seniors’ independence, and Israel travel,” federation President and CEO Jeffrey H. Finkelstein said in a prepared statement. “The generosity of our donors coupled with the forethought and acumen of the funding committee creates a powerful force that touches and enriches countless lives. The systemic approach taken to allocating these resources is a true embodiment of the values and traditions of our Jewish community.” Kelly Schwimer of Pittsburgh has been named the new senior campaign executive for the Jewish National Fund here. Schwimer has 15 years of sales, business development, marketing, fundraising and management experience. She is a member of Congregation Beth Shalom, where she has been an active volunteer in leadership and committee roles in their early education and Community Day School. Schwimer lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband Chuck, daughter Elena, and son Levi. Please see Briefly, page 15.


4 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012

GLOBE Yitzhak Shamir served as PM during Gulf War, Madrid Conference BY ISRAEL HAYOM Exclusive to JNS.org

Israel’s seventh prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, passed away Saturday, June 30, at the age of 96. Shamir, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, served intermittently as prime minister from 1983 to 1992 as the head of the Likud. Before entering politics, he worked at the Israeli spy agency, the Mossad, and was a member of the Revisionist underground movements Irgun and Lehi in pre-state Israel. Soon after his health failed in the early part of the last decade, he took residence at a Herzliya nursing home, where he stayed until his death. Shamir’s daughter, Gilada ShamirDiamant, told Army Radio Sunday that his death was not unexpected. “I could hug him, even though we were not able to communicate so well,” she said. “He would sometimes take my hand and place it next to his heart; sometimes he would have this twinkle in his eye, which made me think he was aware of what was taking place around him.” Israeli leaders eulogized the former prime minister. President Shimon Peres — Shamir’s political rival and his senior partner in two national unity governments, said Shamir “was true to his convictions, a great patriot that loved his people and Israel, who served his state with honor and dedication for dozens of years.” Referring to Shamir’s controversial statemen t— “The sea is the same sea

and the Arabs are the same Arabs,” implying that just like the doesn’t sea change, the would Arabs never accept Israel and make peace with it — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “may Yitzhak Shamir Shamir have been criticized back then, but today we know that he did not tailor his inner truth according to the latest trends in public opinion; people now know that these were wellthought out words that carried alot of meaning. Today we bid farewell to one of our most fiercest defenders.” A White House statement said “Yitzhak Shamir dedicated his life to the State of Israel. From his days working for Israel’s independence to his service as prime minister, he strengthened Israel’s security and advanced the partnership between the United States and Israel.” Born Yitzhak Jaziernicki to observant parents in 1915 in Ruzhany (a Polish town that is now part of Belarus), Shamir’s parents were Zionists and sent him to the Hebrew Gymansium, or college preparatory school, in Bialystok, Poland. By age 14, he joined Beitar, a Zionist youth movement that espoused

the nationalist views of Revisionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky. In 1935, while studying law in Warsaw, he decided to immigrate to British-controlled Palestine, where he enrolled at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1937 he joined the Irgun, the nationalist right-wing underground movement, and later, in 1940, became a founder of one of its splinter groups, the Lehi, or Stern Gang. When the group’s leader Avraham “Yair” Stern was killed by the British authorities in 1942, he became one of the group’s three top members. Between 1955 and 1965 Shamir served as a senior Mossad official. He entered politics in 1970, when he became a top politico at the Herut party apparatus, the precursor to today's Likud. Four years later he was elected to the Knesset. In 1977 he was appointed Knesset speaker; three years later, upon the resignation of Moshe Dayan, Prime Minister Menachem Begin named him his foreign minister. Shamir succeeded Begin as prime minister in 1983, serving 11 months until elections, in what eventually became an on-and-off premiership spanning six and a half years. Following the 1984 elections, no party could form a governing coalition. So Labor and Likud signed a unique powersharing rotation agreement that had then-Labor leader Peres and Shamir each serve as prime minister for half a term, or two years, and as foreign minis-

ter while the other was in power. After the 1988 elections, Shamir formed a short-lived national unity government. In 1990, Peres, as head of Labor, orchestrated a successful no-confidence vote after which he was tasked with forming an alternative coalition. Eventually Shamir frustrated Peres’s efforts and established a new, narrow right-wing government that lasted until the 1992 elections. Shamir’s public image owes much to his handling of the Gulf War crisis in 1991, which had a lasting effect on his political career. During the war, Shamir overruled members of his government who wanted to strike Iraq after Israeli population centers were hit with Scud missiles. This decision won Shamir tremendous respect among U.S. policymakers at the time. As prime minister, Shamir presided over one of the largest waves of Jewish immigration, or aliya, which included hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews who were leaving the communist regime. Shamir even encouraged Washington policymakers to make Jews go through many hoops before they could arrive in the United States, hoping that the red tape would prompt them to choose Israel instead. Shamir also launched Operation Solomon, in which 14,400 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted into Israel. He won the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement and contribution to the state in 2001.


THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012 — 5

MEGA MISSION

Eight buses used to shuttle participants all over Israel, from Karmiel and Misgav to Jerusalem to Tel Aviv

All photos by Yosef Adest

Mission participants gather together for the first time on the first day of the trip on Mount Arbel overlooking the Golan Heights

Participants eat dinner in the beautiful gardens of the Anna Ticho House just moments before Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is introduced

Participants explore a memorial at Yad Vashem Kristen and Dan Friedman show Pittsburgh pride after walking down Masada


6 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012

The Jewish Chronicle

Opinion

Jim Busis, Interim CEO EDITORIAL STAFF Lee Chottiner, Executive Editor Angela Leibowicz, Community/ Web Editor Toby Tabachnick, Staff Writer SALES STAFF Susie Mangel, Senior Sales Associate Roberta Letwin, Sales Associate Donna Mink, Classified Sales PRODUCTION STAFF Dawn Wanninger, Production Manager Nancy Bishop Production Artist BUSINESS STAFF Joe Soloski, Comptroller Josh Reisner, Office Manager Marcy Kronzek, Subscriptions BOARD OF TRUSTEES Richard Kitay, President Cindy Goodman-Leib, Vice President Larry Honig, Secretary Andy Schaer, Treasurer Davida Fromm, Past President Carolyn Hess Abraham Brian Balk Daniel Berkowitz Lynn Cullen Milton Eisner Stephen Fienberg Malke Steinfeld Frank David Grubman Thomas Hollander Evan Indianer David Levine Ari Lightman Mitchell Pakler Amy Platt Benjamin Rosenthal Charles Saul Adam Shear Jonathan Wander Lou Weiss Published every Thursday by the Pittsburgh Jewish Publication and Education Foundation 5915 Beacon St., 3rd Floor Pittsburgh, PA 15217 Phone: 412-687-1000 FAX: 412-521-0154 E-Mail: newsdesk@thejewishchronicle.net SUBSCRIPTION: $45 in Pennsylvania $47 East of the Mississippi $49 West of the Mississippi and FL NEWSSTAND PRICE $1.50 PER COPY POSTMASTER: Send address change to THE JEWISH CHRONICLE, 5915 BEACON ST., 3rd Floor PITTSBURGH, PA 15217 (PERIODICAL RATE POSTAGE PAID AT PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA) USPS 582-740 Manuscripts, letters, documents and photographs sent to the Jewish Chronicle become the property of this publication, which is not responsible for the return or loss of such items. The Chronicle does not endorse the goods or services advertised in its pages and makes no representation to the kashrut of food products and services in said advertising. The publisher is not liable for damages if, for any reason whatsoever, he fails to publish an advertisement or for any error in an advertisement. Acceptance of advertisers and of ad copy is subject to the publisher’s approval. The Chronicle is not responsible if ads violate applicable laws and the advertiser will indemnify, hold harmless and defend the Chronicle from all claims made by governmental agencies and consumers for any reason based on ads appearing in the Chronicle.

Yes, it’s personal he one continuous message many Presbyterian leaders have sent in the run-up to this week’s votes in Pittsburgh to divest from companies doing business in Israel and to brand practices of the region’s only democracy as “apartheid,” is that it’s nothing personal. After all, they say, the Presbyterians are only keeping faith with their religious brethren in the Holy Land, that they really have a deep respect for the Jewish community and that they hope these measures will promote a lasting peace. Sorry, but we don’t buy that — not if they adopt these resolutions. To lay the blame for the failed peace effort squarely at Israel’s feet is to ignore way too many facts on the ground, not to mention facts of history. And to banter the word “apartheid” around, when the term clearly bears no resemblance to what’s happening in Israel and the Palestinian territories, is nothing more than incitement by the Presbyterian Church USA — a regrettable step for such a historic denomination. The PC (USA) is holding its 220th General Assembly this week at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. There’s much on its agenda, but nothing so provocative as the divestment and apartheid resolutions. To hear the Presbyterians who favor

T

these measures — many Presbyterians do not — speak of them, it sounds as though they have no other choice. As Chronicle Staff Writer Toby Tabachnick reported in our June 21 issue, “The PC (USA) claims it has ‘done its best to reason with these companies,’ but they are still unwilling to cease selling goods to Israel, so proponents of divestment may now feel they have no better alternative than to divest.” She was quoting the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s outgoing community relations director, Jeffrey Cohan, who has been following this issue for years. Well, they haven’t done their best, not as long as they give the Palestinian leadership a free pass to demonize Israel through its media, by naming public squares in honor of terrorists and to speak to the Arab world in a completely different way than they speak to Israeli and western news sources. Even Jeremy Ben-Ami, director of J Street, has told the Chronicle in a faceto-face interview, “I think the leadership of the Palestinian people, and certainly the leadership of the broader Arab community, has done the Palestinians an enormous disservice by failing to really own up to the fact that those refugees are not going back to those homes, and that’s going to be a very hard pill for that community to swallow. There hasn’t

been adequate preparation [for peace] done among the people and by the leadership.” Israel, on the other hand, ceded the Sinai Peninsula in a peace treaty, withdrew from southern Lebanon, mapped out an ambitious peace plan at Camp David and physically evicted its own people from the Gaza Strip. Then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who ordered those evictions, said in 2003, “If we [are to] reach a situation of true peace, real peace, peace for generations, we will have to make painful concessions. Not in exchange for promises, but rather in exchange for peace.” There was a right-wing Israeli PM preparing his people for the prospect of peace, which is far more than his counterparts in the Palestinian leadership have done. To be sure, both sides have made mistakes in the long-stalled peace process. And yes, there’s even blood on the hands of both peoples. But with these resolutions, the PC (USA) is ignoring an entire category of facts that support the Israeli position. Maybe passage of these measures will endear the church to Palestinian Christians, but it will disqualify it as a credible player in the peace process. This is personal to the Jewish world, and the PC (USA) needs to know that.

Iran has declared war; why haven’t we? Abby W. Schachter

Iran has declared war against the United States and the West. Tehran is fighting this war on multiple fronts including sponsoring terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, it is playing for time with the “international community” while building up its nuclear weapons program and it is battling the forces of change in Syria, arming and supplying its own fighters to the regime of Bashar Assad, who is employing those arms and Revolutionary Guardsmen in full-scale slaughter of civilians and its opposition. What is the Obama administration’s response to this multifront war? A lot of hot air and shameful inaction. That the Iranians are proficient statesponsors of terror is a long-time fact. The Iranians were killing American soldiers in Iraq when we were engaged in liberating that country. The Iranians have been supporting Hamas in Gaza, which just this week finished firing 25 rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot. Iran is also the main sponsor of Hezbollah in Lebanon, which not only

has used its arms against Israel and other Lebanese civilians, but has largely taken over the political system, and has more recently brutally attacked Lebanese supporters of the Syrian uprising. These threats to Lebanon’s stability have made the non-Hezbollah political establishment nervous enough to suggest negotiating disarmament with Hezbollah (excluding, of course, Hezbollah military action against Israel), which was quickly rejected with a threat. “God wanted this [Hezbollah] resistance to be, and it was,” said Sheikh Muhammad Yazbak, head of Hezbollah’s Sharia committee. “It uses weapons and continue (sic) to do so, despite what people say, here and there.” The Obama administration was until last week, engaged in negotiations with our European partners and Iran to settle on how to limit Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon. Those talks, once again, went nowhere, except to highlight that Iran is feeling quite proud of itself, both for stymieing American and European efforts to stop Iranian uranium enrichment and the progress of that enrichment too. President Obama has now received a bipartisan letter from 44 senators urging further sanctions against Iran as well as “making clear that a credible military option exists” should the most recent talks end without agreement. And they have. Similarly, former Sen. Charles Robb of

the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) recently testified before Congress that “the dual approach of diplomacy and sanctions simply have not proved to be enough. We need the third track, and that is credible and visible preparations for a military option.” These calls for further action against Iran by the White House have been received in silence. Meanwhile, there is an opportunity for the United States to gain a victory over Iran that doesn’t require a full-scale military operation against Tehran. Such a confrontation should happen over Syria and Iran’s continued involvement in propping up the Assad regime. Iran has installed its own Revolutionary Guard troops in Syria to carry out the bloody suppression of a nearly two-year-long uprising against the Syrian dictator. Iranian and Russian arms are being used by Iranian troops to kill Syrian civilians and fighters alike. The United Nations-sponsored peace plan is covered in blood and shame and again the Obama administration’s response is nearcomplete inaction. Moreover, even if this affront to humanitarian and moral principles weren’t enough to spur Mr. Obama to action to stop Damascus’ war against its own citizens, our military has determined that a successful confrontation over Syria would do a lot to weaken Iran in the process. As U.S. Central Command chief Gen. James N. Mattis testified to Please see Schachter, next page.


THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012 — 7

OPINION

Schachter: Continued from page 6. Congress in March, the downfall of Assad would be “the biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years.” Iran is facing down America’s presence in the Middle East, threatening our security and the security of our allies

with every available arrow in its quiver. The Obama administration refuses to even take the field. (Abby W. Schachter, a Pittsburghbased columnist, writes the Capitol Punishment blog for the New York Post (nypost.com/blogs/capitol). She can be reached online at twitter.com/abbyschachter.)


8 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012

OPINION

The mitzva of voting Guest Columnist RABBI RONALD B.B. SYMONS Among my many lasting childhood memories from Lynbrook, Long Island, is the perennial pilgrimage I would make with my parents to the gymnasium of William F. Buck Elementary School in order to accompany them to vote. In those days, you surely remember, there was an actual voting booth with a curtain, pegs to move and a big lever. Year after year, I looked forward to accompanying my parents probably because I really liked pulling the lever to register the vote, which simultaneously opened the curtain at the end of the session. I also remember my first time voting in 1995, although it was not as exciting as the subsequent year’s presidential election, in which Clinton, Dole and Perot were running. My parents instilled in me a love of country and sense of responsibility that I am trying to instill in my children today although the voting booth looks quite different. These memories have bubbled up for me because of the upcoming presidential election (I am a political junky), and because of the new Voter ID law in Pennsyl-

vania. I am writing to you from a nonpartisan perspective and without comment about the need or motivation for the law. My intent is to share Jewish perspectives on why we should vote in the upcoming election and all subsequent elections. The Torah teaches us, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30). There is an eternal Jewish value — a mitzva — that informs us to be active in shaping our future for the good, for a better life — u’vacharta b’chayim, choose life. When faced with options that offer us two or more different paths on which to proceed, we are instructed to choose, to make a selection, to vote. Early in my voting career, I was exposed to the strategy of finding another person who plans to vote for “the other” candidate and going to lunch instead of voting. The concept is clear. If our votes will cancel each other out anyway, why not just go to lunch and spend our time more productively than wasting our time in line in an endeavor that is fruitless. I have always rejected this strategy; I believe it is detrimental to the role we must play as American Jews. We know the story well. For centuries, our people were relegated to the fringes of society, not having a voice in selecting the path forward for society at large. Now, as a proud American Jew, I re-

fuse to sit out because of apathy about the enormity of the political system or frustration resulting from my choice not being the majority choice. U’vacharta — each and every one of us has a sacred obligation to choose, to vote. The Torah teaches us, “Adonai spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: ‘Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one.’ ” (Numbers 1) Leaving aside the gender bias of generations past, I read this mandate to take a census as a mandate to have every person count. “Take a census” s’u et rosh, is better translated as “lift up the head of every person in the community.” The mandate to count is not to count from a mountaintop, as modern public officials would determine the size of a large crowd by estimating from a helicopter as they do for rallies or openair concerts. The Torah mandate to count requires that each person presents him/herself as a unique individual and is looked in the eye by the counting official. It is a very personal experience the foundation of which is “every individual soul counts in a unique way.” Nowadays, my teenage children take pleasure in signing the electronic receipt at the checkout counter when I pay with a credit card. Knowing that I authorize their signature, I am happy to give them this sense of counting even though I am paying the bill. However, when we travel to the polling place, even though they join me in the electronic booth and help indicate my selections, I sign the registry because I want to be counted on the day when I vote. Without speaking to the motivation or the need for the Pennsylvania Voter ID law, I believe that it reinforces this concept: Take pride in your vote, raise your head high as you cast your ballot and are counted… because you do. So here we have two mandates from Jewish wisdom: vote and be counted as an individual. I am well aware that the percentage of American Jews who vote is very high. Given the new Pennsylvania Voter ID law, however, I am concerned about those within our Jewish community who live on the fringes; they might not have access to the appropriate photo identification or the

foundational paperwork that is needed. As a participant in and convener of the Pittsburgh Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, I, and others, are concerned about our seniors, our teens and our emerging adults. Will they have the appropriate identification to vote? I was pleased to learn from the administration of the Jewish Association on Aging, that they are already thinking about how to ensure that every resident who can will be registered to vote. They will also work to spread accurate information to all those seniors whose lives they touch. Members of the roundtable are also concerned about the other members of our larger community who might not have the appropriate identification and who might be limited in their own ability to acquire it. That is why we will work with other like-minded organizations to ensure that everyone from the Hill District to Squirrel Hill, from Braddock to Brighton Heights will have the appropriate identification. Each of us has a responsibility to ensure that those we know who might not have the appropriate identification to vote will get that identification. If you are in the sandwich generation, reach out to your elderly relatives and to your emerging adults to make sure that they understand the law and meet the requirements. Even as I write these words, the requirements are often changing. Instead of listing them for you at the risk of them being outdated, please visit votespa.com for up to date information. This website is the Pennsylvania Department of State’s online voting information and resource center. Rabbi Levi Kellman of Congregation Kol haNeshamah in Jerusalem once explained to me that every time he votes in Israeli elections, he recites the shehechiyanu prayer in gratitude for the responsibility to cast his ballot. We should do the same here in the United States. My friends, no matter your political inclination, no matter how you might vote, please take the eternally contemporary mandate seriously: vote and enable others to follow your example. (Rabbi Ronald B.B. Symons is director of lifelong learning at Temple Sinai and a convener of the new Pittsburgh Jewish Social Justice Roundtable.)


THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012 — 9

METRO Mission: Continued from page 1. afternoon meeting, Fireman excitedly poured over his newly corrected family tree, scribbling on a big, white page. “Growing up, my grandmother always told me stories about how she was separated from her sister,” he said. “I grew up only knowing there was a part of my family here in Israel. When I knew I was coming to Israel, I knew I’d finally have a chance to meet them.” Fireman’s grandmother — Sarah Caplan Fireman — emigrated from Lithuania to Pittsburgh in 1909, leaving behind her parents and sister, who eventually left Europe for Israel. As soon as Fireman signed his family up for the mission, he set to work. His parents hadn’t been in touch with the Israeli family for three decades — a dead end. Luckily, an American cousin had an email, and the ball was rolling. Soon, Fireman made contact with Leora, the granddaughter of his grandmother’s sister, Haya. On the mission’s last day, equipped with his family tree and a camera, they finally met. “They embraced me,” said Fireman, beaming. “I now have this total connection.” Fireman joined his newfound second cousin Leora in her Tel Aviv apartment with Leora’s mother, Eliza. For the afternoon, they shared stories. “I learned that my grandmother mailed her sister a washing machine from Pittsburgh in the 1930s,” he laughed. “Her sister wrote that she was doing all this laundry by hand in Tel Aviv. Her family thought the machine was the greatest new thing!” Fireman also learned that his grandmother’s sister was named Haya, not Ida, as his family had previously believed. “Even the Criterion had her name wrong,” said Fireman, referencing the story written by The Jewish Criterion upon his grandmother’s arrival in the city. “We finally set the record straight.” “The way Eliza kissed me reminded me of my grandmother,” he said. “I’m coming back. I need to figure this all out. There are so many more people for me to meet. I’ve got 50 new cousins written on this sheet.” ••• Other stories abound in the crowd of 290. Elaine Krasik will remember the event thrown at an IDF base near Jerusalem the night prior to the final farewell. Soldiers from the base joined the mission for a huge celebration, with dinner, music and dancing. The two groups meshed immediately — soldiers beamed as they lifted Pittsburgh children on their shoulders. Pittsburghers and Israelis danced arm in arm, singing along to the words of Jewish songs ingrained in everyone’s mind. Krasik smiled ear to ear, dancing in a crowd of soldiers. “When we got to the base, we knew these were the people protecting us and ensuring our future. Sure, we live in the U.S.; we’re removed. But they are ensuring the future of the whole Jewish people,” said Krasik. “We all wanted to hug them, and I love to dance a ton!” Richard and Wanda Goodman will remember their anniversary, celebrated like never before. The Goodmans, who never before visited Israel, were called up to the stage at the base in honor of their 48th year together — the crowd of hundreds exploded in joyous cheering. “We grew up in the hills of West Virginia. This is the farthest place we

ever thought we’d be celebrating an anniversary,” said Richard. “How many people can say they had an anniversary party quite like this?” Bev Block and Scott Seewald will remember the food — that they made themselves. Both Block and Seewald, on the mission with their husband and wife, respectively, spent the 10 days on the young adult bus. As each group had a different itinerary, the young adult bus spent an afternoon in a cooking competition with at-risk youth in a youth center in south Tel Aviv, an area of Israel currently struggling to enforce limits on illegal immigration. “We were in a tiny room without air conditioning, with a bunch of burners and stovetops and knives,” laughed Block. “We weren’t sure what was going

to happen.” Split into teams, the kids and young adults were given a secret ingredient — potatoes — and asked to make five dishes together. Speaking English, however, was not something everyone shared in common. “It was certainly difficult,” said Seewald. “In fact, it was balagan; it was hectic. But it was important for us to see. So much of the trip was focused on traditional Israel, the history and culture. But staying at this huge, ridiculous hotel, it was so important that we got to see the other side [with the youth event].” ••• The mission organizers created their own stories, but many set their focus on stories yet to come. “This trip really changes things; we’ve seen it happen before,” said mission cochair David Ainsman. “People now have

new connections to Pittsburgh community and in Israel. People will start volunteering with different agencies. They become aware that, to a greater degree, they’re responsible for each other. They’ll act upon that.” Watching his fellow Pittsburghers dance with Israeli soldiers at the IDF base, Ainsman grinned. “This is joy,” he said, gazing at the crowd. “I spent so much of my energy trying to accomplish all this. And I’m witnessing it occur. To recognize that I’m just a speck, but that even a speck could help this community grow — that’s my story. That’s what I’ll tell people about.” (The Chronicle will publish a series of stories about mission participants in the coming weeks. Justin Jacobs can be reached at justinhjacobs@gmail.com.)


10 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012

Simchas & Mazel Tovs! Births

B’nai Mitzva

Kosoff: Ilene and Jacob Kosoff proudly announce the birth of Rafaela Edeet’s baby brother, Avi Harold. Proud grandparents are Richard and Helena (Kosoff) Sullivan and Daniel and Ronna (Harris) Askin. Avi Harold is named in loving memory of his paternal grandfather, Harold Kosoff.

Anniversary

David Chelly, son of Dr. Jacques and Lorelee Chelly and grandson of Mireille Chaouat, became a bar mitzva Saturday, June 30, at Rodef Shalom Congregation. Daniel Reuben Lebovitz, son of Stuart and Julie Lebovitz of Pittsburgh, will become a bar mitzva Saturday, July 7, at Temple Ohav Shalom in Alliso Park. Grandparents are Lois Lebovitz of Pittsburgh and the late Joseph Lebovitz, Joan Terrell of Silver Spring, Md., and the late Robert Terrell.

Mazel Tov Henry and Harriette (Gold) Leff are happy to announce they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the proud parents of Jacqueline (Howard) Shear and Michelle (Eric) Levin, and proud grandparents of Margo and Brad Shear and triplets Kayla, Marni and Jordan Levin.

COMPILED BY ANGELA LEIBOWICZ Community/Web Editor

Frank Gottlieb of Greenfield was honored recently at the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania’s Golden Quill Awards with the President’s Award, “In recognition of outstanding career achievement and contributions to Western Pennsylvania journalism.” Gottlieb recently retired as news director of KQV Radio. During his more than 40-year career, he also worked at WAMO-AM-FM, KDKA-TV, WTAE-TV, and media outlets in Columbus, Ohio.

Check out the blogs at www.thejewishchroncle.net

Jacob David Sternberger, son of Mr. and Mrs. Art Sternberger of Murrysville, graduated sum cum laude May 20 from Dickinson College with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Other recognitions included dean’s list, Phi Beta Kappa and the Bruce Andrews Prize in Political Science. Grandparents are Mimi Sternberger, Judith Sternberger, the late Arthur Sternberger Jr. and Sylvia and Ron Williams.

Attorney Edgar Snyder, who received Trib Total Media’s 2012 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Attorney in the City, announced that his partners Attorney Todd Berkey, Attorney Jason Lichtenstein, Attorney Richard Rosenthal and Attorney Michael Rosenzweig were selected for inclusion in 2012 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers. Only the top five percent of Pennsylvania attorneys are included on the PA Super Lawyers list each year. The honor is based on votes from attorneys throughout the state who nominated the best lawyers they have personally observed in action. Based on the results of the Super Lawyer voting process, several partners received special honors. Rosenthal and Rosenzweig were named two of the Top 100 Pennsylvania Lawyers. Lichtenstein, Rosenthal and Rosenzweig were all named in the Top 50 Pittsburgh Lawyers category.


THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012 — 11

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TORAH Klal Yisrael on a Wisconsin campground Portion of the Week RABBI DONNI C. AARON JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9

Every summer, my family drives to Baraboo, Wis., specifically to the campsites at Devil’s Lake. For the last eight years, we have packed our tents, sleeping bags, bug spray and all sorts of other camping items, in order to spend a week with 60 of our closest friends. Don’t let anyone tell you that Jews don’t camp. All of us know each other through being involved at one point or another with a local synagogue in Chicago, where we used to live. Like us, many families over the years have moved around, but we always make our summer pilgrimage to the same campsite. We are assigned meals to make, and there is even a committee that puts an eruv around the campsite, since we will be there over a Shabbat. Not everyone is theologically aligned with each other, but we have a mutual respect that, in my view, parallels my perfect view of Klal Yisrael. I share this aspect of my family’s life with you because I believe what we do

in part mirrors this week’s Torah portion, parashat Balak. Balaam, king of Moab, gets nervous when the Israelites defeat his neighbors, the Amorites. So he hires Bilaam, the local wizard/prophet, to curse the Israelites. This backfires, and Bilaam blesses the Israelites with the words, ma tovu…“How fair are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, Israel.” (Numbers 24:5) Rashi, citing Chazal, explains that Bilam observed how “the openings to their tents were not facing one another.” He was impressed by the high standards of privacy and mutual respect that the people afforded one another, to the extent that they ensured that no one would be able to glance into his neighbor’s home. Even before my knowledge of this wonderful Midrash, all of us have always set up our tents in this fashion. It was not a spoken rule; it was just what we did. Maybe it is just part of our DNA, dating back to when we were Israelites in the desert and on this one day, we were blessed instead of cursed. May we all, whether we are campers or not, learn to have such mutual respect for one another. And may we all help to create Pittsburgh’s perfect vision of Klal Yisrael. (This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.)

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THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012 — 13

METRO Skolnik to address challenges to Conservative movement as R.A. president BY LEE CHOTTINER Executive Editor

There are “well-documented challenges” facing the Conservative movement, Rabbi Gerald Skolnik said. Some congregations, dealing with declining affiliation, have been forced into mergers, he noted, while some Solomon Schechter schools have become community schools. “These are not the easiest of times for us,” he said. But Skolnik, the newly installed president of the Rabbinical Assembly, which represents the Conservative rabbinate around the world, remains optimistic his movement will weather the changes and emerge even stronger. “I believe the mantra of Conservative Judaism, which is tradition and change, is as powerful today as it was a century ago,” Skolnik said in an interview with the Chronicle. “We are a movement that straddles the middle, and we are living in a time when a large swath of the religious community, both within and without Israel, has moved to the right. We’re really the only movement that struggles to synthesize what is old with what is new … that is the essence of what it means to be a Conservative Jew.” One of the greatest challenges facing Conservative Judaism, indeed all streams of Judaism, Skolnik said, is the growth in nondenominational observance. “Sociologists of the Jewish community,

and communities in general, will tell you we’re living in a post-denominational world where the labels of one’s Judaism are less significant than they ever have been,” Skolnik said. While the Conservative Rabbi Gerald Skolnik movement carries a proud tradition, “it is encountering a general societal move away from the definitions along denominational lines. The great challenge is in rebranding the Conservative movement into an approach to Judaism that resonates more powerfully with today’s Jews.” “All the walls that have separated us are falling,” he added, “so synthesizing tradition and change in the Diaspora community ... is an enormous challenge.” No matter the challenges facing the streams of Judaism, one thing that won’t happen, Skolnik said, is a merger between the Reform and Conservative movements. The two movements already make “common cause” on a variety of issues, he said. Yet they are “fundamentally different in terms of rabbinic law” and its importance in religious life. “We’re not the same,” Skolnik said, “so

I personally don’t think a merger is coming just because of the numbers issue. We may emerge from this part of our history smaller and leaner, but there will still be places where we find common cause and where we differ.” Turning to synagogue life, Skolnik said the Conservative movement must adapt to the evolving role it plays in the Jewish world, yet it remains a vital component of Judaism. “I think the synagogue has been changing for a long time,” Skolnik said. “We can’t always see it because we’re in it ... but if you go back to the late ’60s, and the chavura movement, that was a frontal challenge to the urban synagogues to become less stodgy, less forbidding and more participatory places. This is not a new issue. “The debate today over what sacred space means is just the next go-round from what happened in the late ’60s,” he continued. “I don’t think the synagogue is going away, but it is true that many young Jews don’t gravitate to the traditional synagogue structure the way their parents did. They go to independent minyanim.” Despite the growth of those independent minyanim, he said the rabbinate won’t diminish in importance, but it must adapt. “I don’t think rabbis will ever become obsolete, but their job definition is morphing into a teacher and guide and not as an authority figure,” Skolnik said. “Jews still want and need rabbis in their lives. They may not want you preaching to them on Shabbat, but when

their loved one dies, and you know what to do and they don’t, and they need help, the rabbi becomes essential. “The rabbis of the last 50 years will not be the rabbis of the next 50 years. When your market changes you or your product has to change, so it’s a question of retooling the product a little bit.” Ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1981, Skolnik, 59, spent three years as assistant rabbi at the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens, N.Y., until 1984 when he became senior rabbi. He has been there ever since. He is also a board member of MERCAZ, the Zionist arm of the Conservative movement. Skolnik hopes to strengthen the relationship between the “arms” of the Conservative Judaism during his time as R.A. president. He also pledged to work “aggressively” to secure funding for Masorti Judaism in Israel, “which is constantly shortchanged — literally and figuratively.” Perhaps most importantly, though, Skolnik said he would support his colleagues in the rabbinate in tough economic times. “I would like to be a voice and advocate for the [rabbinate] variety of issues,” he said, “not the least of which has been making sure our younger colleagues who work in smaller venues are able to procure health insurance, which is difficult because of the ongoing nature of health care in this country.” (Lee Chottiner can be reached at leec@thejewishchroniocle.net.)


14— THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012

OBITUARY LEFF: On Sunday, July 1, 2012, Melvin Leff; beloved husband of Wanda (Rachel) Leff; beloved father of Brenda (Bruce) Elliott; brother of Ruth (Rushie) Leff; grandfather of Britney and Brandon Elliott; also survived by many cousins. Melvin was a cherished husband, devoted brother and sincere friend to many. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel; interment Machsikei Hadas Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Sivitz Jewish Hospice, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. www.schugar.com ROBINS: On Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Ruth K. Robins; beloved wife of the late Henry E. Robins; beloved mother of JoAnn Klein and Harry Robins; sister of the late Ann Greenfield, Kayla Pearlman, Ethel Goldman, Pearl Mandel and Harry Kerovitz; grandmother of Stephen Klein, Debra Klein and Jeffrey Klein; great-grandmother of Lanny, Zachary and Ashley; also survived by many nieces and nephews. Services and interment were held at Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Charles M. Morris Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. www.schugar.com ROSENSTEIN: On Thursday, June 21, 2012, Harry Rosenstein, 63, of Cheswick, Pa.; beloved husband of Diana Rosenstein; loving father of Jennifer and Jason Rosenstein; cherished son of Myrna Rosenstein and the late Martin Rosenstein; devoted brother of

Barbara (Marc) Yergin, Judi (David) Peacock, and Anna Rosenstein; brotherin-law of Dorothy Doring and Donna (the late Gary) Kletke; uncle of David and Ilana Yergin, Dana (Richard) Schultz, and Deanna Kletke; also survived by a host of family and dear friends. Harry passed surrounded by his loving family. Services and interment were held at Homewood Cemetery. Arrangements by the Rapp Funeral Home, Inc., 10940 Frankstown Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. www.rappfuneralhome.com STAHL: On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, Florance “Ponce” Stahl; beloved wife of the late Judge David Stahl; mother of Judith (Wayne) Amtzis of Kathmandu, Nepal, and Jerry Stahl of Los Angeles; sister of Betty (Edgar) Belle of Mt. Lebanon and the late Marcella Rhein, Elaine Messer, and Sylvan Goldman; grandmother of Rachel Amtzis of Singapore, Stella Stahl of Los Angeles and Nico Stahl of Austin, Texas; also survived by loving nieces and nephews. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel; interment Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the Judge David Stahl Memorial Scholarship Fund, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Alumni Development Dept., 3900 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. www.schugar.com WILNER: On Sunday, July 1, 2012, Shirley Pearlstein Wilner; loving mother of Joel and Kelly Wilner, Geoffrey and Laura Wilner and Felice and John Loleit; sister of Rita and Al Wenkert, Morris Pearlstein and Frannie Weis-

berg; grandma “Shirley” of Christopher, Julia and Joshua; also survived by nieces and nephews. Wilner was born and raised in Homestead and lived in Santa Fe, N.M., for most of her adult life. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel; interment Homestead Hebrew Cemetery. Contributions may be made to American Lung Association, 11676 Perry Highway #2104, Wexford, PA 15090. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. www.schugar.com YAHR: On Friday, June 15, 2012, Edith “Petey” Yahr of Phoenix and formerly of Pittsburgh; beloved mother of Jan Judith (Steve) Binder and Neil (Debra) Yahr Siegel; grandmother of Ann and Sarah Siegel, grandson Matt (Anne) Dutro; greatgrandmother of Edith “Petey” Yahr James, Genevieve and Eloise Dutro. Edith was a beloved mother and accomplished thespian. A true original, Yahr sang opera, light opera, had a supper club act and featured roles in “Bye Bye Birdie” starring Orson Bean and “How to Succeed In Business”, among others. In addition, she taught a course at the University of Pittsburgh titled “Anyone Can Sing.” Legally blind since the age of three, Yahr overcame many obstacles to achieve her goals in every aspect of her life. Services and interment Mount

Debate: Continued from page 2. secret that there is diversity of opinion in the Jewish community,” said Jeffrey Cohan, director of community and public affairs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “While pro-divestment Jews are a very small minority, they obviously put forth a great effort to organize to get people here. The Jewish community was misrepresented this afternoon, and in a big way.” The decision to not bring more anti-divestment Jews to the General Assembly was intentional, according to Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of interfaith affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. “The choice of fewer Jews rather than more was deliberate and unanimous,” he said. “There is a huge cadre of people (in the Presbyterian church) who are sympathetic to Israel. That makes this church very special.” For the last several years, Adlerstein and other Jewish pro-Israel advocates

Sinai Cemetery in Phoenix. Contributions may be made to WQED Multimedia, 4802 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213. www.wqed.org ZIFF: On Thursday, June 28, 2012, Dan Ziff, 61, of Pittsburgh and formerly of Greensburg; beloved husband of Ella Zeilinger Ziff; son of the late June and Eddie Ziff; brother of David (Carla) Ziff of Illinois, and Jesse Susan Ziff Cool of Palo Alto, Calif.; beloved Uncle of Josh (Yuko) Danovitz, Aaron (Sheila) Ziff, Jonah Cool and Eve Clark. After receiving his master's degree in social work from San Jose State University, Dan spent his entire professional career in service to our veterans. He was a nationally recognized post-traumatic stress disorder clinical therapist. Ziff passed from complications from MDS, he will be forever missed by many coworkers, friends, family and all those he touched throughout his life he has now found the best box seats behind the Pirate’s dugout in heaven! Services and interment were held at Homewood Cemetery. Contributions may be made to American Friends of Israel War Disabled, 1100 Frick Lane, Pittsburgh PA 15217. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. www.schugar.com.

Unveiling LIPSITZ: A monument in loving memory of Helen Nobel Lipsitz will be unveiled Sunday, July 15 at 10 a.m. at Adath Jeshurin Cemetery, 148 Howard St., Penn Hills, PA 15235. Relatives and friends are invited. RSVP is appreciated to help ensure a minyan. 412-5215859 or Recep@hlipsitz.com.

have been engaged in bimonthly telephone conferences with leaders of the Presbyterian church on matters important to Israel. Those in the church who are anti-divestment decided “it was better to have the points presented by Presbyterians than Jews,” he said. Adlerstein noted that the subject of divestment comes up at each General Assembly, and despite the interfaith dialogue, “we take one step forward, and two steps back every two years.” “There are people who have managed to take an agenda of theirs and have maintained it front and center of the church, causing divisiveness,” he said, wondering why the suffering of Christians in other Middle Eastern countries was not given the same prominence at these meetings. “Have you heard discussions about Christians in Iran and Pakistan, instead of focusing on olive trees getting uprooted in Israel?” he asked. “It’s a moral outrage.” (Toby Tabachnick can be reached at tobyt@thejewishchronicle.net.)

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THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012 — 15

METRO Health care: Continued from page 1. by several Jewish foundations. “We’ll have to see what happens in Pennsylvania. Medicaid coverage is important for the patients we serve, and important for us as an organization. We depend on the reimbursements. But because the federal government picks up the tab (under the ACA) for the first three years, we hope the benefits of the expansion will be self-evident so there is an incentive to keep going.” Although the National Council of Jewish Women is “thrilled about the high court’s decision,” according to Christine Stone, NCJW’s state policy advocacy chair, the group still has work to do to ensure that most states implement the Medicaid expansion. Still, Stone sees last Thursday’s decision as a “huge victory for women and families across the country.” The ACA is “essential for their wellbeing and security,” Stone said, noting an array of services to which women are now entitled without having a co-pay, including domestic violence screenings and mammograms. Friedberg Kalson also heralded the ACA for its provisions that “strengthen health care centers and our patients.” Since the ACA passed in 2010, “we see young adults who are covered [by insurance] who wouldn’t have been covered before,” she said, adding that the act reinforces the importance of community health centers. The ACA has increased the funding available to community health centers in all 50 states, including the 241 existing

Briefly: Continued from page 3. The Squirrel Hill Historical Society will hold its next free meeting with Terry Necciai, Tuesday, July 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. Necciai, preservation architect, architectural historian and founder of the SHHS, will speak on “Recent Preservation Projects and Surprising Pennsylvania Connections.” Contact Mike at 412- 417-3707 or visit squirrelhillhistory.org for more information. New Light Men’s Club is sponsoring a trip to Mountaineer Casino Sunday, Aug. 5. There is a charge and participants must be at least 21 years old. Contact Sid Shapiro at 412-4214635 for more details or to make reservations. Leslie Golomb Hartman will conduct an adult workshop on Provocative Printmaking Thursday, July 12,

community health centers in Pennsylvania. Health centers in Pennsylvania have received $48.2 million to create new health center sites in medically underserved areas, enabling them to increase the number of patients served, expand preventive and primary health care services, and/or support major construction and renovation projects. “The work we do saves huge dollars to the system overall,” Friedberg Kalson said. “Expansion of the coverage that allows people to get preventative services is going to save money. We need to focus on that. It’s about quality, it’s about fairness, and it’s about finances. And there’s a lot of room for improvement in American health care.” Although Americans are evenly split as to the Supreme Court’s decision on the ACA — a June 29 Gallup poll shows 46 percent agreeing and 46 percent disagreeing with the high court’s ruling that the law is constitutional — several national Jewish groups were quick to issue statements in support of last Thursday’s decision. Those groups include the Rabbinical Assembly, the umbrella arm of the Conservative rabbinate; the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; Hadassah; NCJW and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Pennsylvanians have already seen many benefits of the ACA, although many of its provisions have not yet been rolled out. As of December 2011, 91,000 young adults in Pennsylvania gained insurance coverage because of the health care law’s requirement that health plans must now allow parents to keep their children under age 26 and without job-based coverage on their family coverage, according to the

from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Frick Art Museum. Hartman will teach the art of paper matrix lithography in a class designed for adults working at all skill levels. Starting with an exploratory tour in the gallery then moving to the studio to make new creations, this workshop will concentrate on Jacques Callot’s taste for the fantastic. No prior knowledge of printmaking is required. There is a charge. Due to limited capacity, advance registration and prepayment is required. Call 412-371-0600 for more information. Chabad of Pittsburgh will host a series of classes on hot issues of this year’s election season. The series, which will be taught by Rabbi Yisroel Altein, will run three Wednesdays from 8 to 9 p.m. at Chabad of Pittsburgh, 6401 Forbes Ave. The topics are taxation with representation (July 18), funding social services (July 25) and immigration (Aug. 1). There is a charge for the classes. Contact Chabad at 412-421-3561 or info@chabadpgh.com for more information.

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U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Since the law was passed, 247,686 people with Medicare in Pennsylvania each received a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescription drugs. In 2011, more than 1.5 million people with Medicare in Pennsylvania received free preventative services — such as mammograms and colonoscopies — or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor. And in the first five months of 2012, 573,472 people with Medicare received free preventive services. Whether or not Pennsylvania opts in or out of the Medicaid expansion remains to be seen, as those in Harrisburg have been focused on passing the state budget before taking a closer look at the ACA. “This summer, there will be a lot of discussion about what the state needs to do to implement the insurance exchanges,” said Hank Butler, director of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition. “After the state budget is passed, we will reassess. The big question is whether Pennsylvania will go to the state exchanges, or whether the federal government will come in and run it.” Although some changes have already been implemented by the state, Butler said officials were in a wait-and-see mode until the Supreme Court’s ruling. “Now that it’s official,” he said, “we

[the PJC] will see what we can do to help the Jewish community.” Aryeh Sherman, president and CEO of Jewish Family & Children’s Service, said his agency also is in “wait, watch and see” mode in relation to the health care law. “Anything that increases accessibility, anything that increases the quality of care, and anything that reduces costs and makes the process simpler is good news for our clients,” he said. “But time will tell.” Sherman said that he is trying to obtain information about how the new provisions will be implemented. “As it rolls out, we will have to evaluate it step by step,” he said, noting questions such as whether Pennsylvania will opt in to the Medicaid expansion as just one current unknown. “With the election coming up, who knows what’s going to happen in November,” Sherman said. “The political process might re-examine the law. There is a lot of uncertainty among the providers. That is not healthy when we’re talking about health care. There is a lot of concern. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.” (Toby Tabachnick can be reached at tobyt@thejewishchronicle.net.)

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ROBIN SNYDER ......................BARNEY SNYDER SHIRLEY S OPPENHEIM .........DAVID SHEFFLER PENNY ABRAMS .............MEYER HANDMAKER AMY PODOLSKY .......................DONA & RUBEN CHERYL BLOCK .................EUGENE BAROVSKY LIPKIND SANFORD GALANTY...............MARY GALANTY WILLIAM REIFMAN .................SARAH REIFMAN DENISE KAISER ........................PHYLLIS MILLER SHARON SNIDER ...................MILDRED SNIDER KAISER LOUIS ZEIDEN...............................RUTH ZEIDEN SAVIE LEINERMAN.........PAUL A. KLEINERMAN HOWARD & KATHLEEN SHARON KNAPP .......................JACK GALANTY ZEIDEN ..........................................RUTH ZEIDEN DR. HERBERT KRAMER ....................MARTIN M. KRAMER SUNDAY, JULY 8: PEARL I. BERDYCK, HINDE LEAH DAVIDSON, J. PHILIP ESMAN, ALEX GOLDSTEIN, ADOLPH HEPPS, SAMUEL HILSENRATH, ZETTA LEVY, DORA MARCUS, LAWRENCE I. MILLER, FANNY NOVAK, IRVING ROSENBERG, BESSIE FINKELSTEIN SIMON, LENA KRAMER SIMPSON, SIDNEY STERN, IRENE TAYLOR. MONDAY, JULY 9: LEON BECKER, ELI BONDER, ROSE ESTHER BONN, ESTHER L. COHEN, ALBERT DAVIS, BENJAMIN ELKIND, BEN FINE, HARRY (HERSHEL) FISHER, ALICE FOREMAN, OSCAR GRUMET, SAMUEL HALLE, SAMUEL HOFFMAN, ALBERT KATZ, LEONARD JOEL KIRSCH, ANNA KIRSHENBAUM, JOHN KRAMER, DORA LEVIN, DORA LIPKIND, MAX S. MALT, BENJAMIN RIESBERG, LOTTIE STEIN ROSENTHAL, NETTIE ROTHSTEIN, MILDRED STERN, ABRAHAM SUPOZNICK, BURTON HILL TALENFELD, DOROTHY ZELDA WEIN. TUESDAY, JULY 10: FANNY FINESOD, MAURICE A. GLASSER, BEATRICE MILLER KADAS, ELLIS A. KOPELMAN, SAMUEL L. LEVIN, MAURICE H. LEVINE, LAZAR LITMANS, REGINA RUTH KEIZLER MANDELL, LEAH RACHEL MILLER, RALPH MORITZ, SAMUEL OSTRAGER, MOLLIE PLOTKIN, CARRIE HESS SCHMIDT, DOLORES SHEFFLER, FRANK E. SIMON, FLORENCE STEIN, SIGMUND STERN, HARRY STUCH, PAUL WINTNER. WEDNESDAY, JULY 11: SOPHIE WEISS ARNOLD, HERMAN BERZOSKY, STANLEY BERNARD BLATT, ROSE BLOOM, JENNIE FREEDMAN BULMAN, IDA CARTIFF, LENA GARFINKEL COHEN, REBECCA DARLING, LEO FINEGOLD, LOUIS L. FRIEDMAN, M.D., EDWIN GOLDBERG, HAROLD HENDEL, LOUIS E. MARKLEY, ANNA C. MARTIN, JOHN MERMELSTEIN, IDA D. ROTH, ETHEL SACHNOFF, ZELDA SHAPIRO, MORRIS SILVERMAN, ELIZABETH PIRCHESKY SKLOV, BENJAMIN S. SMITH, ABRAHAM SMOLOVITZ, MARTIN W. SNOW, GOLDIE SOLOMON, BELLA SPOLAN, ROSE COFFEE STEIN, EMIL WALD. THURSDAY, JULY 12: ALFONSO AUGUSTINE ABBATIELLO, MORRIS H. BARR, FLORENCE HOFFMAN CAPLAN, NATHAN R. DORN, MOLLY EPSTEIN, MORRIS GOLDSTEIN, BESSIE HARRIS, DR. JULIUS A. KATZIVE, NEFF KRUMAN, FANNIE LUBARSKY, LEORA ROGAL, DAVID WEINBERG, LEONARD WOLINSKY. FRIDAY, JULY 13: SAM BURCKIN, BENJAMIN COOPER, ROBERT DAVIDSON, ELIZABETH FELSER, ABE FINER, DIANE COOPER GOLDSTONE, MARY GOODMAN, BEATRICE KOHN, LEWIS LEVENTON, HARRY LIPNER, MAX MARCUS, DR. RALPH HERMAN MARKUS FRIDAY 7/13/2012 JOSEPH MORMANSTEIN, ROBERT (BOB) PLATT, DR. JACOB DANIEL SCHWARTZ, JACOB STALINSKY, RUTH F. ZEIDEN, BEN ZIMET. SATURDAY, JULY 14: DORA BLAUFELD, ELSIE K. BLOOM, SARAH CONN, MARY GALANTY, SARA ITZKOVITZ, REGINA LINDER, BENNIE MORGAN, ANNA PODOLSKY, HARRY J. ROSEN, HENRY RUDICK, ANNA SAMBOL, ANN AVERBACH SARKIN, ALBERT SLOAN, BENJAMIN HARRISON SMALL, CANTOR LOUIS STRAUSS, RUTH LEIBOWITZ TOLCHIN.

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16 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JULY 5, 2012

The Jewish Chronicle July 5, 2012  

The Jewish Chronicle July 5, 2012

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