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Style Buck classic revisited ‘Peony’ takes reader inside world of Chinese Jews Page 12

THE JEWISH CHRONICLE thejewishchronicle.net

JANUARY 6, 2011 shevat 1, 5771

Vol. 53, No. 36

Pittsburgh, PA

Katsav convicted

$1.50

Youth programming key to PittsburghKarmiel relations BY JUSTIN JACOBS Associate Editor

(Third in a series on the 15th anniversary of the Pittsburgh-KarmielMisgav relationship through Partnership 2000.)

Yossi Zeliger/ Flash90/ JTA

Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, with gray hair at center, outside a Tel Aviv court after his convictions for rape and sexual assault, Dec. 30, 2010.

Israelis discuss ex-president’s punishment for rape, abuse charges BY JUSTIN JACOBS Associate Editor

JERUSALEM — For the past four and a half years, Moshe Katsav’s name has come with an asterisk: the former Israeli president was investigated for charges of rape and sexual misconduct. Last week, A three-judge panel unanimously convicted Katsav on two counts of rape, sexual harassment and abuse, and obstruction of justice. In handing down the ruling, the judges called Katsav a liar. The yearlong trial was largely kept out of the public spotlight, but with Katsav’s

conviction, Israeli and international media are pushing the issue into widespread public discussion. But different media have handled the situation differently, said Aryeh Green, director of Media Central, a Jerusalem organization that helps journalists access Israeli sources. “The international press is all over this, especially Al Jazeera and Iranian TV. For them, it’s great: it shows the Jews as being real perverts,” said Green. “But I’d say on the whole in Israel, it’s being covered with relative moderation. Not the fanfare that Israel’s enemies have been delighted to cover it with.”

With numerous scandals surrounding Israeli politicians in recent years, “there’s been a keen sense of embarrassment from most of Israeli society,” said Green. “The media is just trying to report the facts.” The discussion now seems to have shifted to punishment. Katsav could receive up to 16 years in prison for the convictions; he could be pardoned; he could lose his pension. Each option has its own set of supporters and naysayers. “A lot of people here say he should be Please see Katsav, page 23.

KARMIEL, Israel — “Our roots are all from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” 17-year-old Ayal Rena said. “I think we should all know each other; we should share our knowledge. We’re all Jews, and the anti-Semitism still isn’t gone. We’re all bonded.” He could barely stay seated. When Ayal began talking about passions of his — the Israeli Defense Forces, youth movements, teen leadership, his home in Karmiel and his home in Pittsburgh — his wide smile stretched and his words flooded out. Ayal is a part of the Diller Teen Fellows, a widespread, but community specific program pairing teenagers from American cities and their Israeli sister cities together for leadership programming both in the United States and Israel. As part of the first class of fellows, Ayal has been connected to Pittsburgh youth through multiple trips, including Please see Karmiel, page 23.

Fighting for fuel?

Natural gas finds off the Israeli coast could lead to conflict with its neighbors. See column, page 21.

B U S I N E S S 1 7 /C L A S S I F I E D 2 0 /C O M M U N I T Y 1 6 /O B I T UA R I E S 2 2 O P I N I O N 6 /R E A L E S TA T E 1 9 /S I M C H A S 1 5 /S T Y L E 1 2 /T O R A H 2 0

Times To Remember

KINDLE SABBATH CANDLES: 4:51 p.m. EST. SABBATH ENDS: 5:54 p.m. EST.


2 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011

Metro

Teens in town

Pittsburgh to host two major Jewish teens conventions this winter BY TOBY TABACHNICK Staff Writer

The winter of 2011 will find Pittsburgh as the host city to two distinct — and large — regional conventions for Jewish teenagers. More than 140 teenagers from NFTY PAR (the Pennsylvania and New Jersey region for the North American Federation of Temple Youth) will converge at Temple Sinai from Jan. 14 to 16 for a weekend of social action projects and spirituality. From Feb. 24 to 27, 130 teens are expected at Congregation Beth Shalom for the CRUSY (Central Region of United Synagogue Youth) specialty kinnus. Both conventions will focus on tikkun olam (repairing the world). Each winter, Reform congregations in the NFTY PAR region vie for the opportunity to host the teenagers for their winter institute, or WINSTY, said Jackie Braslawsce, youth adviser at Temple Sinai. None of the seven Reform congregations in Pittsburgh has had the chance to host this event “for many years,” she said. “We won the bid this year,” Braslawsce said. “Everyone is coming here. It’s amazing.”

With 142 kids registered for the weekend — and 10 more on a waiting list — this year’s WINSTY is “the biggest ever,” she added. Teenagers from all across Pennsylvania and New Jersey will arrive on Friday afternoon, and will be housed at the homes of members of Temple Sinai. They will lead the congregation in Shab-

bat services Friday evening at the temple, and will have Shabbat morning services at Hillel Jewish University Center, followed by learning sessions. Braslawsce has been planning this convention since August, and has arranged for the teenagers to volunteer at several service agencies throughout the weekend. The social action projects she has organized are numerous, and range from field checking the rain barrels at Nine Mile Run, to decorating the doors of guests at the Ronald McDonald House, to leading the residents of Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in song and bingo. The teenagers will also work on projects at Temple Sinai, including baking challas for the congregation’s Caring Committee, and painting a 30-foot Jewish timeline for the religious school. They will be treated to an ice-skating and DJ party on Saturday night. Braslawsce sees scoring the honor of hosting the winter institute as a “huge accomplishment,” and something that will have a positive impact on the teenagers of Temple Sinai going forward. “This will change the way our teens look at youth groups,” she said. “It will empower them. They will see they are not on the periphery, but that they are important enough for everyone to come all the way here, instead of us going all the way there. “The kids are meeting once a week,

and have really taken ownership for the entire weekend,” she added. “I’m really psyched about what it’s going to be beyond WINSTY, how it’s going to grow our youth group.” While the teenagers at Temple Sinai have been gearing up for WINSTY, Beth’s Shalom’s USY chapter has been hard at work organizing its region’s specialty kinnus, which will also help mark the 60th anniversary of international USY. Conservative Jewish teenagers from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and West Virginia will arrive in Pittsburgh on Thursday evening, Feb. 24. On Friday, they will choose to volunteer at a variety of venues, including Thriftique, the re-sale shop operated by the National Council of Jewish Women, the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Like their NFTY counterparts, the USY teenagers will be housed at the homes of congregants, and will lead Shabbat services. On Saturday afternoon, the USY teenagers will participate in study sessions on the subject of “special needs through a Jewish lens,” said Carolyn Gerecht, youth director at Beth Shalom. CRUSY holds a social action convention every year, according to Gerecht, with congregations in the region taking turns as host. “Beth Shalom hasn’t hosted since 2008, so we’re really excited,” she said. Please see Conventions, page 23.


THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011 — 3

METRO Beat goes on

The Maccabeats

Maccabeats come to Pittsburgh The Maccabeats, the popular a cappela group from Yeshiva University whose recent Chanuka video went viral on YouTube, drawing more than 3.5 million views, is coming to Pittsburgh. The band will perform a community concert Saturday, Jan. 15, 8:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill. JCC and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh are co-sponsoring

Briefly Tu B’Shevat will be celebrated at a Shabbat Festival, Friday, Jan. 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, 5738 Forbes Avenue, Squirrel Hill.

the event, which is a fundraiser for Congregation Poale Zedeck. The congregation is hosting the Maccabeats for Shabbat that weekend. The Maccabeats have appeared on NBC’s “Today” show, CNN and were featured on the “Huffington Report.” There is a charge for admission. Call Poale Zedeck at (412) 421-9786 for tickets. The festival, which is open to the community, will have a magical forest for children to play in, created by artist Marlene Miller. Children will be able to enjoy tree-themed crafts, plant a tree seed, play games and eat dinner with their families. The event is presented by the JCC’s Please see Briefly, page 5.


4 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011

METRO ‘An extremely important collection’

Chronicle to donate photo file, other artifacts, to Rauh BY LEE CHOTTINER Executive Editor

The Jewish Chronicle’s move from Shadyside to Squirrel Hill is proving to be a bonanza for the archivists of Pittsburgh’s Jewish history. Since the Chronicle announced its move in late December, representatives of the Rauh Jewish Archives, a division of the Senator John Heinz History Center, have been scouring the paper’s files searching for items worthy of preservation. They have found quite a bit, including, books, newsletters, back issues of the Chronicle and other Jewish papers — but nothing more exciting than the Chronicle’s extensive photo collection, which contains an estimated 32,000 files of prints of Jewish leaders and philanthropists taken over the paper’s 48-year history. The Chronicle plans to donate the collection to the Rauh, whose archivists will begin moving the 70-plus boxes of files this week. How many prints those files contain is virtually impossible to say just now. “One file could contain one print or it could contain 50,” said Molly Tighe, a contracted archivist for the Rauh who has been working at the paper preparing the files for the move to the Heinz center. The shear size of the collection

makes it an exciting project for the Rauh. “We think this is an extremely important collection,” Rauh archivist Susan Melnick said. “It not only documents the newspaper and its work, but it’s the content of the newspaper, which has documented the community since 1962.” She added, “This may be the largest collection of pictures of people in the Pittsburgh Jewish community. What a resource!” The Chronicle recently sold its two-story office building at 5600 Baum Blvd., and is preparing to move into a smaller space at Congregation Beth Shalom by mid-January. While the new location is not large enough to accommodate the paper’s photo collection, the Rauh is also better suited to store the files until they can be sorted, catalogued and ultimately digitized. “We’d also like to select some of the photographs … have them digitized and put up on Historic Pittsburgh,” Melnick said. Historic Pittsburgh is an online collection of local resources that supports personal and scholarly research of the western Pennsylvania area. The University of Pittsburgh’s Digital Research Library maintains the Historic Pittsburgh website. The photo collection includes A special edition of the Chronicle, shortly after the 1973 images of both the nationally faYom Kippur War broke out, is one of many artifacts the mous, and locally prominent — Rauh is processing. Please see Rauh, page 23.


THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011 — 5

METRO Briefly Continued from page 3. My Baby and Me program in partnership with Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest, Abrakadoodle, and the Frick Environmental Center. Tu B’Shevat, which means 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, is an Arbor Day that is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. The holiday begins at sunset, Wednesday, Jan. 19. There is a charge to attend. Contact Miriam Abramovich at (412) 521-8011 Ext. 398 or mabramovich@jccpgh.org, to register. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future, in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp, is offering $1,000 grants to children attending Jewish overnight camp for the first time for a period of 19 consecutive days or more. Visit onehappycamper.org to submit an application. Parents of children in a Jewish day school may contact Sally Stein at the Federation, (412) 992-5243 or sstein@jfedpgh.org. CFJF is part of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Aleph Institute is looking for mentors to visit Jewish prison inmates at least once a month (three to six hours). The mentors would use the time to counsel inmates. Aleph would provide all the necessary training, support and instruction. Contact Holly at (412) 421-0111 Ext. 100 or receptionist@alephne.org for more information. Aleph Institute has launched its end of year campaign. This year, the advocacy organization for Jewish prison inmates and their families has set a $23,000 goal for the campaign with $2,000 raised so far. “We depend on charitable contributions from individuals and corporations to cover the lion’s share of our budget,” Rabbi Moishe Mayir Vogel, executive director of the Pittsburgh based North East Region of Aleph, said in a prepared statement. “Many of these large contributions have been much more difficult to come by due to the current situation. “We have been responsible, cutting our expenses and being extremely watchful of every dollar spent,” he added. “Aleph has always been known for stretching a dollar and we are now stretching that same dollar to new tensions.” Online donations are being accepted at mychabad.org. Call Aleph at (412) 421-0111 for more information. Poale Zedeck Sisterhood’s International Food Festival returns Sunday, Jan. 9, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Congregation Poale Zedeck, 6318 Phillips Ave., Squirrel Hill. The menu will include Chinese, Italian, Hungarian, Israeli and American foods. It will be glatt kosher under the supervision of the Vaad Harabonim of Pittsburgh; some Lubavitcher schechita and takeout will be available. Call Poale Zedeck at (412) 421-9786, Chaya Pollack at (412) 422-6737 or visit pzonline.org for more information. Beth Israel Center will hold the third adult education lecture of the year Sunday, Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m. Rabbi Amy Hertz of Rodef Shalom will speak on “How the Bible Tells Stories.” There is no fee for this lecture and the community is invited to attend.

Chabad of Pittsburgh will present “The Magic of Jewish Music,” a performance for women only, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m., at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill. The performers include award-winning mezzo-soprano Raquel Winnica Young, mezzo-soprano Gilah Moritz and concert pianist Luz Manriquez. A Duquesne University graduate, Young has performed at the Colon Opera House in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is a winner of the 2010 Pittsburgh Concert Society major auditions. Moritz is a member of Kol Shira, the all-women Pittsburgh Jewish a capella group. She also performed with Kol Isha at the Pittsburgh JCC in 2007 in the play “Imagining Bubbe.” Moritz is currently presenting a series of solo recitals. Manriquez, a native of Santiago, Chile, is a student of music who has completed a master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon University and is currently on the faculty. She performs numerous concerts each year and has appeared as a soloist, recitalist and in chamber ensembles. A wine and cheese buffet will be served. There is a charge to attend. The proceeds from the performance after covering costs will benefit Chabad of Pittsburgh. Contact Chabad at (412) 421-3561 or caltein@chabadpgh.com for more information. Pittsburgh Conference of Jewish Women’s Organizations is holding a dessert reception Monday, Jan. 10, at 12:30 p.m. at Community Day School. The program includes a production of “The Finer Things in Life (Part 2),” directed by Tracy Brigden of City Theatre. The speaker will be Tracy Brigden, artistic director of City Theatre. Call Alex Greenberg at (412) 441-2118 or Ruth Weiss at (412) 798-9338 to make reservations. Career Development Center of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service will offer job seekers more than 15 workshops for free this January. Classes offered include The Art of Networking, Jan. 10; Understanding Pre-Employment Testing, Jan. 12; Managing Interview Stress, Jan. 20; and Non-Profit Management Job Search and Discussion, Jan. 21. A monthly job seeker support group, job search strategies and AARP Worksearch will be held as well. Workshops are of no cost to participants, but those interested must sign up in advance. Call the Career Development Center at (412) 422-5627 for more information.


6 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011

The Jewish Chronicle

Homegrown hatred should be resisted

Barbara Befferman, CEO EDITORIAL STAFF Lee Chottiner, Executive Editor Justin Jacobs, Associate Editor Angela Leibowicz, Community Editor Toby Tabachnick, Staff Writer SALES STAFF Susie Mangel, Senior Sales Associate Roberta Letwin, Sales Associate PRODUCTION STAFF Dawn Wanninger, Production Manager Nancy Bishop Production Artist BUSINESS STAFF Jennifer Barill, Comptroller Donna Mink, Classified & Subscriptions Marcy Kronzek, Receptionist BOARD OF TRUSTEES Davida Fromm, President Richard Kitay, Vice President Cindy Goodman-Leib, Secretary Lou Weiss, Treasurer Lynn Cullen, Past President Carolyn Hess Abraham Brian Balk Daniel Berkowitz Stephen Fienberg Malke Steinfeld Frank Stanley Greenfield David Grubman Thomas Hollander Larry Honig Evan Indianer David Levine Alex Moser Judy Palkovitz Jane Rollman Benjamin Rosenthal Dodie Roskies Charles Saul Andrew Schaer Ilana Schwarcz Jonathan Wander Published every Thursday by the Pittsburgh Jewish Publication and Education Foundation 5600 Baum Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15206 Phone: 412-687-1000 FAX: 412-687-5119 E-Mail: newsdesk@thejewishchronicle.net SUBSCRIPTION: $44 in Pennsylvania $46 East of the Mississippi $48 West of the Mississippi and FL NEWSSTAND PRICE $1.50 PER COPY POSTMASTER: Send address change to THE JEWISH CHRONICLE, 5600 Baum Blvd., Pgh., PA 15206 (PERIODICAL RATE POSTAGE PAID AT PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY AND FEATURE SERVICE) USPS 582-740 Manuscripts, letters, documents and photographs sent to the Jewish Chronicle become the property of this publication, which is not responsible for the return or loss of such items. The Chronicle does not endorse the goods or services advertised in its pages and makes no representation to the kashrut of food products and services in said advertising. The publisher is not liable for damages if, for any reason whatsoever, he fails to publish an advertisement or for any error in an advertisement. Acceptance of advertisers and of ad copy is subject to the publisher’s approval. The Chronicle is not responsible if ads violate applicable laws and the advertiser will indemnify, hold harmless and defend the Chronicle from all claims made by governmental agencies and consumers for any reason based on ads appearing in the Chronicle.

Opinion

I

t’s a safe bet that the Jews are the most persecuted people in history. More than 1,000 years of hatred, from the Roman period to the present day, easily qualifies us for that distinction. Which is why the rising tide of racial hatred in Israel is so disturbing. As you will read in this week’s Chronicle (page 10), Arab Israelis and African migrants –- many in the country illegally — are under fire. And the hostility level is rising. In some city neighborhoods, the longtime residents view the new arrivals as criminals, even though there’s no evidence to suggest that criminal activity is any higher among the African immigrants than the mainstream population. Be that as it may, every Jew in Israel and the Diaspora ought to wince at remarks such as this one an Israeli made about the black Africans in her neighborhood: “We need to get the kushim (a derogatory Hebrew term for blacks) out of here. They are criminals; they steal

things. They rape women.” How often have Jews been the targets of remarks equally as vicious? For Arab Israelis, who have lived alongside their Jewish neighbors since independence, their situation is no better. In Jerusalem, police arrested a group of teenagers for allegedly attacking Arabs. In Tel Aviv, street demonstrators called on locals not to rent or sell apartments to Arabs. Fliers distributed ahead of the rally urged residents to save daughters of the town from dating young Arab Israeli men in Jaffa. And recently, a letter signed by numerous Israeli municipal rabbis announced that it is against Jewish law to rent or sell properties to non-Jews, and calling for excommunication from the Jewish community. This sounds Kafka-esque. Let’s be clear, we’re not calling for amnesty for illegal immigrants. Let the Israeli legal process take its course, whatever the outcome. Neither are we saying intermarriage is

preferable to marrying within the faith. That is a different issue. But something dark and dangerous is starting to happen. Israel’s founding fathers, in general, and David Ben-Gurion, in particular, were adamant that Israel, while a Jewish state, should also be ethnically diverse and tolerant and protective of all minorities. The late Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek lived this philosophy throughout his administration, reaching out to all groups in the city and making Israel’s eternal capital a rich and eclectic place to visit and live. This is the kind of Israel that the founders envisioned, and this is the kind of Israel that is now under fire — from within. Jews in Israel and the Diaspora should do all they can to resist it. As a persecuted people ourselves, we should learn some lessons from our experiences — and not just that we can only depend on ourselves (though selfsufficiency is a valuable lesson). But how about this: That which is hateful to us, do not do to others?

Fight for Pollard is for the wrong reasons Abby Wisse Schachter

Can you guess the issue that the Zionist Organization of America, Democratic Rep. Barney Frank, American Values President Gary Bauer and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism agree on? It’s the release of Jonathan Pollard. The man convicted of spying for Israel in 1987 garnered new headlines this week when the effort to free Pollard ramped up as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly joined the ongoing effort here in the United States. After successive Israeli leaders had quietly appealed to both Democratic and Republican presidents, Netanyahu took to the Knesset floor to read his letter to President Obama appealing for Pollard’s release. And Pollard’s supporters are amazingly consistent in their rhetoric since no one among them argues that he’s innocent. As Netanyahu put it, “Israel will continue to abide by its commitment that such wrongful actions will never be repeated.” The reason to release Pollard, Democratic lawmakers wrote to Mr. Obama is because of how much time he has been in prison, especially given the lighter sentences handed out to others convicted of espionage. “It is indisputable in our view that the nearly 25 years that Mr. Pollard has served stands as a sufficient time from the standpoint of either punishment or deterrence,” the lawmakers stated. That Americans — both Jews and nonJews — are seeking justice for Pollard is

not surprising. After all, he was spying for a friendly country, he’s served longer than those who have been convicted of spying for our enemies, his sentence was more severe than his plea agreement had recommended and, more dramatically, as a former Defense Department official, Lawrence Korb, detailed recently, Pollard was treated harshly because of Caspar Weinberger. “Based on the knowledge that I have firsthand, I can confidently say that the punishment was so severe because of lack of sympathy for Israel by the U.S. Secretary of Defense at the time, my boss, Caspar Weinberger,” Korb, the former Pentagon official, wrote to President Obama. With these revelations, Korb joined the long list of those who support Pollard’s clemency. That Israelis, especially those on the political right, support Pollard’s release is understandable given that Pollard’s spying was meant to support the Jewish state and the belief that a fellow Jew was punished unfairly. The more interesting question is why Netanyahu and Democratic lawmakers are choosing this moment to argue so publicly for Pollard’s freedom. The answer is as troubling as it is wrongheaded; it is for the sake of negotiating peace with the Palestinians. Democratic lawmakers were clear about why they want clemency now. “This would be particularly helpful at a time when the Israeli nation faces difficult decisions in its long-standing effort to secure peace with its neighbors,” the letter said. Netanyahu’s timing is less obvious. He told the Knesset that he was going public because Pollard had asked him to. But it seems reasonable to question whether the prime minister also sees a connection between Pollard and the Palestinians. Maybe he calculates, as some analysts have suggested, that gaining Pollard’s release would shore up support for negotiations with the Palestinians

from the right-wing members of his government. Netanyahu could also be betting that a gesture by Obama toward Netanyahu (freeing Pollard) would naturally lead to a gesture by Netanyahu toward Obama (extending a construction moratorium and returning to talks with the Palestinians). Both of these possibilities are false. The failure of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians has nothing to do with Netanyahu’s government and nothing to do with President Obama. The failure lies squarely with the Palestinians themselves who are unwilling to negotiate in good faith. Their unwillingness to negotiate stems from their refusal to accept the natural outcome of those negotiations — a two-state solution. President Obama knows this; Prime Minister Netanyahu knows this, as does every honest analyst of the current stalemate. The trouble is that these truths are only spoken privately (as made clear by the Wikileaks revelations) instead of publicly. If Americans want to fight for Pollard’s release, that is fine. If government officials want to argue that clemency is in order that is also right and proper and if the Israeli prime minister wants to fight for the release of a fellow Jew it is his prerogative to do so. But if the idea is to fight for an imprisoned Israeli Jew whose freedom might actually have an impact on the peace process, Netanyahu should shout loud, often and exclusively for the release of Gilad Shalit. Shalit is the Jew held captive by the Palestinians and Shalit is the Israeli whose release from captivity in Gaza might signal that Palestinians respect the lives and existence of their neighbor and are ready to negotiate. (Abby Wisse Schachter, a Pittsburghbased political columnist blogs for the New York Post at nypost.com/blogs/ capitol and can be reached at awschachter@aol.com.)


THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011 — 7

OPINION

My sabbatical plans: to keep quiet, listen and learn Guest Columnist RABBI AARON BISNO “I never learned anything while talking,” my professor declared. By the time I entered his classroom, Rabbi Jacob Rader Marcus was already in his late 90s and had been teaching American Jewish History at Cincinnati’s Hebrew Union College for 70 years. On that day, nearly 20 years ago, I was an overconfident student eager to demonstrate how much I knew. But with an economy of words, my teacher taught me a lesson I have reason to recall every day: We learn nothing while talking. This same wisdom was offered recently in a New York Times Magazine profile of Jump Associates, a firm that specializes in helping organizations think creatively. Jump CEO Dev Patnaik offered, “A lot of breakthroughs are born in meditative states, [such as] the mindset you’re in when alone and driving, for instance. In fact, neuroscience has found a link between the slower rhythms associated with zoning out and creativity.” We live in an age of seismic change and unrelenting chatter. Assumptions

upon which Jewish and wider circles of life have been founded for so long are now challenged. As new sociological realities, patterns of affiliation, and allotment of resources cause the sacred ground upon which we build our home to, quite literally, shift beneath our feet, our confidence in demographic and economic projections is necessarily undermined; and with our concern for all the future holds and how we shall best hold on, everyone seems to be talking. But this doesn’t assure any of us know what to say. Indeed, more than six years ago, in my first High Holy Day message at Rodef Shalom, I shared words that are more urgent than ever. “What has served us so well for so long has only taken us so far.” Or as HUC-JIR professor of Jewish communal service and Rodef Shalom’s 2010 Kaplan Ethics Institute Scholar in Residence Steven Windmueller has recently written, “Many institutional givens are no longer viable, [therein] creating multiple dilemmas. The infrastructure of the Jewish communal system is forever altered. In these difficult and unsettling times, many new realities [will be experienced] both on the personal and institutional level.” How best to think about and to ap-

proach these real challenges and new realities? From where will our novel ideas and vision come? Abraham Maslow, expert on human behavior and motivation, has written: “The best kind of thinking, the best kind of problem solution, clearly depends on a good viewing of the problem situation itself, of being able to see it objectively, without expectations, without presuppositions, without a priori thinking of any kind, but simply in the purest sense of the word, objectively … without being determined by prejudices or fears or hopes or wishes or personal advantage or anything of the sort. This is the best way to see any situation. This is the best way certainly to see any problem, which is calling for a solution. The problem to be solved is the problem out there in front of our noses.” Discovering the innovative means with which we will help the Jewish community and her congregations be best prepared to meet the future will require us to look around, to listen to one another, and to be willing to learn from all we experience without rushing to prejudge the outcome. So it is that as of the first of the year, I will spend three months meeting with rabbinic colleagues from across the country, attending Jewish confer-

We learn nothing while talking.

ences and worship services within and beyond Pittsburgh, and sharing time with HUC’s senior class in Cincinnati to discuss our expectations and hopes for the future. Not one of us — neither lay leaders nor rabbis — can be sure what the future holds. For this reason, from time to time, we all need to slow down, quiet our minds, prime ourselves for introspection, and allow ourselves the opportunity to observe, reflect and think creatively. In other words, if we really want to learn, as my professor taught so many years ago, the best thing we can do for ourselves, for one another and for the community we love is to keep quiet and to listen. Fifteen years into my rabbinate and seven years since taking the helm as senior rabbi of Rodef Shalom, I am incredibly grateful for this simple privilege: the opportunity to be quiet, to listen and to learn. And come April, I look forward to returning to the pulpit, the classroom, the public square, refreshed and renewed, with impressions to share, initiatives to try, and ideas with which our entire community must engage.

(Aaron Bisno, the senior rabbi of Rodef Shalom Congregation, has begun a three-month sabbatical. Rabbi Sharyn Henry will act as senior rabbi there in his absence.)


8 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011

OPINION

Comeback kids? Mitzna, Deri return to political stage Guest Columnist ELLIOT JAGER Israeli elections are far off. But two familiar figures, only recently down and out, have re-emerged at opposite ends of the political spectrum, setting journalists and veteran observers to wonder about the future shape of things. Amram Mitzna is the Benny Begin of the Zionist Left: upright, abstemious, never anyone’s bet to lead his ideological camp to political victory. Kibbutz-born, a dovish ex-general, Mitzna clashed with defense minister Ariel Sharon in 1982 over the massacre of Palestinians by Lebanese Christian forces in Beirut. In 1987, Mitzna found himself the IDF’s commanding officer in the West Bank at the outbreak of the first intifada. Convinced that “force is not the answer,” he took a leave of absence to study abroad. By 1993, post-army, he was elected mayor of Haifa. As head of the Labor party during the second intifada, Mitzna lost to Sharon in the 2003 elections. He quit national politics in 2005 and accepted an appointment as mayor of Yeruham, a beleaguered Negev development town whose subsequent renewal has been credited to his hard work and talent for public administration. Now, at 65, Mitzna says he has “a burning urge to bring a change” to the country and is weighing a fresh run for the Labor party leadership.

Amram Mitzna

The other politician making a comeback, though not within his original party, is Aryeh Deri, going on 52. Deri came to Israel from Morocco at age 9, studied at a prestigious Ashkenazi yeshiva, and — in contrast to many ultra-Orthodox youths — went into the army. In 1986, Ovadiah Yosef, the former Sephardi chief rabbi, tapped him to head the fledgling Shas party. There Deri honed his skills as a powerbroker until, in 1999, he was convicted of channeling tax money to party institutions and his career abruptly ended. Now, chastened and changed, Deri is poised to re-enter politics. Studying English and French to burnish his cosmopolitan credentials, estranged from his nonagenarian mentor, and despised by Eli

Aryeh Deri

Yishai, his successor as head of Shas, Deri plans to form a new, populist, cross-sectional, and ideologically moderate party. The two comeback kids are a study in contrasts. Mitzna abandoned the Knesset to take personal responsibility for Labor’s rout; Deri left kicking and screaming and only because he was sent to prison. Mitzna is from the Ashkenazi elite; Deri from the Sephardi underclass. Deri is a political animal; Mitzna lacks the killer instinct. Deri is charismatic; Mitzna is humorless. With his knack for friendship, Deri, who keeps his innate dovishness understated, has the potential of capturing support well beyond his own ultra-Orthodox base. Mitzna has embraced the far-fetched Geneva Initiative as his platform on the Palestinian issue and is unlikely to win over many not predisposed to his views. Could Mitzna’s return, nevertheless, be a boon to the leaderless and rudderless Zionist Left? Labor is experiencing an identity crisis, with many stalwarts complaining that Ehud Barak, the current party leader, has sold out by partnering with the Netanyahu government. For his part, Barak, as inscrutable as he is unpopular, has invited Mitzna to run for the party leadership. Others are convinced that

Mitzna’s dovishness will drive Labor voters straight into the arms of the center-left Kadima party. Meanwhile, Yossi Kucik, a political strategist and former aide to Barak, is working to create a left-wing amalgam that would include Labor, the atrophied Meretz party, and various engaging personalities to improve the Left’s prospects in the next election. But can Labor, which has essentially embraced neo-liberal economics, run in tandem with social-democratic Meretz? Would Mitzna be willing to downplay his discredited views on the “peace process” and campaign as a goodgovernment candidate with demonstrated skills of implementation? With Mitzna at the helm, polls show Labor capturing no more than the 13 seats it currently holds. What this suggests is that if, next time out, Mitzna manages to stay the course, he could keep Labor in the opposition and mold it in his own image: principled, respected and perennially out of power. As for Deri’s second coming, it could ironically undercut the very ethno-politics he once practiced so well. Shas is going through an identity crisis of its own, with one dissident Knesset member, Haim Amsalam — who hopes to join forces with Deri — asking how the party came to “distort” its original social mandate by championing ultra-Orthodox insularity. Deri himself has no interest in remaining on the opposition benches. According to polls, his new party would win at least eight Knesset seats at Shas’s expense. Were he to succeed in building a truly broad-based party, odds are he could do considerably better yet, parlaying his mandates into a strong presence around a future Cabinet table. Whatever this tale of two candidates says about the contrasting personalities involved, it says as much if not more about the constellation of forces in contemporary Israeli politics.

(Elliot Jager writes for Jewish Ideas Daily, where this column previously appeared.)


Globe

10 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2010

A game of survival

Concern in Israel over growing backlash against African migrants, Arabs BY DINA KRAFT

TEL AVIV — For the tall 28-year-old from Sudan who calls himself Mike, life in Israel has become a game of survival. Most days, he earns enough money to buy food for dinner doing odd jobs at construction sites or cleaning houses. But with voices against illegal immigrants rising in Israel, Mike, an asylum seeker here, is worried that his situation is becoming increasingly tenuous. Just days ago, hundreds of protesters gathered in his neighborhood of Hatikva in southern Tel Aviv to rally under a slogan he found intimidating: Expel the foreigners. “I hear they want to clear us out because this is a Jewish country,” Mike said as he stood among carts of tomatoes and yellow peppers at Hatikva’s outdoor market. Nearby, as Miriam Sharabi, 67, pushed a cart of groceries, she cursed the African migrants who have come to this working-class neighborhood plagued by poverty and crime. “We need to get the kushim out of here,” Sharabi said, using the derogatory Hebrew term for blacks. “They are criminals; they steal things,” she said. “They rape women.” These sentiments are part of a growing backlash in Israel against the estimated 32,000 foreigners who are in Israel ille-

Maariv / Flash90 / JTA

Hundreds showed up for a demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood against African migrants who have moved into the area in recent years, Dec. 21, 2010. The sign says, “Israeli girls for the Jewish people.”

gally, many of them Africans who sneaked into Israel from Egypt and

whose numbers have swelled in the past three years. The rising chorus of antiforeigner sentiment, coupled with recent calls against renting or selling homes to Israeli Arabs, have prompted a national debate about the depth of racism and xenophobia in Israel. Just this month, there were several attacks against migrants and Arabs in Israel. In the southern coastal town of Ashdod, attackers threw a burning tire into a one-room apartment shared by seven

Sudanese asylum seekers. In Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, a gang of youths hounded three teenage African girls, calling them “dirty blacks” and beating them. In Jerusalem, police arrested a group of teenagers for allegedly attacking Arabs. In Bat Yam, near the Arab community of Jaffa in southern Tel Aviv, street demonstrators called on locals not to rent or sell apartments to Arabs. Fliers distributed ahead of the rally urged residents to save daughters of the town from dating young Arab Israeli men in Jaffa. The street demonstration echoed the sentiment expressed in a letter recently signed by numerous Israeli municipal rabbis announcing that it is against Jewish law to rent or sell properties to nonJews. The letter ended with an exhortation to punish those who disobey the ban with excommunication from the Jewish community. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a video statement posted on YouTube, called for an end to the incitement. “We are a country that respects all peoples, whoever they are,” he said. “Citizens of Israel must not take the law into their own hands, neither through violence nor through incitement.” Netanyahu said that the government is dealing with the problem of African migration, specifically by building a fence along the Israel-Egypt border and a detention center in the Negev large enough to serve as a way station for some 10,000 migrants awaiting deportation. A number of lawmakers, public figures and police officials have warned that the migrants pose a major danger to Israel, Please see Migrants, next page.


THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011 — 11

GLOBE Migrants: Continued from previous page. threatening its Jewish character and bringing disease and crime to the country. Yet a recent Knesset report found that the migrants have a very low level of criminal activity. Sigal Rozen, public policy coordinator of the Hotline for Migrant Workers, said that such remarks promote an atmosphere of intolerance and xenophobia in Israel. “When the public hears from decision makers that these people are bringing disease and crime and should be deported, then it gives them the legitimacy to say the same things,” he said. Daniel Blatman, a Holocaust scholar and director of Hebrew University’s Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry, said that the sentiment against the “other” stems from a sense of hopelessness among Israelis about the possibility of a peaceful future. In an Op-Ed in Haaretz this week that has drawn a lot of attention, Blatman compared the atmosphere of distrust in Israel today to that of Germany right before the Nazis’ rise to power. “There is this approach that we have to live in a ghetto. We have to close ourselves off to the world, because everything coming from the outside world is threatening us — refugees, cultural influences, peace activists who come here to assist the Palestinians and, of course, the Arab population who live inside Israel,” Blatman told JTA in an interview. “It’s a sort of xenophobia very similar to the one that happened in 1932 after Germany’s defeat in World War I, with no real hope for the future, economic difficulties and political violence.” The feeling that Israel is being delegitimized on the world stage exacerbates those feelings, according to Blatman. “There is a sense that we have to protect our own home and not protect others,” he said.

Shlomi Maslawi, a member of the Tel Aviv city council from the Hatikva neighborhood, organized the street demonstration that called for the expulsion of migrants. He said there was nothing racist about it. “The government has abandoned those of us in the city’s southern neighborhoods,” he said. “As it is, our people live with limited resources. This population is causing deterioration in our already fragile quality of life. This is not about racism, but that our neighborhoods have become more dangerous places.” Maslawi complained about large numbers of migrants sharing apartments – sometimes 20 in a single unit. He also blamed them for driving up rents in the area. “People talk about the human side of their story, but what about our people who are scared to leave their homes at night?” he said. Raphael Gebreyesus, a 24-year-old asylum seeker who came to Israel from Eritrea to escape his country’s lengthy military service, lives in a tiny apartment with two other asylum seekers. Like most African migrants in Israel, they do not have work permits, but rather three-month conditional (and renewable) permits that allow them to stay in Israel while their cases are under adjudication. In the past, authorities did not bother migrants working in menial jobs, but now employees fear they will be fined if they employ migrants. Yehuda Mizrahi, who grew up in Hatikva, said that people like Maslawi are exaggerating the role of the migrants in creating the region’s problems. He said that crime in the neighborhood is being perpetrated by the same Jewish Israeli criminals, many of them drug addicts, who long have made Hatikva a dangerous place. “What does it matter if a person is black or not as long as he’s a good person?” Mizrahi said. “The problem is the government has to decide what it wants to do.”


14 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011

STYLE

‘Conquering Fear’ the perfect read when things go wrong — and they will Book R eview

BY LEE CHOTTINER Executive Editor

The jobless rate hovers near 10 percent. People risk eviction from their homes. Iran threatens nuclear war. Truly, these are times to try a person’s soul. And that’s why Rabbi Harold S. Kushner’s latest book, “Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World.” If anyone is cut out for writing a howto book for living in troubled times, surely it is the author of “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.”

Book Review

“Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World,” by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, Alfred A. Knopf, 2010, 172 pages.

Ironically, Kushner admits early on in the book that the idea for writing it came from his editor at Alfred A. Knopf, not he. “He sensed that a lot of people were scared of a lot of things and it was draining joy from their lives,” Kushner wrote. “Could I write a book that would help them?” Kushner has. Not by telling us that our fears are baseless, but by teaching us that the secret to a happy and fulfilling life is managing those fears, not allowing them to control us and influence the life decisions we make. No fear is too large or too small to be addressed in this book. Kushner conquers the fears of another 9/11; environmental and economic tragedies; losing our job and the emotional toll that takes on our psyches; and losing love. Kushner draws upon all sources of

wisdom — new and old — to tackle each fear. He quotes the Torah generously, but he also draws from pop culture to put the fears into perspective. He rips stories from the headlines to demonstrate how they can lay people low, and he draws from his own personal experiences to demonstrate people can fight back against those fears. One of his most poignant examples is his remedy for the fear of the future in general. What kind of world are we leaving for our kids? Will they have clean water and enough food to eat? Will war ravage the country and all other countries? And if all this happens, why should we bring children into the world? Could this be why birthrates are declining in Western Europe and Japan, two parts of the world ravaged by the effects of World War II, including the dropping of two atomic bombs, he asks? Kushner thinks so, and he believes

such fatalistic thinking can be combated with one word — hope — and one act — having children. He raises biblical support for this theory. When Noah’s children stepped on dry land after the great flood, their first response to the devastation was to have children. When a close friend of Kushner’s, an Orthodox rabbi, lost his son, the response of his two daughters was to have children of their own a year later. What could be a greater expression of hope, Kushner asks? What indeed. “Conquering Fear” chocks massive amounts of wisdom, comfort and plain old horse sense into 172 pages, making it the perfect literary antidote for modern uncertainties. As I read it, I repeatedly found myself equating points the rabbi makes to instances in my own life. Everything seemed to ring true. It’s a slim book, so it won’t take up much space on your bookshelf or nightstand. Whoever Kushner’s editor is, he deserves our thanks for planting this wonderful idea in his client’s head. (Lee Chottiner can be reached at leec@thejewishchronicle.net.)


18 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011

GLOBE Briefly JTA

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote President Obama urging clemency for Jonathan Pollard. “At the time of his arrest, Jonathan Pollard was acting as an agent of the Israeli government,” Netanyahu wrote in his letter, sent Tuesday. “Even though Israel was in Jonathan Pollard no way directing its intelligence efforts against the United States, its actions were wrong and wholly unacceptable. Both Mr. Pollard and the Government of Israel have repeatedly expressed remorse for these actions, and Israel will continue to abide by its commitment that such wrongful actions will never be repeated.” Netanyahu read his letter Tuesday evening to a Knesset plenum discussion. His letter, Israel’s first formal request for Pollard’s release, came a day after similar urgings from more than 500 clergy in a letter to Obama. “After more than two and a half decades in prison, Mr. Pollard’s health is declining,” reads the letter sent Mon-

day from rabbis representing all streams, as well as a number of leading Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy. “He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has served as a model inmate. Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency — as well as a matter of basic fairness and American justice. It would also represent a clear sense of compassion and reconciliation — a sign of hope much needed in today’s world of tension and turmoil.” The letters are the latest in a surge of pleas to free Pollard, a U.S. Navy analyst who spied for Israel and who has been in prison since 1985. A raft of Democratic Congress members urged Obama to release Pollard late last year, and a number of officials who were involved in investigating the matter also have signed on to the effort. Among the signatories of the clergy letter was Rabbi Donald Levy of Temple Beit Torah in Colorado Springs, Colo., a former Navy cryptologist who participated in the damage assessment after Pollard’s arrest. “There was nothing that we came across to indicate that Pollard gave information to any country but Israel,” said Levy said in a separate statement. “Further, the information he probably disclosed consisted primarily of daily operational intelligence summaries, information that is extremely perishable. It did not appear to me at the time that the information he gave Israel should

have resulted in a life sentence.” Also signing the letter were leaders of lay Jewish groups, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, B’nai B’rith International and the Zionist Organization of America. Netanyahu in his letter, first obtained by Haaretz, cited reports of Pollard’s ill health. “Jonathan has suffered greatly for his actions and his health has deteriorated considerably,” he said. “I know that the United States is a country based on fairness, justice and mercy. For all these reasons, I respectfully ask that you favorably consider this request for clemency. The people of Israel will be eternally grateful.” Sholom Rubashkin is seeking a new trial. Lawyers for convicted former Agriprocessors executive have appealed a judge’s decision denying their bid for a new trial. In a brief filed Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Mo., lawyers for Rubashkin made four arguments on his behalf, chief among them that the presiding judge in his case, Linda Reade, should have recused herself. Reade had rejected that argument in October. Rubashkin was convicted in 2009 on 86 counts of fraud related to his management of the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, and later was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison.

According to the brief, government documents that surfaced after Rubashkin’s conviction and not made available to the defense showed that Reade was involved in the planning for a major federal immigration raid of the Postville plant in May 2008. Reade’s “excessive coziness” with prosecutors planning the raid raised doubts about her impartiality in the case, the brief claims, and as a result Rubashkin is entitled to a new trial or, at a minimum, an evidentiary hearing. The 2008 raid at the time was the largest immigration enforcement action in American history and led to a string of accusations against Rubashkin, among them charges of identity theft and child labor violations. The bulk of those charges subsequently were dismissed. Still, the trial was widely criticized, particularly in the Orthodox community, for the alleged zealousness with which federal prosecutors pursued the case. Israeli military officials say there is no evidence that a Palestinian woman reportedly killed at a West Bank security fence protest died from tear gas poisoning, Israel’s military said. Jawaher Abu Rahma, 36, died on the morning of Jan. 1, hours after she was said to have inhaled tear gas at a demonstration near the West Bank village of Bilin. She reportedly died of complications from inhaling the tear gas. Please see Briefly, next page.


THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011 — 19

GLOBE Briefly JTA

Continued from previous page. Her brother, Bassem, was killed in April 2009 during a demonstration in the same area after being hit in the chest with a tear gas canister as it released its contents. Anonymous Israel Defense Forces sources cited in Israeli media reports said that inconsistencies in the medical report of the woman’s death provided Monday by the Palestinian Authority call into question the circumstances of her death and contradict the family’s account. Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak disputed IDF claims that Abu Rahma was not at the demonstration, telling The Jerusalem Post that he saw her there, though not on the front line, and watched her being loaded into an ambulance. Other witnesses reported seeing her collapse at the demonstration and foam at the mouth, according to the +972 Magazine news blog. While the file shows that her blood was collected for testing at a Ramallah hospital at 2:45 p.m. Dec. 31, the admission form says she entered the hospital at 3:20 p.m.

The Jewish Chronicle

Abu Rahma’s medical file also showed that she was taking strong drugs for a medical condition that could have been leukemia, and that she had been treated in the same hospital 10 days prior to her death. Pollak told The Jerusalem Post that Abu Rahma was treated in the hospital for an ear infection, though Haaretz reported that during the earlier hospitalization a Palestinian ear, nose and throat doctor ordered a CT scan. The CT scan results were normal, according to documents obtained by Haaretz. No other protester had a serious reaction to the tear gas used at the demonstration, according to reports. Abu Rahma’s death sparked demonstrations outside the U.S. ambassador to Israel’s home and the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, leading to arrests. Palestinian protests, which are joined by Israelis and international activists, take place at the site every Friday. Abu Rahma reportedly had been attending the weekly protests for the past five years. A second brother, Ashraf, was wounded several years ago after being shot during a demonstration against the security fence near the village of Naalin. The IDF on Sunday released photos showing that the Dec. 31 demonstration at Bilin became violent and thus re-

quired the use of tear gas, despite Palestinian claims that the protest was nonviolent. The photos show Palestinians throwing rocks using large slingshots. Janet Napolitano, U.S. secretary for homeland security is in Israel to check on joint security projects between the two countries. Napolitano visited Israel Monday and Tuesday as part of a multicountry tour that has included stops in Ireland, Afghanistan and Qatar. She will head to Belgium to meet with European Union and World Customs Organization officials, according to the Department of Homeland Security. “The United States and Israel have a strong and enduring partnership, and the reason for my visit is to make sure that all the things that we’re doing in partnership with Israel — aviation security to cyber-security, to science and technology, research that we are undertaking together focused on security — that all of those activities are being done in a productive and robust fashion,” Napolitano said Monday during a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Also Monday, Napolitano visited the Western Wall and Yad Vashem, where she participated in a wreath-laying ceremony honoring the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. She also met

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Ariel Sharon remains in a coma five years after suffering a massive stroke. There were no official events Tuesday to mark the five-year anniversary of the stroke, which ended Sharon’s political career. But he was briefly remembered Monday at a Likud Party briefing and in a column written by former colleague Tzachi Hanegbi in The Jerusalem Post. The former Israeli prime minister remains hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center of Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv. He has returned home for weekend visits, according to reports.

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A parsha’s name usually comes from its first important word. Bo is the fourth word this week. This parsha starts, “The Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh. For I have hardened his heart … that you may recount to your [descendants] how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I displayed My signs among them — in order that you may know that I am the Lord.” (Genesis 10: 1-2) The Conservative movement’s chumash, titled “Eitz Hayim,” proclaims on page 374, “the events of this parashah record the birth of the Israelite people.” So Happy Birthday to all of us! Those events include the final three plagues, the first Passover seder, and Pharaoh’s concession (represented by Cecil B. DeMille words [not from Torah], in the film “The Ten Commandments,” as said by Yul Brynner): “Their God is God.” “Bo” is an action verb. God tells Moses to act — to “go” to Pharaoh. Moses is the messenger; God is the author of the events to come. Why such drama? Was this the right pathway? Absolutely. Drama was the right — might we say the only correct — call in this case. Decades ago, I was a drama student, then teacher. Ancient Greek drama was a religious ceremony. The actors were priests and their goal was “the expurgatory of the emotions of pity and fear.” They wore masks (the

proper Greek name was persona) so as to generalize the emotional content to the audience (i.e., the congregation). The tragic flaw of the protagonist was thus exposed for all to see and to, subsequently, avoid. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. Why did God do this? Because God saw Pharaoh’s response to the ten plagues. Only after the third plague was Pharaoh’s heart hardened. Three strikes and you’re out. The tragic flaw was revealed. The witnessing congregations — the Israelites, the Egyptians and the other nations — saw and understood. Pharaoh did not. In Bo, and throughout Exodus, God wears no mask. To the contrary, God unmasks Pharaoh. In this great confrontation between the “God who is God” and the declared god of Egypt, the God of Israel wins, hands down. Our God is God. As a consequence, we can celebrate a birthday — the birth of the Israelite nation, later consecrated through the covenant at Sinai. We pride ourselves in being a people over 3,500 years old. We take pride in the re-establishment of the State of Israel, as a 20th century sign of that heritage. It is incumbent upon this generation — we who take pride in Israel as well as in America — to act. Bo, go to those who advocate for Israel, whether AIPAC or J Street, or others like them. Speak on behalf of peace. Let us all pray that the tragic flaws of our generation may be resolved in peace, that no more plagues shall endanger us. May the One who established peace in the heavens, grant peace to us, to all Israel and to all humanity. Shabbat Shalom. (This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.)

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THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011 — 21

ENVIRONMENT Blessing or curse?

MORNING SERVICES - 9:30 A.M.

Could Israel’s off-shore gas reserves lead to conflict?

Leviathan gas discovery could be Mother of all resource curses

BY SUSAN KRAEMER

Last week’s announcement from Noble Energy of its gigantic Leviathan gas find in disputed territory will exacerbate tensions in the region. They say that fossil fuel riches become a curse to any country that possesses them. Where fossil fuels flow, corruption, reduced democracy and increased inequality follow. It is such a recognized pattern that it has become a cliche: the resource curse. No nation is immune. Even one-time staid and fair-minded Canada has now succumbed to this corruption of democracy, under the pressure from its oil sands provinces. So when Houston-based Noble Energy confirmed that its Leviathan gas find under the water off the shore of Israel is easily the largest exploration discovery in its history, with an estimated 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — it is not a moment of rejoicing — but one of trepidation. Not only is the resource curse the kiss of death for one little democracy in the Middle East, but the huge find straddles the borders of neighbors that have never had neighborly relations. There is an estimated 122-trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the entire Levant Basin Province, according to the USGS. It lies within the offshore territory of Israel, Lebanon, Gaza/Palestinian Authority, the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Leviathan gas field is within the Levant Basin, and it straddles the bor-

der of Israel and Lebanon. The disputes between Israel and Lebanon have already begun. The Leviathan field is twice as large as the Tamar gas field, which is 50 miles west of Haifa in 5,500 feet of water. In June, Lebanon warned Israel not to drill in its waters, and Israel claimed in return that it is not drilling in Lebanese waters. But no matter where the drills actually go in, they would both be tapping into the same reservoir. And it really is a case of “the first in will get to win.” By July, Steve LeVine at Foreign Policy Magazine was suggesting that since the Israelis are already set to produce gas, they have a huge head start, and “will be able to suck out most of the gas before anyone else is even able to raise the funds for exploration.” He noted then that the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields combined could contain more than 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, equivalent to 3.5 billion barrels of oil, or up to 35 years of Israel’s current consumption with enough left over to make the country an exporter. Rosy futures are being predicted by oil companies. Now that Noble has made its announcement, that estimate looks to be right on the money. With 16 trillion cubic feet from Leviathan and another eight from Tamar, the total is about 24 trillion cubic feet. For a region that has never gotten along, the Leviathan gas field could write a whole new chapter in the history of the resource curse. (Stories from The Green Prophet appear here by agreement with its editor, Karin Kloosterman. For more Green news from the Middle East, visit The Green Prophet at greenprophet.com. Contact the Green Prophet at karin.kloosterman@gmail.com.)

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THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 6, 2011 — 23

METRO Karmiel: Continued from page 1. a week here in March 2010, and a threeweek summer seminar in Israel called the Diller Jewish Teen Fellows Congress, which included participants from 12 such city pairings. “The thing about Diller that’s different than other programs that come to Israel is that those are like ‘come to Israel, see Israel, blah blah blah,’ ” said fellow Shoval Moshon. “But we get to know the communities here and in Pittsburgh, and

Katsav: Continued from page 1. punished more severely because he’s a representative of society, he’s a symbol,” said Michal Kahn, a Jerusalem production department manager. “But what’s illegal is illegal. He should go to jail, but he shouldn’t be crucified.” What, then, is an appropriate punishment? “The conversation in Israel is whether he should be pardoned,” said Green. “He’s been convicted; has he been punished enough in losing his name, losing the presidency, losing his credibility? Or does he need to go to prison to set an example for society?” While much of Israeli society is trying to move on from the internationally embarrassing case, many women’s groups are hailing the convictions. “I wish I could tell you this will change the face of Israeli society, but even if it does not it is another step, a sign of change,” said Merav Michaeli, a leading Israeli feminist and well-known

Rauh: Continued from page 4. feminist and former U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug, filmmaker Stephen Spielberg and former Pittsburgh Mayors Sophie Masloff and Richard Caliguiri, to name just a few. Processing and digitizing the photos and other records will, of course, cost money. Melnick said she is planning an intensive fundraising effort to support the work. She did not say how much she is seeking, but the work will take years to complete. “They’re not going to disintegrate in the next few years,” she said, “but I just think this is a marvelous collection, and I’m going to be as aggressive as we can be to get this done.” Among other artifacts at the paper are old newsletters and press releases from Jewish organizations, back issues of the Chronicle and other Jewish newspapers around the country and from Israel, and

Convention: Continued from page 2. Another component of this year’s kinnus will be a celebration of 60 years since the inception of USY, she said, and an effort is being made to have all past presidents of Beth Shalom’s chapter at-

we all give back to them.” While the Diller Teen Fellows Program is certainly unique, it shares one factor with a large, and growing portion of programming between Pittsburgh, the city of Karmiel and the region of Misgav: it’s aimed at youth. The Counselor in Training program of Emma Kaufmann Camp, which includes an Israel trip, spends time in Karmiel (Birthright trips leaving out of Pittsburgh regularly stop in the region), and most recently, J’Burgh, Hillel Jewish University Center’s young professional organization, led an Israel trip that included a week spent in Karmiel and fea-

television personality. “The judges believed the women and understood and recognized the impossible position women are often placed in when working for such powerful men.” Added Green, “This shows Israel’s judicial system to be robust, that even the president can be convicted. He’s not immune from prosecution.” Haaretz quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying last week, “Today the court conveyed two clearcut messages, that all are equal before the law and that every woman has exclusive rights to her body.” A further discourse common in Israel in light of the conviction isn’t a new one: that the country is wistful for its classic, now legendary leaders including Ze’ev Jabotinsky and David Ben-Gurion. “Israel hasn’t had good orators — people who know how to speak to the people — since 1948,” said Kahn. “From that, of course, there’s no respect toward politicians.” (Justin Jacobs can be reached at justinj@thejewishchronicle.net. JTA contributed to this story.)

old advertisements. Tighe has been spending much of her time at the Chronicle “triaging” items with the most historical significance. “Triage would be identifying any major preservation issues,” she said. For instance, “if I found mold growing on something or if I found some film in really bad physical condition — deteriorating — and could harm other items just by proximity.” Those items would be flagged for immediate attention, she said, which has not yet happened. So far, so good,” Tighe said. “Nothing has been so bad that much [attention] is needed at this point.” The only item of concern she has found is adhesives — tape and glue — on several older prints. That is generally not good,” Tighe said. [Adhesives] can deteriorate a lot quicker than paper. It can cause yellowing and deterioration. (Lee Chottiner can be reached at leec@thejewishchronicle.net.)

tend the event. “We’ve had a chapter here for more than 50 years,” Gerecht said. “We’re trying to include all those past presidents. It’s great. Some are in their 70s, and have been calling friends they haven’t talked to in 30 years.” (Toby Tabachnick can be reached at tobyt@thejewishchronicle.net.)

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turing programming to bond the Pittsburgh participants with peers from the region in Israel. The overwhelming answer is that, whether they can financially contribute to the partnership or not now, young Jews are seeds for the future. “We see how [young people] can build relationships,” said Lilach Voxman Rena, chair of the youth subcommittee of Partnership 2000 (P2K) in Karmiel (and Ayal’s mother). “To continue the Jewish culture for the next and next and next generations, we need to build a young leadership to feel safe that we will continue.” Partnership 2000 is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Beth Goldstein was among the Pittsburgh young Jewish leaders chosen for the inaugural J’Burgh trip, which concluded this week. “You can look at our group and see it. We’re past BBYO presidents and EKC color war captains. Leadership starts in those positions, but you think broader as you get older,” she said on a tour bus as the group headed to Jerusalem late last week. “So to introduce P2K at that time, our ideas are there and it doesn’t seem so far fetched to be a part of a movement.” J’Burgh Director David Katz shaped and led the trip, splitting time between touring the sites of Karmiel and Misgav and getting deeper into the region’s culture through people-to-people programming. What does that mean exactly? Simply hanging out. Each J’Burgh group member stayed at a Karmiel or Misgav family’s house with an Israeli peer in similar life situations — just like the J’Burghers, they were students, young

professionals and burgeoning entrepreneurs struggling with the idea of how to be the next leaders in their communities. And it was a struggle. In a meeting between participants and staff members of both Partnership 2000 and the Jewish Agency for Israel toward the end of the trip, young professionals raised an important issue: the youth may have the energy and motivation, but they don’t have the funds or knowhow to push the relationship forward, suggesting that a multigenerational relationship is important along with a multicommunity one. “We were not kids being sent on this trip by our parents,” said Goldstein. “We actively want to be here. That made the difference for me. It doesn’t end with this trip. This trip is the beginning. This is where it starts.” Though years younger, the Diller Teen Fellows shared the sentiments. “I want to be someone who makes a difference,” said Ayal. “I want to be someone who has an influence. I want to make a change.” On the short-term level, however, the youth programming arm of the partnership has simply opened up lines of communication between groups that want to talk — and be friends. “Whenever someone comes to Karmiel and Misgav from Pittsburgh now, it’s like, ‘here’s your room, here’s your bed,’ ” said Shoval. “Now come over for dinner.”

(Justin Jacobs can be reached at justinj@thejewishchronicle.net.)

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IN MEMORY OF

EVELYN S. MILLER . . . . . . . . . .FRANK STARK DIANA MYER . . . . . . . .OSCAR ZEIDENSTEIN SHIRLEY E. PRENY . . . .BESSIE M. BLEIBERG SHIRLEY E. PRENY . . . . .DIANE S. FRIEDMAN SHIRLEY E. PRENY . . . . . . .MORRIS KRANTZ DR. MARC RICE . . . . . . . . .ROSE SCHWARTZ BODEK RALLE K. ROTHMAN . . . . . .BELLE W. LEVY & MORRIS LEVY MIRIAM SCHAFFEL . . . . . .EDGAR SCHAFFEL SARAH ANN SCHWARTZ . .MARIAN S. BECK HENRY & REBECCA SEINER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .NOCHIM GELMAN DANIEL & SUSAN SIMONS . . .HARRY & ANN WHISER JACK SINGER . . . . . . . . . . . . . .YETTA SINGER EVELYN SOLOMON . . . . . .JENNIE & JOSEPH SHRAGER JEFFREY SPIEGEL . . . . . . . . . .SADIE SPIEGEL DOROTHY SPIEGEL . . . . . . . .SADIE SPIEGEL LORRAINE STEINER . . . . .SOPHIE PARANSKY LOUIS SUPOWITZ . . . . . . . . .ALBERT JAMES SUPOWITZ EILEEN WAYNE . . . . . .ANNA I. WEINBERGER

The Jewish Chronicle January 6, 2011  

January 6, 2011 edition

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