November 20, 2020 | 4 Kislev 5781
Candlelighting 4:41 p.m. | Havdalah 5:42 p.m. | Vol. 63, No. 47 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org
JAA tentatively decides to close Moshe Taube, Charles Morris, commits to ‘old-world’ continue service to seniors cantor, Schindler’s List survivor has died at 93
NOTEWORTHY LOCAL JCC and EKC recognized for excellence
Winners of Grinspoon Foundation award
By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
O Winn-Horvitz, the JAA’s president and CEO. The facility’s potential closure is the result of the convergence of three factors: a significant gap between Medicaid funding and the cost of caring for Medicaid clients; a trend toward at-home care for the elderly; and the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis, including a marked decrease in short-term rehabilitation patients due to the reduction of elective surgeries. The financial challenges that led the JAA to its decision are shared by many nursing facilities across Pennsylvania and throughout the country. “In the state of Pennsylvania, Medicaid rates for nursing homes have been flat for the last six years,” said Winn-Horvitz. “In fact, our rates have been relatively unchanged for the past 10 years.” The Medicaid gap in funding at Charles Morris was $4 million in fiscal 2019-2020, having doubled in the last five years. Nationwide, about 60% of funding for nursing homes comes from Medicaid, which covers only 70%-80% of the actual cost of care, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Health Care Association/
ne of the last surviving Europeanbred cantors of the 20th century and a mainstay in Pittsburgh shuls for more than 50 years is gone. Cantor Moshe Taube, a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust thanks to industrialist Oskar Schindler, and used his powerful, soul-shaking voice to help lead services at Squirrel Hill’s Congregation Beth Shalom and Young People’s Synagogue for decades, died Nov. 11. He was 93. “What a powerful story, what an amazing man,” said Stephen Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation, which filmmaker Steven Spielberg founded in 1994 to preserve interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust. “When you lose everything and everyone, there’s reason to be bitter and leave your faith. He did the exact opposite — he held onto his faith and he held onto his humanity. He lived his life. His sense of faith and providence traveled with him through adulthood in a very profound way. They say many survived for a reason, and he lived out that reason.” The USC Shoah Foundation houses nearly 55,000 audiovisual testimonies conducted in 65 countries and in 43 languages. One conducted in 1996 with Taube is among 203 testimonies captured in the Pittsburgh area, Smith said. “He went through so much in his life,” said his daughter, Nina Taube, a mother of four who lives in Israel. “He really always tried to do the best he could. As a father, I felt he always had my back.” Born Maksymilian Taube in Krakow, Poland, on June 17, 1927, but known by
Please see JAA, page 14
Please see Taube, page 14
LOCAL Preparing for Liftoff
The Charles M. Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Photo provided by the Jewish Association on Aging
By Toby Tabachnick | Editor
JHF to host virtual innovation summit Page 3
LOCAL Election lawsuit lawyer
A chat with Cliff Levine Page 5
he Jewish Association on Aging has announced its tentative decision to close the Charles M. Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. If finalized, the nursing home closure will take place on Jan. 12, 2021. All other residential arms of the JAA, including Weinberg Village, Weinberg Terrace, AHAVA Memory Center and The New Riverview — which collectively house 341 residents — will remain intact. Likewise, the JAA’s other services, including Mollie’s Meals, Sivitz Hospice & Palliative Care, and Home Health Services will continue to operate, as will AgeWell at Home/AgeWell Pittsburgh, a JAA partnership with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and Jewish Family and Community Services supporting more than 8,000 seniors. The history of Charles Morris dates back to 1906 with the opening of the Jewish Home for the Aged on Brackenridge Street in the Hill District. In 1933, the home moved to a new facility on Old Brown’s Hill Road and has been remodeled and expanded over the years. The tentative decision to close Charles Morris was “very, very difficult,” said Debbie
keep your eye on PittsburghJewishChronicle LOCAL
Holocaust educator of the year
A pandemic Thanksgiving
Einstein on stage
Headlines Emma Kaufmann Camp, JCC recognized for ‘culture of philanthropy’ — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer
aron Cantor, director of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Center’s Emma Kaufmann Camp, recalled being overwhelmed when he learned the camp and JCC were awarded the second annual Harold Grinspoon Foundation — JCamp 180 Culture of Philanthropy Award. “They have mentors that work at dozens of camps, so being recognized, it’s humbling,” Cantor said. “It gives me goosebumps a little bit, and a tremendous sense of pride.” The award recognizes an organization that has made transformational change to embrace a culture of philanthropy. “It’s a nod to the accomplishments and all the hard work that the JCC and our staff and team have learned and accomplished,” said Fara Marcus, the JCC’s director of development and strategic marketing, adding that the JCC continues to implement lessons learned from training provided by the Grinspoon Foundation. The JCC and EKC worked hard over the last three years to understand what philanthropy means, said Cathy Samuels, the JCC’s chief development and communications officer. Acknowledging that developing donors and cultivating philanthropy might be a daunting job for some, at the JCC, “it’s a happy job,” Marcus said. “It’s a mitzvah to go out and develop donors and people that care deeply about the work that we’re doing.” It was at a JCamp 180 Conference three years ago that Samuels met Laurie Herrick and learned about the GIFT Leadership Institute
the JCC participates including Life & Legacy and PJ Library. “A n y t h i n g Grinspoon we want to be a part of,” Marcus said. “Jewish summer camp is one of the integral experiences for young people to predict a lifelong Jewish identity and connection to being Jewish,” p All Day at the J school-age program Photo provided by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh explained Sarah Eisinger, director program offered by the Grinspoon of JCamp 180, the management consultFoundation that taught fundraising. The ing arm of the Grinspoon Foundation assisting program was filled, but Samuels convinced Jewish camps by providing one-on-one Herrick, director of the institute, to allow her consulting, matching grants, professional to join the training. training, an annual conference and leader“That was sort of the beginning,” Samuels ship reports, evaluation and analytic work. said, noting that the training, which includes “Summer camp is one of the pillars of Jewish webinars, role-playing, conversations and stra- continuity.” tegic development sessions, is an inspirational EKC, she said, has been involved in all of way to look at philanthropy. the foundation’s offerings. The training placed an emphasis on the “They distinguished themselves in our importance of philanthropy to the success GIFT Leadership Institute program and in of a camp, said Cantor. general with their embrace of the elements “They helped us build an action plan for of a culture of philanthropy, and what it executing that culture of philanthropy and means to think from a place of abundance and extending it beyond just the staff,” he said. transform yourself from thinking from a The JCC was able to incorporate the les- place of scarcity, which is how a lot of nonsons learned into its broader mission and profits function,” said Eisinger. various departments, Marcus explained. She JCamp 180 chooses the award recipient noted that the lessons taught are complemen- from the more than 100 overnight and 23 tary to other Grinspoon programs in which day camps across North America with which
it works. Nominees are evaluated according to the organization’s four characteristics of a culture of philanthropy: That a culture of philanthropy is integral to the organization’s mission; everyone shares responsibility for the mission; deep donor partnerships; and community engagement. “The Emma Kaufmann Camp is such an integral part of the Pittsburgh JCC,” said Doron Krakow, president and CEO of the JCC Association of North America. “To me, it was not a surprise that the Pittsburgh JCC would be the first [JCC camp to receive the award] because of the unique nature of how close, cohesive and tight-knit the Pittsburgh Jewish community is and how big a part the JCC Pittsburgh plays. So, evolving a culture of philanthropy that transcends camp in the JCC community is a natural byproduct of the way the community in the JCC already work.” Marcus noted that any sort of giving begins and ends with relationships. “It’s about building relationships and partnerships and trusting the people who believe in you and the organization and want to better the organization and be a community,” she said. “We’ve learned by creating this culture of philanthropy that we’ve deepened our relationships with so many community members in ways that we just never even knew were possible. Whether it’s by a donation, or by volunteering or by telling stories, that’s the overall culture.” “The JCC Association are incredibly proud that the Pittsburgh JCC was recognized in this way,” said Krakow. “It’s a role model for the entire field.” PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
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Headlines Jewish Healthcare Foundation launches Liftoff PGH — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
iftoff PGH 2020 is ready for flight. Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s new initiative, a 15-day virtual summit beginning Dec. 1, aims to bolster relationships between educational, health care and technological innovators. The conference will blend augmented reality with digital keynotes and interactive workshops. The large-scale program is intended to facilitate cross-disciplinary conversation about the efforts needed to further Pittsburgh’s place as a national and global hub for health care, innovation and life sciences, said Karen Wolk Feinstein, JHF’s president and CEO. Although the city has been recognized for its decades-long commitment to medicine and education, it’s time to consider the region’s future, says Mara Leff, JHF’s director of innovation. “We think adding tech to those two verticals — meds and eds — is the natural next step to putting Pittsburgh on the map,” Leff said. Dermatological and ophthalmological smartphone apps are an example of the way technology has the ability to improve health and safety, said Feinstein. With Liftoff PGH, the goal is to “ignite the energy” of people working on solutions to problems
p Liftoff speaker Dr. Abdesalam Soudi of the University of Pittsburgh stopped by the Liftoff LIFTODROP and posed for a photo with Innovation Associate Megan Butler and Liftoff's mascot Liftoff Astronaut. The team gave out T-shirts and masks to its early ticket adopters. Photo courtesy of Jewish Healthcare Foundation
in other sectors and get those individuals to focus on health care. “Liftoff aims to bring together the community and showcase local assets — what’s going on here that is cutting-edge and future-oriented — and how can we foster new collaborations and partnerships across the ecosystem while attracting new folks here,” said Leff. “Whether it’s in terms of investment in the actual economy, in the innovation economy; whether it’s attracting new talent to work here as companies move here and set up shop; or to simply retain talent coming out of our universities.” As testament to the advancements in tech, organizers dedicated considerable effort to providing attendees with an optimal digital experience. Once inside the virtual conference center, registrants can enjoy schmoozing, workshopping and even an expo. “Instead of your typical trade show floor, you’re going to be able to experience booths virtually,” said Leff. “You can make appointments to talk to the people that are running the booth, you can interact with them, you can pull down materials that they’ve displayed. It’s sort of the future of expo halls as we know it.” Registrants also will be offered daily activities designed to boost creativity during the conference. The podcasts, presentations and invitations to discuss future possibilities culminate on Please see Liftoff, page 15
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Headlines Seneca Valley history teacher named Holocaust Educator of the Year — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer
ames Lucot Jr. identifies with the victims of history and those abused by people in power. Perhaps that is why he developed a passion for teaching the Holocaust. His uncle was a soldier killed in World War II, and his earliest memories, he said, are of his grandmother taking him to visit his uncle’s grave. “I don’t have any memories without World War II,” said Lucot. “My grandma tried to explain to me as a little boy that we lost him because he was stopping what the Nazis were doing.” As someone with a lifelong interest in history, he has concentrated on different eras, “but the Holocaust always stayed with me,” he said. In his 20s, he began reading about survivors in the newspaper and then arranged to meet them and interview them. “And I did that my whole life,” Lucot said. The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh recently announced that Lucot, who teaches Advanced Placement U.S. government and Honors U.S. History at Seneca Valley High School, was named the 2020-2021 Holocaust Educator of the Year. The award includes a
p James Lucot with Pittsburgh survivor Howard Chandler on a Classrooms Without Borders trip to Poland Photo provided by James Lucot.
cash prize to both the teacher and the school to support Holocaust education. “This is very, very special to me,” Lucot said. “I’ve received a couple of honors similar,
but this one is very special to me because it’s Pittsburgh and it’s all my peers. It’s people who know me. And there are some tremendous, tremendous Holocaust educators in
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Western Pennsylvania. I’m very humbled.” Typically awarded in the spring after a competitive process, this year’s winner was chosen in the fall due to the pandemic, allowing the money to reach Seneca Valley High School at a crucial time, according to Lauren Bairnsfather, director of the Holocaust Center. Giving the award to Lucot was “almost like we were giving him like a lifetime achievement kind of award because he has done so much, over so many years,” she said. Lucot first connected to the Holocaust Center in the 1980s, while still in his 20s; prior to the internet age, the history teacher’s main source of information had been the Squirrel Hill Barnes & Noble. In addition to learning about the Holocaust from first-hand survivor accounts and through the Holocaust Center, Lucot has toured several former concentration camp sites including Auschwitz, Birkenau, Treblinka and Majdanek. During a Classrooms Without Borders trip to Poland that included Pittsburgh survivor Howard Chandler, Lucot had what he called a “lightning bolt” moment. “I said, ‘When I get home, I am going to teach classes about the Holocaust,’” he recalled. Please see Teacher, page 15
This November, we take time to remember the victims of transphobic violence we have lost. Bet Tikvah Congregation P. 0. Box 10140 Pittsburgh, PA 15221 Web: www.bettikvah.org
Headlines Local attorney for Democratic Party talks election litigation — LOCAL — By Kayla Steinberg | Digital Content Manager
ewish Pittsburgher Cliff Levine, one of the attorneys working on the Biden campaign’s election-related litigation in Pennsylvania, describes the past five months as a “nonstop attack.” “Pennsylvania was the single most important battleground state, and the Republicans have been very, very aggressive about bringing lawsuits,” he said. Levine, who chairs the appellate advocacy group at Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, estimated he has handled about a dozen election-related lawsuits in the last few months, including one involving a ballot access issue for the Libertarian Party, the Green Party and the Constitution Party. He was involved in several cases concerning Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting statute, satellite offices and drop boxes. And he assisted another Jewish lawyer, Lazar Palnick, co-chair of the Pennsylvania Voting Protection Steering Committee, with training and deploying thousands of volunteer lawyers throughout Pennsylvania to the polls with the goal of ensuring that every vote counted. His biggest legal battle now, he said, relates to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to extend the state’s vote-by-mail deadline
to count ballots that arrived up to three days after Election Day. On Oct. 19, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Republican effort to undo the state Cliff Levine Supreme Court’s Photo courtesy of Cliff Levine decision in a 4-4 split — Chief Justice John Roberts and the three liberal justices on one side, the four conservative justices on the other. Days later, the Supreme Court declined to fast-track consideration of Republicans’ request to hear an appeal. The Supreme Court had not decided whether it would accept the Republicans’ appeal as of press time. But Levine doesn’t think a potential reversal of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision would change the results of the presidential election. Biden, as of Nov. 17, was up in Pennsylvania by more than 70,000 votes. Only 10,000 votes were received after polls closed between Election Day and Nov. 6, according to Pennsylvania’s chief election officer. “There has been no fraud at all,” said Levine. He thinks Republicans are trying to delay the process and prevent mail-in votes, which broadly favor Biden, from counting. He analogized the situation to football. “If you look on the scoreboard, Joe Biden
“I think the whole country would like to see a responsible transfer of power.” — CLIFF LEVINE
has over 270 points,” Levine said. “And the referee is taking that certification to report it into Congress. And the Republicans are trying to create technical issues questioning ‘Well was that really fair when that field goal was kicked? Shouldn’t you have called an offsides earlier in the half?’ “They’re raising all these issues and going to the referee and saying, ‘Please, please, please tell me all this,’ and then hoping that the referee isn’t able to take his certification to the scoring official in time and have the game not count because of all these delays,” he continued. The electors are set to vote in their respective states and the District of Columbia on Dec. 14. If the vote tallies remain intact, Biden will be inaugurated as president on Jan. 20.
But there could be efforts to block and delay the electors’ vote, said Levine. “We have to see basically if the Republican Party at some point is just going to acknowledge, as we typically do in our country, that one side has won, and the other side has lost,” Levine said. “I think the whole country would like to see a responsible transfer of power.” The Chronicle contacted the Republican Jewish Coalition of Pennsylvania seeking an interview with a Jewish attorney representing the Trump campaign or the GOP in the election lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania. The RJC did not provide a source who would agree to be identified by name. PJC Kayla Steinberg can be reached at ksteinberg@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
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Headlines Leslie Frischman’s sidewalk math equals neighborhood fun
p Leslie Frischman and her sidewalk math
— LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
hen schools shuttered last spring due to the pandemic, math teacher Leslie Frischman brought
p Steve Finkel and Leslie Frischman pose for a photo after Frischman presented Finkel with a math excellence certificate. Photos courtesy of Leslie Frischman
her classroom outdoors. Armed with a surplus of brightly colored chalk and a stretch of well-traversed pavement, Frischman, a middle school teacher at Community Day School, scrawled problems out across the sidewalk on Beechwood Boulevard in Squirrel Hill. With each problem, she noticed a pattern:
People stopped, tried to solve the equation and, better yet, said Frischman, began all sorts of conversations — even ones that had nothing to do with math. Eight months later, Frischman is still at it. Her chalk problems, which are “fun, easy and not too mathy,” have been a nice way of safely bringing people together, she said,
especially in these days of social distancing. Frishman’s sidewalk puzzles are not always obviously math problems. For example, she recently etched a two-bytwo grid, with one letter placed inside each of the four boxes: h, f, c and e. Passersby were Please see Frischman, page 15
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Calendar Submit calendar items on the Chronicle’s website, pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Submissions also will be included in print. Events will run in the print edition beginning one month prior to the date as space allows. The deadline for submissions is Friday, noon. q FRIDAY, NOV. 20; SUNDAY, NOV. 22
The Film Pittsburgh Fall Festival will screen online. The festival will feature exciting and thought-provoking independent films from the Three Rivers Film Festival and Pittsburgh Shorts and will include films from ReelAbilities Pittsburgh and the JFilm Festival. For more information, visit filmpittsburgh.org. q SUNDAY, NOV. 22
Repair the World Pittsburgh and the Second Floor at the Jewish Community Center will host a Youth Day of Service open to all sixth to 12th-graders. There will be both in-person and virtual opportunities. 11 a.m. For more information, visit werepair.org/pittsburgh. q SUNDAYS, NOV. 22-DEC. 6;
WEDNESDAYS, NOV. 18-DEC. 9
Chabad of the South Hills presents Secrets of the Bible, a new six-week course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute. Study iconic stories, mystical meanings and their lessons for life. Sunday classes begin at 10:30 a.m.; Wednesday classes start at 8 p.m. Classes are presented on Zoom. For more information and to register, visit chabadsh.com. q SUNDAYS, NOV. 22, 29; DEC. 6, 13, 20
Join a lay-led Online Parashah Study Group to discuss the week’s Torah portion. No Hebrew knowledge is needed. The goal is to build community while deepening understanding of the text. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org. q SUNDAYS, NOV. 22; DEC. 6; JAN. 31;
FEB. 7, 14, 21, 28; MARCH 7, 14
What does Jewish tradition have to say about God, Torah, mitzvot, suffering, messiah, Israel? In this special course, Pittsburgh Rabbis on Jewish Belief, Jewish Community Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will host 14 Pittsburgh rabbis, each teaching a session on fundamental aspects of Jewish belief. Fourteen sessions for $70. 10 a.m. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org. q MONDAY, NOV. 23
Classrooms Without Borders, in partnership with the American Association of Teachers of German, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in New York City and Germany Close Up, convenes a lecture with Dr. Felix Klein, Germany’s federal government commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism. RSVP to receive the Zoom link. The link will be sent out 24 hours before the program. 12 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org q MONDAYS, NOV. 23, 30; DEC. 7, 14, 21
Join Rabbi Jeremy Markiz in learning Masechet Rosh Hashanah, a tractate of the Talmud about the many new years that fill out the Jewish calendar at Monday Talmud
study. 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org. q TUESDAY, NOV. 24
Fifty-four years ago, leaders of four faiths came together to begin the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Decades later, the community will come together, virtually, to pray for the healing of our community during these trying times. This year’s event will feature Rabbi Aaron Meyer from Temple Emanuel of South Hills, the Rev. Brian Snyder from Bower Hill Community Church, Dr. Visala S. Muluk, from Chinmaya Mission Pittsburgh, Benjamin Aysan from the Turkish Cultural Center Pittsburgh, and special musical performances. 7 p.m. For more information, visit shimcares.org/events. q TUESDAYS, NOV. 24-DEC. 22
Jewish Family and Community Services hosts Mindfulness and Meditation for Stress Management, offering the opportunity to cultivate greater awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings and actions. Increasing awareness and integrating mindfulness and meditation into one’s routine strengthens one’s ability to act with intention rather than reactively and decrease feelings of being overwhelmed. 11 a.m. To register, visit jfcspgh.org. Join Classrooms Without Borders scholar Avi Ben-Hur on a fascinating look at Jewish heritage in six different countries across Europe and North Africa. Ben-Hur will dedicate two weekly sessions to each country in this 12-week series. This series is co-sponsored by Rodef Shalom Congregation. 2 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org/jewish-heritagearound-the-world. Join Jewish Family and Community Services for Art and Contemplation - Teen Edition, an artbased support group just for teens. The sessions will explore how making art can help regulate the nervous system, promote playfulness, imagination, help develop insight, and connect us more deeply to our bodies, emotions and thoughts. For the first session, blank paper and drawing materials that have some variety of color will be needed. Free. 3 p.m. For more information and to register, visit jfcspgh.org. q TUESDAYS, NOV. 24-JUNE 1
What is the point of Jewish living? What ideas, beliefs and practices are involved? Melton Course 1: Rhythms & Purposes of Jewish Living examines a variety of Jewish sources to discover the deeper meanings of Jewish holidays, lifecycle observances and Jewish practice. Cost: $300 per person, per year (25 sessions), includes all books and materials. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org. q WEDNESDAYS, NOV. 25-DEC. 16
Classrooms Without Borders presents “Becoming Blended L2: A Practical Course for Remote Pedagogy.” All classroom educators can receive this fully subsidized teacher training. Educators attending the program are eligible to receive Pennsylvania Act 48 continuing credits. 4 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org.
Join Classrooms Without Borders for a weekly book discussion of “Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People” with Dr. Joshua Andy on Zoom. 7 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org. q MONDAYS, NOV. 30; DEC. 7; FEB. 1, 8,
15, 22; MARCH 1, 8, 15
Most people associate the term “Haftarah” with opaque prophetic reading on Shabbat morning. This course, Haftarah, will attempt to make the opaque sparkle. Choosing selectively from the most interesting Haftarah portions, Jewish Community Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will seek to imbue meaning in these powerful prophetic passages. Fourteen sessions for $70. 9:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visit foundation. jewishpgh.org. q TUESDAYS, DEC. 1, 8, 15; FEB 9, 16, 23;
MARCH 2, 9
Treating Jewish jokes as text, From Sinai to Seinfeld invites students to analyze and interpret the evolving concerns, styles, rhythms, preoccupations and values of the Jewish people that lie buried deep in words that make us laugh as Jews, and that bond us as a people. $50 per person, (10 sessions), includes all books and materials. For more information and to register, visit foundation. jewishpgh.org. q WEDNESDAY, DEC. 2
Help the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh respond to emergency pandemic needs by making a commitment to the Community Campaign today at jewishpgh. org/donate, then join them for a free thankyou Chanukah cooking demonstration with Pittsburgh native, chef Michael Solomonov. 8 p.m. To register, visit jfedpgh.org/ solomonov-demo. q THURSDAY, DEC. 3
Classrooms Without Borders in partnership with Rodef Shalom is excited to offer the opportunity to watch the film “Menachem Begin: Peace and War” and engage in a post-film discussion with the film director, Levi Zini, and CWB scholar Avi Ben Hur. 3 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org.
“Jewish Memories of the Hill.” 12 p.m. For more information, visit bethelcong.org. q TUESDAY, DEC. 8
United Hatzalah is an innovative and fast growing organization whose focus is getting emergency medical attention to people all over Israel. Learn about the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s relationship with, and support of, United Hatzalah, as well as the story of its founder, Eli Beer. 12 p.m. For more information, visit jewispgh.org/event. q THURSDAY, DEC. 10
Classrooms Without Borders is honored to convene an interfaith discussion about resilience and miracles featuring religious leaders from the three major monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Moderated by Imam Jihad Turk, founding president and dean of Bayan Islamic Graduate School, the panel features Rabbi Aaron Bisno of Rodef Shalom Congregation, Rev. David Poecking of Archangel Gabriel Parish and Imam Chris Caras of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. 4 p.m. For more information, visit classroomswithoutborders.org. Join Chabad of the South Hills and celebrate the Annual South Hills Lights with a Chanukah drive-in. The first candle will be kindled on the grand 12-foot menorah. Enjoy individually wrapped Chanukah treats and swag for each car, a family-friendly multimedia experience on a giant 30-foot screen, live entertainment, music and more. All you have to do is drive in, park your car and enjoy. Dormont pool parking lot. 5:30 p.m. This event will strictly adhere to Covid-19 safety guidelines. Reservations are required. Go to chabadsh.com to register your vehicle. q SUNDAY, DEC. 13
Be a superhero, join the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Annual Phone-a-thon to raise funds for the community. Super Sunday will be held virtually in 2020. Represent your favorite Jewish Pittsburgh organization. The group with the most representatives will receive $1,800. There will be a training session on Wednesday, Dec. 9. You will need a computer with internet access and a mobile device to make calls. For more information, visit jewishpgh.org/event/super-sunday.
Chabad of Squirrel Hill hosts its annual Evening of Celebration online, honoring Janie Yahr with the Community Lamplighter Award. The program will feature a light, inspirational presentation by David Weiss, screenwriter of “Shrek 2” and other popular films, entitled “Shrekstival of Lights: Finding the Light When You Feel in the Dark.” 7:30 p.m. $50. To reserve, go to chabadpgh.com.
q MONDAY, DEC. 14
q MONDAY, DEC. 7
Classrooms Without Borders, in partnership with Rodef Shalom Congregation and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, will offer the opportunity to watch the new film “A Call to Spy” and engage in a post-film discussion with actress Sarah Megan Thomas and Columbia University Adjunct Professor Anne Nelson. There are a limited number of free licenses available to view the film on a first-come, first-served basis. 4 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org. PJC
Join Beth El Congregation of the South Hills for First Mondays at Beth El. This month, Barbara Burstin will present “FDR, was he good for the Jews? A discussion on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.” Burstin is on the history faculty of both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University and has written several books, including a biography of Sophie Masloff. She was the historical consultant and producer of the movie by Ken Love entitled
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Join Classrooms Without Borders in Israel — virtually. Monthly tours with guide and scholar Rabbi Jonty Blackman via Zoom. 7 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org. q THURSDAY, DEC. 17
NOVEMBER 20, 2020 7
Rita and Andy Rabin, Chairs, JCC RECOVERY CAMPAIGN Dr. Elie Aoun and Justin Matase, Chairs, JCC LITTLE NIGHT
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Headlines Pandemic restrictions lead to new Thanksgiving traditions
p Dana Platt Blitstein with a few of her family members
Photo courtesy of Dana Platt Blitstein
p Gwyndolyn and Matthew Riddle with their goldendoodle, Buddy Photo courtesy of Gwyndolyn and Matthew Riddle
— LOCAL — By Kayla Steinberg | Digital Content Manager
his Thanksgiving, Nina Butler is readying her friends and family for a pandemic-friendly iteration of her annual rib cook-off. Matthew and
Gwyndolyn Riddle are expecting twin sons and a meal dropped off on their porch. And Dana Platt Blitstein plans to eat lunch in her cousin’s garage. They’re a few of many who are reinventing holiday traditions during COVID-19. Butler’s daughter does not like turkey, so the family’s rib cook-off offers an alternative. But even for the turkey lovers in the family,
the contest spices up the holiday. Each year, the competition is stiff. Dueling chefs from several families vie to outdo each other’s dishes. “It’s all good food and good humor, and sometimes the humor wins above the food,” said Butler. Her family, her daughter’s family and her 97-year-old aunt Chantze all live on the same
property, bought by family members after WWII. Usually, they can show up to each other’s homes in pajamas for breakfast, but with COVID-19, they have been eating outside at a long buffet table on a covered deck: Aunt Chantze at one end, two fans blowing down the table, and the kids at the other end. Please see Thanksgiving, page 15
This week in Israeli history — WORLD — Items provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.
Nov. 20, 1977 — Sadat addresses Knesset
“I come to you today on solid ground, to shape a new life, to establish peace,” Egyptian President Anwar Sadat tells the Knesset a day after arriving in Israel for his historic visit.
Nov. 21, 1984 — Operation Moses begins
The Mossad launches Operation Moses to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Almost 8,000 Ethiopians are flown from refugee camps in Sudan via Brussels to Israel in less than seven weeks.
Nov. 22, 1923 — Actress Hanna Maron is born
Hannele Meierzak, who as Hanna Maron is recognized by Guinness as having the world’s longest stage career, is born in Berlin. She builds her reputation with Tel Aviv’s C ame r i T he ate r and keeps acting after losing a leg in a terrorist attack in 1970.
Nov. 23, 1926 — Spymaster Rafi Eitan is born
Rafi Eitan, whose intelligence career ranges from the high of leading the capture of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina to the low of handling U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard, is born at Ein Harod.
Nov. 24, 1938 — British debate Palestine
During the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt, the House of Commons holds a debate on the future of Palestine. Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald says British troops are restoring the crown’s authority.
Nov. 25, 1940 — Transport Ship Patria is sunk
The Haganah bombs the SS Patria in Haifa’s harbor to prevent the British from sending more than 1,700 Jews seeking refuge in Palestine to Mauritius. The intent is to disable the ship, but it sinks.
Nov. 26, 2013 — Singer Arik Einstein dies
An aortic aneurysm kills beloved singersongwriter Arik Einstein at age 74 in Tel Aviv, leading thousands of fans to gather for an impromptu memorial the next day in Rabin Square. PJC
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
NOVEMBER 20, 2020 9
Opinion Making the hard decision to close a Jewish institution — EDITORIAL —
or the first time in 114 years, it looks like our community may be without a Jewish nursing home. The Jewish Association on Aging made the understandable decision late last week that it was no longer financially tenable to continue operating its 92-bed Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. A confluence of events was to blame, officials said, including a large long-term gap between Medicaid coverage and the actual cost of providing care for residents on Medicaid, and a long-term trend toward at-home care. But it was the expenses and lost revenue associated with COVID-19 that accelerated the decision to close the facility. Now in the process of meeting industry protocols and finalizing details, the JAA anticipates closing Charles Morris on Jan. 12. The 50 residents of the nursing home, along with their families and in consultation with JAA staff, will now need to find alternative places to live. Some will go home. Some may be able to transfer to one of the JAA’s personal care residences — Weinberg Village or Weinberg Terrace — or to its AHAVA Memory Center, which will continue to operate. Others will move to different nursing
In the years — or months — to come, other Jewish institutions will likely face similar structural challenges such as ongoing funding deficits, changing societal norms and a reliance on a substantial number of non-Jewish customers using their services. homes, without a Jewish affiliation. Reaction from members of Jewish Pittsburgh to the news of the Charles Morris closure was swift. On social media, many lamented the loss of the only Jewish nursing home in the city, writing how thankful they were to have had a Jewish environment, kosher food and a rabbi on staff for their loved ones. “I am heartbroken,” wrote one community member on Facebook, echoing the sentiments of many more. Though only 19 of Pittsburgh’s Jewish
elderly currently live at Charles Morris, the thought of not having a Jewish communal option for our seniors needing nursing care is somewhat disconcerting. In addition to the kosher food, and the rabbi on staff, there is the intangible benefit of living in a Jewish environment among other Jews. Although a portion of Charles Morris residents are only there for a short stay for rehabilitation, others live there for years. For them, Charles Morris is home. In the years — or months — to come, other Jewish institutions will likely face similar structural challenges such as ongoing funding
deficits, changing societal norms and a reliance on a substantial number of non-Jewish customers using their services. For some, we suspect that COVID-19 could also be the breaking point. The leadership of those Jewish organizations will need to make hard decisions about reducing, restructuring or even ceasing operations in order to be viable in the current environment. The JAA plans to hire a Jewish community liaison who will work to bring Judaism to Jews in nursing homes around the area, whether or not they ever resided at Charles Morris. Rabbi Dovid Small will be making visits to area nursing homes as well. We are confident those efforts will help maintain some connection to Jewish life for our seniors in nursing facilities. We can debate whether a Jewish nursing home is necessary in today’s world — Montefiore Hospital closed 30 years ago, when it became evident that it wasn’t necessary to have a Jewish hospital, for example. And we can debate when a community should decide it can no longer afford to support an institution that serves just a small number of Jews. Still, we can’t help but feel sad about the loss of this Jewish institution. And we can’t help but wonder what the landscape of Jewish Pittsburgh will look like going forward in the absence of Charles Morris. PJC
The Kaddish Initiative for global Jewish unity and solidarity Guest Columnist David Dangoor
he Jewish calendar is replete with dates, both religious and secular, attesting to momentous occasions and events in Jewish history. Though the exile in the wider Middle East, outside of the Land of Israel, beginning in Babylon more than 2,500 years ago, was the longest, it is not widely studied. And it’s certainly the least commemorated in any sphere. In 2014, the State of Israel passed a law to officially make Nov. 30 a day to commemorate the departure and expulsion of Jews from Arab countries and Iran — a date now marked by Jewish communities around the world. Nevertheless, there remain many issues relating to the Jews from Arab countries that few other Jewish communities face. In 2017, Sass Peress, a Canadian of IraqiJewish origin, embarked on a voyage of discovery to find his own grandfather’s grave in Sadr City, Baghdad. With the help of local Muslims, he began to unearth his family’s graves, but also realized the abject neglect in Jewish cemeteries around Iraq, some of which had been destroyed. Others saw that Jewish cemeteries around the Middle East and North Africa were either demolished, as in Tripoli for a hotel, 10 NOVEMBER 20, 2020
or in a terrible condition. Apart from Morocco, almost all were inaccessible to Jews. In 2018, Sass launched a process that led to a global moment of unity and remembrance, by which an annual Kaddish (the mourners’ prayer) and Azkara (a memorial prayer) were recited together in synagogues across the world, as a testament to and remembrance for Jews whose family members are buried in no-longer-accessible cemeteries in Arab countries. During the first year, 12 communities participated; last year, participation was extended to more than 50 communities across four continents. This year, we are calling on synagogues and other Jewish institutions of all backgrounds to say these prayers on the closest Shabbat to the day of commemoration on Nov. 28, in remembrance of and solidarity with the Jews from the Middle East and North Africa who cannot say them in the presence of their departed family members. Organizations representing millions of Jews — in communities from across the religious spectrum and from around the world — already have signed up. Thousands have already downloaded the prayer, written by Rabbi Joseph Dweck, the senior rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community of the United Kingdom, to be recited in synagogues, in Zoom services or individually, due to the limitations on public prayer imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In Judaism, we are meant to understand and learn through ritual. While saying the Kaddish and Azkara prayers is largely a religious undertaking, it is far more than that. It is about creating awareness of the history and plight of our people still suffering because of the ramifications resulting from the exodus of Jews from Arab countries in the 20th century. Whole communities of almost 1 million Jews, living in these areas for millennia, were emptied within a few short decades, with very little left of their presence or existence. Thanks to organizations like Diarna, The GeoMuseum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life, many of us can see our former homes and communities, albeit virtually. The few who manage to see them in person, such as Libyan Jewish exile David Gerbi, risk life and limb. Gerbi returned to see his family’s synagogue in Tripoli 44 years after they fled, and almost paid with his life. While there briefly to clean up the prayer hall and say a few prayers, angry crowds formed around him. “They told me that if I am not leaving now, they are going to come and they are going to kill me because they don’t want Jews here,” said Gerbi, who was whisked away by hired security guards. This is the sad reality for many of us, although we have hope that the Abraham Accords could usher in a new era of rapprochement between Jews and Arabs in the region. Nonetheless, before we are able to push these issues with our neighbors, there needs
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to be greater understanding, awareness and displays of solidarity within the Jewish world. For many years, the history and exodus of the Jews from the Middle East and North Africa were barely recognized or remembered by Jewish institutions, synagogues, schools and organizations in Israel and around the world. While the majority of Jews in Israel and around 1 million Jews in the Diaspora are from the Middle East and North Africa, there needs to be a greater sense of awareness of the history, culture and tradition of these communities. Unlike the case of other Jewish tragedies, there is no communal showing of religious solidarity for the exodus and expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. It is vital, thus, that this be a widely recognized initiative to say these prayers annually in synagogues and Jewish institutions in Israel and around the world. Even in communities where there are few Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, these prayers and a display of religious solidarity are vital for breaking down the barriers between our different communities. To sign up and download the prayer, please go to KaddishInitiative.com. PJC David Dangoor, a businessman and philanthropist, is a member of the board of the World Organisation of Jews from Iraq (WOJI) and honorary president of the Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Opinion A tribute to Hazzan Moshe Taube Guest Columnist Hazzan Stephen J. Stein
No one had a greater influence on my
his past week, the Jewish community of Pittsburgh lost one of its brightest jewels — Cantor Moshe Taube. Recognized throughout the world as among the great pulpit artists of the second half of the 20th century, he chose to spend the bulk of his career in Pittsburgh. His reputation as a celebrated singer extended throughout the city. A Juilliard graduate, his magnificent voice earned him a longstanding position as a vocal instructor in the School of Music at Duquesne University. Colleagues from throughout the country often told me of visits to their synagogues from Pittsburghers who proudly proclaimed to them after services, “You’re pretty good, but my cantor is Moshe Taube.” At Cantors Assembly conventions, Taube was one of a select few that colleagues asked to hear each year. Born in Krakow, Poland, he was fortunate to have been in the select group saved by Oskar Schindler during the Shoah. When Taube came to Pittsburgh in the mid-1960s, highly skilled, prominent cantors were to be found throughout the city: Hillel
cantorate. The more I learned about cantorial artistry, the more in awe I was of his talent. Brummer at Poale Zedeck, Mordecai Heiser at B’nai Israel, Jacob Lefkowitz at Shaare Torah (his son, David, went on to serve as hazzan at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City) and Harry Silversmith at Tree of Life. All of these men are now of blessed memory. As a native Pittsburgher, I was fortunate to have been one of Taube’s disciples. I spent semester and summer breaks from cantorial school at the Jewish Theological Seminary studying with him. No one had a greater influence on my cantorate. The more I learned about cantorial artistry, the more in awe I was of his talent. Less known about Hazzan Taube is that he was a prolific composer. Virtually every note
sung at Beth Shalom over the decades was composed by him — cantorial renditions, congregational melodies and choral works. One of the hallmarks of his solo compositions is that they always included a tuneful refrain, enabling the congregation to join in. When asked about his style, Taube would comment that he was influenced by the late, great cantor Leib Glantz. Like Glantz, Taube’s hazzanut conveyed an aura of mysticism. A perfect example is his setting of “Ahavti,” from the Psalms of Hallel, which can be found on YouTube. The greatest cantors are masters of improvisation. The nusah (the musical modes and motifs unique to each service) set certain
boundaries. The skilled hazzan is tasked with improvising, while remaining within those parameters. While a lay prayer leader is likely to chant a text the same way each time, the skilled hazzan never does. Our liturgy is fixed. While many worshipers yearn for familiarity, it is the ability to vary the chanting of the liturgy that keeps the service fresh and stimulating. Few could improvise nusah like Moshe Taube. Even in his 90s, Taube maintained impeccable control over his voice, continuing to sing with clarity, beauty and dignity. His coloratura remained flawless. As a personal favor, I asked him to chant the Kel Maleh at the funeral for my father, who passed away two years ago. My son, an accomplished musician and faculty member at the cantorial schools of JTS and Hebrew Union College, was astonished by how Taube’s singing remained completely on the mark in every way. In all walks of life, we look up to those who are the very best practitioners in their chosen professions. In the sacred vocation of the cantorate there have been few who could match Moshe Taube. His passing leaves a void in the lives of his colleagues and admirers. I will remain forever grateful for the manner in which he elevated and inspired my career. PJC Hazzan Stephen J. Stein is executive vice president of the Cantors Assembly.
Endless fatigue. Give yourself a break. Guest Columnist Betsy S. Stone
epending on how you count, we’re now in month 8 of this endless trauma. I’ve been describing it as a bitter Napoleon — you know those pastries that are layers of filo and cream? Instead of layers that are yummy, our layers are loss on trauma on grief. Cases are rising, the temperature is dropping and our homes seem to be getting smaller. Our children are always there, we have become their teachers as well as their parents. Zoom fatigue is real. Racial injustice continues; the election and its wrangling are ongoing. We vacillate between exhaustion and exhaustion. I’ve been teaching groups of teachers and educators lately and I keep hearing the same two things: their responsibilities keep
growing and they are always supposed to be happy. And they have neither time nor space to recover. The way our brains and bodies are supposed to work in crisis is simple. Quick reaction and then slow recovery. Get frightened, act, and then calm. There’s a surge reaction and then a reset. That reset can happen in sleep, awake, alone, with others — but that reset is essential. At the beginning of this crisis, we were in surge mode. I spoke with educators all over the country who were working non-stop, trying to move from live to on-line learning. They did it. I facilitate a rabbis group that scrambled to create meaningful services and community connections — and they succeeded. Camps did amazing pivots, creating online spaces for campers and counselors, maintaining their magic. We surged. Did we reset? Many of us did not. The impact of this lack of recovery is something we call surge fatigue — a decreasing ability
— LETTERS — End — don’t just reduce — stigma
In “UpStreet offers teens easy access to counseling” (Nov. 13), you write: “Upstreet aims to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health support.” Are you really of the mind that you must support those who hold that prejudice and their interest in keeping some of it? Harold A. Maio Fort Myers, Florida PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
to act swiftly and decisively. Teachers tell me of administration requests that would have been easy a year ago that are simply impossible now. Call another parent? I CANNOT. Learn another program? BEYOND ME. Attend another meeting? ARE YOU KIDDING? Coupled with surge fatigue is pressure to be cheerful and optimistic. Look, I know there are places and times for optimism. But teachers and clergy are talking about toxic positivity — the endless cheeriness and happy support which leaves no room for my exhaustion, my sense of being overwhelmed, my grief. A group of teachers I met with recently talked about how their administration keeps saying, “You’ve got this,” making it nearly impossible to say, “No, I don’t.” There should be no shame in our exhaustion, our grief. We need to know that we cannot do as much in month 8 as we could in month 1. We need to set the bar lower and accept that we cannot do what
we did pre-COVID. We need to be allowed — and allow ourselves — to do less, to feel like it’s harder. We need to support each other when we’re down, not demand happy faces. Zoom fatigue, surge fatigue, decision fatigue, election fatigue, COVID fatigue, racial injustice fatigue, loneliness fatigue, family fatigue. Give yourself — and those around you — a break. Do less and be satisfied with what you can achieve. Say no. Don’t ask so much — of you or anyone else. It’s OK to be imperfect. It’s always been OK to be imperfect. This reset could take a while, but we need it to be able to move forward. PJC Betsy S. Stone, Ph.D., is a retired psychologist who currently teaches as an adjunct lecturer at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Her classes include Human Development for Educators, The Spiritual Life-Cycle, Adolescent Development and Teens In and Out of Crisis. This piece first appeared at eJewishPhilanthropy.com.
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Headlines JAA: Continued from page 1
National Center for Assisted Living. Winn-Horvitz described the Medicaid gap as a “national crisis.” Don Shulman, president and CEO of the Association of Jewish Aging Services, a national advocacy organization, agreed. “For nonprofit, faith-based caregivers like JAA, these financial losses in the nursing home business, year after year, are totally unsustainable,” Shulman said in a prepared statement. “Therefore even the most resilient organizations are faced with making difficult decisions like this.” A number of medium and small Jewish nursing homes around the country, including the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life in Philadelphia, have been sold over the last five years, Shulman told the Chronicle, because of the Medicaid funding shortfalls. While the laws differ from state to state, he pointed to Pennsylvania’s as being particularly “difficult.” In coming to its tentative decision to close the 92-bed facility, JAA leadership explored other options, including downsizing, mergers and affiliations, according to Andrew Stewart, the JAA board’s president. None proved viable. The board, Stewart said, was “faced with balancing our desire to continue to provide this particular type of service against the thousands of other seniors that we touch in our 10 other programs. We try and provide the
Taube: Continued from page 1
his Hebrew name, Taube was studying piano and singing in a choir with Cantor Yossele Mandelbaum by age 8. His budding career, though, was diverted by the war. Taube and his father, Emanuel, were taken from the Krakow ghetto and assigned to a labor camp, while the rest of his family — mother, sister and dozens more — were murdered by Nazis in concentration camps. “I could not sing between 1939 and 1945,” Taube told the Post-Gazette several years ago. “I couldn’t sing because of the atrocities that happened. Singing is an expression of fulfillment, happiness, of worship. I did worship, but not with singing.” Taube and his father worked at a munitions plant in what is now the Czech Republic where German businessman Oskar Schindler employed Jews, saving more than 1,000 from Nazi camps. Schindler’s work was portrayed and dramatized in the 1993 Spielberg-directed film “Schindler’s List.” “These are men and women who lived extremely long lives after surviving the Holocaust,” said Lauren Bairnsfather, who heads the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. “I try to see the joy in that, that we were lucky to get to know them. Nevertheless, it’s a painful loss.” Taube came to the United States in the 1960s by way of Romania and Israel. Before coming to Pittsburgh to begin a 40-year residency at Beth Shalom, he earned a diploma in voice from The Juilliard School in 1962, studying under Hans Heinz, a spokesperson there said. “He was an old-world personality, both in 14 NOVEMBER 20, 2020
highest quality of care across the platform. We have to balance out all of those and, unfortunately, the trifecta of 10 years of flat funding for Medicaid, and then the shift toward aging in place, and then the consequences of a pandemic, really forced us to make this hard decision now in order to preserve the sustainability of the programs that we have to offer that are needed by so many people.” Shulman agreed that closing the facility “was the right thing to do,” but acknowledged that for Charles Morris residents and their families, the decision will be “devastating.” “The home had a fabulous reputation for a number of years in the community,” Shulman said. “It has been a community staple in Pittsburgh. It’s going to be very difficult.” JAA leadership is committed to not only mitigating that difficulty, but is looking toward building a new model of service for Jewish seniors that has an even greater reach. In the coming weeks, the JAA will work with the approximately 50 Charles Morris residents — 19 of whom are Jewish — and their families to evaluate each individual’s options, including transferring to another JAA facility, going home with additional support or transferring to a different care facility not affiliated with the JAA. For individuals who need to go to another nursing home facility, “the positive is that there are available beds out there because everyone is experiencing this historical low census,” said Winn-Horvitz. “We know who the quality providers are so we will be working with our residents and families on identifying those quality options and providing them
with information to help them make the best possible choice.” To maintain Jewish connection for former Charles Morris residents — and to broaden that connection to include other Jewish residents of facilities across Greater Pittsburgh — the JAA will hire a Jewish community skilled nursing facility liaison. The liaison will provide a host of services, including in-person or virtual visits; coordination of visits from the new director of pastoral care, Rabbi Dovid Small; coordination of transportation to the JAA campus for religious services and other communal activities; and coordination of the delivery of kosher meals to those who want them. “You know, we really put a lot of thought into how can we preserve what is Jewish about what happens within the walls of Charles Morris, that then we can translate into the walls of other facilities and that our residents could take with them, because we don’t want them to lose that connection to our Jewish community,” said Winn-Horvitz. “That’s very, very important.” Former Charles Morris residents, she said, “will remain in our hearts, even though they’re not going to be within our walls, potentially. We feel like we have an obligation to bring the Judaism to them, wherever they may be, and expand the opportunity to do that to other individuals as well at other facilities. So we’re really looking forward to rolling this position out over the next few months.” The decision to close Charles Morris is described as “tentative,” Winn-Horvitz said, because the organization must first comply with the protocols of a highly regulated industry that mandates “a number of processes,”
both externally, with the Department of Health, and internally. The JAA is in the midst of complying with those processes. While the closure is not yet final, JAA leadership is announcing the tentative decision now to provide “notice to our residents and staff and families to prepare them for what could be coming.” No decision has yet been made as to what the JAA will do with the portion of the building that housed Charles Morris. “Right now, the focus is on our residents and staff,” said Winn-Horvitz. “Once the process becomes final, at that point in time, we will turn our attention to the repurposing of that space.” The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has been in communication with JAA leadership, said Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of Federation. “While this is a difficult decision for the organization to consider, we are confident that the direction they have proposed would allow them to continue to provide quality care for their residents and clients in the best interests of the Jewish community,” Finkelstein said. The JAA’s proposed model — connecting Jewish seniors living in nursing homes around the area — “provides them with a much broader reach” and will “actually expand their services.” “It’s always sad to give something up that’s been here for a long time,” Finkelstein said, but the JAA is looking to “make lemonade out of lemons.” PJC
the sense of his education and world as a performer and a his cantorial preferences,” said composer of music.” Rabbi Emeritus Stephen E. Taube’s singing was Steindel, who shared a bima emotive and “sounded with Taube at Beth Shalom like a mixture of Yiddish folk for 18 years. “He didn’t get music and traditional liturreshaped by the American gical works,” Adelson added. wash, shall we say, either in his “His work had a very creative, lifestyle, his pious Jewish lifereally beautiful style all its own. style, or his cantorial style — he Taube embodied that oldremained true to form.” world ethnicity but also was Cantor Moshe Taube very creative himself.” Students and followers p Photo by Ryan Michael White/ courtesy of Holocaust Center of Taube — who composed Eric Lidji, director of the of Pittsburgh cantorial music as well as he Rauh Jewish History Program performed it — could be found in every & Archives at the Sen. John Heinz History corner of the world, said Steindel. The rabbi Center, echoed the notion that Taube was one regularly made pilgrimages to Jerusalem to of the last, great old-world cantors. hear the singing of Cantor Asher Hainowitz, “When he came in 1965, his two most who, as a preteen, studied under Taube at recent predecessors at Beth Shalom had Bograshov Synagogue in Tel Aviv decades ago. been American-born. He was a return to Taube first sang next to Steindel during the European tradition,” Lidji said. “He was the High Holidays in 1986. But Steindel, like much younger than the other cantors at many, was aware of Taube’s voice and legend Conservative congregations in the city at before meeting the man. the time he was hired — Harry Silversmith “I had heard his voice — I have been accused was at Tree of Life and Mordecai Heiser was at of taking dates of mine to concerts of his,” said B’nai Israel. Because of that, and because of Steindel, who first served Pittsburgh Jews at his longevity, he became the last of his kind Beth El Congregation of the South Hills after in the city.” being ordained in 1973. “It was a great privCongregation Beth Shalom planned to ilege [to work with him], to be together in host a tribute to Taube on Thursday, Nov. 19. the pulpit at Beth Shalom. And he didn’t let Cantor Henry Shapiro of Parkway Jewish me down. He was going strong 20 years later. Center in the eastern suburbs is hosting a He had an amazing gift of God.” tribute to Taube from 6-7 p.m. on Friday, “It was always such a pleasure to hear Nov. 20. Shapiro, who performed for him,” said Rabbi Seth Adelson, also a cantor, decades as a klezmer musician before joining who has led Beth Shalom since 2015. “He the cantorate, studied under Taube. was one of the last, great North American Taube never flaunted his knowledge of cantors. He was certainly ‘world-famous’ in technique, said Shapiro. Though it was obviSquirrel Hill, as he was known around the ous he was a master of the form, he never
brought up his Juilliard credentials. “The real delight with him was he naturally had the Yiddishkeit, the Jewish sense of the music and the cantorial music,” Shapiro said. “It was very easy to be attracted to it.” After retiring from Beth Shalom, Taube sang into his 90s at Young Peoples Synagogue, a traditional Jewish shul in Squirrel Hill. He spent roughly 13 years as its cantor, said Rebecca Spiegel, the congregation’s president. “It sometimes looked like his voice was going to walk out of him — his voice was so strong,” Spiegel said. “It was tremendous. During the High Holidays for us at Young Peoples, you could hear a pin drop. Everybody was in awe of his voice and his demeanor.” Dr. Adam Rothschild knew that awe. The physician lived down Bartlett Street from Taube during some of Taube’s later years. “On Sukkot, what I remember is him sitting there in his sukkah benching, belting it out,” Rothschild said. “It was like having a private little concert in my backyard.” Rothschild saw Taube perform, more formally, at Shaare Torah Congregation in 2010. The performance drew an estimated 1,000 devout listeners. “It was almost surreal because I had this personal relationship with him,” Rothschild said. “I had heard him sing before in a prayer context but I never saw him perform until then. As super as it was, it was hard to fathom the emotion of everything that was his life in a moment of song.” Taube is survived by his wife Helene and three children. PJC
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.
Headlines JHF: Continued from page 3
Dec. 15 and 16 when attendees will enjoy a series of keynote addresses, including a talk from NPR’s social science correspondent and “Hidden Brain” host Shankar Vedantam, as well as a behind-the-scenes exploration of Pittsburgh’s most successful startups with local innovation pioneer Ilana Diamond.
Holocaust: Continued from page 4
Despite his passion, Lucot was turned down several times when he offered to establish a Holocaust elective at the high school. Instead, he teaches about the subject in his history classes and has created a Holocaust studies course at Butler County Community College. Both a teacher and student of the Holocaust, Lucot was nominated by Classrooms Without Borders founder Zipora Gur to study for a summer at Yad Vashem in Israel. He recently completed a second master’s degree, in Holocaust and Genocidal Studies at Gratz College just outside of Philadelphia. The Holocaust, Lucot said, “showed man at his absolute best and absolute worst, at the
Frischman: Continued from page 6
instructed to identify the letter that didn’t belong. “With a problem like this, people don’t realize they’re doing math, but they are,” said Frischman. “They’re problem solving. They’re organizing. They’re generalizing.” Deductive reasoning is very much a mathematical process, and working through the chalked prompts can help boost confidence. “I never meet people who say, ‘I’m bad at reading,’ but I meet lots of people who say, ‘I’m bad at math,’ which, in my opinion as a math teacher, isn’t really true,” she explained. “Maybe they aren’t comfortable or confident, but I think these problems have helped them gain confidence and comfort with math problems.”
Thanksgiving: Continued from page 9
For Thanksgiving, though, they’re planning to eat inside, social distanced, to evade the chill. Even though friends and other family members won’t be able to join Butler for a big meal this year, they can still compete in the rib cook-off. They’re invited to prepare a couple servings of ribs (or turkey or dessert) and deliver them to Butler’s deck on Thanksgiving. Her family will have an entry in the same category to swap. And in honor of each participating family, the Butlers will donate $18 to the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. “I look at food as a way of expressing love and sharing something more than something to eat,” said Butler. “[But] this year, more than any year, we’re all getting a firm PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
During a mid-morning program on Dec. 15, titled “Ideathon Pitch Competition,” representatives from startups LittleMoochie, HeartIO and MindTrace will pitch live for a chance to win $50,000 in prizes available to teams of pre-professional, university and recently graduated students. Liftoff PGH is among JHF’s most ambitious endeavors in the organization’s 30-year history and reflects the foundation’s broader efforts to create a national Patient Safety
Authority at the federal level, said Leff. Given its goal of reaching an audience of scientists, tech experts, innovators and teachers, Liftoff PGH is another in a series of JHF’s efforts to improve the lives of people in Pittsburgh and around the world, said Feinstein, who is hopeful the conference will draw diverse attendees, especially “young people.” “I want them to be inspired by the connection of technology, science and health care,”
Feinstein said. “Young entrepreneurs are having breakthroughs everywhere ... and there’s a lot kids really need to know to thrive in this world of technology entrepreneurship.” Registration for Liftoff PGH is online at liftoffpgh.org. Scholarship information is available by contacting Mara Leff at Leff@jhf.org PJC
exact same time in history, which never existed before.” Lucot said his students don’t know much about the Holocaust prior to taking his course. Once they get past initial reactions— like disbelief that 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis — they become receptive to the lessons. That’s when “the questions start rolling in,” he said. Lucot attempts to move history and Holocaust education beyond the simple memorization of dates and vocabulary words. He teaches about Kristallnacht, for example, on the anniversary of the pogrom each year, delving into its significance and meaning without the use of textbooks. According to a recent survey of millennials and Gen Z by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (known as
the Claims Conference), 63% of respondents did not know 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust; 36% believed 2 million or fewer Jews were killed; and 48% could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto. “It is a very long time ago for kids,” Bairnsfather said. “The way we teach has to emphasize that it’s relevant now.” Lucot said his lessons can help students overcome racial injustice, prejudice and hatred. “I’ve seen it and I’m a product of it,” he said. “I was raised in a racist household and I’ve changed the whole spectrum in one generation.” Lucot highlighted his adolescent struggles growing up with an abusive father in his book “My Prison Had No Bars: A Child Growing Up in Silence.” That experience allows him to relate to
students with a similar background. “I can’t confide in them because I’m a teacher, but I’ll tell them, ‘We have more in common than you think,’” he said. Bairnsfather is hopeful that teachers like Lucot will impart the lessons of the Holocaust to future generations and show why it is meaningful. “They feel a connection to the potential of Holocaust education, to improve things now to empower their students,” she said. “This is where I find optimism — in what we’re doing and in thinking about the future. If there’s potential, we can be better, right? Because of this diverse group of educators who care about the Holocaust.” PJC
Months before Frischman etched her first equation on concrete, she traveled to Boston for a math conference. During one of the sessions, she heard a presentation about outdoor mathematics from a Canadian professor. “We walked around the streets of Boston and found symmetry and shapes and did all kinds of activities,” said Frischman. In addition to identifying mathematical concepts in nearby spaces, the presenter suggested sidewalk math as a means of enabling critical skill development. Frischman returned home and began teaching again at CDS. Shortly thereafter, the pandemic hit, and she and her colleagues were forced to recreate their classrooms online. Frischman remembered the presentation in Boston and, for fun, started writing problems on the sidewalk. As weeks passed,
more people noticed her efforts. While walking his dog, Squirrel Hill resident Steve Finkel came across one of Frischman’s designs. He gave it some thought and sent her the answer. To Finkel’s amazement, Frischman replied not only with a congratulatory message but a handmade certificate. The two Squirrel Hill residents even took a photograph together. “I was beaming with pride,” said Finkel. Part of the benefit of Frischman’s sidewalk math is that it’s “fun to engage in the puzzles,” Finkel said. “It’s also a great diversion from the terrible daily news we’re all facing.” “Leslie Frischman is that rare combination of a highly skilled teacher who continually finds ways to make math accessible, engaging and fun,” said Mark Minkus, head of intermediate school and middle school at CDS. “She combines
humor, rigor, warmth, growth mindset and high expectations to get wonderful results.” Working beside Frischman, who is the 2019 Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics Middle School Teacher of the Year, is a privilege, continued Minkus: “Her sidewalk math project is very much in character for a teacher who does things like the Metric Olympics, Bungee Barbie and our annual Pi Day celebration.” Since March, Frischman has written almost 50 problems on the sidewalk. And she is committed to continuing. “I just got a whole new box with 60 pieces of chalk,” Frischman said. “As long as the weather holds up I’ll try and keep doing it.” PJC
lesson that Thanksgiving is about more than just the food.” For Matthew and Gwyndolyn Riddle, it’s about welcome surprises — perhaps none more special than a surprise pregnancy with twin boys expected around Thanksgiving. The pregnancy came a few months earlier than anticipated, but the couple couldn’t be more thankful. “Matthew and I really try to lean toward gratitude this year in a time where we could just easily slip into the darkness,” said Gwyndolyn. “As Thanksgiving is coming along the way, this is just a beautiful time to share what are real things that we’re thankful for. For us, definitely the crème de la crème is the surprise twin sons.” Gwyndolyn is grateful that she was able to convert to Judaism over the past year amid the pandemic. Her Jewish great-grandmother converted to Christian Science in the 1920s, leaving little trace of Judaism behind.
“I always knew that I wanted to convert,” she said. “This was just the right place at the right time, the right synagogue, the right city, the right man that I’m with to convert so that our children can be Jewish and to also just possibly celebrate and bring to life what was kind of put to rest in the 1920s in my family.” She and Matthew are now actively planning a double bris. Wanting to be safe with the twins on the way, the Riddles will skip the family’s usual Thanksgiving dinner and stay home. But Matthew’s parents will drop off plates of their favorite food on their porch. Meanwhile, Dana Platt Blitstein plans to spend Thanksgiving in a garage. Usually, the whole mishpacha, 20-25 people, gathers at her cousin’s house for a big meal. Her cousin gets a large table and chairs, decorates and makes all the food. They stay for hours.
But this year, it will just be a handful of family members — Blitstein’s family, her cousin’s family and a couple others — congregating in her cousin’s garage with space heaters, masks and puffy coats unless it’s nice enough to sit outside. Blitstein is confident her cousin will try to replicate the experience of Thanksgivings past. “I’m sure it will be similar, just in a different location,” she said. “The most important thing is celebrating and being with family, even if it’s a small amount of family, and if this is how we have to do it in order to be safe, then it will be fine. “[It’s] definitely going to be different, but we’ll still have a little touch of the holiday season,” she added. “If we have to eat more, we’ll take one for the team.” PJC
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org
David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
Kayla Steinberg can be reached at ksteinberg@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. NOVEMBER 20, 2020 15
Life & Culture Prime Stage presents personal glimpse of Albert Einstein in livestreamed show — THEATER — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
ayne Brinda doesn’t tend to think in very small terms. The producing artistic director of Pittsburgh’s Prime Stage Theatre company said COVID-19 completely has upended the way he, company staff and his actors think about American theater. And they’re not taking just any baby steps to tackle the mission of capturing their audience’s imagination. “It’s just been really weird,” Brinda said. “So my staff and I sat down and said, ‘What can we do to keep theater alive?’ That’s really what it’s all about.” Prime Stage’s solution? The launch of “Prime Online,” a series of three small or one-actor productions staged in front of intimate, CDC-appropriate audiences, and livestreamed to households worldwide. The series kicked off on Nov. 13 with a livestreaming of “Einstein, A Stage Portrait,” written by Willard Simms and directed by Brinda. The one-man show takes audiences past the genius who developed the theory of relativity and into a deeply human portrayal of a man, a Jew and a thinker. A recorded link
p Matt Henderson as Albert Einstein
will be available for purchase through Nov. 20. The cost is $20 per household. Simms “wanted to show the personal and deeply moral side of this great genius, humanizing him and bringing to life how his personal beliefs could sometimes get in the way of his scientific achievements,” the writer said in a prepared statement. Prime Stage has been working for the past 12 years at New Hazlett Theater on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The new production will be staged at and recorded by Hearcorp in Carrick.
Photo by Laura Slovesko
“Zoom fatigue is real,” Brinda said. “But this is kind of a mixture between film and theatre — and it’s getting the best of both worlds.” Brinda is proud of many of the particular details of the Pittsburgh production. He talked with Einstein’s great-grandson, as well as University of Pittsburgh physicists, when preparing to direct the text. An equation that appears on a school blackboard during one part of the production was, in fact, provided by a Pennsylvania-based physicist. “Anybody who knows Einstein … knows
this is legit,” Brinda said. “We wanted to make things as authentic and as real as possible.” Actor Matt Henderson will portray Einstein in the production. Brinda said Henderson draws in the audience through a series of anecdotes that takes them from the life of a bored high school dropout to the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. Einstein’s idiosyncrasies and reluctance to accept celebrity, as played by Henderson, offer insight into his family life, politics and being Jewish, Brinda said. Prime Stage strives to provide access to all, Brinda said, and this production is available with options for audio description, American Sign Language and captions. Prime Stage Theatre has attained Certified Sensory Inclusive status through KultureCity, a nonprofit recognized nationwide for using its resources to help those with sensory needs. The Prime Online series will continue Dec. 11 with a one-man adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and in February with a production on the life of Sojourner Truth, Brinda said. “The way we’re doing things, I think it’s going to be really interesting,” said Brinda. “I think people are missing theater. And I think people need theater.” PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.
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PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Life & Culture Easy, tasty twists on Thanksgiving favorites Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crust For the casserole: 2 40-ounce cans of Bruce’s Yams (sweet potatoes) ⅓ cup sugar 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine 2 eggs, lightly beaten ⅓ cup whole milk, vanilla-flavored plant-based milk or Rich Whip 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
— FOOD — By Jessica Grann | Special to the Chronicle
Photos by Jessica Grann
resh cranberry sauce is a bright addition to any poultry meal, and my version with fresh orange and cinnamon is a special yet simple-to-make complement to your Thanksgiving turkey dinner. The total cooking time is about 20-25 minutes and you can make it several days in advance. Leftovers freeze well and can be served later with duck or chicken, or you can add them to a sweet and sour dish like meatballs. This recipe makes about 2 cups of cooked cranberry sauce. The color is a beautiful ruby red and its texture is slightly chunky. It is just gorgeous on your plate. Cranberry and Orange Sauce Ingredients 3 cups fresh cranberries ½ cup sugar, minus one tablespoon 2 large oranges, juiced zest of 1 orange ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 1 pinch kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized sauce pan. If the fresh orange juice does not equal 1 measured cup, add a little water to make 1 cup of liquid.
Simmer over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst from their skins. Reduce heat and simmer over low for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the sugar from burning. Let cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator to chill. I suggest storing it in a glass jar. Serve chilled.
y grandmother Alice wrote out this recipe for me more than 20 years ago. I treasure that I still have the recipe card with her handwriting, and I make it at least twice during the holiday season and also sometimes for Shabbat. As far back as I can remember, this casserole was always served at Thanksgiving, and it is truly very simple to prepare. It can be made dairy or pareve, your preference. It’s almost sweet enough to be a dessert. The brown sugar and pecan topping elevates the casserole into a special holiday side dish.
For the topping: ⅓ cup melted unsalted butter or margarine 1 cup light brown sugar, not packed ½ cup flour (you can use a gluten-free substitute flour of your choice) 1 cup chopped pecans 1 pinch kosher salt
Set oven to 350 F, with the rack placed in the middle of the oven. Drain the sweet potatoes and warm over medium heat in a large saucepan for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and mash by hand with a potato masher. Add one stick of butter or margarine, cover with lid, and set aside. Over low heat in a smaller saucepan, melt the butter or margarine. Be careful not to burn. Once melted, remove from heat. Add brown sugar, flour, pecans and a pinch of salt. Whisk to combine and set aside. Add the eggs, vanilla and milk to the sweet
potatoes and mix by hand with a rubber spatula. I prefer a slightly rustic texture, but my mom used an electric hand mixer to beat the ingredients together for a smooth, more souffle-like consistency. Prepare to your liking. Scoop the sweet potato mixture into your baking dish of choice, and smooth out the top. I prefer to use a 3-quart round casserole dish. You can use any size or shape, but the topping may not make the same “crust” effect on top if it is too spread out. Add the topping mixture, spread and gently pat down until it is evenly distributed. Bake for 40-45 minutes. I know it is done when I see slight bubbling around the edges from the butter or margarine in the crust. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. This can be prepared a day ahead and warmed at 300 F for 20-25 minutes. PJC Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.
Thank you! To our members, our community partners and the community at large, for standing by us in these difficult times. Brian Schreiber President and CE0
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NOVEMBER 20, 2020 17
Finding commonality to achieve unity Rabbi Jeffrey Myers Parshat Toldot | Genesis 25:19 - 28:9
Caroline and Joe Berger, children of Liz and Josh Berger, celebrated their b’nai mitzvah on Nov. 14, 2020, at Temple Ohav Shalom via Zoom. They are the siblings of Kate BergerAcheson and the grandchildren of Christine and Graham Straub, and Carol and the late Dan Berger. PJC
s the twins struggled in her womb, Rebekah sought out the Holy One, who answered her: “Two nations are in your womb, two separate peoples shall issue from your body; one people shall be mightier than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (Etz Hayim, p. 147). Indeed one could not find a more different set of twins. Isaac preferred Esau, a man of the field; Rebekah preferred Jacob, a tent sitter. Have we witnessed the birth of twin peoples in the United States with the 2020 elections? We have two distinct political parties that reflect two different sets of values and perspectives, with a growing inability to find commonality. The fact that we are all Americans should be enough to connect us, but sadly we seem to be in different vehicles, on different roads, at different times, going to different places. When the glue that unites us is the “H” speech that we hurl at someone not of our political persuasion, it becomes abundantly clear that we are headed in the wrong direction. “H” speech leads to violence and the Dark Side, with our transformation complete. Is this the saga to be written about America? I not only vociferously say “no,” but also reject any efforts to create such a scenario. Instead of struggling for dominance, we must unite to better our society for all of our inhabitants. We must refocus on our common needs, not our common “H.” All of us want COVID-19 to go away, and while the news of a potential cure is exciting, it will still be some time before its efficacy is proven and a sufficient
campaign is launched to immunize every American. Yet the number of infections and deaths continue to rise in the U.S. and abroad. It is only through unity of purpose that we will persevere, and not the pandemic. Please wear a mask to keep your family, your friends and your fellow citizens safe. Please observe a minimum physical distance of 6 feet. Please wash your hands. This must be a common social contract that all Americans embrace as a sign of unity. I recall a comparable scenario in the late 1960s when Americans argued about wearing seat belts, with those opposed stating that wearing a seat belt infringed on their personal freedom. All states, except for New Hampshire, made it a law, and we moved on, saving countless lives. How can our current needs be any different? COVID-19 also has created a vast subsystem of secondary impacts: loss of employment, which leads to loss of health care, food insecurity, homelessness, and brazen acts of racism and anti-Semitism. I do believe that united we can work out solutions to the great challenges that we are facing, but it must start by recognizing that, just as the pandemic does not opt for a particular political party, we must put aside red versus blue, and focus instead on red, white and blue. Esau demonstrates maturity and resiliency by integrating the grudge that he harbored for Jacob into his being, so that their reunion was indeed very moving. I pray that all Americans gain Esau’s strength to put aside political parties and move past the “H,” so that together we can model the resiliency necessary to restore our United States. PJC Rabbi Jeffrey Myers is the rabbi of Tree of Life Congregation. This column is a courtesy of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.
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Obituaries BAYER: Helen (Halina) Bayer, Holocaust survivor. Adored wife of the late James Bayer, Helen died peacefully and painlessly on Nov. 11, 2020, at Weinberg Village, her home for the past three years. Helen was born in Łodz, Poland on May 25, 1925, to Menachem and Rosalia Cymerman (Graff) and had one sister, the late Mary (Maryle) Gale. Her happy childhood ended with the onset of WWII. She survived typhus in the Warsaw Ghetto before her father was able to arrange the family’s escape just before the ghetto uprising in 1943. They were hidden in the apartment of Krystyna Panek, a Christian who risked her life to hide a Jewish family. In August 1944, in retribution for the shooting of a German officer, all men on their street in Warsaw were executed, including Helen’s father. The women were rounded up and taken first to Ravensbrück concentration camp and then to Buchenwald. Miraculously, Helen, her sister and mother all survived life in the camp and a three-week forced march into Czechoslovakia at the end of the war. Their transition between war and peacetime was spent in a displaced persons camp in Aschaffenburg, where Helen met and married U.S. intelligence officer James Bayer. They moved to Jim’s hometown of Pittsburgh after the war, where they lived a quiet but happy life. Jim worshiped the ground Helen walked on, and they were a loving and devoted couple. Helen was a favorite aunt to her sister’s children, Gershom, Arthur, Christine and Anita, who remember her with great fondness and affection. Visits from Pittsburgh were always looked forward to with much anticipation, and Helen’s mother (who lived with Mary’s family in Canada) would go into a cooking frenzy for weeks before their arrival. Helen took great pride and interest in whatever her nieces and nephews were doing, and in later years, their children, and was always supportive and encouraging. Helen spent her working life as office manager for Lifetime Stainless Steel products, working long past normal retirement age. After retirement she took up hospital volunteering, which she continued well into her 90s. She collected dolls and enjoyed chocolate and shopping. She took pride in her appearance and was a real fashionista with a penchant for jewelry and stylish clothes. She loved her dogs, and they had a heaven-on-earth existence with her and Jim. Our thanks to Weinberg Village for making Helen feel so welcome and at home in her time there. Thanks also to private caregivers Heidi Schloer and Jennifer Seiss. We are forever grateful that Jenn was with Helen 24/7 in her final days. Helen was also very fortunate to make the chance acquaintance of Jon Prince shortly after her move to Weinberg. Visits from Jon, his wife Jennifer Poller, boys Jordan and Julius, and not least of all, Ginger, their dog, brought much joy to Helen in her last years. In Jon’s words, “Helen was a remarkable woman who beat the very worst odds, endured enormous challenges and survived.” Services and interment were held at the Adath Jeshuran Cemetery, Pittsburgh. If desired, memorial donations can be made to the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, hcofpgh.org/in. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
BERKMAN: Judy Kitman Berkman of Pittsburgh died Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. Judy was loved greatly as the mother of her children, Candace Neustein (David) and son Brett. She was the cherished nana of Ashley and Jared. She was the daughter of the late Jerome and Pearl Kitman. Judy devoted her life to her children and grandchildren. She was a staple in the Pittsburgh community and could be found daily working hard to beautify homes with the furnishings from Jerry Kitman Fine Furniture until her retirement. Her family and friends will lovingly remember her unique style and inner strength. Graveside services and interment were held on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, at Kether Torah Cemetery. Contributions made in her honor can be sent to your favorite charity. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com KOLSKI: Manuel, Moniek, Moshe Kolski. On Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, at age 106. Cherished only son of Asher Klezsewski and Chana Kolski, and brother of Pessa, Esther and Yitta Klezsewski of blessed memory. Beloved husband of Elka Akin Kolski of blessed memory; beloved father of Annette Kolski-Andreaco (David Andreaco) of Pittsburgh and Margie (Justin) Segal of Los Angeles, California; grandfather of Aaron Asher Kolski-Andreaco, Seth Jacob Kolski-Andreaco, Jared Asher Arkwright, Ian Jacob Arkwright and Max Griffin Segal; also survived by nephews and grandnieces. Due to COVID-19, graveside services were held on Nov. 13 at Torath Chaim Cemetery, Hampton Township. Contributions may be made to Friends of the Israel Defense Forces at 29 E. Madison St., Chicago, IL 60602 (FIDF.org) or The Endowment Fund of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. Graveside services and interment were held at Beth Shalom Cemetery. Send condolences at post-gazette.com/gb. To plant memorial trees in memory, please contribute to the Jewish National Fund: donorcenter@ jnf.org. Moshe was born on Aug. 28, 1914, in Izbica, Poland, to a large entrepreneurial family and then moved to Lodz. His father, Asher, was a cantonist or conscripted (abducted) child soldier in the Russian army for 25 years. He became a master weaver and a member of the International Weavers Guild. He instilled in our father a sense of duty to country and service, leading Moshe to serve in the Polish army at the age of 18. He fought on the German front against the Nazis and was a POW for one year in Germany. He was released to return to Poland, only to be interned again in the Nazi Ghetto of Lodz. From there, he and his mother were sent to Auschwitz, and he was a slave laborer until the liberation. Our father was a staunch Zionist and defender of the Jewish people. He made a new life with our mother in the U.S., and since her death in March 2005, connected with so many people in his community of Squirrel Hill, where his smile welcomed everyone he met and was always commented on. Our father’s motto was “Chazak v’ Amatz – Be of strength and courage!” He modeled that belief until the end. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com Please see Obituaries, page 20
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THIS WEEK’S YAHRZEITS — Sunday November 22: Hannah R. Adler, Shirley Ankin, Minnie Berkovitz, Wilfred Irwin Berman, Bernard Caplan, William Finkel, Harriet Friedlander, David Glick, Mildred Levinson, Sadie Levy, Celia Maglin Lupovitz, Samuel Margolis, William Rosenbloom, Charles Saltsburg, Thelma Sapir, Freda Schwartz, Samuel F. Shaeffer, Michael Supowitz, Elizabeth Kramer Swartz, Solomon Weinstein, Robert H. Wolf, Leo Arthur Zober Monday November 23: Max Cohen, Helen Pearl Cushner, Max Engelberg, Arthur Firestone, Annie Friedman, Gertrude Glasser, Samuel Morris Goodman, Evelyn B. Letwin, Norman H. Marcus, Rosa Rokhkind, Jeannette Samuels, Mildred Schoenberger, Samuel Silverman, Jean Walters Tuesday November 24: Joseph Bardin, Ida G. Barniker, Emma Eligator, Nathan Granoff, Abe Herman, David Kaufman, David Klein, Fruma Chaya Leebov, Rachel Levy, Rose Rosenberg, Lucy Sachnoff Wednesday November 25: Benjamin Aberman, Cecelia Edith Greenberger, Milton E. Helfer, Sarah Herring, Bertha Brown Horovitz, Samuel Kaufman, Adolph Lefkowitz, Bessie Jenoff Lincoff, Dorothy Margolis, Lester Marshall, Harry Meyers, William Rakusin, Charles Ruttenberg, Israel J. Saul, Louis David Simon, Samuel Westerman Thursday November 26: Leo L. Americus, Fannie Bowytz, Karen Kaplan Drerup, Irving Gibbons, Clara Helfand, Eva Herron, Jennie W. Mogilowitz, Jack Myers, Louis Sadowsky, David Louis Smith, Martha Spokane, Samuel Srulson, Dena Stein, B. William Steinberger, Sylvia E. Swartz, Sari R. Talenfeld, Betsy Mark Volkin, David A. Weiss, Ida C. Wise, Anna Zacks Friday November 27: Nettie R. Broudy, Pescha Davidson, Israel Levine, Max Mallinger, Eugene M. Rosenthall, May Schachter, Ben E. Sherman, Louis Thomashefsky, Charles Wedner Saturday November 28: Dr. Solomon Abramson, Max Adler, Saul Cohen, Ethel Simon Cooper, Robert Davidson, Chaya Dobkin, Marcella Dreifuss, Nathan Fireman, Ruth Hirsch, Isador Katz, Bessie Levine, Lena Riemer, Sara Berkowitz Rozman, Etta M. Sigal
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PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
NOVEMBER 20, 2020 19
Obituaries Obituaries: Continued from page 19
STONE: Robert Francis Stone, age 94, of Pittsburgh, died peacefully surrounded by his family on Nov. 11, 2020. Bob was born in Detroit and raised in Pittsburgh. He served his country as a member of the army occupation forces stationed in Europe during WWII. After returning from the war, he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh under the G.I. Bill, where he earned his undergraduate and law degrees. From there Bob went on to establish the law firm of Fine, Perlow and Stone, practicing law as a distinguished member of the Allegheny County Bar Association for more than 40 years.
In the 1980s, he relocated to Hilton Head Island, where he became engaged as an active member of the emerging island community, serving as chairman of Hilton Head’s first Zoning Hearing Board and co-founding its first Reform Jewish congregation, Temple Beth Yam. He then retired to Fort Lauderdale, where he enjoyed long bike rides and mornings on the golf course, before returning to Pittsburgh in 2008. Above all, Bob was devoted to his wife of 69 years, Eleanor (“Cissy”) Stone, whom he first met as a teenager delivering newspapers on his paper route. Bob and Cissy traveled the globe together throughout their marriage sharing a love of adventure and discovery. In later years, Bob was comforted in his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease by the devoted caregivers
of AHAVA Memory Care and his loving family. Bob is survived by his wife Cissy; his sister Alice Jaffe; brother-in-law Norman Jaffe; sister-in-law Betty Ann Fireman; three children, sons Harlan (Laura), and Andrew (Christine) Stone, and daughter Julie (Charles) Congdon; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Contributions can be made to AHAVA Memory Care, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15217. Graveside services and interment were held at Beth Shalom Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com WEINBERG: Morley Allen Weinberg, 84. Aug. 19, 1936-Oct. 9, 2020. Survived by his loving children, son Oscar Weinberg (and
Laura), and daughter Steffi Weinberg. He was also the father of the late Debbie Weinberg. Dearly missed by Sandra Weinberg. Beloved grandfather of David, Bryan, Brittany, Taylor, Brandon, Brett and Chase of Florida. Greatgrandfather of Cassie Lynn. Morley was a good, kind and sweet man. He was loved by everyone who knew him. Morley will be sadly missed, and he will be forever in the hearts of his family and friends. He leaves behind many treasured memories. Services were held at Beth David Cemetery in Florida. Morley was laid to rest overlooking and watching over his beloved daughter Debbie. Contributions in Morley’s memory may be made to the Humane Society of the U.S. or a charity of your choice. PJC
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NOVEMBER 20, 2020 21
Community Monument unveiled, memories preserved
p Carol Black, a survivor of the 10.27 attack, helps plant the New Light “Survivor Tree” as Stephen Cohen, New Light co-president, and Rabbi Jonathan Perlman observe.
p Debra Salvin, sister of Richard Gottfried, and Peg Durachko, wife of Richard Gottfried, help unveil a monument in memory of Daniel Stein, Richard Gottfried and Melvin Wax. Photos courtesy of Stephen Cohen
Virtual Donor Sabbath Event The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) hosted a virtual National Donor Sabbath event on Nov. 13 bringing together local faith leaders, donor families, transplant
recipients, and donation and transplantation professionals to share their stories in conjunction with the national observance. The interactive online event honored donors and their families while fostering understanding of donation and transplantation within the context of religious beliefs.
p Rabbi Seth Adelson, of Congregation Beth Shalom, addressed the importance of organ donation.
p Rabbi Larry Heimer, D. Min, manager and chaplain, Office of Spiritual Care at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, shared insights into his chaplaincy work. Screenshots by Adam Reinherz
Artful Festive Fridays
p The 10.27 Healing Partnership operated a table on Nov. 13 at Uncover Squirrel Hill’s Festive Friday event. Passersby created artwork to hang in the windows of local Squirrel Hill businesses.
22 NOVEMBER 20, 2020
p Artwork aims to foster energy and community
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Photos courtesy of 10.27 Healing Partnership
Community JCC safely serves every body
Members and staff safely enjoy familiar routines at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.
p Fitness gets serious in the Squirrel Hill parking lot.
p “These goggles are sort of waterproof.”
p Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.
p Square dancing takes on new meaning. Photos courtesy of Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
We found fun
Building bridges and cultural understanding
Community Day School students celebrated a rainbow scavenger hunt.
p Nissim Black delivered a virtual performance and Q&A with college students on Oct. 22. The event was co-sponsored by the Pitt Program Council, Chabad House on Campus and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Black, a Black Jewish rapper, described his childhood in Seattle, Washington, and journey toward Yiddishkeit, as well as what it’s like to live in Israel with his wife and six children. Screenshot courtesy of Chabad House on Campus
Macher and Shaker
p Sixth-grader Lehv Sahud stays stylish.
Barbara Burstin was recognized by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition during its virtual Treasure Awards Event on Nov.18. Burstin was celebrated among a group of people, places and organizations for best representing Squirrel Hill. File photo p Second-grader Eliana Marcus soaks up the sun. Photos courtesy of Community Day School
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
NOVEMBER 20, 2020 23
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