Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 6-24-22

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June 24, 2022 | 25 Sivan 5782

Candlelighting 8:36 p.m. | Havdalah 9:45 p.m. | Vol. 65, No. 25 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org

NOTEWORTHY LOCAL Strengthening Pittsburgh’s ties to Israel

Federation’s Mega Mission sees the power of partnership in Karmiel, Israel

Shinshinim program expands with more emissaries

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neighboring hills. Some mission members got a tour of the new Volunteer Home, which will soon be available for use by the 70 different area volunteer organizations. Social worker Marganit Bysberling said the house won’t necessarily be used by every organization, as some already have established offices and workspaces; the important thing, she said, is that it’s available to be used. “We wanted to give them their own space, a place that would make them proud,” she said. The Volunteer Home was 20 years in the making, Bysberling said, explaining that without support locally and from Pittsburgh’s Federation, it would have remained a dream. Karmiel resident Yosie Gal joined some of the Mega Mission’s participants while at

hen cousins Danny and Bruce Greenfield were growing up in Brownsville, the Temple Ohave Israel cemetery wasn’t much to write home about. “I keep telling people, my cousin Bruce lived in that white house [at the entrance of the cemetery]. I don’t think we even knew it was here,” Danny Greenfield said, noting that the Ohave Israel cemetery was mostly unmarked and deep within a larger graveyard. To celebrate the 115th anniversary of Temple Ohave Israel, and to join in the rededication of the congregation’s cemetery, the cousins returned to their hometown — Danny from Pittsburgh and Bruce from Boston — on June 19 for the reunion of the Brownsville Jewish community. Held at Brownsville’s Nemacolin Castle, the reunion featured several speakers who were involved in organizing the celebration and rededication of the cemetery, from the borough’s former Mayor Norma Ryan, to Ray Klein, a former Ohave Israel congregant. The Brownsville Jewish community traces its roots to the late 1800s, when a wave of Jewish immigrants settled in the borough. They chartered Ohave Israel around 1907 and “met in private homes until 1916, when its members dedicated a wood frame synagogue on Arch Street between High Street and Prospect Street,” according to the Jewish Encyclopedia of Western Pennsylvania, a project of the Rauh Jewish Archives at

Please see Israel, page 14

Please see Brownsville, page 14

Longtime Squirrel Hill crossing guard retires

Page 5  Mega Mission volunteers help garden at Karmiel’s new Volunteer Home.

Photo by David Rullo

From mural painting to woodburning

By David Rullo | Staff Writer

K Getting to Know: Anita Radin

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Brownsville Jewish community reunites to celebrate 115th anniversary of Temple Ohave Israel By Ethan Beck | Staff Writer

Sis Lloyd says farewell to ‘second family’

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ARMIEL, ISRAEL — The power of relationships was on full display when the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Mega Mission visited Karmiel, Israel — part of Pittsburgh’s Parntership2Gether Region — as a stop on its eight-day tour of the Jewish state. During Partnership Day on Tuesday, June 15, mission members volunteered at the city’s Volunteer Home, met new olim (immigrants) from Ukraine, visited the Pittsburgh Promenade and Karmiel Memorial to the victims of the Oct. 27, 2018 massacre, spent time at Ayalim, a student volunteer village, and visited at-risk youth at the Karmiel Children’s Village. Founded in 1964, the Karmiel community has a population of approximately 55,000 and is surrounded by Arab villages in the

keep your eye on PittsburghJewishChronicle LOCAL

Seniors Task Force

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Including nonbinary Jews

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Headlines Federation creates Seniors Task Force to assess growing community needs — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer

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he Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is developing a plan to support older adults and caregivers. The initiative, which is being led by Federation’s Seniors Task Force, was spurred by the pandemic, Federation staffers explained. “Coming out of COVID, the needs changed significantly for this population, with many older adults altering how and where they need services,” Adam Hertzman, the Federation’s director of marketing, said. In the coming decade, those “wants and needs” will continue changing, according to Federation President and CEO Jeff Finkelstein. Given the umbrella organization’s role as communal convener, the Federation “saw this particular area as ripe with opportunity for collaboration,” Hertzman added. Since March, a lay-led group of physicians, social workers and health care administrators has met with the goal of “doing a lot of research, connecting with key stakeholders — with seniors being at the center — and looking at a strategic vision for the community,” Matt Keller, a pediatrician and chair of the Seniors Task Force, said. At this stage, the group’s efforts are being aided by Brocade Studio, a consulting agency with “experience in broad community projects,” Keller added. A consultant from Brocade is interviewing members of area agencies, as well as conducting “focus groups with seniors, with caregivers, one-on-one interviews with individuals who work with

 A smiling caregiver embraces a senior woman in a nursing home.

seniors, clergy, lawyers, health care workers and also people who are soon to be seniors and caregivers and their family members.” The goal, Keller said, is to have a plan ready to share with the community by December. According to Hertzman, “the consultant and focus group incentives were covered by a $60,000 grant from a private foundation.” Daniel Rosen, a Seniors Task Force member and the vice chair of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation board of trustees, credited the Federation-led initiative with building on years of area success while also providing vital recommendations for future senior care.

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“The Jewish Healthcare Foundation has invested immense resources in the community’s many aging initiatives and organizations through the Jewish Federation, and we’re proud to have key expert staff and board members participate on this new initiative to ensure that services and resources are available for all aging members of our community to thrive,” Rosen said. The community is partnering on the initiative as it has done with several others, said Hertzman, who credited AgeWell Pittsburgh — an award-winning partnership between the Jewish Association on Aging, the Jewish Community Center of Greater

Pittsburgh and JFCS Pittsburgh — with serving older area adults. Keller praised the community’s array of local services but said the time is right to consider new options: “The landscape for seniors and for caregivers is changing more now than it has during the past decade or two and COVID has really highlighted a need for us to take another look at how we’re providing services to seniors.” It’s no secret that the country is aging, but this region is especially looking at heavy demands in the coming years, according to the University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research. Relying on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, local researchers noted that the Pittsburgh area continues to boast an increasing population of residents over 65. Whereas 17.3% of the region’s population was 65-plus in 2010, the number grew to nearly 20.5% in 2019. Across the nation, the percentage of older adults also increased; however, researchers indicated that the number only rose from 13.1% to 16.5% nationally. Keller credited advances in technology and health care with helping people live longer. As the community looks toward a future with more seniors, it’s imperative the Federation convene stakeholders and develop a plan, Keller, 49, said. “I am part of that sandwich generation,’ he said. “I am taking care of my kids. I am starting to play a caregiver role in my parents’ life. I am going to be a senior soon. I look at my peers who are all in the same position and want to make sure the future for all of us in Jewish Pittsburgh is the best it can be.” PJC

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

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Headlines Pittsburgh’s shinshinim program grows along with potential for greater connections — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer

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iming to deepen the community’s connection to Israel, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is helping to bring more young Israeli emissaries here. By doubling the number of participants in Pittsburgh’s shinshinim program to four, there’s a better chance for people to “build more meaningful relationships,” Federation staffer Risa Kelemer said. Shinshinim, which is a pluralized amalgamation of the Hebrew words shnat sherut (year of service), is a program started in 2018 and operated in partnership between the Federation and the Jewish Agency. Amit Haizler and Shahaf Balasiano served as Pittsburgh’s shinshinim during the past year. The duo routinely worked in area schools, synagogues and with youth groups. Avi Baran Munro, Community Day School’s head of school, praised Haizler and Balasiano’s abilities to boost the vibrancy of “campus life,” saying they brought an “authentic and enriching Israel experience Please see Shinshinim, page 15

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p Community Day School’s Avi Baran Munro, right, presents the shinshinim with certificates of appreciation at Full-School Kabbalat Shabbat on the last day of school. Photo courtesy of Community Day School

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Headlines How Pittsburgh’s congregations are working to include nonbinary Jews — LOCAL — By Ethan Beck | Staff Writer

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t the beginning of June, the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement asked a simple question for the first time: “How should we honor nonbinary individuals called to the Torah?” It’s a question that Pittsburgh’s non-Orthodox congregations also are asking. Several local Jewish clergy members and religious thinkers have noted the new popularity of b-mitzvah ceremonies, a gender-inclusive version of bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies that adapt the language of the occasion to fit for nonbinary individuals. The Conservative movement’s Committee of Jewish Law and Standards voted on May 25 to adjust the movement’s liturgy for Torah services to accommodate people who do not identify as male or female. That change will affect the language used for rites that involve calling a person to the Torah. “My feeling about Judaism and Jews — and more than just narrowly about bar or bat mitzvahs — is, I think we are compelled as Jews to have open arms and open hearts when it comes to all of our people, no

matter how they identify,” said Rabbi Yaier Lehrer, spiritual leader of Adat Shalom in the North Hills For Lehrer, the Conservative movement’s recent responsum, or opinion, is a welcome addition. Adat Shalom hasn’t held a b-mitzvah yet, but Lehrer said the congregation would accommodate the wishes of the family. “We need to not just be welcoming as institutions, but to make people aware of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” Lehrer noted. “You are who you are. Who you are is the way God made you. How can we reject that?” Several other spiritual leaders in the Pittsburgh area share Lehrer’s perspective. For Rabbi Jeremy Weisblatt of Allison Park’s Temple Ohav Shalom, a Reform congregation, making sure that ceremonies and the language is gender-neutral is a priority. “One of the things I encouraged us to do was change our language to ‘b-mitzvah,’ and I got it codified into the bylines,” Weisblatt said. “We don’t call it bar or bat mitzvah anymore, but for a few years, it’s been called the ‘b-mitzvah program.’” Ohav Shalom’s marriage and conversion certificates use gender-neutral language, he added. And the language suggested for ceremonies found in the Conservative

resolution could already be found in Ohav Shalom’s ceremonies. “It’s not always enough to do something after the fact — we’re always going to miss something — but I want to be inclusive prior to the fact,” he said. Leadership at Temple David in Monroeville agrees. Rabbi Barbara Symons noted the emphasis on accessibility and inclusion for the LGBTQ community in the Reform movement. “The beauty of Reform is the ability to be creating our own [programs] based on guidance. There shouldn’t be one way … I imagine that b-mitzvahs in 10 or 20 years are going to look different from how they do now,” Symons said. For many clergy members, b-mitzvahs and other efforts to include nonbinary Jews are a simple matter of meeting their congregants where they are. Squirrel Hill’s Temple Sinai, affiliated with the Reform movement, has long prided itself on being supportive of the LGBTQ community. It’s one of the main reasons Rabbi Daniel Fellman was drawn to the congregation. “I want the b’nai mitzvah to be a powerful and important experience for all of our kids, and it needs to be true to them,” Fellman Please see Nonbinary, page 15

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Headlines Squirrel Hill crossing guard Sis Lloyd honored after 21 years of service — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer

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ormer Indianapolis resident Stacie Stufflebeam had just moved to Pittsburgh when she got a call from Sis Lloyd. Stufflebeam’s son Evan was walking home from Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh and couldn’t remember the way. Lloyd, a crossing guard at the corner of Beacon Street and Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill, noticed the child’s confusion and immediately contacted his mother. Ever since, Stufflebeam said, “Sis has had a special place in our hearts.” Rabbi Shmuli Mandelbaum — who, like scores of students, teachers, friends, family and community members, gathered at that congested intersection on June 16 to mark Lloyd’s retirement — offered a similar anecdote. Mandelbaum recounted his family’s amazement that, on the first day of school, after moving from Lakewood, New Jersey, the crossing guard noticed their faces among the passersby and made sure to welcome the newbies to Squirrel Hill. For someone like Lloyd, who’s spent 21 years helping people navigate the intersection — all the while protecting the neighborhood’s kids,

p From left: Emilie Mascara and Sis Lloyd

residents and shoppers — there’s no shortage of tales, Councilman Corey O’Connor said. “I have known her since I was very, very little.” “I didn’t get any taller, but she’ll tell you that,” O’Connor added before reading a proclamation declaring June 16 “Sis Lloyd Day” in the City of Pittsburgh.

The honor was “overwhelming,” Lloyd said. “I’ve been here for years and have enjoyed every minute of it.” Lloyd, a Lincoln Park resident, began serving as a crossing guard in January 2001. Since then, she’s watched people both come to Squirrel Hill and leave the area. She’s

seen children grow up, go off to college, return home and start their own lives. In the process of witnessing so much, she’s become “a part of Squirrel Hill,” she said. “This is my second family up here.” “Sis is almost like that motherly figure. She’s someone who you’d share what’s going on in your life with,” Mimi Grossberg said. Every morning for nearly 12 years, Grossberg and Lloyd crossed paths. As Grossberg headed to teach at Hillel Academy, she and Lloyd shared everything from pre-work pleasantries to lengthier exchanges about traveling, the weather or the holidays. Most of what they talked about, though, Grossberg said, was family — congratulations on accomplishments and condolences on losses. Lloyd is more than someone who simply provides a service to the city, Grossberg said, “Sis is a friend.” “She just cares for the kids and the adults in the neighborhood,” Yael Henteleff said. “That feeling is so amazing.” Both in the morning and afternoon, for more than a decade, Lloyd helped Henteleff and her children navigate a corner frequented by pedestrians, cyclists and often impatient drivers. “It’s a tough intersection,” Henteleff said. Please see Guard, page 6

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Calendar Submit calendar items on the Chronicle’s website, pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Submissions also will be included in print. Events will run in the print edition beginning one a prior to the date as space allows. The deadline for submissions is Friday, noon. q THURSDAY, JUNE 23 – SUNDAY, JUNE 26 Shaare Torah invites the congregation and community to a special farewell weekend/ Shabbos for Rabbi Daniel and Rebbetzin Judith Wasserman. The events will kick off on Thursday, June 23, at 7 p.m. with a chaburah style bais medrash learning session, followed by a presentation at 7:45 p.m., “Shir Hadash: Renewal and Transition at Shaare Torah,” which is organized by Eric Lidji and Linda Tashbook. On Shabbos June 24-25, everyone is encouraged to #showupinshul. On Shabbos morning, Rabbi Wasserman’s drasha will be on the topic “Aloh Naaleh — Keep Going Up,”

Guard: Continued from page 5

“Even if the kids are older, she always tells them to cross with her … When she is not there over the summer, I feel so unsafe. That intersection is so dangerous. I always feel so much better having her there to protect us.” Squirrel Hill resident Connie Pollack carefully waited for Lloyd to help her cross the intersection on June 16 before displaying a sign reading, “Sis — We Will Miss You!!

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and there will be a special kiddush honoring the Wassermans after services. On Sunday, June 26, at 8:30 a.m., following Shacharis, Rabbi Wasserman will deliver a farewell drasha, “Three Questions.” Please join us for all of the weekend events to celebrate Shaare Torah’s past, present and future. q SUNDAYS, JUNE 26-AUG 7 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, JUNE 27-AUG 8

bethshalompgh.org. q WEDNESDAYS, JUNE 29 -AUG. 10 Bring the parashah 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. 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-classvia-zoom11.html. q THURSDAY, JUNE 30

Join Congregation Beth Shalom for a weekly Talmud study. 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit

Enjoy a kid friendly-event and explore the Biblical Garden at Rodef Shalom. The garden is tucked away on the Devonshire side of the building, and

Happy Retirement.” Pollack described Lloyd’s “sunny disposition” and said it was important to thank her for everything she’s done for the community. “Sis has kept our children, family and friends safe for 20 years,” Pollack said. Grandson Noah Mascara, 21, of West Mifflin was one of Lloyd’s many family members who attended the ceremony. The more than 100 people who gathered and stopped to wish Lloyd well and the colorful congratulatory messages hanging from the nearby poles were “truly awesome

to see,” Mascara said. “She always came home with stories about her day at the crosswalk. It’s kind of crazy to see that it’s real, and everybody’s here, and she’s really loved.” Lloyd’s granddaughter Emilie Mascara, 18, agreed, and pointed to the posters people made and the bouquets of flowers that were brought. “It’s like a little family,” she said. “Everyone in the neighborhood seems so nice.” Before the ceremony concluded and Lloyd began her much-deserved retirement, she paused from accepting praise, sharing

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there is ample parking in the parking lot. 1 p.m. 4905 Fifth Ave. rodefshalom.org/events-1/storytimein-the-garden. q THURSDAYS, JUNE 30; JULY 7 The 10.27 Healing Partnership, in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, is offering “Walking the Healing Path,” a healing and meditative program featuring guided walks within several of Pittsburgh’s beautiful parks and gardens. Staff from the 10.27 Healing Partnership and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy will create space for mutual healing through movement, meditation practices and togetherness. Feel free to bring a water bottle, journal, camera and/or anything else that will make you feel comfortable. All are welcome to attend. 9 a.m. No cost. For more information and to register, visit 1027healingpartnership.org. PJC

weather-related insights and helping walkers cross the street, to take a photo with her family. Noah Mascara told the Chronicle it was wonderful seeing so many people hold his grandmother in such high esteem. She’s more than “an awesome person,” he said — she also offers a valuable lesson: “We’re not as social as we used to be, and it just goes to show you that being social gets you everywhere in life.” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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Headlines Getting to know: Anita Radin

 A woodburning piece made for an auction

— LOCAL — By Ethan Beck | Staff Writer

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ver since growing up in Baldwin, Anita Radin has proven the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” wrong. For the past 20-plus years, she’s worked in woodburning, painting, room design and more. The Chronicle caught up with Radin in her workshop as she was trying to figure out which paints to use for her next project. She was considering touching up a mural she has at her home, while waiting to hear about work coming down the pike. The Mt. Lebanon-based artist recently finished a commission of a surprise mural

 Anita Radin and her Ironman Triathlon mural

that depicted each stage of an Ironman Triathlon. A Realtor contacted Radin and “she wanted to surprise her husband — he’s an Ironman — and he had a competition coming up,” Radin explained. “She called me and said, ‘I’d like you to do a mural of an iron man on our pool house in our backyard while we’re gone,’ which really got my attention. I just loved that. I loved the idea of a challenge.” While Radin said she’d never enter an Ironman herself — “Do I think I would do it? Hardly,” she laughed — she manages to stay busy. While has always been able to draw and paint, she said, woodburning came later. Still, she retains an early memory of her brother giving it a try. “I remember [my brother] at my father’s workbench fooling around with a burner,

Join the Chronicle Book Club!

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he Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle invites you to join the Chronicle Book Club for its Aug. 14 discussion of “The Finkler Question” by Howard Jacobson. “The Finkler Question,” published in 2010, won the Man Booker Prize. From author Dara Horn: “This is a very funny book about middle-aged men fighting with each other and fighting to maintain their self-esteem in pathetic ways. It’s very

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accessible. Sam Finkler, a popular thinker, media personality and bestselling author, and his friend Julian Treslove, reconvene with their former professor, an older Jewish immigrant from the Czech Republic. The book is about how Jews are expected to cooperate with contemporary anti-Semitism. To be accepted, Finkler renounces and demonizes the state of Israel. This book came out in 2010; only in more recent years has

Photos courtesy of Anita Radin

and I think that that was the only time I had ever really seen it growing up,” Radin said. “Later on, I was in a store one time and saw a woodburner hanging on the wall and thought, ‘I’m gonna try this’.” It’s now the namesake of her business, Burningwood by Anita, where she takes commissions for everything from cutting boards to Christmas ornaments. She said she does some woodburning work just about every day. “I don’t have a lot of formal training, so I try to be constantly teaching myself. It’s not work to me … I am doing what I love, and I’ve been fortunate enough to get paid for what I do,” Radin said. But she hasn’t always been a full-time artist. Two decades ago, she transitioned to making art after owning a hair salon.

“More and more people started asking me for commission pieces,” Radin said. “At one point, I just said ‘No more doing hair.’ I just didn’t want to stand behind a chair anymore.” From murals to woodwork, Radin’s art can be seen throughout the Pittsburgh area. A member of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills, she has a piece hanging in Rabbi Alex Greenbaum’s office, along with other works throughout the synagogue. “I love getting the positive response from people,” Radin said. “When people are looking for things, I always look for a way to make it personalized to them. [It’s] always that big ‘ta-da!’ moment at the end that I really love.” PJC

the UK started to grapple with the open anti-Semitism in its society.”

What To Do

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How It Works

We will meet on Zoom on Sunday, Aug. 14, at noon. As you read the book, we invite you to share your favorite passages on a shared document you will receive when you register for the meeting.

Ethan Beck can be reached at ebeck@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

Buy: “The Finkler Question.” It is available from online retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Email: Contact us at drullo@pittsburghjewish chronicle.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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Headlines Muscling into history — HISTORY — By Eric Lidji | Special to the Chronicle

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ne big difference between reading history and researching history is your pathway through information. Historians collect all the information they can and chart the most persuasive or dramatic path through it. If they do their job well, the story seems inevitable. Each detail is another turn in a set of directions being dictated by a co-pilot. Researching history is like exploring on foot. You start wherever you happen to be. One fact leads to another, which leads to a dead end, which leads to an insight. You never quite know what’s meaningful. Sometimes you come upon things from behind. This blurry photograph is part of a small collection of materials concerning the man on the left. His name is Maurice Simon, and the collection primarily documents his experience as the literal poster child of the Jewish Home for Babies and Children in the mid-1930s. One photograph shows him as a baby, standing in a crib, staring into the camera with his right hand outstretched. The Jewish Home for Babies and Children used that image in financial appeals to the community. His face even adorned its letterhead. In that context, this handshake seemed neat but not necessarily notable. A man met a local celebrity and got a picture. Bruno Sammartino trained at the Y in Oakland, and many people have stories about seeing him there, just as people later spotted Mister Rogers at the JCC gym in Squirrel Hill. Such encounters are part of living in a big city. While gathering information about Simon, I stumbled upon an article from the Pittsburgh Press, dated Sept. 7, 1958. The headline read “Pittsburgh Hercules.” A photograph showed Sammartino in his trunks, with seven children hanging off his body. The article was one of the first profiles of a man who was already a champion

 Maurice Simon (left) meets with the legendary Bruno Sammartino in June 1970.

Photo courtesy of Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center

weightlifter and would soon become a beloved wrestler. Sammartino spent his early years in an Italian village after World War II. He was “a skinny run-down weakling,” according to the article, a 60-pound 13-year-old on a special diet and constantly seeing doctors. Sammartino’s health improved after his family came to the United States. “But he was still too delicate to participate in athletics at Schenley High School,” the article said. “Sensing this frustration, Maurice Simon, a school companion, said, ‘Why don’t you exercise up at the YMHA. They got weights

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and stuff up there.” So Sammartino started lifting, then competing. He became an instructor and gradually became a star. In searching for information about Simon’s time as the spokesperson for the local Jewish orphanage, I certainly wasn’t expecting to learn that he was responsible for getting Bruno Sammartino into weightlifting. Naturally, the path went in a new direction. Here’s an article in the Y.M.&W.H.A. Weekly, dated Sept. 21, 1951. The headline is “Weight Lifting Builds Health,” and it begins like this: “A YMHA weightlifting team is under consideration by the Physical

Education Department. The team will be coached by Maurice Simon, one of the top weightlifters in the district who won the 1951 A.M.A. A. A.U. Junior Title.” A few paragraphs later, the article notes: “Some of the boys already taking advantage of the facilities are Paul and Bruno Sammartino ... Improvement in body weight, conditioning and strength are in evidence.” Powerlifting and bodybuilding both gained in popularity in the United States after World War II, and Maurice Simon seems to have been chiefly responsible for bringing the trend to the Y. He started competing regionally in 1949 and earned 15 awards in his first three years, including a 14th-place finish in a national meet in 1950. He helped found the Y Bar Bell Club and helped raise money to buy the first lateral machine for the Y. Developing an audience for a new sport requires education. Simon often took part in exhibitions and even helped get the Y team featured on local television. He had a small, devoted crew: the Sammartino brothers, Ralph Hill, Lennie Epstein and Sandy Cohen. His weightlifting career tapered off in the late 1950s after he served a tour of duty in the U.S. military and then got married. He soon started his real career, becoming well known locally as the manager of the Forbes Avenue branch of National Record Mart. His relative Vera Tuggle, who donated the records to the archive, recalled how Maurice preferred his steak just barely kissed by the broiler. “Ultra-rare?” I asked. “Just about raw,” she said. If you tell the story straight, Maurice Simon gets nudged into being a footnote in the life of a local legend. If you tell the story sideways, though, he gets a life all his own. PJC

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Headlines Jews debate Mastriano’s Christian nationalist beliefs — REGIONAL — By Sasha Rogelberg | Contributing Writer

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hen Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano kicked off his primary campaign on Jan. 8, he donned a tallit and blew a shofar, despite not being Jewish. The use of Jewish holy objects was not a one-off affair: The state senator attended the “Patriots Arise for God and Country” rally in Gettysburg in May when nine event leaders blew the shofar to begin the event. “We have the power of God with us,” Mastriano said at the rally, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “We have Jesus Christ that we’re serving here. He’s guiding and directing our steps.” In April, Mastriano appeared at a rally organized by far-right activists Alan and Francine Fosdick, who have alleged that Jews have orchestrated recent natural disasters, including wildfires, through the use of space lasers. In many of his primary campaign events, Mastriano, an Army veteran, drew from his evangelical Christian beliefs, taking a conservative stance on issues such as abortion access, same-sex marriage and transgender rights. He attended President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 rally before the storming of the Capitol Building. Though he’s rejected the label, Mastriano embodies the values of Christian nationalism, which, according to the Associated Press, is the idea that God has destined America for greatness and will give the country a “divine blessing.” It’s the belief that Christian values should dictate the country’s politics. Following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Mastriano doubled down on a 2018 statement comparing gun control to Adolf Hitler’s 1930s laws confiscating guns from Jews. (Hitler also loosened gun restrictions among non-Jewish German citizens.) Combined with his far-right platform, Mastriano’s use of Jewish symbolism and condemnation of the division between church and state has alarmed some Jewish Democrats in Pennsylvania. Is Christian nationalism antisemitic? What about the use of a shofar and tallit in a political campaign by a gentile? Mastriano did not respond to repeated requests for comment. According to Anti-Defamation League Philadelphia Regional Director Andrew Goretsky, Christian nationalists, though often not self-proclaimed, believe that American values are inextricable from

p Doug Mastriano campaigns for governor in Wilkes-Barre in 2022.

Photo by Times Leader Video, creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Christian values. Though Christianity on the right has been used for the past 50 years — such as part of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority political action group to combat liberal policy and socialism — Christian nationalism has gained traction in the past decade, positioning itself against the “evil forces” of the left. “Christian nationalists assert that America

must remain a ‘Christian nation’ — not merely as an observation about American history but as a prescriptive program for what America must continue to be in the future,” Goretsky said. He asserts, though not specifically referring to Mastriano, that Christian nationalism would be antisemitic if it was dismissive of Judaism or if it specifically claimed that

Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus, which Mastriano has not claimed. The use of Jewish objects by a non-Jew is not inherently antisemitic, Goretsky said, but a politician’s use of these objects in a political campaign could be offensive. “ADL believes that using a tallit or shofar outside of the ways they are supposed to be used, or in a political context, cheapens their meaning and offends many people who respect their holiness,” Goretsky said. Jill Zipin, chair of Democratic Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania, was quick to condemn Mastriano’s use of the shofar and tallit during his campaign. “It’s very problematic because the appropriation of Jewish symbols at campaign events, which is how he has used it, I believe, such as the shofar the tallit is appropriating sacred Jewish items and symbols for political gain,” she said. Even more concerning to Zipin were Mastriano’s principles of Christian nationalism, which she believed was anti-democracy, favoring one religious group over others. “At the turn of the last century, Jews came to this country for economic freedom, for religious freedom and for political freedom,” Zipin said. “And Christian nationalism goes to both religious freedom as well as political freedom because it’s an anti-democratic ideology.” But to Richard Tems, a Doylestown resident and member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Christian nationalism is not antisemitic, as Christian and Jewish values are in line with each other. “Roots of Christianity come from us,” Tems said. “So they (evangelical Christians) believe that the Messiah came, and we’re still waiting.” Tems believes that Democrats have manufactured an adversarial relationship between Jews and Christians; to Tems, “Judeo-Christian values” are consistent with Judaism and Christianity. Because of the religions’ close connections, Tems does not take issue with Mastriano’s use of the shofar and tallit, so long as he does so with intention and respect. “If that’s what he chooses to do, that’s fine. Does he understand why?” Tems said. “Does he have a clear understanding of the role ... Jews have in America? How fundamental we are to this nation, and how this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles?” PJC Sasha Rogelberg writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication where this first appeared.

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Headlines — WORLD — Court allows German church to keep ‘Jewish Pig’ sculpture on display

A one-man effort to remove a medieval anti-Jewish sculpture from public view in Germany has failed, JTA reported. The Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe announced on June 14 that the St. Marien Church in Wittenberg didn’t have to remove the “Judensau” — Jew Sow — sculpture from its façade, since the church administration had adequately distanced itself from the original antisemitic intention. The Judensau is a Christian folk image dating to the Middle Ages that depicts Jews suckling on the teats of a pig, peering into its anus or, in the case of the Wittenberg relief, both. Michael Duellmann, who is Jewish, is vowing to take his fight to the next level, to Germany’s highest court of human rights. These sculptures are “much more than merely insulting,” he said. “They are an inducement to murder.” Duellmann, 79, had demanded that the sandstone relief be removed because it was defamatory to himself and to Judaism overall. After losing his case in district court and on appeal, he took it to Germany’s highest criminal and civil court two years ago, where he lost.

Jewish basketball star Sue Bird to retire after season

This season will be WNBA superstar Sue Bird’s last, JTA reported The Jewish four-time league champion and five-time Olympic gold medalist announced on June 16 that she would retire following the 2022 season. “I’ve decided this will be my final year,” Bird shared on social media. “I have loved every single minute, and still do, so gonna play my last year, just like this little girl played her first.” The 41-year-old point guard has won everywhere she’s played. At the University of Connecticut, Bird won two NCAA championships. She was the first overall pick in the 2002 WNBA draft and has played her entire career with the Seattle Storm. In the WNBA, the 12-time All-Star is the only player in league history to win titles in three different decades and is the all-time assists leader. Abroad, Bird played for three different Russian teams and won five Russian National League championships and five EuroLeague titles. She also won five Olympic gold medals playing for the U.S. Bird — whose grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from what is now Ukraine in the early 1900s and changed their surname from “Boorda” to “Bird” — became an Israeli citizen in 2006.

Israeli Academy of Sciences sues US fundraising arm for withholding donations

The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities is suing its American fundraising affiliate for refusing to hand over donations, JTA reported. Two Jewish Nobel laureates, Mike Brown and Roger Kornberg, who served on the board of the U.S. fundraising arm, the American Foundation for Basic Research in Israel, resigned in protest, according to the lawsuit. Lawyers for the academy, one of Israel’s most distinguished research bodies, alleged that AFBRI, created by the academy in 1990, has refused to approve the distribution from the $17 million in its coffers. The academy is a collective of scientists and scholars established by Israeli law in 1961 to encourage scholarship and maintain connections with the international scientific community. It grants awards and fellowships, in addition to generating reports for the government assessing the state of science in Israel. The law firm representing the academy, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, maintains that, since AFBRI was created to finance research in Israel, “any attempt to divert AFBRI’s funds away from [the academy] is a breach of the agreements with the donors.” AFBRI did not respond to a request for comment.

Seriously ill COVID patients in Israel jump 70% in a week

The number of COVID patients in Israel considered seriously ill hit 140 on June 17, compared to 85 a week early, The Times of Israel reported. Health experts called the situation “unstable” as the country deals with the new variant BA.5.; those experts warned that COVID wards may need to reopen. There were 7,313 Israelis who tested positive for the virus on June 17. The country’s death toll from COVID is 10,882.

Israeli economy contracts nearly 2% in Q1

Israel’s gross domestic product shrank by 1.9% on an annualized basis in 2022’s first quarter, Globes reported, citing estimates from the Central Bureau of Statistics. That decline was steeper than a previous estimate indicating the economy contracted by 1.6%. The contraction comes after a whopping annualized growth rate of 15.6% in the fourth quarter of 2021 as Israel exited the pandemic. GDP per capita fell by an annualized 3.5% in the first quarter, while private consumption fell 1.5% after growing 18.2% in the previous quarter. PJC — Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

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SAFEGUARDING YOUR PRESENT & FUTURE

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

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June 24, 1987 — Arabs stage National Equality Strike

Israeli Arabs hold an Equality Day strike to protest discrimination and demand equal per capita funding for Jewish and Arab local authorities. Though the strike is dismissed as “Communist incitement,” the government increases Arab funding.

June 25, 2009 — Bridge of Strings opens

Jerusalem inaugurates the Chords Bridge, known as the Bridge of Strings, to serve pedestrians and the light-rail system at the city’s entrance. The bridge features 66 white steel cables hanging from a 384-foot spire.

June 26, 1944 — GOP platform supports Jewish State

The Republican National Convention follows presidential nominee Thomas Dewey’s lead and for the first time in its platform supports the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. The Democrats take a similar step in July.

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June 27, 1945 — Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon is born

Ami Ayalon is born in Tiberias. A Medal of Valor winner, he commands the Israeli navy from 1992 to 1996, then leads the Shin Bet security service until 2000. He later represents Labor in the Knesset.

June 28, 1919 — Polish Minorities Treaty is signed

Poland, reconstituted as an independent state after World War I, adopts its Minorities Treaty, which, in addition to general assurances, specifically mentions cultural and civil liberties for Jews.

June 29, 1939 — Kibbutz Givat Brenner is established

Kibbutz Givat Brenner, named for writer Yosef Haim Brenner, is founded near Tel Aviv by pioneers from Lithuania, Italy and Germany who had labored in agricultural communities.

June 30, 2012 — Yitzhak Shamir dies

Israel’s seventh prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, dies at 96. Born in Poland during World War I, he made aliyah in 1935. He joined the Irgun, then Lehi. He was first elected to the Knesset in 1973. PJC

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Headlines Israel headed to 5th elections since 2019 after leaders concede collapse of governing coalition — WORLD — By Cnaan Liphshiz | JTA

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fter weeks of fending off threats to their governing coalition, Israel’s top leaders have announced that they will instead seek to dissolve the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and hold new elections. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced their decision Monday, setting Israel on a path toward a fifth round of elections since 2019 and potentially allowing Benjamin Netanyahu, Bennett’s predecessor, to regain power. Lapid will become interim prime minister until the formation of a new coalition, assuming that lawmakers sign off on the bill to dissolve the government. An election could take place Oct. 25, according to Israeli media. “Attempts to stabilize the coalition have been exhausted, leading to this decision,” Bennett and Lapid said in a statement, which they followed with a press conference Monday night in Jerusalem. The announcement follows several months of political uncertainty following the defection of at least two coalition lawmakers, Nir Orbach Please see Elections, page 15

p Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his Cabinet with President Reuven Rivlin in June 2021

Photo by Avi Ohayon / Government Press Office (Israel), creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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JUNE 24, 2022

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Opinion Unexpected spirituality Guest Columnist David Rullo

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ARMIEL, ISRAEL — ­ David Emanuel ben Abraham v’Sarah. That is the Hebrew name I chose almost a decade ago. Until now, the name has been stuck in a locked, fireproof box in my office, written on my conversion documents. I haven’t used it since then and didn’t foresee a day when I would. I am a Reform Jewish convert, and when I have been called to the bimah for an aliyah, my Hebrew name has never been used. I don’t remember it being used for my son’s bar mitzvah or any of the life cycle events at my temple. Don’t misunderstand me — the name has significance. I chose it, after all. The first part was simple; it was my name. I shared it with

the most significant king of the Jewish people, the slayer of giants. It mattered. That name was given to me at birth and, as such, meant a line of continuity as I chose a new life. The second part of the name, Emanuel — that was perhaps more meaningful. I chose it because it was the place where I began my journey of discovery. It was where I attended a Taste of Judaism all those moon cycles ago. It was my way to honor the most significant building I had entered in my adult life. It was chosen because of the role Temple Emanuel of South Hills played in my life. Despite the significance, I never thought I would need to use the name. Israel changed that. On 19 Sivan, 5782 — you might know it as June 18, 2022 — I, along with Temple Emanuel of South Hills Rabbi Aaron Meyer and a few other Mega Mission attendees were called to the bimah at Kehilat Kol Haneshama, a Reform Jewish congregation in Jerusalem, for the fourth aliyah on Shabbat morning. Reform congregations in Israel use your

Hebrew name when you are called for an aliyah. Who knew? I was asked by the rabbi my name and I froze for an instance. I was lost in the rarity of needing the name and the weight of the moment. “David Emanuel,” I said, almost under my breath. “Your parents?” the rabbi asked. “No,” I said before Meyer guided me through an awkward moment answering for me “ben Abraham v’Sarah.” I, of course, remembered that a convert claims Abraham and Sarah as his parents in honor of the pair being the parents of all Jews, but was shaken in the moment. Before I left for Israel, I thought visiting the Kotel and touching the Western Wall would be the most meaningful moment of my trip to Israel. It turns out it wasn’t. I’m not sure why that moment didn’t resonate. I could offer theories, but they would most likely only offend some reading this. Let’s chalk it up to a feeling of “Jewish tourism” I sensed. No matter; the moment I had waited for fizzled.

I left disappointed. I was sure feeling a spiritual connection to Israel was lost. I, of course, didn’t anticipate Shabbat at Kehilat Kol Haneshama. Don’t get me wrong: I know that if not for attending services with Rabbi Meyer, who called ahead and said a contingent from Pittsburgh would be coming for Shabbat, I would never have been given the opportunity I experienced. And yet, it was then I found the spiritual connection I was seeking on this trip. The secret, I guess, is that you can’t pick and choose spiritual moments. In the end, they come when the time is right, not when you attempt to force them. PJC Staff Writer David Rullo David Rullo is traveling with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Mega Mission and has been blogging throughout the trip. You can find all his blog entries at pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. He can be reached at drullo@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

Yes, this time is different: A new era of gun violence prevention is coming Guest Columnist Rep. Dan Frankel

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am from gun safety future, and Republicans, you’re in trouble. For more than 40 years, you have successfully avoided talking about this issue as fatalities and injuries climbed and as firearms became deadlier. With the help of the National Rifle Association, you declared any form of regulation a dire threat to the U.S. Constitution and a menace to the American culture and way of life. The argument is nonsense, but the strategy was brilliant. It fed on cultural divisions, pitted urban Americans against rural. It replaced conversations about a complex public health problem with angry slogans. Meaningful debate evaporated, even after 20 first-graders were gunned down at Sandy Hook. Even after 49 people were murdered at the Pulse nightclub. Even after suicide deaths and daily street violence stacked up.

In 2018, when my friends and neighbors were murdered as they worshipped in their synagogues in the Tree of Life building, my community’s despair was compounded by the fact that change seemed so far out of reach. But, almost four years later, after another classroom full of innocent children has been attacked with another assault rifle, something has changed. It’s what the gun manufacturers have always feared the most: an honest conversation about a rational balance between the constitutional right to keep and bear arms and the safety of our residents. It’s happening in Washington, where a bipartisan group of senators agreed last week on a modest but substantive framework for legislation that aims to curb gun violence by doing what has long been considered impossible: regulating guns. And it’s happening in communities across Pennsylvania, where residents have rapidly gone from perplexed to annoyed to outraged that their elected officials continue to do nothing to address the ever-rising body count caused by gun violence. Where it’s not happening is within the Republican Party in the Pennsylvania House

and Senate. Out of 141 Republican legislators, only one has sponsored or co-sponsored a single piece of legislation that would regulate the ownership or use of firearms in any way. More than 1,700 Pennsylvanians died in 2020 from gun violence — can you imagine the legislative response if that many people were killed in amusement parks or swimming pools? After the unthinkable attack on children in Uvalde, Texas, Pennsylvania House and Senate Democrats used the parliamentary procedures available to the minority party to force consideration of firearm regulation bills, but Republican leaders did what they’ve done as long as I’ve been around: swatted down the bills with as little discussion as the rules would allow. They are using the same strategy they always have, not realizing that the world has changed. The costs of gun violence seem to have finally crossed an invisible threshold for many Americans, but that’s not the only reason we find ourselves in this unfamiliar place of hope. The NRA, which used weakened campaign finance laws and a powerful public relations machine to manipulate politics at the state and federal levels has managed to run itself out of money.

Now distracted by high-level infighting and mired in legal battles, the organization is no longer in a position to control the narrative. While the fog of the NRA’s influence won’t disappear overnight, the federal debate and the expectations on the ground already show that we are in new territory. In my community, many suffered anew that it was not our tragedy that woke up the nation and started this conversation in earnest. But I would argue that it was our tragedy. It was everyone’s tragedies. It was the fact that the vast majority of Americans have been affected by gun violence. It was heartbroken mothers and fathers and children and friends and neighbors from coast to coast who have suffered the unimaginable pain of losing someone to preventable gun violence. In other words, the callous refusal to address this deadly problem has created an enormous constituency. It is a club that nobody wants to be in, but it is diverse and committed and growing every day. I am 100% certain that we will prevail. PJC Dan Frankel, a Democrat, represents the 23rd District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Voices of European Jewry: A summer adventure Guest Columnist Madison Jackson

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or the past several days, I have been living at the Eden Hall campus of Chatham University in Gibsonia, devoting my time to an intensive week of

12

JUNE 24, 2022

writing, a residency for Master of Fine Arts students in creative writing — my graduate program — where I focus on creative nonfiction writing. But this residency is just the start of my summer writing adventures. At the end of June, I will depart the United States for Europe. For a year, I have planned this trip, which will allow me to combine my passion for writing with my enthusiasm about global Jewry. I call it the “Global Jewish Pen Pal

Program Europe Tour.” I was first in Europe in 2014, as a high school student participating in the Szarvas International Jewish Youth Camp North American Fellowship program. Szarvas, a summer camp two hours from Budapest, Hungary, nestled on the banks of the Körös River, brings together Jewish kids and teenagers from 25 countries around the world to explore Jewish identity and global Jewish life.

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Inspired by my time at Szarvas and wanting to learn more about what it means to be Jewish in Europe today, in 2018 I spent three months in Warsaw, Poland, interning at the American Jewish Committee Central Europe office. In the years between my European Jewish travels, I’ve been learning about Jewish life in Europe and around the world through Please see Jackson, page 15

PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG


Opinion Chronicle poll results: Jan. 6 riot

L

ast week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “In light of the recent House committee hearings on the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, do you think former President Donald Trump was responsible for that event?” Of the 387 people who responded, 83% said “mostly yes”; 4% said “somewhat yes”; 11% said “mostly no”; and 1% said “somewhat no.” Comments were submitted by 119 people. A few follow.

In light of the recent House committee hearings on the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, do you think former President Donald Trump was responsible for that event?

1%

4% Somewhat no. Somewhat yes.

1%

Not sure.

11%

Trump is guilty of treason, as are many of his former aides and officials. They have to be held responsible in order to prevent future attempts to overthrow our democracy.

83%

Mostly yes.

Absolutely and without question yes, for which he should be prosecuted. Democrats are destroying our economy and our country — city by city, county by county, state by state. This is all a distraction so that Americans don’t see what they are doing.

The Dems just want a distraction from high inflation and other present political problems. The House committee is biased and skewed — politically — to distract from the recent Democratic failures in their political agenda. He should be found guilty of sedition and imprisoned.

Mostly no.

Totally yes.

Pathetic how many people still believe The Lie and how many Republicans publicly deny the truth for fear of losing status.

Trump is guilty and so is his inner circle, but unfortunately nothing will happen to any of them!

He was absolutely responsible and led the charge for the malicious, deadly, unjustified events of Jan. 6. But he does not stand alone. There were many in Congress, the Justice Department, the White House and more who were complicit! It was obvious from the outset that he was encouraging his people to cause mayhem at the Capitol. I was watching that day and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. January 6 committee is a shameless

“kangaroo court.” Not “mo st ly ye s” ; “completely responsible.”

i nste a d,

I can’t understand why the Democrats are all about bringing down Trump. During his four years, our country prospered! He is a competent businessman, but all the Dems focused on were his tweets (albeit inappropriate at times). Look what a terrible mess we are in right now! Biden is incompetent, and his handlers know it. He can’t even read the teleprompter correctly. Leave Trump alone and fix the mess this administration has created. Absolutely. I know a fascist megalomaniac when I see one. Elect a clown, expect a circus. PJC — Toby Tabachnick

Chronicle weekly poll question:

Have you been to Israel? Go to pittsburgh jewishchronicle.org to respond. PJC

The Torah’s disturbing message Guest Columnist Jeffrey Spitz Cohan

E

ach Friday night, Jews all over the world rise to greet the Sabbath Bride. And so we begin our celebration of Shabbat, a day of resting from work, enjoying good food and connecting with loved ones. But another element of Shabbat can be unsettling, even disturbing. The weekly Torah reading, or parshah, sometimes delivers stern messages in startling language. Case in point, last week’s parshah, Beha’alotecha. Last Shabbat we read one of the most dramatic and disturbing stories in all of the Torah, a story that is more relevant today than ever before. The story, recounted in Chapter 11 of the Book of Numbers, finds the Israelites wandering after the Exodus. They have been living on manna, described in the Torah as “like coriander seed.”

Coriander seed? Bring on the kvetching. A group of the Israelites — referred to pejoratively as hasafsoof, or riffraff — begin clamoring for meat. Moses then relays the request to God. That’s when things really get interesting. God tells Moses, and this is a direct translation, “The Eternal will give you meat to eat…. until it comes out of your nostrils.” Then, strong winds blew quails into the Israelite camp. The riffraff feasted. Here’s the disturbing part. God smote the quail-eaters with a deadly plague — and as if the message were not clear enough, the Torah tells us that the dead were buried in Kibroth-hattaavah, the Graves of Lust. It is tempting to interpret this story in a very general way, as merely a warning against being ungrateful for God’s beneficence. But there is a specific meaning that is highly relevant to our contemporary condition, a meaning that becomes crystal clear when the story is viewed in the context of the entire Torah. God’s first dietary instructions to us, given in Genesis 1:29, were to eat plants and only

plants. In other words, we were commanded to be vegetarians, or even vegans. Only after humanity had sunk into a state of spiritual depravity did God grant us limited permission to kill animals for food, in Genesis 9. After the Exodus, in the desert, God tried again to impose a plant-based diet, only to be frustrated by the riffraff. Fast forward to Deuteronomy 12. God gives the Hebrews their final marching orders before they enter the land of Israel, and tells them that they may eat meat based on their ta’aveh, their lust. The linguistic link to Numbers 11 has not escaped the notice of some of our greatest rabbis. Killing animals for food, they tell us, is a manifestation of human lust, not of the Divine will. What does this have to do with today? With us? Today, the treatment of animals in modern industrial agriculture is so abhorrent that no ethical system, especially ours, can justify it. Any one of us would be horrified to experience firsthand the conditions in a chicken farm, where literally tens of thousands of birds are crammed together in a windowless warehouse,

Jeffrey Spitz Cohan is the executive director of Jewish Veg, an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire and assist Jews to transition to plant-based diets. He lives in Pittsburgh.

Thank you Joe for all you have and continue to do and for being one of Pittsburgh’s true champions!

— LETTERS — Kudos for Joe Gordon

I would like to give my personal congratulations to Joe Gordon who was recently named to the Awards of Excellence by the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions to the sport for over 30 years (“Steelers PR maven Joe Gordon honored by Pro Football Hall of Fame,” June 3). I would like to commend and give Joe additional kudos for his tireless work in coordinating the Steelers Alumni Charity Golf Classic, which marks its 25th year on July 18 under Joe’s leadership. Joe’s unending effort of chairing this event has raised millions of dollars for one of our community’s premiere charities, Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services, now located off the Boulevard of the Allies in the Upper Hill District. Joe’s untiring efforts and that of the late great Coach Chuck Noll have contributed greatly to the financial well-being of a local organization that helps so many visually impaired people lead fuller and more productive lives. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

never to experience fresh air or sunshine, never mind even a minute with their mothers. Moreover, because of the human preference for white meat, the chickens are bred to grow such enormous breasts that their skeletal and cardiovascular systems often cannot support the weight, causing crippling pain and even heart attacks. And in recent weeks, farmers have intentionally suffocated millions of chickens in an attempt to contain yet another outbreak of bird flu. The good news is that we can do more than just lament the situation. At the grocery store and in restaurants, we can make compassionate choices from among the ever-growing array of plant-based options. Then we will be living up to the Divine will and enjoying delicious food and peace of mind — undisturbed. PJC

Constance Schwartz, retired director of development Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh (BVRS) Mt. Washington 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: Letters to the editor via email: letters@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org Address:

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Website address:

Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 5915 Beacon St., 5th Flr., Pittsburgh, PA 15217 pittsburghjewishchronicle.org/letters-to-the-editor

JUNE 24, 2022

13


Headlines Israel: Continued from page 1

the city’s Volunteer Home, planting flowers and creating paintings with welcoming messages for area nonprofits that will use the new center. Gal’s wife, Idith Gal, is co-chair of the Parnterhsip2Gether program. His daughter spent time in Pittsburgh as part of the Diller Teens Fellow program and was a counselor at the Jewish Community Center’s Emma Kaufmann Camp. “She’s very involved and has lots of friends from Pittsburgh,” he said. The Partnership program is important for both communities because it helps build relationships, Gal added. Israel, he said, is a home for all Jews and it supports community members in the Diaspora. “When Pittsburgh suffered on Oct. 27, the community supported them, and it goes both ways,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s one big happy family.” The relationship between Mega Mission participant Lisa Dvorin’s family and first-year Israel Defense Force member Tomer Kadosh, is evidence of the positive things that can happen between the two communities. Kadosh and his family live in Misgav (a region next to Karmiel that is part of the PittsburghIsrael partnership). In 2018, he stayed with Dvorin’s family when, like Gal’s daughter,

p Mega Mission volunteers show artwork they created to be hung at Karmiel’s new Volunteer Home. Photo by David Rullo

he came to Pittsburgh as part of the Diller program; Dvorin visited Kadosh and his family when she went to Israel with a group of women as part of Federation’s Momentum program. On the Mega Mission, Dvorin and her daughter Zoe reconnected with Kadosh and his mother, Einat. During their time in Karmiel, Einat told Dvorin that she and her family feel fortunate to have developed the relationship. “She said, ‘Your family is very special.’ I said, ‘We feel the same way about you,’” Dvorin recounted.

Mega Mission co-chair Rochelle Wagner helped pass out identity cards to newly arrived Jewish Ukrainian refugees who came to Israel seeking to escape their country’s war with Russia. Federation collected summer beach needs from mission members before meeting the refugees. Wagner said it brought a smile to her face to watch the children move about the room from one object to the next, excited to choose an item. “I felt a real sense of community,” Wagner said. Partnership2gether forges critical

Brownsville: Continued from page 1

the Heinz History Center. “The building was destroyed in a fire two years later. The congregation broke ground on a second synagogue at 210 2nd Street in Brownsville in 1919 and dedicated the building the following year.” At its height, the Jewish population of Brownsville, and neighboring South Brownsville, was about 400. The Jewish population began declining there after World War II, and the congregation disbanded in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These days, there are few signs of Ohave Israel in Brownsville. The synagogue was sold in 1979 to the United Citizens Group of Southwestern PA. The building now houses Elmo’s, a supplies store that specializes in computers, guns and coffee. The former “Brownsville shul” was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, but documentation on the borough’s Jewish community was sparse — until recently. Eric Lidji, the director of Rauh Jewish Archives, “was collecting data on Jewish communities in the area … it turned out, there wasn’t much on Brownsville,” Greenfield said. Lidji contacted Greenfield to find the borough’s Jewish cemetery and things snowballed from there. The two reached out to Barry Rudel, executive director of the Jewish Cemetery and Burial Association of Greater Pittsburgh. The JCBA took responsibility for the cemetery and helped renew its grounds. In the meantime, Lidji continued to archive and research the area with help from Ray Klein. “All of a sudden, people started coming 14

JUNE 24, 2022

p A sign marks the rededication of the Ohave Israel Cemetery.

Photos by Ethan Beck

p About 40 people gathered to celebrate their Brownsville roots on June 19.

PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE

connections between Pittsburghers and Israelis that help connect American Jews to Jewish life in Israel while helping Israel understand the Diaspora, according to Adam Hertzman, Federation’s marketing director. “The personal relationships I saw blooming during this mission show how important visits like this can be,” he said. “I even got a little teary-eyed seeing the reunions and, for myself, meeting people who I have only seen online.” During their time in the region, mission participants visited Karmiel’s memorial to Pittsburgh’s 11 victims of the massacre at the Tree of Life building. The memorial includes a plaque and 11 trees dedicated to those who were killed. The Pittsburgh contingent spoke at the site and said Kaddish. “In the Talmud, we’re taught that when we save a life we save an entire world and when we take a life, we destroy an entire world. Let’s say Kaddish together as we think about those 11 worlds that were shattered on that day,” said Rabbi Amy Greenbaum of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills before leading the prayer. More than 200 community members joined the Federation in Israel, the organization’s first Mega Mission since 2012. PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsurghjewishchronicle.org. See also his opinion piece on p.12. out of the woodwork and really coming together to make this record happen,” Lidji said. “We now have this incredible list of about 650 Jewish people who we know lived in Brownsville.” One of the remaining mysteries of Ohave Israel is the cemetery’s small size. It was used from 1917 until 1932 and only has eight gravestones. “The bulk of the Brownsville Jews were not buried there,” Rudel explained, adding that many ended up in neighboring communities such as McKeesport and Uniontown. Those small-town Jewish communities often were tighter because of their size, Lidji noted. “One of the things that I’ve noticed about these small Jewish communities is they often did not have the luxury of splitting into groups,” Lidji said. “They all had to figure out a way to get together, and that meant making compromises so they could fit as many people into their organization as possible.” That tightly-knit dynamic was on full display Sunday, as about 40 people traveled from Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, D.C., and other locales to celebrate their Brownsville roots. As ex-Brownsville mayor Ryan said at the reunion, there’s always a need to polish and “add memories to the memory bank.” While the Brownsville Jewish community has diminished — only one Jewish man, Jerry Moskovitz, is known to remain in the borough — the reminiscences are still strong. “The point of all this is that we can never bring back this actual community,” Lidji said. “The period of time for Brownsville Jews came and went. But what we can do is revive the memory.” PJC Ethan Beck can be reached at ebeck@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG


Headlines Shinshinim: Continued from page 3

to our students and families through creative educational programming, challenging discussions and relationship-building.” Rabbi Barbara Symons of Temple David agreed. She said the Monroeville-based congregation wholeheartedly supports the shinshinim program and that the Israeli emissaries had a positive impact on the congregation’s religious school students. After learning that Temple David was engaging in a yearlong effort to promote knowledge of Israel, Haizler worked with teachers to create and shape interactive programming. At one point, he asked

Nonbinary: Continued from page 4

said. “Whatever gender is the gender they prefer and with which they identify, that’s what we’re gonna do.” Fellman hasn’t been involved with a

Elections: Continued from page 11

and Idit Silman, from the razor-thin coalition headed by Bennett, a right-wing, pro-settler politician, and Lapid, a centrist candidate favored by secular, middle-class voters. Their coalition, formed a year ago after years of repeat elections, was held together primarily by a desire to prevent Netanyahu, who had been prime minister since 2009 and was facing trial on corruption charges, from holding onto power. (The trial is now underway; Netanyahu has denied the charges against him.) The left-wing, right-wing and, notably, Arab lawmakers whose parties formed the coalition agreed on little else. The coalition’s ability to act withered as each lawmaker defected, and the situation reached crisis levels earlier this month when lawmakers failed to renew regulations extending Israeli law to Jewish settlers living in the West Bank. Netanyahu had

Jackson: Continued from page 12

different lenses — both historical and contemporary. I’ve curated my own global Jewish library and tell friends they can pick almost any country, and I will have a book about Jewish life there on my bookshelf. I’ve attended Zoom lectures and virtual tours of Jewish communities around the world.

students to write personal notes that would be placed in the Kotel. Later, while visiting the Jewish state, Haizler filmed himself placing the students’ messages in the Western Wall. “That was above and beyond,” Symons said. Actions like these help people see Israel and Israelis in new ways, Kelemer said. “The way that the younger generation is in tune about Israel is often from the media and American social media,” and younger people “don’t necessarily have a deep understanding, or connection, or personal experience,” she said. “The shinshinim program helps them meet an Israeli, build an authentic relationship with an Israeli and understand that these are real people who are there, and that Israel is not an abstract idea.” Munro also touted the shinshinim’s ability

to personalize and convey large concepts, saying, “Our students especially respond to the youthful energy and perspective of the shinshinim, building real and lasting connections with these teen ambassadors and with modern Israel.” A unique aspect of the shinshinim program is that it creates relationships that aren’t one-sided, Symons explained. Whenever Haizler came to the school, “we always gave him bags of Bamba,” she said. “It was a taste of home, and he loved it every time.” The shinshinim are teenagers and, for many, this is their first extended time away from family and friends. Kelemer hopes when the newest crop of young emissaries arrives on Aug. 9, the community will embrace

them and foster a “bilateral” engagement. “Our goal is people-to-people relationships — that’s the ultimate connection,” she said. “We can show them our home and what our community looks like, and they can show us what their home and community looks like.” As opposed to simply welcoming someone and asking about their culture, this model enables the possibility of greater understanding, Kelemer continued. Pittsburghers can demonstrate the “strength” of one American Jewish community and, in turn, the young emissaries can “bring our sense of community back to Israel as well.” PJC

b-mitzvah yet, but he noted his experience converting a nonbinary individual recently. He concluded that he wanted to do “whatever made the most sense for the particular person.” “Judaism doesn’t need to be incompatible with humanity — the two can work well together,” he said. “For me, it was sort

of a no-brainer. If a person wanted to have a b-mitzvah instead of a bat mitzvah or a bar mitzvah, it’s fine with me. I want to be true to them.” When asked about the Conservative movement’s recent opinion, Fellman applauded the change but noted that there’s always more to do in the way of inclusion for any congregation.

“I think Judaism for too long has fallen into gendered roles and gendered roots, but it doesn’t need to be there,” Fellman said. “We need to recognize gender identity doesn’t need to be yet another stumbling block.” PJC

The coalition’s ability to act withered as each lawmaker defected, and the situation reached crisis levels earlier this month when lawmakers failed to renew regulations extending Israeli law to Jewish settlers living in the West Bank. urged members of his party, Likud, to vote against the bill and force a governance crisis, even though Likud and other rightwing parties have long supported extending the regulations. Netanyahu’s gambit succeeded. Bennett said the looming expiration of the so-called “Judea and Samaria” law was the reason

that he and Lapid decided to dissolve the government. “In talks with security officials I understood that in 10 days, the state of Israel will enter a deadlock,” he said. “Our efforts unfortunately did not succeed and my friend Yair and I decided to have elections at an agreed-upon time.”

In 2020 I founded a nonprofit organization called the Global Jewish Pen Pal Program. The organization matches Jews of all ages with Jewish pen pals around the world to help people learn about global Jewish life through firsthand stories. This summer, my tour will take me from Western Europe to Central Europe to Eastern Europe and back again. Throughout five weeks, I will visit seven countries and 10 cities. The trip has a dual purpose: I will split

my time between spreading the word about the Global Jewish Pen Pal Program and conducting research about contemporary Jewish life in Europe for my writing. In each city, I will be hosted by a different European pen pal who lives there. The pen pals will show me what Jewish life looks like in their cities — whatever that means to them — and I will interview them about their Jewish identities. I hope to educate Pittsburgh Jewry a bit about European Jewish life through articles I will write for the Pittsburgh

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

Ethan Beck can be reached at ebeck@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org .

Netanyahu welcomed the decision to go to elections in a statement Monday, as did other opposition lawmakers who believe that rightwing parties will prevail in the next election. “This evening means very important news to Israelis,” Netanyahu said. “After a determined fight by the opposition in the Knesset and much sufferings by the Israeli public, it is clear to everyone that the most incompetent government in Israeli history has come to the end of the road.” In a statement, Lapid thanked Bennett for “putting the country before his personal interest” and said that he would push lawmakers to tackle tough issues, including the high cost of living and security threats from Iran and Hamas, during the limbo period before the next government is formed. “What we need to do today is go back to the concept of Israeli unity. Not to let dark forces tear us apart from within. To remind ourselves that we love one another, love our country, and that only together will we prevail,” Lapid said. PJC

Jewish Chronicle about my experiences. I am excited to return to Europe and see Jewish life in a variety of locations from the perspectives of locals. I look forward to sharing some of my travels with you. Stay tuned. PJC Madison Jackson is a graduate student at the Chatham University MFA program in Creative Nonfiction Writing. She lives in Squirrel Hill and is the founder and executive director of the Global Jewish Pen Pal Program.

www.pittsburghjewishchronicle.org PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE

JUNE 24, 2022

15


Life & Culture Going coconuts! 1

— FOOD — By Keri White | Contributing Writer

I

adore coconut. I love the flavor and texture, and I love that it is vegan/pareve and can be used to make delicious nondairy desserts. I love that it is versatile and is spectacular on its own but also pairs well with chocolate and fruit and caramel and vanilla ... need I go on? I think not. The desserts below reflect my admiration of this delicious drupe (yes, drupe; that is the classification of fruit that coconut falls into). The first recipe is a riff on tres leches cake and, although this version is dairy as it contains condensed milk, that ingredient can be swapped out for “cream of coconut,” a sweetened, syrupy coconut product. Be sure to pay attention to the different coconut cans — cream of coconut is sweet; coconut cream is a richer, fattier unsweetened coconut milk; and coconut milk is also unsweetened.

Dos leches cake

Makes 1 square cake, about 9 servings. For the cake: 2 cups cake flour or sifted all-purpose flour 1½ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda

cup unsweetened coconut cream or coconut milk, well stirred to an even consistency

For the toasted coconut topping: 1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

 Dos leches cake ¾ teaspoons salt ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons water ½ cup coconut oil (microwave for 10 seconds to make it liquid) ¾ cup granulated sugar 4½ tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon coconut extract For the dos leches soak: 1 cup sweetened condensed milk or cream of coconut (sweetened)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside. Mix the water, coconut oil, sugar, vinegar, vanilla and coconut extracts in a small bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir to blend. Pour it into the pan, and bake it for 30-35 minutes. When the center springs back to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean, it is done. Cool the cake completely and Photo by Keri White poke the top of the cake with a chopstick or fork to make holes all over to allow the “leches” to soak it. While the cake cools, mix the dos leches soak ingredients, making sure that the texture is even and smooth. When the Please see Coconuts, page 17

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Life & Culture Novelist A.B. Yehoshua, dissector and lover of Israel and the Jews, dies at 85 — LITERATURE — By Ron Kampeas | JTA

A.B.

Yehoshua the novelist took a sharp knife to his fellow citizens’ pretensions and delusions, writing books that laid Israel bare like an open bleeding wound. But A.B. Yehoshua the soothsayer sought to heal wounds, reconciling Israelis with Palestinians, with the Jewish Diaspora and above all with themselves. Avraham “Buli” Yehoshua, the writer who chronicled his beloved country’s rage and sorrows in more than a dozen acclaimed novels, died last week at 85. “We have to revitalize the solidarity that we lost, tunnels have to be created, dug between different sectors of Israeli society, with the religious, with Arabs,” Yehoshua told the New York Jewish Week in 2020. He was speaking about the need to defeat the coronavirus, but he might as well have been posting his credo. In cultures beset by conflict, like Israel and Ireland, the notion that an artist should stand apart from politics is seen as laughable. Yehoshua was unexceptional in his dual roles, joining an array of other novelists and poets who engaged in punditry on the dilemmas of the day. But he seemed to stand apart from his peers in presenting radically different personas, depending on whether he was the omniscient, withholding shaper of a work of fiction or the generous and avuncular presence holding forth on a TV politics hour. Yehoshua the fiction writer was unforgiving. His seminal 1977 novel, “The Lover,” makes compelling the interplay between three characters stunted by grief and anger: a husband whose personality is a walled-off fortress, a wife who assumes the role of a battering ram and a lover who runs and hides when the opportunity first presents itself. The threesome’s war of attrition is set against the chaos of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and how it blew apart certainties about Israel, its place in the world and one’s neighbors, friends and lovers. The novel was

p Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua speaks after receiving an honorary degree at the University of Palermo on Sept. 10, 2019. Photo by Francesco Militello Mirto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

prompted in part by the lists of missing that circulated after a war in which men were taken out of synagogues willy-nilly and hastily sent to the front line. Had they died, were they imprisoned or — and this consideration was the most terrifying — did they choose to disappear? “And in the last war, we lost a lover,” the narrator, Adam, begins. “We always say: a small intimate country, where if you try hard enough you’ll find connections between the most distanced of people — and here, it’s as if an abyss tore open and a man disappeared and attempts to track him down are fruitless.” In “A Late Divorce,” published in 1982, Yehoshua delivers a gut punch to Israel’s vaunted child-centric culture in the rushed narrative of a child who is bullied at school and who struggles to keep up in gym class. Its message was brutal: Israel coddles boys in order to sacrifice them when they reach draft age. “The gym teacher gave me such a hopeless look that it’s a wonder I didn’t cry I usually do when he starts up but today he was too tired to yell maybe because it was almost spring vacation,” the boy, Gaddi, says in a stream-of-consciousness monologue (Yehoshua’s preferred stylistic conceit) in Hillel

Halkin’s 1984 translation. “All he said was they’ll get you in the army then he blew his whistle and said now choose teams for dodge ball. I was chosen last and counted out first.” Yehoshua credited his wife, Rivka Kirsninski, a psychoanalyst whose death in 2016 crushed him, for his insights. “I have to understand that the world is not simple,” he said of being married to a woman whose landscape was the human psyche in a 2013 interview with The New York Jewish Week. “You see the surface and have to dig again and again.” That tendency in his political life led Yehoshua again and again to advocate reconciliation. In 1984, at least a decade ahead of his time, he counseled a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The only solution to the Palestinian problem is the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank,” Yehoshua said at the time in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The solution of a Palestinian state is an historical must.” Born Dec. 9, 1936, Yehoshua was a scion of a Sephardic family that had lived in Jerusalem for generations, and he brought to his writing and his speaking the culture’s

Coconuts:

Coconut rice pudding

Serves 2 generously

Continued from page 16

cake is completely cool, slowly pour the milk mixture over the cake, letting it seep into the holes. While the cake is “soaking,” toast the flaked coconut. Heat a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high, and pour the coconut in the pan. It should be spread in a single layer; do it in two batches if the coconut is too deep. Stir with a spatula constantly as the coconut toasts; watch it carefully, as it goes from raw to burnt quickly. When the coconut is golden brown and crisp, remove it from the pan and let it cool on a plate. When you are ready to serve the cake, sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

This is a great way to use leftover rice. It is also pareve/vegan, which makes it a useful dessert for kosher diners looking for a creamy rich pudding after a meat meal. It is delightful served warm, equally lovely cold and can stand alone, be topped with fresh fruit, a drizzle of chocolate, some chopped nuts or toasted coconut (see above recipe for technique). Adding a scoop of coconut oil at the end brings a richness and depth to the pudding, but if you are cutting fat and calories, this can be omitted. 1  Coconut rice pudding

Photo by Keri White

cup cooked rice (I used basmati because it was left over from my Indian dinner)

PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE

deceptively laconic style. He presented as a curious and provocative older relative, throwing out challenges and then leaning forward and listening intently. It was disarming, even when it infuriated his interlocutors, as in his notorious appearance at the American Jewish Committee’s 2006 centennial. “Only those living in Israel and taking part in the daily decisions of the Jewish state have a significant Jewish identity,” Yehoshua said then, to angry murmurs from the quintessential Diaspora organization. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, then the leader of the Reform movement, called Yehoshua’s claim “absurd and dangerous.” Yehoshua countered in a Haaretz op-ed: “What I sought to explain to my American hosts, in overly blunt and harsh language perhaps, is that, for me, Jewish values are not located in a fancy spice box that is only opened to release its pleasing fragrance on Shabbat and holidays, but in the daily reality of dozens of problems through which Jewish values are shaped and defined, for better or worse.” Yet the fancy spice box entranced him: In novel after novel, his protagonists emerged from the Jewish Diaspora or disappeared into it, like Gabriel, the titular “Lover,” the remoteness of Diaspora life embodied for Yehoshua an almost erotic longing. Yehoshua won dozens of awards, including the Israel Prize in 1995, the Bialik Prize and the National Jewish Book Award, and his work was translated into 28 languages. Yehoshua was one of a handful of Israelis, including Amos Oz and Yehuda Amichai, who perpetually were shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in literature. His final novel, “The Tunnel,” published in 2020, was about an engineer who is pressed into one last national project even as he loses his memory to dementia. Names may disappear for the protagonist, Zvi Luria, but he grips close to the essential meaning of his life. “Do you really believe in this country?” a character asks Luria. “Do I have a choice?” he replies. Yehoshua is survived by a daughter, two sons and seven grandchildren. PJC 1 ⅓ 1 ½ 1 ½

can coconut milk, well stirred cup brown sugar or white sugar teaspoon vanilla teaspoon coconut extract tablespoon coconut oil cup toasted flaked coconut

Mix the rice, coconut milk and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a simmer, and let it cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. Remove it from the heat, and add the extract and coconut oil; stir. Serve warm or chilled, topped with toasted coconut. PJC Keri White writer for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication where this first appeared. JUNE 24, 2022

17


Celebrations

Torah

Bat Mitzvah

Can we hold two truths?

Elisheva Devorah Miriam Yogman, daughter of Ben and Shayna Yogman, sister to Jonah, Shoshana, Isaiah and Zahav, will become bat mitzvah on June 25, 2022, at Congregation Beth Shalom. Elisheva is really into dinosaurs and always has been. When she was very little, she used them as a distraction to escape some rough stuff. But she genuinely loves learning about them and wants to be a paleontologist. Her bat mitzvah present will expose her to behindthe-scenes knowledge of a paleontology lab and dinosaur exhibit. She loves her parents and siblings and feels like they became a real family when her Mommy came, and later, her littlest siblings. Her bat mitzvah d’var Torah is about optimism, and she seeks to make the world a better place for animals (especially the African wild dog) and the environment.

Births

With great joy, Toby and Gene Tabachnick of Mt. Lebanon announce the birth of their grandson, Elliot Lyle (Tal Lior) Chiel. Elliot, born on June 7, 2022 (8 Sivan), is the son of Zoe and Harry Chiel of Stamford, Connecticut, and the younger brother of Caleb. Paternal grandparents are Judy and Jonathan Chiel of Newton, Massachusetts. Elliot is the great-grandson of the late Gladys and Norman Tabachnick of Pittsburgh; the late Zelda, Lillian and Isadore Rosen of Indianapolis; Lela and Dr. Norman Jacoby of Los Angeles; and Janet and the late Rabbi Samuel Chiel of Boston. Elliot is lovingly named after two of his maternal great-grandmothers, Nana Lil and Bubbie Giti.

If you haven’t heard from Grandpa by now, grandparents Bob and Tess Garber are belatedly announcing the arrival of their granddaughter, Julia Ellen Garber, by their son and daughter-in-law, Benjamin James Garber and Allison Christine McCarthy, of Denniston Street, Squirrel Hill. Although Julia arrived on June 29, 2021, it has inexcusably taken grandpa until now to place this announcement. Congratulations also go out to mother and daughter for their May 13 conversion and naming ceremony at Temple Sinai. As everyone can see in this picture, besides being the sparkle in her parents’ eyes, Julia is the perfect granddaughter. Having just started to crawl and with four teeth, save the date cards for her bat mitzvah are on order. PJC

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Rabbi Jamie Gibson Parshat Sh’lach | Numbers 13:1 – 15:41

M

any of us know from religious school the story that dominates this week’s parsha, Sh’lach L’cha: Moses is tasked by God with sending 12 spies to Canaan for a detailed report on the land and its inhabitants. Upon returning from their mission, they deliver their good news/bad news report. The good news is that the land is bountiful: “It indeed flows with milk and honey ...” (Numbers. 13.27) The bad news is that those who live there are big, scary and armed: “However, the people who inhabit the country are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large ...” (Numbers 13.28). Joshua and Caleb were the only spies who believed they would succeed: “Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.” (Numbers 13.30) But the 10 other spies retorted: “We cannot attack that people, for it is stronger than we. They spread calumnies among the Israelites about the land they had scouted, saying, ‘The country that we traversed and scouted is one that devours its settlers ...’” (Numbers 13.32) Our people were terrified and threatened to stone Caleb and Joshua. The people even resolved to return to Egypt and face slavery rather than risk death in Canaan. By the time they finally agreed to go up to the land, their Divine protection had evaporated. They were thoroughly routed in battle at Hormah. I wonder, if they knew that God was on their side, why did the 10 spies give a negative report in the first place? Without their discouragement, the people would have followed Moses’ lead. It would have saved our ancestors 40 years wandering in the wilderness! The brilliant Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, known as Ramban (1194-1270), says the spies are not to blame for their realistic report, saying, “... It was their duty to bring back words of truth to them that sent them.” He teaches that the problem was not the negative report, rather the embellishment they spun: “When they saw that the Israelites were still considering going up [to the Land], and that Joshua and Caleb were encouraging

them to do so, they invented a false report in order to frustrate their [intention of] going up by all possible means.” We all need the fullest possible truth before we enter a moment of conflict or crisis. What we don’t need is fearmongering, exaggeration or falsehoods. In the Torah, our people needed both conflicting truths. The land was good. The inhabitants were powerful. If the spies had not falsely exaggerated the danger, they might have overcome their legitimate fears. But they needed to have both truths. So do we. Today, as Ramban taught, we need to hear more than one slice of truth, not just a one-sided, over-hyped view of our very real challenges: The state of Israel is a modern miracle and the most important development in Jewish history over the last 80 years, if not more. It also faces tremendous political and moral challenges in governing a state of all its citizens, much less those living under occupation for the last 55 years. Zionist or critic, can we see both truths? American Judaism is both flourishing and deteriorating. Many Jews, especially outside the Orthodox world, are so personalizing their Jewish lives the future of synagogues, schools and their leaders is imperiled. Yet it is these institutions that foster and nurture Jewish identity! Community leader or disaffected individual, can we see both truths? The choice is not between one truth to the exclusion of the other. It is to discern kernels of truth from them both and go forward with knowledge and a brave heart. We stand overlooking the future, a vast plain holding both promise and peril. We need leaders who can tolerate the truths of our conflicts and challenges and not exaggerate them. Only then can we move forward with both courage and healthy fear, acknowledging the promise and the peril of the future we and our children must enter. Our choices will determine our path. Succumbing to our worst fears will condemn us to the wilderness. Denying the dangers we face moving forward risks making terrible choices. We must hold on to both truths and move forward if we are to enter a future of promise for us all. PJC Rabbi Jamie Gibson is emeritus rabbi at Temple Sinai. This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.

L e ga l Not ic e Krista M. Reitz, Deceased of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania No. 02-22-2529 Susan Kishpaugh-Delich, Co-Executor; 2272 Glen Haven Drive, Loveland, CO 80538, and; Bruce S. Gelman, Esq., Co-Executor; Gelman & Reisman, P.C., Law & Finance Bldg., 429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1701, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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Obituaries ABRAMSON: Hanna K. Abramson, on Monday, June 13, 2022. Beloved wife of the late Stanley L. Abramson. Cherished mother of Susan (Al) Gro ss b e rge r, Jo An n (Mark) White and Bernice (Hal) Goldberg. Beloved “Bubbe” of Tamara (Jeff) Green, Leah (Michael) Blasso, Sarah (Jake) Ernst, Debra (Steven) Davidheiser, Jodie (Harry) Schmidley, Daniele Santopietro, Shayna (Adam) Skonieczki, Jeremy White, Karyn (Tom) Vose. Great-grandmother to 10 great-grandchildren and a new arrival on the way. Hanna was a Holocaust survivor, escaping Germany during Kristallnacht. She was very active in temple life and was previously president of the sisterhood, and editor of the temple bulletin. Hanna was an avid reader and knitter. She enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, playing bridge, crossword puzzles, playing cards and reading the newspaper. She was a proud volunteer at the Red Cross and the Monroeville Mall Ministry. Hanna loved her pets, especially dogs and cats. She was an avid baker known for her famous sponge cakes that people still comment about to this day. Most important to Hanna was the love of her family. Services were held at Temple David. Interment Temple Sinai Memorial Park. Contributions may be made to Temple David. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com DANOVITZ: Sandra “Sandie” Danovitz, on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Beloved wife of Lee J. Danovitz. Loving mother of Tracy Peterson, Michele (Justin) Fritz and Suzie Carter. Sisterin-law of David Danovitz. Sister of Robin Chaplin. Meema of Logan, Luke, Zachary, Maddie, Lily and Connor. Also survived by many cousins and friends. Services and interment were private. Contributions may be made to Family Hospice of UPMC, 310 Fisk Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 or Susan G. Komen Foundation (Komen.org) or charity of donor’s choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com FEINBERG: Robert (Bob) Feinberg, of Pittsburgh, passed away peacefully on June 13, 2022. Bob was born on April 12, 1924, in Pittsburgh. He was the son of Sol and Esther Feinberg. Bob was preceded in death by his wife Mitzi, his son Neil Feinberg and his sister Ruth Schwartz. He is survived by his daughter Vicki Cayuela (Jeff Plymell), his son Glen, grandchildren Lauren and Ben Baer, Ali Cayuela and Tim Shoemaker, Jordan and Bob Dornin, Hannah Feinberg, Mia Feinberg and Nick Griffiths, and Max Feinberg. Bob is also survived by four great-grandchildren, Arielle, Ruby, Beau and Jake, and loving nieces and nephews. Bob was a loving husband to his wife, Mitzi, for over 70 years. Bob and Mitzi’s marriage was an inspiration to all who knew

and loved them. Bob will be remembered for his wit, storytelling, jokes and his generosity. He always put others’ needs above his own. Graveside services and interment were held at Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made in Bob’s memory to the UPMC Hillman’s Cancer Center, 5115 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com LITTMANN: Dr. Robert Littmann, on Friday, June 17, 2022. Beloved husband of Gerrie Littmann. Beloved father of David (Karen) Littmann, Tracy (Kenny) Hilton, and Jared (Marlene Niefeld) Littmann. Brother of Janice (late Leo Plevy). “Pa” to Ben, Jon, Isabel and Zach. Uncle of Alan, Karyn and Rick. Also survived by great- and greatgreat nieces and nephews. Bob graduated from medical school in 1965, then began practicing as a urologist. He also served in the Air Force. Bob adored his wife, children and grandchildren, as well as the Yankees and the stock market. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. Interment West View Cemetery of Rodef Shalom Congregation. Contributions may be made to JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, 828 Hazelwood Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217; Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, 1 N Linden St, Duquesne, PA 15110; or a charity of donor’s choice. A special thank you to all of his wonderful caregivers over the last 18 years, including the Pittsburgh Veterans Administration. schugar.com PAPERNICK: Rae Papernick, 97, of Monroeville, died Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Independence Court. Born in Pittsburgh on Oct. 2, 1924, she was the daughter of the late Saul and Annie Daniels Segall and was the wife of the late Benny Papernick. She is survived by her daughter, Patricia (Marc) Scott of Monroeville; two grandsons, Stuart Michael (Dr. Jenny Sweigard) Scott of Cornelius, North Carolina, and Joseph Ian (Tanya Palovich-Scott) Scott of Altoona, Pennsylvania; four great-grandchildren, Tyler Benjamin Scott, Elliana Hope Scott, Hannah Mae Scott and Olivia Juliette Scott; and also by nieces, nephews and cousins. Mrs. Papernick retired as secretary for the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education. She was a member of Temple David in Monroeville and was a performer in many area theatrical groups. Friends were received in the Hunter Funeral Home, Inc., 1600 Coursin Street, McKeesport, PA 15132 on Thursday, June 16, 2022 from 10 a.m. until the time of her service there at 11 a.m. The family suggests contributions to Pixie Dust Wishes, P.O. Box 1331, State College, PA 16804 or to Rabbi’s Mitzvah Fund at Temple David, 4415 Northern Pike, Monroeville, PA 15146.

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Obituaries Obituaries: Continued from page 19

POMERANTZ: Martin L. Pomerantz, on Thursday June 16, 2022. Beloved husband of the late Phyllis Pomerantz. Beloved father of Michael Pomerantz, Ellen (Bentley Pittavino) Pomerantz and Linda Pomerantz. Preceded in death by his parents, Dorothy and Abe Pomerantz, and his son Lowell Pomerantz. Grandfather of Philip Wedner, Mindy (James) Hilton, Brendan Pomerantz and Lowell Pomerantz Jr. Great-grandfather of Lincoln Hilton, Cooper Hilton, Hunter Pomerantz along with many cousins and other family members. Services and interment were private. Contributions may be made to The Prayer Book Fund at Beth El Congregation of South Hills, 1900 Cochran Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15220. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, family owned and operated. schugar.com. RASCOE: Eric Rascoe, on Monday, June 13, 2022. Beloved husband of Ann Bregman Rascoe and the late Jeanne Rascoe. Beloved father of Michael Rascoe, Beth Kilinc, the late David Rascoe and the late Todd Rascoe; daughters-in-law Betsy Rascoe and Batia Rascoe; son-in-law Aykut Kilinc. Stepfather of Eileen (Mark) Cason and Patricia Bregman. Brother of the late Leon Rascoe, stepbrother of the late Joann Bierman,

brother-in-law of the late Sarah Heyden. Also survived by grandchildren Avi, Daniel, Alexander (Erin), Benjamin (Bari), Sarah, Alana, Shira (Benjamin), Ariel, Amallia and Jonah; step-grandchildren Adam (Molly) Cason and Sarah (Chad) McLarin; great-grandchild Blair Vivienne; step-great-grandchildren Anabelle, Benjamin and Sutton. Also survived by nieces and nephews Judy Bierman, Scott Bierman, Leslie Heyden, John Heyden and Nancy Heyden. Eric Rascoe was born in Russia/Romania, and arrived at Ellis Island in 1939. The family eventually moved to Pittsburgh, where he graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School and the University of Pittsburgh. After a stint in the military, Eric worked as a CPA and then as secretary of Thermal Industries with his childhood friend David Weis. He married his high school sweetheart, Jeanne Himelblau, and after his military service, they moved from the city to the suburbs, where they had four children. Their family grew to a loving clan of daughters-in-law and grandchildren. After Jeanne’s untimely death, Eric was blessed again with a marriage to Ann Bregman. Eric was generous with his time and support, helping Beth El Congregation, the greater Pittsburgh Jewish community, Israel and a variety of other causes. He mentored MBA and college students and donated his time filling out tax forms for family, friends and AARP clients. He enjoyed his association with ASPEC, Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckard College, and being with family and friends.

His wisdom, wit and advice will be missed. Graveside services and interment were held at Mount Lebanon Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com SCHWARTZ: Donna Schwartz, on Saturday, June 11, 2022, of Delray Beach, Florida, formerly of Pittsburgh. Donna was born in Pittsburgh on June 28, 1935. She was the beloved wife of the late Allen (“Willie”) Schwartz. Daughter of the late Edward and Rhea Tagrin, loving mother of Joanie (Howard) Snyder of Pittsburgh, and James (Wendy) Schwartz of Cincinnati. Grammy to Mandi (Kevin) Budman and Jordan (Anna) Tishman, all of Atlanta, Bari Schwartz of Columbus and Andy (Quinn) Schwartz of Iowa City. Great-grandmother to Willie and Eli Budman and Abigail and Addison Tishman. Donna was an assistant teacher of kindergarten at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh for 25 years. All of the children called her Mrs. Shorts. She was a passionate Steelers fan, willing to express her honest opinion of the referees, players and coaches. She loved playing canasta and mahjongg with her friends. Donna had a zest for life and adored her family. Contributions may be made to the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh, 5738 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. SLESINGER: Jean Slesinger of Pittsburgh

passed away on June 4, 2022. She was 76 years old and a resident of Asbury Heights in Mt. Lebanon. A lifelong Pittsburgher, Jean attended Wightman School, Taylor Allderdice, and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Despite a diagnosis of schizophrenia in her late 20s, Jean was able to live independently, until quite recently, with the exceptional support of her doctors and nurses at Western Psychiatric Hospital, Benedum Geriatric Center and her family. Jean began her career in Boston at an architectural firm. She later worked for five years as an early childhood teacher and for 30 years as a secretary and receptionist, primarily for various Carnegie Institute organizations, including the Music Hall. Her volunteer efforts included the Friends of the Squirrel Hill Library, where she served as president, and for many years as historian. She is survived by her brothers Henry (Susan) Slesinger and Larry (Francesca) Slesinger, and her sister, Susan Ulevitch (Richard). Services and interment were private. Contributions in Jean’s memory may be made to the following: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh — Squirrel Hill, 5801 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217; and Peer Support & Advocacy Network, an organization, via the New Horizons Drop-In Center in Bellevue, which provides services to individuals with mental health challenges, 960 Penn Ave., Suite 1100, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com PJC

JCC to participate in Summer Food Service Program

T

he Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh is participating in the Summer Food Service Program. The federally funded, state-administered program will run from June 27-Aug. 19. The program, which is locally administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, will provide: milk at 10 a.m. each morning; lunches, to be eaten on site outside from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; and a snack from 2-3 p.m.

We Care For Your Health! Currently offering non-medical home care services to Veterans, People with Disabilities, and Seniors.

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The program is available for children under the age of 18. Kosher food, under the supervision of the Vaad, will be available at the JCC in Squirrel Hill, 5738 Darlington Road. Kosher-style food will be provided in Monroeville, 261 Rosecrest Drive. For more information, email sfsp@ jccpgh.org. PJC — Toby Tabachnick

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Life & Culture They set out to produce an ‘accessible’ Mishnah. The price tag: $645. — BOOKS — By Jackie Hajdenberg | JTA

A

s an avid book collector who operates an independent Jewish press, Larry Yudelson was excited to learn that a new, annotated version of the Mishnah, the earliest compendium of Oral Torah, was on its way. Then he found out how much it would cost. “At this stage, I’m not going to go out and buy a copy,” Yudelson said. That’s because Oxford University Press set the price of the three-volume set, out in August, at $645 — a steep, though not unheard-of cost for an academic text, and among the most expensive of its own offerings. “That was a huge disappointment,” Hayim Lapin, a professor of Jewish studies at the University of Maryland and a co-editor on the project, said about the price. “Unfortunately, we had no say in that calculation.” Oxford University Press explained the price in an email to JTA: “As an expansive and ambitious three-volume scholarly enterprise, intended as the definitive edition of the founding text of rabbinic Judaism, it is expensive to produce and involves significant investment in copy-editing, proofreading, typesetting, and printing.” Oxford said a lower-cost version could still be released in the future, and the authors hope this might happen next year. Still, the surprise price tag points to the complicated role that academic publishing plays in the creation of Jewish texts: University-affiliated presses publish works that otherwise could never command a massive popular audience, but their price points can be prohibitive to average readers. “The academic price is good at the library, but it’s not really good for the beit midrash,” Yudelson said, referring to Jewish study halls. “And I think there are a lot of batei midrash where they would be welcome these days.” Doctoral students and rabbis who were otherwise excited about the book balked at the price on Twitter. But the authors suggested the target audience — at least for now — is specialists for whom an explicated Mishnah would be an essential tool. “My ideal audience would be a professor of New Testament,” said Shaye Cohen, a co-editor of the project. “I kept on thinking about academics who are very bright, very learned, have worked on related questions, but for whom the Mishnah is fundamentally a closed text because there’s nothing out there.” Lapin, Cohen and a third scholar, Robert

p “The Oxford Annotated Mishnah” is the product of 10 years of rigorous academic scholarship

Image courtesy of Oxford University Press; design by Grace Yagel

Goldenberg, set out more than a decade ago to create a text that would be accessible for scholars who are not fluent in Mishnaic Hebrew or Aramaic. (Goldenberg, who was a professor of history and Judaic studies at Stony Brook University, died in 2021, before the project was finished.) Over time, they collected contributions from 51 scholars with extensive knowledge of the technical language unique to the Mishnah, which was compiled in present-day Israel at the end of the second century CE. “If you ever looked at [the] Mishnah, you will know instantly how hard and difficult it is,” said Cohen, the Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University. “The language I like to use is ‘lapidary.’ It needs you to come in there with a chisel and start banging on it. And then you can sort of shape it into something that you can understand. But if you just pick it up and start to read it, you have no idea what it’s talking about.” Nevertheless, the study of classical Jewish texts is not just for specialists, and is central to the practice of many observant Jews, both clergy and laypeople. And building a Jewish library is an investment: While the Oxford Mishnah doesn’t have a direct competitor, other editions of the Mishnah can cost

nearly $300. A full set of the Babylonian Talmud, which includes both the Mishnah and the expansive commentary known as Gemara, can cost upwards of $2,000. The Jewish Publication Society’s five-volume commentary on the Five Books of Moses sells for $360, or $75 per volume. “In general, pricing has two main factors,” Yudelson explained. “Production costs, which includes page count, and comparable titles, which shows what the market will bear.” Some of the most aggressive experiments in access carry no price tag at all. Sefaria, which launched in 2011, is an online, open-source library of Jewish texts that includes free versions of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible), Mishnah, Talmud, classical commentaries, prayers and other texts, as well as many of their English translations. But Sefaria is a crowdsourced endeavor, which has its own limitations, and not all of its Mishnah commentaries are translated or annotated with explanations of technical terms. (Daniel Septimus, Sefaria’s CEO, is on the board of 70 Faces Media, JTA’s parent company.) “Sefaria is an immensely useful tool,” Cohen said. “And I salute them and I’m delighted for them. However, our Mishnah project has, I would say, higher

quality control.” “Everybody in my project has a Ph.D.,” he added. “They’re academics and academic institutions. They teach rabbinic texts for a living.” Now that the annotated Mishnah is finished, Cohen says he may turn to Sefaria to discuss “whether the two projects could live with each other or work with each other.” But in the end, Oxford owns the copyright. The new set isn’t the first time Oxford University Press has taken on the Mishnah. In the 1930s, it published Anglican priest Herbert Danby’s first-ever English translation of the Mishnah. Danby was also notable for his writing on Christian-Jewish relations and used his position as a professor at Oxford to defend against antisemitic attacks on the Talmud from Nazi leader Alfred Rosenberg. Danby’s version, while translated, was not annotated and does not include explanations of technical terms, which is what Cohen, Lapin and Goldenberg’s Mishnah sets out to do. “I’ve tried to convince Oxford that this can be another Herbert Danby if they market it correctly, they price it correctly, they pitch it correctly,” Cohen said. “I think this also might live for the next 70 years, until our successors will redo it.” PJC

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Community Hope you had the time of your life Members of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh’s eighth-grade and high school classes gathered for graduation.

p Eighth-grade girls

p Eighth-grade boys

p High school girls

p High school boys

Fun hot Jewish summer

Making meringue

Photos courtesy of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

As part of Beth El’s new Bites of Yummy! affinity group, members of the South Hills congregation learned how to make meringue cookies. t From left: Carol Adler, Fern Schwartz, Mollie Neuman, Diane Yarnot and Shelly Rudoy join Stacey Reibach (not pictured) in the Beth El Kitchen. Photo courtesy of

Beth El Congregation of the South Hills

Pomp, circumstance and travel The Community Day School Class of 2022 graduated on May 20, then departed shortly afterward for their two-week eighth-grade trip to Israel.

p Friends and donors of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh celebrated the start of summer with a weekend at Emma Kaufmann Camp.

Photo courtesy of Emma Kaufmann Camp

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p Members of the Community Day School Class of 2022

PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE

Photo courtesy of Community Day School

JUNE 24, 2022

23


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JUNE 24, 2022

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PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE

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