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May 14, 2021 | 3 Sivan 5781

Candlelighting 8:11 p.m. | Havdalah 9:17 p.m. | Vol. 64, No. 20 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org

New Solomon House offers community for adults with disabilities

NOTEWORTHY LOCAL Nutritious and delicious

JCC continues to provide meals to seniors during pandemic Page 4


The new Pew: ‘Jewish Americans in 2020’

— 37% Reform

4% — Other Branch

| 9% Orthodox

Rabbi Jeremy Markiz says ‘farewell’ Page 5

— 17% Conservative

moment when you saw it in the data,” he said. That “aha!” moment came to Cooperman, he said, through the data showing the “religious divergence” of the Jewish population, particularly among young Jew adults. The 2020 survey found that younger Jews contain among their ranks “both a higher share who are Orthodox and a higher share who are at the very low end of the religiosity spectrum,” Cooperman said. “If you are familiar with the American-Jewish community, you’ve seen the growth in Orthodox neighborhoods, communities across the country. It’s not surprising, but the survey does capture that.” In fact, 17% of Jews 18-29 self-identify as Orthodox. At the other end of the spectrum, four in 10 Jewish adults under 30 describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” but still identify as Jewish for ethnic, cultural or family reasons. Overall, 27% of Jewish adults who have Please see Pew, page 14

Please see JRS, page 14

Orthodox Conservative | |

Age 18-29



No particular branch |

Refom |


Other branch |





















 Note: Those who did not answer are not shown. Figures include both Jews by religion and Jews of no religion. Virtually all Orthodox Jews (99%) and Conservative Jews (99%) in the survey are Jews by religion, as are 88% of Reform Jews. Most Jews who are unaffiliated with a branch are Jews of no religion (65%). Source: Survey conducted Nov. 19, 2019-June 3, 2020, among U.S. adults.“Jewish Americans in 2020” PEW RESEARCH CENTER

LOCAL An intentional escalation

By Toby Tabachnick | Editor

“J Violence in the Jewish state Page 10

ewish Americans in 2020,” Pew’s first deep dive into Jewish life in the U.S. since 2013, paints a picture of a population that is diverse politically and religiously, but for whom, overall, “being Jewish” remains important. Pew’s newest survey of Jewish Americans was conducted from November 2019 through June 2020, with most of the work completed prior to the pandemic. Its methodology differed from the 2013 survey in that it was conducted online and by mail rather than by phone. While the 2020 study shows few significant changes in statistics from 2013, it does “clarify” some trends, said Alan Cooperman, director of religion research at Pew Research Center, in a call with media last week. “You can get a kind of ‘aha!’ moment out of the survey where it shows you something that, yes, it makes a lot of sense, but you hadn’t been able to crystalize it until that


uring the outdoor dedication of the Solomon House, a home for people with disabilities, cars slowly passed, attendees and onlookers paused, then everyone returned to their tasks and conversations. The gentle flow of neighborhood activity was precisely the reason why the renovated ranch home on Mount Royal Road, just steps from Frick Park, was chosen as the spot for a new community living arrangement. “It’s a place where people who want to live in…their community can have a home close to friends and family,” said Nancy Gale, executive director of Jewish Residential Services. The Solomon House, which was formally dedicated on May 5, is the second joint community living arrangement between Jewish Residential Services and Verland, a Sewickley-based foundation that operates 48 community homes. In 2014, the two nonprofits collaborated on the Goldberg House in North Squirrel Hill. Like the Goldberg House, the Solomon House enables people with disabilities to remain in familiar areas while receiving necessary support, explained JRS staffer Caitlin Lasky. The strength of community living arrangements, like the Goldberg House and the Solomon House, is that rather than having to relocate to other areas, individuals can live in a setting where they are already comfortable and remain active and contributing members of their larger community. “These are people who are living in the community that they want to live in,” said Gale. “And, just like anybody else, they want to be near their families, near their friends, near the JCC.” Considerable efforts, and the input of many people — including architects, regulators and direct support staff — are required to create community living arrangements,

Compared with older Jews, youngest Jewish adults include larger shares of both Orthodox and people with no denominational identity

32% — No Particular Branch

Shavuot art by Bulgnn via iStockphoto

By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer

% of U.S. Jews who are ...

The Exit Interview


keep your eye on PittsburghJewishChronicle

LOCAL Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet

LOCAL B’nai mitzvah on campus

FOOD Cooking with the ‘Modern Mensch’

Headlines Scribe, shochet and gabbai Rabbi Hershel Pfeffer has died at 98 — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle


abbi Hershel Pfeffer — who was sent to Pittsburgh in the 1940s to help start the city’s Yeshiva Schools and grew that chance directive into a 70-year career as a scribe, shochet (ritual slaughterer of animals) and gabbai — died May 2 following a short bout with aspiration pneumonia. He was 98. “He was a very happy guy, a very happy person — his specialty was being as nice to everyone as he could,” said Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, who heads the Lubavitch Center of Pittsburgh where Pfeffer served as a gabbai (a person who assists with the Torah reading during services). “He made sure everybody was comfortable, that everybody was cared for. I was working with him for over 40 years — it was really always a pleasure and exciting when I came into the synagogue. “There was always something to learn from him,” Rosenfeld added. “He was a very refined person, a Torah scholar. And he was an expert in everything he did.” Born in 1922 to an observant Jewish family of Polish ancestry in New York City’s Lower East Side, Pfeffer — whose twin, David, predeceased him by about 18 years — attended Yeshiva Chaim Berlin in Brownsville. As a young man of 16 or 17, Pfeffer found himself moved by a particular brand of Chassidism when he greeted Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn — the sixth spiritual leader of the Chabad movement, also known as the Frierdiker Rebbe — when the religious figure arrived in New York City by boat in the late 1930s. “When he looked at [Rabbi Schneersohn’s]

p Rabbi Hershel Pfeffer 

Photo courtesy of Pfeffer family

face, he said he saw an angel,” said Pfeffer’s daughter, Neshi Pfeffer. “He said he made a profound impression on him.” Pfeffer went to Lubavitch’s U.S. headquarters in Crown Heights in New York City for Rosh Hashanah shortly after he met the Frierdiker Rebbe. There, he was further awakened as Lubavitchers nearby wept intensely as they prayed. “He never saw davening like that,” Neshi Pfeffer said. “And he decided immediately: That’s how he wanted to be.” Pfeffer moved to Pittsburgh after stays in both Massachusetts and New Jersey. A roving Chabad shaliach, Pfeffer settled in Western Pennsylvania, in part, because a group of local women set him up with a Jewish girl from McKeesport, Rosella Mendlowitz. The two went on to marry and were together for 63 years. “How do you keep [the Chassidic men] here? You marry them to a local girl so

they’ll stay,” Neshi Pfeffer laughed. She remembers her father telling her about the first time he visited Mendlowitz, who was studying at a religious school in Brooklyn around Labor Day in 1946. “He said he walked up the sidewalk and walked up the stairs to the dormitory where she lived and he felt 100 eyes looking at him,” Neshi Pfeffer said. “In those days, a Chabad Chassid was a very exotic creature — it was very new in America.” The Pfeffers had two children, Neshi and Chaim. Chaim Pfeffer was murdered in a basement room he was renting in Borough Park in New York City at the age of 42. News of his death at that time was overshadowed in the media by rioting in Crown Heights. Neshi, over the years, grew a tight bond with her father. “We were so close — he told me everything,” Neshi Pfeffer said. “He confided in me, and he taught me — oh, my goodness — he taught me everything about how to take care of myself.” Pfeffer had a deep love for animals despite his calling as a shochet (ritual slaughterer). “He wouldn’t let me kill a spider because he said, ‘Spiders are good. They kill other bugs,’” Neshi Pfeffer said. Pfeffer also had a deep love of learning and teaching, she said. “He never answered anything without looking in a book,” said Neshi Pfeffer, who remembers her father’s incredible knack for finding just the right text in shelves stacked three books deep. “He wanted to see it in black and white and he wanted us to see it in black and white. He never mislocated a book or mislocated a source. He was always on top of things.” “He taught everything,” Rosenfeld said. “He was one of the first teachers at our

Yeshiva and there were probably students of all ages in each class.” Pfeffer also was an accomplished scribe, a trade taught to him by his mother. In 2018, he displayed a host of his offerings — mezuzahs, ketubahs (marriage contracts) and other Judaica — at the appropriately named shop in Shadyside, Scribe. “For fun, I used to write the aleph bet,” Pfeffer told the Chronicle at the time of the show. “[My mother] used to criticize me in the beginning — ‘This should be longer. This should be shorter’ — because she knew. She was brought up in a house [where] they were all sofrim (scribes), and her father, too.” Sara Hargreaves, the proprietor of the Shadyside store, when asked where Pfeffer ranked among her growing list of guests and exhibiting artists, said, “I’ll tell you, he was just at the top. We were so thrilled to have a real-life scribe here.” Rabbi Yosef Itkin has worked in Pittsburgh for 40 years, much of that time alongside Pfeffer. “He was just a very nice guy — people liked him,” he said. “I saw this great personality when I worked with him hand-in-hand. He was so very respectful to people.” Pfeffer’s advice to Itkin: “We should always give to everyone else,” Itkin said. For Neshi Pfeffer, the memories that stand out of her father are of him honoring worshippers with aliyahs, or readings from the Torah, at the Lubavitch Center. She said he took particular care to give aliyahs to people who needed them and, like Aaron from the Torah, he strived “to be a peacekeeper.” “He never forgot who needed what and when,” she said.  PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.

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2  MAY 14, 2021



Headlines Chabad House on Campus helps 20-somethings celebrate b’nai mitzvah — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer


niversity of Pittsburgh student Max West had only been to a Shabbat service once in the last 10 years prior to meeting leaders from Chabad House on Campus at a college activities fair when he was a freshman almost three years ago. He didn’t attend a Shabbat service again until he was a junior — and he and his friend, Sam Hanks, celebrated their b’nai mitzvah, officiated by Chabad House Rabbi Shmuli Rothstein. The unlikely journey traveled by the pair began after the activities fair West attended, where he learned about the Dr. Stanley Marks Jewish-U Fellowship program at the university and decided to sign up for the nine-week course. West, who had no formal Jewish education after his family moved from New Jersey to Switzerland when he was 9 and had not had a bar mitzvah, nonetheless decided to enroll in the Chabad Fellowship program, motivated, in part by a $350 stipend, he said. The economics major was soon moved by more than fiscal interests, though. “That’s where I met Shmuli and Chasi


 Max West, Sam Hanks and Rabbi Shmuli Rothstein prepare for the b’nai mitzvah Photo courtesy of Chabad House on Campus

[Rothstein] and then, basically fell in love with Chabad,” said West, now 21. “I really enjoyed the class. It got me excited to learn more about Judaism and get more involved with the Jewish community at Pitt.” Unlike West, Hanks, 20, celebrated his bar mitzvah when he was 13, but said it was not meaningful. His training was sparse, and he didn’t learn Hebrew — instead he memorized a piece of his Torah portion and gave a brief speech about the parsha. Hanks, an English literature major, said

his mother felt it important that both he and his sister had the opportunity to connect with their Jewish heritage, if they desired. “She wanted us to be able to be Jewish,” Hanks said. “She grew up in a household where, when her parents were 18, they stopped speaking Yiddish and moved to California. She grew up Jew-ish, like they had bagels on Saturdays and Sundays but just didn’t talk about it. They would go to High Holidays but leave early. She wanted to make sure we had an opportunity to follow it if we wanted.”


Both Hanks and his sister delved deeper into their Jewish roots when they went to college, he said. He credited West, who wanted to be called to the Torah before the end of the school year, with the idea of the bar mitzvah ceremony. “I give credit to learning some Torah and the fellowship he took part in,” Rothstein said of West. “That made him want to take this step in Judaism and get a bar mitzvah.” About 20 students gathered in the shul at Yeshiva Schools for the event on April 17. “It was a whole crew and there was singing and dancing and we had an outdoor kiddish afterward,” Rothstein said. “It was a very special moment.” As part of the service, West and Hanks led blessings rather than read from the Torah. Rothstein said that because of the truncated timeline, there wasn’t time to teach the Hebrew necessary. “The point is, that doesn’t make a difference,” Rothstein said. “I think what was more meaningful was the ‘why.’” The young men both took the process very seriously and worked to understand what they were reading and why it mattered, said Rothstein. Please see Chabad, page 15

MAY 14, 2021  3

Headlines JCC senior lunch programs satisfy growing need — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


acki Richey has a schedule: On Tuesdays, she calls the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. On Mondays and Wednesdays of the following week she receives a reply — an automated message informing her that her meals will be delivered in 15 minutes. A quarter of an hour later, Richey, 76, waits by the door of her Squirrel Hill home for the semiweekly drop-offs, which are staggered. On Mondays, she and her husband Paul receive a total of four meals: two hot and two cold. On Wednesdays, they receive six meals: two hot and four cold. Richey tries to thank the JCC staffers who arrive in vans and drop off food, but the pandemic has reduced the opportunity for prolonged conversation. But even if she can’t thank them personally, she said the service is greatly appreciated. Ralph Wise, 63, also gets meals delivered on Mondays and Wednesdays. He started getting lunches through AgeWell at the JCC almost three months ago after a friend, a fellow resident of The New Riverview, told him about the freshly made kosher meals. “They are excellent and very nutritious,” said Wise, one of nearly 30 Riverview

4  MAY 14, 2021

 Michelle Hunter helps seniors enroll in the program Photo courtesy of Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh

residents who get the meals. The service “means the world to me,” he added. “It’s a very nice gesture.” Feeding seniors has long been a JCC bailiwick. Before COVID-19 required a shuttering of in-person dining, J Cafe in

Squirrel Hill was a place for seniors to gather regularly for food and companionship. Some came from as far away as 20 miles north of Pittsburgh. Lyon Mandelcorn, 94, used to frequent J Cafe almost daily.


“It had its social advantages,” he said. “If you went there you met people.” For months now, Mandelcorn and his wife Ruth, 90, have received the semiweekly lunch drop-offs at their home. “The meals we get, we really appreciate,” he said. “It takes off a lot of stress. We don’t do our own shopping.” But while Mandelcorn enjoys the delivered food, he said he misses the conversations he used to have at J Cafe. Although many seniors, like Mandelcorn, miss the camaraderie of dining together at the JCC, the number of those reached through meal delivery exceeds the number of those who were served at J Cafe, said JCC staffers. Prior to March 2020, between 130 and 140 people came to J Cafe each day, said Sharon Feinman, division director of AgeWell at the JCC. Now, the number of people served has grown to 230 each week. Before the pandemic, the JCC was providing approximately 675 in-person lunches weekly; it is now preparing 1,150 boxed lunches per week — some are delivered and others are picked up by seniors at the JCC in Squirrel Hill, explained Feinman. More food means greater expenses. Costs, however, have never precluded seniors from enjoying the lunches, explained Alexis Mancuso, the JCC’s assistant Please see JCC, page 15


Headlines The Exit Interview: Rabbi Jeremy Markiz PRESE


ne ay, ju hursd

21 24, 20


p Rabbi Jeremy Markiz enjoyed his time teaching Talmud at the 61C Cafe in Squirrel Hill. Photo provided by Jeremy Markiz

— LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer


fter a half decade of service, Rabbi Jeremy Markiz will be stepping away from his role as the director of Derekh and Youth Tefillah at Congregation Beth Shalom. Markiz started working part time at the Conservative synagogue in Squirrel Hill in 2016 after a summer working at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s J&R Camp. He was hired on full-time in July of 2017 and his tenure will conclude at the end of June. Markiz grew up in Oregon and was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles. He moved to Pittsburgh with his wife, Dr. Elana Neshkes, who was beginning a five-year residency with UPMC. That residency is now ending, and the couple is looking forward to the next chapter of their lives. Before turning the proverbial page, though, Markiz chatted with the Chronicle. This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Let’s start at the beginning. What drew you to the idea of serving as a rabbi?

There are a lot of different ways to tell that story. One narrative is that I was always drawn to the rabbinate, even if I didn’t know it. In the sixth grade, we all had to do a job shadow. I chose the rabbi. So, there was something certainly in me at that point. A big piece was in college — I felt like I needed to study Talmud. I went to a local rabbi and it was the most embarrassing hour of my life. It was so challenging. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t read the words, even though they were in Aramaic. I wanted the keys to the kingdom, I wanted to understand my tradition, so I went to rabbinical school.

In rabbinic school, I realized the drive that had been pushing me. I have these two core principles — access and literacy. That has driven all the work I’ve done since, the goal being: How can I make Jewish living and learning more accessible? Everybody’s on a journey of Jewish literacy. We all start at zero and then we learn. My role and what drove me is to provide greater access and greater literacy to the world.

What does the director of Derekh and Youth Tefillah do?

Every day is different, which is what I love about the rabbinate — it meets my internal ADHD needs. I’ll give you the pre-pandemic and then pandemic answer. Youth Tefillah is responsible for all the Shabbat holiday programming for kids and families. Every Shabbat morning, we have multiple services and once a month we have the Shababababa program and developing holiday programs with an emphasis on the High Holidays. On any given day, I am working on developing those programs and engage lay leaders to help me do those things — and, engage the community better to understand what their needs are. Derekh has a similar answer but a different context. I try my best to steep myself in understanding what the community needs so I can engage lay leaders to develop programs. Derekh is about relationships. How can I better understand the leader, the participant, the learner, whatever it is, to help empower them to make Beth Shalom’s community even better? And, because Derekh is internal and external learning, it’s not just about Beth Shalom. It’s about Pittsburgh. Pre-pandemic, there were a lot of coffee dates. During the pandemic, it’s been more challenging, but the same principles are there. It’s about creative problem-solving and building Please see Markiz, page 15

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MAY 14, 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 SATURDAY, MAY 15 Moishe House of Pittsburgh presents Shabbat Unplugged in Mellon Park. Bring a picnic blanket, your mask, any entertainment you’d like to have (instruments, crafts, books, etc.) and anyone who likes a good park hang. Children are welcome. Snacks will be provided. 3 p.m. facebook.com/ moishehouse.pittsburgh

q MONDAYS, MAY 17-MAY 31 Join Temple Sinai for “Making Our Days Count with Rabbi Karyn Kedar (via Zoom).” Rabbi Kedar will discuss the period between Passover and Shavuot, called the Omer. She will teach seven spiritual principles for the seven weeks of the Omer: decide, discern, choose, hope, imagine, courage, pray. These principles can offer a path from enslavement to freedom, darkness to light, constriction to expanse. 7 p.m. templesinaipgh.org q TUESDAY, MAY 18

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is hosting Tikkun Leil Online, offering a variety of study sessions the night prior to Shavuot. 10 p.m. Free. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/event.

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

q SUNDAYS, MAY 16, 23, 30; JUNE 6, 13


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 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 MONDAYS, MAY 17, 24, 31; JUNE 14 Join Rabbi Jeremy Markiz in learning Masechet Rosh Hashanah, a tractate of the Talmud about the many new years that fill out the Jewish calendar at Monday Talmud study. 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org.

q WEDNESDAY, MAY 19 Shaler North Hills Library’s Writer Wednesdays wraps up its spring programs with “Sand and Steel: A Memoir of Longing and Finding Home” by Squirrel Hill Israeli-American award-winning author Dorit Sasson. 1 p.m. buff.ly/38RYryP

Join Repair the World Pittsburgh and hear firsthand stories from a range of environmental justice students and stewards at Midrash for Social Change: Environmental Storytelling. 7 p.m. rpr.world/Storytelling Join Pittsburgh’s Jewish young adult book club for this virtual come-as-you-are event and discuss “The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother.” Free. 8 p.m. jewishpgh.org/event q WEDNESDAYS, MAY 19-MAY 26 Are you curious about contemporary Israel beyond the headlines? Rabbi Danny Schiff hosts the series Israel in Depth about the realities of Israeli society in 2021. Six sessions for $30. 10:45 a.m. For more information and to register, visit foundation. jewishpgh.org/israel-in-depth. q WEDNESDAYS, MAY 19-JUNE 2 Chabad of the South Hills presents “This Can Happen,” a new JLI class. Join them as they demystify the Jewish idea of a perfect world and discover a practical path for reaching it in our lifetime. Try the class for one week for free. For more information, go to chabadsh.com or call 412-344-2424.

q MONDAY, MAY 24 Join Beth El Congregation of the South Hills for First Mondays with Rabbi Alex Greenbaum. This special pre-Memorial Day edition will feature guest Eric Lidji, director of the Rauh Jewish Archives. He will discuss the hidden Jewish neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. 12 p.m. Free. bethelcong.org q MONDAYS, MAY 24; JUNE 7, 14 Throughout our history, Jews have never shrunk from a good argument and we have had plenty of them — from the moment we got out of Egypt until today. In the course Top Ten Disputes, Rabbi Danny Schiff will take a close look at the top 10 disputes of Jewish history. How did they start? What made them so contentious? And how were they ultimately resolved? Five sessions for $25. 9:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visitfoundation. jewishpgh.org/top-ten-disputes. q TUESDAYS, MAY 25

q THURSDAY, MAY 20 Join JFCS virtually as they celebrate a year of inspiration in action at their 2021 Annual Meeting. 7 p.m. Free. jfcspgh.org/annualmeeting Rabbi Barbara Symons will review the book “Homesick,” by Eshkol Nevo, at both 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. This is a “warm, wise sophisticated novel,” per Amos Oz. Go to templedavid.org/athome to get the links for the Zoom review or call the Temple office at 412-372-1200. 

Classrooms Without Borders continues its newest Israel seminar, “Bachazit” — On the Frontline. The sessions highlight challenges facing Israel and the individuals or organizations that are grappling with issues including the integration of minority groups into the high-tech sector, the struggle for LGBTQ rights, programs that assist Israelis injured during their military service, the fight against racism in Israeli society and more. 2 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/frontline-israel The Westmoreland Jewish Community Council presents Marsha Wong and Malke Frank from the New Community Chevra Kadisha. They will be discussing Jewish burial customs. 7 p.m. Please see Calendar, page 7


HOW PRESIDENT BIDEN’S PROPOSED PLANS WILL AFFECT SENIORS This is one in a series of articles about Elder Law by Michael H. Marks., Esq. Michael H. Marks is an elder law attorney with offices in Squirrel Hill and Monroeville. Send questions to michael@marks-law.com or visit www.marks-law.com. The new administration has announced ambitious plans involving spending for infrastructure and other projects, and also new taxes to pay for these plans. The plans are contained in three proposed legislative packages: The American Families Plan, The American Rescue Plan, and the American Jobs Plan. Many of these projects involve traditional bricks and mortar infrastructure such as roads and bridges. But these programs also envision the human aspect of aging infrastructure as a priority (along with childcare and education too). How will these new laws affect seniors? Here are some of the most significant results that may impact (or have already impacted) seniors.

COVID PROTECTION – The vaccination program continues to report steady progress. Individuals who have been vaccinated (that includes me) have described a whole new attitude and feeling in our day-to-day lives. The effort continues, despite resistance, and our country is opening back up again. ENHANCING & SAFEGUARDING SOCIAL SECURITY – Most seniors depend on their Social Security income benefits. Pending proposals include increasing benefits for the oldest recipients between ages 78 and 82. Also, retirees with 30 years of employment could receive an increased minimum benefit, which would be most helpful to the lowest income earners. Widows and widowers would also see higher benefits. The Social Security trust funds are always under siege with dire (but

6  MAY 14, 2021

credible) predictions of insolvency, especially as our population ages, but the workforce does not keep pace.

EXPAND MEDICARE & MEDICAID – Proposals include lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60, and giving Federal agencies the power to negotiate drug prices in hopes of lowering prescription costs. Legislation will also encourage states who have so far declined to do so to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. PROTECT THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT - Millions (20 million plus) gained health insurance under the so-called “Obamacare” program. The pending suggestions would reduce costs, which could especially help seniors not yet age 65 as well as younger family caregivers without employment or insurance. HELP FOR FAMILY CAREGIVERS - Biden has proposed a tax credit of up to $5000 for family and informal caregivers, to bolster the human infrastructure in support of aging. When a family caregiver gives up or loses employment, they do not compile Social Security credits toward their own retirement. These bills would fix that problem. PROMOTE RETIREMENT SAVINGS This may help future seniors more than our present elderly, but one idea is a universal or mandatory 401(k) to promote more widespread retirement saving (but with an individual opt out provision). This would especially help lower income savers, who don’t have as much access to retirement plans. How will the administration pay for all this? By increasing taxes, supposedly on those who can most readily afford to pay. These proposed tax changes include an increase in payroll tax for

those with annual incomes of $400,000 or more, to be paid by both employers and employees. New rules would also change some of the existing tax law structure such as for capital gain tax, also intended to raise revenue from the wealthiest among us. There is also talk of increasing the Federal Gift and Estate Tax that affects the very- and ultra-wealthy. Biden’ s proposals also include raising the top rate for capital gain tax on investments, and eliminating the stepped up basis for inherited assets. This would undo a fundamental principle of estate and investment planning and would cause somewhat unpredictable consequences for both rich and middle class families. Plans are also forming to increase tax enforcement and collection efforts. Administration officials have been in the news lately citing a huge amount of uncollected taxes owed, perhaps as much as $1 to $7 trillion per year.

What’s missing from these plans? There is no attempt to promote “Medicare for All,” or a “public option” for universal healthcare, which was a platform plank of candidate Biden and many others last year. Similarly, some commentators think the proposed power to negotiate drug prices is too weak and not as strong as expected. What opposition will there be? Answer: plenty! Big Pharma always strenuously opposes drug price negotiation measures. States always try to limit Medicaid costs. The opposition party always fights hard for lower spending. The ACA has faced innumerable votes to rescind it entirely. And everyone hates increased taxes. These ambitious plans, if implemented, would help seniors in some important ways. If you are a politically active participant, add your views to the discussion. We all have to wait and see what changes actually take effect, and which do not.

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Calendar Calendar: Continued from page 6 Free. RSVP to wjccwestmoreland@gmail.com or on the Westmoreland Jewish Community Council Facebook page. q FRIDAY, MAY 28 Join Moishe House Pittsburgh for a backyard Shabbat dinner. Enjoy Thai food and a bonfire. Registration is capped at 10 people. Say Shabbat prayers at 8:30 before wrapping up at 9. facebook. com/moishehouse.pittsburgh  q SUNDAY, MAY 30 Join Congregation Beth Shalom for an Epic Yard Sale. Skip from house to house for a fun day snapping up bargains. DVDs, toys, home décor, furnishings, jewelry, Judaica and more. Proceeds benefit the congregation’s youth department. 9 a.m. Map out your route at BethShalomPGH.org/YardSale q THURSDAY, JUNE 17 Jews have never desisted from addressing tough problems. In this year’s CLE series, Rabbi Danny Schiff will dive into “Tense Topics of Jewish Law.” Each topic raises significant concerns in our contemporary lives. With CLE/CEU credit: $30/ session or $150 all sessions; without CLE/CEU credit: $25/session or $125 all sessions. 8:30 a.m. For more information, including a complete list of topics, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org/continuing-legaleducation.  PJC

‘The Band’s Visit’ opens 2021-2022 Broadway in Pittsburgh series


he Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has announced that “The Band’s Visit”— a musical set in an Israeli village that won 10 Tony Awards — will be the first show produced in the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, opening in October 2021. “The Bands Visit” was forced to close halfway through its 2020 Pittsburgh run due to the pandemic. The show is centered on a group of Egyptian musicians scheduled to perform a concert in an Arab cultural center in Petah Tikva, Israel, but instead mistakenly ends up in a tiny Jewish town called Bet Hatikva. It was adapted from a 2007 Israeli film by Eran Kolirin. “There is a poetry to starting where we left off, particularly given how this production rejoices in the way music makes us laugh, makes us cry, and ultimately, brings us together,” said Marc Fleming, vice president of marketing, communications and Broadway programming for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, in a prepared statement. “More than half of the audience members who purchased tickets were unable to attend the show in 2020 due to the shutdown and we couldn’t be more excited to bring the show back to complete its run and raise the curtain again for Broadway in the Cultural District.” The shows that will be presented in

p Chilina Kenedy and Sasson Gabay in “The Band’s Visit”

the new 2021-2022 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh season are: • “The Band’s Visit” | October 28-31, 2021 (six performances) • “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” | November 16-21, 2021 (eight performances) • “Oklahoma!” | January 4-9, 2022 (eight performances) • “Pretty Woman” | February 1-6, 2022 (eight performances) • “Hamilton” | February 22-March 13, 2022

Photo by Matthew Murphy

(32 performances) • Season Special: “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical” | March 18-20 (five performances) • “To Kill A Mockingbird” | April 19-24, 2022 (eight performances) • “Ain’t Too Proud” | May 17-22, 2022 (eight performances) Season tickets are on sale at TrustArts. org/Broadway.  PJC — Toby Tabachnick




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          !    "   #     MAY 14, 2021  7

Headlines Architect Daniel Rothschild fuses Jewish life and design — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


wenty-three years ago Daniel Rothschild was feeling a lack of spirituality in his life. At the suggestion of his wife, Lori, he walked into a class at Temple Emanuel of South Hills. “I’ll always remember the portion of that day was Parshat Terumah,” said Rothschild, founder and CEO of Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, an architecture and urban design firm based in the Strip District. The parsha recounts the directives and stipulations for building the Mishkan, or Tabernacle. Verse after verse notes God’s instructions, as well as the detailed requirements for poles, lampstands, cloths and clasps that were to be used with the portable sanctuary. “They’re talking about cubits, and posts, and bars and curtains, and outer courtyards and inner courtyards, and I’m constructing this thing in my head because it’s like an architectural specification,” said Rothschild. “The double squares, the altar in the middle of the square, the Holy of Holies, the triple square — that’s the tent of meeting. I’m seeing the whole thing and I’m thinking, ‘This is incredible and this is religion, no?’” Rabbi Mark Mahler, who was leading the Tabernacle discussion, also shared the

8  MAY 14, 2021

 Daniel Rothschild

midrash that individuals are incapable of fully understanding life before the age of 40. “I’m sitting there, I’m thinking about the Mishkan, I’m putting this building together in my head,” Rothschild said. “I just turned 40 and he’s telling me that now’s the time that you’re ready for wisdom. And it was.” Ever since that Shabbat morning in 1998, Rothschild has consistently attended Torah study sessions. He’s gone through the Five Books of Moses, scrutinized their contents and experienced holistic change. “Torah study has given me an owner’s manual to live my life,” he said. “And it very much infuses my work.” Founded in 1988, Rothschild Doyno

p Temple Emanuel of South Hills

Collaborative has completed many projects within Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. The collaborative has worked with Rodef Shalom Congregation, Shaare Torah Congregation, Temple Sinai, Congregation Beth Shalom, Temple Ohav Shalom, The Jewish Association on Aging, The New Riverview, Jewish Residential Services, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Kollel Jewish Learning Center, Aleph Institute, Anathan House and the


Photos courtesy of Rothschild Doyno Collaborative

10.27 Healing Partnership. The firm was recently tapped to collaborate on the renovations to the Tree of Life building along with internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. Rothschild remembers every project — and the inspiration for each — but said four in particular stand out to him. In 1998, Rothschild Doyno helped the Please see Rothschild, page 15


Headlines ‘Book of Ruth’ musical to be livestreamed


sing music from “The Book of Mormon” — with new lyrics — a local community theater company will livestream a musical production of “The Book of Ruth” to mark the holiday of Shavuot. ShpielBurg h Pro duc t ions, co-founded by Elinor S. Nathanson and Sara Stock Mayo in 2016, seeks “to create Jewish community theater that is meaningful, inclusive, and joyful — deepening connections to Judaism both onstage and off,” said Nathanson in an email. The company’s first show, “Hadassah, A Persian Musical” — a “Hamilton”-themed Purim Shpiel — was produced in March 2017. “The Book of Ruth,” originally Ruth (Delilah Picart) and Naomi (Cara staged in May 2018, features the p Shuckett) after Ruth returns from Boaz’s field talents of 67 adults, teens, children with barley for them to eat Photo by Sara Stock Mayo and clergy from 14 area congrega-  tions and Jewish prayer groups. It will be livestreamed on Thursday, May 13, at Ruth” livestreamed this month will “benefit 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 16, at 3:30 p.m.; and Pittsburgh’s entire multicultural Jewish Wednesday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m., and will community by supporting organizations that include closed-captioning. work toward dismantling racism,” according To date, ShpielBurgh has raised more to Nathanson. Tickets can be purchased at than $17,000 in ticket sales, which it has RuthLivestream.Eventbrite.com.  PJC donated to various nonprofit organizations. Ticket sales from “The Book of — Toby Tabachnick

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MAY 14, 2021  9

Headlines Anatomy of an intentional escalation: Israel’s approaching hot summer — WORLD — By David Wurmser | JNS


were injured in other similar attacks over the weekend. The recent violence coincided with the celebration on May 10 of Jerusalem Day, an Israeli national holiday that celebrates the 1967 Israeli capture of eastern Jerusalem and the sacred sites within the Old City walls. The violence also continues a recent escalation of violence in Jerusalem, some of which concerns the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The escalation is a result of a collection of forces and strategic interests converging. As Israeli media research institute Palestinian Media Watch noted, official Palestinian media organs started broadcasts of highly inflammatory and bloody rhetoric starting as far back as March. In early April, there was a sudden escalation of attacks on Israeli Jews.

here seems to be an escalatory effort underway within Israel, in the administered territories in Judea and Samaria, along Israel’s northern and Gaza borders and even globally, which could lead to great tension, even war, in the coming months. This is not a mutually reinforcing cycle of violence between two sides, but a concerted offensive serving the strategic aims of a number of Israel’s enemies. More than 300 Palestinians were injured near the Temple Mount on May 10 after Israeli police firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets clashed with stone-throwing Palestinians. Hundreds organizing violence JC Oticon More More Clarity_Eartique 5/11/21of1:28Palestinians AM Page 1 Palestinians and a smaller number of Israelis through social media

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The perpetrators of these attacks filmed their exploits and posted them to TikTok, which were dubbed the “TikTok Intifada.” After two weeks of these violent attacks, a small group of extremist Jews marched in the streets of Jerusalem calling to harm Arabs. Small demonstrations in Jaffa near the area of an April 20 attack on a rabbi also took place. There were no similar acts or Jewish demonstrations prior to this. There were also one or two localized acts of anonymous Jewish vandalism. Israeli authorities investigated and will prosecute them, and subsequent investigations, even by leftist human rights organizations like B’Tselem, were forced to retract some of their accusations regarding ostensible Jewish violence, particularly arson, which turned out to have been acts of Palestinian arson. In contrast, Arab demonstrations accelerated, expanded, broadened geographically and become increasingly violent. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority continues to use its media outlets to pour high-octane fuel on the flames. This incitement includes songs and chanting of slogans calling for martyrdom and blood in children’s programs. Another series of attacks centered on the Damascus Gate leading into the Old City. This campaign of violence, especially a series of beatings of Jews and riots in Jerusalem,

Jaffa and at the Damascus Gate on April 12, led Israel to set up barriers on April 13 to keep potentially violent Jewish and Arab extremists separated and respond quickly to rioting attempts by either side. When a large number of Arab agitators quickly surged toward the area that evening, the barriers proved inadequate, and several days of escalating nightly Arab riots against Israeli police ensued, which eventually provoked a smaller Jewish demonstration and unrest on April 20.

Hamas joins the violence

Soon the border with Gaza heated up as well, and rockets were launched at Israel, including nearly three dozen rocket attacks one night in April. The northern border also heated up, with an increased pace of activity by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to establish its ability to attack Israel, followed by a series of Israeli strikes in Syria to diminish that capability. Soon the long-silent head of the Hamas military structure, Muhammad Deif, suddenly resurfaced to call for violent attacks on Israelis. On May 2, three Israeli teens waiting at a bus stop at Kfar Tapuach Junction in Samaria were gunned down in a drive-by shooting. One of the victims, Yehuda Guetta, later died of his wounds, and another remains in serious condition. Please see Israel, page 20

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

Menachem Begin in a position to become prime minister and end three decades of leadership by Mapai (the predecessor of Labor) and its allies on the left.

May 14, 1948 — Israel declares Independence

May 18, 1965 — Spy Eli Cohen is executed


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David Ben-Gurion reads Israel’s Declaration of Independence on a Friday afternoon in Tel Aviv. The document includes a synopsis of Jewish history, expresses intentions toward inhabitants and makes the legal case for a Jewish state.

May 15, 1947 — U.N. forms special panel on Palestine

The United Nations establishes its Special Committee on Palestine, which four months later recommends the partition of Mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

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May 16, 1916 — Sykes-Picot Pact splits Ottoman lands

Britain’s Mark Sykes and France’s Charles Georges Picot complete the secret SykesPicot Agreement to divide the former Ottoman territories in the Middle East after World War I. Palestine falls under British control.

May 17, 1977 — Likud wins election for first time

Syria hangs Israeli spy Eli Cohen in a public square in Damascus. Cohen, who had infiltrated the highest levels of Syrian society as businessman Kamel Amin Thaabet, was arrested in January.

May 19, 1966 — U.S. agrees to sell bombers to Israel

President Lyndon Johnson’s administration announces the first U.S. sale of warplanes to Israel. The A-4 Skyhawk light bomber enters service in Israel in 1968. Israel becomes the top export customer for the A-4.

May 20, 1948 — Bernadotte is named peace mediator

The U.N. Security Council makes Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat, the mediator for peace efforts during Israel’s War of Independence. He arranges a truce in June but is assassinated in September.  PJC

Likud claims an upset victory in the Knesset election, putting




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MAY 14, 2021  11

Opinion Forget ‘outreach.’ Pew 2020 tells us we should be investing in the Orthodox. Guest Columnist Edieal Pinker

The demographically thriving parts of the


arlier this year, I used the findings of the Pew Research Center’s 2013 “A Portrait of American Jewry” to make projections about the future demographics of the Jewish population. I anticipated a small population increase by 2023 followed by steady decline for several decades following that — and a very sharp decrease in the number of self-identifying Reform and Conservative Jews between 30 and 70 years old. Pew’s latest survey, “Jewish Americans

population are exactly those that want and need more resources and infrastructure. in 2020,” released this week, also shows an increase in population since 2013 but one that seems implausibly large, and may lead some to believe that American Jews are widely thriving. However, the new study

reports the same factors indicating that the Orthodox will continue to become a much larger proportion of the Jewish population while the Reform and Conservative decline. Reform and Conservative Jews have very

good retention when children have two Jewish parents and are raised Jews by religion, but many Reform and Conservative Jews intermarry and as a group they have relatively few children. The average age of Orthodox adults is only 35 years, for the Reform 53 years, and for the Conservative 62 years. If history is any guide, the organized U.S. Jewish community will use these figures when allocating its investments in the Jewish future. Policymakers will call for more investment in the demographically fading populations in hopes of stemming the tide. But the Pew 2020 findings suggest the need for just the opposite: The demographically thriving parts of the population are exactly Please see Pinker, page 13

Israel and Gaza: Moral clarity, moral fog Guest Columnist David Harris


t least 250 rockets have been fired at Israeli targets from Hamascontrolled, Iran-supported Gaza in the past 24 hours. To be clear, the goal is maximum death, destruction, and havoc. Two centuries ago, the German poet Goethe said: “The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.” For some observers of this latest round of attacks from Gaza, it’s as true today as it was then. The polar opposite differences between Hamas and Israel couldn’t be greater, yet, while a number of governments, including the U.S., have strongly condemned the attacks, it wouldn’t necessarily be obvious when listening to certain other foreign government officials, such as in Turkey, much less media outlets like BBC and The Guardian. For some, it’s about absurd, 50-yard evenhandedness and moral equivalence, as if there’s no distinction between arsonist and firefighter, terrorist and intended target, tyranny and democracy. As if on Sept. 1, 1939, German-Polish “clashes” occurred or, on Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese-American “violence” erupted. Or, still worse, it’s all, and always, about Gaza’s “innocence” and Israel’s “guilt” — essentially, one fine day, with nothing else to do but plan how to provoke peaceful, serene Gaza, the big, bad Israelis decided to attack. That, by the way, is a perfect illustration of reverse causality. Hamas has triggered a new round of conflict, based on lies about Jerusalem and abetted by religious incitement from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Yet that’s quickly forgotten, if ever it was remembered in the first place. The focus instead becomes on the suffering of the Palestinian people and Israel is quickly blamed, rather than the very

12  MAY 14, 2021

Palestinian leadership responsible for the violence and escalation in the first place. Indeed, Goethe was right. There are those who can’t, or won’t, see what’s right in front of them. Ideological blinders get in the way. Or an abysmal failure of imagination about the bloodthirsty nature of Hamas. Or a frightening gullibility that allows people to believe whatever the Hamas propaganda machine churns out. Or, of course, irredeemable hostility to Israel, the lone Jewish-majority state in the world. It’s high time for moral clarity, not moral fog. Hamas is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. That’s its official designation by the United States, European Union, Australia, Canada, and Japan (but not China and Russia). By stark contrast, Israel is a democratic country with an independent judiciary, the rule of law, free and frequent elections, freedom of worship and a robust civil society. Hamas has territorial ambitions on Israel. In fact, that’s putting it mildly: It would like to replace Israel in its entirety with a Muslim Brotherhood-ruled, Sharia-based state. Israel has no territorial ambitions on Hamas-ruled Gaza. To the contrary, Israel left it totally in 2005 to govern itself, something previous rulers, including Egypt and Ottoman Turkey, never remotely did. Israel hoped never to return. Based on its genocidal ideology, Hamas has a vested interest in using its Gaza base for permanent confrontation with Israel. Israel, which, alas, can’t change its geography, has a vested interest in a peaceful, moderate and developing state on its border. Hamas, the sole ruler of Gaza since 2007, when it violently seized control from the Palestinian Authority, has, together with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, used the last 14 years to smuggle in weaponry and develop military punch, rather than building the foundation of a responsible, prospering state. What could have become Singapore instead opted to model itself on Iran or Syria. Israel seeks, as any nation would, to

prevent Hamas from attaining its lethal goal. Would any other country on earth sit back quietly, heed outside calls for “de-escalation” or an end to “the cycle of violence,” or listen to sanctimonious lecturing from afar, while its citizens by the thousands rush to bomb shelters for years now, damage is inflicted on cities, including its capital city, and farms, the next terrorist plot is being hatched, and Israeli kidnapping victims are held for years? Of course not, and, as history has amply shown, few countries have demonstrated Israel’s restraint — yes, restraint. For many years now, Hamas has had no compunction about deploying terrorist cells and weapons in civilian population centers in Gaza, fully aware that Israel has no choice but to appear to be targeting “innocent” people. Israel goes to unprecedented lengths to avoid falling into the Hamas trap, even having phoned and dropped leaflets in advance to warn civilians to leave target areas. Hamas cynically tells the civilian population to stay put, not to react to Israeli warnings about imminent strikes. Tragically and tellingly, as far as Hamas is concerned, the more Palestinian casualties, the better. Israel makes every effort to alert its entire population, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, to Hamas missile strikes and move people into shelters as quickly as possible. Fortunately, Israel has also developed the remarkable Iron Dome anti-missile system to defend its territory, even as some critics have absurdly complained that it prevents a “fair fight.” Hamas sees mosques as venues for stockpiling arms. Israel sees houses of worship, including mosques, solely as venues for prayer. Hamas uses schools for weapons depots. Israel uses schools solely to educate its children, Jewish, Christian and Muslim. Hamas uses hospitals as terrorist redoubts. Israel uses its hospitals solely to cure the ill and injured, including, as I have witnessed, residents of Gaza who can’t find adequate care there. Hamas aspires to kill as many Israelis as possible, with rockets fired indiscriminately


(and some of which have misfired and fallen in Gaza, causing casualties). Israel seeks out the Hamas terrorist infrastructure, and, in the past, has even aborted operations when the risks of civilian casualties were too great. Hamas, as the record amply shows, has no compunction about falsifying information, doctoring photos, staging scenes and inflating numbers to make its case to the outside world. Israel, by contrast, goes to great lengths, even to the point of sometimes losing the edge in the “media race,” to verify information that it presents about its operations. Hamas supporters explode in paroxysms of glee when Israeli targets are hit. Israelis don’t honk horns, shoot in the air and pass out candy for doing what they wished didn’t have to be done in the first place, and voice regret when the inevitable mistakes occur. Apropos, what war in history has not included tragic mistakes leading to unintended casualties? Hamas wouldn’t know how to spell the words “international humanitarian law,” much less adhere to it. Israel’s defense forces have specialists in international humanitarian law assigned to units in an effort to ensure maximum compliance, however difficult it may be under the specific circumstances. Hamas shouts from the rooftops that Israel is a brutal enemy. Israel, unlike any other targeted nation in history, provides a hefty percentage of Gaza’s electricity and allows the transit of much of its fuel and foodstuffs, even as rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel, and even as, often forgotten, Gaza also shares a border with Egypt. Hamas celebrates death, something too few outside observers can truly understand. Israel celebrates life, something observers should fully understand. And it is determined to defend life — as it should, as it must.  PJC David Harris is the CEO of the American Jewish Committee. This piece first appeared on The Times of Israel. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

Opinion Take it from a fat rabbi: Nobody needs your dieting advice Guest Columnist Rabbi Minna Bromberg


o you want to know one small but powerful way we could make Jewish life more inclusive? Stop telling fat people about your diet and asking if they’d like to join you. Last year I launched Fat Torah, with the aim of confronting weight stigma in Jewish communal life and deploying Jewish tradition in ways that are liberatory for all bodies. At the time, I assumed that I would be providing advice to individuals who were eager for an opportunity to “Ask the Fat Rabbi.” And you, my dear Jews (mostly Jewish women) have not disappointed. It has been my pleasure to connect with people in Jewish communities who are tired of diet culture interfering with our full enjoyment of traditional foods and appalled by the enshrinement of weight loss as a Jewish value. They are deeply concerned about how the pervasiveness of disparaging attitudes toward fatness and fat people harms not only the largest among us, but also those who are struggling to recover from eating disorders (among the most deadly of mental illnesses). My inbox is blessedly full of their righteous anger, genuine sadness and deep love of the Jewish community, despite its failure to protect its own from fatphobia and the

Pinker: Continued from page 12

those that want and need more resources and infrastructure. It is the most connected and religiously affiliated who attend synagogue, send their children to Jewish day schools and, in an intriguing finding, are the biggest consumers of Jewish culture. A common view, put coarsely, is that the Orthodox don’t need much help: They prioritize Jewish life already and are a small population. Therefore, resources should go to serving the much larger but more loosely affiliated Jews to draw

many oppressive forces that so often intertwine with it, including misogyny, ableism, healthism, homophobia, transphobia and white supremacy. But one problem has only recently occurred to me, 10 years in the rabbinate and 30 years as a fat activist notwithstanding: Working with individuals has its limits when what we are seeking is systemic change. The people who most need a fat rabbi’s advice — about how to “know better so you can do better” (to paraphrase Maya Angelou) or how to confront weight stigma within themselves before they continue afflicting others with it — are the ones least likely to seek my counsel. We want our communities — synagogues, schools, summer camps, programs for elders, Hillels and more — to be places that welcome us as whole human beings, created in the Divine image. Anyone who has been even a little bit fat for more than five minutes in our fatphobic culture is already deeply familiar with the sense that they don’t fit in. When you suggest a diet to us, you reinforce the message that this space is one in which we cannot or ought not belong in the fullness of who we are. If you truly feel that your offer is a kind one, and are taken aback when we do not respond with gratitude, please know that we have already received too many of these offers and your “new” diet (or “program” or “healthy lifestyle”) only reminds us that we have heard it all before. Often this urge to share your diet comes from a place of being “concerned about

health.” But you cannot properly assess anyone’s health just by their size. If you insist, nonetheless, on believing that all fat people are automatically unhealthy, ask yourself: What does Jewish tradition teach us about how to care for the sick? One thing it teaches is that we need to pay attention to a person’s actual needs and desires, and not the needs that we are projecting onto them. When the Talmud (Berakhot 5b) has us follow Rabbi Yohanan, a famed healer, as he visits the sick, we learn that his very first question is “are your sufferings welcome to you?” We can all follow this model of first assessing whether our “help” is wanted. You do not need to give up your own diet. But please be mindful of how your relationship with your body — and how you talk about it publicly — impacts those around you, especially when that relationship aligns with oppressive stereotypes rather than disrupting them. Ultimately, however, the right to body autonomy extends to you, my dear dieter, as well: Your body is yours and you should do what’s right for you. No one is coming for your cauliflower. An important caveat is called for here: I have been horrified to learn about the pervasiveness in Jewish communities all across America of multilevel marketing (MLM) diets. MLM salespeople, who are sometimes called “consultants” or “coaches,” are encouraged to sell to the people closest to them in a technique known as “relationship selling.” In what many regard as a quasi-legal Ponzi scheme — in which the vast majority of

participants lose money — these salespeople make commissions not only from their own sales but from others they recruit to sell. This combination of the relational nature of MLM sales, the tremendous pressure people feel to lose weight and the closeness we aspire to in our Jewish communities creates an enormous risk of exploitation. In cases of unequal status, in which the “coach” is also someone with a large amount of social capital in the community, we have the makings of misuse of power. Jewish communal life should not be a breeding ground for these exploitative and unethical businesses. If the diet you are dying to share with others is connected with this kind of “program,” I would urge you not only to stop recruiting others, but to find a way to get out of it yourself. I yearn for a world in which our Jewish communities can be places of belonging for bodies of every size. There is no shortage of work to be done to get there — from making sure we have seating that can accommodate the largest among us, to breaking ourselves of the habit of using fatness and fat people as the targets of “humor.” But please know, my dear dieter, that simply holding yourself back from trying to recruit others to your diet plan would truly be a wonderful starting point for making a world of difference.  PJC

them in. In that thinking, the Orthodox are peripheral to the majority Reform/ Conservative-led community. Demographic realities are making this logic obsolete. For example, Orthodox children today are probably 30% of the total of all Jewish children and growing steadily. Supporting their education is no longer a niche activity, especially if you include the children from other branches who seek day school education in Orthodox settings. Jews who are more engaged need to live in areas with other engaged Jews in order to have access to the Jewish infrastructure they need and desire. Their need for critical mass, greater investment in Jewish activities

and growing numbers will lead the more observant Jews to have a disproportionate role in the lives of their communities. Two of those factors have always existed, but the new element is population growth. Numbers matter. Thus the notion of what is the core of a Jewish community will be inverted. Done right, this new core, with many religious, cultural and social institutions, will provide opportunities for Jews of all stripes to engage. With centrality comes responsibility. During this period of growth, Orthodox Jews, particularly the Modern Orthodox, must take a leadership role that is inclusive so that their newfound strength is a resource

for the non-Orthodox as well. This requires a transition from insularity to outreach and mutual respect. Pew 2020 reports how much (or little) various subpopulations of Jews feel in common with others. While the majority of Israeli Jews are secular, U.S. Orthodox Jews feel more commonality with them than with non-Orthodox fellow American Jews. Clearly there is work ahead.  PJC

— LETTERS — Disappointed in Peduto

Regarding the May 7 article, “Mayor and Mayoral Candidate Bill Peduto Discusses Candidacy with Jewish Group”: Although I have been a happy suburbanite since 2002, everyone in the region has a stake in the success of the city of Pittsburgh. Its mayor is in a real sense a regional leader, hence I have followed the city’s progress and trials with great interest throughout my life. It is gratifying that Bill Peduto has long had a warm relationship with the Jewish community and that he has led competently on many other issues. I have written commentary on his behalf on multiple occasions and he has recognized and expressed gratitude for my efforts. It was a surprise and disappointment to me to see his current television ads, in which opponent, state Rep. Ed Gainey is smeared, portrayed as a corrupt politician, “Friends of Bill Peduto” telling us that Gainey only seeks “gains” for himself. In an earlier ad, the mayor takes on a Mister Rogers-style persona, telling us that there is a white Pittsburgh and a Black Pittsburgh, and that he seeks to ensure that this dichotomy ends. I wonder how he will contribute to such a unification as he smears a leading Black elected official, Mr. Gainey. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG  

Rabbi Minna Bromberg is a singer, songwriter, rabbi, and voice teacher who lives in Jerusalem. This piece first appeared on JTA.

Edieal Pinker is the BearingPoint Professor of Operations Research at the Yale School of Management where he also serves as chief academic officer and deputy dean. This piece first appeared on JTA.

I detest political ads which portray the opponent as sinister and whose sole message is, “Vote for me because my opponent is a bum.” I do not understand why a shoo-in for renomination for mayor of the City of Pittsburgh amidst a divided field of opponents would see the need to stoop so low. Oren Spiegler Peters Township

We invite you to submit letters for publication. Letters must include name, address and daytime phone number; addresses and phone numbers will not be published. Letters may not exceed 500 words and may be edited for length and clarity; they cannot be returned. Mail, fax or email letters to:

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MAY 14, 2021  13

Headlines Pew: Continued from page 1

a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish do not identify with Judaism as a religion, the survey found; and younger Jews identify with the religion at a lesser rate than older Jews. While 60% of Jewish adults under 30 identified as “Jewish by religion,” that figure jumped to 84% for Jews 65 and older. Likewise, 37% of Jews under 30 say they are Conservative or Reform, compared to 60% of those 65 and older. Those numbers have not changed significantly since 2013. Of the three most prominent Jewish denominations, the Conservative movement is experiencing the most attrition. While 67% of people raised Orthodox are still Orthodox, and 66% of those raised Reform are still Reform, just 41 % of those raised Conservative by religion still identify with the Conservative movement as adults. Most of those raised Conservative (93%), however, continue to identify as Jewish. In general, Jews are less religious than American adults as a whole, Pew found. While 21% of Jews say religion is “very important,” 41% of all U.S. adults say the same. And only 12% of Jews attend services at least once a week, compared to 27% of the general population Still, regardless of formal affiliation or religiosity, three-quarters of U.S. Jews say that “being Jewish” is either very or somewhat important to them. Most Jews — 85% — say they feel either “a great deal” or “some” sense

of belonging to the Jewish people. For Jews who rarely, or never, attend synagogue services, Pew asked what was keeping them away. While conventional wisdom has suggested that many Jews do not attend synagogue because they don’t feel welcome or because they cannot afford the dues, the most common reason — given by two-thirds of the Jews surveyed — was “I’m not religious,” and more than half said they are “just not interested” or they have alternate ways to express their Jewishness. “Part of what Pew is helping us as a community to see is that the problem is apathy,” said Michelle Shain, assistant director of the Center for Communal Research at the Orthodox Union in a call with media. “It’s not that people see a closed door. They see an open door and they aren’t interested in walking through it.” The lack of synagogue attendance may indicate “religion is not central to the lives of most U.S. Jews,” but Jewish Americans are not, on the whole, apathetic, countered Arielle Levites, managing director of the Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education at George Washington University, in the call. “Being Jewish is important to American Jews,” Levites said. “Three-quarters of American Jews are telling us that being Jewish is important, but religion is not important for them.” Intermarriage rates in 2020 are similar to those in 2013, Cooperman said, showing “some stability there that some people may not have expected.” While it appears that

over the long term intermarriage rates have risen, there is no evidence in the survey “of any additional rise between 2013 and 2020,” he said. But, “absence of evidence is not necessarily the same thing as evidence of absence. So these are estimates.” There is almost no intermarriage in the Orthodox community, according to the survey, which found only 2% of Orthodox Jews had a non-Jewish spouse. Among all Jewish respondents married in the last 10 years, 60% said they have a non-Jewish spouse, while just 18% of Jews married before 1980 have a non-Jewish spouse. Although intermarriage rates have risen dramatically since 1980, Jews under 50 with just one Jewish parent are more likely to describe themselves as Jewish than those over 50 with just one Jewish parent. “In other words, it appears that the offspring of intermarriages have become increasingly likely to identify as Jewish in adulthood,” according to the Pew report. Still, children with two Jewish parents are overwhelmingly more likely to be raised Jewish than those of intermarriage. “Intermarried Jews who are currently raising minor children (under 18) in their homes are much less likely to say they are bringing up their children as Jewish by religion (28%) than are Jewish parents who have a Jewish spouse (93%), although many of the intermarried Jews say they are raising their children as partly Jewish by religion or as Jewish aside from religion,” the report states. Married Jews with one Jewish parent are

intermarried at the rate of 82% compared with 34% of those with two Jewish parents. And more Jews say it is important for their future grandchildren to share their political convictions and to carry on their family name than to marry someone who is Jewish (64% to 44%). Interracial and ethnic intermarriage is rising, according to the report. Twenty-one percent of Jews married between 2010 and 2020 say their spouse has a different race or ethnicity. Among Jews married before 2010, just 1 in 10 or fewer Jews said they had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. Pew added a question in its 2020 survey about participation in Chabad activities after “taking heat” for not including a separate question about Chabad in 2013, said Cooperman. The study found that 16% of Jewish adults in America often or sometimes participate in Chabad programs or services. Of those, 24% are Orthodox, 26% are Conservative, 27% are Reform and 16% are not affiliated with any particular branch. Other findings in the survey include the political divergence of the American-Jewish population. While 71% of Jews are Democrats or lean Democrat, 75% of Orthodox Jews are Republican or lean Republican. Almost all Jews (90%) say there’s at least some antisemitism in the U.S., with one third saying they have experienced antisemitic remarks in their presence.  PJC

bedrooms for the three residents, kosher kitchens and large living and dining rooms where Shabbat and Jewish holidays will be celebrated, there’s a back deck with ample space for a sukkah. Symons praised the renovations and likened the home to the relationship between body and soul. As magnificent as the structure is, what transpires inside the walls of the Solomon House is what beautifies the space, she said. Gale said she is looking forward to seeing the Solomon House residents, their families and neighbors continue thriving together. “It’s important, I think, in any neighborhood to have diversity,” she said. “It adds something to the neighborhood that you have all different kinds of people, of all different kinds of ability, living here. They all belong in the neighborhood.”  PJC

 David Wilf, left, Jeremy White and Michael Fox stand outside their new residence Photo by Don Koch

grandson Jeffrey was such an individual. Jeffrey was the light of their lives and they loved each other very much. I’m sure my parents, who actually lived right up the street here on Beechwood Boulevard when they were first married, would be proud to play an important role in the creation of this terrific CLA (community living arrangement).” Ellen Wilf ’s son David is one of the three Solomon House residents. Before he moved there, he lived in a group home that wasn’t observant of Jewish traditions. “We always wanted him to be able to practice his religion but there were so few opportunities,” she said in a prepared statement. “Now, he will have a chance to live in a kosher home, participate in Jewish holidays and celebrations, and reconnect with the Jewish community.” Following a mezuzah hanging ceremony by Rabbi Barbara Symons of Temple David, small groups were invited to tour the Solomon House. Along with separate

JRS: Continued from page 1

explained Verland’s president and CEO Bill Harriger. “Absent the whole community coming together and working together, things like the Solomon and the Goldberg home wouldn’t exist today,” he said. Councilman Corey O’Connor attended the May 5 dedication and said the Solomon House not only “brings together what Squirrel Hill is all about, but it brings together what our community is all about.” Solomon House, a kosher home that maintains both meat and dairy kitchens, is named in memory of the late Lois and Robert Solomon. Their memorial fund at the Jewish Community Foundation, as well as a gift from their son Ed Solomon, made the project possible. “My parents were passionate about people with special needs,” Ed Solomon said. “Their

Toby Tabachnick can be reached at ttabachnick@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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

Decrying ‘social justice ideology,’ 49 people sign ‘Jewish Harper’s letter’ — NATIONAL — By Asaf Shalev | JTA


n open letter signed by about 50 prominent Jewish Americans is warning of the rise of “social justice ideology,” which is described as a “pernicious” force that is “antithetical to Judaism”

14  MAY 14, 2021

and threatens to stifle free debate and democratic values in the United States. The group that organized the letter and many of its signatories say they were inspired by last year’s Harper’s letter, which made a similar argument about censorship of unpopular opinions in the public sphere. Signatories of the so-called “Jewish Harper’s letter” include prominent

conservative writers Bret Stephens, former Pittsburgher Bari Weiss, major academics and authors such as Stephen Pinker and Daniel Gordis, as well as leading rabbis like David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. They were brought together by a new initiative called the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values. The letter calls on Jews to take action against the “suppression of dissent” that is


said to be dominating the United States. “Jewish tradition cherishes debate, respects disagreement, and values questions as well as answers,” the letter says. “We members of the Jewish community add our voices to the growing chorus supporting our liberal principles, opposing the imposition of ideology, encouraging open discussions of challenging topics, and committing to achieving a more just America.”  PJC PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

Headlines Chabad: Continued from page 3

West said his parents were pleased to hear he had resumed the Jewish journey abandoned when he was 9. “They were definitely excited,” West said. “They were bummed they couldn’t be there. When they heard that Shmuli and some of

JCC: Continued from page 4

executive director. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and Area Agency on Aging guidelines, older adults are eligible for access to congregate meals. A senior center, like the JCC, can set a suggested donation amount in consultation with its Senior Center Advisory Committee — the JCC asks seniors for $1.50 per meal — but older adults won’t be turned away if they don’t have the

Markiz: Continued from page 5

relationships. It’s about listening more than anything. What do people need? How can I be there for them? There is of course teaching and pastoral care. The thing I love the most about this job is that every day brings on new opportunities and challenges, none of which I could ever plan on.

Who has a harder job, a pulpit rabbi or a rabbi working to create educational programs and engage the community?

The jobs are about finding alignment. I don’t know if one job is harder than the other. I can tell you that the jobs of building relationships and developing educational and

Rothschild: Continued from page 8

South Hills JCC represent Jewish hospitality. Along with a roofline rising up at the building’s main entrance, the structure recalls Abraham’s tent and the call to welcome strangers. That project proved the firm’s ability to fuse Jewish symbolism and practicality. “We’re not just doing architectural work but trying to provide meaningful design, which is design that links aesthetic concerns to human emotion,” said Rothschild. In 2001, the collaborative relied on the biblical imagery of fire and clouds when working with Hillel Jewish University Center. Just as Hillel provides guidance to college students, the pillar of fire and clouds led the Israelites through the desert, said Rothschild. So, through a sculpture above the building’s entrance, curvilinear silver elements signifying clouds and glazed walls representing fire, the entire Forbes Avenue structure “becomes a subliminal message that Hillel is out there to provide guidance.” In 2003, the firm helped Temple PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG  

our friends had organized lunch for us they were so appreciative.” West already has students and members of his fraternity lined up to attend services with him next year, said Rothstein. Hanks is grateful for the experience he’s been given by Chabad House on Campus. “For a lot of people, Judaism — especially at Chabad if you’re a college student — is about going home,” he said. “For me it’s been

a real adventure and journey. It’s different. It’s new. I don’t know what the holidays are. I don’t speak Hebrew. I feel like I’m seeing it for the first time and it’s beautiful.” Part of Chabad’s mission is to help students like Hanks and West experience Judaism “on their own terms,” Rothstein said. And if that leads to a deeper involvement, all the better. “I’m here to help them explore and get in touch with their Jewish identity,” he said. “If,

along the way, they want to start learning and have a bar mitzvah and put on tefillin and become more in tune with their Judaism, perfect, I’m so happy. But I’m just as happy for them to come in and get in touch with their Jewish neshama (soul). That’s what the Rebbe taught.”  PJC

ability or choose not to pay, said Mancuso. “Meals are reimbursed to the senior center through our contract with the Area Agency on Aging [and] ultimately paid for through PA Lottery dollars,” she added. Although the sale of lottery tickets helps support the JCC lunch programs, seniors also contribute through donations, said Feinman. “We just can’t accept money at the door.” Alan Mallinger, the JCC’s Men’s Centerfit Platinum Director, regularly delivers meals to seniors throughout the 15217 ZIP code. He said it’s been nice to see so many seniors, even briefly, during this period and

they always express appreciation. Feinman agreed and recalled numerous messages meal recipients have mailed along with checks. “These are the nicest, kindest notes we receive,” she said. The lunch programs are just one example of how the JCC cares for its members and neighbors, said Brian Schreiber, the JCC’s president and CEO. Along with hosting blood drives and helping people secure COVID-19 vaccinations, the JCC staff routinely calls nearly 300 senior members each week. More than

15,000 weekly wellness checks have been completed since the start of the pandemic, Schreiber said. “It’s a lot of work for our staff to pull this all together,” said Feinman, but everyone — regardless of title or department — is dedicated to the task. “You’re in this work to help others,” she added. “It’s so important to have a strong community and to care for your neighbor.”  PJC

teaching opportunities are in great alignment for me. In any role though, there are always challenging moments.

What advice, if any, would you leave the Pittsburgh Jewish community?

do effective work with a focus on digital communications, building on the work I’ve done the last five years. I have a personal passion around productivity. It’s called Next Level Rabbinics.

Why did you decide to leave Beth Shalom?

Elana and I were trying to figure out what our next steps were. She was finishing her residency. We came to Pittsburgh with the knowledge that she was in a five-year residency and that it was very possible — potentially likely — that we would be leaving. I knew that decision was coming. I wanted to give my wife space to make that decision for her and to let her choose that path. After five years at Beth Shalom, I feel like I’ve accomplished a great deal. It felt like it was time for me to try something else and find the next space where I could do my best work. It felt like time. Emanuel explore the relationship between light and time. “We ended up designing a prayer space that focused on the quality of light from evening Sabbath light to morning Sabbath light,” Rothschild said. “And we designed the building to be a vessel that showed the differences between that light by the architectural design and massing.” A current member and past president of Temple Emanuel, Rothschild is proud of providing his community with a building that reinforces fundamental Jewish concepts. Rothschild also described a 2013 “Calendar Wall” project with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s Early Childhood Development Center. Rothschild’s team considered ways to serve the space’s ultimate users: children. Judaism often is experienced by its youngest practitioners through the holidays, but it can be difficult to understand the relationship between the Jewish lunar calendar and the secular Gregorian calendar. Rothschild helped create an exhibit that relates the two calendars — by focusing on lunar cycles and Jewish holidays and allowing children to physically engage with artifacts, artwork and

I had a teacher in high school who was part of the synagogue, and Abby, my teacher, had a mantra I’ve always held close: “When in doubt love more.” I think the era we’re entering is going to be challenging. The post-pandemic era of societal chaos and community stress — it will be easy to put up barriers and hunker down. The approach Abby taught me is a reminder to be embracing and empowering and encouraging and to think expansively.

What’s next?

Elana has accepted a position in Washington, D.C., so we will be moving this summer. I am launching a consulting firm to help synagogues, rabbis and Jewish organizations an undulating wooden “Moon Belt.” The four projects are testaments to what defines Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, according to its founder and CEO. “By interweaving Jewish stories and memory into these buildings, we’re telling our story. And that’s what makes us unique,” said Rothschild. Rothschild grew up in an apartment in White Plains, New York, raised by his single mother after his parents divorced when he was 4. He credited his mother with ensuring he and his two brothers celebrated bar mitzvahs, but said, “We weren’t necessarily connected very strongly to Judaism.” Only after moving to Pittsburgh decades later, and with a push from his wife Lori to attend Torah study at Temple Emanuel, did Rothschild fully embrace his Jewish identity. Now, he said, he can see the story of his life — how work and faith come together. “I think one of the things that architecture does, it puts together a lot of disparate pieces,” said Rothschild. “If you think about the process of building — and what goes into preparing the ground, and putting foundations, and putting in structure, and putting in enclosure, and putting in finishes


David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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

Any last words?

I wrote a letter to Beth Shalom and the main theme is gratitude. Beth Shalom invested in me, not knowing who I was or what I could bring. I think I’ve brought a lot of value to Beth Shalom and the community — at least I hope so. That’s the dream, that your work has value and matters. Beth Shalom is the place where I became a rabbi. The trust of a community and individuals that a rabbi earns, this is the place where that started to be true.  PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. and furniture — there are a lot of disparate pieces, but ultimately you have to see the connection between them. “When I read Torah, and I look at the story, I feel my architectural training allows me to put pieces together of that story year after year, to make it new each time,” he added. “It is very similar to a building. A building is really made up of the connections between disparate pieces. Very rarely does a piece just stand on its own. It’s either held up by something or connected to something else. I think Torah is very similar: The pieces are connected. One part of the story ends and another part begins.” That relationship between story and building is better understood three dimensionally rather than linearly, Rothschild added. “I think for architects who are blessed with the understanding of the Jewish faith, it does allow them to see architecture, or see Judaism, in a different way — maybe in a complex way, maybe a more meaningful way. At least it does for me.”  PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. MAY 14, 2021  15

Life & Culture Yiddish scholar Ilan Stavans joins City of Asylum’s literary festival — POETRY — By David Rullo | Staff Writer


lan Stavans, 60, grew up resentful of the fact that his family spoke Yiddish at home. The writer, who identifies as a Mexican Jew, descends from eastern European Yiddish-speaking ancestors, immigrants from Poland and the Ukraine. Unable to immigrate to the United States in the 1920s and ‘30s due to quotas, his family first moved to Latin America before settling in Mexico. As a boy, he grew up speaking Spanish outside of the home and Yiddish in his Jewish community. Stavans, who has translated poetry from Hebrew and Yiddish among other languages, will appear virtually as part of the City of Asylum’s first International Literary Festival on Sunday, May 16, at 5 p.m. Poet and editor Matthew Zapruder will serve as moderator. “I didn’t see the practical side of learning Yiddish — there were other languages that would have enabled me to live in a modern world,” Stavans told the Chronicle. “Years later, when I left Mexico and began to be interested in literature and translation, I realized how important that had been for me and how much it defined me.”

16  MAY 14, 2021

and turned it into an advantage, he said. “For me, speaking more than one language in translation is about being an outsider and an insider at the same time,” he said. “You live in a language, but you can also see it from the outside and vice versa.” Zapruder called Stavans “a public intellectual.” “He’s a worldly person who has traveled everywhere and written and translated and understands the world. He’s speaking to the world. I don’t think he’s only speaking to Jewish or Latino culture.” The literary festival is unique because it focuses on translation and international authors, said City of Asylum Director of Programs Abby Lembersky. “I’m excited about all of the programs,” Lembersky said, noting several of the upcoming Zoom sessions taking place May 12-21, including an event with Nobel Laureate Olga Tokarczuk, a Polish author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2018 and her translator, Jennifer Croft; and Japanese author Mieko Kawakami. More information about the International Literary Festival can be found at alphabet city.org/litfest21.  PJC

meaning, he said. He was also influenced, he “I want to be able to bring the said, by members of the Mexican poem and feel comfortable in its Sephardic Jewish communew house, with its own music, nity who had left the Ottoman its own rhythms, its own metabEmpire and spoke Ladino in olism,” said Stavans, a professor of their new country. humanities and Latin American Stavans will discuss both Culture at Amherst College. “I his background and “Selected want to convey what the author Translations: Poems 2000-2020,” p Ilan Stavans his newest collection published Photo by Kevin Gutting said but don’t want to feel imprisas part of the Pitt Poetry Series by the oned to put everything in exactly where it University of Pittsburgh Press. It includes was — every comma that was there, etc.” Judaism, he said, “is a language in a culture works translated from Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish, Georgian, Ladino and several other that thrives in the games of languages, in the languages. And, it also includes several pieces comings and goings of language. I think the translated from English into Spanish, a rarity history of the Jews is really the history of the many diasporas we have lived.” in an English poetry collection. Throughout history, Jews have spoken While Yiddish had become less common in United States when Stavans was a child, it more than 2,300 languages, Stavans said, adding that American Jews typically speak still had its place, he said. “As my American cousins would say, ‘Our fewer languages than did their ancestors grandparents would use Yiddish when they who lived under Greek occupation, in the didn’t want us to understand,’” said Stavans, Ottoman Empire or in Eastern Europe. co-editor of the book, “How Yiddish Changed Stavans’ newest book, “Jewish Literature: America and America Changed Yiddish.” A Very Short Introduction,” examines the Stavans said he typically speaks in Spanish, history of Jewish literature in the Diaspora but thinks in whatever language he’s working from 1492 to the present day. It is slated to in at the time. be published in late July, When he translates, Stavans works to Stavans has found special meaning in the recreate the work as truthfully as possible story of the Tower of Babel. Generations without being handcuffed by the literal later, Jews took what was to be a punishment

David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.



Life & Culture ‘Modern mensch’ cooks for Hillel JUC in Ma n h at t a n before working for eight years in test kitchens, preparing var ious dishes for food magazines and websites. In Cohen’s able hands, a golden-brown quiche pie p Jake Cohen crust was filled with  Screenshot by  Justin Vellucci parsley, cilantro, dill and four scallions — as well as water and yogurt to inhibit gluten development and encourage a crust with tender flakes. “Always use your hands — you can’t be too precious when it comes to your dough,” Cohen instructed. “And here is the deal: Do what you want. You could do chives. You could do tons and tons of spinach. The sky’s the limit. You just want lots and

— FOOD — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle


ake Cohen, an Ashkenazi Jew renowned for his New York Times-bestselling cookbook, “Jew-ish: A Cookbook — Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch,” looked at a Pittsburgh audience via Zoom and smiled as he prepared a quiche. “A lot of people are afraid of pie — you shouldn’t be!” laughed Cohen during the May 6 event, as he offered tips such as freezing butter then grating it, rather than bringing it to room temperature when making a crust. “Pie dough is something that’s really about technique … the main thing is you don’t want to overwork the batter.” During a virtual event hosted by the Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh, Cohen, who lives in New York City, elicited smiles, laughs and lots of questions from an audience nearing 100 that packed the Zoom call to see him work his magic. With Cohen sporting a black T-shirt, Apple AirPods and a red-and-white apron, most of the talk centered around a signature dish, “Kuku Quiche” — a variation on Kuku Sabzi, a Persian herbed frittata that Cohen’s Iraqi-descended Jewish husband loves. “It’s a classic quiche, mixed in with a lot of Persian flare,” Cohen told the group. Cohen said he studied at the Culinary Institute of America and worked at Michelin-starred restaurant DANIEL p Quiche made by Aaron and Amy Leaman

lots of greens.” Cohen peppered his instructions on making “the perfect spring quiche” — a real treat for Mother’s Day, he added — with observations about Judaism and Jewish life. “I am a big, big, big fan of Passover — I think matzah ball soup is the top,” Cohen said. “Great holiday, a really great message and something that’s really important to Jewish values and that idea of tikkun olam.” And he was refreshingly irreverent, at one point making light of people who stick too closely to recipes in books. “I’m a big fan of doing whatever the hell you want with my recipes,” Cohen said. “The book is full of something truly for everybody and every celebration. And every recipe was tested at a Shabbat dinner.” Cohen then responded to a litany of questions, shooting from the hip with rapidfire responses. Favorite pasta? Right now, fusilli.

“I just love the coils, anything that’s going to catch the sauce,” Cohen said. Favorite cheese? He’s “partial to Gouda.” Favorite food hot spots in NYC? Sunday In Brooklyn, a neighborhood restaurant; Miss Ada, for Mediterranean and Israeli food; and Gramercy Tavern. And, of course, there were questions about challah and kugel. “I love sweet noodle kugel,” Cohen said, noting his husband preferred the savory variety. And how many braids is his preferred number for a home-baked challah? Six. “There’s something poetic about it,” Cohen said. “It’s the conduit of breaking bread with others. Two, six-braid challahs also have to do with the 12 offerings in the Temple [and] even-strand challahs are prettier.” The Zoom event honored volunteers David and Susan Friedberg Kalson, who spoke to close the evening. Dan Marcus, Hillel JUC’s executive director and CEO, praised the program, noting how it mirrored the kind of cooking shows that are de rigeur with young college students today, and how it was the perfect setting to celebrate the two honorees. “This is an opportunity to gather together friends, students and supporters of Hillel JUC to enjoy a fun and meaningful event,” Marcus told the Chronicle. “It’s an opportunity to honor and thank David and Susan Kalson — this was the opportunity to give them the public honor they so richly deserve.”  PJC

Photo by Aaron Leaman

Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.



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MAY 14, 2021  17



B’nei Mitzvah

Every person counts

Braden Tyler Cobb will become a bar mitzvah on May 15, 2021. Braden is the son of Stacey and Jason Cobb, brother of Evan, grandson of Cheryl and James Snyder of Pittsburgh and Janet and Lee Cobb of Buffalo, New York. Braden is a seventh-grader at Fort Couch Middle School in Upper St. Clair. He enjoys playing soccer for both his club team and travel team. He is looking forward to returning to camp this summer at Emma Kauffman.   Josephine Jean and Raleigh Helen Morgenstern are the daughters of Donielle and Aaron Morgenstern, the sisters of Davis, and the paternal granddaughters of Devra Davis and Richard Morgenstern. Their grandmother was confirmed at Congregation Beth Shalom and great-grandparents Jean Langer Davis and Harry B. Davis were married there in 1943 and remained lifelong members. Their great-aunts, Marian Ungar Davis and Sara Davis Buss, and great-uncles, Stanford Davis and Jay Buss, are current synagogue members. Josephine is an eighth-grade student at Wasatch Academy in Utah. Her passions include creative writing, journalism and social justice. She is the vice president of Wasatch Academy’s eighth and ninth grade. Raleigh is a seventh-grade student at Winchester Thurston School. Her passions include architecture, art, entrepreneurship and freestyle and big mountain skiing. She currently is on the Evolution Ski Team in Teton Village, Wyoming. When they are not skiing or schooling in Mountain time zone, Josephine and Raleigh can be found walking their dog Bennington around their beautiful neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. They celebrated becoming b’not mitzvah on May 8, 2021, at Congregation Beth Shalom. Sara Pechersky will become a bat mitzvah on Saturday, May 15, 2021, at Temple David Congregation in Monroeville. Sara is the daughter of Brett and Mindy Pechersky and the sister of Aidan Pechersky. She is the granddaughter of Mark and Debbie Pechersky of Monroeville and Alan and Joy Firestone of Scranton. Sara is a seventh-grade student at Franklin Regional Middle School where she competes on the swim and track and field teams, as well as plays flute and piano.  PJC

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Rabbi Eli Seidman Parshat Bamidbar | Numbers 1:1-4:20


he name of the fourth book of the Torah, Bamidbar, means “in the wilderness” (of the Sinai desert) and recounts the many stops on the journey and episodes along the way. This week’s Torah portion, Bamidbar, is always read on the Shabbat before the celebration of Shavuot (this year beginning on Sunday evening May 16 and concluding on Tuesday evening May 18). One contemporary rabbi suggested a reason why: Both Bamidbar and Shavuot involve counting. The Torah portion begins with a census of the Jewish people. Rashi says God commanded a census again to show that every individual Jewish person is dear to Him. In addition, we counted the 49 days of the Omer, connecting Pesach and Shavuot. These were days during which the People of Israel prepared to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai. They are days of spiritual refinement and anticipation in which we too prepare to receive the Torah again. Each day represents an irreplaceable opportunity to build on our knowledge and our devotion to Hashem, His Torah and mitzvot. Rabbi Dr. Abraham Joshua Twerski, of blessed memory, used to say, “I wrote more than 60 books, but really I wrote one book 60 different ways.” His basic theme was the importance of self-esteem. He considered lack of self-esteem to be the root of all psychological problems, as well as addiction,

marital strife, etc. (see “Rabbi Abraham Twerski’s Copious Blessings,” by Sara Yocheved Riger, Feb. 21, 2021, Aish website). Rabbi Twerski’s life and work revolved around his belief in the greatness of the individual man or woman. No matter who they were or what they had done in life, he wrote and spoke of what each one could become. Every one was unique and precious in the eyes of Hashem. My sister, Dr. Bryna Levy, speaking at a sheloshim tribute to Rabbi Twerski, pointed out that he wrote a well-known melody to the words “Hosheah es amecha” (bring salvation to Your people) and asked that it be sung at his funeral instead of eulogies. My sister noted the poignancy of singing this melody and words in the midst of a pandemic — Rabbi Twerski’s life was dedicated to prioritizing the needs of others. She also noted that this entire 10-word Hebrew phrase is used as a way of indirectly counting if there is a minyan present. How appropriate for a man who saw the worth of every individual! Every person in the minyan enables the congregation. We cannot afford to lose even one, and together we are stronger than all of us individually. Bamidbar teaches us the significance of each person and Shavuot teaches us of the importance of every day. Shabbat shalom and chag Shavuot sameach!  PJC Rabbi Eli Seidman is the former director of pastoral care at the Jewish Association on Aging. This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.



Meadville Hebrew Cemetery

The Meadville Hebrew Cemetery is the second oldest Jewish cemetery in Western Pennsylvania. Established in 1848, just one year after Rodef Shalom’s cemetery in Troy Hill, Meadville’s Jewish community grew as part of the early canal and railroad days of mid-nineteenth century Northwestern Pennsylvania. It was German Jews that first came to Meadville, starting a Sabbath School in 1814. The earliest interment, S.S. Longood in 1848 at age 17 perhaps prompted the community to seek ground, though a deed was not secured until 1866. As the community dwindled, an Association was formed in 1909 to sustain the cemetery, and the Stern Family funded the endowment. Meadville’s community was re-nourished through families that came in the inter-war period around 1935, and through a relationship its synagogue still has with Allegheny College. Two burials of note in this well kept cemetery on Jefferson Street include Louis W. Ohlman, President of Meadville’s Common Council in the early 1900’s, and Marty Goldberg, Allegheny College soccer, and track and field coach, and USA Track and Field Master Official. The cemetery remains active, has 85 graves, and became associated with the Jewish Cemetery and Burial Association of Greater Pittsburgh in 2021. For more information about JCBA cemeteries, to volunteer, to read our complete histories and/or to make a contribution, please visit our website at www.JCBApgh.org, email us at jcbapgh@gmail.com, or call the JCBA office at 412-553-6469 JCBA’s expanded vision is made possible by a generous grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community Foundation

E s tat e N o t i c e Sherman E. Elias, Deceased of White Oak, Pennsylvania No. 02-21-1553 Ruth Gordon, Executor; 3309 Smith Avenue, Pikesville, MD 21208 or to Bruce S. Gelman, Esquire, Gelman & Reisman, Law & Finance Bldg., 429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1701, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

William W. Hay, Deceased of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania No. 02-20-1172 Leigh Mateas, Executor; 1101 Matthews Road, Washougal, WA 48671 or to Bruce S. Gelman, Esquire, Gelman & Reisman, Law & Finance Bldg., 429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1701, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 18  MAY 14, 2021




Obituaries GREENWALD: Arthur Greenwald, well known for being witty, irreverent, and exceptional in countless ways, succumbed to kidney disease on April 30. He leaves a legacy of mischief and wild pranks during his childhood in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. This continued through Taylor Allderdice High School where teachers were equally amused and taken aback by his razor-sharp thinking. While in high school, he built a liaison with Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and created booklets for children anticipating medical treatment. At Yale, he took advantage of every possible resource, particularly the Yale Child Study Center, to lay the foundation to become a TV producer. In Pittsburgh, he was best known for producing “Evening Magazine” along with many local TV specials.

Arthur continued directing and producing special events for television while in Boston before settling in Los Angeles. Besides his professional work, Arthur was admired by many for his culinary skills, highly anticipated holiday cards, enormous love of dogs and humor that spared no one. Arthur’s brain ticked in a way unlike anyone else’s. Arthur leaves his wife, Wendy Garen, president & CEO of the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, who he admired, raved about endlessly, and with whom he would even be convinced to travel on occasion. He is predeceased by his parents, Harriet and Gerald Greenwald of Pittsburgh. He will be forever missed by his sister, Cathy Greenwald Fulton (Paul Fulton) of Newton, Massachusetts. He was the very dear uncle of Benjamin Fulton (Casey Avaunt), Elizabeth Fulton (Aaron Reiss and baby, Milo) and Skyler Fulton. Contributions may be sent to The Arthur C. Greenwald

Memorial Fund at the California Community Foundation, 221 South Figueroa Street, Suite 400, Los Angeles, 90012. SIGAL: Norma Joy Sigal, on Saturday, May 8, 2021, passed away peacefully. She is survived by her sister, Natalie Cuban; children Shellie, Michael and Randi; grandchildren, Jeff, Reid, Brian and Molly; great-grandchildren Charli, Graham, Annie, Cooper and Parker. She was preceded in death by her husband Erv and daughter Judy as well as her parents, Sylvia and Jack Simon. Norma graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and went on to a career in early childhood education. Her passion for children continued as she was involved in a research project at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She also valued her volunteer work at Family House. Norma was a dedicated homemaker and enjoyed nothing more than cooking for and spending time with

her family. She was a gourmet cook and baker who loved to entertain. She was an avid golfer from an early age, enjoyed playing bridge, going out to dinner, lectures and theatre. Norma didn’t miss a day of crossword puzzles, Sudoku and “Jeopardy.” In her younger days, her daily walk or bike ride brought her great pleasure. She had many friends that she and Erv treasured spending time with over the years. Graveside services were held at Homewood Cemetery. Contributions may be made to: Adat Shalom, 368 Cheswick, PA 15024; American Cancer Society PO Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123; Cleveland Clinic, PO Box 931517, Cleveland, OH 44193, to support IBD Research currently being conducted by Dr. Miguel Regueiro within the Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com  PJC

Chronicle nominated for 12 Golden Quill Awards


dam Reinherz, David Rullo and Toby Tabachnick are finalists for this year’s Golden Quill Awards, an annual competition sponsored by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania that recognizes professional excellence in journalism. Winners will be announced during the annual Golden Quills dinner on Sept. 28, 2021, at the Rivers Casino.

Reinherz is a finalist in the following categories: News Feature (“South Oakland Corner Dedicated to Late Holocaust Survivor”); History/Culture (“Rabbi’s Pandemic Edicts Saves Lives During Cholera Crisis of 1831”); Education (“Leslie Frischman’s Sidewalk Math Equals Neighborhood Fun”); Sports (“Clear the Way for the Goldmans Because They’re Not Slowing Down”); and Profile (“COVID Nurse Shares Observations From New York City”).

Rullo is a finalist for: Traditional Feature (“Tuesdays With Jon and Helen,” “Late Checkout: Rabbi and Family Wait Out Pandemic 2,400 Miles From Home”); Arts/ Entertainment (“‘Hello Darkness, My Old Friend’ Recounts Friendship Between Author and Art Garfunkel”); and Lifestyle (“Community Adapts Jewish Rituals During Coronavirus Crisis”). Tabachnick is a finalist for: News Feature

(“Two Years Later, Wounded Victims of Synagogue Shooting Staying Strong”); Profile (“Downtown Rabbi Weathers Pandemic With a Little Help From His Friends”); and Columns/ Blogs (“Not Moving on But Moving Forward,” “Moving Beyond Our Differences to See the Bigger Picture,” “The Unique Challenges and Opportunities of Being a 2020 Grad”).  PJC — Toby Tabachnick


The Biggest Financial Mistake You Could Be Making ... and How to Fix It! by James Lange, CPA and Attorney

If you have the potential to die with a lot of money — using the most conservative assumptions—your family could be heading into a Tax Armageddon. Taxes on IRAs and retirement plans are now on steroids. The SECURE Act combined with the 2026 “sunset” provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) provide the fodder for income and estate tax increases. (In 2026, income taxes and estate taxes revert to 2017 rates adjusted for inflation.) Looming federal estate tax and income taxes on your IRA could drastically reduce your legacy. Even with proactive planning on investments, Roth IRA conversions, and estate planning, your family’s tax bill could be massive (penalized because you died with too much retirement money). Of course, you must overprotect yourself and your spouse, but if there is excess wealth, there should be a plan for it. “Excess wealth” will go to taxes, family, or charity. Of the three, we want to minimize taxes. This is where gifting, while you are alive, becomes a valuable strategy. Let’s start with the basics: straightforward $15,000/yr. gifts per beneficiary (or $30,000/yr. if your spouse joins in the gift). If you are married and are making the gift to a married child, you can make a gift of $60,000/yr. ($30,000 to your child and $30,000 to his spouse). These gifts will not eat into the amount you may leave your heirs at your death without having to pay federal

“ Making more frequent and larger gifts to your

heirs while you are alive can significantly improve your family’s finances.” estate tax. In addition, these gifts will not be included in your state estate or inheritance tax burden. At the next level, these gifts can also reduce income taxes. For example, you could give highly appreciated stock to a beneficiary who is in a lower tax bracket. Or your gift could fund life insurance, a child’s or grandchild’s Roth IRA, or a 529 education plan — each with the additional benefit of income-tax free elements for your beneficiary. Also, keep in mind that when you make a gift, you are reducing your estate by not only the value of the gift, but also by the potential growth on the gift. For example, you and your spouse make a $30,000 gift to your child. Assume you live for 20 years after you make the gift. Using a simple 7% interest rate, that $30,000 would have grown to $120,000 by the time you die. Pennsylvania inheritance tax savings alone would be $5,400 ($120,000 times 4.5%) and that is barely scratching the surface of what could be an effective gifting plan.

Then, there are gifts that exceed the $15,000 limit known as credit consuming gifts. For example, let’s assume you make a $1,015,000 gift to one beneficiary. You exceeded your $15,000 limit by $1 million. That does not trigger an immediate gift tax but will reduce the amount you can pass at death estate tax-free by $1 million. Again, factoring in the potential growth on the gift is essential. If you make a credit consuming gift of $1 million and live 20 years, you have effectively reduced your estate by $4 million (the amount the $1 million would have grown to had you not made the gift.) True, your estate tax reduction would be reduced by the $1 million of the credit consuming gift, but you still would reduce estate taxes on $3 million. Even at a 50% estate tax rate, that milliondollar gift could reduce your family’s estate tax burden by $1,500,000. PA inheritance taxes would be reduced by $180,000 ($4,000,000 times 4.5%). Recently, worry about the federal estate tax has been a non-issue for many of us. At $11.7 million (or $23.4 million if you are married) for nonspouse beneficiaries, there was a lot of room. But

the sunset provision in the TCJA drops the exclusion to $5 million plus inflation in 2026. Both President Biden and Bernie Sanders have floated a $3.5 million exclusion; however, most experts think $5 million is more realistic. That said, federal estate taxes can devastate a family legacy if not properly avoided. There is also another element of gifting while you are alive rather than after you are gone. Your kids and grandkids can benefit immediately. Think of your own situation. If someone gave you $15,000, or even $100,000 now, it would not likely change your life one iota. Think about what $100,000 would have meant to you 20 or 30 years ago. Finally, I must confess that a bunch of my client’s children banded together and paid me a large sum of money to write this newsletter feature. Naming no names, telling no lies...I just want the humor, which I love, to be transparent to all.

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The foregoing content from Lange Financial Group, LLC is for informational purposes only, subject to change, and should not be construed as investment or tax advice. Those seeking personalized guidance should seek a qualified professional.



MAY 14, 2021  19

Headlines Israel: Continued from page 10

On May 5, Hamas resumed incendiary balloon attacks from Gaza, includng devices to set fires in Israeli fields and small bombs. On May 7, Israeli forces stopped a heavily armed squad from Tulkarem from entering central Israel. Three terrorists exited the vehicle and began firing but failed to injure a single Israeli. Two of the terrorists were killed. By nightfall on May 7, riots had erupted on the Temple Mount, with hundreds injured, including many police. Rioters retreated into the mosques on the mount, and police were forced to take positions up near them. This put Israel in the difficult position of being accused of “aggressions” against the Temple Mount and of threatening the “status quo.”

Abbas and the PA elections

The context of this escalation is a policy of provocation aimed at fostering a climate of tension, which was first started by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas but was quickly adopted by other players. Early this year, Abbas called for the first Palestinian elections in well over a decade. By the end of March, it was painfully clear that he would be trounced in the May 22 elections, with both Hamas and Marwan Barghouti’s faction of the PLO defeating him. To avoid a humiliation, Abbas canceled the elections in the first week of May. And yet, cancelling the elections was not so simple,

since Hamas leaders made it clear it would take to the streets in a violent upheaval against the P.A. for doing so. Abbas had no way out other than blaming Israel for the cancellation.

now dovetail into a dangerously escalatory and mutually-resonating climate inflamed by the Joint Arab List, the P.A., Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Turkey and Iran.

The role of Israeli Arabs

Sheikh Jarrah a flashpoint

In the recent elections, an Arab party, Ra’am, under Abbas, gained almost as many seats in the Israeli Knesset as the traditional leadership represented by the Joint Arab List, led by Ayman Odeh. Abbas’ party gained this traction because the Israeli Arab population is facing a series of grave crises in such areas as crime, education and the economy. In a stark departure from the practice of reigning Arab-Israeli elites, Ra’am promised to work within the framework of any Israeli government, as a normal parliamentary party, to secure the interests of its constituents. Rather than respond competitively, however, the “establishment” Joint Arab List continued peddling an entirely disruptive, anti-Zionist, pan-Arab nationalist agenda, thus sacrificing its ability to enter the parliamentary power structure to leverage and barter for constituent interests. Instead, it continued to opt for international applause for its rhetorical and entirely disenfranchising nationalist behavior. This internal Israeli Arab traditional leadership anchored to the Joint Arab List also instigated some of the recent violence, with the aim of shaming Ra’am’s leadership enough to force it into expressing support for the unrest, which would sabotage the party’s ability to deliver on its promise and enter an Israeli government. As such, the interests of a panoply of actors

The Sheikh Jarrah issue is strategic for two reasons. First, the area connects the Jewish areas of Jerusalem to the Hebrew University, Mount Scopus and to several large Jewish neighborhoods to the north. Second, if the Jewish property claims there are annulled, this would encourage a massive effort to challenge all Jewish claims to any property in Jerusalem, such as the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, and perhaps throughout Israel. The neighborhood’s three sections housed about 125 Arab families in 1948, who had moved there in the 1930s and 1940s, and about 80 Jewish families. Some of the Arab families kept houses there only as retreats, while since the Ottoman era the Jewish families lived there year-round. In 1948, the area was secured by the Harel brigade of the Haganah during the Jewish-Arab-skirmishes in advance of the declaration of the state. British soldiers, not Arabs, attacked and removed the area from Israeli control, forcing the Jewish families to leave, and turned it over to Arab forces. Shortly afterward a “British-protected” Jewish resupply convoy to Mount Scopus was attacked by Arab soldiers. The British remained neutral, despite their obligation to protect the convoy, and observed the resulting massacre of 78 Jewish doctors, nurses and civilians. When Israel reoccupied the area in 1967,

the Jewish families that had been expelled two decades earlier brought forward their deeds to the land. Israel’s Supreme Court in 1972 ruled that the Jewish claims were valid, but also that for practical reasons, any Arab family occupying one of the Jewish-owned houses would be protected from eviction as long as they agreed to pay rent. Recently, Arabs have come forward with counterclaims, all of which are proving to be forgeries. This is not surprising, as the Turkish government under Erdogan several years ago launched an effort to cull all the land deeds in Israel from the Ottoman era. The Turkish government is strongly suspected of systematically destroying original Jewish deeds and creating new forgeries. At any rate, in 1972, a number of families did accept the Supreme Court formula and paid rent, but a much larger number of families simply ignored the ruling. The current issue of eviction has to do with those families that have refused to pay rent since 1972, while living in houses whose Jewish title has been incontrovertibly established. The Supreme Court on May 9 decided to postpone a final ruling on the Sheikh Jarrah issue, clearly to avoid playing into the highly escalatory climate, but the matter will reappear soon.  PJC David Wurmser is a Center for Security Policy senior analyst and director of the Center’s Project on Global Anti-Semitism and the US-Israel Relationship. This article was first published by the Center for Security Policy. It has been edited for length. To read the full article, go to pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.


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MAY 14, 2021 21

a e k a M ! h s a l p S Family Park Pool Reopens May 29

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May 29 - September 5

• Tennis courts and hiking trails • Poolside grass and lounge chair areas

Two sessions to choose from:

• Picnic area with grills

Session 1 – 11 am-3 pm Session 2 – 3:30-7:30 pm

• 9-hole miniature golf course

Open Weekends and Holidays from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend

• Ample parking Locker rooms will be available for changing and limited to 20 people at any one time. We will be operating under local, state and national health and safety guidelines, and strict capacity limits will be enforced to ensure social distancing between households.

Learn more: JCCPGH.org 22  MAY 14, 2021



Community Students celebrate Lag B’Omer Community Day School students marked the 33rd day of the Omer with indoor and outdoor fun.

p First-grader Morgan Styen sprints ahead. 

Photos courtesy of Community Day School

Y are you looking at my paper?

p Kindergartner Tomer Pishoto builds a Lag B’Omer bonfire with rocks collected during a nature walk.

p Eighth-graders Abigail Naveh, left, Shayna Valinsky and Ilyssa Bails enjoy the day.

p Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Pre-K students studied the letter Y by stringing together Y-shaped projects.  Photo courtesy of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

They grow UP so fast t Temple David Weiger Religious School students celebrated the last day of instruction on May 2. 

Photo courtesy of Temple David in Monroeville

p Second-grader Leike Weissman-Howe looks sharp.

Macher and Shaker



File photo

p Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh students marked Lag B’Omer with splash dodge ball at Wightman Park.  Photo courtesy of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh junior Dionna Dash received a Brackenridge Fellowship to conduct sociolinguistic research on language attitudes. Following her research, Dash will highlight the implications and dangers of language discrimination by writing several short fiction stories. Brackenridge Fellowships support projects in any field or major — analytic, or purely creative — and are open to University of Pittsburgh students at the Oakland campus, including rising sophomores and rising seniors. MAY 14, 2021  23

KOSHER MEATS A l l - n a t u ra l p o u lt r y w ho l e c h i cke n s , b rea s t s , w i n g s a n d m o re All-natural, corn-fed beef steaks, roasts, ground beef and more Variety of deli meats and franks Available at select Giant Eagle stores. Visit gianteagle.com for location information.

Empire Kosher Fresh Boneless Chicken Breasts Price effective Thursday, May 13 through Wednesday, May 19, 2021


$20–$500 THE BEST OF



99 lb.

are you a local business owner? EXCLUSIVELY FROM




The new The Best of Pittsburgh gift card supports small businesses, like yours, by providing customers a way to shop and spend within our community.

gianteagle.com/ LocalPGHCardSignUp Visit

for more information.




MAY 14, 2021



Profile for Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle

Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 5-14-21  

Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 5-14-21  

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