February 19, 2021 | 7 Adar 5781
Candlelighting 5:42 p.m. | Havdalah 6:43 p.m. | Vol. 64, No. 8 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org
Camp directors strive for safe and COVID-free summer experiences
NOTEWORTHY LOCAL A tough market
Charles Goldblum’s life sentence commuted by Gov. Wolf By Toby Tabachnick | Editor
Soon-to-be grads talk job hunting during COVID
higher now than they were eight months ago, there’s a real difference between summer 2021 and last year, explained Cantor. “We’ve had time to prepare, and learn and relearn about how we have to interact in groups of people,” said Cantor. A playbook for the summer, with protocols and procedures, has been developed and should hopefully be available within the next two weeks, he added. “The health and safety of our families is our first priority,” said Fara Marcus, JCC’s division director of development and strategic marketing. That mindset dictated last summer’s decisions regarding camp — the JCC safely opened and operated J&R, its day camp, during summer 2020 — and will do so again this year, she explained. Rachael Speck, director of J&R Day Camp, has been directing families to the JCC’s website for updates regarding summer 2021. Information regarding meals, before- and after-care, sanitization and staffing is provided. The JCC has not determined yet whether
fter serving almost 45 years in prison for a murder that many are convinced he did not commit, Charles “Zeke” Goldblum has finally been given his freedom. Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a commutation for Goldblum, who had been serving a life sentence for the murder of George Wilhelm. A commutation of a life sentence means a reduction of the sentence to life on parole. Wolf also signed commutations for 12 other clemency applicants serving life sentences. “These 13 individuals have served time for their crimes and deserve now a second chance,” Wolf said in a prepared statement. “They now have a chance to begin a life outside of prison that I hope is fulfilling for each of them.” Goldblum, the son of the late Rabbi Moshe Goldblum who served for 24 years as the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom, had been unanimously recommended by the Board of Pardons in September 2019, but his application was not signed by Wolf until Feb. 11, 2021. Since Goldblum’s incarceration in 1977, several high-profile figures have come out in support of his release, most notably the prosecuting attorney who tried the case, Peter Dixon, and retired U.S. District Judge Donald Ziegler, who presided over the trial. Dixon and Ziegler, as well as renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, all submitted letters or affidavits at various clemency and commutation proceedings throughout the last three decades, claiming that the evidence and extenuating circumstances required that Goldblum be released. Each time Goldblum applied to have his life sentence commuted, Wilhelm’s family asked the Pardons Board to reject his request. At the Sept. 2019 hearing, KDKA reported
Please see Camp, page 14
Please see Zeke, page 14
LOCAL Small but still mighty
Hands together as one at Camp Harlam
Beth Samuel’s religious school’s pandemic pivot Page 4
LOCAL Rodef Shalom’s newest old artifact 19th-century relic finds its way home Page 8
By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
here’s snow outside now, but camp directors and other Jewish professionals are thinking about archery, kayaks and rope climbing. With summer camp slated to begin in approximately four months, staff are feverishly preparing for the challenge of operating during a pandemic. Aaron Cantor, director of Emma Kaufmann Camp in Morgantown, West Virginia, has routinely spoken with partners from the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, and has “relied heavily on CDC reports,” he said. Cantor, like other overnight camp directors, is also relying on the American Camp Association’s Field Guide and communicating with professionals who safely opened and operated last summer. In June 2020, the JCC announced that per “West Virginia’s Guidance for Organized Camps,” and its prohibition of groups of more than 25 people, as well as recommendations issued by other local and national authorities, EKC would not operate during summer 2020. Although COVID-19 cases are currently
Photo courtesy of Camp Harlam
keep your eye on PittsburghJewishChronicle LOCAL
JHF COVID documentary
‘The Only Zoom Purim Ever’
Headlines College seniors face mounting obstacles in search for jobs — LOCAL — By Dionna Dash | Special to the Chronicle
en Boxer has a folder on his laptop filled with cover letters he’s submitted for possible tech jobs. There are more than 50 letters in that folder. Boxer also has a second folder, where he moves each cover letter once he secures an interview for that position. That folder is empty. This is the state of the current job search for many college seniors. Finding a job after graduation is one of the largest challenges college students face. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, with so many people unemployed and companies enforcing hiring freezes, a student with minimal experience has an even harder time securing a position. For many graduates to-be, this means a fruitless job search full of frustration and stress; yet, for a lucky few, the pandemic actually has created more opportunities in their desired fields. For Boxer, a Jewish senior at Carnegie Mellon University studying business administration and film and media studies, not getting any interviews after almost two months of searching is “a little bit unsettling,” he said. He hopes to work in video production, a field that has become significantly congested during the pandemic. “COVID has made the content creation field so much more competitive,” Boxer explained. “People who were laid off during the pandemic have been making and putting out their own content, so now more people are looking for creative roles because they’ve picked up editing skills over the past year.” Hiring freezes also mean that the return offers seniors typically count on are harder to come by. Boxer recently concluded an internship with CNBC, but was told that
p Ben Boxer
p Megan Cohen
Photo by CJ May
p Cece Brower
Photo by Eva Gerstle
Photo by Samantha Clark
p Megan Lucks
Photo by Danielle Pitlor
he could not be given a return offer in the current circumstances. His goal is still to secure a position by the end of May, but he’s
now less picky about what and where that position might be. “I’d like to be somewhere in New York,
because that’s where my family is, but at this point, I’m just applying all over,” Boxer said. “The process can be really rough at times. There’s very little positive feedback, and I keep getting a gut worried feeling about if I’m doing enough and if I’m doing everything right.” If he can’t manage to secure employment by graduation, Boxer plans to keep posting videos on his YouTube channel, where he reviews the latest tech gadgets, and managing his freelance video production company, Boxer Video Productions, until he finds a more concrete, full-time role. For other seniors, the job search has not been as difficult. Cece Brower, another Jewish senior at CMU, has had success in finding software engineering positions. Brower, who studies computer science, accepted an offer to work at HubSpot, a software development company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She points to the expansion of technology during the pandemic as a factor in her finding a job relatively quickly. “The tech industry has had to keep evolving during COVID to fit everyone’s needs, so the field is mostly hiring,” Brower said. “I was able to get a job near Boston, which is one of the top places I wanted to be.” Although the demand for computer scientists remains high, the interview process has become more taxing than usual because it has become virtual. In a typical year, recent graduates would be flown to a company’s headquarters for on-site interviews, lunches with managers and tours of the facility, all of which COVID has halted. “The whole process was pretty stressful this year,” Brower said. “They had to skip all those superfluous things, so I just had interviews ranging from three to six hours with multiple different engineers, with no breaks in between.” Please see Jobs, page 15
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Headlines JHF documentary exposes COVID-19 safety flaws in long-term facilities — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer
ong-term care systems suffer from underinvestment, according to Marc Cohen, co-director of LeadingAge LTSS Center at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Cohen’s warning opens the Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s documentary “What COVID-19 Exposed in Long-Term Care,” focusing on the pandemic’s threat to the elderly and disabled in nursing facilities. WQED will present a stream of the 22-minute documentary online Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. Following the program, Lynne Hayes-Freeland will host a panel discussion about what is happening in the long-term care industry, what it means for baby boomers and their children and what policy changes need to occur to properly care for seniors in the coming years. Through footage sourced from cable news stations and with a bevy of local and national experts, the documentary makes the point that, despite the crisis occurring at long-term facilities early in the virus’ impact, there was no systematic plan to combat the effects of COVID-19. As a result, patients
The documentary will stream Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m.
died and family members felt victimized. The nursing home population, Cohen notes, is .5% of the general population but accounts for 40-50% of COVID-19 deaths. “People weren’t thinking of nursing homes,” explains Dr. Vincent Mor, professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown University. “They didn’t make a big, concerted effort to get protective equipment to them, to begin testing staff. Nursing homes were always an afterthought.”
Image provided by Jewish Healthcare Foundation
Deficiencies in both state and federal planning led directly to the deaths of long-term care patients, according to several experts in the documentary. “We have been on our own trying to deal with this virus and keep our residents safe,” said Jewish Association on Aging President and CEO Deborah Winn-Horvitz. Nursing home owners, operators and staff were easy targets for blame, notes narrator Chris Lockerman, despite the fact that
facility front-line workers and management attempted to find guidance and support. Long-term care facilities are understaffed, have a lack of substantial investment and include workers who are undercompensated and aging, according to the program. “Residents of these facilities deserve a level of care and skill that government reimbursement simply doesn’t support,” Lockerman says. “The single largest issue is the underfunding of Medicaid clients in nursing facilities,” Winn-Horvitz said. “For most organizations, that shortfall is $100 a day per person. That’s well over a million dollars a year. This issue was very significant going into COVID and has now been completely exasperated because of COVID-19.” JHF decided to produce the documentary after seeing the deep flaws within the system exposed by the pandemic, said JHF President and CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein. “Years of neglecting the challenges to our nursing homes led to the chaos and death that is perhaps the greatest tragedy of the pandemic and we wanted to create something that would tell this important story,” she said. Feinstein serves on the board of the Please see Documentary, page 15
To celebrate Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Jewish Residential Services are highlighting the diverse and authentic stories and experiences of local Jewish community members with disabilities.
My name is Michael Hodes. I’m Jewish and was a member of Temple David in Monroeville, PA. I was active in my Temple until I started experiencing mental disabilities and had to spend time in and out of mental hospitals. Then, I joined the Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse where I participate in a work-ordered day and have a community. I like volunteering my time. I serve on the JRS Board of Directors and on the Clubhouse Advisory Board. Everyone at the Clubhouse has something to do and we work together. This gives us more purpose and value.
SUNDAY, FEB. 28, 10 AM–NOON
JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH’S PARKING LOT 2000 TECHNOLOGY DRIVE
ENJOY ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES FROM YOUR CAR Only $20 PER CAR Games • Prizes • Hamantashen • Lunch Meghillah Reading (partial) • Tons of fun! All are welcome! MASKS REQUIRED FOR EVERYONE. Volunteers will practice safe COVID-19 precautions. Everyone will fulﬁll the four mitzvot of Purim! Please bring kids’ winter hats, gloves, and socks to fulﬁll the mitzvot of giving to the needy,
PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
FEBRUARY 19, 2021 3
Headlines Beth Samuel’s small religious school perseveres through pandemic — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
eth Samuel Jewish Center preschoolers and religious school students are slated to celebrate Purim much the same way thousands of other children will this year: on Zoom. On Feb. 21, BSJC will offer storytelling and songs, followed by a Jewish scavenger hunt and prizes. Being together in person is preferred, but given the pandemic, BSJC is doing what it can to make the most of virtual events, explained Barb Wilson, BSJC’s director of programming and operations. Each Sunday, BSJC offers online instruction for young learners. The 20 students are divided by grade level: seven students are in the preschool; six students are in grades K-1; three students are in grades 2-3; and four students are in grades 4-6. The school is small, but provides a meaningful Jewish education, said Nicole Homich, a BSJC graduate and teacher. BSJC is located in Ambridge and attracts members from surrounding areas including Sewickley, Moon, Beaver and Aliquippa. Please see Beth Samuel, page 15
p Wes, left, and Owen Weisberg participate in BSJC’s online learning. Photo courtesy of Sara Braun
p Jonah Snider practices Hebrew.
New year, same technology challenges? Don’t let last year’s technology headaches plague you in 2021.
p Rich Wilson, a paramedic, reads “Avi the Ambulance,” a PJ Library book about an ambulance and his medic in Israel, to students during Preschool Story Time. Photo courtesy of Barb Wilson
Photo courtesy of Bill Snider
p Religious school students worked with PJ Library to assemble boxes filled with supplies to have a birthday celebration then donated them to the Center for Hope food pantry. Photo courtesy of Beth Samuel Jewish Center
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FEBRUARY 19, 2021 5
Calendar Submit calendar items on the Chronicle’s website, pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Submissions also will be included in print. Events will run in the print edition beginning one month prior to the date as space allows. The deadline for submissions is Friday, noon. q FRIDAY, FEB. 19 – MARCH 8 The Zionist Organization of America: Pittsburgh is accepting applications for its Israel Scholarship Program. Open to local Jewish teens in qualified programs who will be a junior or senior in high school in September 2021. Three $1,000 scholarships will be awarded. Applicants will be judged on their involvement in Jewish organizations, volunteerism and on an essay about Zionism and Israel. Applications accepted through March 8. For information and applications, please contact ZOA executive director, Stuart Pavilack, at email@example.com or 304-639-1758. q SATURDAY, FEB. 20 Bingo isn’t just for bubbes. Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Young Adult Division for Virtual Bubbe BINGO, hosted by the fabulous drag queens Amneeja & Dixie. Dress up for an evening of fun and a chance to win some awesome prizes. Your ticket price includes a fun bubbe-themed gift box that will be delivered prior to the event. For more information and to register, visit, jewishpgh.org/event. q SUNDAY, FEB. 21 In observation of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, Temple Sinai is hosting a “Moth”like storytelling celebration hosted by Alan Olifson of Moth Pittsburgh Storyslam fame. Listen to a string of compelling stories about disAbility told by Temple Sinai members. 2 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit templesinaipgh.org/ event/jdaimstories2021.html#. The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh is pleased to partner with PJ Library to offer an online youth reading of “Hidden.” The graphic novel centered on the story of hidden child during the Holocaust will be discussed. Appropriate for students age 9 and up. The session will also include the opportunity to learn about and connect with a local Pittsburgh hidden child survivor. A limited number of books will be offered free of charge, on a first-come-first-serve basis. 4 p.m. For more information, visit hcofpgh.org/events. Join the Pittsburgh Jewish community for a conversation with Rabbi Denise L. Eger. She will discuss her new book, “Mishkan Ga’Avah: Where Pride Dwells,” and share how the Pittsburgh Jewish community can better celebrate and empower members of the LGBTQ+ community. 8 p.m. tinyurl. com/where-pride-dwells q SUNDAYS, FEB. 21, 28; MARCH 7 Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh for the virtual bus tour, “The Secret Jews of Majorca Island.” The series will include “Medieval Majorca,” “CryptoJudaism,” “Chuetas,” “Rebirth & Renewal” and “Taste of Spain.” 3 p.m. https://tinyurl.com/jewish-spain q SUNDAYS, FEB. 21, 28; MARCH 7, 14 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. 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 hosts 14 Pittsburgh rabbis, each teaching a session on fundamental aspects of Jewish belief. 10 a.m. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org.
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q MONDAY, FEB. 22
q THURSDAY, FEB. 25
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills presents its Winter Speaker Series. For a complete list of speakers, topics and times, and to register, visit bethelcong.org/events.
The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh presents the next installment of its Conversations Series with guest Jon Prince. His relationship with Holocaust survivor Helen Bayer was forged a few years ago from a chance meeting in a parking lot, blossoming into a close friendship that lasted until her passing in late 2020. 3 p.m. hcofpgh.org/events
q MONDAYS, FEB. 22; MARCH 1, 8, 15 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. 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. 9:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org. q TUESDAY, FEB. 23 Classrooms Without Borders presents the weekly book discussion of “Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil” with Dr. Josh Andy. 4 p.m. Join the book’s author following the discussion. 4 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/events q TUESDAYS, FEB. 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, includes all books and materials. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org. q THURSDAYS, FEB. 23 – MARCH 18 Join the 10.27 Healing Partnership and Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife for Jewish Style R&R — Rachamim and Resilience. This series of weekly interactive workshops will be an opportunity to engage in classes that will build on Jewish values, core concepts of resiliency, and mindfulness tools as a way of expanding our resiliency toolbox in this next year. This program is being offered at no cost and is open to all ages. 7 p.m. For more information, visit 1027healingpartnership.org/events. q THURSDAYS, FEB. 23 – 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 WEDNESDAY, FEB. 24 The Holocaust has played an increasingly significant role in Western culture, most specially in post-Holocaust ethical discourse. Classrooms Without Borders presents a four-part series, “The Ethical implications of the Holocaust: A lecture series with Dr. Michael Berenbaum.” 4 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/events In celebration of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month and Jewish Disability Advocacy Month, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh presents “A Conversation with National Disability Advocacy & Inclusion Leader Matan Koch.” 5:30 p.m. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/event.
Celebrate Purim with Classrooms Without Borders and Rabbi Jonty Blackman. 4 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/events q THURSDAYS, FEB. 25; MARCH 4, 11 The Mishna, the Oral Law in written form, is one of the greatest works of the Jewish people. In this survey course, Jewish Community Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will provide a comprehensive overview of this singular, foundational work. Co-sponsored with Derekh at Congregation Beth Shalom. 9:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org/mishna. q SUNDAY, FEB. 28 Classrooms Without Borders, in partnership with Rodef Shalom Congregation and the Maltz Museum of Jewish History, is honored to bring professor Susan Neiman, author of the book “Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil,” to our community of educators and learners. 1 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/events Moishe House presents Grief Workshop (part 2): The Earth Can Hold Us. In this second workshop, discussions will include why stones are a Jewish tool for holding grief and memory, how the earth can help us hold the pain we carry, and briefly cover the concept of Yahrzeit. 7 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/moishehouse.pittsburgh. q MONDAYS, MARCH 1, 8 Temple Sinai presents “Getting Good at Getting Olde,” a tour for all those of “a certain age” through the resources and skills needed to navigate the years between maturity (building careers/raising families) and frail old age. It brings humor, warmth, and more than 4,000 years of Jewish experience to the question of how to shape this new stage of life. Free and open to the public. Register at templesinaipgh.org. q WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3 Join Classrooms Without Borders for Artists of the Harlem Renaissance: Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Jacob Lawrence; part of their series “From Frederick Douglass to Ta-Nehisi Coates: A workshop series exploring race using texts as a window into history with Susan Stein.” 4 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org/ from-douglas-to-coates. Beth Shalom Congregation’s Derekh Speaker Series welcomes five authors from across the country. Ariel Sabar will discuss “Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.” 7:30 p.m. Free. For more information, and to register for the Zoom event, visit bethshalompgh.org/speakerseries. q THURSDAYS, MARCH 4, 18, 25 The University of Pittsburgh Jewish Studies Program presents the four-part series “Shazam! Jewish Biblical Texts Transformed by the Power of Pictures” featuring artist-in-residence Ben Schachter. 7:30 p.m. For more information and to register, visit jewishstudies.pitt.edu. q FRIDAY, MARCH 5 Shabbat Shelanu (our Shabbat) is a new 13-week program from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Young Adult Division for Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
families with children aged 0-3. Help your children learn about Shabbat and Jewish holidays while having fun and connecting with other families. Only 15 spots available. $72/family. 10:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/shabbat-shelanu. q MONDAY, MARCH 8 Beth El Congregation presents Oy Joy Labs 2021: L’Chaim, L’Chaim — To Life! Do you find yourself asking “Why?” and “How?” Are you eager to find a deeper meaning? Are you now the “go-to person” for family and extended family to be there for answers? Are you trying to put into words “the reasons and what to do” for your children or grandkids in a home where there is Judaism and perhaps another religion? Join Beth El for this three-part series. 7 p.m. For a complete list of guests and to register, visit bethelcong.org. q THURSDAY, MARCH 11 Join the Young Adult Division (over Zoom) to learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Mega Mission 2022. The mission will take place in Israel June 13-21, 2022. 7:30 p.m. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/event. q SUNDAY, MARCH 14 Sidekicks help the superhero get the job done and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh needs your help! Join the Super Sunday Sidekick, an extra day to make phone calls and raise money for Jewish Pittsburgh. Sign up for one of two sessions beginning at 10 a.m. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/event. q MONDAY, MARCH 15 The Women of Temple Sinai invite you to their March cooking class. Guest bakers Susan Cohen, Laura Arnold, and Carolyn Schwarz will share their favorite Passover cookie recipes. Free and open to the public. Register at templesinaipgh.org for Zoom link. q TUESDAY, MARCH 16 The Jewish Pittsburgh History Series, sponsored by Rodef Shalom Congregation, will feature a presentation by Eric Lidji, Rauh Jewish Archives director at 7 p.m. The topic will be Rodef Shalom members who were prominent in Pittsburgh’s early social action movement. There is no charge to attend this Zoom event. For details and to register, follow the Jewish History Series link at rodefshalom.org. Save the date for another delicious evening with Pittsburgh native, chef Michael Solomonov. Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh for a free event to see Solomonov’s award-winning culinary skills in a Passover cooking demonstration. Registration coming soon. 8 p.m. q WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17 Beth Shalom Congregation’s Derekh Speaker Series welcomes five authors from across the country. Janice Kaplan will discuss “The Genius of Women: From Overlooked to Changing the World.” 7:30 p.m. Free. For more information, and to register for the Zoom event, visit bethshalompgh.org/speakerseries. q MARCH 18; MAY 6; JUNE 17 We live in a time of multiple challenges. Controversial issues and struggles confront us daily. But the truth is that Jews have never desisted from addressing tough problems. In this year’s CLE series, Rabbi Danny Schiff will dive into “Tense Topics of Jewish Law.” Each topic raises significant concerns in our contemporary lives. And Jewish law has something to say on them all. With CLE/CEU credit: $30/session or $150 all sessions; without CLE/CEU credit: $25/session or $125 all sessions. 8:30 a.m. For more information, including a complete list of topics, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org/ continuing-legal-education. PJC
Headlines Seven congregations join forces for ‘The Only Zoom Purim Ever’ (they hope) — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
ome Purim, Jewish Pittsburghers won’t be in Kansas anymore. During the holiday, which begins next week, seven area congregations are joining forces for a Purim spectacular complete with a tech-savvy and Jewishappropriate adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” — and more. “Esther lives on a farm in Squirrel Hill Purim shpiel rehearsal for “The Only Zoom Purim Ever” Screenshot provided by Rabbi Jeffrey Myers with her Uncle Em — Mordechai — totally p involved with her computer,” said Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of Tree of Life, explaining the dubbed Clean Sweep, and a Wicked Kvetch local Jewish leaders will retell the Purim story narrative of “The Wizard of Blogs,” a video who brings a most unwelcomed guest. But the “in a way sure to delight people of all ages,” Purim shpiel set to engage virtual partic- performance, written by Myers and produced event organizers said. ipants on Thursday, Feb. 25. After being by him and Samantha Harris, is not the only “It will be, by necessity, a little sucked into the computer, Esther “is tempo- reason to tune in virtually to celebrate Purim. rehearsed but that will make it that much rarily saved by the Good Witch, Auntie Starting at 5:45 p.m. that evening, the more fun,” said Rabbi Seth Adelson of Virus, who is really Uncle Em transformed. seven congregations — Adat Shalom, Beth El Congregation Beth Shalom. He encourages her to follow the Silicon Road Congregation of the South Hills, Congregation There will be an evening service at 6:15 to Sim City to meet the Wizard of Blogs, who Beth Shalom, Ohav Shalom, Rodef Shalom p.m. and a reading of the full megillah from can help her find her way home. Along the Congregation, Temple Emanuel of South kosher scrolls of the book of Esther from way, she meets other apps.” Hills and Tree of Life — will provide a wide locations throughout Pittsburgh. The event The narrative, Myers said, boasts a colorful array of live entertainment. It all starts with a wraps up at 7:30 p.m. with the “video Purim cast of characters including a Tin Ma’am tongue-in-cheek “Shushan Edition” of the cult shpiel” led by Myers and members of Tree of JC Opn S Sound Bar REV_Eartique 8/17/20app 4:37 PM Page 1 operating on Windows 95, a broom series “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” where Life and Rodef Shalom.
Not so long ago, Adelson introduced the idea of staging a virtual, multi-shul Purim event to members of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association. To say the least, it piqued some Jewish leaders’ interests. “One thing led to another,” Adelson laughed. “A bunch of us got together and here we are.” “Each place brings something to the table,” Beth El’s Rabbi Alex Greenbaum told the Chronicle. The evening will include songs and maybe even a few prizes for people attending via Zoom with “fun and interesting costumes,” Adelson said. The event is appropriate for families and people of all ages, he stressed. The event is called “The Only Zoom Purim Ever — We Hope,” a playful dig at life in the era of COVID-19. But Adelson said not everything congregations have gleaned from experiences of virtual services, outreach and social distancing has been negative. “Now that we’ve entered this great world of streaming services, we may not be coming back,” he said. For a link to join, go to bethshalompgh. org/joint-community-purim-event. PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.
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Headlines 145 years later, kiddish cup finds its way home to Rodef Shalom — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
hat does a conversation between a coin dealer and a retired chemical engineer in North Carolina have to do with a mid-19th century kiddush cup from Pittsburgh? The story starts in Greensboro, North Carolina. There, a retired engineer, who is Jewish and works now in antiques, bought some metal from a coin dealer. Both knew the lot had a gem in it — a damaged sterling silver cup whose engravings indicated it was from Pittsburgh’s Rodef Shalom Congregation. The date on the cup: 1876. “It was bent all to hell — it had a crease right across the engraving. That’s like someone having a sword cut across their face,” said the engineer, who spoke with the Chronicle on the condition that he remain anonymous. “I sent it to my silversmith and
we made it better. I wanted to heal her up and get her home.” M a t t h e w Falcone, a Rodef Shalom board member, took the call from the engineer, who found Rodef Shalom’s office number online, about three weeks ago. The Kiddush cup Photos courtesy of man told Falcone Matthew Falcone he didn’t feel right melting down religious items for scrap metal, and thought it was important to “repatriate” the item, Falcone said. The box arrived shortly thereafter at Rodef Shalom with “about 1,000 stamps on it,” Falcone laughed. When members of the congregation opened it, they were shocked: They found
a seven-inch tall k i d du s h c up, commissioned by an area manufacturing company and gifted to Flora Naumburg, the daughter of the c o n g r e g a t i o n’s s e cond spir itual leader. They Louis Naumburg remain unsure if it was given to the younger Naumburg for her wedding or on the occasion of her leaving the congregation’s choir. She would have been about 22 in 1876, roughly the age of Rodef Shalom at that time. Flora’s father, Louis Naumburg, started serving Rodef Shalom in 1865 as a “reverend;” though he was not ordained as a rabbi, he preached and led services, often entirely in German, Falcone said. Rodef Shalom opened its doors to congregants around 1855.
When he first saw the cup, Falcone was at a loss for words. “It looks brand new — it’s gorgeous,” he told the Chronicle. “It is now one of the earliest artifacts we have, and the earliest one that belongs to the congregation. It just bowled us over. We were all incredibly touched.” Falcone, a known history aficionado and ardent chronicler of the congregation’s past, said the repatriation of the cup — a pure act of tzedakah — meant a great deal to him, beyond even the historical value of the item. “Mensches still exist in the world,” Falcone said. “It’s nice to find somebody with good and kindness in their heart.” The engineer, however, remains modest about his part in the transaction. “It was just something that needed to go home,” he told the Chronicle. “I consider this, as much as possible, an anonymous gift. The more anonymous, the better.” PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.
Trailblazing rabbi to virtually visit Pittsburgh — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer
abbi Denise Eger has been at the center of change and acceptance in the LGBTQ Jewish community for her entire career. She was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1988 and began her rabbinate at Beth Chayim Chadashim in Los Angeles, the world’s first gay and lesbian synagogue recognized by the Union of Reform Judaism, when the AIDS epidemic was ravaging the community. Eger will discuss her life and career on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. when she appears virtually in a program organized by Temple Ohav Shalom, Bet Tikvah, Congregation Beth Shalom, Moishe House, Ratzon and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. The talk is a homecoming of sorts for Eger, who spent her first eight years growing up in New Kensington, where her family owned a jewelry business. The rabbi is a trailblazer in the Jewish LGBTQ community. She was the first openly gay president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. In 1992, she founded Congregation Kol Ami, a synagogue that serves the West Hollywood Jewish community, and in 2008, she officiated the first legal gay wedding in California for activists Robin Tyler and Diane Olson. “Over the course of my career, I had to invent my own rituals and ceremonies because there weren’t any, you know, for two moms having a baby — how does a baby naming ceremony work?” she said. “How do you structure a Jewish wedding? What goes into it for LGBTQ people versus heterosexual couples, and should there be differences?” 8 FEBRUARY 19, 2021
“There are corners of the Jewish world that are hostile and unsophisticated in their understanding of what it means to be a LGBTQ person, but LGBTQ people are part of the leadership of Judaism around the world, and they always have been, whether we acknowledge it or not,” she said. While some things have become easier for gay Jews, Eger said, there is still work to be done around issues of gender. “I think there is a lack of understanding and knowledge for gender non-conforming and nonbinary Jews,” she said. “This is a huge area of learning for the Jewish Rabbi Denise Eger will speak virtually to the Pittsburgh community on Sunday, Feb. 21. Photo provided by Rabbi Denise Eger world. We’re not prepared. Not in day schools, not in religious schools, not in Eger is the editor of the recently published synagogue life, not in Federation life, not “Mishkan Ga’Avah: Where Pride Dwells” — a even in the JCC — you have a men’s locker collection of LGBTQ prayers, poems, liturgy room and a women’s locker room. Where’s and rituals. She wrote about half the pieces the nonbinary, gender non-conforming in the collection, published by the CCAR, person supposed to go?” which includes works by writers from the Eger said she is proud of the work done United States, Canada and Israel. in the Reform Movement’s summer camps. “I’ve been at the forefront of creating “They’ve done a lot of work around how do liturgy and prayers and rituals for the we include transgender and gender non-conLGBTQ community, and part of the process forming children, children that are coming included others who were creating unique to grips with their sexual orientation and writing and liturgy,” she said. gender identity, but this is something that’s While the Jewish world has become more really important to continue to address.” accepting of the LGBTQ community, Eger Eger stressed that issues of equality aren’t said there are still reasons for members to only relevant for LGBTQ Jews. For example, join together for support. she said, it is important to address the Black
Lives Matter movement and its relationship to Jews of color. “These are really critically important issues,” she said. “Jews of color aren’t some subset of us, they are us.” Temple Ohav Shalom Rabbi Jeremy Weisblatt asked Eger to speak to the Pittsburgh community after a conversation with a congregant. His belief in communal programming led him to ask other organizations to partner for the program. “The more people we see out there in the community, the closer we might feel, and it might help to bridge some of that emotional disconnect,” Weisblatt said. Eger was the first CCAR president that Weisblatt heard speak. “She made me proud to be a Reform rabbinical student and a soon-to-be Reform rabbi,” he said. Eger is happy to have the opportunity to discuss “Mishkan Ga’Avah,” especially since COVID-19 impacted the promotion of the book, which was published in March 2020. The collection was timed to be published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first pride marches in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York, which marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots. While Eger might have been disappointed by her inability to promote the book in person, she has been heartened by the acceptance “Mishkan Ga’Avah” has found. “I think one of the things that’s been powerful is to see congregations utilizing the book in their observances of Pride Shabbat and in their acknowledgments and celebrations,” she said. “I think that’s the most important for me as an editor, to see people actually utilize the prayers.” PJC
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
Headlines Ilan Zur seeks seat on the bench — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
lan Zur, a member of Rodef Shalom Congregation, is hoping to fill one of eight open seats at the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. With the May 18 primary approaching, Zur hopes his 22-year tenure in the District Attorney’s Office will help propel him to the bench. “It’s really about just having the experience that I have at this point,” said Zur. “I think I’m ready to take on such an important role.” After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management and a minor in architecture, Zur attended the University of Pittsburgh Law School. Several months after his 1998 graduation from Pitt, Zur began working as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office. Since 2013, Zur has served as deputy district attorney, and now supervises the office’s violent crimes and narcotics division. Having tried hundreds of cases, Zur said he’s developed a keen perspective on the judicial process. “What I’ve seen over the course of my career is that not everything needs to be
Photo by William Hurst
criminalized,” he said. “I’ve seen way too much come to the courthouse that should be resolved in other means. Someone doesn’t have to have a criminal record for certain conduct: specifically, nonviolent stuff and also first-time offender type situations. … I recognize when someone needs to be punished, and you know they are a danger to
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society, but I also recognize when someone deserves a second chance.” Zur, 48, is a married father of three. He was born in New York City to an Iraqi mother and German father who’d both lived in Israel. While Zur was still an infant, his family returned to Israel, but due to his father’s work in the travel industry, the
family eventually moved back to the States. Zur grew up in New York City, and still loves it there, but has considered Pittsburgh home for nearly three decades, he said. Zur credits his 22 years at the District Attorney’s Office with giving him an opportunity to improve life in Pittsburgh. “I’ve been a homicide prosecutor for most of my career and now I’m in management, but what I really enjoy doing there is the trial work,” he said. “It’s just gratifying. Helping families get closure, and seeing how much it means to them — that’s really what has motivated my career.” Zur also is actively involved in educating the public on legal issues. Through his office, he has delivered several talks about Pennsylvania’s “castle doctrine” (or defense of habitation law) and the ability to use force in the face of imminent danger. As part of his campaign, Zur holds a weekly Saturday evening forum in which legal topics and the history of the court are discussed. Zur has enjoyed speaking to the public and sharing information on individuals’ rights, he said. All of these activities, including running for judge, are about public service, “and that’s what motivates me.” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
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FEBRUARY 19, 2021 9
Headlines — WORLD — From JTA reports
Flagship New Jersey yeshiva cancels Purim celebrations
Haredi Orthodox Jews in Lakewood, New Jersey, are curtailing Purim festivities because of COVID-19. For the first time in 80 years, Beth Medrash Govoha, the yeshiva at the center of the township’s 70,000-strong Orthodox community, won’t host festivities surrounding the holiday, the Asbury Park Press reports. The community saw a surge in COVID-19 cases after last year’s celebrations, which came in the early days of the pandemic, before widespread school closures, crowd restrictions and stay-at-home orders were put in place. Ocean County health authorities have reported 11,369 COVID-19 cases in Lakewood since the start of the pandemic among the 747,000 statewide. At least 268 township residents have died. “The biggest statement possible is that we’re not scheduling any celebrations” at the yeshiva, Rabbi Aaron Kotler, the yeshiva’s CEO and president, said. “The physicians and the rabbis and community activists continue to caution folks to be extremely careful on whatever activities are taking place or being done in a far more careful fashion.” Last week, Agudath Israel of America, the haredi Orthodox umbrella group, issued Purim guidelines advising against large gatherings — including group meals and parties — “even
with appropriate precautions.” The public readings of the Book of Esther, the centerpiece of the holiday, should be held “without dangerous overcrowding,” the guidelines say. “It is critical to remind ourselves that the eyes of the world are upon us, and will likely be watching us closely this Purim,” according to the statement. “Acting appropriately in public is always important; how much more so this Purim.”
Kansas City meteorologist apologizes after showcasing Kitler, a Hitleresque cat, on air
Alena Lee, a meteorologist at Kansas City’s KCTV5, has a tradition: Every Saturday night, she features a pet submitted by a local viewer to be featured in a “Caturday” shoutout during her weather update. Last weekend, Lee pulled up a picture of a white cat with a black patch just below its nose whose resemblance to Adolf Hitler would have been obvious even if its name hadn’t been “Kitler.” But it was, a fact that was spelled out in capital letters below the cat’s picture. And Lee read it without indicating that she saw anything amiss about the cat’s name. In fact, she said she saw another famous figure from the 1930s in the cat’s face. “I think Kitler kind of looks like Charlie Chaplin here,” Lee said, referring to the comic star of silent films who was born just four days before Hitler in 1889. “Maybe we’re going to call him Charlie Jr.” Viewers reacted negatively to the segment,
questioning how the cat picture and name could have made it through the production process. “This is disgusting and you need to make a public apology immediately,” one local wrote on Twitter, tagging the news station. On Sunday, Lee offered just that. Speaking on air, she explained that the picture had been given to her and said she had not set out to offend. “I never intended to hurt or offend anyone by using the picture that was given to me,” Lee said, adding that she would not repeat the offensive name. “I understand my mistake and am deeply sorry. In the future, I will be more diligent with this content to ensure it doesn’t happen again.” The Kansas City cat is hardly the only one whose markings give rise to the association: A “Kitler” board on the website Reddit has 25,000 subscribers. And an entire website, CatsThatLookLikeHitler.com, was created to showcase examples. The site says it is designed not to glorify the murderous Nazi leader but to “reduce him to an object of ridicule.” Two of the final four pets pictured on the site, which last updated in 2014, were named Kitler.
‘The Jew is guilty,’ 300 neo-Nazis hear at rare far-right gathering in Spain
Jewish leaders in Spain are calling for an investigation after a far-right event in Madrid featured anti-Semitic speeches and a Nazi salute. About 300 people attended the event held near a cemetery in the Spanish capital
where veterans who fought alongside Hitler’s troops are buried. In one speech, a young woman was filmed saying: “Our duty is to fight for Spain and Europe now weakened by the enemy, which remains the same but wears many masks: the Jew.” Public expressions of admiration for Nazi Germany, anti-Semitic rhetoric and large far-right gatherings are relatively uncommon in Spain, where many people have bitter memories from the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who sided with the Nazis during World War II and then ruled Spain until 1975. But as in many European countries, right-wing populism has seen a massive and sudden rise in popularity in Spain in recent years. In 2019, the Vox populist right-wing party entered parliament for the first time as the country’s third-largest party, with 52 out of 350 seats. The Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain in a statement Monday called on prosecutors to launch an investigation into incitement to violence and discrimination against some of the people who attended the event, including the young woman, who has not been identified in the media. She also said: “The Jew is guilty and the Blue Division will fight it,” Ultima Hora reported. The Blue Division, a small neo-Nazi network, derives its name from the units of Spanish volunteers who fought in Russia during World War II alongside the troops of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Veterans from that detachment are buried at the cemetery where the event took place. PJC
This week in Israeli history 4Rivers Wealth Management welcomes
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— WORLD — Items provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.
Feb. 19, 2009 — Yemeni Jews secretly are flown to Israel
Prior to joining 4Rivers Wealth Management, Bernadette served as a Senior Director of Portfolio Management and team leader for BNY Mellon.
Facing terrorist threats, 10 of the fewer than 300 Jews remaining in Yemen are secretly airlifted to Israel. Most of Yemen’s 50,000 Jews left during Operation Magic Carpet in 1949 and 1950.
At 4Rivers Wealth Management, Bernadette is responsible for managing the portfolios of the firm’s high-net worth families, trusts, endowments, foundations, and retirement plans. Bernadette also oversees the firm’s Investment Committee.
Feb. 20, 1957 — Eisenhower tells Israel to follow UN resolutions
In a nationally televised address, President Dwight Eisenhower emphasizes the need for Israel to abide by U.N. resolutions calling for its withdrawal from all of Sinai and the Gaza Strip after the 1956 war.
Feb. 21, 1852 — Pope protests Jewish emancipation
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10 FEBRUARY 19, 2021
Pope Pius IX protests the partial emancipation of Jews under Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany. The pope writes of the need to try to keep Catholics “from having any contact with the infidels.”
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Feb. 22, 1914 — Technion chooses Hebrew
The directors of the under-construction Technikum in Haifa decide that the language of instruction will be Hebrew, reversing an October decision to teach in German, and change the name to the Technion.
Feb. 23, 1965 — ‘Sallah Shabbati’ is nominated for Oscar
The Israeli movie industry has its first Oscar nominee when “Sallah Shabbati” is nominated for best foreign language film. The film loses the Academy Award but wins a pair of Golden Globes.
Feb. 24, 1874 — Early Zionist Moshe Smilansky is born
Moshe Smilansky, an early Zionist leader influential from the military to literature, is born in Ukraine. A delegate to the Seventh Zionist Congress, he advocates peaceful coexistence with the Arabs.
Feb. 25, 1994 — Muslims are massacred in Hebron
Kach party member Baruch Goldstein fatally shoots 30 Muslims worshipping at the Mosque of Abraham in Hebron’s Cave of Machpelah and wounds 125 others before being beaten to death. PJC
Nikki Haley broke with Trump. It could make her a Jewish GOP favorite in 2024. — NATIONAL — By Ron Kampas | JTA
ikki Haley has finally and decisively broken with Donald Trump in a move that puts her at the front of the potential Republican presidential pack for moderate conservatives, including pro-Israel Jews who mainly stuck with the party over the past four years because of Trump’s foreign policy. After serving as his U.N. ambassador and not taking a stand for months on what his lies about election fraud would mean for his legacy, Haley made the final cut on Friday in a Politico interview. Trump’s inflammatory post-election rhetoric, which Democrats argue culminated in the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, was the final straw. “We need to acknowledge he let us down,” Haley said. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.” Her break is a risky move: Trump still commands enough loyalty in the party that Republican senators are privately telling folks they are scared to convict him in his impeachment trial underway this week. But Haley, the former South Carolina governor, has a canny sense of when it’s time for conservatives to let go of driftwood. She removed the Confederate flag from the state Capitol after a white supremacist gunned down nine Black churchgoers in Charleston in 2015. The move, which would have sparked outrage a week before the killing, went down without a hitch. Haley was until now one of the few Trump officials who managed to walk a fine line between distancing herself from some of his outrages and earning his blessing by embracing his agenda. She has also been a star among pro-Israel Republicans for her pledge as U.N. ambassador to “take names” of countries that go against the United States when it backs Israel. In effect, she had emerged from the Trump years as a political survivor capable of walking that line into the White House. Her clear break from Trumpism is a sign that more Republicans on the fence will need to stake out a side. Many GOP Jews will be happy with Haley’s decision and could help her with her presidential ambitions. Haley made fighting anti-Israel policy the centerpiece of her United Nations tenure, removing the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council because it focused an uneven amount of energy on Israel. She also took the lead in the U.S. decision to cut funding for UNRWA, the U.N.-affiliated body that assists Palestinian refugees, and which Republicans say is perpetuating the conflict. (President Joe Biden plans to reverse both policies.) Her frontline pro-Israel advocacy has made her extremely popular at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, where she always earned the loudest cheers — the mere mention of her name by
another speaker guaranteed applause. She memorably coined the phrase that came to define her U.N. gig at the 2017 AIPAC conference: “I wear high heels. It’s not for a fashion statement, it’s because if I see something wrong I will kick it every single time.” At the 2019 conference, after she had quit her U.N. job, she used her AIPAC appearance to launch her advocacy website, Stand For America, a typical stage setter for people contemplating a presidential run. The site solicits donations and emails. Nikki Haley sits next to President Donald Trump at a UN Security Council meeting in 2017. She has a very warm p Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images via JTA relationship with Jewish Republican groups, including the Republican Jewish Coalition (at an RJC event last July, Haley urged Jewish voters to ignore Trump’s coarse conduct and focus on the “results” his policies have yielded). Jewish Republicans are disillusioned with Trump after the Jan. 6 riot, which attracted explicit displays of anti-Semitism. Fundraising among Jewish donors ahead of 2024 likely will be a hard slog for any presidential candidate who is Trump-adjacent. “I would certainly hope under any circumstance that our community shows Nikki Haley at a campaign rally for Kelly Loeffler in Monroe, Georgia, on Oct. 30, 2020 their appreciation, Photo by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images via JTA in any endeavor that she undertakes,” Fred Zeidman, a Houston businessman who is that had no bearing on her U.N. responsi- at a rally for the candidate she backed in the a major Republican pro-Israel donor, told bilities — the deadly neo-Nazi march in primaries, Marco Rubio: “The people of South the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The more Charlottesville in 2017. Trump’s equivo- Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!” important effort right now, he said, was to cation upset her enough, she writes, that She replied on Twitter, “@RealDonaldTrump, steer the party away from association with she called him. She said he should be as “Bless your heart.” Trump’s disastrous final months. “What unequivocal as she was after the Charleston “It was southern woman code,” Haley said. Nikki is trying to achieve right now is to massacre. He said the two situations differed. “Three polite words that let the receiver retake the House and retake the Senate.” “I replied to the president that the two situ- know you mean something not so polite.” Haley’s 2019 political autobiography, “With ations were not really different,” Haley writes. Trump has vowed to return to the politAll Due Respect,” includes a chapter — and She said she advised the president, “You ical realm in some capacity. But as she told chunks elsewhere in the book — on Israel have to stop acknowledging the haters.” Politico, Haley is focused on moving beyond policy, including her battles with then-SecreShe and Trump had a kind of “strange the debate over his future. tary of State Rex Tillerson, whom she depicts respect between us,” she acknowledged in “I don’t think he’s going to be in the as resistant to her advice to quit UNRWA. the book. She describes being on the wrong picture,” she said. “I don’t think he can. He’s She also gives four pages over to a topic end of a Trump tweet after attacking Trump fallen so far.” PJC
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FEBRUARY 19, 2021 11
‘Soft-core’ Holocaust denial — EDITORIAL —
e have published before on Poland’s effort to reframe Holocaust history, and to whitewash the involvement of Polish citizens in Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust. The effort attracted attention a couple of years ago, with the passage of Poland’s “anti-defamation law,” which made it unlawful to claim that Polish citizens were responsible — individually or collectively — for Nazi war crimes, including the death of some 3 million Polish Jews. The law made the violation a criminal offense, punishable by up to three years in prison, and declared that it could be enforced anywhere in the world, regardless of local laws. The ensuing international outcry eventually caused the law to be modified, to make such “defamation” a civil offense. Poland’s anti-defamation effort won a victory last week, when a Warsaw court ruled that two authors must apologize for tarnishing the memory of a Polish villager in their book. While the claim in the lawsuit focused on allegations about the actions
Quite simply, Poland seeks to establish national honor through historical amnesia. Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt calls the Polish approach “soft-core Holocaust denial.” of a single person, the ruling is all about “national honor,” and the Polish government’s campaign to absolve every Pole of complicity in the Holocaust and recast them as innocent victims of Nazi occupiers. Quite simply, Poland seeks to establish national honor through historical amnesia. Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt calls the Polish approach “soft-core Holocaust denial.” The Warsaw case concerned “Night Without End,” a 1,700-page book by
historians Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking about Polish collaboration during World War II, in which the authors wrote that Edward Malinowski, the mayor of a Polish village, allowed a Jewish woman to survive by helping her pass as a non-Jew. But the woman is also quoted as saying the mayor may have been complicit in a massacre of local Jews by German soldiers. For that, the historians were sued for “violating the honor” of the mayor — who
Need for inclusion of those with disabilities is magnified during pandemic Guest Columnist Nancy Gale
s the leader of an organization whose mission is to support individuals with disabilities, I believe inclusion is always important. During the pandemic, inclusion is more important than ever. The pandemic has laid bare the fact that people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-related risks. Although having a disability doesn’t by itself put someone at higher risk from the coronavirus, many people with disabilities have specific underlying conditions that make the disease more dangerous to them. The disability community in the United States includes millions of individuals with underlying or preexisting conditions. For this reason, they often have greater health care needs than others and are more vulnerable to the impact of low quality — or lack of access to — health care services. When they do access health care services, individuals with disabilities are often treated with a shocking lack of respect and dignity. Although, according to reporting by NPR, “nearly 20% of Americans have physical or mental disabilities….less than 20 percent of medical schools teach their students how to talk with disabled patients about their needs.” The result? People with disabilities receive inferior health care, less information about prevention and fewer screening tests.
12 FEBRUARY 19, 2021
The need for accessible information about prevention, and robust testing, is particularly important during a pandemic, especially for a vulnerable population. The need for accessible information about prevention, and robust testing, is particularly important during a pandemic, especially for a vulnerable population. For people with cognitive disabilities, explanations in plain language of what the virus is, and the need for mitigation measures, are critical. Due to the prevalence of underlying conditions among people who are disabled, vaccination is rightly a priority for this group, particularly those who live in long-term care facilities. The direct support professionals (DSPs) who help these individuals take their place in the community should have the same status, yet some vaccine providers exclude them because they do not have the formal license of other health care workers, such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Health care disparities are not the only ones that people with disabilities face. They are also among the most economically disadvantaged. In 2019, only 19.3% of persons
with a disability were employed, versus 66.3% of persons without a disability. Even education is not an equalizer. At all levels of education, people with disabilities were much less likely to be employed than their counterparts with no disability. COVID-19 has been very hard on people with disabilities in many other ways. Day programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities are closed, so those who count on these activities for stimulation and social interaction must do without. The DSP staffing crisis has grown even more acute, making support for people who are disabled increasingly challenging. Social distancing has been particularly hard for a population that already suffers from isolation and stigma. COVID-19 has forced residential psychiatric programs to suspend referrals to day programs, slowing the recovery process and delaying re-entry into the community. Our day program at the Levin Clubhouse has operated continuously
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was acquitted of complicity in the murders in 1950 — by “providing inaccurate information.” And the two researchers have been accused of “defiling the good name” of a Polish hero, which supposedly harms all Poles. The decision, which is being appealed, is seen as a test of the controversial defamation law. But the pursuit of the case shows that Poland is heading further into xenophobia and self-blindness, where mention of an individual’s guilt is seen as an attack on the nation’s honor. That dangerous attitude supported the recently reported questioning of Katarzyna Markusz, a journalist, on suspicion of “slandering the Polish nation” for writing that “Polish participation in the Holocaust is a historical fact.” Grabowski, the historian, put it this way: “The Holocaust is not here to help the Polish ego and morale. It’s a drama involving the death of 6 million people — which seems to be forgotten by the nationalists.” We have a sacred responsibility to remember, which is part of our “Never Again” commitment. And if that means exposing the bad actors in Poland or anywhere else, it must be done. PJC
throughout the pandemic, either virtually or in person. However, the benefits of supportive in-person interactions are diminished because Clubhouse members are fearful of using public transportation or gathering in person, even in small numbers, and have stayed home. Increased isolation may lead to the resurgence of symptoms and rehospitalization. What does inclusion look like in the age of the pandemic? From a legislative perspective: giving states enough money to cover the full cost of providing home- and community-based services to each person with a disability who’s currently on a waiting list. In Pennsylvania, that’s more than 13,000 people. Many DSPs struggle to support themselves and their own families financially. Strengthening the workforce ensures reliable supports for people with disabilities. From a practical perspective: providing information in plain language and accessible formats — including sign language and video captioning — about how to prevent infection and how to act in case of illness. From a health perspective: recognizing vulnerability due to underlying conditions and prioritizing vaccination for people with disabilities. From a technological perspective: making virtual programming more accessible by subsidizing smartphones, tablets and internet access. Finally, from a personal perspective: asking people with disabilities what they want and what would be helpful to them, and helping them to advocate for themselves. PJC Nancy Gale is the executive director of Jewish Residential Services in Pittsburgh.
Opinion A deep abiding ‘thank you’ to Rep. Jamie Raskin Guest Columnist Elinor S. Nathanson
atching the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, and all of the traumatic footage that the House impeachment team showed to make their compelling case, I couldn’t help but think of our 11 beloved neighbors whose lives were ended by a white supremacist invading another sacred space. Engrossed in the images of the trial, I was overwhelmed by the absolute horror of it all. At the same time, I also marveled at the miracle that was unfolding on television before my family and me. There, on the floor of the Senate, the House impeachment manager — a gentle Jewish soul named Jamie Raskin — was speaking truth to power as he pleaded the case that former President Trump was guilty of
incitement to insurrection. Rep. Raskin was leading an impeachment team that included Asian Americans, Black Americans, Latino Americans, and LGBTQ Americans — just like my own family. If you haven’t digested the miraculousness of Rep. Raskin’s presence on the Senate floor, please take a moment to let this sink in: In America, Jews are free to speak in the hallowed halls of Congress, on behalf of the Americans they represent, even as they and a diverse impeachment team sought the conviction of the former — and Christian — leader of the free world. Never has another country in world history given our people such freedoms. The preservation of these freedoms is paramount to the Jews’ very survival. That’s why at the end of the night, I wrote this heartfelt letter of appreciation to Rep. Raskin: Dear Rep. Raskin, I want to fervently thank you and your entire impeachment team for the master class in legal advocacy, integrity, and goodness
you displayed for our world, our nation, and especially our children. Words cannot express how grateful I am. My dear son, who just had his bar mitzvah in the midst of this pandemic a few months ago, is a deeply sensitive soul. Since Trump’s shocking electoral victory in 2016 when my son was nine years old, my son has suffered from acute anxiety. We live in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, just blocks away from where the Tree of Life shooting took place, so his childhood has been directly impacted by Trump’s vicious lies, virulent hatred, white supremacist glorification and incitement of deadly violence. Thank you for showing my beautiful boy — and all of us — what justice looks like. You have shined a powerful light on Donald John Trump that is critically important for all the world to see. We are so proud of you and the American values and the Jewish values you represent. I think often about what your son Tommy Raskin (z”l) used to say. It is, indeed, hard to be human. It is made easier, however, by making
the journey alongside good souls like you. Sending much love to you, your family, and your entire impeachment team. Sincerely, Elinor S. Nathanson In his closing statement, Rep. Raskin quoted Thomas Paine — the namesake of his son Tommy, who died Dec. 31, 2020 — stating, “The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” In a related observation, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of blessed memory would often quote, “A little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness.” Our Jewish community in Pittsburgh has been through an almost unbearable amount of suffering in recent years. As we continue to honor the lives of our 11 beautiful neighbors, may we shine forth their light so that, together, we can help illuminate — and repair — our precious fractured world. PJC Elinor S. Nathanson is a writer, performer, producer and activist.
Our government can’t force us to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but our morals should compel us to Guest Columnist Rabbi Yosie Levine
poll released last week by Monmouth University showed that 24% of Americans likely will never get the COVID-19 vaccine if they can avoid it. One hopes that as people have more information and know others who have been vaccinated without ill effects, they will change their minds. Education and encouragement are the most reliable tools we have in our increasingly libertarian democracy — our government will barely ask us to wear masks, let alone require us to subject ourselves to a jab in the arm. In the absence of a government mandate, we would do well to consider our moral obligations. The Torah insists that we take an active role in the rescue of those in danger. “Lo taamod al dam re’ekhah” (Leviticus 19:16) — Do not stand by the blood of your fellow — means that should a passerby spot someone in trouble, they are obligated to try and help them. Passivity in the face of danger is not an option. Intervening will always entail some degree of risk, but that doesn’t lessen the obligation to act. Many countries in Europe and Latin America insist on a similar duty to rescue. In Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the obligation is explicit: “Every human being whose life is in peril has a right to assistance. Every person must come
p Members of the National Guard prepare to inject the coronavirus vaccine at a mass vaccination site in the parking lot of Six Flags on Feb. 6, 2021, in Bowie, Maryland.
to the aid of anyone whose life is in peril, either personally or calling for aid, by giving him the necessary and immediate physical assistance …” In the United States, however, there generally is no such duty. Even if a state has a Good Samaritan law, the edict typically serves as an incentive rather than an obligation. By protecting a bystander who intervenes from potential legal action, the law encourages intervention in cases where a person’s life may be in danger. But the failure to intervene is by no means criminal. We Americans have been conditioned to
Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images via JTA
think of our own liberties and well-being. We have a patient’s bill of rights at the doctor’s office and a passenger’s bill of rights in the car that takes us there. Ours is a world of entitlement rather than a world of duty. The notion of an obligation to proactively come to the aid of our fellow citizens sounds like a foreign concept. Whether and to what extent individuals might refuse treatments that preserve or protect their own wellness might be open to some debate. And while the law might not require intervention, there is simply no moral justification for neglecting the affirmative obligation
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each of us has to proactively help others when they face mortal danger. The threat of coronavirus is real, it’s imminent and millions of people are now standing directly in harm’s way. When lives are on the line, the Torah’s ethics do not countenance nonfeasance. Refusing to receive the vaccine is tantamount to standing idly by while another person is being assaulted. If achieving herd immunity will save lives – and there is no doubt that it will – then each of us has a responsibility to help our nation achieve that goal. To shirk that responsibility is to fall woefully short of what the Torah expects of us. But what of the unknowns? What of the risks? None of us can lay claim to prophecy. But we can lay claim to scientific data. Among the vaccines now being distributed in the United States, tens of millions of doses have been administered. The number of adverse reactions is so infinitesimally small that speaking of risk with respect to the vaccine is a misnomer. On questions of science, we rely on our medical experts — and those experts have spoken with one voice. Our state won’t compel us to get the vaccine. But our conscience should. Living in a civilized society isn’t a free lunch. Every once in a while it comes with a moral obligation. We walk around with the expectation that were we in trouble, someone would come to our aid. With trouble looming for others, let’s hold up our end of the bargain and come to theirs. PJC Rabbi Yosie Levine has a Ph.D. from Yeshiva University and is the seventh rabbi of The Jewish Center in New York. This piece was first published by JTA. FEBRUARY 19, 2021 13
Headlines Camp: Continued from page 1
it will be able to offer bus transportation to the day camp in Monroeville as it did prior to summer 2020, as it “is an inherently difficult task” to ensure full coronavirus safety compliance on buses, officials said. Families will be updated in time to allow alternative transportation plans to be made if necessary. Camp Gan Izzy - Chabad Squirrel Hill is in a similar boat, explained its director, Rabbi Yisroel Altein. “If we can do transportation we’ll do it, but it depends on the guidelines,” he said. Last summer, Gan Izzy opened, but decided to adopt shorter days due to “too many limitations,” said Altein. This summer, Gan Izzy plans on returning to a full-day schedule. “We have enough timing to adjust to whatever is necessary,” said Altein. “If there are limitations on field trips then we’ll bring in more programming.” Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh also abbreviated its camp schedule last summer — the six-week day camp was halved. Rabbi Sam Weinberg, Hillel Academy’s principal, said camp would certainly be offered again, but wouldn’t commit to how many weeks the program will run. “This year will depend on the COVID situation,” he said. Camp Harlam, a Union of Reform Judaism overnight camp in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania, offers two three-and-a-half
Campers and staff walk together at Camp Harlam
week sessions. In an effort to create a COVID-free environment, the camp is reducing enrollment by nearly 50 kids. Removing one boys’ bunk and one girls’ bunk is part of a larger camp commitment, explained Lisa David, Harlam’s director. In addition to asking campers to self-isolate prior to camp, there will be COVID testing upon arrival, ongoing testing and podding, said David: “The hope is that after some period of time, we might be able to open those pods a bit to a more typical camp experience.” Even so, at least at the start, there will be additional changes to daily camp life. Dining hall operations, trips out of camp, general
Zeke: Continued from page 1
that the victim’s nephew said the family still believed Goldblum was guilty. Goldblum is 71 and has health issues. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, former mayor of Braddock, chairs the state’s Board of Pardons. Fetterman said that it served no purpose for Goldblum to remain behind bars. “I think it’s important that mercy must be a partner to justice,” Fetterman told the Chronicle. “I think there has to be a path for redemption and mercy for those who have led a good existence and have moved on and expressed genuine remorse. And that’s why the pardons board that I chair exists. “Add up the years he did in jail, add up the years any of them have done in jail,” he continued. “No one, no one in that class got away with murder. They all received exemplary recommendations from corrections staff and they’ve all been in prison for an extraordinary length of time and at some point, what are you doing as a society? When does justice become vengeance? Mercy, forgiveness and redemption underpins every major world religion. Why would we want it removed from our criminal justice system? That’s why the pardons board exists, for that very reason.” Fetterman stressed that commutation is not “appropriate for everyone, particularly those who remain a danger to themselves or others.” But in cases where there’s no risk to public safety, “why would we want to keep them until they die?” he said. Goldblum was arrested for murder in 1976. At the time, he was 27, a law school graduate, and working at Arthur Young and Company, 14 FEBRUARY 19, 2021
q Charles “Zeke” Goldblum, in June 2017
now known as Ernst and Young. His family had moved to Squirrel Hill in 1963, the year he started high school at Taylor Allderdice. He had been a Hebrew school teacher at B’Nai Israel in Greensburg while in law school, and at Beth Israel Congregation in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he also served as a cantor while studying at Washington and Jefferson College. When a restaurant on Fifth Avenue that Goldblum had purchased as an investment in the 1970s was destroyed by fire, it triggered a string of events that led to the murder of Wilhelm on the night of Feb. 9, 1976. A man named Clarence Miller had perpetrated a land fraud on Wilhelm, and had asked Goldblum to meet with the two of them to try to work things out, according
Photo courtesy of Camp Harlam
housekeeping and cleaning practices are all being revisited. Whereas in past years, visitors have been able to come up to camp for limited periods each session, that option has been changed for summer 2021. “Anytime anyone is arriving in camp, that’s a risk because it almost hits the reset button with anyone they’ve come in contact with,” said David. “Camp is needed now more than ever,” she stressed. “Over this past year, there has been a lot of loss and disconnection. The opportunity to come to camp, be outside, unplug and develop social and communicative to Goldblum’s statement in support of his 2009 application for clemency. Wilhelm was stabbed 26 times while in a car with Goldblum and Miller on the top deck of the Smithfield/Forbes parking garage in downtown Pittsburgh. Wilhelm’s body was then dumped over the side of the garage. But instead of falling eight stories to his death, he landed on the roof of a walkway bridge to the former Gimbels Photo courtesy of friends Department Store and of Zeke Goldblum the Duquesne Club. Court records show that when a police officer arrived and reached Wilhelm, he was still alive. “Clarence — Clarence Miller did this to me,” Wilhelm told the officer just before he died. That statement is known in the law as a “dying declaration.” It is typically given significant evidentiary weight, as it is presumed that a person on his deathbed will tell the truth. Nonetheless, Wilhelm’s dying declaration was not enough to raise a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury, and in 1977, Goldblum was convicted of first-degree murder, arson, solicitation to commit arson and conspiracy to commit theft. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder, plus 15 to 30
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skills, challenge themselves and have fun is particularly meaningful.” Robin Anderson, director of Camp Young Judaea Midwest in Waupaca, Wisconsin, agreed. “I think every kid needs to be at camp this summer and be a kid, and not worry about going to Zoom school or not being able to have a playdate,” she said. Anderson has been preparing for months to make overnight camp possible for the 200 kids — including a sizable Pittsburgh contingent — who plan on attending this summer. “For me as a camp director, I have been looking at this like a marathon, not a sprint,” she said. “We’ve been taking our time and going through this process and looking at every aspect of things, which we will until the start of camp. We’re learning things every single day, and for me, someone who loves to plan, we’ve learned that you can plan only so much in this pandemic — but I also believe that we can open camp successfully and safely this summer.” Families who are considering summer camp should reach out and ask questions, said Anderson: “Please call. We may not have the answers right now, but we want people to know it’s an option to go to Jewish summer camp this year.” With everything that has transpired during the past 12 months, she said, “being able to come to camp, and swim, and run around and be free — don’t we all wish we could have that right now?” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. years on the other charges. “Although the jury chose to believe Clarence Miller and convict Mr. Goldblum of murder, I have been troubled for years by the dying declaration of the victim: ‘Clarence — Clarence Miller did this to me,’” wrote Ziegler in a 1989 letter to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons in support of parole for Goldblum. “It is a moral and legal precept that a person is presumed to speak the truth when he is faced with death. The victim knew that he was dying, and he never mentioned the name of Charles Goldblum. In short, the murder conviction was based on the testimony of Miller and the jury’s apparent dislike for Mr. Goldblum.” Ziegler wrote similar letters to the Board of Pardons in 1994 and 1998. Goldblum’s family and friends have been advocating for his release for decades. Late last week, he was transferred to a transition facility in Pittsburgh. “On behalf of Charles ‘Zeke’ Goldblum, his family, and many dedicated and loyal friends and supporters, we are ecstatic that Zeke will finally be coming home to his awaiting family and friends,” said friends and supporters of Goldblum in a prepared statement. “We are grateful to all members of the Board of Pardons for unanimously recommending Zeke for commutation and to Gov. Wolf for signing off. Words cannot express our extreme gratitude for this act of mercy. It is our hope that other deserving inmates are afforded the same opportunity of a second chance.” PJC Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Headlines Jobs: Continued from page 2
While Brower dreaded the virtual interviews, Megan Cohen, a psychology and communications double major at the University of Pittsburgh, found they actually made the job hunt less stressful. “It’s nice to not have to travel to an interview,” Cohen said. “I don’t have a car, and I always worry about being late or getting lost when I take public transportation, so it’s much more convenient to have online interviews — and I still get to have a somewhat face-to-face interaction.” Cohen hopes to work in an entry-level human resources position or as a recruiter. She’s managed to score a few interviews, but so far, the companies have been looking for someone who can start sooner than she can. “I started my job hunt pretty early because I wasn’t sure what the process would be like in the pandemic,” Cohen said. “Recruiters have told me to apply closer to when I graduate and I might have more success, so I’m
Documentary: Continued from page 3
JAA and said the staff there struggled with “the unthinkable.” “Their courage and resourcefulness convinced me that they, and others in similar situations, needed to receive their due,” she said.
“ With the pandemic, clinics can’t have as
many volunteers, so interns have become
even more important for smaller tasks.
— MEGAN LUCKS, PITT CHEMISTRY STUDENT not too frustrated yet.” If that still doesn’t work, Cohen plans to move back in with her parents and work remotely at her current unpaid internship, an HR position at the Philadelphia-based tech start-up Verif-y, while she keeps searching for full-time positions. Megan Lucks, another Jewish student at Pitt who studies chemistry, is also hoping to continue at her part-time job once she graduates. Lucks currently interns at Allegheny Veterinary Emergency Trauma and Specialty,
a role she secured at the beginning of January. “I’m hoping they’ll let me increase my hours after I graduate and transition into a full-time position,” Lucks said. “With the pandemic, clinics can’t have as many volunteers, so interns have become even more important for smaller tasks.” Lucks felt it was critical that she take a gap year to gain some hands-on experience working in a clinic before applying to veterinary school, but was slightly worried about getting hired.
While the prioritization of seniors and those living in congregate settings to receive the vaccine was a positive step, Feinstein said that many underlying issues have not yet been addressed and there remains an urgent need to reform the long-term care system. “The mission for the documentary is to raise the issues underneath the horrible number of deaths from COVID-19 in
nursing homes and spur action to change national and state policy,” she said. “We want this to further conversation for the urgent need to reform our long-term care system.” The documentary ends with a call to action to viewers to contact governors and legislators on behalf of seniors, with a goal of redesigning and investing in better equipped, adequately staffed residential facilities.
Beth Samuel: Continued from page 4
Even prior to the pandemic, BSJC’s staff realized that interest in religious school was declining, so they revamped the curriculum and introduced an educational experience focused on cultural Jewish aspects and social action, which they thought would better resonate with families, said Wilson. Once COVID hit, even more changes needed to be made. Because most of the kids are on Zoom for multiple hours each week for school and other activities, BSJC has been deliberate in adapting its curriculum to ensure that screen time for religious school is well spent, said Wilson.
“ We’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned what
works and doesn’t work to get kids to come
online and stay focused.
— BILL SNIDER Preschoolers meet for 30 minutes on Sundays, with each session including videos, activities and story time, featuring a different guest reader every week from across the United States and from Israel, Wilson said, offering a
Mayor Bill Peduto joins AJC’s Mayors United Against Antisemitism Initiative
ittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed on to the American Jewish Committee’s Mayors United Against Antisemitism joint initiative with The U.S. Conference of Mayors. “We, the undersigned Mayors, express our deep conviction that antisemitism is not only an attack on Jews but an assault on the core values of any democratic and pluralistic society,” the statement reads. “In a world of global communications, where antisemitic PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
ideas spread rapidly, a concerted and principled response is required to raise awareness, to educate, and to ensure decency prevails.” The initiative statement affirms a core set of principles, including the condemnation of anti-Jewish hatred in all forms, and pledges to advance the values of respectful coexistence. More than 250 mayors across the country have signed on to the statement. PJC — Toby Tabachnick
chance for students to broaden their awareness. Older students have hour-long Sunday experiential activities and discussions, complemented by asynchronous Hebrew language lessons, said Homich. During a recent session, a conversation about the Torah’s mandate to care for pets was followed by a crafting activity in partnership with Repair the World Pittsburgh. Participants made a chew toy for dogs and a catnip pretzel for cats. The items will be donated to the Beaver County Humane Society, and a future project is planned with PJ Library. Sewickley residents Dan Weisberg and Sara Braun have two sons, 9 and 7. Both boys are enrolled in BSJC. The congregation is very kid-friendly, but there was a period of initial adjustment after the religious school went online, Weisberg said. In the beginning, kids were a little reluctant to participate on Zoom. Prior to the pandemic, when school met in person, “our kids would stay after and run around
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“In the height of the pandemic, a bunch of my friends’ internships were being canceled, and everything just felt very uncertain,” Lucks said. “But then I had an interview and I got the job. I was happy, but it was bittersweet because everyone around me was losing work and I was getting hired.” Even if her current job doesn’t offer her a full-time role come May, Lucks is confident she will be able to find employment within the veterinary field. “I’m not sure my specific job now is completely secure, but I feel secure that I’ll always have an opportunity to work,” Lucks said. “The work doesn’t stop because animals are always going to need our help, no matter the circumstances. I’m very grateful that I chose a field that will always be prevalent.” Despite all the extra chaos and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, Pittsburgh students are trying their best to remain optimistic. “At this point, I’m a little stressed,” said Cohen. “But I’m not hopeless.” PJC Dionna Dash is a writer living in Pittsburgh. If allowed to continue unabated, the next pandemic will see the same cycle at longterm facilities, Feinstein said, “if not worse.” Viewers interested in screening the program must register in advance at ovee.itvs.org/screenings/55iri. PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
for an hour with their friends, and that part is not there anymore.” Even so, BSJC’s staff quickly figured out how to pivot, said Weisberg. They were able to adapt to remote learning even faster than the public school, said Braun. Apps, like Ji Tap and Padlet, have helped. “My kids like to watch the videos that the other kids have posted,” said Weisberg. “It inspires them to do their homework and study their prayers so they can make their own videos.” “As both the president of Beth Samuel and the parent of someone in the school, I’ve been happy on both sides,” said Bill Snider. “We’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned what works and doesn’t work to get kids to come online and stay focused.” Snider said wearing two hats — one as a congregational lay leader, and one as a parent of a BSJC student and a child who’s bar mitzvah occurred during the pandemic — has reminded him of the need to be both patient and flexible. Throughout this period, both the congregation and parents have had to adapt, he said. Ultimately, BSJC educators have created an environment “that’s worked out well.” “They’ve allowed us to have kids come together, see each other, and interact with each other and their teachers,” continued Snider. “I’m very happy with what Barb and the other teachers have done to make sure the education keeps going and that it remains.” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. FEBRUARY 19, 2021 15
Life & Culture — FOOD — By Jessica Grann | Special to the Chronicle
aman’s fingers, you say? It makes me giggle just thinking about it. Most people think of hamantaschen when it comes to Purim treats, but in Sephardic culture it doesn’t seem strange to eat Haman’s fingers, Haman’s eyes or Haman’s ears. Children really enjoy preparing and eating Haman’s fingers, and I find a little helper in the kitchen makes the prep work go much more quickly. These treats are not overly sweet, as phyllo-based pastries with syrup often are. There is just a small amount of powdered sugar in the filling and a bit more sprinkled on top once they cool completely. Haman’s fingers Ingredients: 1 1-pound box phyllo pastry ¾ cup walnuts ¾ cup almonds, with the skin is fine 6 tablespoons powdered sugar for the filling and a little extra for dusting 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon orange blossom water, optional. Don’t make a special trip to the store if you don’t have it in your pantry already. 1 pinch sea salt
½ stick butter or margarine (4 tablespoons), melted
The phyllo pastry that I buy comes in 18-by-12-inch sheets. Defrost in it your refrigerator the night before you’re going to prepare these pastries. Preheat the oven to 400 F and place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven.
Grind the nuts to a medium consistency in a food processor, or chop them by hand. Combine the ground nuts, powdered sugar, cinnamon and orange blossom water in a bowl, stirring a few times to distribute the sugar and cinnamon evenly. Before opening the box of phyllo dough, dampen a clean tea towel. Open the pastry, unfold it, and cut it in half lengthwise and crosswise. You can use a sharp knife to cut
Jewish books bonanza in February — LOCAL — By Jesse Bernstein | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
aybe it’s that the wave of dull insider accounts of the Trump regime seems to have crested. Maybe everyone had a lot of time for high-yield contemplation during 2020. Maybe the entire publishing industry wanted to create some difficult choices for me, personally. Whatever the reason, February is a particularly exciting month for new releases in Jewish book publishing. Here are a few picks that savvy readers and book critics are getting excited about.
‘The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood’
Donna Rifkind Salka Viertel was a glowing node of connection during the Golden Age of Hollywood, a screenwriter and actor who could call on Greta Garbo, Aldous Huxley and Charlie Chaplin, among many others. Born in 1889 in Sambor, a small Mitteleuropean city wrested back and forth between long-gone kingdoms, Viertel fled anti-Semitic persecution for the welcoming shores of the American West Coast. Viertel’s 16 FEBRUARY 19, 2021
great talent was for shmoozing; her keen intuition for salon introductions and professional shidduchs made her well-known to the well-known. Rifkind’s biography is the first book-length treatment of Viertel, who is as charming on the page as you might imagine.
Melissa Broder “Milk Fed” is just 304 pages, with a small cast of characters. And yet, to try and succinctly describe what goes on here would be a disservice to this odd, exciting little book. Broder’s story — about secular American Judaism, the contemporary professional woman’s relationship to food and sex, and an Orthodox woman who works the counter at a frozen yogurt shop — is not for the faint of heart. If you’re appropriately girded, give this one a shot.
‘God I Feel Modern Tonight: Poems from a Gal About Town’
Catherine Cohen If you had to put Catherine Cohen into a single category, “comedian” would come closest to describing what she does. But Cohen’s career as a cabaret performer, actor, podcaster and stand-up points to unique ambitions as an artist — she’s appeared in mainstream shows like “Broad
City” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” but prior to the pandemic she also performed weekly as a chanteuse at a New York club. And you can still catch her podcast, if you’re missing that live Cohen zing. “God I Feel Modern Tonight” reads like poetry written by a non-poet; Cohen’s singular voice and performance instincts give her work a quality you don’t come across frequently. The PR for this book tries to brand Cohen as a very particular millennial type that exists more as an elevator pitch than a person — “A Dorothy Parker for our time, a Starbucks philosophe with no primary-care doctor” — but Cohen is blessedly uncategorizable.
‘Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World’s First Female Rabbi’
Written by Sigal Samuel, illustrated by Vali Mintzi I don’t often write about illustrated children’s books, but an exception must be made for “Osnat and Her Dove.” Why the story of Osnat has stuck with me since I was a child is anyone’s guess, though it probably has something to do with finding the name funny when I was 10 and the fact that I heard it told with great care by the rabbi at my Jewish day school.
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the pastry, or kitchen shears if that is easier for you. This will create 4 portions of equally sized rectangles. Combine them to create one stack of phyllo pastry, and cover immediately with the damp tea towel. Take 2-3 pieces of phyllo rectangles out at a time, making sure to keep the pastry you are not immediately working with covered. Measure 1 tablespoon of the nut mixture and sprinkle it evenly near the edge closest to you. Fold the pastry away from you, turning over one time to cover the nuts before folding in each side toward the center. Run your fingers gently up the crease. Once both sides are folded in, begin to slowly roll the pastry away from you to form a cigar, using your fingers to keep everything straight and even. Phyllo pastry is delicate and can tear. Just keep rolling because it is very forgiving. Place the seamed side down on a baking sheet and brush the top and sides with the melted butter or margarine. If you have a helper in the kitchen, you can do this very quickly. One person can roll, and one person can brush the pastries and get them into the oven. I place them about half-inch apart on the ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Happy Purim! PJC Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.
Either way, Samuels’ retelling and Mintzi’s striking illustrations — brilliant reds, yellows and oranges — transported me back to those days and, for that, I’m grateful.
‘Nuestra America: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation’
Claudio Lomnitz Lomnitz, an anthropologist at Columbia University, bites off quite a bit in this family memoir. His eye for the meta-stories of peoples and nations is brought to bear on the forces that shaped the lives of his grandparents, Jews who fled what is now Romania for Peru in the 1920s. They arrived to find that terrible truth that if one insists on being Jewish everywhere, one will be treated as a Jew everywhere. But “Nuestra America” is more than the tragic tale of a family caught in the gears of 20th century -isms, though that subject is certainly worthy of exploration on its own. Lomnitz reads his life and the lives of his family members as closely as he does political and cultural texts, complicating our understanding of both. The language can be a little dry, but the characters and the subject matter are anything but. PJC Jesse Bernstein is a staff writer and books editor at the Jewish Exponent, a Chronicleaffiliated publication. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Photo by Jessica Grann
Beyond hamantaschen: Haman’s fingers
Life & Culture Architect opens ‘Daring’ virtual museum — ARCHITECTURE — By Jesse Bernstein | Contributing Writer
he Daring Diagonal Virtual Museum, an online collection of photos and writings concerned with historically significant expressions of diagonality in art and design, launched on Dec. 3. For Joel Levinson, the founder and curator of the DDVM, it’s the culmination of the curiosity he’s harbored since he was a student of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania nearly 60 years ago. Though the museum is primarily intended to provide historians with what Levinson believes is a crucial intervention in the study of architecture and design, the DDVM might just have something for everyone. “I hope that readers of all stripes will see the world in a different way,” said Levinson, founder of the architecture and interior design firm Joel Levinson Associates. Though Levinson has long dreamed of creating some sort of archive of his collected material on diagonality, it was only about two years ago that the current iteration started to come together. A well-received lecture on the subject to a group in Germantown connected him with the physicist Kenneth Ford, who enthusiastically offered to edit any material that Levinson had into a book. While the material for the book was being selected and arranged, Levinson created a website to host it all for public consumption. That website was eventually converted into the DDVM. Coincidentally, Levinson’s drawings, correspondence and models are in the midst of being collected for publication as a separate book by the Architectural Archives at the University of Pennsylvania. The structure of the website that “houses” the museum is based on Levinson’s own design, mimicking the layout of a stately home built by Levinson many years ago. Each of the “rooms” are home to webpages covering individual aspects of diagonality, complete with plenty of photographed examples, often by Levinson himself. One can jump from 1.12 (Works by Children)
p Joel Levinson, creator of the DDVM
Photo by Julie Levinson
p The interior of the Danish Jewish Museum, in Copenhagen
to 3.5 (Fashion) with a few clicks of the mouse, and there’s enough material for one to spend hours wandering the digital halls. Levinson is 82 and a native of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Strawberry Mansion, Levinson’s family moved to Mt. Airy when he was still a boy, where the spitball-firing Levinson spent more time in the principal’s office at Germantown Jewish Centre than he did in the classroom. His highest aspiration in those days was to be a farmer or a writer. Informed by his father that farming and writing were out of the question, and presented with a list of acceptable professions, Levinson landed on architecture at 13. Though the other personae pop up from time to time — he cultivated a small vegetable garden in his youth, and later wrote a
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Photo by Joel Levinson
novel about the Bosnian war — it’s been a lifetime of thinking about buildings. Entering Penn in 1957, Levinson had already developed a bit of an iconoclastic sense of self, he said. Coming from a line of rabbis on one side and Bertrand Russell-reading skeptics on the other, it was only logical that Levinson’s architectural interests might become uncategorizable. Levinson first became interested in what he calls the “phenomenon of diagonality” around 1960. Diagonal lines, in Levinson’s estimation, were much more than met the eye. Everywhere he looked, he saw them, and not just in the buildings he studied. They were in paintings and sculptures, chairs and graphics, products galore. It gnawed at him: How could something so fundamental be discussed so little?
“It became apparent to me that there is a big story here,” Levinson said. Ever since, Levinson has tried to make up for the gaps in the scholarship. His theory of diagonality encompasses design elements from antiquity to today, and art forms both high and low. Eventually, Levinson said, material he’s been gathering for decades will lead to a book, “The Daring Diagonal,” for which there is already a preface, introduction and “a critically important chapter dealing with the right angle in architecture.” If this all sounds like it borders on the marginal or quixotic, it wouldn’t take long for Levinson to persuade you and make you think twice the next time you see a triangle. Even the distaste he holds for symmetry in design could get your brain moving. For Levinson, architecture is a way to look for truth — both a mode of inquiry and the answer to questions, some urgent, some idle. “There is a difference between what we observe, and what underlies that in reality,” Levinson said. “These rather abstract ideas become expressed in my architecture — not in an academic way, I’m not trying to teach anybody anything — but they’re just part of my thought process, and they are embedded in my architecture.” PJC Jesse Bernstein is a writer for the Jewish Exponent, a Chronicle-affiliated publication.
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FEBRUARY 19, 2021 17
Embracing Happiness Peter Markovitz, son of Meridith and Eric Markovitz of Upper St. Clair, will become a bar mitzvah on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, during a Zoom Shabbat service at Temple Emanuel of South Hills. Peter is the grandson of Jacqueline and Paul O’Boyle, Adele and Robert Markovitz, and Robert and the late Anne Aumer. Peter has two older brothers, Joseph and Phillip, and is a seventh-grade student at Fort Couch Middle School. He enjoys playing soccer, participating in Odyssey of the Mind and is a member of the Fort Couch Middle School chorus. Peter’s love for rescue dogs has inspired him to make and sell dog treats benefiting Rural Dog Rescue for his mitzvah project. Iris Anderson, daughter of Jennifer and Greg Anderson of Mt. Lebanon, became a bat mitzvah on Saturday, Feb. 13, during a Zoom Shabbat service at Temple Emanuel of South Hills. Iris is a seventh-grade student at Jefferson Middle School and is the older sister of Wyatt. Her interests include dogs, cooking and social justice. Iris’ grandparents are Ron Rogers, Ruby Donna Rogers, Bobbie Redenbaugh and Ramon Anderson.
Gabriel (Gabe) Levitt Seldin, son of David and Melissa Seldin and grandson of Milton and Ruth Seldin (z”l) and Larry and Gail Levitt (z”l) and Jean Koesterich, will be called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah at Congregation Beth Shalom on Feb. 20, 2021. Gabe is a seventh-grader at the Falk Laboratory School. He enjoys playing baseball and all other sports, video games, and has developed a growing interest in politics and social justice.
Leon and Hela Edelsack of Squirrel Hill are delighted to announce the engagement of their daughter, Lillian, to Evan Miller, son of Todd and Elaine Miller, also of Squirrel Hill. Lillian is the granddaughter of Charlotte Nusberg and the late Edgar Edelsack of Washington, D.C., and of the late Luis Francisco and Chinca de Sanchez of Bucaramanga, Colombia, South America. Evan is the grandson of Newell Miller and the late Myrna Miller of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and of the late Isadore and Shirley Krouse of New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Lillian is a professional staff nurse in the neurosurgical unit at UPMC Shadyside and Evan is the housing policy manager at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. Lillian and Evan are graduates of Penn State University and reside in Bloomfield. PJC
FEBRUARY 19, 2021
Rabbi Daniel Wasserman Parashat Terumah | Exodus 25:1 - 27:19 Shabbat Zachor
he statements of the Rabbis are not pithy quips to be taken at face value. They are multifaceted ideas that are filled with nuance and can be mined repeatedly for inspiration and direction. Even the choice of words is a point of contemplation and study. We are now in the month of Adar and over the gateway to the month, so to speak, is the Rabbinic statement: “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha” (Taanit 29a), which is generally translated as: “When Adar comes in we increase happiness.” I find the choice of the word “marbim” to be interesting. It is also connective and noteworthy that some of the series of five parshiot (portions) in the Torah, the second of which we read this Shabbat, which deal with the fabrication of the Mishkan, the portable Tabernacle that would manifest God’s continued direct connection to the Jewish people and His willingness to have His Shechinah (presence) dwell (V’shachanti) within the Jewish people, are always read during Adar. The first time that the word “marbim,” in that specific form, is used in the Torah is in connection to the building of the Mishkan. Moshe put out a call for donations of the materials necessary to fabricate the Mishkan and everyone began to donate. Very soon after the campaign began, Moshe received the following report from every artisan of every area of Mishkan construction: “Marbim Ha-Am L-Havee, Meeday Ha-Avodah La-Melacha” (Shemot 36:4), loosely translated as: “The nation is bringing [material] abundantly, beyond the needs of the work.” The word “marbim” perhaps describes not only the amount that was donated by the people but also the attitude with which they donated. The people did not donate in a measured way but rather took every opportunity to find anything they could donate and bring it forward for the cause. Perhaps this is also inherent in the words of the Rabbinic statement. When Adar comes in, take every opportunity to find happiness. We live in a society that confuses happiness with consumption, or celebration, or escape.
However, assuming we truly understand what happiness is (which is a long conversation and stuff for another forum), we must appreciate Adar for its historic and spiritual potential for redemption — and it being the days of preparation for Nissan and Pesach, the time of ultimate personal and national redemption — and then abundantly take every opportunity to embrace happiness. That is even as, or maybe especially as, the pandemic continues to rage and continues to take the human and economic toll that we are experiencing. We cannot allow it to stop us from being happy, and abundantly so. Rambam (Maimonides) wrote in Hilchot Megillah 2:17: “For there is no greater or more glorious expression of happiness than
Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha — as now Adar is upon us, let us abundantly take every opportunity to engage in true happiness. one who gladdens the heart of the poor, of orphans, of widows, and of aliens [strangers/ converts/generally those without a support system]. Indeed, one who gladdens the heart of these downtrodden people is comparable to the very presence of the Shechinah as it says [God speaking in Yeshayahu 57:15], ‘I revive the spirit of the lowly ones and and I bring life to the hearts of the downtrodden.’” Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha — as now Adar is upon us, let us abundantly take every opportunity to engage in true happiness. PJC Rabbi Daniel Wasserman is the rabbi of Shaare Torah Congregation and the president of the Gesher HaChaim Jewish Burial Society. This column is a service of the Vaad HaRabanim of Greater Pittsburgh.
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Obituaries HABER: Pearl Haber (Rosenbaum) passed peacefully on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, age 88. Pearl was the devoted daughter of the late Miriam Elyanoff (Coltun) and Louis Rosenbaum. She was the beloved wife of the late Edward Louis Haber (died 2011) for 57 wonderful years. Pearl was the cherished mother of Annette (Larry) Moskovitz, Julie (Kirby) Christy, Carrie (Barry) Hollander and Jacqueline (Duane) Larson, loving grandmother of Rachel, Leah and Abby
Christy, Jenna Hollander, Mitchell and Miranda Larson, great-grandmother of Bentley Bates, and aunt to Fran, Becky, and Larry Weiss. Pearl was born in Brooklyn, New York, before moving to Pittsburgh as a teenager where she later met the love of her life, her husband, Lou. She is fondly remembered by her grandchildren as “Bubba.” Pearl was fiercely loving, protective, loyal, and unconditionally supportive of her family with a quick wit and great sense of humor. She enjoyed family vacations at the beach and the casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Pittsburgh. Pearl delighted her family with her legendary signature dessert, her
New York-style cheesecake. In her younger years, Pearl enjoyed growing prize-winning roses. Before marriage, Pearl was responsible for the payrolls at the Yellow Cab Company and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. After raising her children, Pearl returned to the workforce as an administrative assistant at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Pearl and her husband were longtime members of New Light Congregation in Squirrel Hill. Her warmth, loving spirit and sense of humor will be tremendously missed by all who knew her. Donations may be made in Pearl’s name to the New Light Congregation (5915 Beacon St., Pittsburgh PA 15217) or Rodef
Shalom Congregation (4905 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213). The arrangements are entrusted to the George Irvin Green Funeral Home Inc. 3511 Main St., Munhall. In this time of COVID-19, there will be no visitation. Interment at Beth Shalom Cemetery will be private. A memorial service for Pearl will be held in the future.
Please see Obituaries, page 21
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Wednesday February 17: Isadore Bergstein, Joseph H. Braemer, Ida Dektor, David L. Ekker, Jack Elkovitz, Anna Finer, Rebecca (Barron) Greenberg, Marvin L. Gusky, Earl Herman, Harry I. Horwitz, Elinor Kann, Ida Kramer, Edward Oring, William Oskie, Pearl Wintner Rosen, Maurice F. Sadowsky, Kenneth S. Samowich, Milton Weisenberg
“Always A Higher Standard”
Dustin A. D’Alessandro, Supervisor • Daniel T. D’Alessandro, Funeral Director
Thursday February 18: Samuel Cohen, Harry Davis, Mary Farber, Eva Fingeret, Emanuel B. Friedberg, Md, Belle S. Friedman, Gary Lee Kress, Anna Kuperstock, Ben Leshney, William A. Lubarsky, Steven L. Ochs, Lena Pavilack, Cecelia F. Rosen, David Rosenthal, Bessie S. Schulman, Frances L. Shaeffer, Malie Silverman, Dorothy Sloan, Myer Solomon, Miriam W. Steerman, Silvia Stuhl, Lea S. Teplitz, Helen Tepper, Sidney M. Wolk, Martin Zamore, Sarah Leah Zinner
4522 Butler St. • Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (412) 682-6500 • www.dalessandroltd.com
Friday February 19: Dorothy Adler, Arlene Y. Apter, Israel Backer, George Bonder, Daniel M. Emas, Anna Feinberg, Mollie F. Ganelin, Minnie Gottesman, Maurice Greenberg, Hyman Greenspan, Rose Harris, Melvin W. Helfant, Max Janavitz, Harry M. Kamin, Jack Lebovitz, Julius Markley, Leonard Nadel, Freda Rosenthall, Freda R. Selkovits, William H. Silverman, Esther K. Stutz, Nellie Swartz, Isadore Winerman, Phillip Zamsky
THE BEST OF THE
Saturday February 20: Pearl Auslander, Max L. Bluestone, Merle Blumenfeld, Dr. Paul Cramer, Pearl Erenstein, Max Freedel, Samuel M. Gordon, Betty I. Greenwald, Joseph Honig, Winifred Joyce Hynes, Lily June Kanarek, Lena Kline, Jacob Kunst, Louis Lawrence, Samuel Marcovsky, Gertrude Robinowitz, Isabelle I. Sachs, Irwin J. Schultz, Becky Schwartz, Harry Swimmer, Ida Valinsky, Sidney Weisberger
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IT’S amazing WHAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR.
Selling? Buyers are flocking to the ’s Business & Professional Directory To advertise, call 412.687.1047. 20 FEBRUARY 19, 2021
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Obituaries Obituaries: Continued from page 20
LEBOW: Bernice Doris Lebow (Zeff) passed away peacefully on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, at the age of 95. She was preceded by her parents, Frank and Mary Zeff, a loving aunt who raised her, Minnie Rosenberg, her beloved husband, Irving and her devoted son, Howard. Bernice was the cherished mother of Max (Bobbie), Marilyn Stack (Tom), and Joanne (Bruce Solomon), loving grandmother of Matthew and Olivia Lebow, Brian and David Stack and Ilana, Daniel and Benjamin Solomon. Bernice was fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful caregivers.
During COVID, they were there to share their love as a second family. Jennifer Seiss was considered her third daughter, but others who were also so impactful were Mikayla Prunty, Heidi Leff-Schloer and the entire staff of Weinberg Village. Bernice was born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and raised her family in Wheeling, West Virginia. She had lived in Pittsburgh for the last 20 years. She was dedicated to her family but always had time to volunteer for both the schools and the temple, as well as a weekly mahjong game with her lifelong friends. She always welcomed family and friends to visit and often hosted dinners and cookouts for the holidays and was known for her famous potato salad. Once her grandchildren were born, she showered these kids even more attention than her own and would frequently travel to each coast to see and care for the ones that did not live in Pittsburgh. Before marriage, she worked at Levinson
Steel in Pittsburgh and after her children were grown, worked for the City of Wheeling as a clerk of the Circuit Courts. She would always have stories to share about her days in the office and truly enjoyed the people with whom she worked. She was an avid shopper and eagerly switched to home shopping once her mobility became compromised. Being raised by her aunt in a candy store, Bernice loved all kinds of “penny” candy, reading a good book or watching all the great movies from her youth on TCM. Bernice was a lifelong member of Temple Shalom and, if you wish, donations can be made there. (23 Bethany Pike, Wheeling, WV 26003). In this time of COVID, the ceremony was private in Wheeling. RIEMER: Morris (Moishe) Riemer, Feb. 11, 2021, at age 97 due to complications from diabetes. Beloved husband of 49 years to
the late Marion Phyllis Riemer (and the late Frieda Fogel Riemer). Loving father to Jerry (Susan Kraham), Barry (Anne), Sanford (Barb Feige), and Helene (Michael) Berman. Cherished Zeyde of Eric (Chava) Riemer, Danny (Sheera, and the late Meira Bresler) Riemer, Aliza (Chanan) Strassman, Jennifer (James) Cataline, Elizabeth (Maurice) Verano, Adam Riemer, Matthew Berman, and Erika Berman, as well as nine great-grandchildren. The family extends their deep appreciation to Dara and Lavonna, caregivers who tirelessly tended to him 24/7 for the last years of his life, and to Sivitz Hospice/JAA for their support. Contributions in his memory may be made to Congregation Poale Zedeck, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, or Hebrew Free Loan of Greater Pittsburgh. Graveside service and interment at the Poale Zedeck Memorial Park. Funeral arrangements by Gesher Hachaim Jewish Burial Society. PJC
Real Estate FOR SALE
Location! Location! Location! 5523 Ellsworth/The Belvedere • Shadyside w$200,000
r f te A t ac ers r t ﬀ on r C ple O e d i Un Mult
• The market is very strong due to low interest rates. • If you have considered making a move now is a great time. • I am happy to help! Call me at 412-657-3555.
• Condo • 2 bedroom • 2 bathroom • Laundry in unit • Pets allowed The real estate market is very strong! If you are wondering what your house would sell for, please give me a call!
Jordana Zober Cutitta, Realtor, Associate Broker, MBA 412-657-3555 | Jordanazc@kw.com
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FEBRUARY 19, 2021 21
Real Estate REALTOR SERVICES
KEEPING IT REAL IN REAL ESTATE!
F O R S A LE
LAWRENCEVILLE - MCCLEARY SCHOOL CONDO • $698,000
Contact me today to find out how Howard Hanna’s exclusive buyer and seller programs can benefit you!
NEW LISTING! One of the largest and beautifully appointed 3 bedrooms in area. Great room living area with ceilings close to 12 ft. Cooks kitchen with 9.5 ft. island & lots of cabinetry. Closet turned into work room. 2 car parking. Many bldg. amenities, rooftop deck, dog washing area. Tax abatement until approx 2027.
• Buy Before You Sell • Money Back Guarantee • One Stop Shopping • Hanna Gold Advantage • Homes of Distinction • HSA Home Warranty Protection
SQUIRREL HILL • $210,000 • IMPERIAL HOUSE
Contact Denise today for the REAL facts on why NOW is the best time to buy or sell!
Denise Serbin, Realtor HOWARD HANNA REAL ESTATE
BUYING OR SELLING?
Squirrel Hill Office 6310 Forbes Ave. , Pittsburgh, PA 15217 412-480-6554 mobile/preferred 412-421-9120 office firstname.lastname@example.org
Reduced. 2 bedroom/2 bath in move in lovely condition. Enjoy beautiful screened in balcony. Building has many amenities including pool, exercise room guest suites, and party room.
SQUIRREL HILL • $179,000 • BEACON PLACE • Can Be Rented For $1350/Mo SOUTH FACING BALCONY. Updated 2 bedroom, 1.5 Bath lots of storage and a pantry. Convenient to shopping, restaurants, library and transportation. Occupant must be 62+. See with Kate White 412-310-0765
DOWNTOWN • $950,000 Gateway Towers. Primo sensational double unit. Over 3000 square feet. OLD S 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths. View of all three rivers. New windows installed (approx. $70,000). The best unobstructed space and views in Pittsburgh. This is a full service building and PET FRIENDLY. JILL and MARK PORTLAND RE/MAX REALTY BROKERS 412.521.1000 EXT. 200
5125 Fifth Ave.
2 & 3 Bedrooms Corner of Fifth and Wilkins Spacious 1500-2250 square feet
412.496.5600 JILL | 412.480.3110 MARK
”Finest in Shadyside”
Contact me today to discuss all of your real estate needs!
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Jason A. Smith & Caryn Rosenthal Jason: 412-969-2930 | Caryn: 412-389-1695 Jasonasmith@howardhanna.com Carynrosenthal@howardhanna.com
5501 Baum Blvd. Pittsburgh PA 15232 Shadyside Ofﬁce | 412-361-4000
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Community Pack it up, pack it in
Readying for Shabbat
Congregation Beth Shalom members packed nearly 650 Purim baskets for delivery. Along with preparing for the upcoming joyous holiday, Men’s Club representatives placed yizkor candles in yellow bags for later use on Yom Hashoah.
Friendship Circle members enjoyed a digital “Friendship Shabbox” cooking demo by making challah, decorative salad and spoons. t Bracha Deren demonstrates a spoonful of Shabbat helps the week go down.
p Ina and Gabe Engel assist with the mishloach manot project.
u Ryan Silverman makes clear all you need is loaves.
Photos courtesy of Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh
p From left: Olivia, Rachel, Steve and Jonah Albert take a break from packing.
p From left: Dave Guzikowski, Robbie Zaremberg, Ira Frank and Jeff Rosenbloom Photos by Mindy Shreve prepare Yom Hashoah candles and bags.
Spinners, bags and boxes
p Trish Callaway, left, and Paul Hilterbrick joined AgeWell, the 10.27 Healing Partnership and Ilana Schwarcz to distribute Family Spinners to homebound seniors. Photo courtesy of 10.27 Healing Partnership
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
FEBRUARY 19, 2021 23
• All-natural, corn-fed beef — steaks, roasts, ground beef and more • Variety of deli meats and franks • All-natural poultry — whole chickens, breasts, wings and more Available at select Giant Eagle stores. Visit GiantEagle.com for location information.
Alle Kosher 80% Lean Fresh Ground Beef
Price effective Thursday, February 18 through Wednesday, February 24, 2021.
Available at 24 FEBRUARY 19, 2021
and PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE