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November 19, 2021 | 15 Kislev 5782

Candlelighting 4:42 p.m. | Havdalah 5:42 p.m. | Vol. 64, No. 47 |


‘Teens are in trouble’ as national Time to light: mental health crisis escalates Chanukah is coming and there are plenty of places to celebrate

NOTEWORTHY LOCAL Rabbis and educators on the front line

By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer

Fighting antisemitism


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LOCAL Night of broken glass  Representatives of the Teen Mental Health Collaborative, which includes 14 local youth-serving organizations, met at Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh on Nov. 5. Photo courtesy of Jewish Healthcare Foundation

By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer

Holocaust Center commemorates Kristallnacht Page 3

LOCAL A Zoo story

A day in the life of Jeremy Goodman Page 7


r. Jacob Brent arrived at work only to discover that a tent was pitched outside UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Complete with supplies, staff and exterior purple logos, the makeshift space was erected in mid-September after a surge of children had arrived at the emergency department. Dr. Ray Pitetti, director of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children’s, called the influx of young patients “historic” in a statement. One month following Children’s tent construction, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in children’s mental health, citing a significant rise in the number of visits at emergency departments for mental health-related emergencies among children and young adults. Representatives from the AAP, AACAP and CHA, which total 77,000 physicians and more than 200 children’s hospitals, mentioned fear, grief, physical isolation and continuing uncertainty as difficulties facing today’s youth. The harsh realities confronting young adults

were well established before the pandemic or any public declaration of a national emergency. In 2018, long before COVID-19 became part of daily life, suicide was already the second leading cause of death among 10to 24 year-olds. As quarantining and isolation ensued throughout the pandemic, devastating new statistics emerged: By May 2020, the number of emergency visits for suspected suicide attempts had increased 31% from the previous year among adolescents ages 12–17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Depression and anxiety-related data has raised a similar alarm. Compared with pre-pandemic estimates, the prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms doubled during COVID-19 — with rates increasing among older adolescents and in girls, as the pandemic has continued — according to findings in JAMA Pediatrics. The data is “absolutely frightening,” said Karen Wolk Feinstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. “All the indicators, all the variables, say teens are in trouble.” For Brent, a child psychiatry fellow and pediatric resident at UPMC Western Please see Mental Health, page 8

ith the arrival of shorter days and colder temperatures, it’s almost time to take out a heavy blanket — and a menorah. Chanukah runs this year from Nov. 28 to Dec. 6, and across the region, organizations are preparing to spark some seasonal light. Here is a sampling of community events.

Chabad of Squirrel Hill, Chabad of Greenfield and Chabad of the South Hills

To start the holiday off right, Rabbi Yisroel Altein of Chabad of Squirrel Hill, is inviting community members to publicly light a giant menorah on the corner of Beacon Street and Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill. The Nov. 28 4 p.m. event is the first of several Chabadhosted Chanukah programs. On Monday Nov. 29, at 5 p.m., Altein and other local leaders will join Mayor Bill Peduto for a public menorah lighting outside the City County Building. Then, on Nov. 30, beginning at 5 p.m., the annual Menorah Car Parade will make its way through the East End before concluding at 4315 Murray Ave. for a public menorah lighting and festival. Organized by Chabad of Greenfield and Chabad of Squirrel Hill, the festival, which begins at 6 p.m. (following the car parade), will feature the lighting of a large ice menorah followed by a fire show by Ohio Burn Unit. Chabad of the South Hills will also present a “Fire and Ice” event, including a giant ice menorah and fire show, live music, a gelt drop, latkes and doughnuts, at 1801 Dormont Avenue on Dec. at 5 p.m. Please see Chanukah, page 14

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Headlines Transparency and education combat hate in Mt. Lebanon school district — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer


ight might make the best antiseptic, but that doesn’t mean it won’t sting. Just ask the Mt. Lebanon School District. Four swastikas have been found in district schools since the spring—three at Jefferson Middle School and one at Lincoln Elementary School. The latest, at Jefferson Middle School, was found on the back of a whiteboard on Oct. 27, the day the Pittsburgh Jewish community commemorated the largest antisemitic mass shooting in the history of the United States. The district didn’t circle the wagons or spend time trying to massage its message. Instead, both Jefferson Middle School Principal Sharon Shaw and Superintendent Timothy J. Steinhauer immediately emailed parents. They did this knowing that several members of the local media were part of the community and stories would soon appear in newscasts and newspapers. Steinhauer said these incidents send shockwaves through the system. “Sometimes it feels like we’re being singled out,” he said, “but we would rather err on the side of transparency and communications than be accused of trying to cover up something that is really not that significant of a problem for us.” He said the district’s school board has placed value on diversity, equality and inclusion and communications. “Making sure that we’re being transparent, open and honest is a value for them and we’ve taken it to heart.” Shaw said that the school follows the same procedure whenever they find a hate symbol.

p Jefferson Middle School

“We contact the Mt. Lebanon police department to help start our investigation; we notify the school and district community and notify our staff. We let the community know that we take this behavior seriously and that we don’t want this kind of behavior happening in our buildings or our community.” Shaw said the school also provides resources for families and links to articles about how to talk to children about antisemitism, bias, prejudice and hate crimes. “We educate,” Shaw said. “We continue to educate the children about the serious nature of these events and continue to provide ongoing educational opportunities

Photo by David Rullo

for our children.” The education Shaw referenced began long before the latest swastika was found in the school. She pointed out that sixth- and eighth-grade students study World War II and the Holocaust, including hearing from a Holocaust survivor. The school, Shaw said, is always looking for additional resources, and teachers will be taking part in the Anti-Defamation League’s “Shine a Light on Antisemitism Through Education” seminar. Steinhauer pointed out that in 2018 and 2019, all 10 of the district’s schools were part of the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” training. Shaw said she didn’t know if there was

a correlation between the latest swastika, found near the end of the World War II unit, and the lessons taught at the school. And she acknowledged that students make mistakes, push limits and seek attention and acceptance into groups. “But we’re teachers. Our job is to teach children how to make good choices and understand why something is wrong,” she said. Beth El Congregation of South Hills Rabbi Alex Greenbaum said it was disheartening to hear the symbol was found but that it came from the positive efforts at the school. Please see School, page 15

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Headlines Jews of Shanghai featured in Kristallnacht program — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle


he night the glass was broken in November 1938, Nazis and their conspirators torched, smashed and plundered 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. The night the glass was broken in November 1938, Nazis and their conspirators slayed 91 Jews, and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested — most taken to concentration camps, the fates of others unknown. And the night the glass was broken in November 1938 — Kristallnacht, which we commemorate this week — a 17-year-old boy from Forst (Lausitz), Germany, named Jakob Weinblum took an action that was both spiritual and practical, running into a burning shul to save a Torah. The story of “Jakob’s Torah,” which traveled with the ex-patriot Weinblum family to China before making its way to Pittsburgh decades later, was at the center of a conversation hosted virtually Nov. 9 by the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. Marilyn Weinblum, Jakob’s daughter-in-law, said his act of heroism was a simple choice. “They were burning all the synagogues and the stores,” she said during the Nov. 9 online session. “He just ran out and went


p Lauren Bairnsfather and Marilyn Weinblum

Screenshots by Justin Vellucci

p Lauren Bairnsfather and Iris Samson

into the synagogue and grabbed the Torah.” That Torah served a makeshift congregation in Shanghai for the better part of a decade, while the Weinblums and an

estimated 18,000 European Jews rode out the war there. Later, the Torah traveled to the United States in an unassuming duffel bag. “Here he was, a poor refugee [and the


Torah] stayed in his closet in New York for 26 years,” Weinblum recalled. Please see Kristallnacht, page 15

NOVEMBER 19, 2021  3

Headlines Blue Sundays in the Hill

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p Judge Sara Soffel was the first female jurist in Pennsylvania. She opposed

the blue laws but was unable to overturn them during a 1934 case against Hill District merchants. Image courtesy of the Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center

— HISTORY — By Eric Lidji | Special to the Chronicle


n Sunday, Aug. 20, 1933, a group of men entered Abraham Dobkin’s grocery store in the Hill District and tossed stink bombs onto his goods. Over the following week, Dobkin was arrested, arraigned, fined and jailed. His crime was violating the blue laws. Those laws were first enacted in Pennsylvania in 1794. They prohibited “any worldly employment or business whatsoever on the Lord’s day, commonly called Sunday, works of necessity and charity only excepted.” The blue laws weighed heavily on Jewish peddlers and merchants in Pennsylvania for more than 150 years. They made it hard to earn a living and even harder to observe Shabbat, commonly called Saturday. What is remarkable about the story is that it is not immediately an account of antisemitism. Dobkin was Jewish, of course, but so were the men who accused him of violating the blue laws, as were the men in the mob who stink bombed his goods. The organization that brought the blue laws charges against Dobkin was the Hill District Marketing Association (or something like that — the name changes from account to account). It was the second blue laws charge brought by the group against a local Jewish merchant that summer. But the association was not created to impose Christian values upon the Jews. It was trying to enforce the National Industrial Recovery Act. President Franklin Roosevelt signed that act into law in June 1933 in an attempt to improve the economy during the Great Depression. It asked businesses to reduce hours as a way to spread work across more people. Enforcement relied on peer pressure. Participating businesses displayed a National Recovery Administration poster with its Blue Eagle logo. The Hill District Marketing Association said it had convinced 70% of the businesses in the neighborhood to close on Sundays


in an effort to comply with NRA code. By staying open, Dobkin was harming those participating businesses. With no enforcement mechanism available, the association took a sideways approach: It revived the old blue laws. (The association claimed it had no role in the stink bombing.) Dobkin insisted he wasn’t violating NRA code because he had no employees. He ran the shop with his wife and their four youngest children, ages 6 through 14. He said that many people in the Hill District lacked refrigeration and needed Sunday shopping. The case against Dobkin was dismissed on a technicality. The association adjusted its approach and brought blue laws charges against nine more merchants. Those charges came as Pennsylvania was weakening the blue laws. The Sunday Concert Act allowed musical performances. A voter referendum allowed Sunday athletic events throughout most of the state. Another proposal moving through the political process would have allowed Sunday night movies. What remained illegal was business. The second round of cases came before Judge Sara Soffel in December 1933. She opposed the blue laws, but her dismissal rested on the idea that they were being used disingenuously. “There is apparently a racket to compel one group of merchants to comply with the judgment and decisions of another group,” she wrote in her decision. In a statement, the association returned the blame to the offending business owners. “We have been keeping our stores closed on Sunday for the past six months at great expense and suffering and many hardships due to the fact that the people we have prosecuted stay open to enjoy business belonging to somebody else,” the statement read. The association tried again, charging 12 more Hill District merchants with violating the blue laws. Soffel again dismissed the cases, also on a technicality. The fight kept escalating. At the start of April 1934, city police went store to store Please see History, page 15


Headlines Rejection blues: Facebook refuses to run ads for Chabad’s JLI course — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer


ou’re excused if you haven’t heard of the current Rohr Jewish Learning Institute course. The class, “Outsmarting Antisemitism,” is being taught at Chabad Centers across the United States, including centers in Monroeville, South Hills and Squirrel Hill. If you aren’t already on the mailing list of the centers, though, or a friend of a local Chabad rabbi, you might not be aware the class is even being taught. Facebook has rejected ads from at least 50 different instructors who are offering the course nationally. The social media site did not, however, flag or ban any posts promoting the class. David Kearns, a spokesperson for Facebook, told Emma Goss in a Nov. 5 Jewish News of Northern California story, that the ads fell into Facebook’s social issues, elections or politics category and were rejected because it was not disclosed who was paying for the ads, a requirement created in 2018 to improve transparency and curb foreign entities and bad actors from influencing elections and sowing disinformation. Goss’ story explained that once the ads were rejected, Facebook provided a checklist of steps Chabad needed to follow to have its

p Chabad Jewish Center of Monroeville Rabbi Mendy Schapiro has received a message from Facebook rejecting advertising he attempted to place for an event about the Iron Dome in Israel.

ads authorized, including providing photo identification, Chabad’s tax ID number and a disclaimer about who paid for the ad. This, even though Chabad is not a political organization. Rejected ads may also be appealed.

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NOVEMBER 19, 2021  5

Calendar Submit calendar items on the Chronicle’s website, 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, NOV. 19

Join Moishe House as they virtually shul shop. This month, tune into Rodef Shalom’s virtual service. They’ll provide the wine and/ or grape juice on their front porch before everyone Zooms together. xT4vqQsKZqC6E99K9 q FRIDAY, NOV. 19-NOV. 24

Chabad of the South Hills’s Chanukah toy drive is taking place for hospitalized and underprivileged children. They are collecting new, unwrapped toys. Toys can be dropped off until Wednesday, Nov. 24, at Chabad of the South Hills, 1701 McFarland Road, Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., or call 412-344-2424 to make arrangements. q SATURDAY, NOV. 20

Join Congregation Beth Shalom for their annual fundraiser. Come together to play: MATCH GAME: CBS Style. Inspired by the TV show, watch as a member of the audience or as a contestant (in person or online) and match wits with their panel of CBS stars featuring honoree and guest panelist Mindy Shreve. 7:30 p.m. 5915 Beacon Street. q SUNDAY, NOV. 21

The Hebrew University is located in Jerusalem, one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the world. Join its Digital Open Day for graduate and post-graduate programs and discover how they combine academic excellence with rich student life.6 p.m. JLM (11 a.m. EST) The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle invites you to join the Chronicle Book Club’s Nov. 21 meeting to discuss “Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood” by Mark Oppenheimer. The author will join the meeting. 2 p.m. To register for the group and receive the Zoom link, email drullo@ The Arab Israeli conflict plays a large (some would claim outsized) role in current events. Join Classrooms Without Borders for its course meant to unpack the causes and core issues that relate to the conflict. The goal is to make the subject accessible to educators and to give them the tools with which to grapple in the classroom with the subject at large and with breaking news. 2 p.m. israeli_conflict The Holocaust Teacher Institute and Classrooms Without Borders presents The Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Foundation Holocaust/Jewish Themed Sunday Salon Series. Lucy Adlington will

discuss her book, “The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive.” 5 p.m. https:// q SUNDAYS, NOV. 21-JAN. 16

In the Briva Project’s weekly writing course, Sh’ma-Hear Your Inner Vice, students will reflect and write, moving through Chanukah to Tu B’Shvat. Each class will begin with a communal ritual and creative prompt. 6 p.m. $200 for all eight sessions. events/briyaproject/604183 q SUNDAYS, NOV. 21-DEC. 12

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. 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit q SUNDAY, NOV. 21

In this new series, Halakhic Conversations, Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will discuss a variety of controversial halakhic issues relevant to the lives of contemporary Jews with Poale Zedek Rabbi Daniel Yolkut. Ranging from end-of-life issues to the difficult test of coronavirus, to the use of technology, the conversations will consider how the halakha is applied to today’s cutting-edge issues. 10 a.m. foundation. q MONDAYS, NOV. 22- DEC. 13

Join Congregation Beth Shalom for a weekly Talmud study. 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit  q MONDAYS, NOV. 22-DEC. 20

Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will examine the accounts of some of the most interesting righteous gentiles in the Tanakh in his new course Righteous Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible. $55 for all 11 Zoom sessions. 9:30 a.m. righteous-gentiles Moishe House kicks off its monthly book club reading “I Saw Ramallah” by Mourid Barghouti. 7 p.m. xT4vqQsKZqC6E99K9 q TUESDAYS, NOV. 23-NOV. 30

Join Rabbi Daniel Yolkut for “Messiah,” an exploration of the history and philosophy of one of the most powerful (and destabilizing) ideas in the Jewish experience: Messianism. A fascinating deep dive into the personalities and perspectives that shaped history-changing movements from Christianity to Zionism and continues to be a misunderstood but critical Jewish belief to this day. $75 for all Zoom sessions. 11 a.m. q TUESDAYS, NOV. 23-MAY 24

Sign up now for Melton Core 2, Ethics and Crossroads of Jewish Living. Discover

the central ideas and texts that inform our daily, weekly and annual rituals, as well as life cycle observances and essential Jewish theological concepts and ideas as they unfold in the Bible, the Talmud and other sacred texts. $300. 9:30 a.m. foundation. q WEDNESDAYS, NOV. 24-DEC. 8

Bring the parshah alive and make it personally relevant and meaningful. Study the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman. 12:15 p.m. bethshalompgh. org/life-text Join Temple Sinai to study the weekly Torah portion in their hybrid class available on Zoom. Open to everyone. 12 p.m. q WEDNESDAYS, NOV. 24-DEC. 15

visit q SUNDAY, NOV. 28

In the midst of what has become the most materialist weekend on the American calendar, we Jews begin Chanukah. On the morning before Chanukah begins, Jewish Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will present a special Chanukah seminar to get you in the Chanukah spirit for the eight days to come. $12. 9:30 a.m. event/a-chanukah-seminar q MONDAY, NOV. 29

Join Chabad of the South Hills for its Chanukah Seniors Lunch. The festive holiday program will include a delicious kosher lunch and hot latkes. $5 suggested donation. Wheelchair accessible. 1701 McFarland Road.

The holidays bring a world of feelings and emotions with them every year. They can be especially difficult when you have lost a loved one. Whether the celebration is Thanksgiving or Chanukah, being sensitive to those who are grieving is essential for friends and families getting together. Join JAA Bereavement Counselor Jan Kellough for “Grief at the Holidays,” live support sessions that delve into a different topic, sharing stories, discussing the challenges we face, and looking ahead toward the New Year. Attend as many sessions as you like. 6:30 p.m.



The Annual South Hills Lights Presents Chanukah Fire and Ice. Presented by Chabad of the South Hills, the event will include a giant ice menorah and fire show by Ohio Burn Unit Chanukah, live music, an ice carving, Chanukah swag, gelt drop, latke and doughnuts. 5 p.m. 1801 Dormont Ave. Free.

Through illuminating source texts and captivating case studies, Outsmarting Antisemitism — A four-part JLI course on the absurdity of antisemitism considers the sources of this ancient scourge, along with the appropriate strategies for overcoming it. 7:30 p.m. Zoom or in In The Jewish Moral Virtues, Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will explore Jewish teaching on critical moral virtues. Based on the qualities listed in the 13th century Sefer Maalot Hamiddot (The Book of the Choicest Virtues), Rabbi Schiff will explore the contemporary application of these moral virtues to our 21st century lives. $65 for all 13 Zoom sessions. 9:30 a.m. q THURSDAYS, NOV. 25-JUNE 30

The Alan Papernick Educational Institute Endowment Fund presents Continuing Legal Education, a six-part CLE series taught by Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff. Earn up to 12 CLE credits. Each session is a stand-alone unit; you can take one class or all six. 8:30 a.m. With CLE credit: $30/session or $150 all sessions; without CLE credit: $25/session or $125 all sessions. For a complete list of dates and topics,

Join JNF-USA virtually for their annual Breakfast for Israel featuring keynote speaker, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Yossi Klein Halevi. 8 a.m. Free.  q WEDNESDAY, DEC. 1

Join Classrooms Without Borders for the book launch of “Love with No Tomorrow: Tales of Romance During the Holocaust” with author Mindell Pierce, as well as Rabbi Micah BeckerKlein, and Dr. Michael Berenbaum. 4 p.m.


Friendship Circle presents Wellness Speaker: Robert Anthony. The event will create a platform where teen participants understand their inherent value and parents and community members understand how teens are feeling and what they are presently dealing with. Robert Anthony is a motivational and public speaker, professional prosthetic educator, founder of Limb Possible, U.S Amputee Soccer Player, American Ninja Warrior from Season 9, and much more. 7 p.m. Free. Be a superhero and virtually join Super Sunday, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s annual phone-a-thon to raise money for the community. Three sessions, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Training session Dec. 8. For this event, you will need a computer with internet access and separate mobile device to make calls. For more information and to register, visit super-sunday. PJC 6  NOVEMBER 19, 2021



Headlines Pittsburgh Zoo’s Jeremy Goodman optimistic about path ahead — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


s he watched an uncaged animal slowly wander through the zoo, Dr. Jeremy Goodman paused. Anytime something is awry within Pittsburgh’s 77-acre urban park — be it a desiccated tree, dislodged gate or outdated sign — Goodman, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s new CEO, documents it with a photo. This time, however, as Goodman came closer to the animal, he didn’t need to reach for his phone. Instead, he marveled at the creature’s physical features, the splash of color running across its body, the sinuous way it moved. Four-inch caterpillars aren’t what the Pittsburgh Zoo is necessarily known for, but seeing one crawling along the property’s cemented path reminds Goodman, 51, that even something as small as a caterpillar can excite a child just as much as “us having one of the only Philippine crocodiles in the world,” Goodman said. Talking with Goodman — the Chronicle was invited to spend 90 minutes walking through the zoo with him — makes clear that he could very well be the “child” he speaks of. When explaining his role and hopes for the zoo, Goodman describes connections, inspirations and the feelings people — especially children — get when coming face-to-face with animals. National Geographic and Animal Planet provide a certain level of education and entertainment, Goodman said, but neither comes close to “replicating the awe of seeing an animal in person.” And, almost on cue — Goodman couldn’t have planned it better himself — a nearby stroller-bound child reached out and touched the glass barrier that a Komodo dragon was pressing itself against from the other side. “There’s just an expression on a kid’s face,” Goodman said, “that’s inspirational.” Goodman has always had a passion for nature. As a small boy growing up in New Jersey, he was fascinated by animals. Not only would he go to his nearby library and devour any related book, but whenever his observant Jewish family took a vacation, he made sure it included a visit to the area’s closest zoo. At this point in his life, Goodman, a member of Congregation Shaare Torah, has been to hundreds of zoos. Pittsburgh’s is the third he’s overseen. Previously, he was executive director and CEO of the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, and director of the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, New Jersey. At each of his stops he’s been somewhat of an anomaly: When Goodman officially joined the Pittsburgh Zoo on Oct. 1, he was not only the eighth person to head the 123-year-old entity, but the first Orthodox Jew to do so. Goodman makes clear that his faith is an important part of his identity. He wears a yarmulke to work, keeps kosher and avoids events, meetings and other professional responsibilities on the Sabbath.


p Dr. Jeremy Goodman

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Zoon & PPG Aquarium

“ Nothing is too good for our animals.” — DR. JEREMY GOODMAN Even so, it’s a challenge. Saturdays are one of a zoo’s busiest days. But each employer has been accommodating, he said. As opposed to working Saturdays, Goodman works most every Sunday, Christmas and holiday. Not that he minds. He said if he wasn’t observant he’d probably end up working seven days a week, so, “being forced to take a break is a blessing.” Although Goodman studied animal science at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and received his D.V.M. from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, he always wanted to be an administrator. “In my position, I can make a much larger impact with some of the things I’m doing,” he said. What exactly that means will be determined in the coming months and years, as the Pittsburgh Zoo is set to begin both a strategic and master plan to identify goals and determine which of its spaces need to be revisited, revamped or removed, Goodman said. As the CEO walked past an area that sells pizza, ice cream and other refreshments, he noted that despite the zoo’s largely outdoor setting, it isn’t immune from pandemic challenges. Like other employers, it was forced to make cuts early on and is now having difficulties filling open positions, such as cashiers, ticket takers and ride operators. Even so, there’s work underway that signals a bright future, he said.

Goodman cited the zoo’s Sea Turtle Second Chance program, and how the program nurses hatchlings and injured sea turtles until they’re healthy enough to be returned to the wild, as well as the zoo’s International Conservation Center, a 1,000-acre facility located in Somerset County, dedicated to African elephant conservation, education, training, breeding and research. The challenge right now, Goodman explained, is getting people to care. If zoos can strengthen their relationships with patrons and inspire them to alter their attitudes and behaviors, “that will make the biggest difference,” he said. Whether supporters end up personally championing conservation efforts or electing officials who believe in safeguarding habitats and wildlife, those actions can lead to substantial change. Goodman knows zoos can do more to empower their guests, and that begins, he said, with giving visitors a broader understanding of how the Pittsburgh Zoo operates. “Nothing is too good for our animals,” he said. Creating more transparency would also help people appreciate global conservation, its costs and why zoos can only do so much on their own. “Conservation programs are expensive and don’t necessarily bring in any revenue,” Goodman said. A 2016 paper in Stanford Social Innovation


Review addressed similar concerns and suggested that to successfully fund these programs, wildlife conservationists should adopt private sector tactics, invest in innovative ventures that have conservation impact, and “start looking at conservation through the eyes of the public.” Based on the numbers, that’s a lot of eyes. As of April, the 218 accredited zoos nationwide received 183 million annual visitors — a number surpassing the annual attendance of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB combined — according to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Goodman is also encouraged that zoos are not only reaching a large number of people, but those with means. Although the median household income was $67,521 in 2020, 32% of zoo visitors have a household income greater than $100,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Goodman is optimistic about the numbers, but said there’s room for improvement. Last year, the Pittsburgh Zoo welcomed almost 1 million people, a nearly 17% jump in attendance during the past two years. Attendance is increasing, but the budget remains tight, Goodman said. The task ahead, Goodman said, is finding ways to facilitate better partnerships. “As long as animal welfare is number one, and we treat our guests and staff like VIPs, I wouldn’t worry about other things,” he said. “Our zoo is really here for the community, to educate the community, to give the community a place to come together. And with the community’s support we will be capable of doing great things locally and around the globe.”  PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ NOVEMBER 19, 2021  7

Headlines Anthony Firkser opens up on being one of the few Jewish players in the NFL — NATIONAL — By Emily Burack | JTA


nthony Firkser didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year of high school. That may not sound strange for the average person — but for someone who is now a professional NFL player, it’s a much later start than most of his peers. The reason? His Jewish mom, wary about the dangers of the game. Though his parents Alex and Donna are now supportive of his career, his mom is still “always watching documentaries, and that makes it worse for her — on all the concussion stuff. “But they’re happy for me, and very supportive, and they try to make as many games as they can to be there for me,” Firkser said. Despite the familial fears, Firkser, 26, has forged a quietly steady career as an NFL tight end. He has started at times for the Tennessee Titans, the team he has played for since 2018. He’s also one of the league’s very few Jewish players. He hasn’t experienced any antisemitism in the NFL, but he said he is often the first Jewish person some of his teammates have ever met. “It’s cool to talk about ... to share a little bit different background than a lot of guys are used to in the league,” Firkser said. “Guys get to learn about [Judaism] who have never kind of experienced it.” Last year, in the wake of DeSean Jackson’s antisemitic comments, Firkser and a few other Jewish football players spoke out publicly about being Jewish. Firkser was one of nine Jewish NFLers who participated in an online conversation about Jews and professional football. In the wake of the controversy, Firkser became an ambassador for Unity Through Sport, a nonprofit dedicated “to using sports as a vehicle to take a stand against discrimination and hate in our society.” “Unity Through Sport is an initiative

Mental Health: Continued from page 1

Psychiatric Hospital and Children’s, the declaration of a national emergency was no surprise. Brent described rising caseloads and the hospital’s placing of the tent as visible markers of a stressed system. He also recalled situations where even after young adults had arrived in the emergency department and referrals were made, months elapsed before necessary outpatient treatment was administered. Dr. Mindy Hutchinson, a Mt. Lebanonbased psychiatrist with 30 years of experience, echoed Brent’s comments and decried the lack of local inpatient beds for children whose depression requires hospitalization. Apart from Western Psych, there’s a private psychiatric hospital in the South 8  NOVEMBER 19, 2021

bunch of sightseeing and spend time with other Jewish athletes. To get to learn more about them and their backgrounds and traditions, it was a cool experience all around to learn about the religion and the heritage and Israel as a whole,” he said. The Maccabiah Games was also the last organized basketball tournament he played in. At Manalapan High School, he was a multisport athlete — playing basketball, ice hockey and, eventually, football. He decided to focus on football, though he never thought he would ever play professionally. “I always had hopes and dreams, but it felt like something that was such a long shot,” Firkser said. “Every kid has those dreams of playing sports. I didn’t set too high of goals, and took it one step at a time.” He was recruited to play for Harvard — not exactly an NFL feeder school. Firkser is one of five Harvard football players on an active NFL roster, p Anthony Firkser on from the sidelines during and one of 12 total to play at an a game against the Los Angeles Rams at Ivy League school. SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., Nov. 7, 2021. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images via JTA “In college, seeing guys ahead of me get those opportunities [to play in the trying to bring everyone together. It’s kinda NFL], it started to become a little more reallike a locker room where no one sees any istic in my eyes,” he said. “My sophomore differences,” Firkser says. “We’re all working and junior year, I was playing a lot more, and towards a common goal. That was something started focusing on how I could make it to good to stand behind and be able to use my that next level.” Jewish background as something that could Firkser was not drafted when he gradube seen as different that people don’t under- ated, but he signed with the New York Jets as stand, but show them how similar it all is.” a free agent in May 2017, only to be released Firkser was raised in Manalapan, New in September. Two months later, the Kansas Jersey, where he attended Hebrew school City Chiefs signed him to their practice growing up and had a bar mitzvah. squad, offering a future’s contract in January “We had a bunch of bar mitzvahs and bat 2018, but then released him in April 2018. mitzvahs in the family, always a good time,” The Titans signed Firkser as a free agent in he said. “We celebrate the main holidays — May 2018, and he made it onto their active Chanukah, Passover, we try to get together roster in October of that year. to spend time together.” His rocky road to playing time was hard. One of the Jewish highlights of growing up “The speed is definitely different,” he said was playing in the Maccabiah Games in 2013 about college versus the pros. “The type — the international competition for Jewish of athletes that are there — the size and athletes — in basketball. strength that you’re going against is just a “I got to go to Israel for three weeks, do a lot different.”

He made his NFL debut in September 2018, and scored his first-ever touchdown in December 2018 against the Jets. Last year was a standout season for Firkser — he appeared in all 16 regular season games for the Titans. A career highlight came in the postseason, in a 2020 playoff game against the New England Patriots, when Firkser scored a touchdown on the Titans’ opening drive. Going back to New England for that playoff game was meaningful for him. “I had a bunch of family there, a bunch of college buddies come in,” Firkser said. “A cool experience to have them all there, and be able to share that with them and know that they’ve supported me along the way and got to experience that together. “Being able to go against Tom Brady and that team and have some significant plays was definitely something I’ll always remember,” he added. Firkser hasn’t come across many other Jewish players in the NFL, but he did play with Greg Joseph, a Jewish kicker who was on the Titans in 2019. They bonded over being “able to share similar experiences.” “You get a little stronger connection, coming from that same background and having those same traditions,” Firkser said of Joseph. “He did stuff with Maccabiah [Games] as well in soccer, so we got to share stories about that.” Looking ahead to Chanukah, Firkser normally tries to celebrate with family. He’s a big fan of latkes — which he pronounces in old-school fashion, like “lat-keys.” (He also loves matzah ball soup, even though that staple is associated with a different holiday.) But this year Chanukah falls very early, making things more difficult with his schedule. “I’ll light some candles,” Firkser said. “We’ll do something, to keep that tradition [going].” The Titans play the Patriots in Foxborough — a mere 45 minutes from Harvard’s campus — on the first night of Chanukah, Sunday Nov. 28. So he’ll get to be at one home of sorts for the holiday after all.  PJC

Hills (Southwood), but it lacks an emergency room or “any way to assess kids right away,” Hutchinson said. Even before COVID-19 arrived, “we were already sending kids to Clarion, or sometimes beyond, to get them in the hospital if they really needed that, and they would wait days.”

instruction, there’s a mistaken belief that educators and school-based counseling can handle present challenges. The problem with that mindset is that staffing at schools has been disrupted and overstretched by the pandemic, and children have gone for more than a year without learning the tools to communicate or build relationships. What teachers and counselors are now reporting, continued Miller, is an increase in disorderly behavior, such as verbal arguments and physical fights occurring in schools. What’s clear is that “going back to the status quo is just woefully insufficient.”

Taking a step back

To understand the significance of a national emergency in children’s mental health, it’s imperative to focus on the crisis preceding the pandemic, said Dr. Elizabeth Miller, director of adolescent and young adult medicine at Children’s. Well before COVID-19, access to mental health services for children and adolescents was “woefully lacking,” as only a third of young people requiring mental health treatment were actually receiving treatment, Miller said. Contributing to that crisis was the

minimization and stigmatization of mental health, a lack of trust in the system and an overall dearth of services. Once the pandemic hit, further turmoil ensued. Many young people, especially in communities of color, lost out on a year of schooling and its supports. Even for students who attended classes online, the social and emotional learning occurring during in-person interactions was largely curtailed. Add to that the increasing stressors families faced trying to balance work and child care, or work and elder care, along with losses due to COVID-19 or community violence, “and it’s been a profoundly hard almost two years of living in the pandemic,” Miller said. When the 77,000 physicians and 200 hospitals issued a public declaration about a national emergency, this was the backdrop. The current concern, continued Miller, is that there’s been a return to the status quo. With students largely returning to in-person


What comes next

Feinstein believes the road ahead requires several steps. Apart from providing a stronger pipeline of health professionals, increasing the number of hospital beds and Please see Mental Health, page 14


Headlines — WORLD — From JTA reports

Israel to purchase doses of Pfizer’s new COVID treatment

Israel’s government reached an agreement with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer to buy tens of thousands of doses of the company’s new anti-viral treatment for COVID. The news was first reported by Israel’s Channel 12 news station, according to The Times of Israel. The doses, which are administered in pill form, will be shipped to Israel after the drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. Pfizer’s trials showed the drug to be highly effective in reducing the chance of hospitalization or death in unvaccinated people infected with the coronavirus. The pills could be approved by the agency before the end of 2021. The United States has also bought millions of doses of the drug.

Jewish journalist jailed in Myanmar is released

Danny Fenster, a Jewish American journalist who has been imprisoned in Myanmar since May and was sentenced to 11 years in prison last week, has been released, according to reports. Former New Mexico governor and

former diplomat Bill Richardson, who was in the country on a humanitarian visit, told reporters Monday that Fenster would travel back to the United States “through Qatar, over the next day and a half,” CNN reported. Fenster’s brother Bryan celebrated the news in a tweet Monday morning. “We are overjoyed that Danny has been released and is on his way home – we cannot wait to hold him in our arms,” he wrote. Fenster, who had lived and worked in Myanmar since 2019 as a managing editor at the magazine Frontier Myanmar, had been detained at the airport while trying to leave the country to visit the United States in May. Fenster had been held without bail on various charges by Myanmar’s military, all having to do with his journalism. Fenster’s imprisonment had become a rallying cry in his hometown of Detroit.

Lev Tahor sect leaders convicted of child exploitation

Two leaders of Lev Tahor, a fundamentalist Jewish sect, were found guilty last week of kidnapping and child sexual exploitation crimes by a federal jury in White Plains, New York. Nachman Helbrans and Mayer Rosner face a sentence of up to life in prison after a four-week trial over the abduction of two underage siblings in 2018 in New York and their transportation to Mexico. The goal of

the kidnapping was to bring the kidnapped 14-year-old sister to the man she was ceremonially married to within the tiny sect. The trial concluded as the sect recently dispersed from its former haven in Guatemala and made a failed attempt to find refuge in Iran. Three weeks after the kidnapping, a chase involving hundreds of law enforcement officials led authorities to Mexico, where the children were recovered and the two men were arrested. Members of Lev Tahor tried to kidnap the children twice more after that, according to the prosecution’s announcement of the verdict.

Claims Conference releases results of survey on Holocaust knowledge in UK

In a survey among 2,000 adult Britons, 52% did not seem to know how many Jews died in the Holocaust and 22% couldn’t name a single concentration camp. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, last week published the results of the survey, which it conducted in the United Kingdom in October ahead of Nov. 10, the anniversary of the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany and Austria. The organization’s findings about levels of Holocaust awareness in Britain suggest Americans are less knowledgeable than Britons.

In a Claims Conference survey in the United States last year, 31% of respondents said they believed that substantially fewer than 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Almost half of Americans, or 45%, couldn’t name a single concentration camps. The survey had a 2% error of margin.

Israel to speed evacuations of some Ethiopians in midst of civil war

Israel is set to speed up its evacuations of some of the relatives of Ethiopian Israelis who remain in the country in the midst of an escalating civil war. Those who have first-degree relatives in Israel — a category that was approved for evacuation in an agreement made in 2015 — will be evacuated more quickly. That group will number at least 3,000, Ynet reported. But there are thousands more Ethiopian Jews waiting to immigrate. Over the past year, Ethiopia has been the site of a bloody civil war between fighters in the rebel Tigray Army and Ethiopian nationalist forces, backed by troops from neighboring Eritrea. In the 30 years since Israel covertly airlifted more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to the country as part of Operation Solomon, more than 8,000 Jews officially recognized by the Israeli government have remained stranded in Ethiopia.  PJC

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

Nov. 19, 1977 — Sadat visits Jerusalem

Nov. 22, 1967 — The meaning of ‘The’

The U.N. Security Council adopts Resolution 242, which calls for Israel to withdraw from “territories occupied in the recent conflict,” but not “the territories,” creating ambiguity about what Israel should give up for peace.

Nov. 23, 1926 — Spymaster Rafi Eitan is born

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat arrives to a 21-gun salute at Ben Gurion Airport and is driven to Jerusalem for a historic 36-hour visit that launches the process leading to a peace treaty in March 1979.

Nov. 20, 1944 — Paratrooper Haviva Reik is killed

Rafi Eitan, whose intelligence career ranges from the high of leading the capture of Adolf Eichmann to the low of handling U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard as a spy, is born on a kibbutz at Ein Harod.

Nov. 24, 1938 — British debate Palestine

Haviva Reik and two other paratroopers from Mandatory Palestine are among 40 Jewish fighters executed by the Nazis in Slovakia. Reik arrived in September to support an uprising and relief activities.

During the Arab Revolt, the House of Commons debates the future of Palestine. Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald says Palestine cannot accommodate more than a fraction of the Jews who might try to escape Nazism.

Nov. 21, 1984 — Operation Moses begins

Nov. 25, 1940 — Transport Ship Patria is sunk

Working with the CIA and Sudanese State Security, the Mossad launches Operation Moses to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Almost 8,000 Ethiopians are flown from camps in Sudan in less than seven weeks. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

The Haganah sets off a bomb aboard the SS Patria in Haifa’s harbor to prevent British officials from shipping more than 1,700 Jews seeking refuge in Palestine to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.  PJC

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Opinion In every generation — EDITORIAL —


he name Maccabee — drawn from the historic group of Jewish rebel warriors who founded the Hasmonean dynasty — has come to symbolize strength, prowess and pride. Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team is internationally known. It rose out of the Maccabiah movement, a Zionist enterprise that was established to build the health and strength of Jewish youth. The movement continues today in the quadrennial Maccabiah Games, also called the Jewish Olympics. And more recently, when billionaire Sheldon Adelson wanted to start a campus student movement to defend Israel, it was given the name Campus Maccabees. Strength, prowess and pride. These words

are appropriate to describe the remarkable success of Yeshiva University’s men’s basketball team, the Maccabees or “Macs.” At 40 straight victories as we go to press, YU’s Maccabees have the longest winning streak across all levels of men’s college basketball. The Maccabees play in the “unheralded Skyline Conference of the NCAA’s third division,” as ESPN put it, “along with such hoops juggernauts as Sarah Lawrence College and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.” Yeshiva University is best known as a gateway to Jewish knowledge, the rabbinate and a wide array of scholarly and professional accomplishments, not to the NBA. But now, the sports world is taking note. With its home in Manhattan, Yeshiva University doesn’t recruit for athletics or offer athletic scholarships. Its athletes need

to work their schedules around a rigorous dual curriculum that makes little or no accommodation for competitive sports. Yet, the men’s basketball team keeps winning. ESPN surmises that the Maccabees have become a national story because of the lingering stereotype that Jews don’t excel at athletics. This is so, notwithstanding some well-known Jewish athletes, like boxing champ Max Baer, Hall of Fame quarterbacks Sid Luckman and Benny Friedman, baseball legends Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax, and the swimming icon Mark Spitz. And in the recent World Series, three Jewish players — Atlanta’s Max Fried and Joc Pederson and Houston’s Alex Bregman got a lot of Jewish media and broader attention. When before have we seen a small, determined band called the Maccabees, fighting

for prominence in a backwater league and accomplishing an improbable victory? With Chanukah beginning at sunset on Nov. 28, the victorious Maccabees of Yeshiva University bring to mind the holiday story. The Chanukah story is anchored in the uplifting account of liberation and dedication in which a day’s worth of pure oil was used to light the Temple menorah, with a flame that lasted for eight days. All of that is part of the messy story of the Jewish fight against the Damascus-based imperial rulers of the land and of conflict between two rival Jewish camps. The improbable victory of the Maccabees of old continues to inspire hope and pride. So, too, some 2,200 years after that event, we have our 21st century Maccabees — the winningest team in men’s college basketball. That’s something to celebrate.  PJC

Celebrating the light of my first Chanukah Guest Columnist Michelle Talsma Everson


few weeks ago, a package arrived from my aunt. I opened it to find presents wrapped in a light blue wrapping paper with white dots. The words, “Just a little care package for your first Chanukah! I’m glad you’re in our family!” were written beautifully in cursive. I have yet to meet my aunt in person, but she has provided life-saving support during one of the most turbulent years of my life. Getting the package brought tears to my eyes, and it was a beautiful change of pace to cry happy tears. I’m 35 and my son is 11, and this will be our first Chanukah. Last March, my identity shifted forever when an at-home DNA test revealed that the dad who raised me wasn’t my biological father; instead of being fully Hispanic, as I’d always thought, I am half Jewish. The aunt who sent the care package was the first person I connected with when I made

my discovery. I’ve since met my new-to-me sister in person; I plan to meet my aunt and her family next year in person; and I have connected via video chat and text with other family members. What started as a search for my dad’s other children turned into an unexpected journey of mystery, grief and gratitude. Chanukah will come with mixed emotions, but I’m used to that at this time of year. In 2008, my mom died 12 days before Christmas; we held a bedside vigil as Christmas carols played. In 2010, my dad passed away 10 days before Christmas, my son’s first. So, the holidays have always felt heavy, but also light. I learned to mourn the anniversaries of my parents’ passing each year, but also to see the holiday season from my child’s perspective. I’ve learned to allow myself space to grieve, but I don’t allow myself to stay there too long as there’s a child to celebrate with. Grief and gratitude exist side by side. But this year I could feel the emotions coming earlier than usual. It’s my first holiday season post-DNA discovery, and it just feels heavy. I grieve for the relationships that didn’t turn out as expected and for relationships that have changed. But I am also grateful for amazing new family members who have embraced me, and my friends and

family who have supported me through this journey — not just me, but us. And I’m looking forward to Chanukah. After months of tears (both good and bad), therapy and navigating an experience that there’s not a lot of guidance for, I want some light. I started by asking Jewish friends if celebrating a holiday that technically isn’t mine is OK. Because I’m Christian and new to all of this, I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t offend, that I wouldn’t step into a space that wasn’t mine. Everyone was kind, friendly and welcoming. I learned that the Festival of Lights is just that — a celebration of triumph, miracles, togetherness — of light in the darkness. I need a little of that. So, I went over-the-top ridiculous one morning at 2 a.m. and bought my son a present for each night (I know, not needed!), a menorah and candles. My aunt sent me a dreidel, a book and a waffle maker with a dreidel imprint on it. She also sent presents for my son, who’s completely on board, because, let’s face it, what kid isn’t about more fun stuff to celebrate? I still have some reading to do on exactly how to do this celebration. I’m not going to lie, I’ll likely do something incorrectly. But

I will do some things that matter right: A friend from Tucson and I will Zoom one of the nights; my supportive family will join us one of the nights; my sister and I will coordinate one night as well; and, on the first night, I’ll likely Zoom in with family I didn’t know existed until this past spring as they gather to celebrate. The last few months have been hard — so hard. (And trust me, I’m well acquainted with hard.) But even though everything seems upside down and inside out in my world, there’s still so many examples of good in this story. I was texting with a friend, and she said, “Hold onto the bright spots.” I plan to do just that. Grief and gratitude walk side by side, because without grief, the bright spots — comprised of amazing people and experiences — wouldn’t shine quite as brightly. So that’s what we plan to celebrate during our first Chanukah. It’s the Festival of Lights after all, and they continue to glow even when there’s no explainable reason why. That’s the miracle of all of this — let’s celebrate the light.  PJC Michelle Talsma Everson is an editor, writer and PR pro. Her work can be seen at This piece first appeared in the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.

You really should have been there Guest Columnist David Breakstone


shouldn’t have been the only white person there. Or, more precisely, one of only a dozen or so non-Ethiopian Israelis among the thousands demonstrating Sunday morning in front of the Prime Minister’s Office, calling upon the government to expedite the immediate aliyah of their relatives still languishing in Addis Ababa and Gondar, some for more than 20 years. If the efficacy of our demonstrations on behalf of Soviet Jewry had depended on the presence of Jewish Soviets, they’d all still be

10  NOVEMBER 19, 2021

behind the Iron Curtain. It wasn’t like that four and five decades ago, when we were rallying in front of Russian embassies around the world, demanding of the Kremlin that it “Let my people go.” If the marches in support of Soviet Jewry had depended on the presence of Jewish Soviets, they’d all still be behind the Iron Curtain. Yet the throngs of Ethiopian Israelis who came out to protest — many bearing pictures of family members left behind — were, for all intents and purposes, left on their own. How is it that what should be a Jewish cause par excellence has been reduced to a parochial story of seemingly marginal interest to the Israeli public? Some background. In 2013, Israel declared that it had fulfilled its historic mission of bringing the entirety of Ethiopian Jewry to

Israel. In retrospect, it turns out that that declaration referred only to those whose Jewish lineage was maternal. It did not take into account those of patrilineal descent, nor the thousands whose close relatives were already here but who had inexplicably been abandoned. Two years later, in response to appeals based on humanitarian considerations, the Israeli government decided that it would allow all those of Jewish ancestry to be brought to Israel if they a) had first degree family in Israel requesting their reunification, b) had arrived in Gondar or Addis Ababa prior to 2010, c) appeared on the community’s membership list, and d) declared their intention to convert to Judaism. That 2015 decision has yet to be fulfilled, though it included the stipulation that its implementation was to begin within four months and completed within five years. In fact, the


first of the new immigrants would only arrive in 2017, and, in the intervening years, only a fraction of those supposedly eligible to make aliyah have actually been allowed to come. As the Council of Ethiopian Kesim and Rabbis in Israel, the local leadership of the community in Ethiopia, and prominent activists for the cause all estimate that there are another 14,000 who meet the criteria for aliyah already approved, even the recent government resolution to expedite the arrival of an additional 5,000 would leave many more than that still stranded. In addition to which, it appears that no date has yet been set for the beginning of the operation, nor any plan yet in place for its execution. Hence the demonstration. Given the broken promises of past governments, Please see Breakstone, page 11


Opinion How moving to Denmark strengthened my Jewish identity Guest Columnist Rebecca Nachman


rowing up, one of my favorite books was “Number the Stars,” Lois Lowry’s middle-grade novel about Denmark’s effort to smuggle its Jewish citizens to Sweden during World War II. The operation, which saved 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews, has been remarkable to me since I first read about it: While other European countries gave in to antisemitic propaganda and followed Hitler’s rule, Denmark resisted. A common explanation today is that Danes didn’t see their Jewish neighbors as “others” — they were just as Danish as anyone else. Why wouldn’t they help their fellow Danskere? Almost 80 years after the rescue of the Danish Jews, I moved to Copenhagen for grad school. Today, Denmark’s Jewish population stands at around 6,000 members, most of whom are congregated in the greater Copenhagen area. Coming from the Boston area, which is home to 248,000 Jews, and having attended Brandeis University,

a historically Jewish college known for its robust Jewish population, landing in a country with such a small Jewish population was a big adjustment. But to my surprise, I preferred it. Growing up, my family attended a Reform synagogue, I went to Jewish summer camp and Hebrew school, and I had a bat mitzvah — but the whole time, I felt like I was just going through the motions. At no point did I feel any sort of Jewish community, nor did I feel the need for one. Plenty of my friends and teachers were Jewish, my classmates knew about Jewish holidays, and there is no shortage of Jewish delis and Judaica stores in Greater Boston. Being Jewish wasn’t something I consciously thought about because it was so normalized in my setting. But in Denmark, I’m often the first Jewish person someone has (knowingly) met. The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the national religion, but Denmark is overall an extremely atheistic country, with most people not being involved in any form of religious life. Here, I’ve had to make an effort to meet other Jews, and in doing so, I found an amazing Jewish community. Despite Denmark’s small Jewish population, there’s an official Jewish community, Det Jødiske

Samfund, a Jewish museum, an Orthodox synagogue, a Reform synagogue, a Chabad house, a Jewish elementary school, youth groups and an annual cultural festival. There’s even a Jewish-Muslim biker club (yes, you read that right) that works to combat antisemitism and Islamophobia in Denmark and create mutual understanding between the two religious minorities. And this year, Copenhagen will host a gathering of Jewish young adults from all over Scandinavia. Whether it’s services at the Reform synagogue, challah baking at Chabad, or Shabbat dinner with the Jewish youth movement at the Great Synagogue, I’m never at a loss for Jewish events to attend. I appreciate that the community isn’t strictly divided by denomination — I see the same familiar faces no matter which synagogue or organization I go to. While I never felt like I found my place in Greater Boston’s fragmented Jewish population, I immediately felt welcome in Jewish Denmark. When we’re such a small minority (only 0.1% of the population), the need for a community is more pressing. Having to deliberately seek out Jewish life has made the connections I’ve forged all the more special. Danish society is notoriously hard for foreigners to integrate

into, but through the Jewish community I’ve been able to make Copenhagen feel like home. Of course, this isn’t to say that being Jewish in Denmark is always idyllic. In 2014 the Jewish school was vandalized, and in 2015 a terrorist attacked the Great Synagogue. I personally haven’t experienced antisemitism here, but I know that my experience as a recent transplant is different from those of Jewish Danes who have spent their lives here, and from those who more clearly present as Jewish. That being said, I still feel significantly safer as a Jew here than I did in the U.S. (I have yet to hear a Dane compare vaccines to the Holocaust, Baruch Hashem). I still think of “Number the Stars” often, especially when I’m at the same synagogue that the Jewish characters attended, or when I walk past a site that was mentioned in the book. I have no Danish heritage, so I’m not personally connected to the rescue of the Danish Jews. But, as schmaltzy as it sounds, I feel a sense of poetic beauty in finding a Jewish home in the same tiny Scandinavian country that came together to save thousands of us so many years ago.  PJC Rebecca Nachman is a global health master’s student at the University of Copenhagen. This piece first appeared on Alma.

Chronicle poll results: Thanksgiving


ast week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “What are your plans for Thanksgiving?” Of the 183 people who responded, 60% said they would be spending the day with a small group of family or friends; 22% said they would be celebrating with a large group; and 8% said they would be observing the day with just the people who live under their roof. Forty-six people submitted comments. A few follow. Still unable to have children and grandchildren in our house. Grandchildren are too young to be vaccinated.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? 8%

I will be with just the people who live with me under our roof.


Not sure.

few days before Thanksgiving. Everyone but the new grandbaby is vaccinated and we’re genuinely grateful. Grateful to be together with my family! I’m happy to be going to be with people this year, not Zooming.


I will be with a large group of family and/or friends (ten or more).


I will be with a small group of family and/or friends (under ten).

This will be the first time visiting out-oftown family in two years. All of us are now vaccinated.

I look forward to the day when we can again, comfortably, have a larger gathering for holidays.

I will be by myself, so just a small rock Cornish hen and very few side dishes. Single serve piece of pie or cake. All family are from out of town and aren’t interested in traveling and haven’t invited me to come to them.

We choose only to celebrate with people who are vaccinated because we have young grandchildren who can’t be yet. They are included in our celebrations.

Will enjoy our, now traditional, vegan Thanksgiving with most of our kids coming home. Turkey will be on our Shabbat menu a

As those gathering for Thanksgiving are within our “pod” of two in one home, four in one home, and three in one home, we have been an active family unit for the entire pandemic.

A rather spurious position under the circumstances. Though indeed the prevailing rabbinic opinion is that those awaiting permission to come are for the most part not halachically Jewish, the overwhelming majority of the community’s members maintain a strictly traditional Jewish lifestyle and 95% of them convert under the auspices of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate within a year of their aliyah. Furthermore, this is no longer an argument that any of us should countenance. It is far too late, and completely irrelevant, to ask if those awaiting aliyah in Gondar and Addis Ababa are Jewish, because what clearly isn’t Jewish is sustaining people’s hopes for 20 years, tearing families apart and then reneging on promises to reunite them out of concern for polluting the Jewish gene pool. An argument, by the way, never raised

in regard to the more than half of the immigrants from the FSU who have arrived over the past few years who are also not halachically Jewish and who overwhelmingly do not convert, but who nevertheless are welcomed — as they should be — with open arms. Besides, anyone not convinced that these Ethiopian immigrants are bona fide Jews even after their conversion need not marry them. As to those who are afraid that 14,000 more mouths to feed and souls to house will break the economy of our 9-million strong Start-up Nation, well, I’d suggest taking a look at the state budget just passed and calculating how very little of the earmarked “coalition funds” it would take to absorb them. The ongoing procrastination, then, in bringing home the remnants of Ethiopian

Breakstone: Continued from page 10

there is understandable — even if not justified — suspicion regarding the reliability of this one. In the meantime, those praying for an airlift to Israel are facing an increasingly volatile security situation as the civil war raging in the country closes in on them, while, of course, also contending daily with abject poverty and serious health issues, exacerbated by the COVID-19 economic fallout. So why the delay? Clearly there are those in positions of power who do not want them here at all, arguing that it is not Israel’s duty to open its gates to non-Jews, nor is it Israel’s responsibility to shoulder the social and economic burden of absorbing them. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG


Hanukkah is a tad different and slightly larger with cousins in town from NYC and Baltimore. I am a touch more nervous about that, yet excited to see family I care deeply about! I plan to go to a restaurant with friends rather than spending another Thanksgiving alone. Holidays aren’t like they used to be. Aside from COVID issues, empty chairs due to generations passing. I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so my day will be like any other day.  PJC — Toby Tabachnick

Next week’s question

Has the supply chain crisis affected your Chanukah shopping? Go to to respond.  PJC Jewry should be a cause for profound embarrassment, and their aliyah a cause we should all embrace. This is not a peripheral parochial issue, but a national moral imperative. The plight of those left behind is a blight on an otherwise stellar chapter in the annals of the Zionist enterprise, and it is our collective responsibility to right this wrong — as one. If Israel’s social fabric cannot be woven seamlessly of strands of black and white, it may well unravel altogether. None of us should be prepared to tolerate any longer a situation in which Israel remains in the business of tearing families apart.  PJC David Breakstone recently completed a term as deputy chair of the executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel. This piece first appeared on The Times of Israel. NOVEMBER 19, 2021  11

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Headlines Mental Health: Continued from page 8

ensuring every pediatric office has mental health counseling available, Feinstein would like to see more support for the organizations and entities aiding today’s youth. Recent grants from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation demonstrate a desire to put more resources upstream. In August, Friendship Circle Pittsburgh received a two-year $100,000 grant to help create a drop-in community space where teens can access wellness support and connect with peers. In August, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation also provided a one-year, $180,000 grant to continue its PA Youth Advocacy Network and the Teen Mental Health Collaborative. The PA Youth Advocacy Network was created in 2018 and includes youth advocates and partner organizations, including Stand Together, The Second Floor at the Jewish

Chanukah: Continued from page 1

Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is promoting a series of virtual and in-person events for Chanukah celebrants of all ages. On Nov. 28, from 9:30-11 a.m., Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will present a special Chanukah seminar online. Later, on Nov. 30, from 5-7 p.m., Federation’s Young Adult Division is hosting a happy hour (location will be announced at a later date) with the first drink free for those who register in advance.

Temple Ohav Shalom

Rabbi Jeremy Weisblatt of Temple Ohav Shalom is encouraging Jewish Pittsburghers to begin the holiday with an extra spark. On Nov. 28, from 5-6 p.m., Weisblatt will join community members at McCandless Crossing on McKnight Road for a public menorah lighting. The North Hills gathering is the first of the congregation’s numerous holiday events, packaged as “The Second Annual Eight Days of TOS.” The activities are all multiaccess and open to the entire community, Weisblatt said. Among those programs is a craft event; a “family fun night”; a Men’s Club whiskey tasting; and a virtual book talk with Rabbi Rachel Mikva of the Chicago Theological Seminary, author of “Dangerous Religious Ideas: The Deep Roots of Self-Critical Faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” On Dec. 1, Ohav Shalom, in partnership with Menemsha Films and Chai Flicks, is hosting a community film festival. With content available for each night of Chanukah, participants will gain access to 11 films, along with exclusive filmmaker discussions, that can be viewed from a phone, computer or tablet, Weisblatt said.

Temple David

Temple David in Monroeville is planning on maximizing each night of Chanukah through an array of programs and games, bringing “laughter, light and lots of fun to the Eastern suburbs,” Reena Goldberg, Temple David’s president, said. 14  NOVEMBER 19, 2021

Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, the Beaver County Youth Ambassadors Program, the Friendship Circle Pittsburgh, UpStreet Pittsburgh, PA Care Partnership, Youth MOVE PA, The Mentoring Partnership and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The Teen Mental Health Collaborative was launched in 2020 and includes a group of 14 organizations — including Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education, Boys & Girls Clubs of Western PA, and Homewood Children’s Village — supporting teen mental health programs during the pandemic. Sarah Pesi, a teen engagement and outreach coordinator at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and policy assistant at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, touted the benefits of community organizations and said their staff and patrons have the power to help today’s teens. As advocates, people can let their legislators, hospital systems, health care providers and schools know how significant this

moment is for young adults. Whether reiterating the tragic realities of the current crisis yields increased funding for school counselors, or curricular changes incorporating mental health awareness, it’s a start, Pesi said. Even on the smallest scale, individuals can generate considerable change, agreed Deborah Murdoch, program manager at Jewish Healthcare Foundation. According to Harvard University researchers, children facing significant adversity are able to develop resilience with the support of even one supportive adult. Murdoch hopes adults realize that being present and listening are vital, and that demonstrating these behaviors can make all the difference. Be aware of the mental health needs in teens. Know the warning signs. Offer a safe space and encourage young adults to talk about their feelings. Teens today have many academic pressures, and schools are not necessarily equipped to provide

all the social and emotional support required, Murdoch said. The declaration of a national emergency in children’s mental health should be a wakeup call to policy makers. The pandemic exacerbated a problem that preceded labor shortages or quarantine. And, in many communities, there are still significant barriers for accessing mental health support, Murdoch said. Adults need to ask themselves a question, Miller said: What does it take to create a thriving community? People should realize it’s not just enough for children to survive — kids need to thrive. A comprehensive response to this crisis isn’t simply focusing on the declaration, but the holistic wellbeing of young adults everywhere. We can’t forget, continued Miller, “while children are 20% of our population now, they’re 100% of our future.”  PJC

For starters, a different family will lead online candle lighting for the congregation every night of Chanukah, and the Sisterhood is selling Chanukah supplies and raffling off baskets filled with holiday treats. The congregation will also host its first annual Chanukah Games, Goldberg said, where members will be divided into teams to participate in a variety of holiday-themed challenges to earn points and win prizes. The festivities will culminate on the eighth night of Chanukah with an outdoor menorah lighting and refreshments. “We’re inviting everyone to bring their menorah to our Chanukah Shabbat evening service, and they can roll their own wax candles before the service,” Goldberg added. The next morning, for Shabbat services, “everyone is wearing their ugly Chanukah sweaters and receiving yummy chocolate gelt.”

the beginning of the end of the pandemic, Chanukah beckons as a time for us to return, renew and rededicate.”

Temple Sinai

Rabbi Shlomo Silverman, of Chabad of Carnegie Mellon University, is looking at this year’s holiday as an opportunity to spark action. “Last year most people were home for Chanukah,” Silverman said. “It’s hard not to be together, especially on the holidays. The fact that we can be together and celebrate as a Jewish community should give us that extra boost of energy we need throughout the year.” Every night of the holiday, Silverman will be hosting candle lighting ceremonies. He said the smaller gatherings, which will mostly occur indoors, allow people to light their own menorahs in quieter spaces. In addition, a mega-lighting event is being planned for Dec. 2 in which the CMU Bagpipe Band and university officials will join with students near the Fence (CMU’s unofficial university billboard) at 5 p.m. for a much larger party, Silverman said.

together and to join Temple Sinai’s Fellman in lighting the giant menorah on Forbes Avenue outside the Squirrel Hill JCC. The Dec. 4 program will benefit neighbors, explained Rabbi Ron Symons, of the JCC’s Center for Loving Kindness. Attendees of the outdoor event are asked to bring new unwrapped toys, and a week after the Chanukah celebration a group of “Jewish upstanders” will travel to the Christian Church of Wilkinsburg to help deliver the collected toys, Symons said. The toy distribution is intended to not only develop camaraderie, Symons continued, but to “build that sense of what we know neighbor can be — that it’s a moral concept, not a geographic term — and it’s us stepping beyond our own Jewish roots and our own Jewish culture and Jewish faith, which we embrace, and we uphold, and we adore, and saying that we can be a part of something much bigger.” For the JCC, Chanukah is a chance to strengthen spirits, and also to invite a little competition. On Dec. 6, JCC staffers in both Squirrel Hill and the South Hills will decorate doors throughout their buildings based on the theme “JCC State of Mind: Happy, Healthy, Whole.” Symons said the doors will be judged by students from the JCC’s pre-kindergarten classes. After 20 months of the pandemic disrupting so many activities, the JCC staff is eager to celebrate Chanukah with colleagues, friends and the community again, said Rachael Speck, the JCC’s director of day camps and children, youth and family division. This year especially, she added, people are “craving community and craving connection.” Though the pandemic is not yet over, as Chanukah nears, Symons said, “the key is that we celebrate, that we take our Jewish culture, that we can look back in time, 2,100 years ago, at a time when the Jewish community was suffering, and we can see the light that came out of that story then, and how generation after generation we’ve been lighting the light. We’re not going to stop. And that works for our family. It works for our kids. It works for our staff. It works for the community at large.”  PJC

At Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill, a mix of in-person and hybrid events should also warm some hearts. On Dec. 3, from 5:30-6 p.m., Temple Sinai is hosting “Hanukkah Tot Shabbat.” The in-person event is an informal way to teach children about Shabbat and the holiday, said Tami Prine, Temple Sinai’s marketing and communications director. Later that evening, the congregation is holding a hybrid Mostly Musical Shabbat Hanukkah Evening Service, where in-person attendees will be able to take home fresh latkes made by the Brotherhood. Finally, on Dec. 3, from 8-10 p.m., Temple Sinai will host “Hanukkah Young Adult Party: Dreidel Tournament & Mystery Gifts!” Prine described the in-person event as a “super cool holiday party” where participants will spin dreidels and win chocolate gelt. Registration and masking is required for each of Temple Sinai’s in-person programs. According to Temple Sinai’s Rabbi Daniel Fellman, the programs are a way to remind people that Chanukah is a chance to celebrate historic and modern rededication. “The Maccabees regained control of the great Temple and began by repurifying,” Fellman said. “Each year as we light the candles, we rededicate ourselves to lives of light. This year especially, as we finally see

Beth El Congregation of the South Hills

Chris Benton, Beth El Congregation of the South Hills’ executive director is anticipating “an outdoor extravaganza” this Chanukah. Benton encouraged participants to come to Beth El’s parking lot on Dec. 1 for an evening complete with a tiki torch menorah lighting, strolling klezmer musicians Janice Coppola and Julie Harris, and doughnut decorating (and eating). “We are planning a meaningful indoor social action activity during the event as well,” she said. Supply cost for the social action project is $18/person or $36/family. Call 412-561-1168 to RSVP.

Chabad of CMU

Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh

For those seeking sufganiyot, look no further than the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s “Chanukah Celebration: Light Up Night 7.” Scheduled for Dec. 4, from 4:30-5:45 p.m., the program will include crafts, games, jelly doughnuts, free giveaways, a chance to celebrate Havdalah


Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@

Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

Headlines School: Continued from page 2

“When a child puts a swastika on a desk, where does that come from?” he asked. “Well, they have been studying the Holocaust. So, where does it come from? I think partly it comes from educating the children on what happened.” Greenbaum, along with Beth El Congregation Associate Rabbi Amy Greenbaum and Temple Emanuel of South Hills Rabbi Aaron Meyer were already scheduled to speak with students as part of the Holocaust unit, as was Lynne Ravas from the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh Generation Speaker Series before the swastika was found. Meyer said that education, rather than discipline, is the right place to start the conversation. “Bringing more education, more

Kristallnacht: Continued from page 3

Weinblum said New York synagogues would not take the German Torah into their collections because it no longer was considered kosher and its letters were smudged. The Torah later found a home at Tree of Life-S’fard in White Oak and, after that synagogue closed, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and in the Holocaust Center’s collection. “I talked about it all the time,” Weinblum said. “I was so proud that it was there.” “What a commitment he made to ensuring that was preserved,” Holocaust Center Director Lauren Bairnsfather told Weinblum. “What an incredible story coming out of Kristallnacht.” The Nov. 9 presentation also featured a screening of the WQED documentary “An Unlikely Refuge” —which examines Pittsburgh connections to the story of Jewish refugees fleeing to Shanghai during the

Facebook: Continued from page 5

but added, “We regularly take feedback and evolve our policies.” Rabbi Zalman Abraham, director of JLI’s Wellness Institute, said that, in addition to the ads submitted by local Chabad Centers, JLI attempted to run advertising on Facebook. In its rejection message, Facebook stated “that the ad might have been rejected because it is about ‘sensitive social issues’ that could influence elections or pending legislation,” Abraham told eJewishPhilanthtropy. Abraham said in a statement that JLI commends Facebook’s efforts to block hate speech across their platforms but voiced frustration that “they have not yet figured out how to discern hate speech from its opposite and instead choose to shut down all conversations on the topic — including silencing the voices of our instructors who are working to educate the public in the struggle against the world’s oldest and longest-running hatred.” PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

pedagogy, instead of handcuffs feels like the right way to approach these issues,” he said. “This is a learning period for kids, certainly not one exclusive to the Mt. Lebanon school district but rather to all local districts. By looking at this comprehensively, educationally, as well as with the possibility of discipline where necessary, creates a much better solution.” Ravas’ father is a Holocaust survivor. A former teacher, Ravas spoke to Mt. Lebanon students after the swastika was found. She said that she was impressed with how well the district handled the situation and that the students were receptive to her message. “I was on the stage, and everyone was masked and social distanced but one of the teachers asked afterward if I heard the audible gasps from the audience? I’ve been telling this story for over 40 years, and I’ve shared it with several groups over the last three years here in Pittsburgh. It seemed well received and appropriate for the age

group,” she said. Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh Director Lauren Apter Bairnsfather said that the district presented a strong, positive response that serves future prevention. “Mt. Lebanon is one of the districts that will have a LIGHT (Leadership through Innovation in Genocide and Human Rights Teaching) Center. We’re working with the high school. LIGHT creates a space where students can explore their ideas with good advice from a coordinator.” She said that it’s important to remind students that the Holocaust is still a living memory and hopes that through education, students will feel empowered to reproach their peers when they notice something wrong. “Our goal really is for the students to understand that it’s painful.” While the Mt. Lebanon Police Department is called in as soon as a hate symbol is found to help with the investigation, Deputy Chief

Jason Haberman, too, believes this should be an opportunity for education. He said when the police department is called it looks to see if there is any institutional vandalism or damage to physical property and if there are obvious connotations of hate toward someone. “We look at the total situation. Was this a situation of trying to get attention, was this hate directed at an individual, a hate crime? The bottom line is, when you’re dealing with the age group of kids, at least in the recent incidents, they aren’t much past the age of reason. We recognize where they’re at in growing up and getting older and making mistakes. We address that with a multipronged approach,” he said. At the end of the day, Shaw said there is a simple motto she lives by: “The more we know, the better we can do.”  PJC

Holocaust — and a discussion with the producer of the documentary, Iris Samson. Samson, a multiple Emmy winner, Golden Quill winner and now a producer for WQED, said her decision to work in the Jewish world was simple. She married a Jewish man who descended from three Holocaust survivors, and found herself inspired by the history. A trip to Israel cemented that decision. Her first job in Pittsburgh was as an assistant editor at the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, which she called “a natural entry into doing stories on the Jewish world.” Samson’s husband had three uncles who rode out World War II in Shanghai. “It’s a Jewish world and everything is sort of connected,” Samson said. The documentary, she said, “was very different than the other Holocaust stories I’ve done in the past — it’s really a fascinating story.” Samson interviewed several Pittsburghers for the documentary, including the Murrysville-based granddaughter of a Chinese diplomat who bravely handed

out visas so Jews could safely flee Europe’s antisemitism. That diplomat, according to his family, said he was only doing what any other person would have done. “The fact that there was a place that was a haven” meant a lot, Samson said. “There wasn’t a lot of antisemitism in China — and that was a good thing.” Samson said time has been the greatest enemy of her work as a producer of stories related to the Holocaust. “Our biggest and saddest problem was trying to get the survivors themselves,” Samson told Bairnsfather. “Once they’re gone, so many of their stories will be lost.” “These are the stories that keep the memory alive,” Bairnsfather added. The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh plans to display “Jakob’s Torah,” as well as artifacts from Jewish life in China during World War II, at Chatham University sometime in 2022, Bairnsfather said.  PJC


In an interview with the Chronicle, Abraham said that social media advertising is a large part of its reach: nearly 1 million people view JLI ads on Facebook and Instagram for its courses, but he couldn’t quantify how many of those people signed up to take classes at a local Chabad center. He called Facebook’s response complicated but said that the social media giant had been responsive. “They’ve been trying to help us, although, understandably, something of this magnitude can’t be changed overnight. So, we haven’t actually seen results, but they have been responsive at a high level.” Chabad Jewish Center of Monroeville Rabbi Mendy Schapiro, like the other local Chabad rabbis, offers three different JLI courses each year. He said that he was surprised by Facebook’s position because the courses are educational and contain no propaganda. “I realized though, that we’re talking about a computer system rejection. I guess the surprising part is why the programmer of Facebook would set up a program to reject

it, but ultimately,” he said, “I don’t think someone specifically rejected it.” Schapiro, who couldn’t recall if he submitted an ad or if his application was rejected before even being submitted, said he decided not to publicize the rejection because of the course itself. “The class is about battling antisemitism through building Jewish pride and self-worth. Awareness is important but it is more powerful and productive to be aware of your own Jewish pride and who we are. Kicking and screaming every time someone says something about us, or tries to silence, that may be bothersome, but it’s not where our focus should be.” Instead, he wants the focus to be on “our Jewish pride and connection to Hashem.” Schapiro has a history of having advertising rejected by Facebook. Earlier this year, the rabbi attempted to place an ad for the course, “The Inside Story of the Iron Dome.” That ad, like the ones received by Chabad centers across the country for “Outsmarting Antisemitism,” was rejected with a message saying that the ad “may have been rejected

Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.


David Rullo can be reached at drullo@

Continued from page 4

through the Hill District announcing that any merchants who remained opened on Sundays would be arrested on blue laws violations. (An exception was made for pharmacies, restaurants and kosher butchers.) The police claimed they were acting on a request by the Hill District Marketing Association, which denied any involvement. It might have kept going that way. But by then, the National Industrial Recovery Act was being challenged in federal court. It was ultimately abolished in 1936. The blue laws remained on the books, but they went back to being just a normal nuisance, rather than a special club that neighbors could use to beat their competitors over the head.  PJC Eric Lidji is the director of the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center. He can be reached at or 412-454-6406. because it mentions politicians or is about sensitive or social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation.” The rabbi said that because of that rejection, he became discouraged from attempting to place other ads on the social media site. “The Iron Dome is literally saving lives, and it was rejected.” In the end, Schapiro said, he doesn’t spend time worrying about Facebook rejecting advertising. “I don’t dwell on it too much. I tend to focus on the things we have control over and the things we can focus on in a positive way. We’re not into the protesting, I don’t focus on that kind of approach. I focus on inner growth and Judaism.” Facebook did not respond to requests for comments by the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.  PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ NOVEMBER 19, 2021  15

Life & Culture ‘Camp Confidential’ asks if ends justify means — STREAMING — By Sasha Rogelberg | Contributing Writer


hen Arno Mayer joined the Army in 1944 after fleeing France from Nazi clutches, he expected to exact revenge on the regime later responsible for the genocide of his Jewish family. Riding on a bus with other trepidation-filled young Jewish soldiers, Mayer braced himself to arrive at an airfield, to be shipped to Europe to fight battles against the Nazis in the waning war. Instead, Mayer and a select group of other German-speaking soldiers were taken to a place their superiors called “nothing”: a place hidden from sight and from the world. “Nothing” was really a clearing in the woods, a military base masquerading as a summer camp, complete with a swimming pool and ping-pong table. It was known as PO Box 1142. Shortly after the arrival of Mayer and his peers, a group of German officers, many with Nazi affiliations and including the ranks of rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, arrived as prisoners of war. The soldiers were instructed first to interrogate, but then to simply keep the Third Reich soldiers happy; they would serve an important role in the World War II victory.

Nearly all camp archives were destroyed along with its campus in 1946, but the oral histories of the participating soldiers were preserved and are now available to discover in the quasi-animated documentary short “Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis,” now streaming on Netflix. Israel-based filmmaker Mor Loushy remembers hearing the 2006 National Park Service archival tapes from PO Box 1142 officers for the first time in 2019 when she was approached by producers Benjamin and Jono Bergmann to help direct the documentary with partner Daniel Sivan. “It was pretty chilling,” Loushy said. Loushy recounts one of the first tapes she heard, which is featured in the film: Around Christmastime, the soldiers were asked by superiors to take the German officers to a department store to buy holiday presents for their families in Germany. The officers almost unanimously decided to buy skimpy undergarments for their wives with their $1,000 budget. But beyond their roles of glorified babysitters, the “morale officers” at PO Box 1142 had an even more sinister task. Their spoiling of the German officers was a gentle prodding for valuable information on the country’s V-2 rocket production. “They were already preparing for the Please see Camp, page 22

 Arno Mayer, a Jewish Holocaust refugee, joined the Army in 1944, expecting to exact revenge on Nazi forces.

 “Morale officers” were asked to take German officers holiday shopping in order to eventually gather intel on Germany V-2 rocket production. Images courtesy of Netflix

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Life & Culture HBO’s ‘Succession’ delves into antisemitism — STREAMING — By Jarrad Saffren | Contributing Writer


was born in 1991 and grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs. It was a safe and prosperous time and place for American Jews. So outside of a few passive-aggressive comments, I never really experienced antisemitism. But whenever I told a true outsider to the Jewish world that I was Jewish, a thought ran through my mind, unprompted by the other person. “Oh, he hates me now.” I can’t speak for all Jews, but I’m guessing I’m not alone here. Historical antisemitism, and our historical memory of antisemitism, breeds a feeling of distrust. Even in the United States when times are great, Jews walk around with an underlying fear. For the most part, it remains beneath the surface ... until it’s proven right. That was the arc of a recent episode of HBO’s “Succession,” a critically acclaimed satire about a Rupert Murdoch-like family that owns a multibillion-dollar media company. In the episode, “Lion in the Meadow,” which aired on Nov. 7, showrunner Jesse Armstrong introduces a significant Jewish character for the first time in two-and-a-half

is trying to take control of the empire, and the father, Logan Roy, played by Brian Cox, who may have overlooked a history of sexual assault in the organization. The feud has lowered the company’s stock price, causing Aaronson to lose $350 million. Brody’s character also has leverage. If he supports a possible hostile takeover by another shareholder and the owner of a rival company,  Adrien Brody plays billionaire Jewish investor Josh Aaronson in HBO’s “Succession.” Courtesy of Macall Polay/HBO they stand a good chance of usurping the family altogether. seasons. The character, Josh Aaronson, So, Aaronson forces the Roys to come to played by Adrien Brody, has to decide him to make their case. He puts the son and whether to forge an alliance with the show’s father in the painfully awkward position of being on the same team again. WASP-y antiheroes. Kendall arrives first and tries to buddy By putting the Jew and the WASPs together, alone, at Aaronson’s Long Island estate, up with Aaronson, saying Josh should come Armstrong lays bare the palpable distrust to his 40th birthday party. Brody’s charthat often exists between the two groups. acter seems to buy it a little, for a minute, And in doing so, he offers a subtle, and then until the elder Roy shows up. At that point, explicit, and always nuanced portrayal of the Aaronson leaves Kendall hanging mid-senJewish psychology that antisemitism breeds. tence to greet Logan. Aaronson is a billionaire shareholder with Minutes later, with the three of them a 4% stake in the media company, Waystar talking in Josh’s living room, Logan tells Josh RoyCo, of the main character family, the to let the Roys take care of the situation. Roys. But he is dismayed by the blood feud “Sit back here in your castle and count playing out in public between the son, your gold,” Logan says. Kendall Roy, played by Jeremy Strong, who And the distrust becomes clear in

the opening act. From there, the Jewish billionaire has the Roys follow him through a meadow to a beachside lunch. Throughout the sequence, Logan implies that he doesn’t want to be there. Cox’s character asks Josh how long the walk will take and what it will require to just convince him. While sitting down to lunch, Logan even says, “I got a wife at home.” Josh pushes Kendall to either halt his whistleblowing against his father or, when Logan is off taking a call, to reveal whatever dirt he has on his father. Kendall not only demurs, but angrily accuses Josh and Logan of plotting against him. Aaronson’s constant pushing of the Roys to prove themselves reveals his own distrust. Finally, during lunch, Aaronson demands that the Roys respect him. He shouts at them that he’s not just some guy who “got lucky at the casino one night” and now plays a rich person. So, in act two, the distrust is not only clear, but on the table. After Josh’s outburst, he takes a call from a security guard about the fastest route back to the mansion. That’s when Logan makes his subtle antisemitism explicit. “City boy,” he says to Josh, a New Yorker. Please see Succession, page 22

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NOVEMBER 19, 2021 17



B’nei Mitzvah

Wrestling with our words Jonny Balk, son of Marshall and Karen Balk, will celebrate his bar mitzvah at Beth El Congregation of the South Hills along with his twin brother Zac, on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Jonny is also the younger brother of Talia, and grandson of Bette and Phil Balk, Kathy Blackburn and the late John Fortney. Jonny is in eighth grade at Winchester Thurston. He enjoys soccer, skiing, playing with his dog Teddy and hanging out with his many great friends.

Zac Balk, son of Marshall and Karen Balk, will celebrate his bar mitzvah along with his twin brother Jonny, on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Zac is also the younger brother of Talia, and grandson of Bette and Phil Balk, Kathy Blackburn and the late John Fortney. Zac is in eighth grade at Winchester Thurston. He is passionate about environmental causes, enjoys electronic music production, biking, skiing, playing his guitar, playing with his dog Teddy and hanging out with his many close friends.  PJC

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Cantor Julie Newman Parshat Vayishlach Genesis 32:4 - 36:43


ast week I joined a number of people in logging off of Facebook and Instagram to “hold Facebook accountable for its harms and poor practices.” We were sending a message. We were also encouraged by the organizers to share that message with friends on Facebook before logging out. Which seems complicated — something to wrestle with a little. Was The Facebook Logout an effective message? Was it sent in a way that could be heard? Was it sent in a way that could result in change and repair? I don’t know. In this week’s parshah, Jacob is returning to Canaan after 20 years away, working for Laban and marrying Leah and Rachel. He had fled his brother Esau’s wrath after stealing Esau’s birthright. Jacob doesn’t know what kind of reception awaits him on his return. The parshah opens with: “And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother…” Gen 32:4. The Hasidic master, Elimelekh of Lizhensk, in his work, “No’am Elimelekh,” teaches that these messengers are actually the letters and words that we use to create speech. “The blessed One created letters, which in their original state are pure potential.” In No’am Elimelekh’s world, the prayers of the tsaddik were considered to have particular healing power, using the potential of those letters and words and skillfully putting them together in prayer. He speaks about the tsaddik’s words this way: “It is known that a tsaddik’s prayer is answered when praying for a sick person or for others in need.” But he is clear that the source of power for the tsaddik’s words is not just the potential in the letters or learning the “right” words to say or praying the “right” prayers. The power comes from loving energy behind the words. It is because the Torah was created

with love (as we declare in the liturgy in Ahavat Olam and Ahavah Rabbah) and that the tsaddik loves God and every person in the world. If we are meant to internalize that — well, that’s a tall order to bring into my own life. Applying the word “love” to people broadly is kind of overwhelming. It helps me to think of this kind of love, as Martin Buber puts it, as approaching everyone as “thou” instead of as an “it.” Of seeing them in their full dignity and capacity, to the best of my ability. Or thinking of love as attention. Bringing my attention, open and receptive, might be a kind of love. As Marge Piercy wrote: “Attention is love, what we must give children, mothers, fathers, pets, our friends, the news, the woes of others.” No’am Elimelekh recognizes this struggle when he connects that opening verse about messengers to the verse about Jacob wrestling the mysterious stranger on the night before he expects to face Esau, where we are told: “And Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.” Gen 32:25. The medieval commentator Rashi explains that the word in this verse for “wrestled,” in Hebrew va-yei’avek, is related to Hebrew word avek, which means “raises dust.” No’am Elimelekh admits the real difficulty of loving everyone like a true tsaddik, and the consequent difficulty of having love energize our words, like the tsaddik’s healing prayers. Often that “dust” covers that loving energy. The “dust” of my conscious and unconscious biases and my own reactivity covers up the knowledge of my fundamental connection to others. No’am Elimelekh invites us to internalize the struggle ourselves, to become more conscious of the energy behind our words on Facebook and everywhere else.  PJC Cantor Julie Newman is president of Tiferet, a Jewish spirituality project, and spiritual leader of Chavurat Shirah, an independent minyan. This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.

Pittsburgh synagogue shooter will not pursue insanity defense

T Bernadette L. Rose-Tihey Funeral Director, Supervisor, Vice President

Same Staff, Same Location, Same Ownership, New Name Previously, “The Rapp Funeral Home.” 10940 Frankstown Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15235 412.241.5415 18  NOVEMBER 19, 2021

he man accused of murdering 11 Jews in the Tree of Life building on Oct. 27, 2018, will not assert an insanity defense or an intellectual disability claim, according to motions filed by his attorneys in federal court last week. Defense lawyers, though, told Judge Donetta Ambrose that they do not yet have enough evidence regarding defendant’s mental health, and requested an extension of time — until March 1 — to continue to gather that evidence. The previous deadline was Nov. 15. Ambrose gave the defense until Jan. 31, 2022, to finish gathering mental health evidence as it pertains to the guilt phase of the trial. Defense attorneys also asked the judge to give them until 60 days prior to the start of trial to present mental health evidence pertaining to the death penalty phase of the proceedings. Ambrose granted that request.


A trial date has not yet been set. The judge denied a second defense motion last week in which the attorneys sought permission to file a document containing information about their client’s mental health “under seal,” and without prosecutors being allowed to see it. Prosecutors continued to argue in their briefs last week that the defendant is unnecessarily delaying the proceedings. “The court has also already given the defendant repeated extensions, ample time, resources, and firm directives to the defendant to make good use of this time and complete his mental health investigation and examinations,” prosecutors wrote. “Meanwhile, the defendant’s delay continues to cause the government grave prejudice and to grievously impact crime victims.”  PJC — Toby Tabachnick PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

Obituaries K AU F M A N : Saul Kaufman, “That’ (S)aul.” In the late afternoon on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, Saul Kaufman passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loving friends and family. He was a much beloved and adored father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and great-uncle as well as a cherished friend to almost too many to name. He was 103 years old. Saul was predeceased by his parents, Sam and Mary, as well as his siblings Nate, Arthur, Mildred and Rose Foner. As Saul would tell the story to everyone who would listen, he was the last of five children. When he was finally born his mother exclaimed, “That’s (S)all!!” Saul was happily married twice. His first was Miriam Snitzer Liebling, whose daughter is Hope Liebling Gaum (Larry). Miriam sadly succumbed to cancer five years later. Several years after that he met and married Phyllis Solomon Green Kaufman, whose two children are Debbie Green Rubin (Randy) and David Green (Diane). After a beautiful and loving 30-year marriage, Phyllis also passed away. Saul proudly served his country in WWII and continued to support veterans’ affairs for the rest of his life. All of his family and friends will forever remember and miss his vibrant and exuberant zest for life, playful nature and desire to put a smile on the face of every person he met. Graveside services and interment were held at Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the Scleroderma Foundation, 300 Rosewood Drive, Suite 105, Danvers, MA 01923-1389, American Cancer Society, 320 Bilmar Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15205 or a charity of the donor’s choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. LEVINE: Anita Bernstein Levine, beloved wife of Alan Levine, loving mother of Daniel (Jessica Tisch) Levine and Max (Erica Temel) Levine, cherished grandmother of Larry, Harry, Ben and Lily, dear sister of Rae (Ralph) Waldman and Miriam (Joseph) Cerra, and adoring aunt, passed away peacefully at home in Montgomery Village, Maryland, on Nov. 1, 2021. She was happily married to her husband for 45 years. Anita was from Pittsburgh, and kept a very close relationship with her childhood friends. She was universally recognized as brilliant, with her friends calling her “Miss Brain Box.” Anita was a beloved elementary school art teacher in the Montgomery County School system for 30 years after previously teaching in New Jersey for several years.

She awakened in her schoolchildren both creativity and imagination, giving students the tools of self-expression and the joy of art. She was an exhibits specialist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C., silk-screening and making many of the exhibits. She was an active member of her synagogue and loved weekly Shabbat services and the joyful tunes. Anita graduated from Penn State University in 1968 as an Evan Pugh Scholar, one of the highest academic distinctions, after studying abroad at the London School of Design. Anita was one of a kind, exceptionally caring, and embraced her family and friends with unbounded love. LIPPARD: Susan Frank Lippard, 77, of Point Breeze, on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. Beloved wife of Thomas Lippard; loving mother of Gregor y (Ninka), Adam (Michael), Jed (Todd); grandmother of Max, Bryce, Owen, Abraham, and Ari; daughter of the late James A. and Ruth O. Frank; sister of James, Linda, and William. Married happily to Tom for 55 years, Susie lived life to the fullest, playing by her own rules, forging her own path, and dedicating herself unconditionally to the care of those she loved. A 1962 graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill, Susie never professed a knack for formal schooling; in fact, her true genius was self-taught. Whether curating her magazine-worthy backyard garden, whipping up gourmet home-cooked meals, planning epic family vacations, learning to transcribe Braille for the Greater Pittsburgh blind population, volunteering as the “Plant Lady” at the East End Co-Op, or taking up and ultimately excelling at golf in her 40s, Susie was a winner at life. An ardent adventurer and cheerleader, she derived her greatest pleasure from being with and enhancing the lives of her children and grandchildren. In fact, in recent days, countless loved ones have referred to Susie as a “second mom,” indeed her first calling. Despite contending with cancer for 32 years, she persevered without complaint and demonstrated an indefatigable zest for life until the very end. Services were held at Rodef Shalom Congregation. Interment West View Cemetery of Rodef Shalom Congregation. Contributions can be made in her honor to UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, 5115 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, the National Aviary, 700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, or any other charity of a donor’s choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc.

Please see Obituaries, page 20

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

In memory of …

A gift from …

In memory of …

Anonymous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . David Miller Sylvia & Norman Elias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dorothy Brill Mr. & Mrs. Michael Lichtenstein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jack Ginsburg Randy Malt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Donald J. Malt Arlene Murphy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . William Ratowsky Richard, Mindy, & Logan Stadler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Milton Henry Platt Rosalyn Shapiro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Esther Davis Yetta Speiser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Max Blatt Freda Spiegel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ethel Greenberg

THIS WEEK’S YAHRZEITS — Sunday November 21: Sidney Epstein, Anna Gold, Ella Kazan, Jennie Levy, Isaac Mikulitsky, Jane Florence Pianin, Joseph Reisz, Freda Rosenwasser, Charles Saxen, Yetta Vinocur, Judge David H. Weiss Monday November 22: Bessie M. Bleiberg, Samuel B. Cohen, Louis Debroff, William Finkel, Hilda B. Friedman, Jacob Gilberd, Marcella Shapiro Gold, Bella Goodman, Everett Green, Eileen G. Herman, Frieda K. Lawrence, Ruth M. Lazear, Sadye Lincoff, Carl Markovitz, Jacob Mendelblatt, Marcus Rosenthal, Goldie Mallinger Schwartz, Charles B. Shapiro, Julius Sheps, Morris Solomon, Bella Stein, Edna Teplitz, Celia Verk Tuesday November 23: Bernice Finegold, Bertha Fingeret, Leo Freiberg, Margaret K. Lebovitz, Martin Rebb, Edward F. Reese, M.D., Esther Rice, Bessie Rosenblum, Louis Schultz, Dorothy Schusterman, Albert H. Snyder Wednesday November 24: Gertrude P. Elias, Leonard Enelow, Arthur Forman, Jack J. Friedman, Jacob Gold, Norma Harris, Harry Haynes, William Hersh, Milton Iskowich, Max Janowitz, Sylvia Kalmenson, Nannie Klater, Shirley Krouse, Ruth Kwall Land, Joseph Levitt, Allan Lippock, Maurice Malkin, Rebecca K. Malt, Harris Nathan Miller, Ruth Murman, Annette Nussbaum, Harry Rosenfield, Harold J. Rubenstein, Frank Smith, Zelig Solomon, Anne C. Weiss Thursday November 25: Maurice P. Ashinsky, Esther L. Bialer, Saul Broverman, Julian Falk, Harry First, David Frank, Louis Frank, Rose Goldstein, Martin W. Hepps, Sarah Jacobson, Alvin Lichtenstul, Jennie Markovitz, Julia Monheim, Myer Palkovitz, Morris Rudick, Morris J. Semins, Aaron Siff, Dr. Jacob Slone, Shirley Starr, Morris Weiss Friday November 26: Susan Barotz, Irving I. Chick “Bogdan”, Victor Chesterpal, Marc Leon Front, Rae Kleinerman, Dr. Hyman Levinson, Fannie Malkin, Max Mallinger, Louis Menzer, Fannie Rice, Marvin L. Silverblatt, Sam Swartz Saturday November 27: Julius Berliner, Jacob Braun, Florence Meyers Clovsky, Leonard Samuels Finkelhor, Edward L. Friedman, Alfred Krause, Max Lemelman, Sarah Young Pretter, Hymen Rosenberg, Eugene M. Rosenthall, Annie Segall, Lillian Shermer, Samuel Z. Udman, I. Barnes Weinstein

Old Chesed Shel Emeth Gate Dating back to 1853, Pittsburgh’s second oldest cemetery was established for free burials. The gate, arch and pillars are scheduled for 2021 restoration. Major wall repairs were completed in 2020. The cemetery is along Seavey Road in Shaler Township, a township with no less than eight Jewish cemeteries.

For more information about JCBA cemeteries, to volunteer, to read our complete histories and/or to make a contribution, please visit our website at, email us at, or call the JCBA office at 412-553-6469 JCBA’s expanded vision is made possible by a generous grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community Foundation

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NOVEMBER 19, 2021  19

Obituaries Obituaries: Continued from page 19

SMALLEY: Judy Feldstein Smalley, on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Born Feb. 6, 1938.

Daughter of the late Dr. Charles E. and Sylvia G. Feldstein. Judy was the beloved wife for 59 years of Joel; the loving mother of Michael (Stacey) and Leslie

(Mark); grandmother of Jacob, Matthew and Joshua; twin sister of Richard Feldstein. Aunt of special niece Mindy Shreve. The family expresses its gratitude to Cheryl Harrison, Bridget Feeney and Zelda Butler, Judy’s devoted caregivers. Services were held at

Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. Interment Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions in Judy’s memory should go to the Children’s School, Carnegie Mellon University, MMC17, Pittsburgh, PA. 15213 where she was a longtime teacher.  PJC



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Life & Culture Baked sweet potato and spinach latkes with vegan sour cream By Ilana Meiller | Contributing Writer


fter having rejected latkes in the past few years, I am determined to accept them back with open arms this Chanukah. No, I did not suddenly turn into a conditional vegan and choose to compromise my integrity. Rather, here I am paying tribute to the famous latke by baking it with a plant-based egg replacement and accompanying it with a wonderful vegan sour cream. Unlike their deep-fried counterparts, these latkes are healthier and not at all boring. Being high in antioxidant properties and low in fat, these baked sweet potatoes offer a

fresh take on the beloved potato latkes. This root vegetable also pairs nicely with the mildtasting baby spinach, increasing the benefits of leafy greens in our diet. And what holds these ingredients together while keeping this dish nutritious is an amazing flax egg mixture, which is similar to the texture of an egg. These crispy latkes are delicious on their own but definitely stand out when served with this creamy vegan sour cream. It is surprising that this cashew cream requires only a few ingredients and is ready in a couple of minutes. I often season my food with nutritional yeast, and this is no exception. The combination of flavors — sour, nutty, cheesy (nutritional yeast), tangy, spicy (optional) — in this sauce will make your mouth dance.

My recipe already got rave reviews from my family and friends who prefer to consume these latkes cold and add extra heat to this fabulous sauce. How will you eat yours during Chanukah? Chag urim sameach! Ingredients for the latkes: 2 large sweet potatoes 1 medium onion 1 cup fresh baby spinach, finely chopped ½ cup whole wheat flour ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 tablespoon olive oil for baking (extra for greasing) 3 flax eggs (3 tablespoons flaxseed meal/ ground flaxseeds mixed with 9 tablespoons water) Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper for approximately 12 latkes. Grease the parchment paper with oil. Mix 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal with 9 tablespoons water in a small cup. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into quarters. Grate the sweet potatoes using a food processor fitted with a grating blade or use a hand grater. Squeeze out the liquid from the sweet potatoes with a kitchen towel or cloth. Note: Do not skip this step if you desire crispy latkes. Place in a large mixing bowl. Peel, cut and grate the onion. Squeeze out excess liquid from the onion

Camp: Continued from page 16

Cold War, even before the world understood it,” Loushy said. In exchange for their intel, the German officers were promised naturalization for them and their families and immunity from war crime charges. “Camp Confidential” asks the audience less to make a judgment call on whether the young Jewish soldiers made the right decision in succumbing to help in the furtive military agenda and more to question if PO Box 1142

was a justifiable operation in the first place. “It goes back to the question of whether you can do bad things to achieve good ends,” said Peter Weiss, another Jewish soldier, in the film. “And I would say that if you do that, then the end that you achieve is not worthwhile.” Mayer and Weiss aside, many morale officers took the classified information of PO Box 1142 to their graves. Mayer and Weiss were even hesitant to share their experiences on film, nearly 75 years after their time at the camp. “Most of them didn’t tell the [experience in PO Box 1142] to their wives, their kids, their families,” Loushy said. “They kept it a


Soak the cashews in water for about 5 hours. Blend all the ingredients, except the cilantro if using, in a blender on a high speed until you get a smooth and creamy consistency. Serve the sour cream with the latkes and garnish with the cilantro if using.  PJC Ilana Meiller was born in Israel and works as a school-based mental health professional in Baltimore County.

extent are you willing to cooperate and to do unethical and immoral things in order to achieve good things?” “Camp Confidential” adds to the conversation about what “Never Again” truly means. If valuable information about WWII, the Holocaust and American Jews’ role in the war is still being unveiled, how will we choose to respond “in order to make a better society and to not repeat the crimes that happened in history, to learn something from our history?” Loushy wondered.  PJC

Due to the partnership, the mistrust was buried beneath the surface — until stress laid it bare. On the walk back to the house, though, it’s Kendall’s reaction that captures the younger generation’s attitude toward a dynamic that’s supposed to be a relic of history. The son sarcastically rips the father about how his “antisemitic bagel comment” really sealed the deal with Josh. Kendall thinks it’s absurd that Logan is antisemitic. But he is, and Josh, a man closer to Kendall’s age, understands it and has to

be driven by it. So, in the end, the relic of history once again drives it. The summit fails. The Jew and the WASPs can’t come together during a difficult moment. Later in the walk back, Logan collapses from heat exhaustion. Josh, who was walking ahead, comes back to help Logan up. As the patriarch struggles to his feet, Kendall tries to confirm with Josh that they are all good. Josh tells him to help his dad.  PJC

Continued from page 17

22  NOVEMBER 19, 2021

Ingredients for the vegan sour cream: 1 cup raw cashew ½ cup water 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar ½ teaspoon salt Pinch of cayenne pepper or to taste (optional) Cilantro, finely diced for garnish (optional)

secret. It was very difficult for them.” The documentary, which began production pre-pandemic in 2019, was released at an opportune time, Loushy said. Though PO Box 1142 was operational three-fourths of a century ago, its newly learned existence prompts the film’s audience to question what is happening in their own countries; what secrets are still being kept? Loushy believes “Camp Confidential” is deeply relevant. “This message was really universal,” Loushy said. “Even today, I think, you know, the U.S. and so many other countries are cooperating with dark regimes. To what

Succession: “You’re a long way from your nearest coffee and bagel.” Waystar RoyCo is a company that, according to one of Logan’s other sons in the same episode, used to not let Jews “above the fourth floor.” Josh’s skepticism of the Roys, along with Logan’s subtle and then explicit antisemitism, shows that Josh is well aware of the dynamic. Even as business partners, the Jew and the WASPs couldn’t grow to trust each other.

and add to the bowl. Wash and dry the spinach very well. Chop the spinach finely and add to the bowl. Stir in the whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, spices, olive oil and flax eggs. Mix very well. To form each latke, drop about 4 tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking sheet pressing it lightly with your hand and then with the back of a spatula. I also form a ball with my hands before I place it on the sheet. Bake the latkes for 20 minutes. Flip the latkes gently and bake them for an additional 15 minutes. I leave the latkes on a rack to maintain their crispiness until they are ready to be served.

p Adrien Brody’s character, Josh Aaronson, meets with Logan Roy, left, played by Brian Cox, and Kendall Roy, right, played by Jeremy Strong, in a recent episode of HBO’s “Succession.” Courtesy of Macall Polay/HBO


Sasha Rogelberg writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication.

Jarrad Saffren writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

Photo by Ilana Meiller

— FOOD —

Community Kids helping kids

Learning about Israel in Pittsburgh

After learning about the struggles of Afghan refugee children, Esther Hilsabeck and Alphie Doller (both age 7) held a bake sale. Last week, Hilsabeck and Doller traveled to JFCS’s office to deliver the more than $500 raised. Funds received will be used to buy books, toys and school supplies for Afghan refugee children.

JNF-USA’s Women for Israel in Western PA hosted an event at a private residence in Pittsburgh on Nov. 3. Participants learned about how JNF-USA and donors in Western Pennsylvania are helping to provide life-changing medical services to women, children and families, as well as JNF-USA’s role in the construction of the Kiryat Shmona Medical Center, which will provide medical care for the region’s thousands of new residents.

p Sheryl Buchholtz and Sylvia Elias

p Julie Paris and Debbie Resnick

p JFCS President and CEO Jordan Golin awards certificates of thanks to each child. Photo courtesy of JFCS

Celebrating new beginnings An art fence at the former B’nai Israel Synagogue was dedicated when dancers, drummers, speakers and artists gathered at 327 N. Negley Ave. on Nov. 10.

p Judith Kline, Debbie Resnick and Ellen Toker

Photos courtesy of JNF-USA

Movie and discussion NCJW, Pittsburgh Section joined Chatham University Art & Design Department and Women’s Institute, the Women and Girls Foundation, the Women’s Law Project and YWCA Greater Pittsburgh at a film series titled, “Just Films.” The series presents six new documentaries about gender and intersectional social justice issues, and runs through March. t On Nov. 10, NCJW and fellow members of Just Films Pittsburgh sponsored a showing of “$avvy.” The movie investigates the historical, cultural and societal norms around women and money.

p Shabaka Perkins, executive director of Sankofa Village for the Arts, and Dilworth World Drummers from Pittsburgh Dilworth Pre-K-5 perform.

p Artists stand in front of the newly dedicated fence.



p Megan Rose, director of NCJW’s Center For Women, moderates a discussion with Ikuma Ojok from Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center, Jessica Perrone from Her Financial IQ and Michele Abbott from OnePGH Fund. Photos courtesy of NCJW, Pittsburgh Section


NOVEMBER 19, 2021  23



Harold F. Marcus

upon his retirement after

40 years of dedication to the state of israel


5505 Forbes Avenue • Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Temple Sinai and Israel Bonds require masks and proof of vaccination.

special guest speaker:


Co-Founder & CEO, The MirYam Institute Due to COVID-19 protocols, no food or beverages will be served. $100 per person minimum Israel bond investment required to attend. (Not tax deductible) Please note there should be no gifts, including Israel bonds, purchased for Harold. to register and for investment information contact:

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NOVEMBER 19, 2021


Anniversary of