Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 5-27-22

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May 27, 2022 | 26 Iyar 5782

Candlelighting 8:22 p.m. | Havdalah 9:30 p.m. | Vol. 65, No. 21 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org

Pittsburgh Jewish Community reacts to District 12 primary results

NOTEWORTHY LOCAL A night of learning — and cheesecake

J formidable campaign, one that reflected her determination to make progress for people and give a voice to the voiceless. She will be an outstanding member of Congress and an inspirational leader for our region.” By winning the primary in the solidly blue district, Lee is presumed to become the first Black woman elected to Congress from Pennsylvania. Along with the historic nature of her victory, Lee’s win has shined a light on ideological differences among the district’s Jewish community, which includes Squirrel Hill. Charles Saul (a member of the Chronicle’s Board of Trustees) was concerned about some of the views Lee expressed before the election. He went so far as to urge Republicans in the district to switch parties so they could vote against her in the primary. “I was worried about her and who she’s endorsed by,” Saul said. “She’s endorsed by some people I believe are antisemites, like Rashida Tlaib. Another thing that worried me was her equating the suffering of the Gazans and Palestinians to the suffering of African Americans. That’s one of these intersectional things. If that’s her take on the Middle East, that’s very dangerous.”

ulie* grew up in Squirrel Hill but now avoids the neighborhood when possible. The 30-year-old Fox Chapel resident said she attended Shaare Torah when she was younger, worked and volunteered in the area as an adult and shopped in the business district. “It used to be no big deal for me to drive into Squirrel Hill, do some quick shopping, run in, grab some things from the deli. Now, if I don’t have to, I choose not,” she said. For Julie, things began changing after the massacre at the Tree of Life building — her grandfather lives nearby on Murray Hill Avenue. And while the murders didn’t force an immediate alteration in her behavior, it was the start of her feeling uneasy in the neighborhood. Things changed for her last summer while working at Weinberg Terrace, a senior living facility on Bartlett Street, during active shooting training. “I never thought part of my regular workday would be training for an active shooter,” she said. A recent spate of antisemitic verbal and physical assaults in Squirrel Hill have caused her to begin hiding her Jewish identity, she said. “I never felt unsafe being Jewish. It was information I used to volunteer all the time. Now, even when I work in the community, when I’m in Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, I keep that information to myself,” she said. “That’s probably the worst part for me — I feel like I have to ‘pass’ when I’m in the community.” Shawn Brokos, director of community security for the Jewish Federation of

Please see Election, page 14

Please see Security, page 14

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LOCAL An Erie cold case revisited

 From left: Summer Lee and Laura Cherner By David Rullo | Staff Writer

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LOCAL Does anyone remember Roberts Restaurant?

A Jewish-owned eatery of long ago

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Jews rethink security in light of recent spate of antisemitic incidents By David Rullo | Staff Writer

Tikkun Leil Shavuot returns in person.

Century-old murder of Jewish man gets another look



n a highly contested race in the commonwealth’s newly created 12th Congressional District Democratic Primary, Pennsylvania State Rep. Summer Lee narrowly defeated attorney Steve Irwin. The Associated Press declared Lee the winner on May 20, three days after polls closed. Lee garnered about 700 more votes than Irwin, less than a 1% margin of victory. University of Pittsburgh law professor Jerry Dickinson received just 10.8% of the votes; nonprofit head Jeff Woodard got 4.8%; and entrepreneur William Parker got 1.5%, according to the Department of State tallies. While it took the AP three days to crown a victor, Lee nonetheless claimed victory on election night. In a statement released late Tuesday, she said: “This was never about one candidate — it was about the people of this district who have been left behind by corporations who put their profits over our lives. Today is a new way forward for everyone in the Commonwealth with no one left behind.” Irwin conceded the race Friday in a Tweet. “I want to congratulate Summer Lee for winning the Democratic nomination for Congress in PA-12,” he wrote. “She ran a

Photo by Jim Busis

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Belated bat mitzvah in Greensburg


Healing plants at Rodef Shalom


Films to celebrate Jewish heritage

Headlines Boasting inclusivity and cheesecake, Tikkun Leil Shavuot returns in person — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


popular event among Jewish Pittsburghers is back this year — in person. Tikkun Leil Shavuot, a night of Torah study at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, is scheduled for June 4 from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. Adam Hertzman, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s director of marketing, said that after two years of pandemic disruptions the Federation is eager to bring people back together again for the program. In 2020 and 2021, the Federation and JCC offered pre-Shavuot online learning opportunities, Hertzman said, but event organizers are excited to be back in person featuring such a “fantastic group of educators from across Pittsburgh, representing all movements and ways of thinking.” Tikkun Leil Shavuot is “an incredible representation of community, and it’s what makes Pittsburgh so unbelievably special,” said Liron Lipinsky, one of 15 Jewish educators set to participate in the program. Lipinsky’s talk is titled “Canceled: The Jewish Evolution of Cancel Culture.” As international vice president for enrichment strategy at BBYO, Lipinsky said she’s looking forward to sharing insights on the knotty topic of cancellation. Rabbi Henoch Rosenfeld, director of Chabad Young Professionals, also will explore weighty issues this Shavuot. His session is titled, “All Eyes on the Future: The Secret End to the Chaos Around Us, and How to Get There.” As someone who typically works with

 Slice of chocolate caramel cheesecake

a younger demographic, Rosenfeld said he’s looking forward to studying with and learning from the larger community. “Torah unites the Jewish people,” he said. “The fact that we’ve been learning the same Torah for thousands of years — and that it’s connected us together — and that we have the opportunity to learn together under one roof is something that no one should take for granted.” Danielle Kranjec, director of campus initiatives for Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, said that Tikkun Leil Shavuot is not only the most inclusive learning event in Pittsburgh, but also “it’s the most truly inclusive learning event I’ve ever been to.”

Photo by robynmac via iStock Photo

Kranjec moved to Pittsburgh 11 years ago and had just started working at the former Agency for Jewish Learning when she participated in her first Tikkun Leil Shavuot. “I found it so inspiring and so extraordinary,” she said. “I don’t think before that night I had ever learned in a truly pluralistic setting in the way that I experienced it at the JCC in Pittsburgh.” Through the years, Kranjec attended the program both as a presenter of Jewish teachings and as a student welcoming the lessons of others. This year, she will discuss a topic of personal interest, “The Torah of Women’s Lived Experiences: Shavuot in the Memoirs of Pauline Wengeroff.”

Since the pandemic began, Kranjec has turned to Jewish women’s memoirs as a “source of wisdom and learning to give me strength during these difficult times,” she said. She believes Wengeroff ’s memoirs can be helpful to others as well. Exploring the life of a 19th-century woman — and seeing how she experienced the holiday — alongside so many diverse members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, “might illuminate our own relationship to our tradition,” Kranjec said. Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. For more than 500 years, Jews have recalled that occasion by staying up until the early hours of the morning engrossed in Jewish wisdom. There are several learning opportunities on Shavuot night across the city and surrounding areas, but Hertzman said he hopes many Pittsburghers come together and study at the JCC as they’ve done for so many years. Kranjec agreed, saying, “There’s really something for everyone. People are welcome into the space to learn without any requirements or preconceived notions or expectations.” “It’s really one of the few spaces where I’ve seen such a diversity of Jewish people and Jewish identities coming together just really with open hearts and open minds to learn from each other and to learn from the rabbis and scholars in our community,” she added. Vaccinations are required, though because of the holiday, organizers will be relying on the honor system. And cheesecake will be served. PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewischronicle.org.

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MAY 27, 2022



Headlines When it comes to abortion, Judaism takes a nuanced approach — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer


he fate of abortion rights is once again center stage after a draft opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court was leaked indicating that it is poised to overturn the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade decision. What are the Jewish views on a woman’s right to choose? It depends on whom you ask, as there are subtle and significant nuances among the various movements and rabbis. Generally, abortion is prohibited, according to Rabbi Levi Langer, dean of the Kollel Jewish Learning Center, an Orthodox educational institution in Squirrel Hill. “Then there are specific circumstances under which we would allow it,” Langer explained. “That’s the only authentic way to articulate this. We start by prohibiting it, and then we work from there.” Young Israel Rabbi Shimon Silver, who is also Orthodox, agreed. “It could be considered murder, in some form,” Silver said, but added, “the life of the mother does come first before the baby is born.” Silver explained that when discussing Orthodox Judaism’s views on abortion, the first principle to be applied is that no person has rights over another person’s body

 Rabbi Levi Langer

File photo

 Rabbi Shimon Silver File photo

— but God does. “If God owns my body, that means I can’t do with my body what God doesn’t allow me to do,” he said. The next principle to consider is what the Torah mandates, Silver said — and those instructions aren’t black-and-white. “There are many nuanced factors that could change the ruling from one woman to the next,” he said. In fact, Jewish law and secular law might conflict when it comes to a woman’s ability to have an abortion, Silver said. In some cases, for health reasons, an abortion might be the only choice permitted by Judaism. And those reasons could extend beyond physical health, Silver continued, noting that a birth that would cause a mother undue mental or emotional strain — or that could pose a

 Rabbi Amy Greenbaum File photo

danger to her or those around her — might be cause for her to have an abortion. The final determination should be decided by the woman in consultation with a highly competent rabbinic authority, he said. Both Langer and Silver would prefer to see Roe v. Wade overturned but understand that such a ruling could present a problem for a Jewish woman who might be permitted, or required, by Jewish law to have an abortion. “This would be a gamble on the moral conscience of American society,” Langer said, “We have to have an honest conversation after that so we can find some moderate path which will not be an extremist’s in either direction.” Still, Silver said, Roe v. Wade might have contributed to an erosion of the value of life. “The lack of respect of life brings along

 Rabbi Barbara Symons

File photo

with it a lot of violence that we see — people no longer value life,” he said. “People are in a frame of mind that life is cheap. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, the effect might be that there will be more value of life.” Conservative Judaism is clear in some areas when it comes to abortion — and less so in others, according to Beth El Congregation of the South Hills Associate Rabbi Amy Greenbaum. “It’s very clear that if the mother’s health is in danger there is no question that a mother’s life takes precedence,” Greenbaum said. “I believe many Conservative rabbis, myself included, would consider the emotional and mental health as well, because those are just as important as physical health.” Please see Abortion, page 15

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Headlines Century-old Erie murder of Jewish man garners new interest

p Zoe Levine

Screenshot by Adam Reinherz

— LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


100-year-old unsolved murder is getting renewed attention thanks to the victim’s granddaughter and some locals interested in preserving history. The case, which was “one that was whispered from generation to generation,” has long captivated Kipp Dawson, she said during a May 19 program with The Battle of Homestead Foundation.


With the help of Chatham University Associate Professor Lou Martin and his students Zoe Levine and Claire Rhode, Dawson finally learned more about the death of her grandfather, Polish-born Herman Martius. On April 5, 1922, Martius’ body was discovered in his ransacked dry goods store on West 18th Street in Erie. Reports showed that an ax was used to inflict two blows to the back of Martius’ head. At the time of the murder, Martius’ wife, Beatrice, and their children, Milly and Ruth, were visiting family in New York.



p Erie, June 1982

Photo by Bruce Fingerhood via Flickr

Upon returning to Erie, however, local police accused Beatrice and a male friend of having an affair and plotting the murder for insurance purposes. The newspapers went wild. When Beatrice and her friend were exonerated, the media followed another possibility: Perhaps Martius’ like-minded Communist friends committed the crime. Without proof, though, that theory also fell through, and the story largely disappeared from print, Dawson said. Decades after the murder, Dawson interviewed her mother, Beatrice’s daughter,




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about the circumstances surrounding Martius’ death. Dawson said her mother told her that Beatrice — who, at the time of the murder was a 26-year-old Jewish immigrant, and not yet a U.S. citizen — went to the mayor and asked him to plead with local officials to find out who killed her husband. The interaction, according to Dawson, resulted in the mayor leaning over his desk and telling Beatrice, “If you were my own daughter, I would tell you the same thing: Please see Murder, page 15


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Headlines Do you remember Robert’s Restaurant? — LOCAL — By Eric Lidji | Special to the Chronicle


wish there was more documentation of local Jewish-owned eateries. Aside from some good photographs of old mom and pop groceries stores, there is very little about the many restaurants, delicatessens and bakeries that fill thousands of Jewish hearts with warm nostalgia. So many beloved places like Caplans, Weinsteins, Richests, Bubbles & Sherman, Rosenbaums, Silberbergs, Pastries Unlimited, Simple Treats, Yaakovs, Bageland and many more exist today only in advertisements and occasionally in menus. The Rauh Jewish Archives recently received a matchbook cover from Robert’s Restaurant & Bar. It’s not one of the betterknown Jewish restaurants in town. I’d never heard of it. Without the “kosher” symbol, I wouldn’t have even known it was Jewish. Robert Weinstein — who seems to have had no direct relationship to Weinstein’s Restaurant — was a young entrepreneur in the early 1950s with a playful, modern sensibility. He briefly ran a shoe store on Market Street called Bobman’s and then went into the restaurant business. His parents, Hyman and Ann Weinstein, were real estate investors who owned several downtown properties. They bought 635 Liberty Ave. in early 1953 and gave the ground floor to their son for his new restaurant and bar. Available documentation of Robert’s Restaurant comes from newspapers, and it’s filtered through that sensibility. For example: The day before the restaurant was set to open in February 1953, the building caught fire, paralyzing downtown traffic. All the local papers covered it. One even showed Robert Weinstein in tears, watching the blaze. Another example: In 1963, a busboy from Robert’s Restaurant was robbed while taking the day’s earnings to the bank. City detectives were suspicious. They questioned the kid, and

he quickly admitted to faking even that one intriguing detail the robbery with some friends. ends up revealing not all that He was given one-year probamuch about the restaurant. tion but kept his job, thanks It’s not this way for all to the collective mercy of all Jewish businesses. The docuparties involved. ments that survive from These articles are great but Jewish-owned clothing also a bit misleading. They stores include sales ledgers are far more dramatic than and purchasing invoices. daily life, and so they reveal With those, you can do a little about the actual affairs good job of reconstructing of the restaurant. Then there the spirit, atmosphere and are years of newspaper ads. affairs of the store. These often end up being far But those sorts of internal less dramatic than daily life. records have rarely survived Here’s a long-running ad from local Jewish-owned  A long-running Robert’s Restaurant from the local Jewish papers: restaurants. Instead, we are left advertisement in the local American Outlook gives hints to its menu. “Air-conditioned/Roberts with whatever was presented to JewishImage from Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project Restaurant/635 Liberty Ave./ the world at the time: menus, CO. 1-9147/Kosher Hebrew matchbooks and advertiseNational Corned Beef/Hot ments. You can learn from ignore it? How did those businesses seek that Pastromi/N.Y. Style Cheesecake/ these, too. If you analyze menu approval? What was involved in getting it? also Full Course Dinners/Steaksofferings or marketing terms What did diners think about it all? Chops-Chicken-Seafood/After like “kosher-style” or “strictly Having answers to those questions would  Robert’s Restaurant Theatre Snacks/Delicatessen operated on Liberty kosher,” you can draw certain present a detailed portrait of a community Service/Open 7 A.M. TO 2 P.M.” Avenue from 1953 conclusions, and you can undergoing a religious transition. Without When I first saw the match- into the early 1960s, situate those conclusions within answers, we are left with a word, “kosher,” book, I briefly assumed catering to Jewish national scholarship to under- that can mean everything or can mean downtown. Robert’s was a kosher restau- eaters stand the evolution of Jewish nothing, depending on the context. PJC Image from Matchbook Album rant, the way we think of the Store via Rauh Jewish Archives eating practices at a certain place term today. The ad suggests Eric Lidji is the director of the Rauh Jewish and a certain time. otherwise. “Cheesecake” is just a little too They just don’t explain how decisions Archives at the Heinz History Center. He can be close to “Steaks-Chops-Chicken.” It may be were made in the moment. Why did some reached at rjarchives@heinzhistorycenter.org possible to construct a kosher restaurant businesses seek religious approval and others or 412-454-6406. where milk and meat dishes are strictly separated, but that innovation seems unlikely in downtown Pittsburgh in the early 1950s. And then there is that suspiciously ambiguous term “Seafood,” which could mean salmon but probably doesn’t. DELI & S Looking at the matchbook again, “Kosher” AGEL B seems to refer only to the Hebrew National corned beef, not to the restaurant itself. The legitimacy of the kosher supervision of Hebrew National products was one of the hallmark kashrut debates of that era, and so

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Headlines 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 SUNDAYS, MAY 29-JULY 3 Join a lay-led Online Parashah Study Group to discuss the week’s Torah portion. No Hebrew knowledge is needed. The goal is to build community while deepening understanding of the text. 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org.

q MONDAYS, MAY 30-JULY 11 Join Congregation Beth Shalom for a weekly Talmud study. 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org.

q TUESDAY, MAY 31 The Arab-Israeli conflict plays a large (some would claim outsized) role in current events. This course aims to unpack the causes and core issues that relate to the conflict. The goal is to make the subject accessible to educators and to give them the tools with which to grapple in the classroom with the subject at large and with breaking news. 2 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/arab_israeli_conflict. COVID has forever changed our lives and the effect of COVID on the mental health of teens and young adults has been particularly acute. Join Jewish Residential Services virtually for a conversation with Erin Barr, clinical coordinator for UpStreet, JFCS Pittsburgh’s innovative mental wellness program for teenagers and young adults. Learn the difference between “normal” teenage behavior and behavior that requires intervention, the unique challenges in teen mental health and where to turn for help. 5 p.m. us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/ tZwpc-mqpz0qGdJpELCOl1DbyAtIPAlBSeNe

The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh presents the VR documentary “By the Waters of Babylon,” a story of composers who created hope in a time of darkness and a modern-day string quartet dedicated to shining a light on their legacy. This limited screening event is a collaboration between the filmmakers, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, Chatham University and Point Park University. Screenings take place on May 31. Space is limited, advanced registration required. 7 p.m. Buhl Planetarium at the Carnegie Science Center. $0-$36. hcofpgh.org/events

q WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1 Save the date for the National Council of Jewish Women Pittsburgh’s Spring Event. Guest speaker Tammy Thompson, founder of Catapult Greater Pittsburgh, will discuss how love, support and policy can pave a road to prosperity. Outgoing President Teddi Jacobson Horvitz will be honored, and new President Andrea Kline Glickman will be installed. 7 p.m. Rodef Shalom Congregation. Registration coming soon. ncjwpghevents.org/upcoming-events

Join Temple Sinai to study the weekly Torah portion in its hybrid class available on Zoom. Open to everyone. Noon. templesinaipgh.org/event/parashah/ weekly-torah-portion-class-via-zoom11.html

q FRIDAY, JUNE 3 The National Council of Jewish Women presents a free monthly working mom’s group as a place to get support personally and network professionally. Facilitated by Dionna Rojas-Orta. Noon. ncjwpghevents.org/events/working-moms-supportgroup-drop-in-virtual-2022-06-03-12-00

Join Congregation Dor Hadash for a hybrid screening of the documentary “A Kiss to This Land,” presented both on Zoom and in person. The film presents the oral history of seven Jewish individuals who immigrated to Mexico in the early 20th century. 1:30 p.m. Location TBA. eventbrite.com/e/filmscreening-a-kiss-to-this-land-tickets-344963694697

q SUNDAY, JUNE 5 Celebrate Shavuot and hear the Ten Commandments for the 3,334th time at Chabad of the South Hill’s Ice Cream, Tacos and Ten Commandments. Make your own ice cream taco. 11:30 a.m. 1701 McFarland Road. Rickel@Chabadsh.com or tinyurl.com/ ICE-CREAM-TACO

The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh welcomes Father John Neiman on what would have been Anne Frank’s 93rd birthday. Neiman first read Anne Frank’s diary when he was 10 years old. He will recount the story of his friendship with Frank’s father, Otto, and Miep Gies, as well as discuss the Holocaust. Q&A will follow. Presented both in person and online. 3 p.m. eventbrite.com/e/father-john-neimantickets-311834905597


The new six-week Rohr Jewish Learning Institute course, The Values That Shape Judaism’s Civil Code, examines a number of key legal issues that disclose fundamental ethical considerations that serve as the engine of Jewish civil law. Class offered in person or at Chabad of the South Hills. $95 individual/$170 couple. 7:30 p.m. chabadsh.com

Classrooms Without Borders, presents Confronting the Complexity of Holocaust Scholarship: Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of Holocaust Studies. In this final session, Jonathan Friedman will be joined in conversation with Michael Bernbaum discussing the use of comedy as a literary form to depict Adolf Hitler, the Third Reich and the Holocaust. 3 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/ confronting_the_complexity_of_holocaust_scholarship



Bring the parshah alive and make it personally relevant and meaningful. Study the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman. 12:15 p.m. bethshalompgh.org/life-text

Classrooms Without Borders presents a post-film discussion of “The Fourth Window” with filmmaker Yair Qedar moderated by Avi Ben Hur. The film explores the life of Israeli writer Amos Oz. 3 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/post-film-discussionfourth-window


q SUNDAY, JUNE 12 Join Congregation Beth Shalom for its Sisterhood Torah Fund Brunch honoring Dr. Lidush Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt is a longtime member of Beth Shalom, a former member of the board of trustees, and has been an active member of Sisterhood and Na’amat. 10 a.m. 5915 Beacon Street. bethshalompgh.org

q THURSDAY, JUNE 30 Join the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA) at its annual fundraiser, the Art of Aging, for an evening of food, art and community. Guests will enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres followed by a unique and energetic hour-long performance by speed-painting group, The 3 Painters. After the show, the paintings created on stage will be auctioned. Contact Ashley Crosby at acrosby@jaapgh.org or at 412-586-2690 for assistance. 6 p.m. Stage AE, 4000 North Shore Drive. artofagingpgh.planningpod.com PJC


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Headlines A half-century later, Greensburg resident marks bat mitzvah — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle


erri Katzman, despite being an observant Jew, didn’t celebrate her bat mitzvah at 12 or 13. Try 79. The Greensburg grandmother, who hails from Kansas City, was called to the bimah and read from the Torah for an assembly of family and well-wishers at Congregation Emanu-El Israel (CEI) last Saturday morning. Why celebrate becoming a bat mitzvah as a septuagenarian? The answer’s pretty simple. “I never had one,” Katzman told the Chronicle. “So, the thought has always been there.” Katzman’s family traveled from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to observe — and participate in — her bat mitzvah, with other family members coming from places as far flung as Colorado, Texas and Virginia. A brother from Kansas City who couldn’t make the event participated via Zoom. Katzman’s two grandchildren — ages 8 and 11 — blew a shofar to start the proceedings. Societal differences a generation or two ago sometimes meant that boys in families studied to become a bar mitzvah, but girls

 Terri Katzman, her son David Katzman and Rabbi Lenny Sarko

did not. That wasn’t the case with Katzman; she started studying Hebrew in the third or fourth grade. But she never got around to reading her portion of the Torah aloud before family and friends in her synagogue. Though she admitted she loved studying the meaning of Torah with CEI’s Rabbi

Photo by Bea Harrison

Lenny Sarko, Katzman said it was her childhood training in Hebrew that ultimately inspired her to do the reading last weekend. “The whole process went so smoothly, yes — it was very enjoyable,” said Katzman, who has come to CEI for about 40 years. “The fact that I can read Hebrew made it much easier.”

Sarko said adult bar and bat mitzvahs are increasingly common; Katzman’s was the second he officiated at CEI — and there are more in the pipeline. The rabbi said he has a soft spot for adults seeking a spiritual education, especially the year-long commitment that leads to celebrating becoming a bar or bat mitzvah. “It’s interesting to them and interesting to me,” Sarko said. “This is what I’d supposed to be doing as a rabbi: teaching.” Katzman also isn’t the eldest who Sarko helped ascend the bimah; one congregant who recently marked becoming a bar mitzvah was 88. “It’s really quite beautiful and quite nice,” the rabbi said. “They bring this maturity and this questioning, and this in-depth view of what Judaism is about.” “It brings a lot of joy to Terri,” he added. “But, to the entire community, it’s a nice time, a nice life cycle event.” Katzman agreed. “The whole experience has been wonderful because my family was around and part of it,” she said. “And it’s also just a real sense of community, which is what it’s supposed to be.” The Katzmans also marked the special weekend by preparing an oneg for Friday’s CEI service. PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.

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Healing plants featured at Rodef Shalom’s Biblical Botanical Garden — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle


his year’s special exhibit at Rodef Shalom’s Biblical Botanical Garden will focus on the healing power of Biblical plants. The exhibit, “The Healing Garden,” features plants mentioned in the Torah that have healing powers for the mind, body and spirit — such as aloe, almonds and pomegranate, Helena Nichols, the garden’s director, said. Nichols succeeded Rabbi Walter Jacob, rabbi emeritus of Rodef Shalom, as the garden’s director in 2019. “We do have a frankincense tree — I’m really excited about that,” Nichols laughed. Previous special, semiannual exhibits have focused on themes such as beer or other sensory experiences from ancient times. Every year, the garden also showcases a litany of plants either mentioned in the Torah or with Biblical names, like the Bird of Paradise. There are approximately 38 healing herbs set for display, Nichols said. But those looking for “chai” — good luck or good omens in iterations of 18 — don’t have to look far. “This is actually our 36th year,” Nichols said. “And we want this exhibit to be as

p A waterfall and lilies at the Biblical Botanical Garden

accessible to people as humanly possible.” Those who haven’t visited the Biblical Botanical Garden might benefit from a short primer: The garden, which runs along Fifth Avenue on the Rodef Shalom campus, is shaped like and themed after Israeli topography. Features include a Negev-like desert and Galilean waters. “We have these important locating features, so you can really get a sense of the Holy Land,” Nichols said.

Photos courtesy of Helena Nichols

The garden will display signage with quotations — sometimes the same one — taken from the Torah, the Christian New Testament and the Quran, illustrating the similarities between the Abrahamic faiths. There also will be scheduled lectures from psychologists and herbalists on the theme of healing. Dates and times will be printed in brochures available at the garden and made available on the Rodef Shalom website.

p Helena Nichols and Rabbi Walter Jacob in the Biblical Botanical Garden

The garden exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. No reservations are necessary. Rodef Shalom will host evening hours on Wednesdays and, for groups of eight and up, offer tours with docents. All visits to the garden are free. PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.

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MAY 27, 2022


Headlines — WORLD — Jewish groups fail to stop Arizona from offering gas chamber for executions

An unusual scenario played out in Arizona recently: The son of a Jewish woman who fled the Nazis was asked if he wanted to be executed by the same gas the Nazis once used, JTA reported. Frank Atwood, who was convicted of murdering an 8-year-old girl in 1984, has been on death row for decades. For his method of execution he was given the choice between lethal injection, Arizona’s default method, or a gas chamber — which the state refurbished last year in preparation for possibly killing Atwood and one other death row inmate. Arizona’s intent to restart gas executions, and the state’s purchase of materials to make hydrogen cyanide — a version of which, Zyklon B, was used by the Nazis to murder Jews in Auschwitz — is strongly opposed by its Jewish community. In February, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix and two members of the Jewish community partnered with the local American Civil Liberties Union chapter to sue the state over its planned use of the gas, calling the punishment “cruel and inhumane.” A superior court judge threw out the suit in April, saying that the Jewish community had failed to sufficiently challenge the law’s

constitutionality, and that the state’s constitution permits execution by gas in some cases.

90-year-old Jewish man allegedly pushed to his death in Lyon, France

A dispute between neighbors in France ended with the death of a 90-year-old Jewish man, according to police, who do not suspect an antisemitic motive, JTA reported. Police arrested a 51-year-old neighbor of the deceased, René Hadjaj, sometime after Hadjaj’s death on May 17 outside his home in Lyon in eastern France, the Tribune Juive Jewish newspaper reported. The suspect pushed Hadjaj to his death from an elevated story of their residential building, prosecutors told Le Progrès. That paper reported that police had initially investigated a possible antisemitic motive but have now excluded it. They believe the incident stemmed from an argument unconnected to the fact that Hadjdaj was Jewish. French media have not reported the suspect’s identity.

Hungarian writer known for antisemitic remarks addressed CPAC conference

Zsolt Bayer, a Hungarian journalist condemned by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum for calling Jewish critics of Hungary “excrement,” spoke to an influential American conservative conference that also was addressed by former President Donald Trump, JTA reported. Bayer, Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban all appeared this past

I n - Ho m e Care S e r v i ce s

weekend at the annual Conservative Political Action Committee conference, held this year in Budapest. CPAC, a leading U.S. conservative attraction, where potential Republican presidential candidates often appear to assess their chances, chose Hungary for a rare conference abroad in part because Orban is seen as a bulwark against liberalism. In 2011, furious at criticism of Orban’s newly imposed restrictions on media, Bayer singled out three Jewish critics — Andras Schiff, the noted Hungarian pianist, Nick Cohen, a British journalist, and Daniel CohnBendit, a French politician — as “stinking excrement” and suggested it was “unfortunate” that more Jews were not killed in a 1919 massacre of Hungarian communists.

Chad restores full diplomatic relations with Israel

Israel has an ambassador to Chad for the first time in 50 years, adding to Israel’s growing ties to African countries, JTA reported. Ben Bourgel, who serves as a nonresident ambassador to several African countries, added Chad to his list on May 17 when he presented his credentials to Chad’s president, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno. Several African nations whose leaders had friendly relations with Israel severed those ties in the 1970s, following pressure by Arab nations. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prioritized restoring diplomatic ties with many of them, and he met with Chad’s former president, Idriss Déby Itno, in 2018.

The Israeli ambassador and his team “will work to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries in areas of common interest such as climate change, agriculture, water management and health,” the Israeli embassy in Dakar, Senegal, wrote on Twitter about Bourgel’s accreditation.

Boris Johnson vows to solve Northern Ireland’s Brexit-related kosher food shortages

During a visit to a synagogue in Belfast, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to fix bureaucratic complications connected to Brexit that have caused kosher food shortages in Northern Ireland, JTA reported. There is no need for “laborious checks on products uniquely important to the Jewish community being moved from Great Britain into Northern Ireland,” Johnson said. “We will see this situation resolved.” Northern Ireland has remained in the European Union’s single market even though the United Kingdom, of which Northern Ireland is a part, pulled out of the bloc in 2020. This fact has complicated shipments of food and other products from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland, resulting in kosher food shortages, among other issues. The Jewish community of Manchester in England is the main kosher food supplier for the Belfast Jewish Community Synagogue, which services that community of a few hundred people. PJC — Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

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

May 27, 1973 — Halevi is named Tel Aviv’s Chief Rabbi

Chaim-David Halevi, who in 1964 became the youngest member of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate Council, is elected the Sephardi chief rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. His important rulings include allowing women to study Talmud.

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May 28, 1999 — Submarine Dakar is found after 3 decades

The Israeli submarine Dakar, which disappeared with 69 sailors en route from England to Israel in January 1968, is discovered between Crete and Cyprus almost 9,800 feet deep in the Mediterranean Sea.

May 29, 1979 — Dayan addresses peace process

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Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan tells the Knesset about the events that culminated in Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt. He expresses optimism that the three-year process to achieve normalization between Israel and Egypt will succeed.

May 30, 1972 — 26 are killed in Lod Airport Massacre

Contracted by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, three Japanese Red Army terrorists kill 26 people at the Lod airport. Two terrorists die in the attack; the third is captured, tried and convicted.

May 31, 1665 — Shabbetai Zevi declares himself messiah

Scholar Shabbetai Zevi declares himself the Messiah after meeting with a mystic, Nathan of Gaza, who reinforces Zevi’s delusions. Arrested by Ottoman officials in 1666, Zevi converts to Islam to avoid execution.

June 1, 1967 — Dayan is named defense minister

Seeking government unity as war approaches, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol appoints Moshe Dayan to serve as the defense minister, gaining his military experience and his ties to David Ben-Gurion.

June 2, 1980 — Jewish Underground bombs Palestinian officials

The Jewish Underground carries out its first terrorist operation, placing bombs on the cars of West Bank Palestinians. The mayor of Nablus loses both legs, and the mayor of Ramallah loses one leg. PJC

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Opinion Europe will always back Israel’s right to exist Guest Columnist Roberta Metsola


his week I had the privilege of visiting Israel for the first since I was elected president of the European Parliament in January. It will not be my last visit. I wanted to come early in my mandate to send a signal of our willingness to engage. To underline the European Parliament’s commitment to furthering our ties and to underscore that the European Union and Israel share more than history. I came to Jerusalem to bring the message of Europe to the people of Israel. I wanted to underline that the ties between our peoples are deep and the bond we share is

Peace is not easy. It must mean living with differences in the mutual respect that coexistence requires. It must mean justice. It must mean equality of opportunity. It must mean parents who can see a future for their children. one that has been forged in the horror of our common history. A bond made in suffering and in salvation, and whose strength lies in its openness, honesty, straightforwardness

— even criticism — but a bond that has and will withstand the test of time. I am an optimist, but I am not blind to the challenges you confront. To the threats

— some existential — you face; of the difficulties in supporting a vibrant democracy. It is inconceivable that Israel’s right to exist is still put into question. Let me be clear: Europe will always back Israel’s right to exist. Peace is difficult, but in Europe, we know that peace is possible. Peace with security. Peace with liberty. Peace with dignity. Peace with justice. Peace is not easy. It must mean living with differences in the mutual respect that coexistence requires. It must mean justice. It must mean equality of opportunity. It must mean parents who can see a future for their children. It falls to us to ensure that we educate and counter toxic narratives. Ignorance promotes fear and, distrust. Ignorance promotes hate. And education is the best weapon to fight Please see Metsola, page 15

Voting as a Jew is not only about Israel Guest Columnist Rabbi Amy Bardack


ver the past few weeks, I’ve received lots of advice about whom to support in the recent Democratic primaries. An acquaintance in the Orthodox community told me: “Rabbi, I don’t mean to ‘Jew-splain’ this to you, but Steve Irwin is pro-Israel and Summer Lee is not.” It’s been national news that AIPAC spent millions of dollars on mendacious attack ads against Summer Lee. I’m not writing to endorse her or any other candidate. My argument is about the very notion of putting Israel first when electing our leaders. There is a pervasive assumption that the only one way to vote as a Jew is to support AIPAC-anointed pro-Israel candidates. It is that underlying belief that I question. There are 7 million Jews who live in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

They are my people and I care about their well-being. But a candidate’s views on Israel should not be the only criterion we weigh. Judaism demands more from us than sheer tribalism. Feeding the hungry, healing the sick and giving voice to the disenfranchised are core values embedded in our sacred texts. The Torah again and again calls upon us to take care of the widow, orphan and stranger in our midst. Geography matters as well. Jewish tradition is clear that, when resources are limited, we are to prioritize the needs of those in closest proximity to us over those farther away. In Bava Metzia, Rav Yosef says: “If the choice is between the poor of your city and the poor of another town, the poor of your own town have prior rights.” The Hatam Sofer, a 19th-century Haredi leader, addressed the question of who should take precedence: the poor in your city who are in dire straits or the poor in Jerusalem who are less needy. He writes: “If the people of Jerusalem have their basic needs taken care of, they have no claim to tzedakah funds

until every single resident in one’s own city has equal support.” It may surprise some that he was not referring only to the Jewish residents in one’s city. Judaism is not ambiguous. Our top priority must be to address the needs of those closest to us. That means advocating for adequate food, clean water, affordable housing and a living wage for Jews and non-Jews alike. American Jews will be served best by living in places that safeguard the health, freedom and dignity of all inhabitants. Our neighbors and fellow citizens of all religions must be of primary consideration when we act politically. Prioritizing Israel over the fundamental welfare of the local community is in fact antithetical to Judaism. For those of you who will remain singleissue voters, you can rest assured that support for Israel is firmly entrenched. Israel already receives the largest amount of U.S. military aid of any nation, despite having a highly robust economy of its own, and the $3.8 billion is in no danger of decreasing. Evangelical Christian elected officials have their own reasons for guaranteeing that this

funding continues unabated. Progressive voices in our government who object to Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinians will not threaten the foreign aid or diplomatic ties between the two countries. AIPAC preys on our fears by greatly exaggerating the impact of local elections on Israel’s security. Israel does not rely on the outcome of U.S. congressional elections for its survival. Staunch loyalty to Israel does not trump all other Jewish values. From a Jewish perspective, a politician’s views on Israel are less important than their policies toward the needy. The survival of Diaspora Jews depends far more on the freedoms and protections enshrined in the laws of the nations in which we reside than on our government’s relationship to the state of Israel. Hevre, we would do well to keep that in mind in November. PJC Rabbi Amy Bardack serves on the executive council of the Rabbinical Assembly, a global membership organization of more than 1800 Conservative rabbis. She lives in Squirrel Hill.

Who’s winning Bernie Sanders’s war on AIPAC? Guest Columnist Jonathan Tobin


ast week, 57 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter calling on the U.S. State Department and the FBI to launch an investigation into the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist who worked for Al Jazeera. Abu-Akleh died from a gunshot wound suffered during a battle between Israeli forces and Palestinians who were resisting a counter-terrorism raid launched in response to the recent wave of deadly terror attacks in Israel. The letter was


MAY 27, 2022

The goal of efforts like the Abu Akleh letter is to undermine the U.S.-Israel alliance by depicting Israel as an oppressor and Palestinians as helpless victims rather than the perpetrators of violence. worded in accordance with the Palestinian narrative that took as a given that the reporter was deliberately killed by the Israelis when the facts indicate that it was an unfortunate accident in a combat zone, and that the fatal bullet

was just as likely to have been fired from a Palestinian weapon as from an Israeli one. It was the latest indication of the inroads that anti-Israel propagandists have been making among progressives. While the more extreme


members of the Democratic “Squad” are explicitly supporting the nakba narrative that demands Israel’s destruction, other left-wing Democrats are backing this up by supporting different measures aimed at buttressing the big lie about an “apartheid state.” They’re spreading other canards that make the argument that Israel’s measures of self-defense are illegitimate. The goal of efforts like the Abu Akleh letter is to undermine the U.S.-Israel alliance by depicting Israel as an oppressor and Palestinians as helpless victims rather than the perpetrators of violence. That a quarter of the Democratic caucus in the House signed it shows how much ground Israel’s enemies have gained in the party in recent years. That’s the context for what is shaping up Please see Tobin, page 20


Opinion Chronicle poll results: Assault-style weapons


ast week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “Should the sale of assault-style weapons be banned?” Of the 352 people who responded, 90% said yes and just 9% said no. Comments were submitted by 104 people. A few follow.

Should the sale of assault-style weapons be banned? 1% Don’t know.


This was done before, and it worked. The people who wrote the Constitution wrote “well-regulated” into the Second Amendment. Repeal the and start over.



No need for private citizens to own these weapons. No one except police or military need

This is a no-brainer. How many mass killings do we need to suffer before people understand this?


Mental health care is the issue. People can run a truck into a crowd and kill people. They can use knives and Molotov cocktails. They can use poison. Banning assault rifles makes people feel better, but it doesn’t solve the root of the problem. It doesn’t stop the hatred. Handguns kill more citizens daily, but these deaths don’t get attention.

capacity the shooter has. We know too well here in Pittsburgh the lethal impact they can have on our communities in the hands of white supremacists and others bent on killing innocent people.

90% Yes.

assault-type weapons. This issue is very personal for me since a family member of mine was murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre. Assault-style weapons are designed for war. Whatever pleasure some might derive from handling them is clearly not worth the loss of the countless lives lost due to the

— LETTERS — Jett’s letter has nothing to do with democracy

Race is important to Ambassador Dennis Jett — always has been, always will be (Letter to the Editor, May 13). And Israel is important to AIPAC (and me) — always has been, always will be. I wonder/I doubt whether Ambassador Jett would have spoken out against UDP/AIPAC if it hadn’t supported Steve Irwin with a “slime” attack against Summer Lee and hadn’t been against “the Squad.” What he wrote has everything to do with that and all his talk about democracy is sheer nonsense! Jack Mennis Allison Park

Rodef Shalom’s mistake

I have known Rabbi Aaron Bisno for years. While I reside in New York City, I used to make frequent visits to Pittsburgh to spend time with my late father, Dr. Paul S. Caplan. We never missed a Rosh Hashanah service at Rodef Shalom Congregation, where my late parents, Gertrude F. and Paul S. Caplan, were members for many years. I was confirmed at Rodef Shalom, sang in the junior choir, was a member of the teen youth group and was married there. I have very fond memories of this venerable house of worship. Thus, I, like so many others, was stunned to learn of Rabbi Bisno’s “leave of absence.” Rabbi Bisno was always gracious to my father and me, welcoming us warmly on Rosh Hashanah. However, what stood out to me was Rabbi Bisno’s genuine concern for my dad as his health began to decline. During my father’s final months, Rabbi Bisno made frequent visits to see my father both at a rehab facility and then at his home. I have never seen such a genuinely caring rabbi as Aaron Bisno. He made himself available to us whenever I would reach out and his sage advice was a guide for me and my family during my father’s last weeks. This historic temple demands a rabbi who possesses the intellect, the stature and gravitas deserving of this house of worship. Rabbi Bisno possesses these qualities. His sermons were poignant, thought-provoking and always relevant to the topics of the day as he gracefully intertwined the biblical passage of the week. Never before have I seen a rabbi receive an

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 or email letters to:

It’s not the weapon, it’s the user. There are way too many rifles of this type already in circulation worldwide to make any form of confiscation possible without a police-state type of house-to-house search nationwide. Completely impractical. Most are owned by honest users and the small percentage of misusers are known, but no action is taken until it’s too late. The odds of banning anything gun-related in the current environment are next to nothing. Sad, but realistic. There is not a clear definition of assaultstyle weapon, but it’s a start. American gun violence is a deeper problem than just the equipment.

It’s a slippery slope to define what weapons “should” be banned. The reason is tyrants can only take over a population that is completely unarmed. It’s happened many, many times. It’s too easy to ban all guns, and then we are all sitting ducks. Furthermore, bad guys already have their “assault weapons.” Too late to take them away from the bad guys. There aren’t any easy or perfect solutions in this complicated situation. If you think about the military intention behind these weapons, it is barbaric! Certainly, in the hands of civilians, they are incomprehensible! Any firearm that can be used in self-defense should never be banned. It’s the shooter, not the gun. Jews are the last people who should ban any gun. PJC — Toby Tabachnick

Chronicle poll question:

Did you vote in the Pennsylvania primary election? Go to Pittsburghjewishchronicle.org to respond. PJC

ovation as he did after his most moving Kol Nidre sermon. His leadership is known throughout the Greater Pittsburgh religious community and he is respected by religious leaders of all faiths. He led a mission of interfaith clergy to Rome and Israel, opened the doors of Rodef Shalom to the congregants of Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha, has convened numerous conversations within the Jewish community and is deeply respected by his colleagues in Pittsburgh, the U.S. and around the world. It would be a major mistake on many levels not to renew his contract, especially considering that this rabbi, whose voice has been heard so prominently throughout the Pittsburgh Jewish community, was not given a voice. Roberta A. Caplan New York, New York

The other side at the rally

The Jewish Pro-Life Foundation traveled to Washington D.C. on May 17 to educate Jewish abortion activists at the Jewish Rally for Abortion Justice hosted by the National Council of Jewish Women (“NCJW Pittsburgh embraces role as ‘community ally’ as abortion ‘crisis’ looms,” May 13). Our group included Jewish life-affirming rabbis and friends from New York, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Our educators included Rabbi Yakov Cohen of Institute of Noahide Code, Rabbi Noson Shmuel Leiter of Help Rescue our Children and Rabbi Shlomo Nachman of BeitEmunah.org. Our compelling signs, posters and conversation offered attendees of the rally Torah-based images and messaging reflecting the sanctity of human life from conception, the nearly universal prohibition against abortion in Jewish law, cultural and historical reasons to choose lifesaving alternatives to unplanned pregnancy, and healing opportunities for Jewish men and women who suffer after abortion. The Jewish Pro-Life Foundation saves Jewish lives and heals Jewish hearts by providing the Jewish community with much needed pro-life education, Jewish-friendly pregnancy care and adoption referrals, and healing after abortion. Cecily Routman Sewickley

Letters to the editor via email: letters@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org Address: Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 5915 Beacon St., 5th Flr., Pittsburgh, PA 15217 Website address: pittsburghjewishchronicle.org/ letters-to-the-editor



MAY 27, 2022


Headlines Election: Continued from page 1

Lou Weiss echoed Saul’s concern about Lee’s potential alignment in Congress with Tlaib and others on the far left. “The fact that I’m going to be represented probably by a Squad member is a little mindblowing,” Weiss said. “If she votes based on her philosophy, people will realize and take action and vote against her.” Saul is keeping his mind open, hoping that Lee will educate herself about the Jewish community and U.S.–Israel relations. But he is concerned about where she is getting her information on the issues. “She said she would want to be a learning partner with the Jewish community, and that was encouraging,” Saul noted. “Except, if the learning partners are far left-wing individuals, I’m concerned.” Julie Paris supported Irwin in the primary, saying he was a progressive, pro-Israel Democrat who was familiar with Washington, D.C., had nurtured important relationships and could reach across the aisle to get things done. She said Irwin’s support of Israel was a significant factor in her backing of the candidate. “I view the U.S.-Israel relationship as extremely significant and important for the future of world Jewry and U.S. security,” Paris said. “That’s why I invested so much of my time in Steve Irwin, believing he could best represent us in PA-12 and really accomplish a lot for both the U.S. and the Israeli relationship.” Paris is also concerned with the rise of antisemitism — something she sees on social

Security: Continued from page 1

Greater Pittsburgh, understands Julie’s anxiety but said community members need not feel unsafe. “I think people should continue to do what they do,” Brokos said. “And that is to be very aware of their surroundings and be cognizant of suspicious or unusual behavior.” Over the last eight months, at least four antisemitic incidents were reported in Squirrel Hill: In September 2021, Tyrone Correll was arrested for simple assault, harassment and ethnic intimidation. Christian Williams was arrested on April 17 for making antisemitic comments and threats. On May 8, David Aul was arrested after choking a victim in a Murray Avenue store. On May 17, a white male in a red Dodge Ram with a landscaping trailer attached yelled antisemitic comments at Jewish community members. Additionally, antisemitic fliers were distributed in both Squirrel Hill and Mt. Lebanon. Brokos said there is nothing to connect the incidents beyond mental health issues suffered by some of the perpetrators. “They were acting separate and apart from one another,” she said. “We have no known links between them.” Brokos said she has struggled with the question of why the Jewish community is being attacked, especially after all the work done after the shooting at the Tree of Life 14

MAY 27, 2022

media from both the far right and far left. “Hatred of Israel actually affects American Jews,” she said. “I feel less safe when Israel is demonized and delegitimized because I know it doesn’t end on the internet, it doesn’t end in the halls of Congress. It spills out into the streets, and we are not immune from the effects of antisemitism in Squirrel Hill.” Taking a view from the other side of the political fence, Sara Stock Mayo said she was pleased with Lee’s victory. “I feel like she has a very powerful and necessary voice in the political arena right now when it comes to more progressive issues,” Mayo said. Mayo said it was Lee’s concern about climate change, gun violence and racial justice that helped garner her support. And Mayo believes Lee will be a buoy for Democrats in Congress. “I don’t think, in general, that Democrats have fought back hard enough, and I think Summer is the kind of person who will take people to task,” Mayo said. As to Lee’s views on Israel, Mayo said she thinks the candidate is working hard to educate herself. “My family has been in conversation with her about Israel,” Mayo said. “She has spoken with family members of mine in Israel. She has said she would be willing to visit the region. She was always going to fall on the side of ‘the occupation is wrong’ — and I believe that as well.” Mayo said both she and Lee believe funding to Israel should be conditional. Lee is open to dialogue, Mayo said, willing to admit what she doesn’t know, and willing to take a nuanced position. Avigail Oren said her support of Lee building that brought attention to the harm caused by antisemitism. Pointing to the recent attacks in both Buffalo and Orange County, California, Brokos said it only takes one individual to latch onto hate and commit a violent act. Western Pennsylvania has seen a marked increase in antisemitic incidents, according to a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League. There were 20 incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault against Jewish individuals in the area last year — the most since the organization began tracking them in 1979. Maggie Feinstein, director of the 10.27 Healing Partnership, understands that the recent increase in antisemitic incidents can cause someone to feel unsafe. She said the first thing a person can do is stop to consider whether they truly are in danger. “There are a lot of risks in living,” Feinstein said. “Every day, we take calculated risks. At that moment, ask yourself, ‘Am I actually unsafe? It’s broad daylight, I have a cellphone, I am aware and there are people nearby, so I’m not alone.’” After assessing the situation, Feinstein said the next step is to decide what can be done to feel safe. Situational awareness is important, she said. “Sometimes when people feel unsafe, they stay home or try and distract away that thought,” Feinstein explained. “My strong recommendation is that people learn how to help themselves through that consciously, otherwise every time we hear something that feels unsafe, we’ll be reactive rather than

grew over the last several years as she heard Lee speak at various marches, gatherings and events. “I felt that her emphasis on economic justice and racial justice really reflected my own political priorities,” Oren said. “I heard from her constituents that she showed up for them and I really liked that.” Oren said she isn’t concerned about Lee’s potential alignment with the “Squad” in Congress. “I am a millennial woman,” Oren said. “I take great pride in seeing other millennial women voicing their vision for a future that includes everyone. I believe there is a place in our political system for dissent. While their position may appear to dissent from the majority of the Democratic Party and platform, they are at the front of a change that is coming as the electorate changes.” One point of concern for Mayo was the involvement of AIPAC in the election. Last year, the pro-Israel advocacy group launched the United Democracy Project, a so-called “super PAC” which funded ads in several Congressional races, including District 12’s. “We have to remember who the real enemy is here,” Mayo said. “AIPAC is willing to support over 100 lawmakers who refused to certify Biden’s election and they’re calling themselves ‘interested in democracy’ — that is the most anti-democratic thing any of us can do right now. It is a gross misuse of their spending and also attacking a Black woman in the media in such a horrendous way.” Lee often criticized AIPAC’s opposition to her campaign, and that of the Democratic Majority for Israel, another advocacy group that supports Israel.

p Shaare Torah is located on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill. In the last year, the street has seen a rise in antisemitic incidents. Photo by David Rullo

intentional about our response.” Previous trauma, Feinstein said, can further exacerbate feelings of anxiety. That trauma doesn’t need to be experienced firsthand. Awareness of the attack at the Tree of Life building, the recent attacks in Squirrel Hill or even the pandemic may make a person feel unsafe. “Perception is based on your lived experiences,” she noted. Feinstein said that the 10.27 Healing Partnership can help with immediate concerns associated with anxiety or depression, and that long-term therapy might be helpful. Rick Wice, a Squirrel Hill resident, understands that people are feeling anxious. He doesn’t think Squirrel Hill is unsafe, but he is concerned by the recent spate of antisemitic behavior. Wice said the important thing is that people are aware and alert. “If you see something, say something,”


But Lee also had support that came from beyond Pittsburgh. According to media reports, Lee received $1.7 million in spending conducted by Justice Democrats, the Working Families Party and the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC. Sen. Bernie Sanders visited Pittsburgh on her behalf, and she was endorsed by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley, as well as the Jewish progressive group Bend the Arc. J Street PAC also backed Lee, accepting donations for her campaign on its website. Weiss said the criticism against AIPAC in this election cycle was misplaced, noting that J Street and other organizations like Justice Democrats have endorsed and funded candidates as well. “The national support that Steve got put AIPAC’s detractors on notice that there’s someone on the other side that’s going to fight back,” he said. Despite the results of the race, Paris said she respected the work of Irwin’s campaign. “He ran with integrity, honesty and a sense of wanting to do what is right for PA 12 constituents,” she said. That desire to be a part of something positive for the district, is shared by both sides. “Lee built a movement,” Oren said. “People showed up weekend after weekend. It was something I wanted to be a part of.” Lee will face Republican Mike Doyle for the seat recently vacated by retiring Democrat Mike Doyle (no relation to the Republican). PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. he said. “We can’t walk and live in our neighborhood in fear.” Wice said the Shaare Torah security team deserved credit for the work it’s done to keep Murray Avenue safe. “They’re on the front line,” he said. “I don’t think we have to be worried. Worried doesn’t answer the problem. Alertness does. Communication, training. If your shul offers any sort of security training, take it. Anything you see, anything you hear, if you feel threatened, call 911. Don’t qualify your concern. If you’re in danger or someone else is in danger, call 911. You’re not inconveniencing the police — that’s their job. And make sure you report anything to the Federation.” Brokos is proud of the work Pittsburgh has done to keep its Jewish community safe and agrees with Wice that training is an important part of the security process. “Pittsburgh has done an incredible job of building resiliency and awareness and strengthening community,” Brokos said. “We should be focused on preparedness and being empowered to know we can fight against this hate — through increased training, education and collaboration. We are working more closely with our community partners, law enforcement and faith-based partners. This is not a fight against individuals but a fight against hate, and it takes all of us working together.” PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. *Last name withheld upon request. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

Headlines Abortion: Continued from page 3

The fetus, Greenbaum explained, is considered part of the mother until either the head or the majority of the body emerges. In fact, Greenbaum said, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin wrote that if a woman converts to Judaism while she is pregnant, the fetus is Jewish until birth. After birth, however, the child is considered an individual and needs to convert on its own. Greenbaum said that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the Jewish principle of dina

Murder: Continued from page 4

It is hopeless to find the criminal. The best thing for you and your children would be to sell your store and get out of here because it isn’t safe for you here.” Beatrice heeded the mayor’s advice and, with her two young daughters in tow, left for Los Angeles. Dawson knows little about the journey, she said, but according to family history, a community of “upstanders” offered shelter and sustenance along the way. Finally, after reaching California, Beatrice found landsmen, like those in Erie, and started anew with her young brood. “They were received into a similar community in Los Angeles, where my mom was borne into the warmth of solidarity and a family determined to continue it — Yiddish theater and socialism, determination and love. In a sense, I can tell you much of the story because I am a product of this history,” Dawson said.

Metsola: Continued from page 12

prejudice, to combat extremism. I had the honor of visiting Yad Vashem on Monday. It was an emotional reminder of lives lost, of children murdered simply because their grandparents were Jewish, of memories forever saved. It pains me to say that today we are seeing antisemitism on the rise. We know that that is a warning sign for humanity. It matters to all of us. I will not be ambiguous: To be antisemitic is to be anti-European. Every day we still witness attacks on Jews, on synagogues. Places of peace, of God, of worship, still remain targets. The European Parliament is committed to breaking the cycle, combating antisemitism, ensuring that we remember the devastation of history and that the lessons of the past will never be forgotten. We have a duty to remember, even when the voices of the survivors can no longer be heard. The European Parliament understands its responsibility in doing that. The first female president of our Parliament was Simone

de’malkhuta dina, or the “law of the land is the law,” would take precedence. “We should be an advocate and fight for what we believe is correct,” she said. “This (overturning Roe v. Wade) is not keeping with my Jewish beliefs and Jewish tradition. It’s something that we should be fighting against.” Rabbi Barbara Symons of Temple David said the Reform movement’s position on abortion is clear and was codified at the 95th Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, when the right of a woman or individual family to terminate a pregnancy was affirmed. As part

of the resolution, the CCAR also “opposes amendments and legislation that would abridge or circumscribe this right.” “I stand with our movement’s statement,” Symons said. “I believe that the life of the mother takes precedence over that of the fetus.” It’s not only the mother’s life that is at stake, “but also the quality of life,” Symons said. “And yet, choosing to end a pregnancy is a sad choice that has consequences.” Like Greenbaum, Symons is clear: If abortion becomes illegal in parts of the country, it is not permissible to break the law. “I believe though, that it is our duty to help

people who are choosing to end a pregnancy be able to do that within the states that will uphold that right,” Symons said. For Langer, the discussion should be less about red states and blue states; rather it should be about finding a moderate approach “that allows for us to bear sanctity for the nascent life and at the same time give due consideration to the needs of the mother. We need both but, unfortunately, that’s in scant supply these days. We see a lot of stridency on both sides.” PJC

Martius’ murder largely remained family lore until 1990, when Dawson visited her grandfather’s grave. With help from Temple Anshe Hesed in Erie, Dawson located the tombstone, which read “Herman Martius innocently killed April 7, 1922.” Reading from a 1990 diary entry, Dawson said, “Standing and kneeling beside it and looking behind me to a still wide-open plot of grass, I could feel the presence of the mourners, his comrades and friends, and my grandmother who the paper reports had to be escorted away from the services when she broke down.” Dawson said the same community that supported her grandmother “was able to sustain her through the rest of her life.” In turn, Dawson’s grandmother returned the favor — much like she’d done before Martius’ murder. Beatrice, like her late husband, had supported Bolshevik Communist efforts to overthrow Czar Nicholas II. But even after reaching the U.S., the Martiuses maintained political ties. Herman Martius served as treasurer of the Erie branch of the Friends of Soviet Russia,

and in that capacity raised money for famine relief within the new Soviet Union, said Claire Rhodes, a Chatham graduate who researched the murder during her time in college. Rhodes pointed to a report from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Investigation (a precursor to the FBI) and said that the group was tracking the activities of socialists when Martius was killed. Due to the Red Scare, and the fear of far-left immigrants, “it was a very tense time to be a radical,” Rhodes said. Concurrent to Martius’ murder, antisemitism was also rising, Chatham Associate Professor Lou Martin said. Citing research conducted by John Craig, a Slippery Rock University professor emeritus of history, Martin said that in June 1921 — a year before Martius’ murder — the Ku Klux Klan sent a recruiter to Pittsburgh who, in turn, sent a recruiter to Erie. The latter left Erie in February 1922, shortly before Martius’ murder “but he had been actively recruiting for several months,” Martin said. Then in April 1922, the same month that Martius was killed,

“the Klan made a public showing in western Pennsylvania with a series of cross burnings.” Across the United States, there was heightened violence against Jews, and within Erie it was no different, said Zoe Levine, a former Erie resident and Chatham graduate who also researched Martius’ murder during her time in college. “A lot of this happened due to the ostracization of American Jews by gentile elites, including forcing Americanization onto Jewish Americans,” Levine said. Even within the free and democratic United States, Martius was in danger because of his heritage and political views. “We can assume that the increase of antisemitism, nationalism and anti-socialism could have possibly caused this targeted attack,” Levine said. Martius’ murder remains a mystery and the killer is unknown, Rhodes said, but “I’ll leave it up to your own decision or judgment.” PJC

Veil, who changed the face of Europe while carrying her tattooed serial number 7865 as a stark reminder to the world of the horror and evil she survived at Auschwitz. Our commitment is as personal as it is institutional. We will not waver. My message today is about hope in peace, in healing, in the future. Hope in justice, in believing in the will of people and the ability of our generation to overcome; and to address the challenges that have eluded generations past. It is that sense of hope, that burden of history, that belief, that has led the European Union’s response to the invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin brought war back to Europe in an outrageous invasion of a sovereign, independent Ukraine. The very foundations of the world’s rules-based order have been shaken to the core. Putin now threatens the world with nuclear weapons. We must act together and do everything within our power to prevent Russia from using and other non-democratic actors from acquiring nuclear weapons that would bring more death and irreparable destruction. The war in Ukraine is not a local or

regional one. The impact of what happens in Ukraine is felt in Israel too. Since the beginning of the war almost 6 million Ukrainians had to flee their country — some 27,000 Ukrainians have found safe haven here in Israel. They follow the footsteps of one of the great titans of Israel, Golda Meir, who was born 121 years ago this month in Kyiv. The basis and the ultimate objectives of the European project are peace, democracy and liberty — objectives central to the future of Europe, of Israel and of this region. Those who preach violence do not have the answers. Violence has never been a solution. Terrorism is never justified. People deserve to go about their lives, send their children to school, walk down the street free from fear. The European Parliament firmly supports the Middle East Peace Process. We support a two-state solution, with the secure State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security. I know there are those who do not agree, that there have been multiple false starts to this process, that not everyone sees peace as a goal. And I know how hard it must be

to tell a mother whose child has been killed that peace is the answer. And there are too many such mothers. Far too many. But peace is the only way forward. The only way for Israelis and Palestinians to live in safety and prosperity. Progress is possible. The Abraham Accords may well have seemed inconceivable only a short while ago, but they proved that history does not always have to repeated. That the cycle can indeed be broken. The European Parliament will always be a strong ally in the search for a way forward, in the quest for peace and all the resources at our disposal will be made available for that aim. The story of your great nation is one of hope, perseverance, faith and overcoming adversity. This is the moment that Israel can lead the world in not only seeking but in finding that elusive peace. PJC

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

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

Roberta Metsola is the president of the European Parliament. This article was adapted from an address delivered at the Knesset on Monday, May 24, and was published first on Times of Israel.

www.pittsburghjewishchronicle.org PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG


MAY 27, 2022


Life & Culture Six movies to cap Jewish American Heritage Month version of the Oscars), including Best Film. Americans seeking a greater understanding of Middle Eastern strife may find it instructive as well. Although “Bethlehem” doesn’t offer any great secret to achieving peace, the film reminds viewers that geopolitical conflict isn’t always an exercise in theoretics as much as a dispute between actual people.

— STREAMING — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


“An American Tail” (1986), available on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Apple TV

For a generation of American Jewish children, a trip to the pet store was a puzzling ordeal: If there are no cats in America, why would anyone buy a three-tiered carpeted feline treehouse? Similarly confounding was the experience of looking at a map of the United States — where do you find a city where the streets are paved with cheese? Fievel Mousekewitz and “An American Tale” raised a host of questions for at least this viewer, but the 1986 animated film remains a classic primer on Jewish immigration and a larger desire to find peace and family wherever you call home. Spoiler alert: Keep the tissues close; when Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram hit the chorus of “Somewhere Out There,” get ready for the tears.

“Shoah” (1985), available on Amazon Prime Video

My great-aunt Jolene Mallinger often

“The Week Of” (2018), available on Netflix

recounted the horrific details of getting rounded up, sent to Auschwitz and watching relatives get separated for death. Aunt Jolene died in 2007. Fifteen years later I still can’t fathom how she articulated terror with such clarity. That question — how do everyday people describe monstrosity in the most rational terms? — is at the heart of “Shoah.” Claude Lanzmann’s documentary isn’t easy viewing. It’s nine hours and 26 minutes; at points, the film’s subjects speak with haunting coolness. Europe’s concentration camps were liberated 77 years ago, yet “Shoah” generates a reckoning irrespective of time. How do we confront trauma’s scars? Do we retreat? Do we speak? And for those who choose the latter, is emotional detachment the most human way to tell a story?

why the movement has attracted so many non-Orthodox American Jews. Shluchim (Lubavitch emissaries) may be another. Across the globe, more than 4,900 Lubavitch couples dedicate their lives to welcoming guests, educating them and bringing Jewish people closer to tradition. “Gut Shabbes Vietnam” offers a peek into this practice by following Racheli and Rabbi Menachem Hartman, shluchim and young Israeli parents, as they and their family move from Jerusalem to Ho Chi Minh City. Language, food and social norms all present barriers, yet the Hartmans find a way to connect. The 2008 documentary raises interesting questions about otherness and selective isolation, while opening a window into what Pew noticed a dozen years later.

“Gut Shabbes Vietnam” (2008), available on ChaiFlicks and Amazon Prime Video

“Bethlehem” (2013), available on ChaiFlicks, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV

Of Pew Research Center’s findings within “Jewish Americans in 2020,” the rise of Chabad was seen by many as most notable. According to the think tank, a growing number of U.S. Jews engage with Chabad, yet the overwhelming majority of Chabadgoers don’t consider themselves Orthodox. Pew suggested “Chabad’s outreach toward less observant Jews” may be one reason

For those who enjoyed Netflix’s “Fauda,” familiar faces and themes appear in “Bethlehem.” Terrorism, counter-terrorism and the fraught relationship between Israelis and Palestinians provide the story’s backdrop, however, “Bethlehem” is ultimately about relationships and trust. The Israeli Academy of Film and Television celebrated “Bethlehem” with six Ophirs (Israel’s

Recent years have proven a pattern: Adam Sandler collaborates with Netflix; movie drops; critics pan it. But that belies the reality that consumers occasionally just want something fast, fun and forgettable. “The Week Of ” is a silly film about a Jewish family from Long Island marrying off their daughter. The gags are predictable, the dilemmas too, yet there’s something sweet about this movie. Watching it likely won’t result in any great epiphanies, but “The Week Of ” is a humorous reminder of those we love. For that, you may appreciate Jewish co-stars and “Saturday Night Live” alums Sandler and Rachel Dratch; or, you may realize that staring at a mirror (especially at a funhouse) isn’t always pleasant.

“Operation Thunderbolt” (1977), available on YouTube

Summer camp is weeks away, and anticipation is growing. Directors and staff are putting the finishing touches on programming. Campers and parents are reviewing checklists, while considering how many travel-size toothpastes to bring each session. Amid the feverish preparations, one constant remains: “Operation Thunderbolt.” For decades, the 1977 film has shown on a loop at Jewish summer camps nationwide. Whether watching it reminds you of Israel’s daring hostage rescue, Yoni Netanyahu’s death or 1970s cinema, “Operation Thunderbolt” is a bit of a cache. The movie isn’t always easy to find online, but once you do good luck making it through summer’s hot days without humming Dov Seltzer’s moving score. PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

Pantry dinners — FOOD — By Keri White | Special to the Chronicle


ast week I came home from a work trip after eating mediocre hotel food for two days. It was late, I was tired and the last thing I wanted was to go out to eat. The cupboard seemed bare, but I was loathe to head to the store, so necessity became the mother of invention. I scoured the pantry and found an onion, some garlic, a can of chickpeas and some dry pasta. Then I checked the fridge and, lo and behold, found a half jar of sundried tomatoes in oil, a small amount of Parmesan cheese and a bit of white wine.


MAY 27, 2022

OK, I thought: I can work with this. And the dinner was delicious. Now, I grant you, many people will not have a half jar of sundried tomatoes in the fridge as a random item that made a lovely addition to my simple pasta recipe, but I bet you have something offbeat that can jazz up this type of dish. Olives? Artichokes? Some frozen spinach? And if all else fails, go with the chickpea/onion/garlic combo, which is simple and delicious. The second dish below is another pantry meal — rice, lentils, onions and a few spices. Mujadara is a typical Levantine dish that varies from family to family, region to region in terms of p “Stone Soup” PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE

spices and slight variations, but the basic preparation is the same. It’s simple, economical, filling, vegan, pareve and gluten-free and can be a meal or a side depending on personal preference. In my house, we call these types of dinners “Stone Soup” after the classic children’s tale where the whole town claims to have no food to prepare a proper meal, and a stranger offers a recipe for “stone soup,” which encourages each villager to contribute a little something. A carrot here, an onion there, some rice, some beans and, suddenly, the whole community is enjoying a bowl of goodness.

Photo by Keri White

Please see Dinners, page 17


Photo by izzetugutmen via iStock Photo

he story of American Jewry traces its origins to 23 Jewish refugees who arrived in the present-day port of New York City 368 years ago. Throughout May, organizations, corporations and President Joe Biden celebrated those travelers and the ensuing generations of Jews who contributed to this country’s growth. Although Jewish American Heritage Month is coming to a close, the opportunity to explore the broader Jewish story continues. Thanks to technology and a host of streaming services, viewers can delve into the inspiring, evolving and occasionally complicated narrative of Jewish history. Readers likely need little help finding films within the genre. Even so, these six movies speak to me and may also stir you. The following films may result in hours of crying, laughing or soul-searching, and I’m confident this viewing exercise will keep you captivated, curious and entertained well beyond May.

Life & Culture A new podcast chronicles the little-known stories of boxers from the Holocaust era — PODCASTS — By Jacob Gurvis | JTA


n the early 1930s, Victor Perez was on top of the world. The Tunisian Jewish boxer, who fought under the ring name “Young Perez,” became the World Flyweight Champion in 1931 and 1932 after moving from Tunis to Paris. He became a bonafide celebrity, dating famous French actress Mireille Balin (who would later go on to date Nazis). But like millions of others, Perez’s story took a dark turn as the Nazi campaign progressed. In September 1943, Perez was detained and transported to the Monowitz subcamp of Auschwitz, the same labor camp where authors Primo Levi and Eli Wiesel were held. While at Monowitz, Perez was forced to box other inmates to entertain the SS officers. The winner would receive extra food; the loser would be killed. Perez was ultimately murdered during a 1945 death march. That story is just the first episode of “Holocaust Histories,” a new podcast by Jonathan Bonder, a 36-year-old Ontario native and sound designer whose credits include Jean-Claude Van Damme’s 2015 film “Pound of Flesh” among other movies, shorts and commercials. Bonder envisions each season of “Holocaust Histories,” which is serialized and debuted last week, will focus on a different theme. Season one focuses on professional boxers from across the globe whose careers were cut short by the Holocaust. There are hundreds of films about the Holocaust, not to mention countless books and television series. But in terms of Holocaust history podcasts, Bonder found the available content underwhelming. “There’s hundreds and hundreds of true crime podcasts, comedy, sports,” Bonder told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “And I

Dinners: Continued from page 16 “Stone Soup” pasta Serves 4

As noted above, you can swap out ingredients you have on hand — white beans for the chickpeas, a can of tomato paste or artichokes for the sundried tomatoes, some vegetables, olives, capers, et cetera. 1 2 1 ½ ¼ ¼ ½ 1 ½ ¼ 1

onion, chopped cloves garlic, crushed tablespoon olive oil teaspoon salt teaspoon pepper teaspoon dried oregano cup sun dried tomatoes in oil 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained cup white wine, broth, or water cup grated Parmesan cheese pound pasta, cooked al dente


p Tunisian Jewish boxer Victor Perez, left, is featured on the new podcast “Holocaust Histories.” Photo by Jeff Dickson/AFP via Getty Images

thought to have something that was needed right now, which is the education of the Holocaust — if someone like me wanted to find a podcast about the Holocaust, they would be disappointed, like I was.” And given his background, Bonder was also motivated to make better use of the audio setting to elevate the storytelling. “A lot of podcasts, they’re telling the story and they just blanket it with either a music soundtrack or a series of drums,” he said. “I thought it is missing a big opportunity, which is to make it more cinematic. If you can do that, then it’s going to be more entertaining, and if it’s more entertaining then ultimately it will be more educational. The message will get across better.” It all started when Bonder learned about famous boxer and Holocaust survivor Harry Haft, the subject of HBO’s “The Survivor.” Haft’s story stuck with him, and when Bonder

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the spices, tomatoes and chickpeas, then add the wine and simmer to reduce for about 8 minutes while the pasta water comes to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente (one minute less than the package instructs), reserve ½ cup of cooking water, then drain and pour it into the skillet with the chickpea mixture. Toss well, add the pasta water to spread the sauce around and add the cheese before serving. Mujadara Serves 4

This dish is a riff on many similar ethnic staples — think kedgeree from India, rice and beans from many different Latin American cuisines, red beans and rice from Cajun kitchens, Persian polo ... you get the idea. The key to successful mujadara is in browning the onions. This step cannot be

later learned about other Jewish boxers from the era, “I kind of just got obsessed with these individual stories,” he said. Bonder began researching every Holocaust boxer he could find. Some, he said, only had a single sentence in a book or article and little else. The people he ultimately chose to highlight were those with well-documented, yet little-known, stories. “I don’t think enough people know about a lot of these people’s stories, like I didn’t,” Bonder said. “I’m Jewish, I am a sports fanatic, and I didn’t know about this.” Bonder said he chose to begin the series with Perez’s story because it contained the most general information about the Holocaust. It also illustrates an underappreciated component of many of these boxers’ stories, he added: their genuine athletic ability. “What’s also not stressed enough is that these individuals were amazing

boxers,” Bonder said. “Once the Holocaust comes, it kind of gets forgotten. Once that tragedy struck, their lives were just flipped upside down.” By beginning the series in Tunisia, Bonder also accomplishes one of his main goals: of telling geographically diverse stories beyond the Eastern European Jewish narrative. “It’s surprising to learn about the Jewish history of places that you didn’t really know about,” Bonder said. “We all think about Germany when we think about the Holocaust and the history. A lot of us have relatives from Eastern Europe, or different places within Europe. But then once you get outside of that Eastern Europe and that central Jewish hub of Europe, then to me it’s really fascinating.” This coming week, listeners will be transported to Italy to learn about Pacifico Di Consiglio, a Jewish teenage boxer who actively sought out Nazis to fight on the streets of Rome. Only one episode into season one, Bonder said the reception has been his favorite part of the experience. “I’ve heard back from Holocaust museums and a few organizations, and when they write you some heartfelt messages, they’re not just robotic replies, it’s really nice,” he said. “It’s a big positive to get a good reception from the Jewish community.” Bonder is donating a portion of the money he raises to various Holocaust education organizations, beginning with the USC Shoah Foundation. After his initial goal of $4,000 is reached — 20% of which will go to the charity — he will select a new organization. Supporting these organizations, many of which have served as crucial sources of information for Bonder’s research, is an added bonus. But right now, Bonder’s focus is on getting the word out. “Every listener helps,” he said. “It started at no listeners, we got a few, and now hopefully on to the next few.” PJC

rushed, so don’t make this on a hectic weeknight. The beauty of this dish is its simplicity and general low effort, but it takes time. There is a divide among cooks about the lentils in this dish. Some are adamant that small French lentils must be used and parboiled, then only cooked with the rice and onions to soften them but not allow them to dissolve into a mush. Other recipes use regular brown lentils, throw everything together and let it do its thing. Guess which kind I made! A note on the rice: I used white basmati because I had it on hand (remember, this is a pantry meal). I would consider using brown rice in the future to optimize the whole grain for health — in that case, the rice would need more water and more cooking time, so if you go that route be sure to do the math per the package instructions.

In a large pot with a lid, heat the oil and add the onions. When they begin to sizzle, lower the heat and cook for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the onions are browned — they should be a bit darker than caramelized onions. Add the salt, pepper and cumin, and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Add the rice and lentils, stir to coat and add the water. Bring it to a boil, and then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove it from the heat. Allow it to rest, covered, for another 5-10 minutes. Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve. PJC

2 tablespoons olive oil 4 onions, sliced 1 teaspoon cumin

Keri White writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication where this first appeared.


Salt and pepper to taste (be generous) 2½ cups water 1 cup white rice 1 cup lentils

MAY 27, 2022




Bar Mitzvah

The gift and the mitzvah of memory

Elias Plutko, son of Barbara and Dante Plutko of Upper St. Clair, will become a bar mitzvah on Saturday, May 28, at Temple Emanuel of South Hills. Elias is the younger brother of Ari and grandson of Norman and Sylvia Belle and the late Joe Jurasko. Elias enjoys football, basketball and baseball. He has a great sense of adventure — biking, riding roller coasters, hiking, rope courses and spelunking. He also enjoys hanging out with friends, playing video games or sports. For his mitzvah project, Elias has been making 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches each month to support the clients of local social service organizations through Temple’s Team Sandwich initiative.


Michael Nayhouse and Catherine Kim are pleased to announce the birth of Anna Seoa Nayhouse on April 19, 2022. Grandparents are Jeffrey and Patty Nayhouse of Baldwin, and Byung and Kyung Kim of Pittsburgh. Anna is the little sister of Olivia Seoyeon Nayhouse who is very excited to share all of her things. PJC

Join the Chronicle Book Club!


he Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle invites you to join the Chronicle Book Club for its June 12 discussion of “The History of Love,” by Nicole Krauss. From the publisher: “Leo Gursky taps his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he’s still alive. But it wasn’t always like this: in the Polish village of his youth, he fell in love and wrote a book… Sixty years later and half a world away, fourteen-year-old Alma, who was named after a character in that book, undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family. With virtuosic skill and soaring imaginative power, Nicole Krauss gradually draws these stories together

toward a climax of ‘extraordinary depth and beauty’ (Newsday).”

Your Hosts

Toby Tabachnick, editor of the Chronicle David Rullo, Chronicle staff writer

How It Works

We will meet on Zoom on Sunday, June 12, at noon. As you read the book, share your favorite passages on a Google Doc you will receive when you register.

What To Do

Buy: “The History of Love.” It is available at area Barnes & Noble stores and from online retailers, including Amazon. Email: Contact us at drullo@pittsburgh jewishchronicle.org, and write “Chronicle Book Club” in the subject line. We will send you a Zoom link for the discussion meeting. Happy reading! PJC — Toby Tabachnick



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MAY 27, 2022

Rabbi Mendy Schapiro Parshat Bechukotai Leviticus 26:3 - 27:34


ur memory: a beautiful gift we treasure, and pray that, G-d forbid, it shouldn’t begin to fade. Many of us have had the experience bumping into someone we supposedly know well yet we cannot recall who in the world they are. Or, on the flip side, meeting an old friend from high school decades later and remembering their name and their hobbies. If memory is crucial in life in general, it is certainly important in our Judaism. We might even say that remembering is actually the most important subject to the Jewish nation. Next week we’ll be celebrating Shavuot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah, and traditionally refers to two aspects of the Torah. One is the “Written Torah,” namely the Pentateuch, the Prophets and the sacred Writings. Then there is the “Oral Torah,” which refers to an entire body of explanations, traditions and interpretations that were not meant to be committed to writing (that would actually have been considered sinful). Instead, this body of knowledge would have to be committed to memory and transmitted orally from generation to generation. When the Torah was given, every Jew from young to old was recruited for that sacred mission. But how do we do that? Our sages offer several methods and techniques for remembering Torah. Repetition: In the Shema that we recite every day, the Torah commands us to teach the Torah to our children. But the phrase that the Torah uses is “Veshinantam Levanecha.” The root of the word Veshinantam is “shanen,” which means to “repeat,” thus instructing us to teach by repetition. The Torah is telling us that in order to remember the Torah, every parent must repeat it to their children again and again. The Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 99a) tells us that “one who studies but doesn’t review is like one who sows but doesn’t reap” — meaning, without repetition, all the person’s studying was in vain and that ultimately, the

material studied will be forgotten. Stories: The Torah wasn’t given to us to be a dry book of rules, with each line containing one law after another. Rather, much of the Torah was written in the form of a story. For example, when the Torah elaborates on the story of Joseph and his brothers, it emphasizes the gravity of brotherly hatred. Another example: To express the gravity of the sin of idol worship, G-d did not only instruct us “You shall not make for yourselves any graven image ...” but all the details of the Golden Calf fiasco are also recounted, as well as the negative results that stemmed from it. Song: Picture the scene: You’re sitting at services and the cantor begins reciting a prayer. Some people are familiar and join along, while others do not. Then it comes to Aleinu and everyone jumps up and joins along. Why is that? Because we’re accustomed to singing it, and we therefore remember it. One of the main reasons for the trop system in Torah reading is to essentially turn the entire Torah text into one giant song, which makes it easier to remember. Which brings us to this week’s Torah portion of Bechukotai. The Chassidic masters explain that the root word of Bechukotai is also related to chakika, which means “engraving,” as in etching words into stone. Accordingly, the lesson is that just like an engraved letter becomes an inseparable part of the stone, so too must the Torah become engraved in our hearts until it becomes inseparable from our personalities. But how do we accomplish that? How do we remember it and cause the Torah to be engraved into our heart and mind? That happens when we go beyond the intellectual study and engage in creative ways to constantly remember the Torah and find ways to connect with it. It can be hands-on learning, stories, songs, repetition or any other way which will allow Torah study to become part of our emotional experience — thus, ensuring it will never be forgotten. PJC

Rabbi Mendy Schapiro is the director of Chabad of Monroeville. This column is a service of the Vaad Harabanim of Greater Pittsburgh.

NOTICE OF HEARING IN RE: PETITION OF KETHER TORAH CONGREGATION OF PITTSBURGH, A NON-PROFIT CORPORATION TO APPROVE A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE; Case No. 02-22-2461 in the Orphan’s Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Notice is hereby given that the Court has set a hearing on the Petition of Kether Torah Congregation of Pittsburgh to approve a Fundamental Change in the form of the transfer of ownership and management of its cemeteries and the transfer of certain assets to the Jewish Cemetery and Burial Association of Greater Pittsburgh. The hearing will be held in the Orphans’ Court Division, Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 17th fl., Frick Bldg., 437 Grant St., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 22, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. before the Honorable Michael E. McCarthy. Any interested person is invited to attend. Information may be obtained from Robert J. Garvin, Esq., Goldberg, Kamin & Garvin, LLP, Suite. 1806 Frick Bldg., 437 Grant St., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219, phone (412) 281-1119; Attorney for Petitioner.



Obituaries DOBKIN: Eunice Dobkin, peacefully on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Beloved wife of late Robert A. Dobkin; loving mother of Larry A. (Sharon) Dobkin, MD, of Pittsburgh, and Joseph M. (late Ida) Dobkin of Miami, Florida. Sister of Joanne Berman of Pittsburgh. Grandmother of Rachel Dobkin. She is also survived by loving nieces and nephews. Eunice was a conscientious and effective office manager. She was active for many years in Shaare Torah Sisterhood. She was a former member of NA’AMAT, Hadassah and ORT. Graveside service and interment were held on Friday, May 20, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. at Shaare Torah Cemetery. Contributions may be made to American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA), PO Box 61420, Staten Island, NY 10306, apdaparkinson.org, or a charity of one’s choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com LINDER: Barbara Conn Linder passed away peacefully on May 17, 2022, surrounded by her loving family. Barbara was the beloved wife of the late Richard L. Linder; loving mother of Jonathan (Liat) Linder, Anne Linder (Agustine Velazquez) and Amy Linder; daughter of the late Pearle and Dr. William V. Conn of Greensburg, Pennsylvania; and sister of Margie (late Jerry) Gross and the late Ross Conn. She was also the loving grandmother of Alexander and Ava Velazquez, William and Maya Linder, and Daniel Zipori; and a wonderful aunt to her nieces and nephews and their children. Barbara enjoyed spending time with her family and was an adoring mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and great-aunt. Barbara received her master’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Pittsburgh and taught for many years in the Chicago and Pittsburgh public schools. She was a wonderful educator and mentor who inspired several nieces to follow in her footsteps. She was also an avid reader, philanthropist and sports enthusiast. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Barbara’s caregivers, Vivian, Lillie and Jeanette for their extraordinary compassion and care. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. on Thursday, May 19, 2022. Interment Kether Torah Cemetery. Contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, stjude.org. schugar.com MEADOWCROFT: Ferne (Roth) Meadowcroft, 84, suddenly passed away on May 16, 2022. She was married to her late husband, Wayne Meadowcroft, for 37 years where they lived in both Connecticut and Pittsburgh. She was the sister of the late Morley (Skippy) Roth of Baltimore, Maryland. Ferne was the beloved mother of Stuart (Pearl) Averbach of Pittsburgh, Renee (Rick) Beitman of Westport, Connecticut, and Elaine (Louis) Yellin of Pittsburgh. Loving grandmother of Lauren (Etan) Shalem, Elyse Averbach, Sara Beitman (Jason Heaps), Julia Averbach, Emma and Shannon Yellin and Solomon Averbach. She was the great-grandmother of Jake and Arabella Shalem and Molly Heaps. She is PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

also survived by beloved cousins (Janis and Carl Ruben, Bill Cohen, and Bob and Bobbi Fisher), niece (Jill Roth), and friends. Ferne was born in Pittsburgh, spent her childhood in Baltimore, and then returned to Pittsburgh where she attended Taylor Allderdice. She was a life-long volunteer in the Jewish community, a member of Hadassah, and was active in both Temple Sinai and Beth Shalom Sisterhoods. Ferne enjoyed playing mah-jongg with friends, playing golf with Wayne, but her greatest joy was spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. For the last five years she resided at Weinberg Terrace where she lived comfortably amongst friends and close to family. Please make all memorial contributions to the Jewish Association on Aging (Weinberg Terrace). Professional services trusted to D’Alessandro Funeral Home & Crematory Ltd., dalessandroltd.com. SACKS: Ruth Sherman Sacks, age 100, born Aug. 27, 1921. Beloved wife, sister, mother and grandmother passed from this life on Monday, May 16. Ruth was beloved by her family and community for her immense strength and unconditional love. Her parents, Sarah and Isadore Sherman, were both immigrants from the Ukraine. They had five children — four daughters and one son. Ruth was the first born. Ruth first lived in Brookline and then in Squirrel Hill for the remainder of her life. She graduated from Schenley High School and was continually active in the reunion committee. Ruth learned to type and take shorthand which she used at her first job at the Squirt Bottling Company. Ruth claimed she did everything there except squeeze the grapefruit. After WWII, Ruth married James, “Jimmy,” her beloved husband in 1947 until his death in 1989. Ruth gave birth to two daughters, Hilary in 1949 and Robin in 1957. When Robin turned 12 years old Ruth reentered the job market working for an OBGYN practice. Later, Ruth took a position as an administrative assistant at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. She worked there until she was 83, taking the bus or walking to work. Ruth enjoyed engaging with the faculty and students. After retiring she volunteered at the Carnegie Museum as a greeter until she was 88 years old. Ruth was actively involved with Women’s American ORT for many years. It was important to her to give back to her community and Jewish roots. Ruth enjoyed exercising at the JCC where she took aerobic exercise and Zumba up until her 90s. She was a lifelong lover of dance and enjoyed watching the Pirates and golf tournaments. She is survived by her two daughters, Hilary Sacks Kennedy (Ross) and Robin Sacks Weinstein( Bob), and grandson, Justin Weinstein. Graveside services and interment were held at Beth Shalom Cemetery on Wednesday, May 18. Contributions may be made to the National Council of Jewish Women or ORT America. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com

Jewish Association on Aging gratefully acknowledges contributions from the following: A gift from ... In memory of... A gift from ... In memory of...

Karen and Allison Broudy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dora Stein Idelle Hoffman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Mildred “Mitzie” Greenwald Miller Janice Mankin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Saul Fineberg Robert & Susan Zohlman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Elsie K. Goldman

THIS WEEK’S YAHRZEITS — Sunday May 29: Henry M. Abrams, Maurice D. Azen, Gustave J. Bloch, Joseph H. Breman, Isadore Brody, Irving Caplan, Ralph Covel, Theodore T. Davidson, Harry Feldman, Jennie Kramer, Donald W. Levenson, Anna Levy, Eva Cohen Roth Levy, Martin Lewinter, Bertha Esther Miller, Raymond Rosenson, Samuel Schwartzman, Lillian Staman, Jeanette Stern, Clara Stevenson, Rebecca Zwibel Monday May 30: I. Aleck Brand, Lillian Braun, Henry Cramer, Meyer M. Diznoff, Pesach Aaron Katz, Shirley Kress, Dorothy Natterson Maas, Edward Pearlstein, Abe J. Perlman, Mollie Reich, Emil Rosenthal, Rose Steinberg, Rose Stern, Esther Miller Swartz, Esther Weinberg, Milton Saul Weinberg, Rachel Dugan Weisberg Tuesday May 31: Ruth W. Braude, Lillian L. Halpern, Jennie R. Jacobson, Herman Lee Krouse, David Louff, Louis Mandell, Frances Simon, Dolores M. Stein, Dora Stein Wednesday June 1: Bessie Averbach, Saul Caplan, Helen Unger Casar, Frances Fink, Louis Aaron Gernstat, Milton M. Goldstone, Sidney Harris, Mollie Greenberg Kalson, Esther Leipzig, Ben H. Liepack, Saul Linder, Adele Lundy, Kathryn Friedlander Miller, Dora Weiss Nach, Pearl R. Regenstein, Ernestine L. Rosenfield, Benjamin Saunders, Bessie Srulson, Saul Waxler Thursday June 2: Fay Caplan, Lee Chajson, Myra Freeman, Robert Glasser, Tillie Helfant, Maurice Kramer, Elaine A. Lefkowitz, Sam Moldovan, Jacob S. Rush, Dora Fineberg Smith, Morris B. Weiss, Lilyan Wiesenthal Friday June 3: Ida Borovetz, Rose C. Cody, Samuel William Corn, Louis L. Edelman, David Eisenberg, Bessie Finkelstein, Eva Gold, Marsha Goldman, Lena Herr, Rose Gordon Labowitz, Sylvia A. Livingston, Frank L. Mandell, Julius Nydes, Hyman Roth, Milton M. Ruttenberg, Harry Siegman, Leonard Silverblatt, Harry F. Skirboll, Manuel Solomon, Yetta Spodek, Yetta Spodek, Hedwig Stern, Jerome Supowitz, Abraham Swadow Saturday June 4: Sylvan Arnold Alpern, Dr. Abraham L Barbrow, Nathan Friedlander, Ben B. Goldberg, Israel Haltman, David Hartstein, Moses L. Hurwick, Saul S. Hurwick, Adolph Katz, Sara Lisker, Minnie Mervis, Samuel A. Meyer, Abraham I. Miller, Morris Podolsky, Irene Scherb, Helen G. Solomon, Mollie R. Whiteman

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MAY 27, 2022


Obituaries Obituaries: Continued from page 19

ZUKERMAN: William (Billy) Zukerman, on May 16, beloved son of the late Joanne Lebovitz and the late Sidney Zukerman and stepson of Dr. Jerome Lebovitz, passed away. He is survived by his beloved wife of 40 years, Robin Zukerman of Monroeville, and his son Kevin

Tobin: Continued from page 12

as an increasingly bitter fight between those who dub themselves “progressives” and mainstream pro-Israel groups over the future of the Democratic Party. That battle has been playing out all across the political map in recent weeks as Democratic congressional primaries in which left-wing critics of Israel are facing off against other members of their party who are seen as friendlier to the Jewish state. Pro-Israel political donors and political action committees have been rallying to the support of those seeking to prevent the entry into Congress of future “Squad” members. The mainstream pro-Israel lobby AIPAC formed its own PAC last year to help in this effort, joining with others such as the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI). They’ve had their victories, especially when supporting incumbents like Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio) against leftwing insurgents like Nina Turner, who was national chair for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2020. Brown beat Turner in a special election in 2021 and again earlier this month with pro-Israel groups spending heavily on her behalf. But they aren’t winning every fight, and one of those most determined to see the Democrats take a hard-left turn is Sanders. Last week, he took particular satisfaction in seeing Summer Lee, another progressive he supports, beat Steve Irwin, a pro-Israel moderate for the Democratic nomination for a Pittsburgh-area congressional seat, despite the efforts of pro-Israel PACs. Lee was also strongly backed by “Squad” leader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

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Zukerman of Columbus, Ohio. He is also survived by his siblings Michael (Suzan) Zukerman of Charlotte, North Carolina, Nancy (Andy) Liscow of Venice, Florida, and Dr. Lori Zukerman (Dr. Tom Strouse) of Los Angeles, California. Billy was blessed with a vast and beautiful extended family that includes his mother-in-law Phyllis Seidenstein, siblingsin-law, Judy Tobe, Stephen Tobe and Jeffrey Seidenstein. He was “Uncle B” to Marla, Michael, Kaylee, Ethan, Ella and Ben Werner; Scott, Rebecca, Laila and Asher Tobe; Jill, Colin,

Griffin and Jaxson Stuart; Matthew, Leslie, Bella and Dylan Tobe; Josh, Elaine and Elliott Zukerman; Jake Liscow; and Noah and Oliver Strouse. Billy was a sweet, funny, supportive and devoted husband, son, father and all-around family man. He loved being “Uncle B” to all of his nieces and nephews and all of their friends. He had a lifelong love of playing and listening to music. He loved surfing, dogs, dancing and comedy. He owned two businesses, The Clogathon in Oakland and The Shoe Inn at Newman’s in Squirrel Hill. Later in his career he

became an IT professional, an occupation he enjoyed for over 20 years. He taught Sunday school at Parkway Jewish Center and showed his artistic abilities working on stage crew for high school musicals at Gateway High School and the East End Kids. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. Interment Homewood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Billy can be made to The Jewish Assistance Fund on its website at JewishAssistanceFund.org. schugar.com PJC

The New York Times depicted that race as evidence that Sanders was preparing for “war with AIPAC,” as well as proof that he can win it. To that end, he is seeking to get Democrats to reject all super-PAC funding. Though there are plenty of left-wing fundraising groups, such a move would hurt pro-Israel groups far more than their opponents. Sanders is a bitter critic of the Jewish state but doesn’t oppose its existence. He told the Times that his confrontation with AIPAC and its moderate allies wasn’t really about Israel but because such groups are “doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country.” He holds a grudge against DFMI for the way it helped derail his presidential hopes in 2020 in the early primary states when he was temporarily anointed as the frontrunner until the rest of the Democratic field united behind Joe Biden. In response, DFMI merely echoes what AIPAC’s goal has been since it began several decades ago, saying that its purpose is to do what it can to ensure bipartisan support for Israel. But, though DFMI and AIPAC are, contrary to Sanders’ statement, not interested in preventing the Democrats from tilting as far to the left on economic and social issues, it’s impossible to separate the party’s ideological shift on a wide range of topics from its attitudes toward Israel. The same applies to the troubling manner in which much of the leadership of the Democratic Party has shown itself prepared to accept the mainstreaming of antisemitic causes like BDS, even while personally opposing it, in order to avoid an open break with “Squad” stars like AOC, and Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). So, while Jewish activists say they’re not

at war with progressives per se, progressive leaders like Sanders and AOC do consider themselves to be “at war” with the pro-Israel community because AIPAC and DFMI are among the principal obstacles to their goal of taking over the party. Over the last half-century, the two parties have exchanged identities when it comes to Israel. Republicans have gone from largely indifferent to Zionism to being nearly unanimous on the issue and a lockstep pro-Israel party. Democrats were once almost uniformly pro-Israel but are now, as the recent primary battles show, deeply divided over it. Complicating matters is that bipartisanship is out of fashion in both parties. So it wasn’t just Sanders and AOC expressing outrage when AIPAC endorsed a slate of pro-Israel Republican incumbents that Democrats were intent on smearing as “insurrectionists” because of their support for challenges to the 2020 presidential election results. Lately, Democrats have been damning all Republicans and their voters as beyond the pale for their support for former President Donald Trump and even somehow to blame for the recent mass killing in Buffalo that was perpetrated by a racist antisemitic extremist with a history of mental illness. That means the business of crafting a bipartisan coalition for Israel may be an increasingly impossible task. The stakes involved in this Democratic civil war are about more than Sanders’ attempt to settle scores with DFMI or the resentment towards AIPAC elsewhere on the left. The younger generation of Democrats getting into politics is heavily influenced by fashionable ideologies like critical race theory and intersectionality, which demonize Israel and give a

permission slip to antisemitism. That means they are far more inclined to side with the left on Israel and other issues, leaving pro-Israel Democrats increasingly out of touch with their party’s base. Despite the wins chalked up by pro-Israel activists in some races, the number of House Democrats who identify as progressives and/or want to join the “Squad” is growing with each congressional election cycle. That creates a situation where Democratic office-holders are willing to sign on to Palestinian propaganda like the Abu Akleh letter even if they are not yet ready to back Tlaib and Omar when they propose resolutions predicated on Israel’s destruction. It was no small irony that one of the co-sponsors of the letter was Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), who has actually been endorsed by AIPAC. Given the increasing volume of slanders that are tossed at Israel and Jews about “apartheid,” this also means that antisemitic lies are going to be getting a hearing among Democrats, instead of being dismissed as they should be. As that becomes the norm, the pro-Israel community’s worries about preserving bipartisanship will become increasingly irrelevant. As the older generation of septuagenarian Democrats who pay lip service to support for Israel leaves the stage and is replaced by younger people who make no bones about their intersectional ideas, the more important battle will be the one to preserve support for Israel among those who understand that the progressive movement is a threat to America’s future, as well as to the Jewish state. PJC



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MAY 27, 2022 21

Pho oto: t Joshu shua Fran ra zos z

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Foundation presents



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MAY 27, 2022



Community It’s Lag B’Omer

Lions of Judah

Chabad Young Professionals hosted “BBQ and Booze” in honor of Lag B’Omer.

Women’s contributions to the 2022 Community Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh were celebrated on May 18 at Jay Verno Studios during the Hannah Kamin annual Lion of Judah event.

p The May 19 event brought more than 70 Jews together in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood.

p Women’s Philanthropy Chair Kristen Keller and Co-Chair Diane Samuels.

p It’s all smiles on day 33 of the omer.

Photos by Zeve Olbum

Film premiere

p From left: Delilah Picart, Adele Sales and Sheryl Silverman — Hannah Kamin Lion of Judah event chairs — at the Jewish Federation’s annual event. Photos by David Bachman

ZOA awards scholarships to Israel

p From left: Patrice O’Neill, director of “Repairing the World: Stories from the Tree of Life”; Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey; and Kathryn Spitz Cohan, executive director of Film Pittsburgh at the world premiere of “Repairing the World: Stories from the Tree of Life” at the 2022 JFilm Festival. Photo courtesy of Film Pittsburgh


The Zionist Organization of America: Pittsburgh announced the recipients of its Scholarship to Israel Program. The program is ZOA Pittsburgh’s oldest activity and began p Nathan Itskowitz p Naomi Segel in 1962, noted p Avi Becker ZOA Pittsburgh’s Executive Director Stuart Pavilack. Applications are evaluated based on the student’s Jewish and secular activities, volunteerism and completion of an essay regarding “What the State of Israel and Zionism mean to me.” The 2022 awardees are Avi Becker, Nathan Itskowitz and Naomi Segel. Each student is traveling to Israel this summer on a structured study program and will receive a $1,000 scholarship. The scholarships are made possible with funding from endowments established by Avraham and Patti Anouchi; Harold and Marla Scheinman; the late Thelma Esman; the late Bernard and Esther Klionsky; and the Novick family, in loving memory of the late Ivan and Natalie Novick. The Israel Scholarship Program was established on the belief that a trip to Israel leaves an indelible mark on Jewish teenagers and complements what students learn at home and in synagogue.


Photos courtesy of The Zionist Organization of America: Pittsburgh

MAY 27, 2022



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