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February 16, 2018 | 1 Adar 5778
Candlelighting 5:39 p.m. | Havdalah 6:39 p.m. | Vol. 61, No. 7 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org
NOTEWORTHY LOCAL Those ‘boys’ are so nice
Improvisational character wins Hillel-JUC’s “Nice Jewish Boys” competition.
Pennsylvania High hopes, some concerns, as medical marijuana dispensary third-most targeted state opens in Squirrel Hill by white supremacists on college campuses
By Toby Tabachnick | Senior Staff Writer
for such consultation as early as this week at Solevo Wellness, located on Forward Avenue in Squirrel Hill. The dispensary doesn’t look like a typical pharmacy. It is decorated in a soft color palette, with comfortable, stylish furniture in its large waiting room. After showing credentials that they have been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health for medical marijuana use, customers at Solevo are asked to fill out a comprehensive health history, including a medication list, before meeting with a pharmacist in a consulting room. The pharmacist talks to the patient about what his or her goals are and makes general recommendations, including dosing and product suggestions. “We want to keep people safe while achieving results,” said Solevo pharmacist Richard Greer. The patient then enters into the dispensary area, where he is assisted in choosing and
ennsylvania ranks as the third-most affected state in the country when it comes to white supremacist propaganda on college campuses, according to a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League. Eighteen college campuses in Pennsylvania were targeted in 2017, including the University of Pittsburgh. Texas was the most affected state in the nation, with 61 incidents, followed by California with 43. “The 18 incidents across the commonwealth marked a dramatic increase over 2016, which saw zero recorded instances of white supremacist propaganda on campus,” according to a Feb. 1 ADL news release. “Institutions that witnessed white supremacist activity included Drexel University, Elizabethtown College, Kutztown University, Millersville University, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, York College and more.” A group called Identity Evropa is one of the most active white supremacist groups on college campuses and the one responsible for the pasting of offensive fliers on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh last July. The group, which the ADL tracks on a continuing basis, was responsible for 158 of the 346 national incidents in 2017 and for 11 of the 18 incidents in Pennsylvania. Identity Evropa focuses on the preservation of “white American culture” and promoting white European identity. The Atomwaffen Division, another group
Please see Dispensary, page 16
Please see ADL, page 16
Pittsburgh’s newest mohel Rabbi Elisar Admon shares his adventures. Page 4 Solevo Wellness’ stylish interior puts customers at ease.
LOCAL By Toby Tabachnick | Senior Staff Writer
Food to the rescue
Becca Sufrin’s stories spur people to take action. Page 5
rlene Glick has endured severe chronic back pain since 1995. She has had five cervical spine surgeries, eight cervical vertebrae fused and three lower back surgeries, but she continues to suffer and uses prescription opioids for relief. But with the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, and last week’s opening of the first dispensary in Allegheny County — Solevo Wellness — Glick, 76, is optimistic that she will finally get some help. “I am hoping to get off opioids,” Glick said. “I have tried marijuana before and it helps. It’s a buffer.” Glick has had no advice on how much marijuana to take, or what strength to use and is looking forward to “getting guidance on the dosage,” she said. “I’ve been using a vapor pen, and I don’t know if there are better ways to take it.” Glick, who is one of about 100 patients who has been certified by Dr. Adam Rothschild as qualifying for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, will have the opportunity
Photo by Toby Tabachnick
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Headlines JFCS closes Family Hope as longtime director retires — LOCAL — By Toby Tabachnick | Senior Staff Writer
FCS Family Hope, which for 20 years has provided families with help in adopting and fostering children, is wrapping up operations this month. The cessation of the program coincides with the retirement of JoAnn White, who has served as director of Family Hope — formerly known as Family Hope Connection — since its launch in 1997. Family Hope was created to address adoption needs in the Jewish community at a time when Jewish families and children were being turned away from many religious-based adoption agencies, according to Jordan Golin, president and CEO of JFCS. Those needs, he said, have receded. “When we started, faith-based Christian adoption agencies often said they were ‘uncomfortable’” adopting out children to Jewish families, Golin said. “That has evolved. There has been a shift in the availability of services.” Now, he said, many Christian adoption programs include families who are diverse in their faith and in other ways. The declining availability of international adoptions has also factored into the ability of Family Hope to provide its services, according to Golin. “International adoptions have slowed down across the country,” he noted. “So, private adoption companies are struggling. For every family we assist, it is really a lifechanging service for them. But there are so few families we are able to assist.” Foreign adoptions by Americans declined 77 percent in 2016 from their 2004 peak,
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EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT Email: firstname.lastname@example.org BOARD OF TRUSTEES Evan Indianer, Chairman Andrew Schaer, Vice Chairman Gayle R. Kraut, Secretary Jonathan Bernstein, Treasurer David Ainsman, Immediate Past Chairman
Gail Childs, Elizabeth F. Collura, Milton Eisner, Malke Steinfeld Frank, Tracy Gross, Richard J. Kitay, Catia Kossovsky, Andi Perelman, Amy Platt, David Rush, Charles Saul GENERAL COUNSEL Stuart R. Kaplan, Esq.
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p JoAnn White
Photo by Adam Flanagan
according to an October 2017 report by the Pew Research Center. Family Hope evolved from its original mandate to also provide services to non-traditional families and individuals, both Jewish and non-Jewish. JFCS had been evaluating the viability of Family Hope for the past couple years, according to Golin. “It was a program whose future was at risk,” he said. The decision ultimately was made to use JFCS “agency resources to serve the greatest number of people in our community,” said
Golin, rather than a program that now served so few Jewish families. Over the past 10 years, Golin said, Family Hope has only placed five children into adoptive homes. Family Hope also has been a member of the Statewide Adoption & Permanency Network (SWAN), providing a “number of services through that network and public funding,” Golin said. “That’s where we provided the bulk of our work.” The SWAN work included “preparing children for permanent placement, inves-
tigative work and meeting with children to help them create a ‘life book,’ to establish a sense of who they are and to help them understand what happened in the past and who they are today.” The SWAN work involved primarily non-Jewish children, he said. While JFCS will cease adoption services for new clients, White and her staff will be working to see current open cases through to conclusion. No current clients will lose access to any services. Existing and former clients who require supportive and post-adoption services will be referred to JFCS Counseling Services whenever possible, or to partner agencies in the community. “I’m committed to making sure no one falls through the cracks,” White said. White, who is an adoptive parent, has had a rewarding career at Family Hope, she said. “I think about the individual families and children I’ve worked with, and when I get pictures from them years later, each one is my proudest moment,” she said. “I kvell every time.” Working with families and individuals on adoption offers both “the highest and the lowest moments,” according to White. “Adoption starts with loss, where children are losing their biological families, and then turns to joy when they find new families,” she said. “And generally, families are adopting for reasons that start with loss. “You go through the whole gamut with them,” White added. “There are lots of tears and lots of laughter. I love my job. I love working with families and children and seeing the joy and wonder of bringing them together.” PJC Toby Tabachnick can be reached at email@example.com.
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F U N
At Emma Kaufmann Camp, we’ve got fun covered. Canoeing • Kayaking • Tubing • Knee Boarding Water Skiing • The Rave • The Blob • Diving Boards Water Slides • Water Buckets • Fountains • Israel Day Arts & Crafts • Instructional Drawing • Mosaics Beading • Watercolors • Painting • Paper Mache Self-Portraits • Leatherwork • Weaving Plaque-making • Jewelry-making • Sculpture Ceramics • Drama • Robotics • Cooking • Soccer Basketball • Hockey • Tennis • Archery • Volleyball Lacrosse • Cricket • Cup Stacking • Golf • Snag Golf Ultimate Frisbee • Football • Mountain Biking Photography • Horsemanship • Outdoor Survival Giant Boulder • Zip Line • Pamper Pole • Cargo Net Climbing Walls • Incline Log • Tension Traverse Giant’s Ladder • Vertical Playground • Singing Solomon’s Circuit • Dance • Gymnastics • Cooking Challah Baking • Maccabi Color War And there’s also Shabbat @ EKC! Then it all starts over again! Are you ready for summer fun? Shalom, Sam Bloom, Director, Emma Kaufmann Camp
Nothing improvisational about this ‘Nice Jewish Boy’ — LOCAL — By Lauren Rosenblatt | Digital Content Manager
eremy Witchel pretended he had a peacock on his head and a slimy slug in his back pocket, all part of an improv routine that he performed with his mother and her team in front of nearly 200 students on Pitt’s campus last Thursday night. Witchel, a junior at Chatham University, was competing with nine other Jewish students on Feb. 8 to be crowned Mr. Nice Jewish Boy, a competition at Hillel Jewish University Center that raises money for a charity of the winner’s choice. Each contestant participated in a group dance, answered a few randomly selected questions and performed a talent of their choosing, with acts ranging from singing and playing trombone to eating a bowl of cereal on stage. Partly because of his animal-wielding character, and partly, he says, because of his mother’s participation in the show, Witchel was elected the 2018 Mr. Nice Jewish Boy. For its third iteration, the competition was combined with Ignite Summit, a weekend of student-led learning and discussion at Hillel JUC. This year’s Ignite Summit was centered on the arrival of a 300-year-old Torah from Temple Hadar Israel in New Castle. The synagogue closed in December and
gifted the Torah to Hillel JUC where it will serve as a “catalyst for students to learn more and share more,” Dan Marcus, executive director of Hillel JUC, said. “What we can do Jeremy Witchel as custodians [of this Photo by Anat Talmy Torah] is to ensure that this continues to be a living Torah and that future generations of students will continue that story of this Torah scroll.” The Torah, originally from Poland, was passed down through the Mirow family for more than 200 years until the Nazis invaded Poland. It was later rediscovered in the 1970s tucked inside a wall in the former family home. From there, it was smuggled out of Poland and in 1975, sent to New Castle, where descendants of the Mirow family still live. Now, the Torah will be housed at Hillel JUC, and students can use it as a way to connect the “history and the future of the Jewish people,” Danielle Kranjec, senior Jewish educator at Hillel JUC, said. To start the weekend of celebrating the new Torah and Jewish learning, Kranjec opened the Mr. NJB competition, joking that “if Ignite is about finding your Jewish inspiration, I don’t think you’re going to find anything more inspirational than what you’re going to see tonight.”
p Contestants for Mr. Nice Jewish Boy perform a group dance.
Photo by Lauren Rosenblatt
We talked with Witchel about his family, his charity of choice and his Jewish life at Chatham University.
How does it feel to have won Mr. Nice Jewish Boy?
It feels, um, awesome. I had been practicing for a long time. It was broken down into the initial Q-and-A and then also our talent. There were 10 possible questions that we could have been asked for the Q-and-A, and you didn’t know which one you were going to get. For my talent, I did improv; we had been
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practicing once a week for about five weeks before the actual event. And when I say practice, we didn’t know what was actually going to be asked but running through the format and the flow. It was a lot of fun working with my mom and her team to prepare that.
How did you come up with that idea to do improv for your talent?
My mom has been doing improv for about Please see Witchel, page 20
FEBRUARY 16, 2018 3
Headlines The unforeseen life of Pittsburgh’s newest mohel — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
he circumcising, motorcycle-riding, Talmud-teaching Israeli-born rabbi who last year became an American citizen is less a conundrum than a living mosaic of amplified experiences. There was the time that Rabbi Elisar Admon, Pittsburgh’s newest mohel, once transported an abandoned baby across state lines, and then there was the occasion when he performed a circumcision on a grown man who lay on his back, in bed, holding a tablet above while streaming a movie. Couple those instances with the geographical reality that when Admon is not in Pittsburgh, he may be either in Charleston, S.C., leading High Holiday services or in Youngstown, Ohio, where he frequently travels to make a minyan, and it is easy to conclude that the tricenarian, married, father of six lives a pretty wild existence. Yes, Admon does, and largely because so much of his life has dealt with death. Before relocating to western Pennsylvania and becoming a United States citizen along with his wife, Tovi, in a ceremony last April at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Admon was a member of the Israeli army, where his service was related to a similar involvement with ZAKA, an organization whose volunteers, apart from aiding in rescueand-recovery practices, gather the blood, limbs and displaced body parts of victims of terrorist attacks, car accidents or disasters for proper burial according to Jewish law. “The hardest ones were times when people would jump into the train to commit suicide, and I don’t know why, but it would happen most of the time on Friday afternoon,” said Admon. Although nearly 15 ZAKA members would arrive on the scene, “the problem is you have a half-mile or mile to clean the area,” he said. Sometimes the group would resort to covering the myriad rocks with sand; other times, the ZAKA members would clean each individual stone. When the latter was performed, the tissues, wipes or materials that came in contact with either blood or other bodily matter would be buried alongside any human remains, he explained. “We had a case on Pesach where it was an Arab-Israeli restaurant,” recalled the rabbi. There was a stench of “matzoh, wine and bread, this was the smell, and I remember we laid down a family: a father, mother and two kids next to each other because it was a family who died. You remember these pictures.” The thing with ZAKA, though, “was that if you arrived on scene and someone was still alive, you switched your vest” and served as an emergency medical technician, he said. Those experiences, of which there were many, aided Admon in his current Pittsburgh pursuits. “You teach yourself to not be under stress, to not lose your mind, to not panic. All of those times, I wish it would have been for happiness, but, baruch Hashem, now I can deal with happy occasions, being a mohel for a baby.”
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p Last summer in Israel, Rabbi Elisar Admon assisted on more than 50 circumscisions.
p Elisar Admon is a rabbi on the go, whether on his motorcycle in Israel or in a medical response vehicle in London. Photos courtesy of Rabbi Elisar Admon
“ You teach yourself to not be under stress, to not lose your mind, to not panic. All of those times, I wish it would have been for happiness, but, baruch Hashem, now I can deal with happy occasions,
being a mohel for a baby.
— RABBI ELISAR ADMON
Admon’s decision to adopt a new trade resulted from the leave of a particular circumciser. In a letter dated Oct. 3, 2017, Ya’aqov Abrams, a former UPMC physician who relocated to northern Israel, wrote: “In light of my departure from Pittsburgh I recruited Rabbi Admon to replace me. I have trained him in sterile technique, newborn genital anatomy and circumcision
technique. I observed him do all aspects of circumcision of the normal newborn and hereby certify that he is qualified to circumcise newborn males.” While Abrams’ tutelage was highly beneficial, so too were other undertakings, such as a stint last summer in Israel, where Admon assisted on more than 50 circumcisions, or more recently, when
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Admon experienced an intensive period in London last month during which, over two weeks, he aided Ephraim Josovic, a British mohel, on 28 circumcisions. Among those treated were babies, toddlers and a 25-year-old man who regularly suffered infections. Admon’s clients include both Jews and non-Jews. Having the opportunity to practice alongside Josovic in London was advantageous as it not only allowed Admon, who as a first responder in Israel regularly rode a motorcycle, to travel in an Audi TT on the other side of the road, but to join a network of fellow students. “I’m the 264th,” said the Squirrel Hill resident. Given the fact that many of Josovic’s students have traveled from all corners of the globe for training, several disciples continue corresponding through digital communications. To date, 63 students, including those from New York, Italy and Israel, participate, along with Josovic, in a WhatsApp group. “It’s a great experience that mohelim back in the day didn’t have,” said Admon. “It’s a lot of halachah and medical questions.” Even so, “if the police stopped me, I don’t know what they would think.” But appreciating other people’s perspectives is part of what makes Admon so successful in his endeavors either as a mohel or in his role as an educator at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, said Rabbi Sam Weinberg, the school’s principal. “Because of Rabbi Admon’s atypical upbringing and bountiful energy, he is able to connect to people from all walks of life. He is a truly a special person, with so many unique talents. We are incredibly lucky to have him at Hillel Academy.” “As a rabbi there are so many things you can do,” said Admon. Some people focus on burials, others on bar mitzvahs, and “according to the Jewish way, we have a lot of connections between death and life, and therefore we don’t see it as a contradiction to do both jobs, rather, it’s a responsibility for us. This is the circle of life that our faith is built on. If in every step in our Jewish life I can help and I can feel proud of myself, then why not?” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz @pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
Headlines Becca Sufrin’s stories stir people to action — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
ecca Sufrin’s job is to narrate. Some stories she shares through written words, others via videos. Regardless of the media employed, however, Sufrin, an East End millennial, believes that the tales and messages imparted are critical for listeners to hear. “Really, in the end, I think that the most powerful tool to empower and engage a community is to tell people’s stories,” said Sufrin, 26. Listening to “what someone has gone through and how that relates to you” ultimately “cultivates empathy,” added the communication and engagement associate at 412 Food Rescue, an organization whose mission is to “prevent perfectly good food from entering the waste stream.” In overseeing 412 Food Rescue’s social media and digital presence, as well as executing related events, Sufrin strives to relate the doings of food donors, nonprofit partners and volunteers who collaborate on food rescue. “My role is to tell their story and why they do this and what impact it has had and what it means to them. And to me that’s the most incredible part of this, to hear how passionate people are to be part of this this process with 412 Food Rescue.”
p Becca Sufrin Photo courtesy of Becca Sufrin
Since its founding in March 2015, the East Liberty-based organization has rescued more than 2.5 million pounds of surplus food. In redirecting that food from waste to nonprofits serving the food insecure, 412 Food Rescue has provided more than 2 million meals, a value of nearly $6.6 million, explained Sufrin. That ability to salvage and satiate is largely because of the organization’s network. Several of the videos, which Sufrin created, explain the involvements and rationale of local do-gooders — transporters who dedicate various amounts of time schlepping food throughout the city. The commonality between them and Sufrin herself is a refusal to adopt any sort of “savior complex.”
p Food Rescue hero Mercedes poses for a photo with two of her children, who often accompany her on her rescues. Photo courtesy of Becca Sufrin
“There’s an approach out there that people who are better off or more privileged or more lucky are higher up — quote-unquote higher up — in the social stratification, the systemic placement of what cards they were handed,” Sufrin said. “And so they need to look down and see all these people that are hungry and need to help them and help people that are less than us; and that is not what we are about, that is not the approach to this. It’s really about thinking that we all could have
been given the hands that anybody else could have been given, and if you are lucky enough to be in a place where you can give back, that’s when we encourage those people to help their neighbors.” For the Ohio Wesleyan graduate, who grew up in Pittsburgh, those sociological and philosophical determinations were facilitated by earlier undertakings and experiences. Please see Sufrin, page 17
PHILIP CHOSKY PERFORMING ARTS PROGRAM PRESENTS
Richard E. Rauh Senior High Musical 2018 Directed by Jill Machen Saturday, February 17
Sunday, February 18
Wednesday, February 21
Thursday, February 22
Saturday, February 24
$12/Reserved Seats $8/General; $6/Students & Seniors Available in advance at the Centerfit Desk, lower level, Kaufmann Building, and at the door 30 minutes before show starts JCC of Greater Pittsburgh Katz Performing Arts Center 5738 Darlington Road • Call 412-697-3520 for more information.
Call 412-697-3534 for tickets PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
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FEBRUARY 16, 2018 5
q SATURDAY, FEB. 24 Shabbat Searchers: The Final Frontier, a 20s and 30s group, meets for an evening that is out of this world from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Buhl Planetarium at the Carnegie Science Center for a virtual tour of the night sky, followed (weather permitting) by stargazing and conversation around heavens and the stars. The evening will end with an alternative Havdalah. There is no charge. RSVP to Frischer@rodefshalom.org and visit rodefshalom.org for more information. >> Submit calendar items on the Chronicle’s website, pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Submissions will also be included in print. Events will run in the print edition beginning one month prior to the date. The deadline for submissions is Friday, noon. q FRIDAY, FEB. 16 Young Adult Shabbat After Hours at Temple Sinai, a wine-and-cheese mix and mingle with young adults ages 21 to 45 from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., following services. Visit templesinaipgh. org/shabbat-after-hours-6 for more information. q SUNDAY, FEB. 18 Listen and learn about Klezmer, the popular Jewish folk-dance music from Eastern Europe, at 10 a.m. Rabbi Doris Dyen (keyboard) and Deane Root (cornet) will discuss the origins of klezmer and play examples showing how the music evolved as part of Jewish experience up to today. RSVP is required at email@example.com or leave a message at 412-422-5158. Temple Emanuel holds a hamantaschen baking event with Melinda Freed for all ages at 10:15 a.m. Learn how to make, shape and fill these tasty Purim treats and take home all that you make. The charge is $5/ person or $20 family maximum, payable at the door. RSVP to templeemanuel@ templeemanuelpgh.org or 412-279-7600. Visit templeemanuelpgh.org/event/ hamantashen-baking/ for more information. The New Community Chevra Kadisha of Greater Pittsburgh holds its 13th annual Adar 7 dinner at 6 p.m. The kosher vegetarian dinner will be held at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha. Included in the program will be the Threshold Choir and a presentation by volunteers of No One Dies Alone. Family Service Corps, a program of Repair the World and Kids 4 Kindness, a program of Camp Gan Israel, makes scarves for those in need in Pittsburgh and Israel, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Repair the World Workshop, 6022 Broad St. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-568-3244. Moishe Goes to the Fermentation Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Learn about the fermentation process, try your hand at pickling and play fermentation-themed games with your favorite Moishes. Come to the house at 11:30 a.m. for rides, or meet us at Spirit, 242 51st St. at noon. Visit tinyurl.com/ y9wc6sma for more information.
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q MONDAY, FEB. 19 South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Relations Council and the JCC’s Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement, hosts South Hills Coffee and Conversation with Rick Saccone (R), candidate in the U.S. 18th Congressional District Special Election. Saccone will meet South Hills residents from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the South Hills JCC. The event is free and open to the public. Register at southhillsjewishpittsburgh.org/saccone. q TUESDAY, FEB. 20 JFCS Career Development Center holds the second session of the Women’s Networking Series, Women in Transition, on how to use social networking and LinkedIn during a job search from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library. Guest speaker will be Julie Thornton, executive director Career Coach and business owner. Register for the free session with Mt. Lebanon Public Library at 412-531-1912. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh unveils the findings of the 2017 Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study at 5:30 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will make the opening remarks. Register at tinyurl.com/ yd25xfqa or contact Chrissy Janisko at email@example.com or 412-697-6652. q WEDNESDAY, FEB. 21 Documentary Night: “T-Rex,” from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Moishe House for viewing and discussing “T-Rex,” a film about Claressa Shields, an African-American woman from Flint, Mich., and her journey to Olympic gold in boxing in 2012. Meet at the house at 6:15 p.m. to walk over to Chatham University together. RSVP at tinyurl.com/ydbfuuf5. Join South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Brandeis University’s Cohen Center of Modern Jewish Studies for a South Hills Town Hall Meeting from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the South Hills JCC, 345 Kane Blvd. for a demographic snapshot of Jewish Pittsburgh, from a suburban perspective, as well as a review of current patterns of Jewish engagement. Snacks and light refreshments provided. The meeting is free and open to the entire South Hills Jewish community. RSVP at southhillsjewishpittsburgh.org/townhall.
Jeffrey Cohan, executive director of Jewish Veg, demonstrates the connection between animal-free diets and Judaism when he speaks on Plant-Based Diets: A Jewish Imperative for Our Time at 7 p.m. at Rodef Shalom, in the Lippman Library. The program is free and open to the community.
Congregation Beth Shalom holds its annual Purim Carnival from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5915 Beacon St. The $10 per person charge will include lunch, games and crafts. Contact youth director Marissa Tait at 412-421-2288, ext. 463 or visit bethshalompgh.org/eventsupcoming for more information.
q THURSDAY, FEB. 22
q MONDAY, FEB. 26
Chabad of the South Hills at 1701 McFarland Road holds Love & Knaidels: Cooking for a Cause, baking hamantaschen for seniors at 7:30 p.m. Contact Batya at 412-512-2330 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Beth El Congregation’s Adult Education Speaker Series presents Rabbi Danny Schiff, Foundation Scholar at Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, on “The Critical Lessons of Purim” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1900 Cochran Road. The talk follows a wine and cheese reception. RSVP in advance at bethelcong.org or call 412-561-1168. The program is free and open to the community.
A Candidates Forum featuring candidates running for City of Pittsburgh District 8 City Council Special Election for parts of Oakland, Shadyside, Point Breeze and Squirrel Hill is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Levinson Hall. The forum is sponsored by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, the JCC Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, the League of Women Voters and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Contact jccpittsburgh@ gmail.com for more information. Congregation Beth Shalom offers a workshop on Jews, Pittsburgh Public Schools & Racial Justice. Rabbi Seth Adelson and Saleem Ghubril, executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise and ordained Presbyterian minister, will offer a joint sermon focused on the responsibility of the Jewish community to public school students and to marginalized groups of students at 11:15 a.m. A workshop will follow at 12:45 p.m. with Brandi Taylor from A+ Schools. All members of the community are welcome. Contact email@example.com for more information. Party Bus to Purim Party at 7:30 p.m. at Moishe House for Shalom Pittsburgh and J’Burgh’s annual Purim Party. Come to MoHo at 7 p.m. to get ready or meet at 8 p.m. for the party bus to the Children’s Museum. Entrance fee and transportation home are not covered. Visit tinyurl.com/y8joxxoc to RSVP. Adult Purim Carnival at Temple Sinai from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Get a preview of the games in store for the kids with some special “adult” twists. Prizes, food and drinks for 21 and over at 5505 Forbes Ave. Visit templesinaipgh.org/adult-purim-carnival for more information and to purchase tickets. q SUNDAY, FEB. 25 The Purim Carnival at Rodef Shalom includes games, prizes and food. Costumes are optional but a sense of humor is a must. Hosted by TheRSTY (The Rodef Shalom Temple Youth). There is no charge. Visit rodefshalom.org for more information.
Hadassah Greater Pittsburgh Region partners with the Aleph Institute at 5804 Beacon St. at 6 p.m. to present a Heart Health Program to provide information on the symptoms of heart attacks in women and healthy diet and proper exercise. The speakers will provide important facts along with personal stories. Healthy snacks will be provided. As an extra educational piece, Rabbi Moishe Mayir Vogel, executive director of Aleph Institute North East Region, will speak about the Institute’s work. All are welcome. Contact 412-4218919 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Chabad of the South Hills holds a pre-Purim lunch for seniors at noon at 1701 McFarland Road in Mt. Lebanon. Lunch will include hamantaschen, musical entertainment and raffle prizes. There is a $5 suggested donation; the building is wheelchair accessible. Call 412-278-2658 to register. An evening with Anna Bikont, author of “The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne” is scheduled from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at City of Asylum, 40 W. North Ave. Classrooms Without Borders, City of Asylum, the Departments of History, English and Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University and the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh are presenting the program. Bikont is a nonfiction writer and journalist for Gazeta Wyborcza, the main newspaper in Poland, which she helped found in 1989. In 2015 the English version of “The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of the Jews in wartime Jedwabne” was selected in the 100 Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times and won a National Jewish Book Award. RSVPs are required via the City of Asylum event link at alphabetcity.org/ events/anna-bikont/. q WEDNESDAY, FEB. 28
J Street Pittsburgh screens the movie “Wrestling Jerusalem” from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Squirrel Hill Library. Writer/ actor Aaron David embodies 17 different characters in and around Jerusalem on an eyeopening journey into the heart of the IsraeliPalestinian story. Exploring universal questions of identity and human connection, this film dares the audience to leave the screening with their pre-existing ideas about its subject matter intact. There will be a facilitated discussion after the movie. RSVP to moon. email@example.com.
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q TUESDAY, FEB. 27
Moishe Hears Megillah from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom. Booze, scandal, and ... triangular hats? Welcome the most spectacular holiday of the year with the story of Purim with Moishe House at 5915 Beacon St. Visit tinyurl.com/ybkkxvzj for more information. Temple Sinai presents Grease: A Purim Shpiel from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 5505 Forbes Ave. Visit templesinaipgh.org/greasepurim-shpiel for more information. From 7:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., stay for the Great Latke-
Please see Calendar, page 7
Calendar Calendar: Continued from page 6 Hamantaschen Debate with panelists Nancy Polinsky Johnson, David Shribman and Lynn Cullen, who will debate the merits of the latke or hamantaschen to determine which is the best. Come at 7:15 p.m. to sample the contenders. Visit templesinaipgh.org/greatlatke-hamantash-debate for more information. q THURSDAY, MARCH 1 Rabbi Sharyn Henry of Rodef Shalom Congregation leads an evening of studying the Megillah over supper at Purim Study ‘N’ Supper from 6:30 p.m. 8 p.m. The group will discuss and debate the many themes found in Esther’s story. There is a $5 charge. Visit rodefshalom.org/calendar/rsvp/purim-studyn-supper for more information and to RSVP. Chabad of the South Hills presents Purim in the Jungle with exotic birds, African drum circle, themed cuisine, child-friendly dinner, Megillah reading, and hamantaschen at 5 p.m. at the South Hills Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, 345 Kane Blvd. Come dressed up. RSVP by Feb. 19 at chabadsh.com/ purim or contact 412-344-2424 or mussie@ chabadsh.com. Event cost: $18/family, $10 individual. The Jewish Community Center and South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh are co-sponsors. q SUNDAY, MARCH 4 Rodef Shalom Congregation hosts the 2018 Ruth and Bernard Levaur Contemporary Lecture on “Jewish Christian Dialogue in an
Age of Sharp Divisions” at 7:30 p.m. in Levy Hall with speakers Rabbi Sonja Pilz of Hebrew Union College and Rabbi Danny Schiff, Jewish Community Foundation Scholar. RSVP to JoAnn at 412-621-6566. q MONDAY, MARCH 5 The Women of Temple Sinai invite the community to learn about Passover cooking with Leon Edelsack at 6:30 p.m. Participants age 16 and older are welcome. The cost for this class is $10. RSVP is required. RSVP to Carolyn Schwarz at 412-421-1268 or visit templesinaipgh.org.
q THURSDAY, MARCH 15 “Nightmares, Dreams & Moral Imagination,” an interfaith and interracial dialogue program with Cornell William Brooks will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Temple Sinai; a welcome reception is set for 6:15 p.m. Brooks, former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), will challenge people of faith to commit to creating a more tolerant and just society. The program is sponsored by the Simon Hafner Charitable Foundation and the Fine Foundation in honor of Rabbi Jamie Gibson’s 30 years of service at Temple Sinai. Visit tinyurl.com/ycz4q6mv for more information about the program and Brooks.
q SATURDAY, MARCH 10
q SUNDAY, MARCH 11
Historian David Rosenberg presents the newest exhibition at Temple Emanuel’s Thou Art Gallery, “Who Is a Jew? Amiens, France, 1940-1945,” at 7 p.m. “Who Is a Jew?” focuses on a set of photo identification cards of Jews from Amiens and its region to explore how French Jews self-identified when forced to register during the Nazi occupation of World War II. Temple Emanuel of South Hills presents the event in partnership with the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. There is no charge. Visit templeemanuelpgh.org for more information. There will be a wine and cheese opening reception, as well as a brief talk with Rosenberg.
The Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP) is assembling a team of volunteers from Pittsburgh for deployment to Israel if needed during a crisis, including natural disasters. Together with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Partnership2Gether (P2G) and the cities of Karmiel and Misgav, volunteers will be certified by EVP to become local and international first responders. The training will be from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Pittsburgh Fire Training facility, 1395 Washington Blvd. Contact Debbie Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-9925208 for more information; visit tinyurl.com/ y8tpcmym to register.
Niki Penberg, co-founder of Vegan Pittsburgh, talks about the ease of finding vegan meals at restaurants around the city at 12:30 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation. Participants will sample several dishes from local area restaurants. Visit rodefshalom.org for more information.
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The Exodus Lectures, with Rabbi Danny Schiff, foundation scholar, on the subject “Fact or Fiction,” is set for 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation. The program is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Pittsburgh, Rodef Shalom Congregation and Congregation Beth Shalom and is free and open to the community. Registration required; RSVP at tinyurl.com/y9mdpfle. Contact Jan Barkley at email@example.com or 412-992-5294 for more information. PJC
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Headlines Jews from all over Russia win trips to Paris — by studying Judaism — WORLD — By Cnaan Liphshiz | JTA
OSCOW — Growing up in a working-class family in Russia’s Far East, Sergei Aryeh Zolotov knew the French Riviera only from what he’d seen in James Bond movies. A student in his 20s from the city of Khabarovsk, 4,000 miles east of Moscow, Zolotov had neither the means to travel to the sunny beaches of southern France nor to obtain the visa that Russian citizens need to enter the European Union. Luckily for Zolotov, he didn’t need to worry about any of that. All he had to do to visit the famed beaches of Cote d’Azur was to show up for a few months of weekly Judaism classes at his local synagogue, thanks to Russia’s Eurostars program for young Jews from the former Soviet Union. Launched in 2012 by the country’s branch of the Chabad Chasidic movement, the program takes hundreds of Jewish men and women aged 18-28 on fully subsidized trips each spring to Europe. The Eurostars trip features a visit to the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in Poland along with different destinations every year. But to earn a free ticket, participants must attend 85 percent of a yearlong program studying Torah and Jewish traditions. Coming from Khabarovsk — a landlocked and icy place situated 800 miles northeast of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang — “I never thought I’d get to go on a Mediterranean cruise,” Zolotov said in Moscow, where he moved last year to work as an economist. Zolotov attended the 2017 trip. “Frankly, I signed up because a friend told me it’s a classy cruise with guys and girls for free,” he said. But Zolotov said the utilitarian approach changed as he connected to Rabbi Yaakov Snetkov and his small but warm community. The connection “changed me forever, more than any cruise ever could,” he said. Following the trip, Zolotov had a belated circumcision. For eight months in 2016, Zolotov joined a handful of other Eurostars participants in Khabarovsk who studied the weekly Torah portion on Sundays. Last May, they and groups like theirs from more than 40 cities across the former Soviet Union gathered in Moscow for a weeklong trip costing many millions of dollars that was paid for in donations to Chabad of Russia. With visas pre-arranged for them by the Chabad-affiliated Federation of Jewish Communities of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the approximately 1,000 participants boarded two chartered airplanes to Barcelona, Spain. They toured the sites connected to that city’s rich Jewish heritage. Traveling in 20 buses, they boarded a Grandi Navi Veloci cruise ship to Italy and Monaco, giving the latter’s tiny Jewish community the largest Jewish event in its 8 FEBRUARY 16, 2018
p Rabbi Berel Lazar places tefillin on a trip participant.
Photo courtesy of Yachad
p Sergei Aryeh Zolotov, left, and Lev Aryeh Osipov at Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center.
Photo by Cnaan Liphshiz
p Participants gather at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
history. Then they flew from Nice to visit Auschwitz before returning to Russia. Matchmaking is part of the Eurostars raison d’etre, according to Rabbi Mendy Wilansky, head of the Yachad special programs platform, which is responsible for Eurostars within the Federation of Jewish Communities. The cruise featured popular speed dating evenings, he said. “In a huge country like Russia with massive assimilation, of course it’s an opportunity for shidduch,” he said. Among those seizing the opportunity were Yosef and Sarah Vasilyev, participants on the 2015 Eurostars trip. Yosef, a Jew from the Siberian city of Tyumen, became engaged to Sarah from the nearby city of Chelyabinsk just days after returning from France. Their wedding in the synagogue of her hometown was a rare celebration for her graying community and featured prominently in its newsletter that month. Zolotov also came on the Eurostars program hoping to meet his “other half,” but it was the visit to Auschwitz that ended up changing his life, he said. “It burned a hole in my soul,” Zolotov recalled. “It made me think of how we, Jews from Russia, walked and sang in Hebrew in Spain, before remembering our brothers killed
Photo courtesy of Yachad
in Poland,” he said, referencing the bloody history of anti-Semitic persecution in all three countries. “It made me feel what the Jewish tradition of survival and renewal is about.” To Berel Lazar, a chief rabbi of Russia, the program’s success — participation has quadrupled over the past six years — is indicative of a major shift in European Jewry. It was vividly on display during the 2015 trip to France, Lazar said, when he led participants on a solidarity visit to the Hyper Cacher kosher shop in Paris, where earlier that year an Islamist killed four Jews. “I remember a time when the Chabad emissary to France would go around kosher shops to collect nearly expired products to send them” to Russia, he said. “Now we are returning to France to extend our support to that community.” At a time of record immigration to Israel by French Jews because of France’s anti-Semitism problem, Lazar said, “It’s a very important sign of solidarity.” Some Eurostars participants had a better idea than Zolotov of what to expect, including Lev Aryeh Osifov of the Siberian city of Tomsk. A graduate of the Taglit-Birthright program of subsidized trips to Israel for young adult Jews, he had been to Western Europe before coming with Eurostars.
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“I didn’t need Eurostars to see Europe, I can afford going on my own,” Osifov said. “But I liked that feeling of togetherness.” Unlike the Taglit-Birthright program, which participants can only attend once, Eurostars students can go up to three times. Despite having little knowledge about Judaism, Zolotov had a “powerful connection” with Jewish texts early on in the study program, according to Wilansky, the rabbi. Nonetheless, financial incentives are a necessity in a poor country where Jewish life had been driven to the point of near extinction amid communist repression, assimilation and mass emigration. The Eurostars program, he said, grew out of an earlier framework in which rabbis offered cash payments to Jews who agreed to take part in Jewish studies programs by Jews (or at least to those Jews who meet Chabad’s definition, which is people whose mother is Jewish according to Orthodox law or who have been converted under Orthodox auspices). “Some rabbis were having trouble attracting people to class even with payments; other rabbis felt it tainted their congregations,” Wilansky said. “That’s how we arrived at the idea of giving a trip, though in many cases the social dynamic that forms in the study groups is its own reward.” That was the case for Ruth Galeyeva, a participant on the 2015 trip. She hails from Orenburg, a city located 800 miles east of Moscow, near Russia’s border with Kazakhstan. Galeyeva attended Jewish education programs as a child, but as a university student “I felt suddenly that I no longer had that framework in my life,” she said. “So I joined the Eurostars program just to belong to a community again.” And as a former design student, she also wanted to see Paris. “Everything was so beautiful there,” Galeyeva recalled. But all that beauty, she added, “seems so superficial now compared to the feeling I got just by being surrounded again by my own people.” PJC
Headlines Schumer singles out Orthodox Jews as needing to call out Trump — NATIONAL — By Ron Kampeas | JTA
ASHINGTON — An otherwise congenial meeting between Jewish organizational officials and Democratic senators apparently turned testy when Sen. Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said Orthodox Jews should do more to call out President Donald Trump for failing to confront hate in the United States. Schumer (D-N.Y.) described what he depicted as a tepid reaction to Trump’s equivocation following the neo-Nazi and white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., in August. Members of the Orthodox group present at the meeting last week, the Orthodox Union, responded by saying that it and other groups had expressed concerns about Trump’s remarks in a timely fashion after the demonstration, participants said. The annual meeting is an off-the-record forum for Democrats and Jewish leaders to exchange notes on topics of concern. A number of participants spoken to would not go on the record. The perceived intensification of anti-Semitism was one of several topics. Others included the Trump adminis-
tration and Israel, and Democratic efforts to protect illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. The Senate was hours away from passing a critical spending bill, and so a number of issues were raised regarding funding, including for a program that underwrites security protection for nonprofits, and for legislation that would extend disaster relief assistance to religious institutions. The meeting, which ran over an hour and was chaired by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), attracted 24 Democratic senators, with many of them dropping in for several minutes. That was the case with Schumer, according to participants. Orthodox Union representatives delivered their reply after Schumer left. The Charlottesville march turned deadly when a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd of counterdemonstrators, killing one and injuring at least 20. On the day of the march, Aug. 12, Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence, prompting outrage from Democrats and some Republicans, as well as Jewish groups. Over subsequent days, Trump appeared to walk back his equivocation, condemning the neo-Nazis, and then again insisting there were “fine people” on both sides. Orthodox groups condemned both the march, which occurred on a Shabbat, and Trump’s equivocation in real time.
dialogue and an exchange of ideas between Democratic members of the Senate and community leaders,” she said. “This week, Senator Schumer was pleased to speak with key members of the Jewish community. Senator Schumer used this platform to discuss dreamers, maintaining strong bipartisan support for Israel, the unfortunate rise in anti-Semitism at home and abroad, and the need for Jewish leaders to use their influence by boldly speaking out against words and acts of hate that tear us apart.” p Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer In addition to leaders from the Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images Reform, Orthodox and Conser“I don’t know if [President Trump] meant vative movements, groups represented to give these groups legitimacy, but that is included the Anti-Defamation League, the certainly how [the groups] are taking it, which American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, J is a problem,” Rabbi Moshe Bane, the Orthodox Street, the Jewish Council For Public Affairs Union president, said in an article appearing in and the Conference of Presidents of Major Hamodia on Aug. 16, a day after Trump had American Jewish Organizations. Those present noted that the chairman said there were “fine people” on both sides. In a statement, Schumer’s spokeswoman, of AIPAC, Bob Cohen, and the chairman Marisa Kaufman, called for Jewish leaders to of J Street, Jeremy Ben Ami, sat next to speak “boldly” in the face of anti-Semitism. one another and appeared to get along. J “Steering meetings, like the one Sen. Street often positions itself as a left-wing Schumer spoke at this week, encourage counter to AIPAC. PJC
Meet the first openly transgender teen elected to the board of USY — NATIONAL — By Josefin Dolsten | JTA
awyer Goldsmith said he has always felt accepted as a a member of the LGBTQ community in United Synagogue Youth, the Conservative movement’s youth group. But the 16-year-old from suburban Chicago hopes his recent election to serve as religion/education vice president on the group’s international board, the first time an openly transgender person has been voted to the board, will show others who may not be as comfortable that they belong. “I want the other trans USYers to know you’re seen,” Goldsmith said in a phone interview. “I can be this key person for them, that they don’t have to hide in the background, they can come out if they feel comfortable, they can be themselves.” In December, the Highland Park, Illinois, native beat out another candidate for the position at USY’s annual convention in Chicago. Goldsmith, a junior at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School in Deerfield, says his victory is “one of the proudest moments” he has had. “It felt really amazing,” he said. “When I went up to accept it, all of my friends in my region were screaming at me and shouting my name, and I just felt so amazing. I had to wait a good three minutes before I could speak because everyone was so excited and happy for me.”
Though Goldsmith found USY a welcoming environment when he came out as transgender last year and started transitioning from female to male, he said he was not as comfortable everywhere. “USY was always a place for me to be myself, but I know in other Jewish situations that I didn’t feel like I could be myself and I was scared,” he said. At his home synagogue, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, his parents are working on a committee of parents of LGBTQ children to ensure that the community is welcoming. As religion/education vice president, one of Goldsmith’s goals is to make sure transgender USY members get appropriate accommodations during retreats. Goldsmith recalled an experience in which he was told he could not share a room with other male members on the program. “I wasn’t allowed to room with the guys even though I identified as one, so I fought for my rights, and now I’m able to room with guys,” he said. But I want there to be a system where if someone identifies as trans, they are able to room with the gender that they identify with.” Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, praised Goldsmith’s election. “We are proud of Sawyer, just like we’re proud of all our teen leaders and we strive to create a welcoming culture for all participants, regardless of their identity,” Wernick said in a statement.
p Sawyer Goldsmith is the religion/ education vice president for the international board of USY.
Photo courtesy of USY
The Conservative movement, like the other non-Orthodox denominations, has embraced the LGBTQ community. In 2016, the international association of Conservative rabbis passed a resolution expressing its support for and acceptance of transgender people. The Rabbinical Assembly resolution declared support for “the full welcome, acceptance, and inclusion of people of all gender identities in Jewish life and general society.” It cited Jewish legal literature, going back to the second century C.E. Mishnah, which “affirms the variety of non-binary
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
gender expression throughout history, granting transgender people the obligations and privileges of all Jews.” Goldsmith had a passion early on for Judaism. Growing up, he attended Shabbat services every week and Hebrew school three times a week at the North Suburban Synagogue Beth El. In middle school he became involved in USY’s preteen program, Kadima. Still, he craved more Judaism in his life, so he decided to attend a Jewish high school his sophomore year. “I was always the kid who knew the most [about Judaism], and I always got it and understood it, but the education I was getting was not enough,” Goldsmith said of his decision to transfer to a Jewish school. In his new role, he hopes to make other teens excited about USY and Judaism. “I have this passion for Judaism that a lot of people don’t have,” he said. “I tried getting people to come to USY and I heard their excuse, ‘It’s too Jewish,’ and I don’t want the excuse to be ‘It’s too Jewish.’ I want people to come because it’s Jewish.” Among Goldsmith’s goals is encouraging theological conversations among USY members on topics such as God’s existence and Jewish prayers. Goldsmith, a music lover who in his free time enjoys playing viola, piano, guitar and ukulele, also wants to foster dialogue with teens of other religious backgrounds. “I’m really hoping to bring bigger and broader conversations to the table,” he said. PJC FEBRUARY 16, 2018 9
Headlines — WORLD — From JTA reports
Iceland is getting its first resident rabbi in decades The Chabad movement is sending a rabbi and his wife to Iceland, an island nation with 250 Jews where ritual slaughter of animals is illegal and circumcision is likely to be outlawed as well. Rabbi Avi Feldman, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and his Sweden-born wife Mushky, are slated to settle with their two daughters in Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital city, later this year, the couple said. The country is not known to have had a resident rabbi servicing an active Jewish community there since 1918, the year it gained independence from what was then the Kingdom of Denmark. The announcement closely followed news last month that lawmakers from four political parties in Iceland submitted a bill proposing to outlaw nonmedical circumcision of boys younger than 18 and equating that practice, common among Jews and Muslims, with female genital mutilation — the custom of removing parts of a girl’s clitoris, which is common in some African Muslim communities. “We hope to bring awareness of the relevance and importance of brit milah,”
the rabbi said, referring to Jewish ritual circumcision. “We hope to bring this awareness to local Icelandic people and especially to lawmakers in their decision on rules, which we hope will have a religious exemption clause.” Feldman and his wife visited Iceland in December and organized a Chanukah celebration for the community, which is made up of some locals and Jewish expatriates from the United States and Israel. The couple hopes to set up an educational framework for Jewish children, a synagogue and a mikvah, or Jewish ritual bath, none of which exist in Iceland, a nation of some 300,000 people. A Chabad spokesman said Reykjavík is one of only a handful of European capital cities without a synagogue. The absence of infrastructure for Jewish communities can be seen as “a challenge,” the rabbi said, “but it’s also a tremendous opportunity, to set up a living, breathing community.” Notwithstanding, local Jews have celebrated holidays in Iceland also without a resident rabbi, often with help from yeshiva students and Chabad rabbis who came there especially to celebrate the dates, Feldman said, calling this “inspiring and very special.” Despite the decades-long ban on ritual slaughter in Iceland, “the country actually has a lot more kosher products than many people realize,” Feldman said. This is because the island depends on imports from Europe
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and the United States, “so this means you can find products with a kosher label in your average minimarket.” Mushky Feldman, who grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden, said she looked forward to “bringing the light of Judaism to one of the world’s darkest places,” a reference to how Reykjavík in January enjoys only four hours of daylight. “But sunrise comes after 11 a.m., so that means we’ll get to see the sunrise every day.” she noted. In the summer, Reykjavík has days with 18 hours of daylight. The Feldmans said they will travel to Reykjavík next month to organize a Passover seder. Palestinians not looking to make peace and Israel might not be either, Trump says President Donald Trump told an Israeli newspaper that both Israel and the Palestinians will have to “make hard compromises” to reach a peace agreement. The American president also called the Iran nuclear deal “catastrophic for Israel,” during his interview with Israel Hayom editor-in-chief Boaz Bismuth, held in the Oval Office. The free daily, owned by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a major giver to the Republican Party and Israel activist, published the interview of Trump in both English and Hebrew on Sunday. Trump stressed his desire to achieve a
This week in Israeli history
Feb. 19, 1936 Leaders meet to discuss Jewish land purchase strategies
— WORLD — Items provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.
Zionist leaders debate how to confront proposed British restrictions on Jewish land purchase in Palestine.
Feb. 15, 1975 Salvator Cicurel dies
Former Egyptian Olympic fencer and leader of the Cairo Jewish community Salvator Cicurel dies.
Feb. 16, 1932 Aharon Appelfeld is born
Aharon Appelfeld, an Israeli author, professor and Holocaust survivor, is born near Czernowitz, Ukraine (then part of Bukovina, Romania).
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Feb. 17, 1948 Policy planning staff seeks non-implementation of Partition Resolution
The U.S. State Department prepares a memorandum for Secretary of State George Marshall and President Harry Truman seeking non-implementation of the U.N. Partition Resolution (181) on Palestine.
Feb. 18, 1577 Jews in Safed petition for protection
3510 Route 130 Irwin, PA 15642
peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. “Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace, they are not looking to make peace. And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace. So we are just going to have to see what happens,” Trump said. He added that the settlements “always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements.” Trump said it would be “foolish” for Israel and the Palestinians to not arrive at a peace agreement under his administration’s stewardship. “It’s our only opportunity and it will never happen after this,” he asserted. Trump called the Iran nuclear agreement “a deal that says let’s ultimately do bad things to Israel,” and called his predecessor Barack Obama “absolutely terrible for Israel.” He said relations between Israel and the United States currently are “as good as they ever have been.” He described his Dec. 6 declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as the high point of his time in office so far. “It was a very important pledge that I made and I fulfilled my pledge,” he said. In his introduction to the interview, Bismuth described Trump as changed. “He was more serious, more thoughtful, considering my questions before firing back, and also more inquisitive, asking me far more questions for a change,” the editor wrote. PJC
Jews in Safed deliver a petition to the Ottoman Sultan seeking protection against extortion, robberies and violence from local officials.
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Feb. 20, 1957 Eisenhower urges Israel to adhere to UN resolutions
In a nationally televised address to the American people, President Dwight Eisenhower discusses the tense situation in the Middle East in the aftermath of the October 1956 Suez War.
Feb. 21, 1852 Pope Pius IX protests emancipation for Jews in Italy
Pope Pius IX writes to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold II, to protest the Grand Duke’s decision to grant levels of emancipation to Jews in the Grand Duchy.
Feb. 22, 1914 Technion University selects Hebrew as language of instruction
An important moment in Israel’s nationbuilding comes when the Kuratorium (board of trustees) of the Technion University, then under construction in Haifa, reverses its decision of October 1913 and decides that Hebrew, not German, will be the language of instruction at the new school. PJC
CITY COUNCIL We are proud to support Erika Strassburger for City Council. Erika served as Chief of 6WDÆ©WR&RXQFLOPDQ'DQ*LOPDQ6KHKDVVHUYHGRXUFRPPXQLW\ZLWKWKHVDPHKLJKOHYHO RIUHVSRQVLYHQHVVDQGDWWHQWLRQWKDWZHKDYHFRPHWRH[SHFWLQ&LW\&RXQFLO6KHLV H[WUDRUGLQDULO\TXDOLÆªHGDQGZHZRXOGEHSURXGWRFDOOKHURXU&LW\&RXQFLOZRPDQ
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@erikastrassbrgr FEBRUARY 16, 2018â€ƒ11
Opinion Think again before deporting Africans — EDITORIAL —
riends of Israel — and Israelis themselves — like to boast that despite the tough neighborhood the country is in, walking the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is safer than the streets of New York, Chicago or Washington. While that may or may not be true, it is clear that Israel is safer than Rwanda and Uganda. So the talk of sending some 20,000 of the 38,000 African migrants now living in Israel to these countries raises some concerns. The African migrants are men, women and children from South Sudan and Eritrea. They claim fear of persecution back home,
but critics say they entered Israel because of its strong economy, not for any love of the country or its people. Even so, it is a rule of human nature that people who live under threatening regimes migrate to places that are more wealthy and stable. Europe, with its hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and elsewhere, has recently learned that lesson. Still, large-scale migration can be destabilizing to a host country. “The State of Israel is too small and has its own problems. It cannot be used as the employment office of the African continent,” Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s minister of justice, wrote on Facebook. It is true: Israel does not have the relative stability of Europe. Nor does it have the size
of the United States. It is a small country in a less-than-hospitable neighborhood, and does not have the luxury of open borders, no matter its liberal ideals. Still, Shaked’s remarks come across as insensitive. Some have said that what is at work is racism, a charge the Israeli government denies. We agree with the denial and note that when Australia implemented its program of detaining some would-be immigrants on an island, it engendered little animosity in the international community. Still, no country — particularly a liberal democracy — looks good turning away refugees and asylum seekers. As with many other controversial issues it is facing, Israel needs to find a better
way to explain why it’s doing what it’s doing. Perhaps it makes sense for the Israeli government to suspend its plan to deport the Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers — including an offer to pay Rwanda $5,000 for each person it takes — at least long enough to implement a comprehensive asylum determination process in accordance with Israel’s obligations under the 1951 International Refugee Convention. That process would afford an opportunity to vet issues fully, including efforts to safeguard asylum seekers’ human dignity and rights. By doing so, Israel could also focus on necessary security issues at the same time it honors its founding values as a compassionate, Jewish and democratic state. PJC
Five ways to address sexual harassment in the Jewish community Guest Columnist Lisa Eisen
eToo. #GamAni. The stories are numerous and painful. They span decades and reach every corner of the Jewish community. Enough is enough. The time is now for us to finally and fully address sexual harassment in Jewish institutional life. When it comes to sexual harassment, Jewish teachings are unequivocal: We are obligated to put an end to the behavior for the sake of the victim, the perpetrator and the community as a whole. Despite our moral code, however, sexual misconduct in the Jewish community too often goes unaddressed. As Hollywood, media and government offices grapple with their ethical challenges, it is clear we need a reckoning of our own. When the Good People Fund surveyed Jewish professionals in 2017, it found that sexual harassment is perceived by respondents to be tolerated in Jewish organizations. Female CEOs, fundraisers and rabbis frequently report problems in their interactions with donors and lay leaders. Female employees report feeling some level of harassment is inevitable, and most believe — and some have left the field as a result — that their organizations are ineffective at preventing or addressing it. Indeed, the recent Leading Edge study found that only two-thirds of employees of Jewish organizations report that they are aware of their organization’s sexual harassment policies, and only about one-third know what to do or where to go if they experience harassment. The time is now to end this reality. The time is now to move from talk to action. The time is now for us to commit to acting individually and collectively to build safer, more respectful and equitable places to work. We must come together across political, denominational and gender lines to address the power dynamics and structural inequalities
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that allow harassment and abuse to take root. We must raise the bar of fairness and equality in our workplaces, institutions and the spaces in between. To succeed, we need to advance cultural and practical change. We at the Schusterman Foundation are joining with other foundations and organizations to explore how we can help create systemic change in Jewish communal life on both fronts. Here are five crucial areas in which we can and must act:
To eliminate harassment in our community, all of us — funders, nonprofit professionals and lay leaders — must hold ourselves and our organizations accountable. I envision a pledge, akin to the Child Safety Pledge, committing us to uphold safety and respect in and around the Jewish workplace as an important step forward. A common pledge — backed by tangible resources and collective action — could ensure that organizations walk their talk and actively pursue today’s best practices for preventing and responding to sexual harassment.
Committed, engaged organizational and philanthropic leaders are critical to changing the status quo. Thanks to the outstanding work of Commissioners Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic, who led the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, we know that “the cornerstone of a successful harassment prevention strategy is the consistent and demonstrated commitment of senior leaders to create and maintain a culture in which harassment is not tolerated.” Those in leadership positions must start by refraining from and putting an end to adverse behavior. Jewish leaders need to show they will not stand for or accept sexual harassment and take proactive steps to promote a safe, respectful Jewish organizational culture. Funders, too, must commit to this work — not just for the organizations we support, but also to help equalize
the relationship between donors and Jewish professionals, and to strengthen our own internal cultures.
Refresh policies and procedures
In the wake of #MeToo, every Jewish organization must have in place the modern infrastructure of a safe workplace, including transparent policies, consistent training and protected reporting methods. The EEOC recommendations are clear on this front as well. Healthy work environments need “strong and comprehensive harassment policies; trusted and accessible complaint procedures; and regular, interactive training tailored to the audience and the organization.” In addition to updating our own policies and procedures, those who serve as funders can request anti-harassment and discrimination policies in our grant applications, share sample templates and best practices with grantees, and refer them to expert resources.
Train staff and boards
Annual, ideally in-person training of staff and boards is vital and can be customized to the fields and organizations they serve. They can transcend the harasser-victim dichotomy and focus on more effective methods, such as empowering bystanders and helping employees understand how they can advocate for one another. For models, we can look to the Respect in the Workplace training currently offered by the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York or to those Keshet provides on tolerance and inclusion.
Every employee in the Jewish sector should know and trust their organization’s reporting structure. One of the most common refrains is that employees do not know who to turn to if they experience or witness harassment. This is equally true at foundations and all other kinds of nonprofits. It is incumbent upon us as Jews that our reporting structures allow for fair consideration and due process for both the accuser
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and the accused. To that end, it is worth considering external reporting structures like those suggested by Yehuda Kurtzer and Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, who have called for the creation of a neutral platform for those seeking redress without fear of retribution. We may also consider the use of ombudsmen or new tools like AllVoices, an app-based reporting service under development.
Beyond these five areas, the most important way to create sustainable change in our community is to ensure that women are treated equitably and have opportunities to advance to top leadership roles. Starting today, we must help elevate women’s voices in Jewish life. We must advocate for pay equity for comparable roles. We must include more women on CEO search committees and candidate interview lists. We must mentor and sponsor women in advancing in their careers. We must, as Advancing Women Professionals has taught us, make the choice not to serve on or support panels, committees and initiatives where women are not represented. When we raise up women, we raise up everyone — especially those of diverse, underrepresented backgrounds. Indeed, we can make an inclusive, safe and respectful environment a key element of great Jewish workplaces. In doing so, we will create spaces free from harassment, gender disparagement and bias; make our offices models of what a modern workplace should be; and usher in a new era of leadership that better reflects and supports the people and communities we serve. Let’s make 2018 the year we live up to the steadfast ethics of our people and put an end to sexual harassment in the Jewish community once and for all. Let’s join together to create a culture in which nobody ever again has to say #MeToo or #GamAni. PJC Lisa Eisen is the vice president of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, a global organization committed to igniting the passion and unleashing the power in young people to create positive change.
Opinion From the classroom to Capitol Hill Guest Columnist Barbara Symons
ome lessons just can’t be learned in a classroom. For some high school students and their parents, missing two days of school for a field trip is not worth the price. I can assure them that missing two days of school to attend a seminar such as the L’taken Social Justice Seminar of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is, as they say, priceless. From a recent Friday afternoon through Monday morning, the days and nights were packed. Celebrating Shabbat was surrounded with sessions about income inequality — hearing from a formerly homeless man about how lobbying works to a simulation that demonstrates the power of money and advocacy — and Israel’s political process, and visits to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Smithsonian.
The main focus was on better understanding Jewish values through interactive text studies and hands-on sessions led by recent college graduates-turned-legislative assistants who have become experts in their areas. This year, the topics spanned reproductive rights, immigration reform, climate change, gun violence prevention, church and state issues, voting rights, health care, LGBTQ rights, global health and disability rights. The topics came from the legislative agenda of the Religious Action Center, determined by the congregations of the Union for Reform Judaism. The two confirmation students who attended from Temple David, Jacob Brand and Aaron Sloan, lobbied in Sen. Pat Toomey’s and Rep. Keith Rothfus’ offices for disability rights, having been motivated by a personal connection and speaking through the lens of Jewish values. To quote their words: “I believe that you should use your power to oppose any ADA notification bills for many reasons, including because of its importance to our country. These types of bills should be opposed because approximately 22.5 percent of American citizens as of 2014 have a disability and the ADA
— LETTERS — Funerals: Not Novelty Acts Toby Tabachnick’s thought-provoking Chronicle article, “Streaming funerals allow loved ones, friends to mourn virtually” (Feb. 2), suggests quite eloquently that streaming, skyping, and videotaping have now entered the realm of mortality. The article cites several instances of grieving family members who were able to electronically share in the funeral services of their loved ones, and I do not for one moment question or contest their loving gesture. In fact, I commend them for it; it’s just that I have a much different take on this. On a journey to Israel, I learned quickly that our homeland is no stranger to protests, and at the time the most prominent among them involved road and building construction. It seems that extensive landscaping was inevitably going to disturb the remains of the dead, which is greatly frowned upon in our faith. This was my first thought after reading Tabachnick’s piece. Livestreaming funerals certainly does not rise to the level of bulldozing graves; nevertheless, it doesn’t feel like the next best thing to do in the event that you can’t attend a loved one’s funeral. The next best thing is to allow the departed’s spirit, heart and mind to enter your own and commend
Education and Reform Act (H.R.620), if passed, will allow businesses to ignore the needs of the people that have disabilities. Other reasons why this is important to our country are that people living with disabilities lag behind employment rates, education completed, income, technology access, home ownership and voter participation. Further, because as Americans the Constitution guarantees us civil rights — but if this act is passed then it will cause people with disabilities to have to put their civil rights on hold. “As Jews we believe that it’s important for
this act to be opposed because we believe that it is our duty to speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves. Further, Leviticus commands us that we should not insult the deaf or place a stumbling block before the blind. This is basically saying that we as Jews should help the people living with disabilities, not creating more struggle for them. As Jews we are obligated to ensure that all peoples have equal rights because we are all created in God’s image.” The students — all 300 of them from across the United States (and this was only one seminar of many) — learned how to advocate for their values not only on Capitol Hill but in their states, home towns and schools. They did it with professionalism, poise and passion. We teach our kids Jewish values. We model them. They learn about our American government in social studies and civics classes. For four days, these 10th-graders put their American and Jewish values into action. Lesson learned. PJC Rabbi Barbara Symons is the spiritual leader of Temple David in Monroeville.
the deceased to your memory, not to technology, where who knows where it might turn up. “Seinfeld” gave us many moments of levity. Among my favorites was one in which Jerry was dating a deaf woman. When George got wind of this, he plotted to use the woman’s advanced lip-reading skills to further his own devious schemes, to which Jerry responded, “She’s not a novelty act to be hired out for weddings and bar mitzvahs.” Maybe it’s just me, but that’s how I feel about this. J.L. Sivitz Pittsburgh We invite you to submit letters for publication. Letters must include name, address and daytime phone number; addresses and phone numbers will not be published. Letters may not exceed 500 words and may be edited for length and clarity; they cannot be returned. Mail, fax or email letters to: Letters to the editor via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address & Fax: Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 5915 Beacon St., 5th Flr., Pittsburgh, PA 15217 Fax 412-521-0154 Website address: pittsburghjewishchronicle.org
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FEBRUARY 16, 2018 13
Life & Culture Israeli celebrity chef brings flavor body,” he said. “When my customers go into my restaurant, I have an open kitchen. The cook looks into the eye of the customer. By Dan Schere | Special to the Chronicle The food needs to be food that they are proud to give you, and that you would feed othing said mouth-watering like your own family.” harissa-laced butternut squash Modern Israeli cooking, he explained, is spread, eggplant peel dip, chopped a “revolution” of sorts, where the food often olives and sesame-seed challah among other reflects the melting pot of ethnicities. He Israeli delicacies atop a three-foot wood noted that in the United States, big-name board at a suburban Washington, D.C., chefs such as Michael Solomonov and Meir banquet last week. Adoni have raised the profile of Middle Diner Nurit Coombe summed it up with a Eastern food in major cities, such as Philathree-word phrase. delphia and New York, where they work. “That was, ‘Oh my God,’ she said after “What are they doing? They’re bringing sampling the smorgasbord of 35 items. what their Moroccan mom took from her And that was just the beginning. There grandmother, what their Ashkenazi dad took were three more courses to go. from his parents and creating something Coombe was one of 85 guests at a completely new,” he said. “Israel, thank God, four-course dinner prepared by Israeli is in the Mediterranean. The influences of celebrity chef Hedai Offaim at the Silver 70 Diasporas that make Israel what it is, in Spring, Md., home of Louis and Manette my eyes, make it one of the most interesting, Mayberg on Jan. 30. dynamic, flavorful places in the world.” The Maybergs have hosted a The diversity of the first course dinner prepared by a celebrity continued in the second, which chef for the last 10 years to raise represented “water.” It featured a funds for the Israeli nonprofit combination of soups and alcoShalva, which assists individholic beverages intended to clean uals with disabilities. They chose the palate of the intensity of the an Israeli chef this year to mark first course. It was served on a both the 10-year anniversary silver tray and included semoof the fundraiser, and the 70th lina wheat dumplings with fish anniversary of Israel’s creation. in a broth along with the Turkish Offaim traveled to the United delicacy shish barak, a yogurt States for a week to prepare for soup containing dumplings the meal, first working with the stuffed with lentils. The tray also staff of New Jersey-based Foreincluded liqueur and sangria. most Glatt Kosher Caterers for During the third course, “fire,” three days before transporting the staff rolled out long pieces of the food to Maryland by truck. paper on the table and covered it He and the staff then prepared with a bed of lettuce and fruits, a meal around the theme of Tu seasoned with olive oil and B’Shevat, the new year of trees. spices. On the lettuce, they placed Each of the four courses reprea series of skillets with various sented an element of nature, seafood entrees. One featured a as Offaim titled them “earth,” white fish topped with roasted “water,” ”fire,” “wind.” red peppers and mushrooms and The first course represented submerged in a zesty marinade. “earth” because of its vegetaOther skillets included a potato ble-based dishes. casserole and tabbouleh. Offaim, 39, has become wellThe final course, “wind,” was a known in Israel for the sustainlight dessert of vanilla ice cream, Israeli celebrity chef Hedai Offaim spoons baba ghanoush. Offaim prepared a meal for 85 guests able Ofaimme Farm he and p accompanied by each diner’s at a fundraiser for the Israeli nonprofit Shalva. his brother Yinon started on choice from 60 toppings, everyMoshav Idan. They grow crops and raise thing from dried apples to pistachios. livestock without using pesticides, genetMichael Epstein said he was not familiar with ically modified organisms or other tradiall of the foods, and called them “spectacular.” tional farming practices. After the third course, he said, “I’m “I wanted to make the best cheese, and I eating on faith.” wanted to have the best eggs and the best Similarly, Cindy Zitelman thought the produce to make the best food,” he said presentation was “beautiful,” but not what before the meal. “And in order to do that I she was used to eating. “I could recognize looked for the right way to grow it. And I the cauliflower and the fish dishes,” she said. discovered that no man’s an island. I cannot “The water course was a little creative.” PJC just start with a tomato. I need to start in the Dan Schere writes for the Washington soil in which it grows and in the water and in Jewish Week, an affiliated publication of the the people who grow it, and I need to work Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. the fields. It’s holistic.” About five years ago, the brothers opened the Ofaimme Café in Jerusalem’s Beit p Top: A series of dips, breads and vegetables comprised the first of Hakerem neighborhood, which is both a four courses; left: The third course, store and a restaurant where farm products representing “fire,” featured skillets are sold. The atmosphere inside, he said, is with seafood and vegetables atop a family-like and informal. bed of lettuce and fruit. Photos by Dan Schere “Israel is a small country, we know every-
— FOOD —
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Life & Culture Olympian Aimee Buchanan is from Boston via Dallas, but she is skating for Israel — SPORTS — By Jori Epstein | Texas Jewish Post via JTA
ALLAS — Aimee Buchanan isn’t the only figure skater at the Dr. Pepper Star Center rink gracefully arching in a layback spin. But as the 24-year-old athlete transitions from her signature arched back to a low crouch, she’s the only local elite skater whose silver Star of David necklace bounces happily with the revolutions. The only skater at this rink in the Dallas suburb of Euless executing the feat with “ISRAEL” printed in bold capital letters across her shoulder blades. Buchanan is representing Israel at the 2018 Winter Olympics, which began Feb. 9. “It’s very special to literally have my country’s name on my back,” she said. “I think it just shows that it doesn’t really matter where you’re originally from or what your heritage is. You can be who you are and do what you want all over the world.” Her current destination to make that statement: Pyeongchang, South Korea. Buchanan is one of seven figure skaters who competed for Israel in the 10-country figure skating team event on Sunday (Saturday night in the United States). All seven Israelis train in North America. Buchanan smiles when retelling the story of how she wound up on Israel’s national team. She grew up in the Boston area and never visited Israel before her 2014 trip to formally make aliyah. But as Buchanan honed her skating skills as a teenager, she realized Israel would offer more international competition opportunities than she could hope to land on Team USA. In return, Buchanan would help put Israel on the skating map. She headed to Israel at age 20 with a letter from her rabbi confirming both maternal grandparents were Jewish. Within six weeks, Buchanan was an Israeli citizen, and by 2016 its national ladies champion.
p Aimee Buchanan competes for Israel at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City in 2016. Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images
(It is not unusual for Olympians to compete for countries other than their own. The Olympic Charter notes that the games are competitions between athletes, “not between countries,” and allows national teams to set their own criteria for eligibility. Even the United States has provided special visas to allow international athletes to fill American rosters.) Mazel tovs greeted her throughout the country. Her mom, Wendy, received Facebook messages from friends she hadn’t heard from in 20 years. And Buchanan saw an opportunity to give back to the country that welcomed her. “To really stand with all the struggles that Israelis and all the country of Israel [have] been through,” Buchanan said. “To be able to stand strong and show the world it’s not just a country struggling — they’re people.” Wendy Buchanan said she only imagines what Aimee’s late grandparents, who were active in the Jewish community and Jewish causes, would say. “It would’ve meant a lot to them,” Wendy
Buchanan said. “For sure they’d have tears in their eyes. Like, ‘Ohmigosh, this is really happening? You’re doing it? You’re doing it for Israel?’ “They’d be beyond excited and happy.” Aimee Buchanan said she grew up connected to Judaism but not always knowing why she celebrated which traditions. She attended services on the High Holidays and Hebrew school for a few years before sports and rink time became too demanding. Buchanan says she wonders frequently what it would have been like to celebrate her bat mitzvah. “But at the same time knowing how much I would have had to do for it, I see both sides,” she said. Olympic dreams, Buchanan realized, require sacrifices. So she is grateful the same skating career that has sent her to her to competitions in Germany and Croatia is also bringing her back to her roots. She’s also learning what it means to represent Israel on the international stage. Sometimes that means not competing
on Yom Kippur, as Buchanan found out in September when a competition’s free program coincided with the holy day. Other times, competing for Team Israel means taking off identifying clothing and gear outside of the safety of the rink and traveling with security details at European meets that other countries’ skaters don’t need. Competing for Israel also means getting to choreograph a routine to Barbra Streisand’s rendition of “Avinu Malkeinu.” It means the same program that sends Israeli crowds “crazy loving it” each year at nationals might draw disapproval from European judges. Judges at one meet in Poland didn’t explicitly attribute Buchanan’s lower-than-normal point total to the Hebrew music, but she had her suspicions. “Everyone always says that the artistic scores suffer being from Israel,” Buchanan said. “Because not everyone loves the country.” The slight only motivated Buchanan to skate stronger, better and more gracefully as the country’s ambassador. “It shouldn’t matter who you’re skating for,” she said. “Your skating is your skating. “The country is who you are, not what you’re doing.” Regarding Pyeongchang, both Buchanan and her mom are realistic. Israel, after barely qualifying for the team event, is not going to medal against a more talented pool. But Buchanan’s Olympic berth alone, and the chance to wear Israel gear and show off her Magen David silver charm to Olympic crowds, is special already. She didn’t expect to qualify after an ankle injury drastically curtailed her competition schedule in 2017. She learned on a December trip to Israel that despite the setback, she was an Olympian. “I was like, ‘OK, now I need to salvage the year and turn it around,’” Buchanan said. “I was over-the-moon happy.” PJC Jori Epstein is a staff writer for The Dallas Morning News and SportsDayDFW.com. She wrote this story for the Texas Jewish Post.
What it’s like to be Jewish in South Korea nalists and other visitors, as well as deliver food to athletes inside the Olympic Village. “We have big events that we host at Chabad with hundreds of guests, but this is our first time to be able to cater for so many Jews all at once,” Rabbi Osher Litzman said from Seoul, where he has served as Chabad’s emissary since 2008. There are about 1,000 Jews living in South Korea, according to Litzman. Most are U.S. service members, English teachers, diplomats or students from the United States or Canada who come to the East Asian country for a year of two. Litzman and his family hosts Shabbat dinners at the Chabad house
— SPORTS — By Josefin Dolsten | JTA
hough the Jewish community in South Korea is small, Jews visiting the country to compete in or watch the Winter Olympic Games won’t have to skimp on kosher food or Shabbat programming. The country’s Chabad emissary set up a pop-up restaurant in Pyeongchang County, the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics. During the Olympics, which started on Feb. 9, the temporary restaurant is serving three meals daily, including Korean-style bulgogi beef, schnitzel, hot dogs and vegetarian items. Chabad, the Chasidic outreach movement that sends emissaries to countries around the world, will also teach Torah classes and put on Shabbat programming for tourists, jour-
Please see Korea, page 17 t Rabbi Osher Litzman, under the chuppah in black, performs a Jewish wedding in Seoul.
Photo courtesy of Chabad of South Korea
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FEBRUARY 16, 2018 15
Headlines Dispensary: Continued from page 1
purchasing products. Patients are advised as to the various methods of ingestion as well as the specific qualities of the different products, including strength. Every dispensary employee is required to undergo the same mandatory state training as are the physicians who certify patients for medical marijuana use. So far, more than 50 physicians in Allegheny County have been approved by the state to certify patients for medical marijuana use if they have one of 17 qualifying conditions, which include autism, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, cancer, PTSD, inflammatory bowel disease and epilepsy. Rothschild, Glick’s physician, completed a four-hour online training course to receive his state registration and has established a cash-based medical cannabis certification practice in East Liberty. Most of the patients Rothschild has certified suffer from chronic pain, PTSD, or neuropathy. “Many of my patients are already self-medicating,” said Rothschild, who serves as the vice president of Shaare Torah Congregation. Dr. Myles Zuckerman, who works at Family Hospice and Palliative Care, also has met the state’s requirements to certify patients for medical marijuana but has not yet issued any certifications; he is waiting for Family Hospice to issue a policy regarding medical marijuana before he does so. In a hospice setting, Zuckerman said, medical marijuana can be used to alleviate symptoms such as pain, nausea and lack of
appetite for people who have cancer. It can also be used by patients with Parkinson’s disease to treat pain. While Zuckerman, a member of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills, thinks that legalizing medical marijuana is “a good thing,” he does not see it as “a miracle medication.” “I don’t expect it to be the greatest thing since sliced bread,” he said. “It’s just one more tool.” “Lots of people think it will replace opioids,” Zuckerman continued. “It is safer in many ways. But I don’t see it completely taking over that role in pain relief. There is a possibility of it helping patients, but I’m not rushing into it.” Like all other medications, Zuckerman pointed out, marijuana does have the potential to cause harmful effects, such as triggering psychotic reactions in people who have a history of psychiatric problems, or a family history of such problems. Another problem with the drug, he said, is that using it is still a crime in the eyes of the federal government. That status creates obstacles, such as not being able to use the drug in hospitals and nursing homes that rely on Medicare and Medicaid payments from the government. It is its illegal status on the federal level that disturbs some local residents. “Right now, federal law says this is a schedule one narcotic, not medicine,” said Nathaniel Scholnicoff, a resident of Squirrel Hill and a member of Poale Zedeck Congregation. “If Congress changes the law, then it’s a different conversation.” Scholnicoff, a chemical engineer who also
has a degree in psychology with an emphasis on neuropsychology, pointed out that medical marijuana is not approved by the FDA. “I have no faith at all in alternative medicine,” said Scholnicoff, who added that he has seen no scientific evidence confirming medical marijuana’s therapeutic effects. He is also concerned about addiction. “There are all kinds of addictions,” he said. “There are physiological addictions and psychological addictions. You can have a psychological addiction to chocolate. Anything you associate with a pleasurable experience can lead to a psychological addiction.” But for people like Jamie Forrest, a Squirrel Hill resident p A display case features several items at and member of Congregation Solevo Wellness in Squirrel Hill. Photo byToby Tabachnick Beth Shalom, medical marijuana has been more effective in relieving his Vogel, executive director of the Aleph Instichronic back pain and sciatica than “opioids, tute, North East Region. steroids, or NSAIDs, without any of the side “I’m reminded of a close friend who effects of these,” he said. passed away from Crohn’s, and it would The 41-year-old software engineer, who have been a blessing to him to have medical was certified for medical marijuana use by marijuana,” Vogel said. “But there has to be Rothschild, said that the drug “offers a good oversight. We have to be careful.” alternative for me. In addition, my doctor has Addictions affect every community, he identified stress as a possible exacerbating said, and caution with any drug is important. factor in my condition, and medical mari“It’s like a sharp knife,” said Vogel. “There juana has powerful stress-relieving effects.” are times when it is good and times when it Whether the legalization of medical mari- is not good.” PJC juana in Pennsylvania will be turn out to be Toby Tabachnick can be reached at a good or a bad thing for the community remains to be seen, said Rabbi Moishe Mayir email@example.com.
ADL: Continued from page 1
that engages in fliering on college campuses in Pennsylvania, was recently implicated in the murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, a gay Jewish student at the University of Pennsylvania, by alleged white supremacist Samuel Lincoln Woodward. The Identity Evropa fliers that were posted on the Pitt campus last summer read, “Our future belongs to us,” and, “Our destiny is ours,” according to Carla Hill, senior investigative researcher for the ADL’s Center on Extremism. Hill, who spends her days tracking the activities of white supremacist groups, including on social media, first saw the fliers posted on Twitter by the group itself on July 22, 2017. “Tracking this activity is important because the language in that flier doesn’t necessarily jump out at you,” Hill said. “The language seems more mainstream. That is intentional to bring people over to their side.” While the ADL is a strong supporter of free speech, Hill said, it works to identify hate speech and “speak out against it.” Identity Evropa started becoming active on college campuses in January 2016, according to Hill. “It is looking to attract young people to the movement,” she said. Identity Evropa also posted fliers on the campus of Westmoreland Community College. Hill believes that because of a change in 16 FEBRUARY 16, 2018
p A Twitter photo from the white supremacist group that hung fliers at the Photo courtesy of Twitter University of Pittsburgh campus last summer
leadership in that group, white supremacist activity in Pennsylvania may decrease in 2018. “I don’t think we need to be worried,” she said. “And Identity Evropa is fairly nonviolent.”
Other groups, such as the Keystone State Skinheads, who fliered at Temple University, are “more worrisome,” according to Hill, and use more direct hate language in their literature.
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
All the white supremacist groups “hate Jews to varying degrees,” Hill said. Common canards spouted by those groups continue to be the same ones that have fueled anti-Semites throughout history, such as claims that Jews control the media, the banking system, and politics. “They point to Jews as the cause of the problems plaguing the country, and they say that Jews promote multiculturalism,” Hill said. It is no coincidence that the rise in white supremacist activity began immediately after the election of President Donald Trump, according to Hill. “Trump’s election has emboldened these groups,” she said, basing her statement on the comments she reads every day posted by those groups on social media. “They think he’s their best chance, so they think this is their time. They think they should make a go of it now.” “They do think [Trump] has not gone far enough,” Hill continued. “They don’t like it that he hasn’t built the wall yet. They don’t like that he went to Israel and touched the Western Wall. They don’t like that he is working on DACA. They say ugly things about that. But they think he is the closest to a leader who is on their side.” Since Sept. 1, 2016, the ADL has recorded 346 incidents of white supremacist propaganda on college and university campuses. Fifteen incidents so far have been recorded in 2018. PJC Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Headlines JAA beneficiary of new hospice program — LOCAL —
he Jewish Association on Aging’s Sivitz Jewish Hospice is rolling out a new program that allows Medicare beneficiaries to receive hospice support while continuing treatment for Western Pennsylvania’s seniors suffering from life-limiting illnesses, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic obstructive pulmonary
Sufrin: Continued from page 5
After college, Sufrin returned to the Steel City in the summer of 2014 to begin a two-year fellowship with Repair the World Pittsburgh; and while the organization provides opportunities to be either a food fellow or education fellow, Sufrin was the latter. Although the experience briefly introduced her to the issue of food insecurity, she gained greater familiarity with various area plights. Through an awareness of local injustices, and under the encouragement of Zack Block, Repair the World Pittsburgh’s executive director, Sufrin became a greater communal advocate.
disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure. Sivitz Jewish Hospice has been designated as the first and only service provider in the area and one of four in Pennsylvania to participate in the innovative Medicare Care Choices Model. The new Medicare Care Choices Model provides Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for coverage under the Medicare hospice benefit and dually eligible beneficiaries who qualify for the Medicaid hospice benefit the option to receive supportive care services
typically provided by a hospice agency while continuing to receive treatment for life-limiting illnesses. This was previously not an option under the Medicare hospice benefit as described by Medicare payment rules. “Being the only facility in this part of Pennsylvania to offer the model greatly assists area patients who are confronted with difficult decisions, choosing between end-oflife care such as hospice or continuing treatment for their illnesses. Now they can have
both while maintaining their benefits and their quality of life,” according to Deborah Winn-Horvitz, president and CEO of the Jewish Association on Aging, the organization that manages Sivitz Jewish Hospice. Those interested in exploring whether they qualify for the special Sivitz hospice services can call 412-422-5700 for more information. PJC
“She gets what it means to be an ally in the community,” said Block. At the conclusion of her fellowship, Sufrin took on part-time work with Film Pittsburgh and 412 Food Rescue. Ultimately, her hourly gigs transitioned into full-time employment, and since July 2017, Sufrin has been an integral part of 412 Food Rescue’s operations. What that chance represents is not lost on Sufrin. “The opportunity to make this a career, or make it a career path, for me was very lucky and by happenstance,” she said. “Taking action every day to solve a problem or solve the symptoms of a problem, that’s all I want to be doing. I understand that hunger and poverty are systemic and I can only do so much, but I
feel like I couldn’t live my life if I wasn’t actively making something better, making something that sucks so much improve at least a little bit.” In doing her professional part, Sufrin takes the tools of the trade: words, images and data and amalgamates them into stirring stories so that people will be “activated,” she said. “My approach to creating that content is to try to show that in the end we all want the same things; we all want happiness, we all want family, we want community around us, we want to be able to eat and not have to worry about where our food is coming from, And highlighting that in that context can really encourage people to feel empathy.”
From that sentiment, hopefully, action occurs, she explained. “I love everything she does. She puts her whole self into her work,” said Block. But though Sufrin is quick to rattle off organizational figures and accomplishments, she is slow to accept compliments. “We don’t do this for praise,” she said. “I feel like I’m in a place of privilege where I need to be working toward making things better in our community, and I think that 412 Food Rescue is progressive and active enough in the right places to bring food to people who need it the most.” PJC
“Some are just astonished by the fact that we have so many enemies and we still survive and we thrive,” Litzman said, “and others are thinking about the fact that many Jews are successful and in monetary areas they are
Hebrew and Israel have another place to go as well: the Israel Culture Center in Seoul. The venue teaches Hebrew and promotes Israeli culture, sometimes holding events with the Israeli Embassy. Founded in 2000,
— Angela Leibowicz
Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz @pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
work hard to be a place where Israel’s unique culture is introduced to Koreans and significant friendship is being birthed between Continued from page 15 Koreans and Israelis,” the representative said. in Seoul, drawing some 40-50 attendees South Koreans’ fascination with Judaism weekly, and High Holidays has been widely documented. programming, which attracts “Each Korean family has at least over 200 participants. Chabad one copy of the Talmud,” the counalso operates a kosher store and try’s then-ambassador to Israel, restaurant in Seoul and ships Young-sam Ma, told an Israeli TV kosher food all over the country host in 2011. “Korean mothers via an online shop. want to know how so many Jewish For Litzman, the Olympics people became geniuses.” (A New serve as a way to reach more Yorker reporter who followed up people and expand Chabad’s work on the claim suggested that he in the country. meant a one-volume popular“It’s a great pleasure,” he ization of the vast, multivolume said. “This is something that compendium of Jewish law and we have been waiting for. It’s lore, and, indeed, found it at most a great opportunity for us to of the bookstores he visited.) expand our services and to grow Many South Koreans have a and to learn how to be able to positive view of Israel. Some 800 host many people.” South Koreans live in the Jewish Until the Chabad house opened state, with many more going in 2008, the only Jewish services there to study Hebrew and the were at the U.S. Army base in the Bible. Most of these enthusiasts capital, according to a website for are drawn to Israel because of expats. Today, the Chabad house their religious beliefs as evanserves as a resource not only to gelical Christians. Christianity Jews but non-Jews as well. is the largest organized religion “There are many Koreans in South Korea, with nearly 30 coming here on a daily basis. They percent of the population identiSouth Korea is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. want to learn about Judaism, to p fying as Christians. Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images buy kosher food, ask questions, Unlike many Chabad emissaries, [receive] guidance,” Litzman said. “We trying to figure out how to do it.” some 3,000 students have studied Hebrew — Litzman said he and his family do not have to invite them to come whenever they want Others, he added, want to learn about both modern and biblical — at the center, deal with safety concerns and anti-Semitism. during the weekdays.” the Torah or Talmud, or come because they a representative said in an email. The center “We feel blessed to be in such a country Non-Jewish South Koreans have love Israel or have had positive experiences also has a Jewish studies library that is that there is admiration to Jews and espevarious reasons for wanting to learn about with Jewish people. open to the public. cially to Israel,” he said, “and in general Judaism, he said. South Koreans who want to learn about “Israel Culture Center will continuously Korea is a very safe country.” PJC
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
FEBRUARY 16, 2018 17
Gold/Rudkin: Cathy and Mel Gold of Squirrel Hill are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Mallory Pamela, to Jeremy Paul Rudkin, son of Shelley and Steve Rudkin, also of Squirrel Hill. Mallory is an associate at Evashavik, DiLucente and Tetlow. Malloryâ€™s grandparents are Marilyn Recht, the late Raymond Recht and the late Gary and Marlene Gold. Jeremy is an associate at Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, P.C. Jeremyâ€™s grandparents are Gerry and Elliott Tanack, the late Paul Katz and the late Josephine and Solomon Rudkin. A July wedding is planned in Pittsburgh
Noah Mitchel Indianer will become a bar mitzvah on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Congregation Beth Shalom. Noah is a seventhgrader at Community Day School. He enjoys sports, travel and hanging out with friends. His favorite place is Camp Young Judaea Texas, where he has spent the last five summers. Noah plays soccer and basketball for Community Day School and is a junior black belt. He is the son of Adrienne and Evan Indianer and the grandson of Nina and Paul Indianer of Miami and Adele and the late Rabbi Kalman Taxon of Dallas. Noah has an older brother, Adam, and two dogs, Rocky and MacGyver.â€‚ PJC
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That I may dwell among them Rabbi Doris J. Dyen Parshat Terumah | Exodus 25:1-27:19
oes a sacred text have to be historically factual in order to be true? Parshat Terumah (â€œGiftsâ€?) is replete with clear and precise instructions about how a Mishkan, a Tabernacle, a beautiful dwelling place, is to be built to serve as Godâ€™s earthly residence and as a portal for communication between God and Moshe.
teaching. Whether or not the building of the Mishkan as described in Torah was ever factually true, to me the deep spiritual truth of this parshah lies exactly in that yearning for an assured and accessible way, for each of us as individuals â€” and, at the same time, for all of us collectively, no matter where we are â€” to form a meaningful connection with Divinity. The true Mishkan, therefore, doesnâ€™t have to be a physical structure built in a specific place or time at all. As it may well have been for our ancient Israelite ancestors, it is a metaphysical construct â€” a
Whenever we welcome a stranger or form new friendships across a cultural divide, weâ€™re creating a Mishkan. Every detail is lovingly set out: what materials are to be used (gold, silver, copper, and twisted linen and acacia wood) and for what purposes, in both the interior and the exterior; how the various parts are to be aligned and joined together to create the Tabernacleâ€™s structure; what colors are to be emphasized (woven, embroidered cloths of â€œblue, purple and crimson yarnsâ€?), symbolic of royalty. Perhaps most important, the Torah states (Ex. 25:2) that kol ish asher yâ€™daber libo, â€œevery person whose heart is so moved,â€? is to contribute these materials as free-will gifts for building the Mishkan; the whole community is to be involved, men and women alike. Yet, as biblical scholar Carol Myers tells us (â€œThe Torah: A Womenâ€™s Commentaryâ€?): â€œThe wealth of seemingly exact details in the instructions for the Tabernacle belies the fact that such a structure probably never existed.â€? She continues: â€œIt is helpful to remember that behind the mass of arcane details lies a yearning for Godâ€™s presence and an attempt to establish a relationship between divine immanence and transcendence, in other words, Godâ€™s abilities to be â€˜right hereâ€™ and â€˜everywhereâ€™ at the same time.â€? And so we get to the essence of this weekâ€™s
vision â€” that can accompany us wherever we go, fulfilling the Divine promise (Ex. 25:8) that the Shechinah (Godâ€™s holy Presence) will always â€œdwell among them.â€? Perhaps, whenever we give terumah, voluntary gifts â€œover-and-above,â€? to a cause we believe in toward tikkun olam, weâ€™re creating a Mishkan, a dwelling place for godliness. Whenever we reach out to someone in need or assist young people in achieving their lifeâ€™s dream, weâ€™re creating a Mishkan. Whenever we welcome a stranger or form new friendships across a cultural divide, weâ€™re creating a Mishkan. When we help a newlywed couple with the down payment on their first home or work alongside neighbors to plant a community garden, weâ€™re creating a Mishkan. We donâ€™t need to build it of rare wood, precious metals and fine cloth. All thatâ€™s necessary is to be able to see it clearly in our mindâ€™s eye, in our heartâ€™s yearning, resplendent in the heavenly colors of a sunrise.â€‚ PJC Rabbi Doris J. Dyen is the spiritual leader for the independent chavurah Makom HaLev. This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.
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Obituaries ABRAMS: Betty O. Abrams, on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. Beloved wife of the late Irving A. Abrams. Beloved mother of Carol (Aaron) Hozid and Cathy Abrams (Larry Lesyna). Sister of Ruth (late James) Frank. Services were held at Rodef Shalom Congregation. Interment at Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. COHEN: Earl H. Cohen, 83 of New Castle, passed away the evening of February 9, 2018. Born, May 21, 1934, in Sewickley, he was the son of the late David and Idah Abel Cohen. He married Lynne Caplan Cohen on August 3, 1958. She survives. Mr. Cohen graduated from Ambridge High School and then enrolled in the Air National Guard. He furthered his education at Duquesne University where he graduated with a teaching degree. Earl was employed as a seventhgrade social studies teacher at the New Castle Jr. Sr. High School from 1958-1999. As an educator, he touched many students’ lives and will be forever remembered for his dedication to their advancement in academics and life. Earl enjoyed baseball, especially watching his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also loved going to Florida in the winter months. Earl was the president of Tifereth Israel Synagogue, and a member of the PSEA and B’nai B’rith. He was also a member of Temple Hadar Israel. What Earl cherished the most was spending time with his family. Along with his wife, Earl is survived by a daughter, Debbie (Sheldon) Abrams of Holland, Pa.; a son, Mark (Kristen) Cohen of Flemington, N.J.; a brother, Norbert (JoAnne) Cohen of Pittsburgh; 4 grandchildren, Alexa and Justin Abrams and Daria and Brianna Cohen; and
2 nephews. Preceding him in death were his parents. The family would like to thank the nurses and staff at the Haven Convalescent Home for taking such good care of Earl. Services were held at the R. Cunningham Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. in New Castle with Rabbi Howie Stein officiating. Interment at Tifereth Israel Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society, 525 North Broad Street, Canfield Ohio, 44406, or donor’s favorite charity. Condolences may be offered to the family at cunninghamfh.com. KRALL: Melvin Krall, on Saturday February 10, 2018. Beloved husband of the late Vivian L. Krall. Beloved father of Ronald Lee (Susan) Krall, Joanne Krall (Sherwood) Chetlin and Richard A. (Mary Beth) Krall. Brother of the late Sylvia Jaskol. Grandfather of Joshua Andrew (April) Krall, Benjamin Eric Krall, Emily Richley (Jordan) Osterman, Daniel Louis Chetlin, Jessica Chetlin (Timothy) Jones, Eliza Marie Chetlin (Michael Dough), Jenna Rose Krall (Charles Simpson), Andrew Francis and Nicholas Donald Krall. Great-grandfather of Jonah Andrew Krall, Simon Michael Krall, Avery Madeline Krall, Griffin Natan Osterman, Avi Samuel Chetlin, Lucy Sara Jones and Emmett Scott Jones. A memorial service will be held at a later day and time to be announced. Contributions may be made to the Melvin and Vivian Lowy Krall Fund, c/o The Pittsburgh Foundation, Five PPG Place, Suite 250, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc.
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THIS WEEK’S YAHRZEITS — Sunday February 18: Lewis Amper, Sarah Louise Bernstein, Jack E. Brody, Esther Eisenstadt, Maurice Finkelpearl, Dorothy Frankel, Lena Friedman, Nathan Frommer&, Hyman Gerson, Alice Goodman, Alice Goodstein, Elizabeth Green, Ilse Halle, Gizella Kovacs, Saul Kurtz, Rose S. Levine, Orin J. Levy, Tillie Lipson, Max A. Loevner, Jane Margowsky, Lucille R. Mermelstein, Sam Osgood, Rev. Samuel Rattner, Pearl R. Rosenberg, Ida R. Roth, Edward Schlessinger Monday February 19: Joel Baum, Helen Buck, David Canter, Leonard Chotiner, Yetta Cohen, Raymond Friedman, Samuel Gescheidt, Joseph Goldstein, Saul I. Heller, Emanuel Horewitz, Gus Kline, Albert C. Kramer, Jeannette G. Kurtz, Lynette A. London, Rose Mendlow, Charles Mervis, Solomon J. Metlin, Yitzchak Aaron Nadler, Milton D. Patz, David C. Pollock, Lena Robin, Pincus P. Rosenthal, Edward Schugar, Martha Shapira, Jack Steinfeld, Anna Tarshis, Donna Mae Zimring Tuesday February 20: Esther Gardner, Lou Ann Krouse, Harry Levy, Dr. Yale S. Lewine, Louis Luterman, Alyce H. Mandelblatt, Benjamin D. Miller, Esther Nauhaus, Esther Rudkin, Jacob Schoen, Dorothy Schwartz, Max Shapiro, Frances B. Sigal, Isaac W. Solomon, Samuel Veinegar, Harry Zalevsky Wednesday February 21: Mary Alpert, Harry J. Benjamin, Joseph Canter, Alec W. Chinn, Gertrude Chizeck, Sara F. Cohen, Florence Farkas, David H. Goldberg, Rose M. Hausman, Marvin Klein, Eugene Light, Isaac L. Rosenfeld, Charles Schwartz, David Stern, Raye Supowitz Thursday February 22: Conrad Irving Adler, Bernard Berkman, Henrietta Buck, Julius Closky, Albert Farber, Samuel Farbstein, Frances A. Feinberg, Dr. Abraham Finegold, Israel Fireman, Fred Kalson, Charles Korobkin, Morris S. Levine, Byron Lippman, Tillie Lippock, Joseph Miller, Harry B. Orringer, M.D., Harold B. Pollack, Ruth Shatum, Myer N. Shipkovitz, Harvey Simon, Phillip Weinberger Friday February 23: Ella Alpern, Sarah Baker, Samuel J. Burke, Ruth Chell, Emil Glick, Bernard Golanty, Edward Green, Meyer Hart, Rosella B. Horvitz, Harold Levine, Bessie R. Levinson, Abe Rader, Stanley E. Rosenbloom, MD, Dorothy Rubin, Max Wikes, Rose Ziff Saturday February 24: Frances A. Barniker, Libby Berlow, Esther R. Broad, Samuel Cushner, Mary J. Darling, Maurice Firestone, Anne Davis Ginsberg, Joseph Horvitz, Marion H. Jacobson, Gertrude Judd, Marvin L. Kaufman, Ethel Mallinger, Emanuel Mervis, Emanuel Ripp, Harvey James Roth, Azriel Meyer Sachs, Isaac Young
Please see Obituaries, page 20
Interim rabbi for Temple Emanuel emple Emanuel of South Hills has appointed Rabbi Donald Rossoff, D.D., R.J.E., as its interim senior rabbi. The Reform congregation approved Rossoff ’s one-year contract at a congregational meeting on Feb. 11. Rossoff will begin his tenure at Temple Emanuel on July 1. Outgoing Senior Rabbi Mark Mahler, who served the congregation for 38 years, will retire June 30. “Rabbi Rossoff will serve as a bridge for our congregation, from the strong foundation that Rabbi Mahler helped build to a future where we can continue to flourish,” said board president David Weisberg in a prepared statement. Over the next several months, Temple Emanuel will begin searching for a new rabbi, looking to Rossoff to assist the congregation in its transition. “The search committee has no doubt we found the right person in Rabbi Rossoff and are thrilled he will be joining us,” said search committee chair Michelle Markowitz in a prepared statement. “His experience and demeanor made him the ideal choice to lead us through this important transition.”
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Rossoff will temporarily move to the South Hills with his wife, Francine, a registered nurse. The couple has four adult children. Rossoff is looking forward to his role at Temple Emanuel as its interim rabbi. “I will walk with and guide this sacred community on a journey that will take them through the loss they will feel from Rabbi Mahler’s retirement and on to the visioning of the future they would choose for themselves,” he said. “It has been a joy and a privilege to walk that journey with three other congregations, and I am excited about the opportunity to join with Temple Emanuel on the journey that lies ahead for them.” Rossoff has served as interim rabbi at other congregations, including Barnert Temple in Franklin Lake, N.J., and Temple Beth Am in Framingham, Mass. From 1995 to 2015, he served as senior rabbi of Temple B’nai Or in Morristown, N.J. Temple Emanuel will honor Mahler at a retirement celebration gala on Sunday, June 3. PJC
— Toby Tabachnick
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Obituaries Obituaries: Continued from page 19
KRAUSE: Corinne Azen Krause, on Sunday February 11, 2018. Beloved wife of the late Seymoure Kraus e. B eloved mother of Barbara Krause (Larry King), Dr. Norman (Ann Goodwin) Krause, Kathy Krause and Dr. Diane Krause (Liz Hellwig). Sister of Felice (late Sidney) Brody and the late Alan Azen. Sister-in-law of Elaine Lampl. Nana to Spencer, Molly and Mason Krause. Also survived by loving nieces and nephews. Services were held at Rodef Shalom Congregation. Interment at Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Jewish Residential Services, 4905 Fifth Avenue, # 3, Pittsburgh, PA. 15213. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. SLATER: Harvey Slater, MD, 77, son of the late Joseph and Della (Zionts) Slater of Pittsburgh, passed away February 5, 2018, in San Jose, Calif. A longtime resident of Pittsburgh, he attended Peabody High School
and graduated from University of Pittsburgh. He married his high school sweetheart Beverly Botnik and then completed his medical degree at Thomas Jefferson University Medical School in 1965 and his surgical internship at Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh. Following his internship, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served as surgeon to a combat engineer battalion in Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor under fire. Following his service in the U.S. Army, he completed his surgical residency at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh and began working in the burn center and as assistant to the chief of surgery. During his tenure as a burn and general surgeon, he introduced many changes to the Burn Center, improving the quality of care and use of innovative technologies. He pioneered the use of anesthesia during dressing changes and introduced innovations in the use of grafts and dressings along with nutritional support for the burned patient. His innovations and practice generated 60 published papers in medical, surgical and burn journals, a chapter in a textbook and speaking invitations to conferences worldwide. He also trained burn surgeons from all over the world who came to West Penn Hospital to train under him. He treated more than 20,000 patients over his 50-year career and was honored multiple times by
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West Penn Hospital. During the course of his career, he was the recipient of numerous academic awards and recognition. Dr. Slater was a longtime and active member of B’nai Israel Congregation in Pittsburgh. With his speaking ability, scholarship and knowledge of history, he was periodically called upon to lead discussions and events. He and his wife Beverly (pre-deceased) had three children. Upon his retirement, they moved to San Jose to be close to their daughter and son-in law, Susan and Steve Ellenberg of San Jose, Calif. During his retirement, he pursued his longtime hobbies of amateur radio, golf and swimming, and remained keenly involved in current affairs, history, politics, religion and the Free Masons. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, colleagues and the Surgical Burn community. He is survived by his children, Susan Slater Ellenberg and husband Steve Ellenberg and grandchildren Zachary, Molly and Naava; Adam Slater of Toronto, Canada and granddaughters Julia and Audrey; David Slater and wife Heidi of Reno, Nev. and grandson Max. Funeral services were held at Congregation Sinai, 1532 Willowbrae Avenue. The family would appreciate contributions to Congregation Sinai. Dr. Slater is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Drs. Robert and Marian Slater of Bryn Mawr and brother and
sister-in-law Joel and Kathy Slater of Kent, Ohio; Cousin Dr. Martin Slater and wife Cecily of Derwood, Md.; Nieces and nephews Drs. Janet Slater Belitsky and husband Marc Belitsky of Bryn Mawr, Pa.; Joshua Slater and wife Heather Marcus Slater of Philadelphia, Ben Slater of Havertown, Pa.; Matthew Slater of Kent, Ohio; Dr. Sarah Slater Lang and husband Jeffrey of Macedonia, Ohio; and Melissa Katz Faro and husband Dr. Albert Faro of Gaithersburg, Md.
and where to add context and what’s the difference between ignorance and just hate, what is the context there — and they provide that. Even with what happened a few weeks ago at Pitt, somebody traced swastikas all over cars in the snow, a friend of mine posted it on Facebook. They were always important, but they’re even more important today than they were before.
Continued from page 3
six years, and I’ve been doing improv for three years, so I’ve done classes before and did it over the summer. That was just the first thing that came to my mind when they said you have to do a talent. What’s more “nice Jewish boy” than doing your talent with your mother on stage?
Your mom seemed really excited that you won the competition. What do you think this means for her?
It means a lot to her that she got to come out and see me win. She’s always been there for me through everything. It’s especially really nice because my dad unexpectedly died over the summer so it was really nice for both of us to do this together and do the improv together. He would have been really proud and that was something me and my mom talked about a lot throughout this process. The charity I was raising money for, the Anti-Defamation League, that was my dad’s favorite charity.
Were you or your dad involved in the Anti-Defamation League?
Neither of us were very directly involved, but he was very passionate about what they believed in: their mission statement and the idea of securing justice for Jewish people and minorities around the world.
You mentioned it was especially important to do so now with today’s climate. Can you expand on that?
Especially with what happened in Charlottesville and what Trump’s been tweeting, it’s really important for some organization to be supporting and identifying what is hate speech
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
STEEN: Sharon Silverman Steen, on Saturday February 10, 2018. Beloved wife of the late James W. Steen. Loving mother of Jennifer (Scott) Phillips. Twin sister of Sheila (late Milton) Selznick. Grandma Sharon to Logan and Justin Phillips. Aunt of Ann Selznick (John Reigart) and Sandford Selznick. Sharon was a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School and Penn State University. She received her master’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh. She was an elementary school teacher for nine years, an avid bridge player and a Life Master. Sharon had spent the last six years living in Alexandria, Va. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. Interment at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 320 Bilmar Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15205 or a charity of the donor’s choice. PJC
You also mentioned you wanted to bring a more vibrant Jewish community to Chatham. Can you tell me about your experience there now?
We don’t have a lot of Jews at Chatham. We have around 10 Jewish students that I’m aware of at Chatham. We have about 1,400 undergrad students. In the past, Chabad has been involved on campus, but I wanted to start something with Chabad and Hillel that was more student-run and that organized all of the students together to do something from grassroots rather than from administration down or a Jewish organization down.
What would you ultimately like to see?
I’d like to see there be organized, fully student-led Jewish programming and Jewish advocacy on campus. There are more Jewish students at Pitt than there are the entire student population at Chatham, so I don’t ever see us getting that big but maybe someday having a really solid Jewish presence at Hillel and at Chatham, where we can have advocacy for Jewish events and holidays.
Do you have any advice for how to be the best nice Jewish boy you can be? Bring your mother. PJC
Lauren Rosenblatt can be reached at lrosenblatt@pittsburghjewish chronicle.org.
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FEBRUARY 16, 201821
Community At Torah Lishmah Community Torah Lishmah Community students participated in the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs World Wide Wrap on Sunday, Feb. 4 at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation. The World Wide Wrap is an annual event that occurs on Super Bowl Sunday and is an educational program to learn about, experience the joy and promote the mitzvah of wrapping tefillin.
p Torah Lishmah Community fifth-graders, along with their teacher Stephen Weiss, participated in the Build-a-Pair program prior to the wrap. They learned about the mitzvah of wrapping tefillin and how they are made. They then made their own “model” tefillin. Also pictured are sixth- and seventhgrade students from TLC and madrich (teen helper) Sammy Nayhouse.
p Haley Levine and Gabi Zimmerman, fifth-graders at Torah Lishmah Community, the religious school of Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation, participated in the World Wide Wrap and modeled their tefillin.
Photos courtesy of Torah Lishmah Community
That’s a wrap!
p J-JEP students participated in World Wide Wrap activities on Sunday Feb. 4.
p Sixth- and seventh-graders attended the Joint Jewish Education Program and learned how to wrap tefillin as part of World Wide Wrap. This annual program held by the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs brings together Jews from around the world to celebrate the mitzvah of tefillin.
t This year, Rabbi Seth Adelson and members of the Beth Shalom Men’s Club helped lead the learning session.
Photos courtesy of Congregation Beth Shalom
22 FEBRUARY 16, 2018
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Community Pen pals
Machers & Shakers
p Expert handwriting analyst Michelle Dresbold presents a special workshop to the girls of Chabad of Squirrel Hill’s Bat Mitzvah Club.
Photo courtesy of Chabad of Squirrel Hill
Robbin Steif, right, founder, CEO, and sole owner of Lunametrics, recently sold her company and has made a leadership gift to Community Day School in the amount of $100,000. Steif ’s gift will leverage close to $100,000 in matching funds in recognition of more than $400,000 in new and increased donations to CDS this year. Steif is pictured with Photo by Joe Appel Photography Avi Baron Munro, head of school at CDS.
Honoring Jack Morris The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh held its 9th Annual Jack Morris Swim Meet honoring the memory of the beloved swim teacher and coach. The late Jack Morris’ love of swimming was conveyed to each of his students over nearly six decades of teaching and coaching. Morris was fittingly called the “Zen Master of the pool” and the “Mister Rogers of the water.” During his long career as a swimming coach and instructor, Morris worked at the Young Men and Women’s Hebrew Association, the JCC, the Shadyside Boys Club, the Rehabilitation Institute and countless other public and private pools. In 2009, to honor his accomplishments and in tribute to his years of dedication to the sport, longtime students Dr. Sidney Busis and attorney Edgar Snyder spearheaded a campaign to develop an endowment fund to establish the Jack Morris Swim Meet at the JCC in memory of his contributions to the JCC and to the community. Photos courtesy of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
p Peyton Klein, first row, second from left, is joined by fellow members of Global Minds. Photo courtesy of Global Minds Initiative
Peyton Klein is one of eight Pennsylvania students recognized as a Distinguished Finalist for impressive community service activities by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Now in its 23rd year, Prudential Financial conducts the program in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Peyton, a student at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, is the founder and director of Global Minds, an after-school intercultural inclusion program that now reaches 350 students at nine schools in the United States and Canada. Peyton also volunteers and holds leadership positions with several community organizations, supporting efforts to promote volunteerism, serve area seniors and offer summer programming to young refugees.
Holocaust stories t Holocaust survivor Judah Samet and his sister, Miriam Cohen, were at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha to participate in the second talk of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh’s Generations Speaker Series program, where Holocaust survivors and their families discuss their stories and the generational impact of their experiences. Photo by Melanie Friend
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Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 2/16/2018