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April 30, 2021 | 18 Iyar 5781

Candlelighting 7:57 p.m. | Havdalah 9:00 p.m. | Vol. 64, No. 18 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org

JAA families thrilled to be reunited after COVID-19 vaccinations

NOTEWORTHY LOCAL Solar power at Beth Shalom


Pittsburgh Jewish teens eye a vaccinated summer By David Rullo | Staff Writer


An Earth Day dedication

Their mother, Esther, was experiencing COVID-related cognitive and physical issues and eventually moved to Weinberg Village, a Jewish Association on Aging facility, Edelstein said. While the family was happy for the move, they remained physically separated because of the pandemic. “We were able to do window visits,” Edelstein said. “My sister would drive in from Maryland for a half-hour window visit and drive back the same day.” Salgaller could not stay overnight with her siblings because no one had yet been vaccinated. The family remained apart until the end of March 2021 — more than a year after their saga began — when they were all vaccinated, and Esther could join her family for a Passover seder. The experience was emotional. “She would go in and out of crying, but you know, kind of happy tears,” Edelstein said. “I think when you’re in isolation for all that time, you don’t let yourself feel things. And I think for the first time, she allowed herself to feel.”

oran Steinfeld is anxious to begin living the life of a typical teenager again. “I’m looking forward to hanging out with friends, maybe shopping, going to the mall and the movies, once we’re all vaccinated and comfortable,” he said. Steinfeld is one of a growing number of Pittsburgh Jewish teenagers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The South Hills 16-year-old received his second shot at the beginning of April. Before that, he had been anxious, he said, because his friends had already started getting together again. “They’re not as careful as I’m comfortable with,” he said, “so I was itching to get the vaccine so I could hang out with them again.” Steinfeld, a Mt. Lebanon High School sophomore, got his shots at a Pfizer mass vaccination clinic at Heinz Field. He was able to get vaccinated relatively early because he works as a tutor. Despite being fully vaccinated, Steinfeld said he will continue to follow safety protocols, especially around people who may have not yet been vaccinated. “I’m still going to be safe and careful,” he said. “If they don’t want to be safe or put themselves at risk, I’ll still continue to be safe.” Tenth-grader Mushka Altein got her second shot April 8. The Yeshiva School student also went to Heinz Field for her vaccinations. The daughter of Chani and Rabbi Yisroel Altein, Mushka said she was motivated to get vaccinated because she is planning to work as a counselor at Chabad of Squirrel Hill’s summer Camp Gan Israel. She had no qualms about getting the shots. “I’ve heard of other people that got the

Please see JAA, page 12

Please see Teens, page 12

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LOCAL Remembering a professor passionate for Pittsburgh Franklin Toker dies at 76 Page 4

 Eleanor enjoys a visit with Randi and Scott Wedner at Weinberg Village

Photo courtesy of JAA


By David Rullo | Staff Writer

Now a free man, ‘Zeke’ Goldblum shares his side of story

‘I wasn’t a killer’ Page 8


or Pittsburghers Stacey Edelstein and her brother Brad Amper, COVID-19 complicated an already troubling year. Along with their out-of-state sister Lauren Salgaller, the siblings transitioned their parents into an assisted living facility after their father, Norman, fell in January 2020, breaking a rib and puncturing his lung. Two months later, when COVID-19 hit, their parents were safe but cut off from family and unhappy. They relocated to a different assisted living facility, contracted COVID-19 and were moved to Shadyside Hospital. During their 120 days at the hospital, Norman died, leaving a family separated by COVID protocols to mourn. “My mom went back to the assisted living community,” Edelstein said. “With the shock of COVID, she wasn’t able to get out to go to the funeral. She wasn’t even aware that he passed away until my brother went there and sat with her. He suited up [in personal protective equipment] and told her. We all videoed with him.”

keep your eye on PittsburghJewishChronicle

LOCAL A chat with Ed Gainey

LOCAL Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

LOCAL A garden for community

Headlines Earth Day dedication shines light on solar power at Beth Shalom — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


lected officials joined community members for an Earth Day dedication four years in the making, as an April 22 event culminated with Congregation Beth Shalom’s Rabbi Seth Adelson flipping the switch on the congregation’s new solar panels. Standing five stories beneath the 140 solar panels, Beth Shalom member Dr. Bruce Rollman recalled the events that led the congregation to reconsider its environmental footprint. In 2017, after former President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto responded by stating the city nonetheless would “follow the guidelines of the Paris agreement for our people, our economy and future.” Around that time, Beth Shalom needed to address a leaky roof over its early learning center, Rollman said. He remembered sitting in a Beth Shalom board meeting and hearing about the congregation’s deficit, a $70,000 annual electricity bill and necessary building repairs. With those costs and Trump’s and Peduto’s remarks in mind, Rollman suggested repairing the roof and installing solar panels. The board agreed and, with the aid of Beth Shalom staff, including Adelson, former executive director Rob Menes and interim executive director Ken Turkewitz, as well as congregation president Debby Firestone, Rollman reached out to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald for help. Fitzgerald suggested they apply for a grant

City Council member Erika Strassburger noted a connection between Beth Shalom’s installation of solar panels and Jewish teachings. Judaism often calls for a long view regarding policy making, she said. And just as a decision may impact and inspire the next 10 generations, so will the choice of environmental protection today create ripple effects for years to come. City Council member C ore y O’C on n or praised Beth Shalom’ congregants for their unceasing dedication. “Ab out 2 0 - plus years ago there was a major fire in here, p Elected officials and community members pose following an Earth Day dedication of Congregation Beth Shalom’s solar panels.  Photo by Adam Reinherz and the community came together, pulled through the Community Infrastructure Costa credited local politicians and Beth through and sustained this building. … and Tourism Fund. Shalom’s leadership. With this great project that we’re doing now After raising $102,000 from congregants, “It’s projects like this that allow us to you’re going to sustain it for years and years Beth Shalom received $125,000 from the go to Harrisburg and make the case to be to come,” he said. CITF grant. The congregation spent another able to bring back resources to the CITF Rollman, who along with the elected $14,000 from its operating budget to cover program,” he said. officials ventured to the rooftop for a the nearly $240,000 cost of the panels and Although federal officials drive environ- post-dedication photo, echoed Strassburger installation, Rollman said. mental-related policies, Peduto said, it’s and O’Connor’s comments. He embraced the With the project having come to frui- critical for the public to work with state, idea of Beth Shalom shining a light on envition, Fitzgerald credited elected officials, county and federal authorities. Local efforts, ronmental sustainability. including state Sen. Jay Costa, and praised like those taken by Beth Shalom, demon“We just hope that it helps the neighborhood Beth Shalom as exemplifying the collabora- strate leadership. flip solar,” he said.  PJC tion needed to address climate change. “Thank you for giving us a tangible way Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ “It couldn’t happen alone just with govern- of showing the rest of this region where the pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. ment,” he said. world is moving,” he said.

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2 APRIL 30, 2021



Headlines Mayoral candidate Ed Gainey seeks support of Jewish community




*Kosher meals upon request* p State Rep. and Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Ed Gainey speaks with Federation’s Laura Cherner Screenshot by Adam Reinherz

— LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


tate Rep. and Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Ed Gainey credited Jews with historically supporting Black advancement and said he would depend on Pittsburgh’s Jewish community moving forward. Gainey’s comments were made during an April 22 conversation with Laura Cherner, director of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. The hour-long dialogue, which was the first in a series of Federation-hosted talks with Pittsburgh’s mayoral candidates, addressed Gainey’s platform, white supremacy and his stance on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Gainey said he wasn’t interested in politics until attending Morgan State University, a historically Black college and university in Baltimore. Upon returning to Pittsburgh, Gainey became active in community development. He worked for State Rep. Joseph Preston, Jr. and later Pittsburgh Mayors Tom Murphy and Luke Ravenstahl. In 2013, Gainey was elected to represent Pennsylvania’s 24th District, which includes neighborhoods in East Liberty, East Hills, Homewood and Lincoln-Lemington, as well as Wilkinsburg, an Allegheny County borough. “Since then, I’ve been fighting for justice,” he said. “That’s the name of the game for me: justice. Whether that’s criminal justice, social justice, ethnic justice, whatever justice we can to create a fair nation, a fair state, a fair region, that’s what it’s about.” Gainey said the May 18 Democratic primary offers an opportunity to address disparities in housing, policing and gender equity. “I’m running for mayor because I want to see one Pittsburgh,” he said. “I want to live up to the creed of being ‘America’s most livable city.’” PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG  

Throughout the evening, Cherner posed prepared questions and those submitted by viewers. She told Gainey the April 22 conversation was “an opportunity for the Jewish community to engage with you as a candidate,” and then referenced the Oct. 27, 2018, shooting at the Tree of Life building. “As mayor, how do you plan to address white supremacy and other forms of extremism and keep our community safe?” she asked. “What happened at the synagogue that day was horrible,” said Gainey. “There’s no words that can explain it. Any type or level of hate is just horrible and when it rears its ugly face we have to do something about it. We have to do things that’s going to protect our city.” Gainey described the challenges in combating hate. “The thing with racism is that you can’t legislate hate out of nobody’s heart,” he said. “You can’t.” Gainey noted an increase in white supremacy groups and questioned why greater surveillance hasn’t been adopted. He also called for the firing of police officers who discriminate based on gender identity, racial identity or religious identity. “Whenever hate rears its ugly head we have to be ready to speak up and stand as a city,” he said. Gainey cited local demonstrations following the shooting at the Tree of Life building and last summer’s murder of George Floyd as helpful in eradicating racism. The commonality between the demonstrations, said Gainey, was “people were protesting in the name of LGBTQIA justice, Black lives justice, social justice, criminal justice — the common word was justice. “Two major events that everybody came together and wanted justice,” he continued. “We shouldn’t push that away. We should embrace it because that teaches our young people about justice.” Addressing a question submitted by a viewer, Cherner told Gainey “some

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Please see Gainey, page 13


APRIL 30, 2021 3

Headlines Franklin Toker, celebrated historian inspired by Pittsburgh, has died at 76 — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle


ranklin Toker, a towering University of Pittsburgh professor whose passion for art and architecture illuminated conversations with friends as well as paved the way for a litany of critically acclaimed books, died April 19 following a battle with a rare form of dementia. He passed away 10 days shy of his 77th birthday. Born in Montreal in 1944 and educated at McGill University, Oberlin College and Harvard University, Toker first made a name for himself in the international art community in the 1960s, when he directed the excavation of an architectural find under the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Critics hailed two published volumes of his “Florence Duomo Project,” though Toker did not live to complete the final two installments. In Florence, Toker also met his future wife, Ellen, then a Middlebury College master’s student. In 1974, the young couple moved to Pittsburgh, where Toker took a job teaching architectural history at Carnegie Mellon University. A past president of the Society of Architectural Historians, Toker won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1979. In 1980, he joined the University of Pittsburgh’s history of art and architecture program, where he served until retiring in 2018. Toker was deeply inspired by Pittsburgh. Long before magazines were calling Pittsburgh “the Paris of Appalachia” or one of America’s “most livable” cities, Toker published volumes on its architecture and built environments. He wrote “Fallingwater Rising: Frank Lloyd Wright, E. J. Kaufmann, and America’s Most Extraordinary House,” a vivid book about Wright’s Fallingwater in Southwestern Pennsylvania, which The New York Times named one of the notable releases of 2003. “I think the thing that characterized Frank for me was that he found a very strong following among the students,” said Barbara McCloskey, a peer of Toker’s, who began teaching at the University of Pittsburgh in 1990. “He had the capacity to fill a large auditorium in a moment’s notice. That was the result of his ability to radiate warmth and excitement about his work.” Toker maintained an admirable 4.0 rating on the website RateMyProfessors.com. “He was very caring about the students,” Ellen Toker said. “He was very caring about any people who were in need of accommodations.” Rabbi Stephen Steindel said Toker’s warmth and excitement extended far beyond his dissertations. Steindel lived a block away from the Tokers for decades, and the families’ children often played together. “He was cordial and warm and welcoming and he actually put people at ease,” said Steindel, rabbi emeritus at Congregation Beth Shalom. “Anything worthwhile you were interested in, if you asked for his help, he was game.” Steindel led a graveside service for Toker

4 APRIL 30, 2021

 Franklin Toker

Photo courtesy of Ellen Toker

at Beth Shalom’s cemetery last week. Cantor Gideon Zelermyer of Shaar Hashomayim, the Montreal congregation where Toker celebrated his bar mitzvah some six decades ago, offered a recorded cantorial prayer for the service. Toker’s family regularly attends services at Young People’s Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. Toker had served as a president of the synagogue, which is lay-led. “When he ran a synagogue meeting, and they were all in his living room, you didn’t feel you were in a synagogue meeting,” said Rebecca Spiegel, current president of Young People’s Synagogue. “You felt you were there as the Tokers’ friends. He always brought insight into the synagogue — he always left it so we learned something. He will be a tremendous loss for Young People’s.” While at Young People’s, the Tokers’ love of Israel and their ardent sense of Zionism blossomed, Ellen Toker said. Toker often ran the Israel Bond appeal during High Holiday services and he visited the Jewish state several times. Ultimately, though, Toker was a product of the city he called home for more than 45 years. His book, “Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait,” won an Award of Merit in 1986 from the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. “He was such a fan of Pittsburgh in every way,” Ellen Toker said. Pittsburgh, in turn, was a fan of Toker.

In 2018, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto honored him with a proclamation declaring a day in his honor. “Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait” celebrated the city and gave a sense of Pittsburgh outside of the city, McCloskey said. “His work had broad, broad impact.” Drew Armstrong knows the book well. The Toronto-born, Friendship-based professor of art and architecture has perused and dog-eared Toker’s book regularly during the COVID-19 pandemic while exploring the city’s neighborhoods. Armstrong, who’s been teaching at Pitt since 2005, first met Toker when Armstrong was interviewing for the professorial position at the school. “[Toker] taught the bulk of the architecture courses when he was here — he was a workhorse,” Armstrong said. “And he is so closely identified with Pittsburgh and the built environment, it’s extraordinary. That’s pretty unusual in my experience, that a college professor comes to be that associated with the city where he lives.” Katheryn Linduff also worked alongside Toker — though for much longer. She estimates she logged almost 40 years at the University of Pittsburgh alongside her trusted colleague. Linduff last week fondly remembered the quiet mornings with Toker at the Frick Fine Arts Building, where the two colleagues would talk about their various projects.


“Franklin Toker of the red suspenders, the red academic regalia, the red fedora, the bicycle, the city tours, the incomparable lecture style, is remembered by his academic colleagues, his students, his community partners, his friends, his synagogue with uncommon affection,” Linduff wrote in a letter delivered to Ellen Toker. “A native of Montreal, he was as true a Pittsburgher as one could ever be — a Pittsburgh landmark, a walking historic plaque, as well as a towering world-class scholar at the University of Pittsburgh. “Frank could explain and excite everyone about the moment of digging the crypt beneath the Cathedral in Florence, about the back story around Fallingwater and the ethnic base of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods and buildings, about the significance of human discovery!” Linduff continued. “What was his secret? He was a gifted, dedicated and unrelenting public intellectual who focused his energies on reaching as many people as possible and to imparting the delight of discovery of the nuances of human conduct deep in the past or present.” Toker’s “clear and deep devotion” to his wife, Ellen, and to his family also left an imprint on his colleagues, said McCloskey, who worked alongside the prolific professor. “If you knew anything about Frank, that is what you knew,” she said. Steindel said Toker’s loss will be felt widely in Pittsburgh — and not just in the city’s Jewish community. “The talent and the amazing brain, the language, insights, sensitivity, his ability to translate it all into lectures and comments — he was a voice of Pittsburgh, as he was a voice of the excavation of the Duomo, as he was the voice of a tour guide in Montreal,” Steindel said. “He was just an amazing, amazing guy. He was sweet and giving, as well as principled and brilliant.” In 1970, Toker’s “The Church of NotreDame in Montréal” won the Alice David Hitchcock Award from the Society of Architectural Historians. He also received the Porter Prize of the College Art Association for his work in “The Art Bulletin.” “From the Church of Notre Dame in his native Montreal to his ‘Duomo’ excavations next to the Basilica in Florence and everything in between, Frank Toker was a local celebrity and an international superstar in our midst,” Steindel said at Toker’s graveside last week. “At the end of his magnum opus, Frank wrote as follows: ‘There never was a house like Fallingwater, and there will never be a house like Fallingwater again,’” Steindel said. “For all who ever heard his distinct voice at the podium with his slides on screen behind him, for all his colleagues who cherished and celebrated their association with him, for friends from so many walks of life, for all who knew him in Montreal, Florence, Western Pennsylvania and around the globe, there will never be a Franklin Toker again.”  PJC

Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

Headlines Refusing to pass again, Jewish Sports Hall of Fame to run virtual gala

 The 1952 Squirrel Hill women’s softball team, including future hall-of-famer Bonita “Bunny” Reingold (back row, second from right).

— LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


ere’s one for the record books: For the first time in its nearly 40-year history, the Jewish Sports Hall of JC Oticon Man Looking Down_Eartique Fame of Western Pennsylvania will4/27/21 hold

its annual gala online this year. The event will occur May 2. The yearly gathering typically welcomes hundreds of attendees and generates thousands of dollars for local and Israeli youth sport. Although the 2020 program was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns, organizers called a new play this year and 9:49 AM Page 1 decided to hold the gala virtually, according

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 The 1914 Coffey Club basketball team, including future hall-of-famer Morris “Moy” Marks (center with ball). Photos courtesy of the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives

to Alan Mallinger, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s staff liaison to the group. “This is life in the pandemic,” he said.

“We’re doing the best we can.” Although supporters won’t flock to a large Please see Sports, page 13

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APRIL 30, 2021 5

Calendar Submit calendar items on the Chronicle’s website, pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Submissions also will be included in print. Events will run in the print edition beginning one month prior to the date as space allows. The deadline for submissions is Friday, noon. q FRIDAY, APRIL 30

The Talmud says Lag B’Omer celebrates the end of a plague. Moishe House would like to call that in with a traditional bonfire celebration. Join them for pizza and a campfire. To maintain social distancing, attendance is capped at 10 participants. 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit facebook. com/moishehouse.pittsburgh/events. q FRIDAY, APRIL 30-MAY 2

The 28th annual JFilm Festival presents international Jewish-themed films that deepen audiences’ understanding of Jewish culture, tolerance and our common humanity. The 11day festival is complemented by a variety of supplemental programming, including visiting filmmakers, guest speakers and collaborative events with other local organizations. For more information, including a complete list of films, visit filmpittsburgh.org. q SUNDAY, MAY 2

Join Congregation Beth Shalom’s Derekh program for “The Jews of American Jazz with Seth Kibel.” An examination of the personalities, lives and careers of JewishAmerican musicians — including Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Stan Getz, Terry Gibbs, and others — whose pioneering contributions shaped this uniquely American genre of jazz music. Classic recordings, video clips, and “live” performances from Seth Kibel will make this course swing like the music itself. For more information and to register, go to bethshalompgh.org/Jewsofjazz. Tree of Life presents Small Town Jews in Western Pennsylvania with Eric Lidji. Lidji will look at the history of smaller communities to better understand the unique spirit of the current community today. 10 a.m. Free. treeoflifepgh.org/event Join Moishe House Pittsburgh for the City Nature Challenge. Meet at the Circle Plaza (Clayton Loop) in Frick Park and document as much wildlife as possible. Wear a mask when you’re with the group, and when you’re near other people around the park. You’ll also need to bring a phone or camera, and everything you need to be comfortable outside. 10 a.m. Visit facebook.com/ moishehouse.pittsburgh for more information. q SUNDAYS, MAY 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Join a lay-led Online Parashah Study Group to discuss the week’s Torah portion. No Hebrew knowledge is needed. The goal is to build community while deepening understanding of the text. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org. q MONDAY, MAY 3

Join Beth El Congregation of the South Hills for First Mondays with Rabbi Alex Greenbaum. This month Rose Feinberg, Ed.D. will present “Jewish Female Justices: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

6 APRIL 30, 2021

and Elena Kagan.” 12 p.m. bethelcong.org/ events/first-mondays-18 q MONDAYS, MAY 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Join Rabbi Jeremy Markiz in learning Masechet Rosh Hashanah, a tractate of the Talmud about the many new years that fill out the Jewish calendar at Monday Talmud study. 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org. q MONDAYS, MAY 3-MAY 31

Join Temple Sinai for “Making Our Days Count with Rabbi Karyn Kedar (via Zoom).” Rabbi Kedar will discuss the period between Passover and Shavuot, called the Omer. She will teach seven spiritual principles for the seven weeks of the Omer: decide, discern, choose, hope, imagine, courage, pray. These principles can offer a path from enslavement to freedom, darkness to light, constriction to expanse. 7 p.m. templesinaipgh.org q MONDAYS, MAY 3, 10, 24; JUNE 7, 14

Throughout our history, Jews have never shrunk from a good argument and we have had plenty of them — from the moment we got out of Egypt until today. In the course Top Ten Disputes, Rabbi Danny Schiff will take a close look at the top 10 disputes of Jewish history. How did they start? What made them so contentious? And how were they ultimately resolved? Five sessions for $25. 9:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visitfoundation.jewishpgh.org/top-ten-disputes. q TUESDAY, MAY 4

Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Moishe House Pittsburgh for Jewish Genetic Diseases and Holistic Prevention Strategies. Morgaine Witriol, founder of the Native Roots School of Ancestral Folk and Herbal Medicine in New Mexico, will cover common conditions such as Tay-Sachs and breast cancer, as well as discuss how these diseases impact Jewish identity and the preventative measures we can take. Free. 7:30 p.m. jewishpgh.org/event q TUESDAYS, MAY 4-JUNE 1

What is the point of Jewish living? What ideas, beliefs and practices are involved? Melton Course 1: Rhythms & Purposes of Jewish Living examines a variety of Jewish sources to discover the deeper meanings of Jewish holidays, lifecycle observances and Jewish practice. Cost: $300 per person, per year (25 sessions), includes all books and materials. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org. q WEDNESDAYS, MAY 5-MAY 26

Are you curious about contemporary Israel beyond the headlines? Rabbi Danny Schiff will host the series Israel in Depth about the realities of Israeli society in 2021. Six sessions for $30. 10:45 a.m. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org/israel-in-depth. q WEDNESDAYS, MAY 5-JUNE 2

Chabad of the South Hills presents “This Can Happen,” a new JLI class. Join them as they demystify the Jewish idea of a perfect world

and discover a practical path for reaching it in our lifetime. Try the class for one week for free. For more information, go to chabadsh.com or call 412-344-2424. q THURSDAY, MAY 6

Hadassah Chicago-North Shore presents The Power of Women Who Fight Gun Violence, featuring Gabby Giffords. $36. 12:30 p.m. Register by May 4 at hadassahmidwest.org/CNSPL. Join Moishe House Pittsburgh for Spicy Ceremonies with Kohenet Shamirah Chandler. Explore texts and practices for including sweet-smelling leaves, flowers and fruits. From Havdalah to garlic to spring blossoms, participants will learn ancient sources for integrating herbs and incense into rituals large and small. 7 p.m. facebook.com/ moishehouse.pittsburgh Whether you recently moved to Pittsburgh from out of town or returned to Pittsburgh after some time away, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Young Adult’s Division’s Virtual Newcomer’s Mixer is for you. Mix up your own cocktail or evening treat. This event is open to anyone (even if you’ve attended a newcomer event in the past). Free. 8 p.m. jewishpgh.org/event q THURSDAYS, MAY 6; JUNE 17

Jews have never desisted from addressing tough problems. In this year’s CLE series, Rabbi Danny Schiff will dive into “Tense Topics of Jewish Law.” Each topic raises significant concerns in our contemporary lives. With CLE/CEU credit: $30/session or $150 all sessions; without CLE/CEU credit: $25/session or $125 all sessions. 8:30 a.m. For more information, including a complete list of topics, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org/continuinglegal-education. q MONDAY, MAY 10

Join Pittsburgh Chapter of Hadassah and Hadassah Greater Detroit for Raiders of the Lost Art: The Hidden Jews of Ethiopia. Rabbi Josh Bennett of Temple Israel will share the amazing story of the hidden Jews of Ethiopia. He will explore the history of the Ethiopian Jewish community and discover the roots of an African Jewish presence in the ancient Aksumite Kingdom. 11 a.m. $10. hadassahmidwest.org/GDraiders q TUESDAYS, MAY 11, 25

Classrooms Without Borders continues its newest Israel seminar, “Bachazit” — On the Frontline. The sessions highlight challenges facing Israel and the individuals or organizations that are grappling with issues including the integration of minority groups into the high-tech sector, the struggle for LGBTQ rights, programs that assist Israelis injured during their military service, the fight against racism in Israeli society and more. 2 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/ frontline-israel q THURSDAY, MAY 13

Free. 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit jewishpgh.org/event. q SATURDAY, MAY 15

Moishe House of Pittsburgh presents Shabbat Unplugged in Mellon Park. Bring a picnic blanket, your mask, any entertainment you’d like to have (instruments, crafts, books, etc.) and anyone who likes a good park hang. Children are welcome. Snacks will be provided. 3 p.m. facebook.com/moishehouse.pittsburgh Registration is open for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Tikkun Leil Online. 10 p.m. Free. For more information, visit jewishpgh.org/event. q TUESDAY, MAY 18

The Jewish Pittsburgh History Series, sponsored by Rodef Shalom Congregation, will feature a presentation by Matthew Falcone, Rodef Shalom’s senior vice president. His topic will be The Rodef Shalom Building: Architecture and Art. There is no charge to attend this Zoom event. 7 p.m. For details and to register, follow the Jewish History Series link at rodefshalom.org. q WEDNESDAY, MAY 19

Join Repair the World Pittsburgh and hear firsthand stories from a range of environmental justice students and stewards at Midrash for Social Change: Environmental Storytelling. 7 p.m. rpr.world/Storytelling Join Pittsburgh’s Jewish Young Adult book club for this virtual come-as-you-are event and discuss “The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother.” Free. 8 p.m. jewishpgh.org/event q THURSDAY, MAY 20

Join JFCS virtually as they celebrate a year of inspiration in action at their 2021 Annual Meeting. 7 p.m. Free. jfcspgh.org/ annualmeeting Rabbi Barbara Symons will review the book “Homesick,” by Eshkol Nevo, at both 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. This is a “warm, wise sophisticated novel,” per Amos Oz. Go to templedavid.org/athome to get the links for the Zoom review or call the Temple office at 412-372-1200.  q MONDAY, MAY 24

Join Beth El Congregation of the South Hills for First Mondays with Rabbi Alex Greenbaum. This special pre-Memorial Day edition will feature guest Eric Lidji, director of the Rauh Jewish Archives. He will discuss the Hidden Jewish Neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. 12 p.m. Free. bethelcong.org q FRIDAY, MAY 28

Join Moishe House Pittsburgh for a Backyard Shabbat Dinner. Enjoy Thai Food and a bonfire. Registration is capped at 10 people. Say Shabbat prayers at 8:30 before wrapping up at 9. facebook.com/moishehouse. pittsburgh PJC

Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh as it welcomes Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Mike Thompson for a conversation.



Headlines Sunny’s Community Garden to provide fresh food in the Hill — LOCAL —

p Sandi Lando Welch By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle


ashawn Nor wood wandered down Granville Street last week when he heard noise coming from a vacant lot in the Lower Hill. He saw volunteers preparing a garden, so he helped lug some soil. The next day, he came back. And the next day. And the next. “As soon as I learned what they were preparing, I was so happy,” the 14-year-old Hill District resident told the Chronicle. Many people in his neighborhood rely on Family Dollar for their food, he said. The sight of a community garden replacing a vacant lot was more than worth the sweat he poured into helping build it. Rashawn was part of a legion of about 40 volunteers who trekked to the Lower Hill on April 22 — Earth Day — to help create Sunny’s Community Garden, where there will be no plot-owners and anyone in the neighborhood can help themselves to some freshly grown produce. The community garden — two sections spread over a 50-foot-by-80-foot lot — was conceived by Sandi Lando Welch. The native Pittsburgher previously spearheaded the Emma Kaufmann Camp’s Circle Camp for Grieving Children, an initiative for teens and young adults who recently lost a parent. Welch made a “handshake agreement” for a five-year “faux lease” on the lot with the Rev. Glenn G. Grayson, who heads the Center That CARES, an organization that creates opportunities for children and young adults to achieve their life plans and goals. Though Welch is Jewish, there isn’t anything particularly religious or partisan about the space. Still, whether intentional or not, the project sounds a lot like the Jewish practice of pe’ah, wherein during the harvest an owner of a field must leave a corner open for the poor to take as they please. “It’s not a typical garden,” Welch said. “We are going to grow and anybody can come and take.” The first harvest, which will be ready for this fall, will include everything from beets, PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG  

p Volunteers build Sunny’s Community Garden on Earth Day

Photos by Stanley Klein

beans and peas to carrots, kale and “lots of herbs,” plus — once the deer-proof cages are ready — tomatoes and lettuce, Welch said. The gardening area of the space features eight eight-foot-long raised garden beds, filled with soil and ready for the summer sun. The “gathering area,” separated by a wooden fence, holds tables where residents can pause for lunch or volunteers can lead educational activities. Sarah Schanwald is a fellow with the Pittsburgh chapter of Repair The World, whose mission embraces the Jewish concept of tikkun olam. She helped drum up some of the volunteers last week on Earth Day. “I’m so glad that Sandi is committed to providing the produce grown to the community and offering a space for community members to gather, as everyone should have access to fresh, nutritious and culturally appropriate food,” Schanwald said. About a dozen Duquesne Light employees also came out to help with Sunny’s Community Garden. Sam Hartzman, the company’s associate manager of corporate citizenship, said it’s no surprise: The company’s roughly 1,700 employees logged more than 1,500 volunteer hours on similar projects in 2020. “Volunteering is in our DNA,” Hartzman said. “You start with an empty lot and that’s the rewarding part — putting in the work and time and seeing literally the fruits of your labors,” she added. Welch beamed as she walked around the garden last week. In fact, she’s already dreaming bigger and brighter. “I hope this one is just the first,” she said.  PJC p The Rev. Glenn Grayson of The Center that CARES with Sandi Lando Welch, founder of Sunny’s Community Garden


Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh. APRIL 30, 2021 7

Headlines Charles ‘Zeke’ Goldblum: ‘I’m not an angel… but I wasn’t a killer’ — LOCAL — By Toby Tabachnick | Editor


fter serving more than 44 years in prison for a murder many believe he did not commit, Charles “Zeke” Goldblum is a free man. He is currently living in Pittsburgh, looking for work and readjusting to life on the outside. “It’s pretty daunting,” Goldblum told the Chronicle. “It’s been 44 years. There’s a lot to get used to.” Goldblum, the son of the late Rabbi Moshe Goldblum, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom in Squirrel Hill for 24 years, was convicted on Aug. 30, 1977, for the murder of George Wilhelm, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, solicitation to commit arson and arson. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. But in February, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the commutation for Goldblum’s life sentence 17 months after the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons unanimously recommended clemency. “Nine of us were recommended out of 22 in Sept. 2019,” Goldblum said. “In December,

 Charles Goldblum

Photo courtesy of friends of Charles Goldblum

the governor signed the others and held me under advisement. They didn’t let me go until February 2021.”

There are still a lot of unanswered questions in the case against Goldblum, he claims — including the whereabouts of the allegedly

missing police files that might have exonerated him — but the law school graduate and Hebrew school teacher maintains that while he was “no angel,” he is also not a murderer. Goldblum now admits he hired Clarence Miller to burn down a restaurant he owned on Fifth Avenue for “very little money.” When Miller asked for Goldblum’s help by meeting with Wilhelm to work things out after Wilhelm was targeted in a land fraud, Goldblum obliged. “I thought I had to placate Miller and placate Wilhelm,” he said. “I didn’t know Wilhelm from a can of paint.” Wilhelm was stabbed 26 times while in a car with Goldblum and Miller on the top deck of the Smithfield/Forbes parking garage in downtown Pittsburgh, then dumped over the side of the garage. But instead of falling eight stories to his death, Wilhelm landed on the roof of a walkway bridge to the former Gimbels Department Store and the Duquesne Club. Court records show that when a police officer arrived and reached Wilhelm, he was still alive. Just before he died, he told the police officer: “Clarence — Clarence Miller did this to me.” Please see Goldblum, page 13

This week in Israeli history — WORLD — Items provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.

April 30, 2003 — Framework for peace is unveiled

I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you and our neighbors on City Council. Together, we are confronting Pittsburgh’s greatest challenges: • • • •

Fighting for clean air, land, and water, and for climate justice Building an equitable, inclusive, and growing economy Reimagining public safety Building a prosperous educational system for every student

Let’s keep working together!

Apply to Vote by Mail at VotesPA.com — Vote May 18 PAID FOR BY FRIENDS OF ERIKA

8 APRIL 30, 2021

May 3, 1906 — Actor Meir Margalit is born

Stage actor Meir Margalit, a winner of the Israel Prize, is born in Ostroleka, Poland. He moves to Palestine in 1922 and, starting in 1929, spends most of his acting career with the Ha’ohel Theatre.

May 4, 1947 — Irgun blasts prisoners out of Acre

The Quartet of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations issues its Roadmap for Peace, a framework for talks to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution.

May 1, 1956 — Eshkol approves building Ashdod

Finance Minister Levi Eshkol authorizes the establishment of the city of Ashdod on the site of a former Palestinian village, Isdud, along the Mediterranean coast between Tel Aviv and Ashkelon.

Erika Strassburger

soon followed by the Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Independence Day) parade.

May 2, 1968 — Channel 1 starts broadcasting Israelis receive their first general-interest TV programming when Israel Television (later Channel 1) broadcasts the image of a menorah,


The Irgun carries out a complex operation to break 30 of its men and 11 Lehi members out of the British prison at Acre (Akko). Six of the 41 are killed; eight are recaptured. In the chaos, 182 Arabs escape.

May 5, 1959 — Kibbutz marks first official Yom HaShoah

Kibbutz Lohamei HaGetaot (the Ghetto Fighters) in the western Galilee welcomes 2,500 people to the first official Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) ceremony under a four-week-old law.

May 6, 1947 — Lehi teenager disappears

Alexander Rubowitz, 16, a member of the youth wing of Lehi (the Stern Gang) who distributes flyers, is chased, caught and forced into a car by a man believed to be a British officer. He is never seen again.  PJC PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

Headlines Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, named a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow, to broaden interfaith outreach — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer


hen it comes to interfaith inclusivity, Rabbi Alex Greenbaum is known not just for talking the talk, but for walking the walk. The Beth El Congregation of South Hills rabbi has marched in support of Pittsburgh’s Muslim community at the Attawheed Islamic Center, has represented the Jewish community at the South Hills Jewish Christian Interfaith Dialogue and has pushed at the edges for a more inclusive Conservative movement. “I am an outspoken supporter of the intermarried in the Conservative movement,” Greenbaum said. “Some might even say I’m too outspoken.” That support has led Greenbaum to be named a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow in 18Doors’ second cohort of its fellowship program. Formerly known as InterfaithFamily, 18Doors is a nonprofit that provides resources to interfaith couples and families, according to Rabbi Robyn Frisch, director of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship. “Our mission is for people who are in interfaith relationships to feel welcomed in the Jewish community, and to help them find their place in a way that is comfortable for them,” she said. “We want to help open those doors to help them find a Judaism that is meaningful to them.” Before he became a Rukin Fellow, Greenbaum used 18Doors as a resource

to help interfaith families find ways to celebrate holidays together, among other things, he said. Greenbaum learned of the fellowship program from a friend who was a member of the first cohort. The application process included writing several essays and being interviewed. With the appointment of Greenbaum, Pittsburgh became one of 22 cities in the  Rabbi Alex United States and Canada Greenbaum to host a Rukin Fellow. For now, the program is operating regionally, and Greenbaum will be assisting interfaith families not only in Pittsburgh, but also in cities within Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. Functioning a bit like a matchmaker, Greenbaum will help interfaith couples locate rabbis to officiate at weddings, baby namings, conversions and other life cycle events. He will also run classes and various programs. While Greenbaum will help find rabbis to marry interfaith couples, he is still prohibited by United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism/Rabbinical Assembly — the international association governing Conservative rabbis — from officiating at those marriages himself. “The irony is the [Conservative] movement itself does not allow us to do intermarriages,” Greenbaum said. “So, when someone calls an 18Doors Fellow throughout the country, that person may be

able to officiate. For me, my job is to set up the match. The irony is not lost on me, that I cannot perform the marriage.” Frisch said 18Doors wanted a diversity of voices among its Fellows and its rabbis come from the Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Humanist movements. “It was really important from the beginning that we File photo have Conservative rabbis in every cohort,” she said. “We understand that they can’t officiate weddings. He [Greenbaum] is great at referring people if they need help finding rabbis. He can do other things with Conservative couples and other life cycle events. We want to be welcoming across the board.” Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism/ Rabbinical Assembly, said he was pleased that Greenbaum will join other Conservative rabbis as a Rukin Fellow. “We know it will strengthen his congregation,” Blumenthal said, “and we hope he will share his learning and experiences with all of our colleagues as we seek to welcome and embrace people of all backgrounds in our communities.” Greenbaum’s appointment is consistent with Beth El’s mission statement, said Susie Seletz, president of the congregation. “Beginning in 2019 with a vote which passed nearly unanimously to change the

constitutional definition of membership to include non-Jewish spouses, we are involving our non-Jewish members in varied aspects of synagogue life, right up to the board of trustees,” she said. “Rabbi Alex introduced the idea of embracing our interfaith couples and families, rather than tolerating, or even just welcoming, them. 18Doors’ selection of Rabbi Alex in its Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship Program is an enormous source of pride to Beth El.” While it would take a “super majority” for the Conservative movement to sanction interfaith marriage, Greenbaum said, “supporting the intermarried is part of what the Conservative movement was created for — which is adapting to the times. But the institutions are not there yet.” Greenbaum is looking forward to serving the interfaith community and supporting the mission of 18Doors, while growing the number of rabbis involved. “The idea is to create an army of rabbis who support the intermarried, and that the regions will grow,” he said. “Right now, the resources are limited. We’re still growing. With the pandemic everything stopped, but we’re only in our second year. “I believe the intermarried are good for Judaism,” Greenbaum said. “I don’t do this because I have to do it. I do it because I want to do it. I believe we need to be more than just tolerant, even more than welcoming. We need to encourage and embrace our interfaith couples and families. We need to celebrate them. We need to say, ‘thank you!’”  PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

Rabbi Daniel Fellman named Temple Sinai senior rabbi


emple Sinai has hired Rabbi Daniel Fellman as its new senior rabbi. Fellman, who was approved by congregational vote on April 18, will begin his tenure at the Reform congregation on July 1. Fellman has been the senior rabbi at Temple Concord in Syracuse, New York, for more than a decade. He succeeds Rabbi Jamie Gibson, who retired in July 2020 after serving the congregation for 32 years. Gibson continues to serve Temple Sinai as rabbi emeritus. Rabbi Darryl Crystal has been serving as interim rabbi while the congregation conducted a search for a

new senior rabbi. “Despite not being able to meet in person, Rabbi Fellman’s warmth and engaging personality was apparent,” said Saul Straussman, president of the board of trustees in a press release. “A search for a new rabbi after such a long and storied tenure as Rabbi Gibson’s is challenging in the best of times. It becomes complex when you add in a pandemic and the need to conduct interviews and meetings via teleconferences.” Fellman formerly served as assistant and associate rabbi at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunskwick, New Jersey. He

currently serves on the board of Interfaith Works and the City/County Human Rights Commission, as well as the board of the Jewish Federation, the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation and the University Hill Corporation in Syracuse. Fellman earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado College in 1996, a master’s in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute in 2004 and was ordained in 2005. He is married to Melissa and they have three children. “Temple Sinai’s reputation as an inclusive

and innovative congregation that values social action and advocacy was most appealing to me,” Fellman said in a prepared statement. “The more I spoke with various groups of congregants I came to recognize that our aspirations were completely in sync. My family is enthusiastic about becoming part of the congregation and the thriving Pittsburgh Jewish community.” Temple Sinai will celebrate its 75th anniversar y beginning in September 2021.  PJC — David Rullo

Shaare Torah’s Rabbi Daniel Wasserman to make aliyah


abbi Daniel Wasserman, longtime spiritual leader of Shaare Torah Congregation in Squirrel Hill, announced he will not renew his contract when it expires in June 2022. He plans to move to Israel. “We knew it was coming,” said Jonathan Young, president of the Orthodox congregation. “We knew it was his plan. He talked about it openly.” Still, Wasserman’s impending departure PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG  

will be a “big loss,” Young said. “He’s done a lot for everybody.” When Wasserman’s contract expires next year, he will have served Shaare Torah for more than a quarter of a century. Young has begun to assemble a search committee for Shaare Torah’s next rabbi. “We haven’t done that for a while,” he said, adding that it will be “difficult to replace someone who has meant so much to the congregation, so much to individual

members, so much to the community.” Young praised the personal touch Wasserman lends to “every simcha at the shul,” as well as the “little things, from quietly visiting people in the hospital to picking up groceries for people.” In addition to serving as the congregation’s spiritual leader, Young said, Wasserman has handled the shul’s day-to-day operations. “Rabbi Wasserman has been such a


force,” Young said. “He’s really all those clichés: ‘larger-than-life,’ and ‘rising to the moment.’” Young said he is happy Wasserman will be fulfilling his dream of moving to Israel, but “we will miss Rabbi Wasserman and Judy Wasserman very much,” Young said. “It’s a big loss personally and a big loss for the community.”  PJC — Toby Tabachnick APRIL 30, 2021 9

Opinion Resounding bipartisan support for Israel — EDITORIAL —


n today’s combative political climate, amid mounting concerns of partisan posturing, there are few things on which most Democrats and Republicans agree. But a recent letter signed by a super majority of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives suggests that support for continued funding of U.S. security aid to the state of Israel without added conditions, is one of those things. Last week, 331 House members — split about equally between Democrats and Republicans, and led by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) — sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the House Committee on Appropriations calling for “full funding for Israel’s security needs” in the appropriations bills for fiscal year 2022. The letter acknowledges that not all members of Congress agree with every policy decision by the state of Israel, but makes clear that those differences should not impact conditions of security funding, and cites President Joe Biden’s comment that conditioning aid to Israel would be “irresponsible.” The letter highlights the strategic importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and discusses direct threats to Israel from Iran and its proxies, declaring that “our rock-solid security partnership serves as a deterrent against even more significant

We are encouraged by the strong bipartisan voice in the Deutch-McCaul letter, which helps allay concerns that Israel is becoming a wedge issue in our political process, and we are comforted that a majority of our representatives have taken a stand in support of Israel. attacks on our shared interests.” Greater Pittsburgh Reps. Guy Reschenthaler (R-District 14), Mike Kelly (R-District 16) and Conor Lamb (D-District 17), all signed the letter. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-District 18) did not sign it, but sent his own letter to the Committee, calling for full funding of security assistance, without conditions, to Israel. Although a letter from members of Congress to committee chairs doesn’t usually make much news, there are several reasons why this one is important. First, any unified statement by more than 75% of the members of the House is significant. Second, the overwhelming bipartisan representation of the signatories to the letter — touting support for Israel and its importance as a strong strategic partner and ally of the

United States — addresses many concerns regarding the ongoing commitment of both the Democratic and Republican parties to the state of Israel. Third, as observed by Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, in highlighting the importance of the committee to which the letter was directed, “Appropriations is where the real legislating is done. This is where the action is and where meaningful decisions are made.” Ben-Ami’s comments are particularly interesting, since J Street has been lobbying Congress to include appropriations language to prohibit use of U.S. funds to help annex or exercise permanent control over areas that are subject to military occupation. J Street has also supported the efforts of another group of House members that introduced a bill two weeks ago that would

increase oversight and put restrictions on how Israel uses its security aid. That bill was sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and co-sponsored by an additional 15 Democratic representatives, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D.-NY), Ilhan Omar (D.-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D.-Mich.). The DeutchMcCaul letter is widely viewed as a direct response to the McCollum bill, and was strongly supported by AIPAC. The intent behind the McCollum bill may be best understood by taking a look at those groups advocating for its passage. The list includes dozens of the most outspoken anti-Israel organizations in the world — Friends of Sabeel North America, the Democratic Socialists of America BDS Palestinian Solidarity Working Group, the Presbyterian Church (USA), Jewish Voice for Peace and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, just to name a few. These groups, and many others that support the McCollum bill, not only back the BDS movement against Israel, but routinely work to delegitimize the very existence of the Jewish state. The McCollum bill is a fig leaf for a much more nefarious goal. We are encouraged by the strong bipartisan voice in the Deutch-McCaul letter, which helps allay concerns that Israel is becoming a wedge issue in our political process, and we are comforted that a majority of our representatives have taken a

A lesson learned from the pandemic: Education is a collective endeavor Guest Columnist Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum


t’s impossible to think of an area of the economy or society that hasn’t been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The field of education certainly has. The tragedy of the virus and the trauma of the lockdown challenged students, teachers, staff and administrators alike. We are still recovering — emotionally and academically. But, after just over a year living with the status quo, and through some trial and error, we believe the following lessons will help us move forward toward a better and healthier future. Generals do not win wars. Traditionally, schools have been built around a top-down “power pyramid” of sorts. Principals or department heads determine the overall direction the school takes; teachers, in turn, are charged with ensuring students follow the curricula. In this way, the school meets academic standards set by both the state and community. COVID-19 upended this structure, decentralizing our decision-making process. There was so much required to transition to online schooling that we needed all hands on deck. Administrators, teachers, maintenance workers — everyone was required to

10 APRIL 30, 2021

step up their game and participate in ways we couldn’t have anticipated. Keeping the school open required that the traditional “chain of command” be discarded in favor of a new paradigm in which power was handed to those closest to the classroom. As a Jewish school, Torah frames all our lessons. So we looked to great leaders in Torah to suggest the conduct required in trying times — and who better than Moses? At the burning bush, God commanded Moses to take the Jews out of Egypt. Moses replied, “They (the Israelites) will not believe in me.” According to the Midrash, God replied, “They are believers, the children of believers.” God then punished Moses by afflicting his hand with the skin disease tzara’as (Ex. 4:6). This story demonstrates how crucial it is that a leader have faith in the people he or she leads. Without this belief, what endeavor could succeed? I experienced this in my own life. As an 18-year-old, I was part of a group of young men sent to Johannesburg, South Africa, to help open a beit midrash. Before leaving, we met with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who told us that it was our responsibility to bring these teachings to the local people in a practical, approachable manner. He believed that we were capable; he was our general and had enough faith to send us across the world to continue his work. We left the meeting feeling uplifted, confident and empowered. It’s this approach that’s so necessary to creating strong leaders, particularly in the field of education.

But it takes more than belief — leaders must empower others to become leaders in turn. This requires communicating core values as well as expectations, and allowing staff to make decisions accordingly. Empowering our staff required that we reevaluate our own system of beliefs and presuppositions. We had to ask ourselves: What is the purpose of a yeshiva education? Is it strictly to impart academic knowledge? Or are we aiming to impart Torah-based values as well? Ultimately, we decided that students’ spiritual, social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being were more important than their academic achievements. This required us to change from a focus on strictly academic performance to a new approach in which we emphasized that teachers should consider the whole child — building connections with the students and helping develop their characters. The pandemic also demonstrated how much education is a collective endeavor. If it takes a whole village to raise a child, it certainly takes a whole school to educate one. The choices of how to approach education during the pandemic involved parents, psychologists and social workers; even local community members and volunteers lent support. We were fortunate to have the backing and leadership provided by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Its leaders quickly responded to the crisis by establishing open communication and


a system of common practices, as well as helping our school through funding for additional COVID-related expenses. Everyone pulled together so our students could have engaging opportunities to learn core skills and understand the big idea of each subject, connecting to it beyond rote memorization, bringing it to a place of deeper meaning. We also learned that things can be accomplished much faster than imagined. Last November, due to an outbreak, we had to move online in a matter of days. Before COVID, this process would have taken years. However, with the original outbreak and spikes in cases over the past year, we’ve had no choice but to be flexible and to grow at dizzying speeds. We gained a more adaptive approach to education and a willingness to try new things. Responding to an unprecedented challenge like COVID-19 necessitated a total shift in the way schools looked at education. The new paradigm required more communication and flexibility, continuously updated expectations and evaluations, and a communal approach to transmitting core values, as well as age-appropriate content and skills development. Once the pandemic has run its course, it behooves us as educators to take these lessons and move forward to the future.  PJC Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum is CEO of Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh and rabbi of Congregation Kesser Torah. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

Opinion Mayor Bill Peduto has made Pittsburgh a better place Guest Columnist Meryl Ainsman


he afternoon of Oct. 27, 2018, I sat in the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill with a handful of community leaders trying to absorb the horror that had occurred a few hours before at the Tree of Life building. Shortly after assembling, Mayor Bill Peduto and his chief of staff, Dan Gilman, entered the room. Both were visibly shaken, and the mayor, with tears streaming down his face, declared that he would put all his efforts into keeping our community safe and that he

would “be there with us.” And he kept his word. Along with the public safety director, Mayor Peduto ensured there was adequate security at all of the funerals and shivas that followed. After all, this atrocity happened in his neighborhood as well. Since that day, I have watched Mayor Peduto’s actions and policies align closely with traditional Jewish values. He has enacted bold gun control legislation, which included banning assault weapons (pikuach nefesh, saving a life). The National Rifle Association sued to reverse that decision, and that case is now being litigated in the courts. He also declared Pittsburgh as a sanctuary city, suing the Trump administration on its restrictive immigration policies

(b’tzelem Elohim, welcoming the stranger). Mayor Peduto is a staunch advocate for fighting climate change, and has recently announced that the city will be carbon neutral by 2050 (replenish the earth). He has led the city out of financial distress in a fiscally responsible way. He is committed to improving the aging and sometimes crumbling physical infrastructure in our city. Mayor Peduto has long-established relationships with leaders in the African American and other minority communities. Through these relationships, he is committed to working in collaboration to create equality for all residents of Pittsburgh. During Mayor Peduto’s tenure, Pittsburgh has become a hub for major tech firms and a home to many tech start-ups. Self-driving

cars from Uber, Argo AI, Aurora and others are now traveling Pittsburgh’s roadways. Mayor Peduto signed an executive order mandating that those firms testing self-driving cars adhere to stringent testing regulations. The City of Pittsburgh is a much better place due to the efforts of Mayor Bill Peduto. As a native, he honors the past of our great city. As a leader, he has great visions for the future. Most importantly, he wakes up every day with great passion for the city that he has led for the past seven years. I heartily endorse him as the Democratic candidate for mayor and for another four-year term.  PJC

be waiting for Godot. But Mr. Gainey has made a career of showing up for all communities and I believe that’s how he’ll govern as mayor. When we took to the streets to protest the arrival of Donald Trump in our Squirrel Hill neighborhood days after the Oct. 27, 2018, shootings, I ended up being at the head of the march, and when I looked over my shoulder, there was Ed Gainey, standing shoulder to shoulder with us. And last summer, as our streets were filled with the calls to end injustice for our neighbors of color during Black Lives Matters protests, there was Ed Gainey, again standing shoulder to shoulder with protesters. His voting record in Harrisburg has shown time and again that he’s always willing to stand up for all who need it. That’s the kind of mayor I want leading our city: one who represents all of us. A mayor who doesn’t just talk the talk, but walks the walk. A mayor who combines vision with policy. A mayor who couples soaring rhetoric with a desire to roll up his sleeves and get things done. I’ll be blunt here: Representation matters. It is shameful, though not surprising, that Pittsburgh has never had a Black mayor. Our Black neighbors have gone far too long without being represented in government,

in our city and in our region. Their voices have truly not been heard. What transpired over the summer was nothing new in terms of Black leaders and activists demanding change, but perhaps some of us were really hearing it for the first time in the wake of the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis. This is an opportunity for us to help our fellow Pittsburghers be truly represented for the first time, for the next generation of Black youth in our city — too often ignored — to look up and see someone who looks like them in a seat of power they previously thought unattainable. As Rabbi Tarfon teaches us, it is not our responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but neither are we free to desist from it. One way to engage in that work is to elect a mayor for all Pittsburghers. In Jewish tradition, our Aleinu prayer commands us: “L’taken olam b’malchut Shaddai.” One translation is “To perfect the world under the rule of God.” It asserts our mandate for tikkun olam — repairing the world. I believe electing Ed Gainey is taking a strong step toward that goal by mending fissures that have plagued our city for years.  PJC

Meryl Ainsman is the immediate past chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh needs Ed Gainey Guest Columnist Jonathan Mayo


alking around Squirrel Hill, one will see Black Lives Matter signs dotting lawns throughout the neighborhood. The sentiment is well-intentioned, but the cynic in me wonders if that sentiment always extends beyond the window dressing. We see the national attention given to Pittsburgh as the “most livable city” in the United States, but that doesn’t sync up with studies that show it’s one of the worst for its Black citizens, especially Black women. It raises the obvious question: Most livable for whom? After the shooting at the Tree of Life building, communities all over Pittsburgh (and beyond) rallied around us, came to support us, offered to hold us as we grieved. The phrase “Stronger Together” became a rallying cry, but much like that “most livable” mantle, it became very clear that it was a slogan that only applied to some of us. This needs to change. And it needs to change now. Our city, while growing for

many of us, is leaving too many people behind. That’s why I am supporting and working for Ed Gainey in his bid to become our next mayor. A word about the man currently in that office. If you’re looking for a hit piece on Mayor Bill Peduto, go elsewhere. It is true I am very disappointed in his reaction to BLM protests — and the police response to them over the summer — among other issues. I also think that two terms and eight years in office is enough time for an elected official to sit in the mayor’s chair. It’s time for someone else to bring a new vision and new ideas to lead the city in this moment. I did not get involved in the Ed Gainey campaign only as a negative response to Mr. Peduto. I, for one, will never forget how incredible the mayor was for my community in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings. No, I’m in this because I fully believe in the man I’m helping to elect — not in the desire to remove the man he’s running against. That’s a rare thing indeed in politics, isn’t it? Is Gainey perfect? Have I agreed with every single vote he’s taken while he’s represented our region as a state representative since 2013? Of course not. Anyone holding out for a perfect elected official might as well

— LETTERS — Tasmanian Jewish community small, but continuous

Your article profiling Iris Stern Levi (“Mission of Israeli activist: Helping marginalized women,” April 23) includes a claim from Stern Levi that she was “the only Jewish family in Tasmania at that time.” As president of the Hobart Hebrew Congregation, I can proudly say that our congregation has had an unbroken existence since our establishment in 1841. While always a small community, we have never been down to one family. Jeff Schneider President, Hobart Hebrew Congregation Hobart, Tasmania

New Light has kept worship spaces open during the pandemic

The Chronicle did not research New Light Congregation for “Non-Orthodox congregations consider return to in-person worship” (April 23). We are the only non-Orthodox synagogue that was open for most of the pandemic. We offer a hybrid option between in-person and Zoom and allow each group to see one another. We have constructed a safe PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG  

Jonathan Mayo is a writer and activist living in Squirrel Hill.

space with masking and social spacing and a plastic shield on the shulchan. We follow strict rules during the Torah service that allow for social distancing. We follow halachic guidelines that count in-person attendees only for the Shabbat morning minyan. We have made compromises but we kept our worship space open. Rabbi Jonathan Perlman Squirrel Hill

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APRIL 30, 2021 11

Headlines JAA: Continued from page 1

Like other JAA residents and their families, Esther and her children expected the COVID-19 separation period would end a few weeks or months after it began. They weren’t prepared for being apart for so long, but credit the JAA with keeping Esther safe and helping the family feel connected. Now, family visits “are like oxygen” for Esther, who had to remain isolated much of the time last year and was unable to form friendships with other residents until everyone had been vaccinated, Amper said. Likewise, when the JAA stopped visits at Weinberg Village last March, the Wedner family also thought the separation would last just a few months at most, according to Scott Wedner, whose mother Eleanor moved into that community less than a year before the coronavirus crisis. Scott’s brother, Ronald Wedner — whose wife, Andrea, was seriously wounded during the massacre at the Tree of Life building — had been regularly visiting his mother and taking her for walks. Those visits allowed him to assess her needs and help her

adapt to life at Weinberg Village, he said. Then COVID struck. “It’s been emotional between what happened at Tree of Life, a year and half of getting through that, and then not being able to see family in many cases,” Ronald Wedner said. “It’s been a rough ride.” Even so, “you learn to adjust,” said Eleanor. And Eleanor adjusted well, said Scott Wedner’s wife, Randi. “She never complained. She was fine with having meals in her room. She was a real trooper.” Eleanor doesn’t have a cell phone, so when window visits started on Mother’s Day last year, the family was grateful. “I was here with my wife,” Ronald Wedner recalled. “We knew this was as close as we were going to get. Weinberg Village had set up FaceTime for us in the past, but this was our first chance to see her smile and her beautiful face.” While the window visits were welcome, Ronald Wedner said, in-person visits once everyone was vaccinated were much more meaningful. “I burst out,” he said. “I think I’m more sensitive after what happened at the Tree of Life. It’s been good. Being able to hold my mother’s hand for the first time in a year

was emotional.” The year was emotional as well for Rabbi David Small, director of pastoral care at the JAA. Because of his job, he had the luxury of doing what others couldn’t this past year: visiting his grandmother Ida, who lives at Weinberg Village, in person. Even so, her physical separation from the rest of the family has been difficult. “My wife and kids still aren’t able to see her much,” Small said. “Generally speaking, throughout COVID, there has been an enormous amount of restrictions.” Ida’s spirit has been lifted now that the COVID-19 vaccinations have allowed the family to visit more often, Small said. “The way my father puts it, she’s upbeat,” he said. “I know once I was able to visit more, that made a real difference. She’s a family person and really misses the family. I’ve been a messenger of love for her, between my family and her.” Deborah Winn-Horvitz, JAA’s president and CEO, is pleased residents can be reunited with their families now that vaccinations are available. “During this very difficult year, we asked our JAA residents and their families to manage a lot of stress and anxiety without

the comfort of each other’s touch,” WinnHorvitz said. “And while we’re still keeping safety first, we’re able to celebrate these longawaited reunions between loved ones. These moments are precious and we’re grateful they’re finally happening.” While families can now hold hands and be close, some interactions — like hugs — are still not permitted. For the Wedners and other JAA families, they’ll take what they can get for now. “We have the same philosophy now that we had before whenever we weren’t allowed in the building, and that is whatever is best for the safety of the residents,” Scott Wedner said. For Edelstein, the last year made her more grateful for things she previously took for granted, she said. “The luxury that I had having both of my parents alive, the ability to go see them anytime I wanted, the freedom we all had to go anywhere and feel safe — so many day-to-day things that were taken away from us for over a year makes me really appreciate those things now even more,” she said.  PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

Teens: Continued from page 1

vaccine and they were fine,” she said. “There was a lot of research done. I wasn’t nervous.” Altein is looking forward to spending time with her friends now that she is vaccinated, but said she was the first among her peer group to get the shots. “It’s a two-way thing, but it does give me a sense of security,” she said. Maya Davis, a junior at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine through Spartan Pharmacy and will soon receive her second dose. For now, she’s still tentative about participating in activities without taking safety precautions. “I still wear a mask and stay properly distanced because I think there’s a possibility that you can still get COVID-19 or be exposed to it and give it someone else,” the 17-year-old said. Hillel Academy has done a good job of social distancing students, Davis said, but added she was somewhat concerned about contracting COVID-19 before she began the vaccination process. “I feel safer now that I have it,” she said. Davis heard about the possible side effects of the vaccine but put her trust in her parents to help her make the right decision, she said. In addition to the security of being vaccinated, Davis had loftier goals in mind when she received her first shot. “I wanted to inspire others to protect themselves from this pandemic,” she said. Lena Rothschild, a junior at Taylor Allderdice, has also received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. She said she was able to get an appointment once she found a link to a location in Kittanning with lots of openings. Because of the vaccine, Rothschild is beginning to see light at the end of the 12 APRIL 30, 2021

 Teens are looking forward to having a normal summer, just being able to hang out like they did before COVID.

tunnel and is expecting her summer to be relatively normal. “My parents have been very strict about COVID, so I only see people in masks and outside,” she said. “It’s been hard for me, because I’m one of the only kids that do that. I’m definitely excited to have a handful of friends that have been vaccinated and just hang out like normal. It’s going to be pretty crazy.”

Rothschild expressed incredulity when thinking about people that were eligible to get the shot but didn’t. “I can’t believe people are letting these things go to waste,” she said. “It’s crazy to me.” For Altein, the decision to get vaccinated was easy but she still believes “it’s a personal decision for everyone. For me, there’s been a lot of research in developing new vaccines


Photo provided by Pixabay

and they’ve proven to be very beneficial. For every person that gets the vaccine, they’re helping everyone else, too, because more people are vaccinated. The more that society is protected, then we can get over COVID and get back to our life.”  PJC David Rullo can be reached at daverullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

Headlines Gainey: Continued from page 3

groups support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as a way to put economic pressure on Israel,” and that, “historically, Pittsburgh has engaged in economic partnership with Israel.” Then she asked Gainey his views on the BDS movement. “A lot of it I would have to learn,” he replied. “I would have to work with the

Sports: Continued from page 5

ballroom to dine together while regaling in past athletic achievements, the quality of this year’s honorees shows this program still has much to offer, said Michael Steinberg, a Jewish Sports Hall of Fame board member. With the aid of recorded footage and virtual remarks, attendees will learn about the athletic and communal contributions of Dr. Robert Chetlin, Kaitlyn (Orstein) Fife, Dylan Reese, Mark Haffner and Sherree Goldstein. Chetlin, an associate professor and clinical coordinator at Mercyhurst University

Goldblum: Continued from page 8

“At my trial, the case presented against me was to the affect that Wilhelm was the arsonist and I didn’t want to pay him, so I killed him,” Goldblum said. “But he wasn’t the arsonist. No one had a bad thing to say about him.” The testimony and evidence presented at trial was flawed, Goldblum said. Following his conviction, several high-profile figures came out in support of his release, most notably the prosecuting attorney that tried the case, Peter Dixon, and the late U.S. District Judge Donald Ziegler, who presided over the trial. Dixon and Ziegler, as well as forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, all

Jewish community to get up to speed on the history of things to understand where we are presently, and to see what the Jewish community thinks needs to happen and be able to work with you to get things done.” “I can’t say that I know everything, but what I can say is that I’m willing to learn as much as I have to learn in order to do what’s necessary to improve business relations to improve the climate,” he added. He praised the Jewish community for its historical support of social justice causes. “We’ve turned to you when you helped us

form the NAACP,” he said. “Without Jewish leadership there wouldn’t be a NAACP. We understand what happens when we’re working together. My promise to you is that I’m willing to work together with you to ensure that we address the things that need to be addressed to help it grow.” Gainey called the Jewish community “a pillar” and said “the love that you see that’s coming out in the Jewish community is powerful. That’s why I wanted this evening to have this conversation, because we need you. We need you in a way that talks about

racial healing. We need you in a way that talks about economic opportunity. We need you in a way that talks about how we diversify the city, in a way that everybody has access to opportunity. That’s when you know we have a city for all.” The next Federation-sponsored conversation will be with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on April 29. Information is available at jewishpgh.org/crc.  PJC

Department of Sports Medicine, will be recognized for his contributions to sports science. Fife, a 14-time NCAA Division III All-American at Washington & Jefferson College, will be recognized for swimming. Dylan Reese, who suited up for the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders and Arizona Coyotes, will be recognized for hockey. Mark Haffner, a nationally certified tennis instructor and life coach, will receive the Ziggy Kahn Award. And Sherree Goldstein, a Mt. Lebanon native and owner of Square Cafe, will receive the Manny Gold Humanitarian Award. Steinberg praised each of the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame inductees, and said the program will also recognize 24 local student-athletes

as Nathan H. Kaufman award winners. Hailing from eight area high schools, each of the graduating Jewish seniors will receive a plaque and certificate. “Some of these kids, we could spend a whole program on them,” Steinberg said. “What they do in school, in the community, off the field, it’s really mind boggling how they have time for anything. They are terrific kids and deserve to be recognized.” Nathan H. Kaufman award-winning students are also eligible for several additional scholarships. Beth Goldstein, a Jewish Sports Hall of Fame board member whose family sponsors a scholarship in memory of her father

and uncle, said that all funds raised during the year are used to ensure the continuity of Jewish athletics in Pittsburgh and in the Jewish state. Past recipients of that funding include the Maccabi Youth Games, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s Indoor Triathlon, the center’s Sailfish Swim Team and each of the city’s three Jewish day schools. Anyone interested in attending the free May 2 gala can register by emailing amallinger@jccpgh.org or calling 412-697-3545.  PJC

submitted letters or affidavits at various clemency and commutation proceedings throughout the last three decades, claiming the evidence and extenuating circumstances required that Goldblum be released. “Once they had a letter from the prosecutor and the judge, it took them more than 20 years [to grant clemency],” Goldblum said. “Societally speaking, that’s a failure.” Each time Goldblum applied to have his life sentence commuted, Wilhelm’s family asked the Board of Pardons to reject his request. At his September 2019 clemency hearing, “Wilhelm’s family spoke out vehemently against me,” Goldblum said. While Goldblum is adamant that he did not kill Wilhelm, feelings of guilt nonetheless have plagued him through the decades. “I am sorry I ran away and didn’t help

George Wilhelm,” Goldblum said. “And I put that in in my application to the Board of Pardons. I am very sorry about that. It has played on my conscience for years.” Goldblum, 72, would like to stay in Pittsburgh if he can find work here, preferably as a paralegal or within the Jewish community. He said Jewish Family and Community Services is trying to help him find a position. If he can’t get a job here, he plans to move to Baltimore to live with his brother. “My family has been very supportive,” he said. “I do really like Pittsburgh and do want to work. I don’t want to be a burden on my family.” His mother, Evelyn Goldblum, died in June at the age of 95. His father died in 2011. Goldblum is “put off ” by what he sees as a miscarriage of justice, but acknowledges,

celebrations IN THE

Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

“I was wrong in many respects, too. At trial, I denied that I had my restaurant burned because of the financial burden it would put my family through. Hindsight is 20/20.” He also admits that he “put out a hit on Miller,” although he called it off within an hour, he said. “I’m no angel,” he repeated. “That’s the long and short of it. But I wasn’t a killer. I never have been. And I had no reason to kill George Wilhelm. He wasn’t the arsonist. Why would I want to kill him? “I really feel for the Wilhelm family,” he said. “I may not be legally guilty of murder, but I am not proud of myself either. I ran away.”  PJC Toby Tabachnick can be reached at ttabachnick@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

SPECIAL OCCASIONS DESERVE SPECIAL ATTENTION The more you celebrate in life… the more there is in life to celebrate! SEND YOUR SIMCHAS, MAZEL TOVS, and PHOTOS TO: announcements@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org

18 — THE

MAY 26,




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JEWISH FEDERATION IS ALL OVER THE MAP. Your donation to the Federation has impact across Pittsburgh and around the world.

Kevin Ginsburg Ruth Skeegan The Jewish Federation helped the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA) keep 100-year-old Ruth Skeegan safe and engaged in life. She was even able to celebrate her centennial birthday at a virtual party that JAA provided.

The Jewish Federation improved t a mostly nonverbal man with intel group care. Federation-funded tec permits virtual family visits but als communicate because he can see Federation also funded...

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Federation also funded... $242,800 to purchase PPE to keep staff and seniors safe

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improved the well-being of Kevin, n with intellectual disabilities in -funded technology not only isits but also encourages Kevin to he can see faces close-up.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh helped the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC)* to create All Day at the J, an in-person learning and support hub that allows K–grade 6 students to access schoolwork remotely and parents to keep their jobs. Federation also funded... $260,800 to hire staff, including school nurses to keep kids safe $192,100 to conduct COVID testing at Emma Kaufmann Camp $158,740 for Shabbat2Go meals, virtual orientation, socially distant programming and more for Jewish college students


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Headlines J Street sees the return of diplomacy and nuance — NATIONAL — By David Holzel, Eric Schucht and Ron Kampeas Contributing Writers


he J Street conference, held virtually this year, was a celebration of the group’s renewed influence now that Democrats hold the White House and lead both chambers of Congress. Whether the topic was Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations or a revival of the Iran nuclear deal, the words “diplomacy,” “negotiations” and “nuance” were repeated. More than 4,000 participants watched online. And there were greetings from an array of Democrats, including moderates like Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, and party leaders  Mahmoud Abbas addresses the J Street conference Photo provided by J Street Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the American presidential candidate, said the United works to advance American values, not ambassador to the United Nations, spoke States provides “an enormous amount of undermine them. “In terms of aid to Israel, in my view, the military aid” to Israel and “some humaniMonday evening. American people do not want to see that tarian and economic aid” to the Palestinians. As in previous years, J Street gave an open money being used to support policies that Restricting either of these can “bring real mic to politicians who mixed their support violate human rights and treat the Palestinian pressure to bear” in response to either side of Israel with criticism. people as second-class human beings.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that the undermining the peace process. “When we talk about restricting aid, it’s Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told United States gives aid to both Israel and Palestine. And it is “appropriate for the important to note this isn’t about singling participants that the United States needs United States to say what that aid may and out any one country,” Sanders said. “It’s to show Israel some “tough love.” And part about acting in an even-handed way in the of that is being critical of Israel’s treatment may not be used for.” region and making sure that aid of Palestinians. In his keynote address, Sanders, a 2020 Friendship Circle Chronical Half Pg Ad Final 4_21.pdf 1 4/22/21 1:29 American PM

the DATE E V A S

Warren said the United States should support the upcoming elections in Palestine and call upon the newly formed government to renounce violence. She called the current governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip corrupt and lamented the fact that Hamas, “a terrorist organization,” would win seats. “I get it. This one is hard, because Hamas is a terrorist organization and it’s likely going to win many seats. But the answer cannot be to stand in the way of democracy, or to reject democratic outcomes that we don’t like,” she said. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) compared the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu to the American Republican party. He said voters need to oppose what Raskin called an “us versus them” mentality where they believe “either you’re inside our group, and you’re willing to follow what our dear leader says, or you’re not, and you’re an enemy.” J Street, once an organization that sought bipartisan reach and managed to attract a handful of Republicans to its conferences, now makes no pretense of being anything other than in the Democratic camp. Speaker after speaker at the conference extolled the ouster of Trump and Democratic wins in Congress. The Jewish Democratic Council of America, a partisan group, hosted a session Please see J Street, page 28

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Life & Culture Tovah Feldshuh pays tribute to mom in memoir — BOOK — By Sophie Panzer | Contributing Writer


roadway has been dark for over a year, but Tovah Feldshuh keeps busy. The four-time Tony nominee and star of Broadway productions like “Yentl,” “Golda’s Balcony” and “Irena’s Vow” adds the role of author to her resume with the release of her memoir, “Lilyville: Mother, Daughter, and Other Roles I’ve Played.” The book tells the story of her life through the evolution of her relationship with her mother, Lillian Kaplan Feldshuh, who died in 2014. “What I hope the book does is engender hope in every child of every parent that you can bend toward each other,” said Feldshuh, 68, in an interview. “Anything can be healed.” The titular Lily was born on a dining room table in the Bronx to Russian and British Jewish immigrant parents in 1911. After marrying Sidney Feldshuh, she becomes a quintessential housewife in Scarsdale, New York, completely dedicated to her family and embracing American culture. Feldshuh, who has appeared in the television series “Law & Order,” “The Walking Dead” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” writes that while her mother provided her children with a stable upbringing and shepherded them to their school events and social activities, she

was not an affectionate parent. She preferred to show her love by trying to “improve” her daughter through criticism. “Maybe if she said ‘I love you’ a million times I wouldn’t have gone into the theater,” Feldshuh said. “I wouldn’t have had to create an artificial universe where I would be the beginning, middle and end of a story.” When young Tovah decides to pursue an acting career, her desire to stand out

confounds her mother’s desire to fit in. Their generational tension comes to a head when the author decides to change her first name from the hyper-American one her mother chose, Terri Sue, to Tovah, the name she used in Hebrew school. This decision isn’t intended to be a rejection of her mother — it’s inspired by a love interest who tells her Tovah is a better fit for her than Terri Sue — but it will change her destiny and attract Jewish roles that help build her career. She finally gets her big break on Broadway in “Yentl,” a play about a woman in an Orthodox shtetl who disguises herself as a man in order to study in a yeshiva. As Tovah matures, she and Lily begin to strengthen their bond. They plan Tovah’s wedding to attorney Andy Levy in a six-week time crunch and rejoice in welcoming her children into the world. Although Lily remains critical of some of her daughter’s roles and decisions, she’s still in the audience when she takes the stage. Their relationship reaches a turning point when Tovah’s beloved father falls ill, and she and Lily become closer than ever. “If, God forbid, Andy precedes me in getting ill and beginning his death process, whenever that happens,” Feldshuh said, “I am incredibly equipped to take care of him because I watched my mother and how she was a gladiator to keep my father alive.” “Lilyville” will thrill fans of Feldshuh with

anecdotes about her iconic performances, from Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in “Golda’s Balcony” and trapeze-flying grandmother Berthe in “Pippin” to controlling Jewish mother Naomi Bunch in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” In addition to getting behind-thescenes glimpses of Broadway theaters and Hollywood sets, readers will realize how much Lily Feldshuh’s influence shines through in her daughter’s portrayal of strong women, Jewish and non-Jewish. “When I would feel defeated, my mother banged on my chest,” Feldshuh said. “She didn’t hurt me, she just gently would say ‘Remember who you are.’ Well, this is the way to give that gift, l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation, to other Feldshuhs, to other Levys, and hopefully more than that, to all children of all parents.” Feldshuh is looking beyond the pandemic to future projects, including starring as sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer in a play about her life — as well as taking “Lilyville” to the small screen. “I have written a television series based on ‘Lilyville,’ and I plan to play both my mother and myself,” she said. And if they make her choose between the roles? “I’ll be playing my mother, because she’s got all the punch lines, honey!”  PJC Sophie Panzer writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication.

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Life & Culture This Shabbat-observant baseball phenom has his eyes on a Major League career. Can it be done? — SPORTS — By Rob Charry | JTA


s it possible to play Major League Baseball while being a Sabbath-observant Jew? It’s a question that could have an answer within the next few years if Elie Kligman, an 18-year-old from Las Vegas, has anything to say about it. Kligman is considered one of the top high school players in the West and is being recruited by major colleges. The 6-foot, 185-pound senior plays several infield positions and pitches. But his sports agent father, Marc, thinks his best route to the majors would be as a switch-hitting, strong-armed catcher. Kligman has registered for baseball’s new draft portal, where prospective picks fill out information forms. Neither the colleges nor the pros have gotten to see much of Kligman on the field over the past two seasons because of COVID, as there have been few games to showcase his talents. Kligman likely would have accepted a scholarship to college as early as last summer, before his senior year, but now expects to make that decision by July at the latest.

22 APRIL 30, 2021

 Elie Kligman in action for Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas.

Photo courtesy of Elie Kligman

(He preferred not to say which schools are recruiting him, but said they are in Division

I, the highest rung in college sports.) Marc Kligman does not expect his son to


be picked in July’s MLB draft — but he didn’t rule it out, adding that he believes his older of two sons is ready for that step, even with the COVID obstacles. And if a team makes a good enough offer, Marc Kligman would encourage Elie to take it. Why does Elie Kligman think he could convince a major league team to sign a Sabbath-observant player, one who wouldn’t be available for as many as two games a week? The teenager was ready with a quick response. “Most guys don’t play 162 games a year. If I’m a catcher, not playing three days in the week or two days in the week is pretty normal, so I don’t think it would be that different from other guys,” he said. “I would just be missing different days.” There would be even fewer obstacles if Kligman made it as a pitcher, with starters going every fifth game and relievers rarely appearing in more than three games in a row. Marc Kligman said people have reached out to him with instances of pitchers who overcame religious restrictions — Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson had a contract stating that he wouldn’t pitch on Sundays out of respect for his religious mother. Ed Correa, a White Sox pitcher in the mid-1980s was a Please see Baseball, page 28


Life & Culture Oscars 2021: Jewish nominees (nearly) strike out — MOVIES — By Gabe Friedman | JTA


t was an unusual Academy Awards in several ways. Forced to adapt to social distancing protocols, the ceremony was split into different venues but mostly took place in Los Angeles’ Union Station. For only the second time in history, a woman won best director — and the first woman of color at that, as the award went to Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland,” which also won best picture. And then there was Glenn Close’s meme-able dance to the self-explanatory 1988 song, “Da Butt.” Also notable: a very low number of Jewish winners. To be fair, there was not a large pool of nominees to begin with. And “Nomadland,” a portrait of homeless nomads who move around the American West, did feature one Jewish producer who got his hands on the top prize — Peter Spears, a former actor best known before Sunday night as a producer of “Call Me By Your Name,” the hit 2017 drama based on Jewish writer André Aciman’s novel of the same name. Here’s a roundup of the other results and moments we had our eyes on: • Sacha Baron Cohen lost in the best

p Sacha Baron Cohen poses in humorous fashion for a photo during a screening of the Oscars in Sydney, Australia, April 25, 2021.  Rick Rycroft/ Pool/Getty Images

adapted screenplay category — his “Borat” sequel was beat out by Florian Zeller’s “The Father,” an adaptation of his own play. Cohen was also nominated as best supporting actor for playing Jewish activist Abbie Hoffman, but lost to Daniel Kaluuya, star of “Judas and the Black Messiah.” • “White Eye,” an Israeli short film that tackles white Israelis’ biases toward African migrants, lost in the live short category to

“Two Distant Strangers.” • After winning best screenplay at the Golden Globes, Aaron Sorkin‘s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” about the 1968 Chicago Seven protesters, was up for six Oscars. Sorkin was personally up for best original screenplay. But the film didn’t win any on Sunday night. • Pixar added to its Oscars chest, as “Soul” was awarded best animated feature film. In

December, Rabbi Benjamin Resnick compared the movie’s philosophy to ancient Jewish ideas. • For Jewish songwriter Diane Warren, 12th time was not the charm. Her tune “Io sì (Seen),” from the film “The Life Ahead” — which stars Sophia Loren as a Holocaust survivor — was nominated for best original song, the 12th time she had been nominated in that category. It lost to “Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah.” • “Mank,” director David Fincher’s film about the legendary Jewish screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, was up for a leading 10 awards, but only won two — best cinematography and best production design. • Several famous Hollywood Jews were included in the show’s annual “In Memoriam” segment, paying tribute to stars and other industry veterans lost in the past year. The familiar faces included Carl Reiner, Jerry Stiller, Joel Schumacher, Joan Micklin Silver, George Segal, Sumner Redstone, Ronald Harwood and Walter Bernstein. • In accepting an award for his humanitarian work, filmmaker Tyler Perry talked about combating hate and about his inspirational mother. In one story he recounted, he found her at home one day when she was supposed to be at work. He said she worked at a Jewish community center, and there had been a bomb threat at the building. “She couldn’t believe that someone wanted to blow up this place,” he said.  PJC

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Bar Mitzvah

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Shane Karl Blaiss celebrated his bar mitzvah at B’nai Torah of Atlanta during the virtual Shabbat morning service on Saturday Feb. 27, 2021. Shane is the son of Carly Blaiss Haynes and Adam and Stacy Blaiss all of Alpharetta, Georgia. Shane is in seventh grade at Atlanta Academy of Roswell, Georgia. Shane is the oldest brother of Henry, Abigail and Jared. Shane’s grandparents are Lynne and William Lipsitz of Marietta, Georgia, formerly of Mt.Lebanon; Terry and Dr. Michael Blaiss of Roswell, Georgia; and Jan and Terry Tenenbaum of Dunwoody, Georgia. His mitzvah project was raising money and sending books for the African Library Project Foundation. Shane enjoys reading, math, video games, summer sleep over camp at Ramah Darom and is a proficient Rubik’s Cuber.

Engagement Cheryl Blumenfeld, Harold Blumenfeld and Sheryl Riddle are delighted to announce the engagement of their son, Brandon Michael Blumenfeld, to Cassandra Maria Malis, the daughter of Alexis Malis of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Cassandra is the granddaughter of Koula Pervanis, as well as the late Katherine and Michael Malis also of Michigan. Brandon is the grandson of Rochelle Reznik Blumenfeld and the late Irving L. Blumenfeld, as well as the late Mildred and Solomon Rosenbloom, all of Pittsburgh. Brandon, a renowned chef and restaurant consultant, is the owner and founder of The Little Tailor, LLC. The Little Tailor is based in Pittsburgh, and manufactures and distributes kreplach. The name, The Little Tailor, is an homage to his maternal great-grandfather, the late Joseph Rosenbloom. Cassandra is currently employed as the program manager for the Center for Regional Agriculture, Food and Transformation at Chatham University. After a late October 2021 wedding in Detroit the couple intend to reside in Pittsburgh.  PJC

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Rabbi Keren Gorban Parshat Emor | Leviticus 21:1 - 24:23


y teacher and mentor, Rabbi Richard Levy (z”l) was an incredible shaliach tzibur, service leader. You could hear his devotion and heart in each prayer. He felt the prayers and, through his intonation and his words, he helped others feel them too. In Judaism we don’t need rabbis to serve as intermediaries between us and God, but it certainly didn’t hurt to have Rabbi Levy leading the conversation. Our sacred service was richer because of his leadership. But if Rabbi Levy had been a Kohen, a priest, during the time when the Temple in Jerusalem stood, the community would not have benefited from his skill. You see, Rabbi Levy had a hunchback, which is one of the 12 physical defects that disqualifies a Kohen from sacred service. A Kohen would also be disqualified if he had a broken arm or leg, a limb that was too short or too long, a limp, a boil scar, blindness, scurvy and more. Should a Kohen with one of these physical defects even approach the altar, he would desecrate this holy space. I have long been frustrated that our sacred text would suggest that people with disabilities or even certain skin blemishes defile sacred space. I could understand limitations due to the extremely physical nature of priestly service — Kohanim needed to be physically capable of slaughtering livestock, lifting them, butchering them, etc. But there’s a difference between saying that a person needs to have certain abilities to fulfill the work and saying that certain disabilities profane sacred space. Rabbi Judith Abrams (z”l) offers a helpful interpretation in her book “Judaism and Disability.” She likens both the priestly vestments and the body to protective gear. All Kohanim followed specific procedures to rid their bodies of the ritual impurities of daily living and wore special garments before they could perform the sacrificial service. The purified body served to prevent ordinariness from entering holy space and protected the Kohen himself from dangerous exposure to holiness. From Rabbi Abram’s perspective, a

physically whole body allowed for complete purification whereas a body with any of these 12 defects would not. Thus a Kohen with one of these disabilities could never be ritually pure enough, which would allow ritual impurity to contaminate the sacred space. This could put him and others in mortal danger: The incredible power of holiness could be extremely destructive if not approached properly, as we saw in Parshat Sh’mini with Nadav and Avihu. Rabbi Abrams’ interpretation makes sense. Kohanim with these physical blemishes and

The incredible power of holiness could be extremely destructive if not approached properly, as we saw in Parshat Sh’mini with Nadav and Avihu. disabilities were prevented from entering the sacred space but were allowed to eat of the sacrificial meat that was designated only for Kohanim. Although they were not allowed to serve alongside their peers, they weren’t ostracized or excluded from their families or from the community. Nevertheless, I’m glad that we no longer live in a time when disabilities in our sacred space are feared as defiling or dangerous. Our community is richer because of the presence and contributions of people with disabilities. Likewise, we are blessed by the offerings of ritual and spiritual leadership of those who are able and moved to offer it. I certainly was blessed to learn and pray with Rabbi Levy, not to mention many other professionals and lay people with disabilities. May we honor and celebrate the gifts they have brought and continue to bring to our community.  PJC Rabbi Keren Gorban is the associate rabbi at Temple Sinai. This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.

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Obituaries COOKSON: Alan Cookson died March 28, in Houston, Texas. He moved from England to Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh in 1968. He received 32 patents and published over 60 papers. In 1992 he joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland. After receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease he moved to Houston to be near family. He was a past president of Temple Sinai. His wife Elizabeth and sons Richard and Simon would appreciate donations to Temple Sinai or to the Houston Area Parkinson Society at 2700 SW Freeway, Suite 300, Houston, Texas 77098 or hapsonline.org. FELDMAN: Saul Feldman (Buddy), 89, of Pittsburgh, unexpectedly and peacefully on April 14, 2021. A private graveside service was held on April 16 at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies. Saul is survived by his loving wife, Ruth (Krauss), of 65 years; daughter Lynn and son Mitchell (Nancy); and by six grandchildren, Zach (Natalie), Tyler, and Lexi Feldman, and Lee, Erica, and Paige Mamolen; and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his sister, Sylvia Tillman, of Woodland Hills, California. He was preceded in death by his parents, Eva and Paul Feldman. Saul earned a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954 and is a proud veteran of the United States Army. Saul successfully owned and operated Feldman Brothers Company for over 40 years. His passion for golf took him to Florida where he and Ruth lived for 26 years. He was proud to achieve a hole-in-one in January 2000. He was delighted to move back to Pittsburgh in 2018 to be closer to family and friends. Saul and Ruth quickly felt at home at the New Riverview Towers, where he spent many hours in the exercise room. He maintained a quiet presence but still managed to embody a quick-witted and fun-loving personality through his blue-eyed gaze and low-key smirk. Contributions in Saul’s memory may be made to New Riverview Apartments, 52 Garetta Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15217, or a charity of donor’s choice. FINN: Joan R. Finn. On Tuesday evening, April 20, 2021, Joan R. Finn, formerly of Pittsburgh and residing in Philadelphia, passed away peacefully at the age of 85. Devoted daughter of the late Faye and Thomas Berlinsky. Joan was predeceased by her husband, Jerome M. Finn, the love of her life, and they made a beautiful couple together. Also predeceased by her

beloved daughter, Melissa ( Missy) Finn. Joan is survived by her loving son, David S. Finn, and his wife, Laurie Finn, and their three boys, Tyler, Matthew and Kevin, who were her joy. Joan is also survived by a daughter, Sandi Samuels and her children, Danny Gribbin and Mark Samuels, Jr. Joan made friends wherever she went and people were drawn to her vivacious spirit and loving and generous nature. She had a ready smile and twinkle in her eye, which never diminished despite an early onset of Alzheimer’s. During these past number of years, Joan was so fortunate to have the extraordinary love and devoted care of Shay and Ebony, whom she called her “bubbalas.” Graveside services and interment for family and friends at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery/ Beth El Section at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 30, 2021. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Research, Alzheimer’s Association, 1100 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or to a charity of your choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com PRISANT: With deep sorrow, the passing of Carol Lincoff Prisant, 82, in New York City on April 9, 2021. Carol was the daughter of Escher and Jeanne Lincoff of Pittsburgh; sister of Richard Lincoff; and mother of Barden Prisant. Carol, as reported by the New York Times, was “an elegant design writer and New York editor of the British magazine The World of Interiors.” She also wrote for House Beautiful and Martha Stewart Magazine. Carol was an antiques expert and book writer, having published the Antiques Roadshow reference books and various other non-fiction and fiction books. Her latest book, “7 Shrinks,” published three months ago, broke new ground in telling of her battles in the areas of mental illness and depersonalization disorder. Carol loved Pittsburgh and her friends. She graduated from Linden and Taylor Allderdice. She remembered well going to the Manor theatre with her brother to see such films as “Singing in the Rain” and “The Thing.” Carol loved opera, the classics, dogs, musical theatre and writing. Her editor was quoted as saying ,“She told the truth, but always with subtlety and lashings of wit.” Earlier this year, Carol also performed at the New York Comedy Club. Carol was preceded in death by her much-loved husband Millard and is remembered deeply by her granddaughter Velo, son Barden, brother Richard, nieces Kate and Amanda and many others who enjoyed her company, her intellect and her wit.

Jewish Association on Aging gratefully acknowledges contributions from the following: A gift from …

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THIS WEEK’S YAHRZEITS — Sunday May 2: Alexander Bardin, Anna Bourd, Abraham Mitchell Caplan, Bernard Carlton, Jerome Gelman, Leah M. Greenberg, Bessie N. Harris, Betty York Joseph, Benjamin Kellman, Rose Levin, Joseph J. Martin, Samuel Saul Morris, Sylvia Rosenberg, Phillip Ruben, Abraham Saville, Amelia K. Silver Monday May 3: Alice G. Eisner, Marion Feldman, Anna E. Ginsburg, Harry Goldberg, Hilda Goldberg, Bertha B. Levy, Harold Liptz, Theodore Mervis, Ethel A. Miller, Samuel Myer Roth Tuesday May 4: Lena Davidson, Irwin J. Harris, William Kempler, Edna F. Levine, Judith Gutkowska Mendelsohn, Saul M. Morris, Saul Schein, Ada M. Shepard, Abraham Shiner, Maurice A. Steinberg, Samuel Stoller, Celia S. Wedner Wednesday May 5: Herman Barnett, Myer D. Berman, Ida Burns, Pearle G. Conn, Robert K. Finkelhor, Henry Fried, Ernest Gartner, Elise K. Goldman, Martin S. Kaiserman, Arthur Seymour Markowitz, Sylvia Shaer, Meyer Weinberg Thursday May 6: Herman Barnett, Rae Rubin Farber, Jennie Gross, Adolph Hersh, Edward A. Lenchner, Lizzie Lieberman, Helen G. Match, Arnold Ivan Meyers, Mary Rotter, David Rubenstein, Morris L. Sands, Lillian Goodman Smith, Ed Snider, Fannie Rosenthal Weinberg Friday May 7: Edna Ruth Goldberg Abelson, Gitel Busis, Morris Fivars, Herbert L. Friedlander, Sol S. Goldstein, Wolf Morris Kaiser, Clara Sigal Kwall, Jack H. Lembersky, Louis Marcus, Mildred Greenwald Miller, Zalman Miller, Aaron Pattak, Hildegard Perlstein, Isadore Rosen, Nathan Sadowsky, Leo E. Sattler, Anna Stein, Rosalee Bachman Sunstein Saturday May 8: Ida Stern Cohen, Charles Friedberg, Emil Geminder, Samuel Goldberg, Irving Levenson, Sarah Holstein Lindenberg, Joseph Orlansky, Rachel Racusin, Hyman Rogal, Ida Sacks, Helen Werner


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Obituaries Obituaries: Continued from page 27

SCLARSKY: Helen Sclarsky passed peacefully on Thursday, April 23, 2021, at the age of 95, a year after her loving husband of 66 years, Sidney Sclarsky. She is survived by her adult children, David Sclarsky, Jude Sclarsky and Lisa Summer; her grandchildren, Rachel, Hannah, Ethan Sclarsky and Eve Summer; her great-grandchildren, Henry and Ben Keefe, as well as daughters-in-law Amy Sclarsky (Margolin), Lyralen Kaye, and many loving friends, nephews, nieces and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, Adolph and Bertha Weitzen and two siblings, Rose and Sam Weitzen. Helen will be remembered for her strength and loving relationship with her husband Sid. She enjoyed traveling the country with Sid in their camper van, attending concerts, and growing dahlias and vegetables in their garden. Helen lived a full

J Street: Continued from page 20

on political strategy. The Republican Party has turned into “something like a religious cult,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin. Also speaking were Israeli leaders who oppose Netanyahu’s right-wing government, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert. In 2008, Olmert came closer than any Israeli leader to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. He and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would have succeeded if they had a

Baseball: Continued from page 22

Seventh-day Adventist who didn’t pitch from sundown Friday to sunset Saturday. And then, of course, there’s the legend of Sandy Koufax, who sat out Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. Kligman, who attends the public Cimarron-Memorial High School online during the pandemic, said playing on Shabbat and Yom Kippur is a nonstarter, regardless of the game’s importance. He has raced to the ballpark after sundown. “I’ve showed up at games halfway through,” he said. The decision not to play on Shabbat is a personal and a family decision. “It’s the way I was raised, the way our family goes about everything,” he said. “Don’t play on Shabbos.” Teammates, he said, “have been very supportive.” “They usually ask me a lot of questions, like, what do you do on Shabbos, why can’t you be here, but everyone is super respectful of all the things that I have to follow and what I do,” Kligman said. Asked how he would classify his family’s Judaism, Marc Kligman said, “Labels are tough. We consider ourselves to be observant, religious Jews. The people that we pray with, and the customs that we follow is Chabad, 28 APRIL 30, 2021

life and will be deeply missed. Graveside services and interment were held at Ahavath Achim Cemetery, Forest Hills. Contributions may be made to the Tree of Life Rebuilding Fund, 5898 Wilkins Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc, family owned and operated. schugar.com

Cemetery. Contributions may be made to: Dept. of History of Art & Architecture, Frick Fine Arts Bldg., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Arrangements entrusted to William Slater II Funeral Service, Scott Twp. slater funeral.com

online at honorhealthfoundation.org. WILE: Marian G. Wile, age 99, on Friday, March 26, 2021. Beloved wife of 68 years to the late Robert S. Wile. Loving mother of Jeffrey Wile and the late Richard Wile. Mother-in-law of Nancy Narkus. Twin sister of the late Edith Weiser and sister of the late Helen Levine. Grandmother of Bradley (Sheryl) Wile and David Wile. Great-grandmother of Shane Wile. Aunt of Allan Levine, Susan Antis, Francine Feldman, Maxine Solomon and the late Barry Lee Weiser and Larry J. Levine. Also survived by many loving cousins. Marian was a successful real estate agent in Pittsburgh for many years, always caring for her clients. Graveside services and interment were held at Tree of Life Memorial Park. Contributions may be made to the Jewish Association on Aging, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com  PJC

TOKER: Franklin K. Toker, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh (retired) and resident of Squirrel Hill, died on Monday, April 19, 2021. Beloved husband of Ellen. Dear father of Sarah, Mackie, and Jeffrey (Tarah). Grandfather of Ayden, Franklin, Sylvia, Cameron, Dexter and Mason. Brother of Charlotte Guttman and the late William Toker. Franklin was the author of 10 books including and most notably, “Fallingwater Rising” and “Pittsburgh: A New Portrait.” Graveside service was at Beth Shalom

WEIS: Robert J Weis, Oct. 10, 1939 April 12, 2021. Beloved husband of Susan Shriber Weis, Scottsdale Arizona, formally of Pittsburgh. His childhood home was in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Beloved father of Julie (Jeremy) Marks and Amy (Alex) Pucciariello. Adored Papa of Sammy Marks, Andrew Marks, Matthew Marks and Jake Pucciariello. His parents were Helen Smith and Samuel Weis. His twin brother is Dr. Richard Weis of Tullahoma, Tennessee. He is buried in Mt. Sinai Cemetery, Phoenix, Arizona. Contributions in memory of Robert Weis may be made to the Honor Health Foundation, Research Institute, 8125 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85258, or

few more years, Olmert told viewers. Olmert resigned in 2008 under a cloud of corruption and eventually served jail time. He was succeeded as prime minister by Netanyahu, a critic of Olmert’s peace moves. Since then, the peace process has languished. Olmert said in any future negotiations, the two sides must meet as equals. Abbas, in recorded remarks, asked the J Street audience to encourage the Biden administration to rescind a 1987 law that brands the Palestine Liberation Organization a terror group. That would be one step in restoring relations between the United States and the Palestinian Authority that ruptured during the previous U.S. administration.

He said that “dialogue and negotiations are the sole path” to a sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Abbas painted a dire picture of the occupation: “The growing Israeli military machinery continued to oppress our people and protect Israeli settlers, who daily commit violent and extremist acts against unarmed Palestinian civilians. Backed up by the Israeli military authorities, settlers are constantly empowered to steal Palestinian territory and build more settlements,” Abbas said. He denounced what he called the “apartheid,” “oppressive and illegal regime in occupied Palestine,” but said, “We believe in the two-state solution based on pre-June

David Holzel is Washington Jewish Week’s editor, Eric Schucht its staff writer and Ron Kampeas is JTA’s Washington correspondent.

which is part of the Hasidic movement.” The family’s Jewish community has been mostly supportive of Elie Kligman in his pursuit. “The people that we’ve known have always known we’ve been doing this for a long time,” he said. “The support from everybody has been positive, they come to games, they ask me about games.” Marc Kligman said not everyone is on board, however. “I think those who don’t understand maybe think this is nonsense, that kids should be studying to become rabbis and teach at yeshivas,” he said. “But most of the Chabad rabbis realize that there are things that Elie and myself can do through the medium of baseball, and what we accomplish to try to bring people closer to Torah and Judaism, that they can’t. “We’ve had many people reach out to us and ask for Elie to speak to schools, religious day schools, to communities. They’re just all very inspired that here’s a religious Jewish boy with a Jewish first name, Jewish last name, playing baseball, and he’s not compromising, not letting it get in the way. To the vast amount of very observant Jews that’s very inspirational, especially to young kids.” It only takes one team to make this story happen, Marc Kligman said, noting however that half the pro teams won’t even bother to look at a high school catcher. “It takes so long to develop a catcher. Organizations want them to go to college

and figure it all out and come out more mature at 21,” he said. “But the other half of the organizations are potentially interested because they want to mold them the way they want to mold them at a young age.” Marc Kligman was a high school catcher himself growing up in a Jewish but not particularly religious household in Stamford, Connecticut. “Gary Carter was someone I tried to emulate,” he said, recalling the Hall of Fame backstop for his favorite team, the New York Mets, and Montreal Expos, among others. Elie Kligman was raised in San Diego before the family moved to Las Vegas, but he wasn’t a Padres fan. “My favorite player was Roy Halladay,” he said, recalling the late pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies. “I was watching the Phillies a lot. I was in kindergarten when they won it all [in 2008]. I really liked watching Halladay pitch.” (Halladay was traded to the Phillies before the 2010 season.) Kligman got to meet his idol at a PhilliesPadres game in San Diego through a family friend — Carlos Ruiz, the longtime Phillies catcher who caught four no-hitters, including two pitched by Halladay. Ruiz happened to be Marc Kligman’s client, and Marc arranged for the meeting. “It was pretty cool. Our pony league team had gone into a locker room at the Padres stadium,” Elie recalled. “Carlos brought a couple of players

in — Placido Polanco, Cliff Lee. When Roy Halladay walked in, it was kinda like, whoa!” Ruiz remains like family to the Kligmans. While he was unable to attend Kligman’s bar mitzvah — several players did — he was there for younger brother Ari’s coming-of-age rite. During the recent Zoom interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a framed Ruiz jersey was visible over Elie’s right shoulder. “I think Carlos was a big influence on Elie,” Marc Kligman said. “That’s maybe where he got his love for catching. To be a good catcher you really have to love it, it’s too hard of a position. For now, Elie Kligman said he will play any position a team wants, as long as it gets him to the big leagues. He’ll be playing in showcases and tournaments after his high school season, and there’s a chance he could be working out with players from Team Israel next month and in July. Someday he’d like to play for the Jewish state’s squad. By midsummer, Kligman will know which path he will take, college or the minor leagues. Bottom line, he said, the teen knows what he wants to do: “Play baseball.” Marc Kligman recalled a conversation he had with his son a few years ago. “He said I’m ready for it. I want to see if we can make it work,” Marc Kligman said. “God first, being observant, religious, understanding the world is created for service to God, and to make the world a better place. Why can’t baseball and being observant coexist?”  PJC


1967 borders based on international law” with “East Jerusalem as its capital.” J Street on April 19 honored former president Jimmy Carter for his part in brokering the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace. “President Carter demonstrated that determined American diplomacy can end decades of conflict and bring together even the most determined foes,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote in the press release. The honor came the same day as Carter’s vice president, Walter Mondale, died.  PJC


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APRIL 30, 2021 29

30 APRIL 30, 2021



Community Celebrating outdoors

Sweet Passover memories After Hillel Jewish University Center distributed more than 400 DIY seder kits, gift cards and kosher for Passover meals and snacks, Achayot (CMU-Hillel Jewish Greek Sister Council) held a socially distant chocolate-themed seder in the park.

p Carmel Baharav and Caroline Barkman enjoy grape juice and camaraderie. p Carnegie Mellon University students Jacob Meyers, left, and Jordan Loev celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut with an outdoor picnic.  Photo courtesy of Jordan Loev

Commemorating Yom HaShoah

p Samantha Lavelle, left, Sophie Sacks, Carmel Baharav, Caroline Barkman and Zara Zetlin soak up some sun.  Photos courtesy of Hillel JUC

Eugene Rosner plaque dedication t Family, friends and government officials dedicated a plaque in memory of the late Eugene Rosner, a Holocaust survivor, grocer and South Oakland resident. The plaque, located at Kennett Square and Ophelia Street, recounts Rosner’s life and communal contributions.

Photo by Eric Williams

p USC Shoah Foundation Finci-Viterbi executive director Stephen Smith; Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh director Lauren Bairnsfather; and psychologist and Holocaust survivor Edith Eger speak at a preview event for We Are The Tree Of Life, a San Diegobased organization. The April 20 event included a screening of the short film “WE ARE THE TREE OF LIFE: Carry On.”  Screenshot courtesy of Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh

Hungry for s’more stoichiometry Tenth-grade boys at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh used s’mores to study stoichiometry, a branch of chemistry dealing with quantitative relationships. t Simcha Kranz, left, and Menachem Mendelow demonstrate more s’mores equals more fun.


Photo courtesy of Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh

u Asher Rose gives a thumbs up during Temple David’s April 18 outdoor BINGO event.

Photo courtesy of Temple David



APRIL 30, 2021 31


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