August 19, 2022 | 22 Av 5782
Candlelighting 7:54 p.m. | Havdalah 8:53 p.m. | Vol. 65, No. 33 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org
NOTEWORTHY LOCAL Allderdice grad begins life in MLB
St. Louis Cardinals draft Tanner Jacobson.
New leadership takes the reins as NCJW Pittsburgh prepares for the future
Theodore Stern, whose life was an ‘only-inAmerica’ story, dies at 92 By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
LOCAL Getting to Know: Etty Reut
NCJW Pittsburgh’s MomsWork ice cream social in June
Photo provided by National Council of Jewish Women Pittsburgh
A ‘heart-centered approach’ to help heal
By David Rullo | Staff Writer
LOCAL Local nonprofit worker wants to be ‘a light unto the nations’ Jonathan Fischer and PCs for People
or more than 125 years the National Council of Jewish Women has advocated on behalf of women, children and families. Last month, the nonprofit took another step forward, naming Marissa Fogel its executive director and Megan Rose its senior director of community engagement. Both Fogel and Rose have a passion for NCJW, as well as for strengthening their community through nonprofit work. Before coming to NCJW, Fogel developed 412 Food Rescue’s Good Food Project and Rose spent time at the United Way. In fact, it was through her work with the United Way that NCJW first appeared on Rose’s radar. “The Center for Women project (now known as MomsWork, which helps women obtain financial wellbeing) was part of a larger grant I oversaw through the United for Women initiative,” Rose said. “It was then I learned about the free financial coaching for women.” Rose, who has a background in family law and working with survivors of intimate
partner violence, said she was intrigued by the program. “I know how important financial independence is for women,” she said. For Fogel, the opportunity to take the helm of NCJW was a return to her family roots. “I came from a family of Jewish women who were involved in social action,” she said. “In a lot of ways, I was brought up in this culture of participation and collaboration and contribution of time, care and compassion. It’s in my blood.”
Engaging young leaders
Fogel’s goals, she said, include taking the organization out of siloed work into a more collaborative space. She’s also interested in engaging young leaders. “I think there’s a wonderful opportunity to get more folks from the community involved with the work we’re doing,” she said. “I think it speaks to a lot of people, especially the millennial and Gen Z generation.” Please see NCJW, page 12
heodore “Ted” Stern was many things: a caring husband, brother and father; a nuclear power executive; a 9-year-old refugee from Nazi Germany; a Jew raised in an Orthodox household; and, in one of his final acts, an investor with a knack for turning around fledgling companies. Stern, a Je w i s h Pittsburgher for seven decades who spent his last 16 years living in an Oakland apartment, died Ted Stern, 2021 Photo courtesy of July 29 after a brief hospitalAndy Stern ization. He was 92. “We were way ahead of the low cholesterol trend in our house, but [Stern] still needed bypass surgery in his 50s — he didn’t expect to live that long,” said Andrew “Andy” Stern, of Baltimore, his eldest son. “He was, in many respects, a very traditional father of that time … He was very dedicated to family. When he was home, he was home. But he loved his work. And he was always a driven guy — if something was broken, he had to fix it.” Stern came to New York City via London, settling in Washington Heights, in 1938. His father was arrested by the Gestapo in Hamburg during Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, and the family quickly fled Nazi Germany. “To me, this is a classic immigrant story,” his son said, “a refugee story, an onlyin-America story.” The second youngest of four sons, Stern became the first in the family to go to college, studying at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn after Please see Stern, page 12
Fall Arts Preview
Headlines MLB life begins for Allderdice grad Tanner Jacobson — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
dream that began on the Little League fields of western Pennsylvania took one step closer to reality on July 18 when Tanner Jacobson, a 2018 Pittsburgh Allderdice High School graduate, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. Jacobson is the first person from Allderdice to become an MLB draft pick in more than two decades. For Jacobson, and those who’ve long supported the 6-foot-1-inch right-handed pitcher, it was both a culminating moment and the beginning of a new journey. Before being selected 307th in the MLB draft, Jacobson, a 2018 Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Western Pennsylvania scholastic award winner, was a talented athlete from Squirrel Hill. Throughout high school, he played baseball for local leagues and traveling teams while also starring at Allderdice, armed with a blistering fastball, a powerful bat and the ability to play all nine positions. Jacobson spent years working on his mechanics, carefully refining his movement and play. When it came time to select a college, the soft-spoken phenom elected to join a nascent program at Queens University of Charlotte. “I went down there and saw the campus,” Jacobson said. “It’s in a beautiful part of Charlotte — about a 5- to 10-minute drive to uptown Charlotte — and it’s a beautiful city. It felt like a new home for me.” In addition to the allure of playing baseball in the South was another pull: the opportunity to learn from a master of the craft, Cy Young winner Jack McDowell, the school’s head coach. Queens was just fielding a club team at that point. Even so, Jacobson was intrigued by the prospect of becoming
Photo courtesy of Queens University of Charlotte
a Royal, so after long being one of the best baseball players in western Pennsylvania, the quiet titan started anew in North Carolina. High hopes and reality don’t always align, however. Jacobson’s freshman and sophomore seasons resembled a “roller coaster,” he recalled. After his first year at Queens, Jacobson earned a spot on the Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-Southeast Region Second Team. But between Queen’s uneven play and COVID cutting its sophomore season short, Jacobson’s overall collegiate career was rocky at best. Heading into Jacobson’s junior year, Queens named Ross Steedley the Royals’ new head coach. Jacobson’s status as a two-way player (someone who can both pitch and hit) was scratched, and the former Squirrel Hill resident spent the season focusing on life from the mound. Throughout Jacobson’s junior year, the team continued struggling. Months later, though, the situation changed. “We had a bunch of good guys coming in,
and our fall went really well,” Jacobson said. “It was very competitive. That was the best culture we had as a team. We got together and would hang out and really build that chemistry, which is what we needed.” The team finished with a 29-22 record, going 17-7 in conference play. Jacobson’s highlights included striking out eight in 6.2 innings on March 26 at Newberry College and then 11 in 6 innings on April 2 at Coker. Individual successes were great, the pitcher explained, but the season served as a reminder of one of baseball’s greatest lessons. “It’s not about playing for yourself,” he said. “It’s about playing for your team and supporting your teammates,” he said. Jacobson has long recognized his place within the game. That’s partially why Queens University was so ecstatic that the long-haired hurler became the first player in school history to be selected in the Major League Baseball draft. “Tanner is an extremely hard worker, he is highly competitive, and he is a great teammate,” Steedley said in a statement. “I couldn’t be prouder and more thrilled for Tanner
to chase his dream. He was a joy to coach and watch compete, and he represented our programs and Queens the right way.” Cardinals area scout T.C. Calhoun elaborated on Jacobson’s strengths when explaining why the organization drafted the former Squirrel Hill resident. “Tanner was an athletic two-way player with very limited time on the mound in college, so the feeling was that he is a low mileage arm with a lot of upside,” Calhoun said. “He already shows the ability to land his breaking ball for strikes or bury for swings and misses. Once he focuses exclusively on pitching in pro ball, the hope is that more consistent velocity and spin comes down the road.” Jacobson is in West Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, training with other members of the Cardinals organization. Time will tell where the Allderdice graduate lands within St. Louis’ organization. For now, the kid who grew up dominating diamonds in western Pennsylvania is just looking to continue a process that’s brought him to this point. “I’m just going to keep progressing with my throwing,” he said. “I can’t say where the next chapter is, but hopefully I’ll be throwing in some FCL [Florida Complex League] or single A games soon.” Until then, Jacobson remains much the same as he was on the Little League fields: grateful and encouraging. “It truly means a lot that I have so much support — from friends, family friends, all my family — to see me keep progressing in my life,” he said. “It’s a tough thing to do, to achieve what I’ve achieved in this moment, but for anyone else who is willing to work hard it’s amazing to see what can happen.” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
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AUGUST 19, 2022
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Headlines Temple Ohav Shalom brings noted Jewish musician to Thunderbird Café — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
oah Aronson sees a familiar streak coursing through the undercurrent of his music. “It’s all about love,” laughed Aronson, a largely self-taught guitarist who turns 39 in September and hails from South Orange, New Jersey. “They’re all about love and breakups and longing … I’ve tried my hand at political songs, but even those songs tend to be about love.” Aronson will bring his love-packed oeuvre soon to Pittsburgh ears; Temple Ohav Shalom is sponsoring a live solo concert at Thunderbird Café and Music Hall, 4053 Butler St., Lawrenceville, on Saturday evening, Aug. 27. “We’re coming to the city — we’ve never done anything like this,” said Ken Eisner, a former Temple Ohav Shalom president helping to organize the event. “But I think it’s a great venue, and I don’t want more of the same-old, same-old. I just wanted to have a cool concert with Jewish music, in a really appealing setting.” For the past 15 years, after graduating Berklee College of Music in Boston, Aronson has shared his Jewish- and liturgical-themed songs with often progressive Jewish audiences, appearing live at synagogues, fundraisers and Jewish Community Centers around the nation. He has released several albums, some of which are available on streaming platforms like Spotify
and Apple Music. Aronson attributes his musical ear to his father, a multi-instrumentalist who served as a cantor in his hometown congregation. “I really grew up with the sound of the synagogue in my ear,” he said. Despite growing up hearing his father play the piano — “I was so mesmerized by it, I was giddy with laughter and excitement,” Aronson said — Aronson’s more recent work has centered around vocal looping. He plans to have a guitar, possibly a piano, and definitely his looping equipment at the Aug. 27 show. Playing in a secular setting is new for Aronson, he said. “I’m excited and nervous about it,” Aronson said. “Most of the time, I play at synagogues.” Eisner called Aronson “the top musician of Jewish music in the country.” Though his Spotify following is modest — he has 1,440 monthly listeners — Aronson’s songs are well-written and well-performed, with passionate leads, excellent musical colors and a familiar Jewish bent. But, if you plan on turning out Aug. 27 for the Lawrenceville show, be prepared to swoon, Aronson said. “The main thing is they’re all love songs,” he told the Chronicle. “Even if they’re liturgy, they’re love songs. Even if I’m using a text from 2,000 years ago, it’s about dynamic relationships.” PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.
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Headlines Duquesne University brings kosher food Uptown — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
osher food is coming to Duquesne University. Parkhurst Dining, which provides dining services to the Uptown Catholic university, has reached an agreement for Elegant Edge, a Squirrel Hill caterer, to provide students, staff and visitors with an eclectic mix of kosher sandwiches, salads and wraps, university officials announced on Friday. The food will begin appearing on campus during the week of Aug. 29, the second week of fall semester classes. “We have wanted to produce that on campus for a while,” said Chris Novak, a marketing manager with Parkhurst, an Eat-N-Park Hospitality Group brand. “As dining on university campuses has become more inclusive, we’ve seen more vegetarian options, now vegan options. We know that sense of inclusivity is only going to grow with this kosher offering — hopefully, it’s a learning opportunity.” Judah Cowen, the owner of Elegant Edge, said initial kosher offerings — which might include shawarma wraps, classic deli sandwiches and grilled chicken — are only the beginning of his work Uptown. “We’re looking at this as the first step of bringing kosher food to Duquesne,” Cowen
p Duquesne University Student Union
said. “It’s always exciting to expand the kosher options for college kids. Now, we’re at CMU, we’re at Pitt.” “We’d love to see this scale over time,” added Novak. “But it’s going to be based on popularity, the growth.” Elegant Edge’s kosher food will be available at retail locations on campus, such as grab-and-go markets in Fisher Hall, Rockwell Hall and elsewhere, Novak said. In addition, the university will have another vendor provide frozen kosher meals such as a Mexican casserole bowl and cheese and
Photo: Public domain
cauliflower pad thai. The decision to offer kosher food at Duquesne is a huge victory for Shai Maaravi, a university alum who, during his tenure as its Hillel chapter president, pushed for an expanded menu. “Even though I’m now out of Duquesne, this is something I started, and I’m happy to see it come to fruition,” Maaravi said. “This is so important to making the campus more welcoming to Jewish students … Plus, I’m sure the rest of the student body will enjoy the great food.”
Maaravi said the kosher options would appeal to Jewish students, as well as campus visitors and working professionals downtown looking for great-tasting kosher options. “I’m happy they were able to do it, and I’m thankful for everyone who made the effort to make it happen,” he added. Maaravi and Reuben Nepo, the current Hillel president, said people like Tim Fetter, the senior general manager for Parkhurst at Duquesne, were central to the inclusion of kosher food on campus menus. Maaravi and Nepo both cited the sale and display of kosher-style foods during Passover seders held in a campus dining hall this spring. “That’s really exciting,” said Nepo, 22, a native Pittsburgher and incoming Duquesne junior, when told the news. “My reaction? I know Tim’s worked really hard in the past to put together a halal option. There’s going to be a lot of opportunities here for Elegant Edge.” Novak said the kosher option is part of a larger trend at the school, where Parkhurst is offering more specialized options. He cited PETA’s A+ rating of Duquesne’s meal offerings, as well as “Forged Partner” requirements, such as one that mandates at least 20% of all food sold at Duquesne must be sourced within 100 miles of the school. PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.
This week in Israeli history — WORLD — Items provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.
Aug. 19, 2003 — 23 killed in Jerusalem suicide blast
pouring kerosene through a keyhole and throwing in a lighted match. He enters an insanity plea and is deported.
Aug. 22, 1952 — First Israel Bonds mission begins
The Development Corporation for Israel brings 22 American Jewish leaders to Israel on a 15-day American Champions of Israel Bonds mission, the first of its kind. The bonds are crucial to Israel’s economy.
Aug. 23, 1969 — Nasser calls for all-out war SEEKING CONSIGNMENTS
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AUGUST 19, 2022
A suicide bomber kills 23 people and injures more than 130 others by detonating an explosive packed with ball bearings on a bus in the Orthodox neighborhood of Shmuel Hanavi in central Jerusalem.
Aug. 20, 1920 — Yishuv publishes first medical journal
The first Hebrew medical journal in Palestine, Harefuah (Medicine), begins publishing on a quarterly schedule under the auspices of the Jewish Medical Association of Palestine. It is still published today.
Aug. 21, 1969 — Al-Aqsa is burned
A new immigrant from Australia, Denis Michael Rohan, sets fire to Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem by PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, now a devout Muslim, urges war against Israel after the arson attack on Al-Aqsa mosque two days earlier. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation forms a month later.
Aug. 24, 1954 — Bank of Israel Is established
The Knesset passes the Bank of Israel Law on a 55-0 vote. The law, which goes into effect Dec. 1, sets up the Bank of Israel as the state’s central financial authority with 10 million pounds in initial capital.
Aug. 25, 2004 — Israel wins first Olympic gold
Windsurfer Gal Fridman wins Israel’s first Olympic gold medal at the Summer Games in Athens and, having won bronze in Atlanta in 1996, thus becomes the first Israeli with multiple Olympic medals. PJC
Headlines Getting to know: Etty Reut — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
tty Reut doesn’t consider herself a healer, but she spends much of her day helping others heal. The Israeli-born Squirrel Hill resident and physical therapist specializes in myofascial release — a therapy where massage is used to relieve patients’ pain in their connective tissues. “My education is in physical therapy, but really I can’t say that this defines what I do,” Reut said. “The definition of what I do is body/mind therapy and mind/body therapy.” For Reut, the process begins with recognition of the fascia system and that “we’re one unit … that there’s no separation between my little toe and my eye or any other place.” The fascia system, Reut said, is “what holds us together. It’s what protects us. It’s around every cell. It never begins. It never ends, and it’s also the carrier of consciousness.” When Reut first practiced physical therapy 24 years ago she worked in a hospital. These days, she focuses on outpatient practice where she helps people enter into their subconscious and release whatever “wounds” are plaguing them. There’s a type of call or request that occurs through the work, Reut explained: “I invite
p Etty Reut
Photo courtesy of Etty Reut
people to look at things a little differently, to look at the wounds deeper than what they know from their conscious mind and release those wounds.” Once those wounds are released, Reut continued, “the surviving self changes, and we get closer to our child — the spontaneous child, the nonjudgmental child.” Part of Reut’s practice relies on hypnotherapy — and she takes a “heart-centered approach,” she said. “It’s all based in understanding that without the heart, without the compassion and the love of self and of others, it’s very difficult to exist.” Reut is married and lives in Squirrel Hill
with her three daughters. She was raised in an observant home in Israel, she said, and her professional life enables her to more fully appreciate a higher being and how life occurs. “The connection to the spiritual, to my spirituality, is the base of all my work and all my life,” she said. “The way I am as a parent, as a partner, as a neighbor — it’s all-encompassing, and it all came through touching a person in a way of understanding that we are more than just cells, tissue, a shoulder, arthritis and all that.” Time has permitted Reut to understand physical therapy in new ways, she said, and she’s appreciative of health care practitioners
and the way they work, even if she chooses to adopt alternative models to help people heal. “I want to highlight that there is nothing wrong with the other ways that things are done — I appreciate everybody,” she said. “I have a lot of respect. I found that everybody in health care are amazing people — it just doesn’t work for me. I feel it differently, and I see it differently.” Because of her training — Reut holds a bachelor’s in health science and a master’s in physical therapy, both from Duquesne University — and her ability to see and feel things differently, she has helped patients as young as teens and as old as 97. Working with such a wide range of people during the last three decades gave her valuable insight, she explained. “I want people to know that if they don’t feel good about themselves, in any way, that’s common to all of us, and that pain may be physical, emotional, and it’s not their fault,” she said. What’s also essential to understand is that “there are ways in which we can get unstuck.” Reut acknowledged that she doesn’t “fix anyone,” and that she’s “not a healer.” “I’m honored to facilitate people’s healing,” she said, “and all healing comes from within.” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
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AUGUST 19, 2022
Calendar Pittsburgh at the Squirrel Hill JCC for an introductory class to learn how to protect yourself, intelligently, through Mumon karate. You will receive training to prepare your mind and body to avoid or be capable of effectively defending yourself against real danger. Meet and practice with Dr. Paul Kovacs and Dr. Mark Weingarden, practitioners q SUNDAY, AUG. 21 who have taught and trained noncommercially for more than 50 years. Don’t miss the Pop-up Market Spark For ages 14 to adult. 1 p.m. jewishpgh. Shuk hosted by The Jewish Spark. org/event/self-defense-with-theArtisans and vendors from the Greater Pittsburgh area include gourmet kosher experts-mumon-karate. foods, antiques, jewelry, fabric artists, The 10.27 Healing Partnership invites health and beauty items and children’s the community to Welcoming the activities. 11 a.m. Fox Chapel Racquet Month of Elul, a reflective and and Swim Club, 355 Hunt Road, meditative event to awaken, prepare Fox Chapel. For more information, and become grounded as we head email info@Jewishspark.com or call into the spiritual and reflective time of 412-589-2677. autumn and the High Holy Days. They will be hosting meditation practitioners, q SUNDAYS, AUG. 21-SEPT. 25 reiki-infused sound baths, expressive drum circles, speakers who will Join a lay-led Online Parashah Study connect us with Jewish learning and a Group to discuss the week’s Torah communal shofar blowing on the Sixth portion. No Hebrew knowledge is needed. The goal is to build community Presbyterian Church steps. Squirrel Hill JCC, 5738 Forbes Ave. 2 p.m. while deepening understanding of the 1027healingpartnership.org. text. 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org. Join Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh to q MONDAYS, AUG. 22 -SEPT. 26 celebrate 80 years of chinuch at its new Greenfield campus. Welcome Join Congregation Beth Shalom new parents and tour the building for a weekly Talmud study. while enjoying wine and cheese, 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit and participate in the annual raffle bethshalompgh.org. drawing and basket/silent auctions. Contact email@example.com to q WEDNESDAYS, AUG. 24-SEPT. 28 learn more. 6 p.m. $36 individual/$72 couple. yeshivaschools.com/support/ Bring the parashah alive and make it endofsummer. personally relevant and meaningful. Study the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman. 12:15 p.m. q WEDNESDAYS, AUG. 31-SEPT. 28 bethshalompgh.org/life-text. Join the 10.27 Healing Partnership’s Submit calendar items on the Chronicle’s website, pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Submissions also will be included in print. Events will run in the print edition beginning one month prior to the date as space allows. The deadline for submissions is Friday, noon.
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
SUNDAY, AUG. 28
Join the Jewish Federation of Greater
holistic support group as they partner with Sunny’s Community Garden on a journey to address grief through the healing power of gardening and herbs. This five-week program involves self-expression through gardening and writing. The group is open to all adults who have experienced grief, no matter where they are on their healing journey, and offers an
opportunity to connect and grow with others. 10 a.m. 5738 Forbes. Ave. 1027healingpartnership.org/seedsof-resilience. q
THURSDAY, SEPT. 7-SEPT. 11
Join Film Pittsburgh for its 10th annual ReelAbilities Pittsburgh film festival at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. The festival is co-sponsored by Point Park University. Through impactful films by and about people living with disabilities, ReelAbilities Pittsburgh brings people together to explore and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience. All films are presented with open captions or subtitles, audio description, ASL interpretation and other accommodations, free of charge. This event also includes Q&As with visiting filmmakers, an art exhibit and post-film receptions every night. $15. FilmPittsburgh.org. q
THURSDAY, SEPT. 8
Join Hadassah Greater Detroit for a virtual Log In & Learn session about Israel: Opportunities and Challenges. The topic for the session is “Gender Equality in Israel: Achievements and Barriers in Gender Equality.” Yiftah Leket, community shaliach of the Jewish Federation of Metro-Detroit, will be the guest speaker. Noon. $15. hadassahmidwest.org/GDLearn. q
THURSDAYS, SEPT. 15-OCT. 6
Join the 10.27 Healing Partnership and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy for our four-week healing, consciousnessbuilding forest bathing series at the Frick Park Environmental Center. We will take 90-minute gentle walks throughout Frick Park while nurturing our connection to the natural world through reflective practices. If you feel disconnected from nature, yourself or others, consider joining our community and participating in this forest bathing series. We hope you will leave feeling more refreshed, calmer and more spiritually centered.
Registration is required. Series is free. 9 a.m. Frick Park Environmental Center. 1027healingpartnership.org/ forest-bathing. q
SUNDAY, SEPT. 18
Join Chabad of the South Hills for Shofar Factory, a blast for the entire family. Create your own authentic shofar, learn how a shofar is made, braid your own challah and taste Rosh Hashanah delicacies. 4 p.m. $12/shofar free for those in Discovery Club. 1701 McFarland Rd. chabadsh.com/shofar. q
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21
Join Chabad of the South Hills for a Pre-High Holiday Seniors Lunch. Immunization clinic by Pathways Wellness program. Lunch, honey cake, hands-on holiday presentation and raffle prizes. Noon. Preregistration recommended. $5 suggested donation. 412-278-2658. q
WEDNESDAYS, SEPT. 21-MAY 24
Registration is now open for Melton Core 1: Rhythms and Purposes of Jewish Living. This 25-lesson course will take you through the year’s cycle — the life cycle traditions and practices that bind us together. Explore not just what is and how is of Jewish living, but the why is that go with them. 7 p.m. $300 per person, per year (25 sessions), includes all books and materials. Virtual. foundation. jewishpgh.org/melton-core-1. q
THURSDAYS, SEPT. 29-DEC. 15
Register now for the virtual course Melton: Social Justice – The Heart of Judaism in Theory and Practice. This 10-part Melton course highlights the Jewish call to action and provides a practical approach for achieving lasting change. Drawing from classic and modern texts, the course explores the communal connection that compels us to support the most vulnerable. 7 p.m. foundation.jewishpgh.org/meltonsocial-justice-the-heart-of-judaism-intheory-and-practic. PJC
Join the Chronicle Book Club!
he Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle invites you to join the Chronicle Book Club for its Oct. 2 discussion of “Antiquities and Other Stories” by Cynthia Ozick. From The New Yorker: “Five and a half decades after her belated début, [Ozick] has established herself as one of our era’s central writers, with an ample supply of
AUGUST 19, 2022
exquisite fiction and belleslettres; and she is still going. To publish a novel in your early twenties is impressive; to publish one at the age of ninety-three is something else altogether ... A brisk work of some thirty thousand words, [‘Antiquties’] explores her favorite subjects — envy and ambition, the moral peril of idolatry — in her favorite form. As you might expect, it
also has much to say about last things, and the long perspectives open to the human mind as it approaches its terminus.”
Toby Tabachnick, editor of the Chronicle David Rullo, Chronicle staff writer
How It Works
We will meet on Zoom on Sunday, Oct. 2, 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
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for the meeting.
What To Do
Buy: “Antiquities and Other Stories.” It is available from online retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Email: Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.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 PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Headlines Jonathan Fischer hopes to be a ‘light to the nations’ through nonprofit work — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer
onathan Fischer wasn’t necessarily looking for a new role when he first heard of an opportunity with the nonprofit PCs for People. As he tells it though, “I couldn’t not think of it. Anything that’s making a national impact, which is what this position does, is something I’m always interested in.” The Jewish South Hills resident accepted the position of vice president of technology with PCs for People a little more than a month ago. The social enterprise provides low-cost quality computers, internet access and digital literacy to low-income individuals, families and nonprofits. “We’re in nine states,” Fischer said. “We have a four-hour radius where our trucks can come that includes Pittsburgh. Our closest retail store, where you can go in and purchase one of these computers, is Cleveland.” While the company does have physical storefronts, it also can be accessed online. Fischer said the cost of the computers ranges from free to $100. Customers must meet certain income criteria, he said. “But if you’re receiving any kind of government assistance, there’s a good chance you can apply,” he said. Easing the entryway for companies that might be interested in donating computers, Fischer said that PCs for People is certified by the National Association of Information Destruction. It’s a fancy way of saying PCs for People can pick up used computers and feel certain that no information will be left on the devices when they find a new home. “It’s very high level,” he said. “Cameras are all over the facilities. Everyone has FBI background checks. The data is very secure. We have a full inventory. It’s a win-win-win.” PCs for People has distributed close to 200,000 computers in all 50 states, according to Fischer. The nonprofit, he added, has helped 77,000 people connect to the internet, half of whom were never before online. It’s also eliminated 9 million pounds of waste from landfills. “It’s digital inclusion, it’s e-waste and it’s a service to our communities to bring people out of poverty,” he said. For businesses, the name might be a bit of a misnomer. Fischer said that when they are contacted by a company, the organization sends a box that can be filled with
p Jonathan Fischer
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Fischer
“It’s the whole tikkun olam thing. I’m not a doctor, nurse or first responder, but I do
have these technical and digital skills that I can apply and affect people and their
— JONATHAN FISCHER anything technology-adjacent, which means they can include not just PCs but mice and keyboards as well. A technician inventories the equipment, and the company signs off, so everyone knows what has been donated. PCs for People has bigger designs than
simply providing the technology for people to get online: It also is creating a network for people to access the internet. During the pandemic, Fischer said, some families would sit in the parking lot of libraries using that as a hot spot so their
children could do homework or they could look for jobs online. People for PCs is aiming to make that a thing of the past by becoming an internet service provider. “We are building internet, we’re putting up towers on top of donated rooftops in cities,” Fischer said. “We just got a $20 million grant from Cuyahoga County. Half of that was from the governor’s office, the other half was from the county, to connect 25,000 people.” Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, has one of the lowest internet penetration rates, Fischer said — close to 40% don’t have reliable internet access. In Pittsburgh, roughly 22% of households don’t have internet access. Fischer believes access to the internet and a computer — not simply a phone or tablet — is essential to help lift people out of poverty. “Could you have gotten the job you have now without a computer?” he asked. While it builds its network nationally, the nonprofit is working with T-Mobile to provide hotspots to ensure internet access. The price for the hot spots ranges from nothing to $15 a month. Fischer is equally proud of the work the nonprofit does to help teach digital literacy to families. He said in the physical stores there’s a spot that teaches families how to connect their PC, and they have a national call center to help guide families through the process. They also partner with a program called Kidstek that helps teach children how to use computers. Before working with PCs for People, Fischer was the director of information technology for another nonprofit, ARMS Institute, which increases U.S. manufacturing through technology, workforce education and building an ecosystem of robotics. Although he hadn’t planned on working in the nonprofit sector, Fischer said his Jewish values have helped shape his career trajectory. “What I found was that it had to have a big impact starting at a community level and hopefully spreading nationwide,” he said. “It’s the whole tikkun olam thing. I’m not a doctor, nurse or first responder, but I do have these technical and digital skills that I can apply and affect people and their families. “That goes back to being a light amongst the nations,” he added. “I know that’s really esoteric but I think there’s an obligation to give as much back as we can.” PJC
David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
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AUGUST 19, 2022
Headlines Detroit’s last synagogue, now turning 100, hopes to be a beacon of the city’s Jewish communal future — NATIONAL — By Andrew Lapin | JTA
ETROIT – Just off Woodward Avenue, the Motor City’s main thoroughfare crowded with high-end shops, sleek office buildings and a luxury hotel, a synagogue with multicolored stained-glass windows anchors a block of frozen-in-time real estate. An Old Detroit relic, it sits in stark contrast to the other heavily developed properties in the downtown corridor of this swiftly changing city. On this sunny Sunday morning, a Yiddish singer belted out klezmer standards like “Tumbalalaika” and “Shein Vi Di Levone” on the block as a crowd enjoyed ice cream and popcorn. This shtetl in the city will soon see a major development of its own. It was a special day for Detroit’s Jews: a centennial celebration of the only remaining freestanding synagogue in the city, which doubled as a groundbreaking for an ambitious expansion project. Many of the Jews in attendance at the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue’s block party weren’t even members, but all of them saw the congregation as an important link to Jewish Detroit’s past and future. “I am so personally excited we made it to this day, hallelujah!” the synagogue’s rabbi, Ariana Silverman, said after reciting the Shehechiyanu prayer (which gives thanks for the moment). Founded in 1921, the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue is today the last vestige of what, at the time, was a thriving Jewish community in an American industrial boomtown. But the nondenominational synagogue’s leadership is bullish that its best years are still ahead of it. A decade in the making, a $5 million-plus expansion project will turn the four-story building into a Jewish community hub, while accommodating a growing membership base. “In the coming together to build and renovate a physical space, this has also been a very spiritual act, in a way similar to building the Temple in Biblical times,” Samantha Woll, the synagogue’s president, said in her address at the event. In the period leading up to and in the decades following the Detroit riots of 1967, the Jewish community of metropolitan Detroit — like that of most major cities — underwent a mass migration to the suburbs. The dozens of Jewish houses of worship that once dotted the city became churches, or were abandoned by their members and fell into disrepair. As the Downtown Synagogue continued its programming, for many years without a permanent rabbi, many of its members viewed their membership there as secondary, while also having a primary synagogue in the suburbs. They continued to support the downtown programming — including its free High Holiday services — out of a sense of historical preservation. Matt Lester, president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, summed 8
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p A mockup of the renovation plans for Detroit’s Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, the last freestanding Jewish house of worship in the city, expected to be completed by 2024. Photo courtesy of Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue
up the state of affairs in his own address Sunday: “While many of our local buildings have moved multiple times throughout the years, the Downtown Synagogue has remained right here.” But something has shifted in Detroit Jewry in recent years. In the early 2010s, as the Motor City lurched toward the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in American history, a growing number of young entrepreneurs and creatives — including many Jews — flocked there, attracted to its low cost of living and boundless potential for experimentation. Some discovered the Downtown Synagogue waiting for them, and its membership grew from fewer than 100 member families a decade ago to more than 400 today. At some point, the congregation shifted from mostly old-timers to a mix of younger and older members, said Rachel Rudman, the synagogue’s executive director. These younger members began to push for the synagogue to look ahead and, at the pivotal 2009 annual meeting that anticipated its future growth, rejected the plan to sell the building in favor of pursuing the expansion plan. They would meet at Cafe d’Mongo’s Speakeasy, a longtime watering hole next door whose exterior has also become rooted in time, to hash out a vision for the building’s future. One of those who did, Vadim Avshalumov, became the synagogue’s president and spearheaded the beginnings of what would become its capital campaign a decade ago.
The Azerbaijan native grew up in the suburbs when his family moved to the area from Israel in the mid-1990s but had just moved to downtown Detroit after graduate school to work as a program officer for various local redevelopment initiatives. As the rest of the city got a fresh coat of paint, he wanted the synagogue to have its own makeover. “I’m very emotional, very happy,” Avshalumov said, reflecting on the culmination of the group’s vision Sunday. “At the same time, I have one of those ‘don’t celebrate until it’s actually done’ feelings.” He noted that they still had to fundraise over $100,000 of the $1.4 million needed to get through a limited first phase of construction. Even today, much of that fundraising is coming from the suburbs, including from longtime Jewish philanthropies like the William Davidson Foundation, where Avshalumov currently works. “There’s more money coming from Detroit suburban Jews, probably, than the Jews that are right here,” said Rudman, who used to work for Temple Beth El in the suburbs. “But we’re working on building community all together.” And rather than trying to peel away members, Rudman said, the suburban synagogues all want the Downtown Synagogue to prosper: “Nobody feels like they’re competing with us. They’re just excited this is happening.” As the Downtown Synagogue grew, the needs of the larger metro Detroit Jewish community were changing, too. Suburban
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synagogues with dwindling memberships began consolidating elements like their educational programs, and in fall 2020 the local JCC closed its last remaining health club in West Bloomfield, citing dwindling enrollment and “overbuilt” real estate. Next year, the JCC — which does not currently have a presence in Detroit proper — will be one of several local Jewish nonprofits to have a space in the Downtown Synagogue’s new Jewish coworking hub, along with the local federation, Repair the World, Hazon and Jewish Family Services. The coworking space, which draws some inspiration from similar Jewish models in Chicago and San Diego, will be part of the first phase of construction. Aiming to reopen in early 2023, the first phase will also include an updated sanctuary; elevators and ramps for accessibility; a children’s space; and large glass windows on the ground floor, which Detroit Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison praised at the ceremony because “it will be more inviting and people will be able to see what’s going on.” A planned second round of fundraising and construction hopes to deliver on the synagogue’s full redesign plan: creating a rooftop deck and event space by 2024. For now, the Downtown Synagogue’s true believers are celebrating what feels like a rebirth. And as their building remains under construction, this year they will be holding their free High Holiday services in churches around town — including one that used to be a synagogue. PJC PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Headlines — WORLD — 5 Americans among 8 shot in Jerusalem terror attack
Jewish communities in two countries were reeling last weekend after a shooting just outside the Old City of Jerusalem left eight wounded, JTA reported. An Arab resident of East Jerusalem turned himself in to police after a manhunt that focused on the Silwan neighborhood there, according to Israeli media. The shooting took place early Sunday morning as people boarded a bus. Among those shot, according to various reports, were multiple members of a family from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a center of the Satmar Hasidic Orthodox sect; a teenager from a different Brooklyn family; a pair of Israeli brothers; and a pregnant woman who remains hospitalized along with her child, whom doctors delivered after she suffered an abdominal injury. The shooting comes a week after an exchange of hostilities between the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and Israel. It also comes after months of relative calm within Israel following a series of attacks this spring in which 19 Israelis were murdered. The tourists wounded in the Jerusalem shooting are among the wave of visitors flowing into Israel this summer after years of pandemic travel restrictions had tamped down travel.
Israeli families of Munich Olympics massacre victims to boycott German 50th anniversary ceremony
All but one of the family members of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered during the 1972 Munich Olympics plan to boycott a ceremony marking the incident’s 50th anniversary, calling the financial compensation that the German government will offer them “a joke,” JTA reported. According to a German government memo obtained by The New York Times, various agencies have thus far paid $4.8 million to the families, and Germany is expected to offer an additional $5.6 million. The families are reportedly asking for a sum about 20 times larger than that and are urging Israel’s government to join in boycotting the ceremony, saying that Germany’s actions before, during and after the incident were insufficient and left the Israeli athletes at risk. Details have emerged suggesting that Germany had advance notice of a threat of violence. “The level of state responsibility of Germany, as we know it now, is far more extensive compared to the facts which were known in 1972-2020,” a lawyer representing the families told the Times. “Ample evidence was recently discovered which shows that the government not only failed in the protection of the athletes but was also instrumental in the cover-up of its failure.” During the second week of the 1972 Games, in the incident now known as the Munich Massacre, the Palestinian terrorist group Black September held six coaches and five athletes from Israel’s team hostage in their Olympic
village apartment before brutally killing them. A West German police officer was also killed.
15 Maccabi Tel Aviv fans arrested in Greece for possessing firecrackers and flares
Greek police arrested 15 Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer club supporters after finding them in possession of smoke bombs, flares and firecrackers before a Europa Conference League match, The Times of Israel and Associated Press reported. Police said the fans, who ranged in ages between 16 and 35, were arrested during a security check before Aug. 11’s match against Aris Thessaloniki FC, which went on to win 2-1. Five of the fans were minors.
Judge who signed the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago warrant faces violent antisemitic threats
Bruce Reinhart, the federal judge in Florida who signed the warrant allowing the FBI to raid former President Donald Trump’s Mar-aLago property on Aug. 8, was hit with a wave of antisemitic threats online, JTA reported. The outburst has appeared on right-wing social media platforms and message boards, where users have published the judge’s name, address and personal information. Threats have been directed at his children and supposed family members as well. Reinhart, who appears to be a member of the board of Temple Beth David in Palm Beach Gardens, has been a magistrate judge for the Southern District of Florida since 2018.
Calls for violence have accompanied antisemitic slurs and conspiracy theories, many referencing how Reinhart represented former employees of Jeffrey Epstein during a case involving the late convicted sex trafficker in 2008. Before the Epstein case, Reinhart worked as a federal prosecutor and then in private practice until 2018.
Foreigners to be barred from studying medicine in Israel
The Israeli government is barring foreigners from studying medicine in the country as part of an effort to curb the “brain drain” caused by citizens becoming doctors abroad due to difficulties getting accepted into local programs, jns.org reported. According to the Council for Higher Education in Israel, a supervisory body for universities and colleges, the graduating class of 2026 will be the last in which foreigners will receive four-year medical degrees offered at Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev or the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology. The CHE’s decision, issued in conjunction with the Health and Finance Ministries, comes after the organization made the recommendation in 2018 after finding that many Israelis were traveling to Europe for medical school because they could not get into programs at home. Some 900 Israelis reportedly enter medical schools in Israel each year, a number the government wants to raise to 1,200. PJC — Compiled by Andy Gotlieb
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AUGUST 19, 2022 9
Opinion When Judaism considers the long term, it looks to the past Guest Columnist Ari Wallach
e asked them “Who is called a ‘wise man’?” They responded to him, “The person who sees the consequence of their action.” (Babylonian Talmud 32a) Many years ago I was asked to speak, on short notice, at a symposium in Geneva about the future of the global climate refugee crises. It was an important opportunity, but attending meant I was going to miss my 11-year-old daughter Eliana’s choir concert, the one for which she had been rehearsing for months. I was crushed, but no compromise was possible — I’d be on the other side of the globe for every performance. To my great shock, Eliana didn’t care, at least not exactly. “It’s OK, dad,” she said. “If you miss it, you miss it. But do me a favor. When you are here, how about actually being here?” I was stunned, a little hurt, but I knew just what she was talking about. For the past year-plus, I’d been wandering around the house, conducting half my business by cell phone, distracted even when I was playing a board game with her. In the great way that children can state a complex thing simply and purely, my daughter had summarized our whole culture’s dilemma. Stuck in a forever state of reactive short-termism — an almost obsessive focus on the near future — glued to our devices
and grappling with never-ending “breaking news” and business plans measured in hours and even minutes, we’ve become too much tree and not enough forest. News about the most recent COVID variant, for example, is a tree. Being part of my kid’s growing up? That’s the forest. Our short-term addictions, understandable as they are, are obscuring our longer term potentials. In another story from the home front, my 9-year-old Gideon recently did something ... improper. It’s not important what, but let’s just say he wasn’t being his best self. When I found out, I flipped out and really read him the riot act. My wife, Sharon, pulled me aside and whispered, “Ari: longpath.” The word is a mantra in our household — it stands for the deliberate practice of long-term, holistic thinking and acting that, at its root, starts with real, hard-earned self-knowledge. At that instant I saw how off I was. Instead of modeling behaviors of self-awareness to help my son grow, I was reacting, and probably overreacting at that, glued once again to the short term at the expense of the long-term relationship with my son. On the highest level, I knew who I wanted to be in that moment with my son, but we are reactive creatures, easily prone to shortterm decision making. So why is a futurist, who works with multi-national organizations, governments and leading foundations, and whose TED talk has been viewed several million times, writing about conversations with my children? The future is not just about flying cars, jet packs and robots doing our laundry. Nor is it just about climate change, rampant
inequality or the loss of global biodiversity. Taken together, these aspects — good and bad — leave us with an incomplete picture of tomorrow’s promises and perils. The huge challenges we face as a society are going to require significant action at a political level. We need to vote at the booth and at the check-out counter in a way that aligns with our values. But that is not enough. Shaping the future also entails doing something beyond the political, something in some ways more difficult and definitely closer to home. Shaping the future toward a world we want to see necessitates that we connect with each other — at the human-to-human level — in a way that has significantly more impact than just how we vote or consume. How? Trim tabs. Trim tabs are the small edges of a ship’s rudder that, although tiny, can make a huge impact on the direction of the ship. The futurist Buckminster Fuller used the metaphor of a “trim tab” to explain how even small actions could have massive long-term effects, especially when scaled across populations. Shaping the long-term trajectory of society means connecting with others through a lens of empathy and with an eye on how those interactions will ripple out through time. What makes you a futurist — someone who cares and wants to shape society toward a better tomorrow — is putting your device down when your child enters the room and thinking about how your every action will play out over generations. This is the mindset of a true futurist. This is longpath thinking. At its heart, the belief in a longpath or “longer-term” mindset is a Jewish one. After all, we’re the people who have dragged our story
along to every outpost — the people who have waited on and insisted upon a future return. And just as our Passover story promises a transformation that does not happen overnight, the longpath view says that, yes, you can be an agent of change, not just a slave to the current climate, but it’s going to take some work. For me, the High Holy Days manifest the essence of a longpath outlook best of all. Rosh Hashanah both reaps the harvest of the past and points us toward our most profound wishes for the future year — but you can’t get there without a Yom Kippur. On this day of teshuvah, which means repentance and return, we understand that to look ahead of us requires that we first look back on the year past and engage in an honest reconciliation with all we have been and all those we have wronged — both in our own eyes and God’s. It’s hard work, but if we do this with an open heart, we have a chance to not only envision a better future, but to participate in creating it — for us and for others. The longpath view doesn’t just look deep into the future, but deep into the past. It holds that you cannot consider the future without transgenerational empathy, a clear accounting of all the preceding generations went through. Then, when you are ready to face the days, months, years, decades and centuries ahead, you must do your future-oriented thinking with future generations in mind. After all, your community and your world will belong to them. My father was a Polish refugee who escaped the ghetto and lost most of his family in the Holocaust — he went onto
maneuver the shovel despite the cast on his wrist from recent surgery. We were so touched. Maruschka and Marco made us realize the impact our religious observance and commitment could have on our non-Jewish friends. I had assumed that our customs and traditions, foreign and unfamiliar to them, might make them uncomfortable. But it was just the opposite. Though not their faith, they respectfully observed, and learned and even participated. Rather than being put off by what we do, they valued our willingness to be open and to share it with them, which they viewed as “true friendship.” This reaction was not at all obvious to me. Too often I feel that we have been programmed to keep our secular and religious lives separate. As a result, we hesitate to explain to non-Jewish friends and co-workers and teachers why we need to leave work early on Fridays during the winter, or why we can’t take an exam on a Jewish holiday, or why we’re fine with just a bag of chips despite the sandwiches provided at a lunch meeting. Maruschka and Marco reminded us that people can be respectful, even if they do not share your faith or belief, and even when our observance might be inconvenient. Maruschka and Marco love to host parties, small and large, and do so in fine style. Whether a small gathering welcoming family
visiting from the Netherlands, or a lavish soirée marking a graduation, birthday or some other occasion, they were always attentive to making sure there were kosher options available for us. The added effort on their part was not necessary, as we routinely insisted that “we’ll be fine, you don’t need to prepare anything special for us.” But they did, every time. Naturally, with friends like that, it was hard to see them go. I told them how much their friendship meant to me, and how Toby and I had benefited so much more from their friendship than they had from ours. Marco immediately rejected that view, responding that we had shared and included them in our most personal moments, and to share those moments is true friendship and nothing is more precious. At that moment, I realized what a rare and special friendship we have — where we each think that we get more out of the relationship than we put in. We each look at the scales upon which our friendship rests but we see different things. Toby and I most assuredly see the benefits weighing in our favor, and Maruschka and Marco see just the opposite. What could be more perfect? Tot ziens, dear friends, see you later. PJC
Please see Wallach, page 11
The scales of friendship Guest Columnist Gene Tabachnick
e recently bid our Dutch friends adieu. Maruschka and Marco returned to the Netherlands after more than 20 years in Pittsburgh. My wife, Toby, and Maruschka became fast friends when they met in the Mommy & Me class at Beth El Congregation of the South Hills 23 years ago, each with their youngest child in tow. At the time, we were members of the congregation, but Maruschka and her family, who are not Jewish, came to Beth El because of its preschool’s welcoming atmosphere. Toby and Maruschka hit it off right away and remained close for two decades. I was introduced to Marco when the two wives decided that it would be fun for the couples to get together. Marco and I didn’t have a lot in common. He is very European, a sharp dresser who likes fast, expensive cars, goes on exotic vacations, collects and enjoys fine wines and is religiously agnostic. I am none of those things. And yet, over the years, our friendship grew. Maruschka is very creative and artsy. For 10
AUGUST 19, 2022
each of our four children’s bar and bat mitzvah celebrations, she insisted on designing, fashioning and installing amazing bimah decorations, each one more impressive than the ones before. Of course, Maruschka at first had no idea what a bimah was, much less a bimah decoration, but her works drew rave reviews. In preparation for our older daughter’s wedding, Marco, the connoisseur, spent many hours researching kosher wines. He then selected 10 to 12 varieties for our consideration, had them shipped to Pittsburgh and hosted a private wine-tasting event for us, sharing his impressions of each of the candidates and where the best ones might fit in the various wedding weekend festivities. In addition to celebrating with us at our bar and bat mitzvah celebrations and the wedding, Maruschka and Marco comforted us during the 34-month period when my brother, mother and father died. One of my all-time favorite memories is of Maruschka and Marco at Poale Zedeck cemetery during my brother’s funeral. First, they schlepped out to Gibsonia with the procession, instinctively understanding that was the right thing to do. And there, on that chilly day at the end of December, in stiletto heels and a full-length fur coat, Maruschka picked up a shovel and helped fill my brother’s grave, even as her heels sank into the partially frozen earth. And Marco, too, was somehow able to
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Gene Tabachnick is a retired attorney living in Mt. Lebanon. He is married to Chronicle editor Toby Tabachnick. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Opinion Chronicle poll results: Inflation Reduction Act
ast week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “Do you support the Inflation Reduction Act, the pared-down version of the Build Back Better bill?” Of the 193 people who responded, 73% said yes; 23% said no”; and 4% said they weren’t sure. Forty-five people submitted comments. A few follow.
The bill is a once-in-a-generation investment in combating climate change, at a time when we have no more time to waste. Its cap on out-of-pocket prescription medication costs will be life-changing for thousands of seniors. And, it shrinks the deficit at the same time. What is sad is that not a single Senate Republican could put their constituents first and vote for the bill.
The bill is not really going to have much effect on inflation but is a major step in the right direction of reducing fossil fuel energy usage over the next decade. It is a good compromise to allow more domestic oil and natural gas production that we need for economic security.
It just spends money and raises taxes! It has nothing to do with reducing inflation. It’s just a gimmicky name to pass a
Do you support the Inflation Reduction Act, the pared-down version of the Build Back Better bill?
Giving tax credits to people who can afford a $100,000 electric car does not sound progressive.
The ability for Medicare to negotiate drug prices is a good provision and is long overdue.
Not as comprehensive as I would have liked. But something is better than nothing! And it includes more positive measures than anything Congress has passed before. This is a huge win for people: finally
The name of this legislation is misleading. Upon reading it, it’s obvious that it will — mostly, actually — increase inflation.
hen elementary school teachers discuss authors, they usually talk about those who write for children and teens. Salman Rushdie is not that kind of writer, but one perk of growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran was that I had already heard his name by the time I was in fourth grade. It was Quds Day (which is the last Friday of Ramadan, but since schools in Iran are closed Fridays, it was the last Thursday), and the principal gave a speech in which he talked about Salman Rushdie. In keeping with Islamic countries’ tradition of linking anyone you don’t like to Israel, he labeled Rushdie a “Zionist mercenary.” Any kid in England is familiar with the name J.K. Rowling, even if he or she has never read Harry Potter. In Iran, Salman Rushdie has the same status, although he’s not a local writer and his books are banned. In high school, finding and sharing banned books was a hobby for me and my friends. It wasn’t too hard and, especially today, the internet makes it easy to find this stuff. And,
Wallach: Continued from page 10
become a commander in the Jewish resistance. Years later, he used to say, “The future really started yesterday.” To move through the narrow passages and get to the land of milk and honey, we must adopt a mindset that integrates the far past and the far future. Transgenerational empathy is not merely a high-flown concept — it’s a practice, a way of taking the future seriously. On our mantel, along with photos of my parents and Sharon’s parents, and photos of us and of the kids, we have placed a few empty frames, a PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
I support climate change legislation. This is not an inflation reduction act, and it would be nice for Congress to stop making up false names for bills. PJC — Toby Tabachnick
Chronicle weekly poll question: allowing Medicare to negotiate (and so, lower) drug costs, moving us away from our
Rushdie and me: A Persian tale Guest Columnist Ali Deilami
reliance on fossil fuels by many strategies, including incentivizing EVs, not raising taxes on individuals or families — but getting more people to pay what they already owe by returning teeth to the IRS and getting wealthy corporations to actually pay their taxes.
Did the secular media provide adequate coverage of last weekend’s terror attack in Jerusalem? Go to pittsburghjewishchronicle. org to respond. PJC
if reading PDF files is hard on your eyes, offset printing is always an option. Yuval Noah Harari was added to the list of banned writers in Iran almost three years ago, but still today you can buy his “Sapiens” in plenty of bookstores. “The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie was one of our early interests. The fun fact is we actually sent these files to teachers. I remember a few teachers even encouraged us. Of course, those were secular teachers. We had to study Islamic texts in school and those teachers weren’t secular at all, but that didn’t prevent us from debating with them about the ideas we encountered in the forbidden books. Of course, one of the first topics wasn’t in a book, but rather about the author of a book. How, we asked our Islamic studies teacher, could Imam Khomeini order the killing of Salman Rushdie? As is well known, Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious legal ruling) in 1989 ordering the assassination of Salman Rushdie. In Iranian universities, all students in all faculties must pass compulsory courses on Islamic theology and the Islamic revolution, and this fatwa is routinely studied in these courses. University classes tend to permit more freedom of expression than is the norm in Iran, and students often challenge the fundamentals of official state beliefs. In
fact, arguing with these rigid professors was a form of entertainment for us. The overarching question was the matter of assassination in Islam. We asked dozens of teachers and professors whether Muslims have the right to kill heretics. The usual examples were Rushdie as well as Ahmad Kasravi, an Iranian lawyer and historian murdered in 1946 by a hardline Islamic group that Khomeini often praised. The answer to our question was always the same formulaic response based in Islamic law but adjusted to accommodate the regime’s particular version of Shia Islam. “Islam doesn’t allow assassination unless a marja — a source of emulation — orders it,” and because in their view Khomeini was a marja, pursuing the death of Rushdie was spotless. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini passed away in June 1989, a few months after changing Rushdie’s life forever. It was foreshadowed by an incident from just a few weeks earlier. In January 1989, on Fatimiyya, the holiday marking the martyrdom of prophet Muhammad’s daughter, Iranian state radio asked random people to name the ultimate role model for Iranian women. The answer was obvious, Fatima. Everyone gave the right answer until one woman didn’t. Her idol,
she said, was Oshin, the main character of a popular Japanese series! Ayatollah Khomeini found the interview insulting and demanded that the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting fire and punish those responsible for airing it. Khomeini wrote that if the insult was intentional, the blasphemer would certainly be sentenced to death. (Four IRIB employees were sentenced to four years in jail and 40 lashes they were later pardoned.) Khomeini’s reaction to the Oshin interview was surprisingly harsh, even for his close lackeys. The same was true of his fatwa against Rushdie. Khomeini called for a global attempt to summarily kill the author without any debate and with no room for challenge, as is the norm in the Islamic world. Even muftis in the Middle Ages didn’t issue a death verdict for a heretic without asking for repentance first. But by that last year of Khomeini’s life, the pattern of casual execution was already in place: In the summer of 1988 his orders led to the state-sponsored massacre of an estimated 30,000 political prisoners throughout Iran. PJC
reminder of the generation to come. Seeing those empty frames is a subtle but persistent reminder that the decisions we make today, as individuals, as a family, as a community, are going to have everyday repercussions hundreds of years from now. This Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of 5783 in the Jewish calendar. That means we’re only 217 years from the year 6000. Some say that’s the latest time for the messiah to arrive and usher in the redemption. Others insist the messiah can and will come earlier. The real question is: Where do we want the world to be in 6000, and what kind of longpath thinking will help get us there? To give you a little context, 217 years ago
Napoleon was crowned King of Italy, Lewis and Clark headed out on their expedition, Beethoven premiered his Third Symphony and the first steam locomotive had just had its first run. There was no electricity, no cars, no phones, no internet. The United States itself was a mere 29 years old. Consider what can happen in two centuries. How would you like the world to look in Year 6000 and what are you willing to do to help make it that way? It’s a mistake to think that the people who will be affected will likely not be your people. According to the handy Descendants Calculator, in 217 years, or eight generations, the youngest of my children could have
anywhere between 500 and 87,000 offspring, depending on the average number of kids per generation. And that’s just one of my three children! What kind of a world do you want your descendants to live in? What do we have to do collectively to co-create that future? We don’t need the answers this instant, but we do need to start making the small actions and asking the big questions right away. PJC
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Ali Deilami was a journalist in Iran, working for ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) from 2019 to 2021. He now lives in Milan, Italy. This first appeared on The Times of Israel.
Ari Wallach is a futurist to Fortune 500 companies, global nonprofits and philanthropists and is the author of “Longpath: Becoming the Great Ancestors Our Future Needs.” This first appeared on JTA. AUGUST 19, 2022
Headlines NCJW: Continued from page 1
She hopes leaders with a proven track record and institutional knowledge will work with the next generation to create opportunities for them to feel fulfilled working with NCJW, she said.
Reevaluation and transition
Fogel and Rose’s leadership opportunities came following a period of reevaluation and transition at NCJW. The organization, Rose said, created a task force last summer and examined several questions. For example, how can NCJW Pittsburgh shift its service work to change systems that perpetuate racial, gender and other disparities and inequities? How does it move from a transactional to a relational model of community service and allyship? Should its work be driven and informed by programs and projects or key issues? What is the role of volunteerism and direct service in today’s world? And what is NCJW’s potential to build on its current strength and capacity? The process included considering questions such as the nature of community allyship and the connection between community service and social change. The organization also assessed of all its existing
programs and projects. One example of the change inspired by the evaluation, Rose said, is the transition of the annual back-to-school store event to the Kids Community Closet program, which provides children with essential clothing year-round in their communities. Fogel noted that this type of project-based work is best centered in the communities it impacts. She hopes that young leaders become engaged in the organization when they see the value of their work in locales it directly helps.
Fogel and Rose not only assumed their NCJW leadership positions as the organization was entering a period of self-evaluation, but they came on board at a time when the political landscape had shifted. It was only several months ago that many people assumed that abortion would remain a protected right throughout the country and that the fight for marriage equality was over. “One of the things I appreciate most about NCJW Pittsburgh,” Rose said, “is that we’re nimble enough to respond to the emerging conditions or challenges facing our community. Reproductive justice is no exception to that.” The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision has left a lot of organizations acting with a
sense of urgency, working to discern where they can best support access to reproductive health care and assist in educating community members, she added. NCJW Pittsburgh, Fogel said, operates at the intersection of project-based and issue-based work, and it’s important for the organization to engage young leaders who are talking about issues like reproductive health on social media.
Think national, act local
NCJW Pittsburgh is the local chapter of a national organization, and there are advantages to that structure, Rose said. There’s an “opportunity to connect to other sections to find out what’s working as they establish their particular lane as it relates to reproductive justice,” she said, adding that she plans to reach out to NCJW LA to discuss “a cool program around guaranteed income.” The community engagement director said the local chapter can borrow ideas and seek support from other sections, in addition to having some of its priorities flow from the national NCJW. “I’d say that makes both the macro and micro possible,” she said. The goal is to keep NCJW Pittsburgh’s mission at the center of their work, Fogel said. “What that looks like for us is finding the
Stern: Continued from page 1
graduating from Brooklyn Tech. He also received a graduate degree in mathematics from New York University. Stern later was recruited on a scholarship to a government program at the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology in Tennessee, graduating in 1952. He came to western Pennsylvania in 1958 — moving to Eastmont, then Squirrel Hill — to work in Westinghouse’s budding nuclear power operation; he eventually helped put Westinghouse on the nuclear power map and climbed the corporate ladder to the position of senior executive vice president, the company’s No. 2 post. He also served on the company’s board of directors. Carlo Caso met Stern in 1967. “Ted was the G.M. of our division and I was a guy just off the boat,” said Caso, of Point Breeze, who came to Pittsburgh to be an engineer in thermodynamics after graduating from the University of Milan. “Ted was dedicated to nuclear for a long time.” Caso remembers Stern shot-gunning him with three or four rapid-fire questions during a meeting, then abruptly moving on to other business. “I learned that this is his style: He’s quick, and he has a good understanding of the subject. You know, he pushed you,” Caso said. “He was not a lovey-dovey type of person. But he was very honest, which, in my mind, is an important trait.” The two men became friends in their later years, dining together with their wives or attending performances of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, of which they were both dedicated members. Stern’s youngest brother, Herb, said he was passionate about — but not consumed 12
AUGUST 19, 2022
p Andy, Ted and Jon Stern, 1960
by — his work with Westinghouse. “We were close as a family [and] our conversations were mostly family talk. He did not talk about his career or life with Westinghouse,” said Herb Stern, 91, of Englewood, New Jersey, an artist who worked in advertising and magazine publishing. After retiring from Westinghouse in 1993, Stern, then in his 60s, became chairman and CEO of a money-losing long distance reseller and built it into a billion-dollar software company. He continued to be active in building businesses, including one in medical cannabis, stepping down from the board of one last NASDAQ company only in 2021 at age 91. Stern was predeceased in 2015 by his wife, Elizabeth “Liz” Spier Stern, his high school sweetheart. She became ill with an autoimmune disorder about five years earlier. Liz Stern taught English for years at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. After earning a graduate degree in urban planning in the 1960s, she went to work for Allegheny County. “He took care of her,” his brother, Herb
Photo courtesy of Andy Stern
Stern, said. “He said, ‘I want to outlive my wife because I want to be the one to take care of her.’ He always did what he wanted to do and he got it done.” “He was, in many respects, a softie when you came right down to it, despite the hard exterior,” Herb Stern added. “He wanted to do it all,” his son Andy said. “He took all of that on because he legitimately didn’t want her to rely on anyone who didn’t love her to care for her.” Jess Stern, a therapist living in Washington, D.C., remembered her grandfather coming over during family visits during her childhood and reading newspapers. “He had always been very antisocial, [but] when my grandmother passed, he took on her characteristics,” she said. “He was always so invested in how his kids and grandkids were doing in their careers.” Jess Stern said she wouldn’t call her grandfather “upbeat.” “That’s not the word — but he didn’t seem to have any cares in the world. He was
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intersectionality between issue-based work and project-based work,” she said. “For example, our Children’s Rooms in the Courts are an example of the kind of program and system of support that gives visibility to childcare issues, or the lack of paid childcare, for working families.” Fogel said the program can provide an opportunity to talk about pay equity and link to voting rights issues. “We can take an issue, focus that down to the community level and start working with the stakeholders,” she said.
The mission of NCJW may sound like many other women’s advocacy groups, Fogel said, but the work of NCJW is filtered through a Jewish lens. “The basis of tikkun olam and using the idea of repairing the world centers us constantly around issues like race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, immigration status,” she said. “For us, it’s the core driver. Tikkun olam is what centers us in this work.” NCJW Pittsburgh is co-sponsoring the Just Film series on Sept. 20 at Chatham University. The film “The Janes” will be screened followed by a panel discussion. PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. carefree,” she added. “He was just very chill, very laid-back, very pleased with the way his life turned out, especially after the tough start in Nazi Germany.” Stern first worshipped at the Parkway Jewish Center and, later, Young People’s Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, where his two sons celebrated their bar mitzvahs, Andy Stern said. The family was “reasonably observant,” he added — they kept kosher and didn’t drive on Shabbat. Stern prayed with tefillin and sang in the congregation’s choir during High Holidays. At 88, after his wife died, Stern took Andy and his sons, Daniel and Zachary, on a trip to Israel. Andy Stern said his father also was very close with Jason Stern, a grandson who displayed a knack for business. “He saw elements of himself in all his children [and] they had a connection,” he said. “He really reveled in that with Jason.” In the end, his father will be remembered as a man who “set objectives” and doggedly pursued them, Andy Stern said. “He was a very ‘do things’ kind of guy,” he added. “It’s sad. I miss him; we all miss him. But it’s not tragic. He had a good life.” Along with his son Andy, brother Herb and four grandchildren, Stern is survived by another son, Jon, of Rockville, Maryland; and brother Martin, of Yonkers, New York. His eldest brother, Julius, the first president of Donna Karan Co., died five days after Stern did. Services through Ralph Schugar Chapel were held earlier this month, and Stern was interred at Homewood Cemetery. Contributions in his memory can be made to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh or the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Life & Culture To save Jews and keep the Nazis away, these doctors invented a fake infectious disease — FILM — By Stephen Silver | JTA
ow the subject of his new documentary, “Syndrome K,” has largely escaped public attention is a mystery to filmmaker Stephen Edwards. “It’s the greatest elevator pitch in Hollywood,” he said. “The story of three doctors, one of them Jewish, practicing with a fake identity, that fool the SS with a fake disease that saved Jews from certain deportation.” “Syndrome K,” which hits digital and VOD platforms on Tuesday after some Jewish film festival showings, tells that littleknown, surefire story: How three doctors at a hospital in Rome shielded a group of Jews from the Nazis in 1943 and 1944 by inventing a fake infectious disease called Syndrome K. The prospect of catching the disease kept the Nazis, who were occupying Rome following the fall of Mussolini, away from the hospital. The Jews there hung on until the Allies liberated the city in June of 1944. Edwards, who has spent most of his career as a composer, is not Jewish — he was raised Catholic — but grew up among the large Jewish community in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he got the idea for the film when he saw a meme about the “Syndrome K” story on Facebook and was shocked to discover that no one had ever made a documentary about it before. Fatebenefratelli Hospital was located very close to the Jewish Ghetto in Rome. The three doctors were Vittorio Sacerdoti, Giovani Borromeo and Adriano Ossicini. Sacerdoti was Jewish, while the other two were Catholic. Borremeo, who among other things protected the family of one of his Jewish mentors, is recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial authority. Jews were kept in hospital rooms designated as dangerously infectious. “The Nazis thought it was cancer or tuberculosis, and they fled like rabbits,” Sacerdoti told the BBC in 2004. The exact number of Jews saved, according to the film, is unknown, although various historical accounts have placed the number in the dozens. “That’s why I think it’s such a secret story — the doctors didn’t crow about what they did, or talk about it a lot,” Edwards said. He added that the Syndrome K story is so obscure that the late historian Robert Katz’s “The Battle for Rome: The Germans, the Allies, the Partisans, and the Pope, September 1943—June 1944,” which is considered a definitive book about the Nazi occupation of the city, does not mention it. When Edwards first began working on the film in 2018, he learned that Ossicini was still alive at age 98. Reaching out through an Italian-Jewish journalist named Ariela Piattelli, Edwards and his producer went to Rome and interviewed the doctor. On that trip, he also talked to a pair of brothers who survived the hospital as children, and Pietro PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
p Adriano Ossicini, one of the doctors behind the Syndrome K ruse, with “Syndrome K” director Stephen Edwards, 2018.
Photo from “Syndrome K” Freestyle Digital Media
Borromeo, the son of Giovani Borromeo. Both Ossicini and the younger Borromeo passed away within a year of their interviews. For interviews with the others featured in the film, Edwards utilized the USC Shoah Foundation, which has collected and archived interviews with more than 55,000 testimonies now arrived at the University of Southern California. That archive included an interview with the Jewish doctor Sacerdoti from around the year 2000, made shortly before his death and believed to be the only one he ever gave. The physician never married or had children, and there’s no record of where he is buried. Edwards was full of praise for the Shoah Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg, for including a system of tagging in their archive that allowed them to find interviews with survivors of the hospital of whom the filmmakers were previously unaware. “We have no film without Sacerdoti,” Edwards said. “If I meet Spielberg at some point, I’m going to thank him.” Ossicini and Pietro Borromeo aren’t the only voices featured in “Syndrome K” who have since passed away. Ray Liotta, the famed actor, provided the voiceover narration for the film. He died on May 26, at age 67, while shooting a film in the Dominican Republic.
Edwards said that he had gotten to know Liotta a bit when their daughters went to school together throughout their childhoods. He had reached out to the actor to gauge his interest in narrating the film, and “two weeks later, he’s in my studio.” Liotta recorded the entire narration in three hours, on a single day in late 2019. (Edwards added that on the day of Liotta’s arrival he joined his editor and writer to watch the first 30 minutes of “Goodfellas,” Liotta’s best-known role, in which the actor performs a voiceover narration that the director calls “top five all-time.”) Edwards, who holds Italian citizenship through his late mother, especially appreciated Liotta’s ease with the story’s many difficult Italian names and places. “He walked in, and it’s not an easy gig: It’s Fatebenefratelli Hospital,’ Adriano Ossicini, Giovani Borromeo, Vittorio Sacerdoti, all the Roman names, plus all the German names, all this vocabulary,” Edwards said. “And he was such a fun guy to work with, super-funny, top-level pro, profane, lots of F-bombs, we were just laughing, we were having a ball … we were just so sorry to lose the guy.” The director had always been a World War II buff, and two of his uncles fought in
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the war. But he remembers very well first learning about the Holocaust. “When I was probably 12 or 13 years old, I was watching TV on a Saturday morning … when I saw one of these documentaries about the Holocaust, where it showed all the atrocities and horrors. And I was just horrified — I had no idea, I hadn’t gotten to that history lesson in school yet.” He asked his father, who explained it to him. The Holocaust, of course, can be a weighty and depressing subject, especially when one is immersed in it for a lengthy period of time. How did Edwards handle the burden? “The story itself was more about the threat of atrocities,” he said, noting that 80% of Italian Jews survived the Holocaust, a very different percentage than in most of Europe. “This is a story about people being their very, very best, in the face of people being their very, very worst, and that’s what really attracted me to it.” In addition to the documentary, Edwards said that he has brought a team together to try to make a feature film version of the Syndrome K story. In the meantime, he appreciates the irony of the timing of the documentary’s arrival. “You can’t make that stuff up,” he said. “Making a movie about a fake disease in the middle of a pandemic is just so ironic.” PJC AUGUST 19, 2022
Life & Culture Best-dressed summer salads — FOOD — By Keri White | Contributing Writer
ith summer produce at its seasonal peak, now is the time to showcase it. Salad for supper is a great idea when the temperatures rise and we all want something light. Topping a salad with a grilled protein is a great way to add some heft to the meal, but sometimes we just want the veggies. Often the dressing is an afterthought, whether it is a bottled version, a splash of oil and vinegar or something in between. I know, I know, we are rushed, we have hungry impatient families, we don’t want to mess up the blender. But hear me out. I have found that when I devote energy to a dressing and integrate interesting and unique flavors, the veggies it is tossed over are less important and there is not as much need to add so much to the salad itself. Suddenly, a simple bowl of greens with a few tomatoes and slices of cucumber is singing under a delicious dressing and the croutons, nuts, cheese, toasted chickpeas, et cetera, are no longer needed. Another key consideration: Salad dressing keeps for several days, as vinegar is a preservative. So if you make a large batch, it will get you through the whole week — and suddenly that once-used blender is not so burdensome. Black olive vinaigrette dressing
Makes a generous 1/2 cup or enough for several large salads
¼ cup pitted olives ¼ cup oil from pitted olives 2 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar Pinch salt Generous sprinkle black pepper
In a blender or mini chopper, mix all the ingredients until smooth. Pour the dressing into a sealable container, and refrigerate it until ready to use. Miso ginger dressing
Makes a generous ½ cup, or enough for several large salads ¼ cup miso paste (I use white, but any type is fine) 1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon soy sauce ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil 2 tablespoons rice vinegar ½ teaspoon sugar
Mix all the ingredients well with a fork, or puree them in a blender or mini chopper, if desired. Refrigerate the dressing in a sealable container until ready to use.
AUGUST 19, 2022
Photos by Keri White
Use the seasoned, pitted, oil-cured olives here; this is a great hack because the oil is already flavored.
Makes about ¾ cup
This takes a bit longer than the other two because it involves pickling the onions first, but it is worth it. For the onions: 1 small onion, sliced ¼ cup apple cider vinegar Water, if needed Pinch of salt
Place the onions in a blender or mini chopper with all the remaining ingredients, and puree until smooth and creamy. Store the dressing in the refrigerator until ready to use. Each of these dressings pairs beautifully with simple greens, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and shredded carrots. I’ve also tossed in the occasional nasturtium (those beautiful, orange edible flowers), some scallions or chives and whatever raw fresh veggies are
lying around, such as green beans or broccoli. The true test was last week when I had a family visit with their three teenage boys — the kids all went back for seconds and thirds on salad tossed in these dressings, even when mac and cheese was on the table. PJC Keri White writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication where this first appeared.
For the dressing: Pickled onions ¼ cup grainy mustard 1 tablespoon honey ½ cup olive oil Pinch salt Generous sprinkling of pepper
Place the onions in a sealable container. Sprinkle them with salt and add the vinegar. If the onions are not submerged, add enough water to just cover. Refrigerate them for several hours or overnight. The onions should be soft and have a pickled, mild flavor. PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Life & Culture Pittsburghers among 700 Jewish teens from seven countries to wrap up Diller Fellowship program — LOCAL — By JNS
total of 700 Jewish teens from 32 communities in seven countries recently completed a seminar in Israel as part of a year-long Diller Teen Fellowship, an immersive leadership program for teenagers from across the world. The three-week program included a Shabbaton retreat, a “Community Week” and a “Global Congress” with all 700 teens (including 350 international Fellows gathering with 350 Israeli Fellows) for a period of cultural exchange, exploration of Jewish peoplehood and shared community service projects. International teens who traveled to Israel hailed from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore and central New Jersey; Toronto and Montreal, Canada; Melbourne, Australia; Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and throughout the United Kingdom. “Diller has been an amazing experience for me,” said Ethan Goetz, who attends North Allegheny Senior High School. “Meeting people all over the world is such a
p Pittsburgh Diller cohort
cool thing and keeping in touch with them is even cooler. I have made friends from cities like Karmiel, Misgav, Chicago, Miami, Melbourne and so many others. I wouldn’t give this program up for the world.” Each Diaspora community has an Israeli partner community, including Upper Galilee, Ashkelon, Rishon Letzion, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheva/B’nei Shimon, Karmiel/ Misgav, Eilat/Eilot, Yerucham, Kiryat Gat/Lachish/Shafir, Beit Shemesh/Mateh Yehudah, Golan, Shoham, Hof Hasharon, Herzliya and Mate’ Asher. “Diller Teen Fellows is important to our community because it gives teens a safe
space to explore their Jewish identity in the context of other teens living in Pittsburgh as well as teens from different communities across the globe,” said Chris Herman, teen division director of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. “Diller Photo by Dror Miller also equips teens with leadership skills that will allow them to activate that leadership to create a positive impact now and in the future. “I have been involved in the Pittsburgh Diller Teen Fellows program for 10 years now as a coordinator and supervisor and over that time I have seen the impact that this experience has meant to so many of the participants,” Herman added. Participants are self-identified Jewish 10th- and 11th-graders selected for their leadership potential. They become part of the program’s international network of Jewish leaders. Today, there are more than 6,500 Diller alumni worldwide.
“At a time when our world can feel more fractured and divided than ever before, Diller Teen Fellows from across the globe are uniting to build understanding, create connections and help repair the world,” said Jen Smith, executive director of the Helen Diller Family Foundation Programs. “Diller serves as a foundational year that can impact the life of a teen as they explore their Jewish identity and the good they want to do in the world as a leader. While the goals, values and mission of the program unite participants as one global Jewish family, each teen brings their own unique perspective, lived experience and leadership qualities. Working together, we believe they can change the world.” Throughout the yearlong fellowship, all 700 teens participate in local workshops (mifgashim in Hebrew), where they learn about the diversity of their local Jewish community and peers; hands-on opportunities to lead tikkun olam initiatives, where they learn to lead through a Jewish lens; local weekend retreats (Shabbatonim), where they experience Jewish pluralism; and active partnership connections between Israeli and Diaspora communities. PJC
Toby Tabachnick and David Rullo contributed to this report.
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AUGUST 19, 2022
Life & Culture Boston’s Jews are getting a ‘Jewish tavern’ to study religious text — and drink beer — RELIGION — By Jackie Hajdenberg | JTA
century ago, German philosopher Franz Rosenzweig spearheaded the revival of intellectual Jewish life in the city of Frankfurt am Main with the “Freies Jüdisches Lehrhaus” — the Jewish House of Free Study. As many as 1,100 adult students would attend lectures tailored to secular Jews and aimed at democratizing the kind of Jewish learning that was typically restricted to the beit midrash, or formal house of Jewish study. Now, a Lehrhaus in the spirit of 1920s Frankfurt is coming to the Boston area. The brainchild of Rabbi Charlie Schwartz and Sefaria cofounder Joshua Foer, it will be a space for traditional paired study of the Talmud and other Jewish texts, called “chevruta,” aimed at Jews across the religious spectrum. With a full menu of food and drinks inspired by flavors from across the Jewish Diaspora, serious study won’t be the only reason to stop in, and the Boston Lehrhaus founders hope this will mean more casual encounters with Jewish culture — even from people who aren’t Jewish. “If someone walks in off the street and doesn’t realize it’s a Jewish space and they’re encountered by all this wonderfulness and surprise and delight and joy and delicious food, then that’s great,” Schwartz said. “Most people who encounter the space who aren’t Jewish will encounter it primarily as a Jewish tavern, in the same way they might encounter a bagel shop or a Jewish deli or a Jewish Bukharian place.” A drink menu designed by Boston-based, award-winning bartender Naomi Levy of Maccabee Bar, a Jewish popup bar for the winter season, will include a Yemenite espresso martini with the spice blend hawaij, a spicy schug margarita and a “Summer in Krakow” cocktail made with strawberry, Sorel liqueur and gin. James Beard Awardnominated chef Michael Leviton and Boston native chef Noah Clickstein are consulting on the food menu, which the Lehrhaus founders are calling “kosher pescatarian.” The programming itself will be a combination of partnered learning, classes and public events including lectures from celebrities and intellectuals in the secular space in conversation with scholars, rabbis and educators. The educational programming, created with assistance from Hadar and the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America — two non-denominational Jewish think tanks based in New York but expanding their presence in other cities — is geared toward adults. The food, booze and learning are in service, however, of meeting a serious challenge: While people of all religious observance are meant to feel welcome at the Lehrhaus, the creators are aiming to reach a cohort of young Jews who are interested in Judaism but may not feel connected to
AUGUST 19, 2022
p The Lehrhaus is inspired in part by Frankfurt’s Jewish House of Free Study, where intellectuals of the early 20th century like Bertha Pappenheim, Leo Lowenthal and Martin Buber lectured and learned. Photo by Getty Images; design by Jackie Hajdenberg
traditional religious spaces — and they’re betting that rich Jewish content, not just social engagements, are the key to doing so. “The goal isn’t to make people more religious, but rather for people to engage deeply in Jewish learning and chevruta,” Schwartz said. “We want to be able to say, ‘if you are observant, this could be a spot for you. If you’re not observant, there’s still amazing things about Jewish texts that can help ground us and guide us and create community.’” That sort of outreach has attracted major Jewish charitable organizations, including the Boston Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Maimonides Fund, the One8 Foundation, Natan, the Aviv Foundation, and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. The Los Angeles-based Kripke Institute was not a funder, but Lehrhaus partnered with the 501c3 to process initial grants and donations. Ron Wolfson, president of the Kripke Institute and a professor of education at American Jewish University, said the prospect of a place like the Lehrhaus is deeply exciting to educators like him. Based on the work that Schwartz and Foer have done in the past — Schwartz as the co-creator of PocketTorah, an application to help Torah readers learn to chant and Foer, as the co-creator of Sefaria, the online open-source digital library of Jewish text — Wolfson is confident in their latest project. “We need spaces where the barriers of entry are low and the expectation of an immersive experience is high. Lehrhaus checks those boxes,” Wolfson said. “It will become a very hip, sacred space very quickly.” While there are many young Jews in the Greater Boston area, half of the area’s 250,000 Jews consider themselves “unaffiliated,”
according to a 2015 Brandeis University study. Institutions like Hillel International, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and Moishe House do outreach to young people in the area, but the Lehrhaus founders say Jewish organizational activity outside of the synagogue space and geared toward young adults is still lacking, given the density and size of the Jewish population. The post-college set of Greater Boston comprises nearly a quarter of the Jewish population there and is largely concentrated in Somerville, Cambridge and Central Boston. Wolfson, the author of two books on creating Jewish spaces, cited a finding in the Pew study saying more than 94% of Jews are proud to be Jewish. The survey also found that Jews under age 50 “are significantly more apt than those who are older” to say they are “just not interested” in attending synagogue services, and instead relate to Judaism through cultural and social expressions. One way that some communities have tried to solve this problem is by organizing events outside of the synagogue, like organized bar crawls. “Charlie and Joshua are taking a huge step further by creating the bar,” Wolfson said. “It’s a one-stop experience that meets everybody’s needs for engagement. And that’s very cool.” Foer and Schwartz are optimistic about the future of the Lehrhaus — Schwartz left his job at Hillel International in June to focus on the Lehrhaus full time. Still, success is not guaranteed. Other similar, unaffiliated ventures — some with the same name — have sprung up over the decades in other cities, with mixed results. In 1999, Makor opened on New York’s Upper West Side with a similar premise of being the kind of place where Jews in
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
their 20s and 30s could grab a beer, study kabbalah, mingle with singles and enjoy art installations and musical performances. Award-winning singer-songwriter Norah Jones performed at Makor dozens of times early in her career, before it closed in 2006. Lehrhaus Judaica, a Berkeley-based adult educational organization founded in 1974, closed in 2021 due to financial difficulties. It recently reopened under new leadership and a rebranding as “The New Lehrhaus.” Even the success of the Frankfurt Lehrhaus was limited, despite its impressive roster of leading Jewish intellectuals like the writer Shai Agnon; philosophers Gershom Scholem, Leo Lowenthal, and Martin Buber; and the feminist and activist Bertha Pappenheim. The original institution was closed in 1930, then reopened by Buber in 1933. It was closed permanently by the Nazi regime in 1938. Schwartz and Foer want people to recognize the Jewish tavern as a category of its own, like the Irish pub — and that it has its own historical precedent. The “kretshme” (Yiddish for “tavern”) was an important fixture of Eastern European Jewish life during the Jewish mystical revival of the 19th century, according to historian Glenn Dynner. Like the western European coffee houses of the Enlightenment era, Jewish taverns functioned as a “third space” where people could gather and discuss intellectual and political issues over alcohol. The Boston Lehrhaus, which is expected to open after the High Holidays this fall, is trying to remain true to the intellectual environment of its German predecessor while appealing to its young community members. “Quite a few people will come for the food and drink and some of them will stay for the Torah,” Foer said. “And that would be this thing working.” PJC
Life & Culture Once buried in Europe, a Hitler puppet stashed in Frank Oz’s Oakland attic tells his family’s Holocaust story — CU;TURE — By Dan Pine | JTA
ong before Frank Oz gained fame as the puppet master behind such iconic characters as Miss Piggy and Yoda, he was Frank Oznowicz, an Oakland kid who attended Tech High, ate burgers at Kwik Way and watched movies at the Grand Lake Theater. And from time to time, he’d rummage through the attic of his home. One day
he came across something that would prove to be extraordinary: a set of wooden marionettes, carved in the 1930s by his Jewish father, Isadore “Mike” Oznowicz, a Holocaust refugee from Antwerp, Belgium. The costumes were handmade by his mother, Frances. One of the puppets, with its Charlie Chaplin mustache and raised right arm, was unmistakably a mocking caricature of Hitler. “Every few years I’d see [the puppets] and not think twice,” Oz recalled of his youth. “When I was an adult, I moved to New York, and I realized, ‘My God, look what we have here.’”
Long before storing the puppets in an Oakland attic, Mike Oznowicz had buried them in Antwerp for safekeeping before fleeing the Nazi invasion, then retrieved them after the war. They remained in the attic until his son, by then fully aware of the historical importance of his parents’ handiwork, transported them to his Manhattan apartment, where he has kept them for more than 30 years. The puppets have never been on public display until now. They are the centerpieces of a new exhibition, “Oz is for Oznowicz: A Puppet Family’s History,” open now
through Nov. 27 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. The exhibit consists of the Hitler figure, as well as a puppet cabaret band decked out in swanky satin jackets, along with a ravenhaired chanteuse in a red dress. Also included are archival photographs, reflections from Oz and his siblings and a video account from Mike Oznowicz recounting his harrowing escape from Nazi-occupied Belgium. “The wear and tear is very evident,” Heidi Please see Oz, page 18
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Life & Culture
Broken body, eternal soul
Continued from page 17
Rabben, senior curator of the CJM, said of the treasures. “The costumes are faded and torn. The Hitler costume is broken down the front seam. I asked Frank why he thought his parents buried [the puppets] and did not destroy them. He said if someone creates something with one’s own hands it becomes meaningful. This [Hitler] marionette was for his parents a form of resistance.” Frank Oz, 78, is best known as the puppetry genius who partnered with Muppets founder Jim Henson. He was the voice of Miss Piggy, Burt, Cookie Monster and, as recently as 2019, the voice of Yoda in the Star Wars series. As a filmmaker, he directed “The Dark Crystal,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “What About Bob,” among others. But his puppeteering began at home, under the influence of his parents. When Germany invaded Belgium in 1940, possessing a subversive marionette like the Hitler puppet posed a danger to both Mike Oznowicz, a sign painter by trade and an amateur puppeteer, and Frances, a dressmaker. The couple buried it and several other marionettes in their backyard, then fled the country, wandering from Portugal to North Africa. While hiding in Casablanca, it was Frances who supported the family with tailoring work. After the war, they returned to Antwerp, retrieved the puppets and eventually brought them to Northern California, where they built a new life for themselves
and their three children. They continued to make puppets and performed shows in the region, including at Children’s Fairyland at Lake Merritt. Oz said his father never liked to talk about the war, which claimed the lives of many of his relatives. Nor did he divulge the origins of the Hitler and cabaret band puppets or whether he ever performed with them. Mike Oznowicz, who died in 1998, was “very scrappy” and had an “attitude of rebelliousness,” according to his son. That may explain why he crafted a puppet that ridiculed Hitler. The tradition of mocking the German dictator continued for decades, from Bugs Bunny to Chaplin’s “Great Dictator” to Mel Brooks’ “The Producers.” “It’s part of our cultural fabric,” said Rabben of the CJM. “The Jews have always been an oppressed people who found ways to fight back, implicitly or more subtly. When you think of the legacy of Jewish humor in the U.S., that was a way for Jews to reclaim power and agency over how their stories were being told and who was telling them.” Oz said he sees the CJM exhibit as a way to honor his parents for their creativity and resilience. “I see it as beautiful folk art,” he said of his parents’ handiwork. “[My father] didn’t go to woodcarving school. He just did it, and [the puppets] are representative of so many people who just appreciate the core of humanity.” PJC A version of this piece originally ran in J. The Jewish News of Northern California.
p Hitler marionette and assorted marionette heads created by Mike and
Frances Oznowicz are now on display at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Photo by CJM-Jason Madella
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AUGUST 19, 2022
Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld Parshat Eikev Deuteronomy 7:12 - 11-25
n this week’s Torah portion, we continue to read of Moshe’s final address to the Jewish people. Moshe talks to the people he led for so many years and reminds them of the many experiences they shared. One of the events he tells of, in vividly moving terms, is breaking the first set of tablets which he received. These tablets were shaped by G-d and contained the Ten Commandments written by G-d’s hand. When Moshe descended from Mount Sinai, he saw the Jewish people worshiping the golden calf.
‘How can I give the people tablets that have no substance?’ He therefore took them and broke them.” The tablets had within themselves two aspects: a body, their physical form; and a soul, the words written on them. Moshe understood that the value of the tablets was not just in their physical form, but primarily in the letters and words G-d had inscribed on them. The purpose of the tablets was to provide guidance and imbue meaning into the lives of those who would receive them. Certainly tablets formed by G-d’s hand are special, but without the writing upon them, they lost their identity. They were missing their essential component. They “had no substance” and were “a body without a soul.”
But our true self is our soul. It is that aspect of who we are that we must make our primary focus. He relates, “I grasped the two tablets and I threw them down from my two hands, shattering them before your eyes … ” (9:17) Moshe then tells of the second set of tablets which he created at G-d’s command. “G-d told me to create new tablets ...” These events took place shortly after the Jewish people left Egypt. After finishing this account, the narrative moves on to an event that took place 40 years later, shortly before entering the land of Israel. “And the Children of Israel traveled from…where Aharon passed away.” (10:6) The fact that the Torah tells of these two incidents together shows they have something in common. Indeed, Rashi comments, “a Tzaddik’s passing is as difficult for G-d as the breaking of the tablets.” But is it just that these are both sad, painful events? Or is there something more that these two events have in common? In describing Moshe’s reason for breaking the tablets, the Midrash tells us that upon coming across those who were worshiping the golden calf, “Moshe looked at the tablets and saw that the writing of the commandments had flown away. He said to himself,
This idea parallels the life of every person. True, the body is a gift from G-d and is holy. We must therefore care for and cherish it. But our true self is our soul. It is that aspect of who we are that we must make our primary focus. We now understand the connection between the breaking of the tablets and death. When a loved one passes away, certainly it is painful. At the same time, we know that death isn’t the end. The soul, being a spiritual entity, is eternal. Someone may pass on from this world, but their true self, the essence of who they are lives on. Another important link between these two ideas is that neither loss is permanent. G-d gave the second set of tablets to replace the ones Moshe broke. And one day, very soon, G-d will reunite us with all of the loved ones who have passed on, with the coming of Moshiach. PJC Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld is the rabbi at the Lubavitch Center and the executive director of Chabad of Western Pennsylvania. This column is a service of the Vaad Harabanim of Greater Pittsburgh.
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Obituaries BERKMAN: Frances S. Berkman, on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Frances Scheinman Berkman, beloved wife of the late Harry B erkman; loving mother of Arlene Reitter (Gabe) and David Berkman (Lauren) and sister-in-law of Reva and Dr. Lee Neiman, nieces and nephew and three loving granddogs, Lucy, Noah and Abie. The family is grateful for Diana and her family for taking care of Fran in such a loving manner. Fran worked at the Jewish Chronicle for many years and was a member of Beth El Congregation since her children were little. She polished the silver on the Torahs every year for the High Holidays and purchased the break fast food for Yom Kippur. Fran knew no strangers and before you knew it, she would have you over for a home-cooked meal. She loved playing mahjong and going to lunch with her many friends. Family meant the world to Fran and she will be missed by many. Services were held at Beth El Congregation, South Hills. Interment Mt. Lebanon Cemetery, Beth El Section. Contributions in Frances’ memory may be made to Beth El Congregation, 1900 Cochran Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15220. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com COBBETT: Allen A. Cobbett PhD, on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. Beloved husband of Rita Shore C obbett. Loving father of Evan (Ruth) Cobbett and Lee Cobbett. Son of the late Allen and Thelma Cobbett. Brother of Yvonne (Howard) Hanovick and Steve (Lori) Cobbett. Grandfather of Annamarie. Brother-in-Law of Barry and Diane Weiss. Beloved uncle of Ethan (Chris) Weiss, Dana Hanovick (Kevin), Shelly Hanovick and Chris Cobbett. Great-uncle of Ava and Lola Weiss. Allen worked as a school psychologist for many years at Allegheny Intermediate Unit, along with having a private practice for over 20 years. He was also a neuropsychologist and was well respected in his field as being kind and compassionate. Graveside services and interment were held at Beth Abraham Cemetery. Contributions may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com DREYER: Dr. Evan Dreyer passed away on Aug. 2, 2022. He was the loving husband of Melissa, and the cherished father of Becca (fiancé, Ross), Samantha Berge (husband, Didrich) and Justin. He was the son of the late Dr. and Mrs. Ronald Dreyer. Evan was humble and quiet; he had a sophisticated sense of humor, a generous spirit and a kind heart. Evan had a career in ophthalmology, specializing in glaucoma, and for the last 21 years was an ophthalmologist in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. He was a caring physician and would unceasingly strive to help others. He made it possible for thousands PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
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Sunday August 21: Eda Yitta Katron Ash, Etta Borof, Charlotte Charapp, Lois Pearlman Diamond, Dora Fargotstein, David Finkel, Ronald Friedken, Arthur Friedman, Faye Glasser, Libbie Glasser, Herbert Goldstein, Rebecca Goldstein, John J. Gruene, Charles Laufe, Kenneth Phillip Levenson, Pauline Loibman, Anne P. Morris, Mary Plung, Harry Serbin, Clara Ida Shapiro Monday August 22: Samuel Danzinger, Abraham Gernstat, Samuel Green, Elliott Hansell, Jennie Herron, Richard Lebby, Dina Schiff, Tzulel Seiavitch, Harvey Edward Thorpe, Hymen Weiss, Gussie Wright Tuesday August 23: Andrew Cohen, Minnie Drosnes, Lena K. Friedman, Benjamin Heller, Elenora Soupcoff Heller, Hyman Herman, Norma Kalmenson, Rose Kress, Phillip Lerner, Bessie Mallinger, Shirley Markowitz, Molly Pollock, David Rabinovitz, Meyer Maier Talenfeld, Jacob Wells, Joan Elise Ratowsky Whitley Wednesday August 24: Marion Jessica Blumenfeld, Helen Finkel Eger, Esther Fried, Max Hadburg, Lottie Heller, William Katz, Rose Lieber, Louis Olitzky, Bettie Olender Polak Tanur, Anita Ohringer Ruslander, Gabrielle Heliene Segall, Sam Weinberger Thursday August 25: Hazel R. Dickler, Sam Garfinkel, Samuel Goldenson, Philip Goodman, Abraham Katz, Samuel Krasik, Jack Morris, Abraham S. Robins, Albert Shapiro, Fay Oppenheim Stein, Mollie E. Swartz, Fannie Cohen Weiner, Saul H. Weissman, Myers L. Zacks Friday August 26: Ruth E. Bell, Esther Streng Finegold, Harry Gottesman, Eugene I. Hilsenrath, Frank Kress, William S. Mason, Rosa Perlstein, Dorothy Miller Ryave, Gertrude Siegel, Lillian Linder Silverman, Frank Solomon Saturday August 27: Judge Samuel J. Feigus, Sherman Hershman, Stuart Irwin Holtzman, Joseph Kossis, Celia S. Landay, Simon Miller, Peter Michael Oresick, Ruth Pattak, Morris Rosen, Ann F. Schwartz, Benjamin Schwartz, Isadore Louis Sigal, Dorothy B. Solomon, Harry M. Solomon, Bessie Stein, Maurice Louis Swartz
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Obituaries Obituaries: Continued from page 19
chocolate-dipped shortbreads, mandel bread and chocolate candies. All that were lucky to know and love her will remember her kind and generous spirit. She was the loving wife for 61 years of the late Jack Morris; daughter of the late Sophie and David Hausman; cherished mother of Renee (Mick) Migdall, Howard Morris and Carolyn (Michael) Felzer; proud grandmother of Brooke (Jay) Lazarski, Jamie Felzer, Carly (Bennett) Ginburg and David Felzer; ecstatic great-grandmother of Evan Lazarski and Bella Ginburg; beloved sister of the late Reva (Hank) Rolnick, Hersh (Korene) Hausman and Jackie (Francie) Hausman; dedicated sister-in-law of the late Itzy (Shirley) Morris, late Moish (Pauline) Morris, Betty, and the late Noi Morris, Margie, and the late Mott Morris; doting aunt, cousin, adopted (grand) mother and friend to all that she met. Evey passed away surrounded by family and love on Aug. 8, 2022. Graveside services and interment were held at Beth Abraham Cemetery. Contributions in her honor can be made to Parkway Jewish Center, 300 Princeton Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15235, Temple Kol Emeth at kolemeth.net/payment.php or the charity of your choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com SELIG: Linda Abelson Selig, on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Beloved wife of Allen Selig. Loving mother of Ken (Christina Tang) Selig, Eric Selig and Barb (Sanford Riemer) Feige. Sister of Dolly Miller, the late Sheila Cartiff and the late Karen Abelson. Linda was a writer, an avid photographer and self-taught chef. She loved all animals and cared for many dogs and birds over the years, including a pair of rescued doves. One of the nicest people you will ever meet, Linda enjoyed life and fought for it for the last 30 years. Graveside service and interment will be held on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022 at 1 p.m. at New Light Cemetery. Donations
may be made to organizations supporting people with autoimmune disorders or pulmonary hypertension. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com SIMON: Gerald Dave Simon, 99, of Denver, Colorado. Father of Cheryl (the late Michael) Lyman, Eric Simon, Todd (Jill Coben) Simon, Beth (Manny) Spira of North Carolina; brother of Larry Simon, the late Berky Simon; grandfather of Jared and Gabriel Lyman, Claire and Alex Simon, Hannah and Andrew Simon; Saben, Abraham, Hezekiah Spira. Funeral service was Sunday, July 31, at Feldman Mortuary and was livestreamed on the Feldman Mortuary YouTube channel. Donations to Wounded Warrior Project and Shriners International. SPEAR: John Spear, 83, of Squirrel Hill and Oakland, died Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, after a courageous 17-year battle with kidney cancer. John was the son of the late Jacob and Else Spear; beloved husband of the late Janet Cohen Spear; loving father of Jeffrey (Sheryl Wein), David (Jill) and Douglas (Andrea); father-in-law of Amy Spear; proud grandfather (Papa John) of Rebecca (Stefan Haugen), Abigail, Natalie, Marni, Charlotte, Archie, Tessa, Matthew and Amanda. He was so proud of his three sons, each of whom became lawyers. They thought he worked too hard in retail and Janet insisted they have a graduate degree in a profession. The family expresses gratitude to his college friend, Marcia Gross, with whom he reconnected on social media and enjoyed his final years. A lifelong Pittsburgher, John was born on Oct. 23, 1938. He graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School in 1956, forming lifelong friendships as evident by the many class reunions he organized. He graduated from
the University of Pittsburgh in 1960 and was the president of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. John married Janet Elinor Cohen on May 6, 1962, a partnership of true love for 55 years. Their courtship began when Janet bought his ‘53 Chevy for $200. He then delivered snow tires to her house and asked her for a date. They went to LeMont and on the way home he startled her by announcing that he would marry her. Soon thereafter, their love affair began. Janet and John were so fortunate to travel the world together, enjoying special trips to Israel, China and many destinations in Europe. They enjoyed many winters in Key Biscayne, frequent visits with family and friends, and summer trips to Hilton Head and Maine. John worked with his parents at Fashion Spear in Braddock, his family business, from high school through 1980. The business, which opened in a 20-by-60 Duquesne Light payment office, grew to a three-store 21,000-square-foot chain, expanded to Greengate Mall in 1965 (later, Westmoreland Mall in 1977) and Northway Mall in 1971, with its famous designer room. Fashion Spear was known for its exclusive merchandise; customers came to shop from all over the tri-state area. John created an exclusive bridal business at the stores, where every bride received a gift. In 1980, he joined Kaufmann’s in Greensburg as store manager. His Fashion Spear customers followed him. He was soon promoted to manage the South Hills store (now Galleria). In October 1983, he was promoted downtown to become divisional merchandise manager of coats, furs and bridal. Soon thereafter, he assumed additional responsibilities of hosiery and dress accessories. He then was appointed divisional vice president, soon adding Young Attitude Casual Sportswear to his responsibilities, and becoming full vice president. He quadrupled Kaufmann’s fur business in one year. His coat and fur auditorium sales and his flair for fashion provided much excitement to the downtown store as well as the branches. He was known for successful fur trunk shows in Kaufmann’s Pittsburgh branches and in Erie, Youngstown, Cleveland, Charleston and New York state locations. Nothing gave him more satisfaction than working the floor, ensuring that all his customers received special
attention. John made a point in retirement to stay in contact with many executives and young trainees whom he mentored. Upon his retirement from Kaufmann’s, he consulted for three years for the Millstein family, founders of Burlington Coat Factory. John assumed many leadership positions in community and charitable organizations. He was vice president of the Braddock Rotary Club (1978-80) and a Rotarian since 1964. He was also president of the Greater Braddock Chamber of Commerce (1972-74), where he negotiated the reopening of the Braddock schools after the Martin Luther King riots. He was president of the YouthSquad, a group of men who came out of jail and were provided work to assist in their rehabilitation, even once guaranteeing a loan for one of its members. He was vice president of Hebrew Free Loan, where he served on the board for 20 years. He also served as president of Forward Shady Housing Corp for five years and on its board for over 20. He was a member of the board of Jewish Residential Services for six years and the Rodef Shalom Congregation for six years. He was president of Concordia Club and served on its board for many years. He was on the board of the Israel Heritage Room at the University of Pittsburgh in the Cathedral of Learning. He mentored for three years in the Mentoring Partnership of the Pittsburgh Promise at Sterret School. He volunteered for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. John spent 13 summers at Kamp Kewanee in LaPlume, Pennsylvania, six as a camper and seven as a hiking and canoeing counselor. Those friendships lasted a lifetime. John was a lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan, especially enjoying Pirates games, becoming a season ticket holder at the age of 16 at Forbes Field. He coached his sons’ teams for six years in the 14th Ward Little League and won two championships. Services were held at Rodef Shalom Congregation. Interment West View Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the Spear Endowment Fund at Rodef Shalom Congregation, the Janet and John Spear Philanthropic Fund at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh or Hebrew Free Loan. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com PJC
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5715 BEACON PLACE, UNIT 217 • LOCATED NEAR THE CORNER OF BEACON & MURRAY • $189,900 Easy living in the highly sought-after Beacon Place Condominium Building, an ADA and 62 Years and Older Community, this is one of the rare two-bedroom two full-bath units. This immaculate condo unit has been lovingly maintained by its current owners and is just waiting for you to call it home. Amenities galore in the building, including gym, community room with kitchen, and storage area. Located at the corner of Beacon and Murray, all of the best that Squirrel Hill has to offer is right is at your front door. Also conveniently located along major public transit lines, making trips outside the neighborhood a breeze. Listed by The Onufer Team Call David Onufer | O: 412.521.1000 x340 | M: 412.818.3578 1533 1533 Asbury Asbury Place Place
$474,900 $474,900 SHADYSIDE • $795,000 Directions: Townhomes on Fifth across from Highland. Sophisticated, dramatic one of a kind townhome. Unique custom built. 4 levels. Starting in lower level enjoy great wine cellar, integral garage, storage with side room for all of your extra gear. First floor has a Great Room, kitchen, dining and living area and a beautiful 1/2 bath. This area leads to an unbelievable courtyard and luscious grounds with a sprinkler system. The courtyard is owned by this unit. The grounds are part of the common area. Next level has a rather large room with a whimsical full bath. Top floor has a great Master Area and Laundry. Smashing steel and glass staircase, dramatic lighting, terrific architectural details make this one of a kind! For the buyer that wants unique, bright, and sophisticated. SOUTH SIDE • $299,000 • ANGEL ARMS CONDO New Listing! Sophisticated condo DINGlocated in the Angel Arms Church. Enjoy a loft bedroom and N E P bath and a main floor owner suite, in-unit laundry. Pet friendly. Wonderful balcony and building patios. Located near shops restaurants and night life. Close to universities and hospitals.
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We had a
at the JCC
Thank you to our community members, JCC camping staff, our partner agency, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, and our camping funders for a great Summer 2022.
AUGUST 19, 2022
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Community What a great recipe
p The American Friends of Israeli War Disabled DBA 412 Friends of Zahal met to begin the planning process for a May 2023 delegation visit. Photo courtesy of 412 Friends of Zahal
Summer Torah study
p Community Day School staff volunteered alongside community members at J Cafe at the Squirrel Hill JCC. Photo courtesy of Community Day School
p Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Summer Kollel continued with an evening of learning featuring Rabbi Meshulem Twersky. Nearly 40 students, parents and community members studied together and listened to Twersky’s talk, titled “Perspectives On and In Tefillah.” Photo by Adam Reinherz
Machers and Shakers
p Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle Staff Writer David Rullo delivered the keynote address at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Life and Legacy Donor Appreciation event on Aug. 14 at the WBU Event Venue. Rullo described his recent trip to Israel with the Federation and the work of telling the stories of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. Photo by Kim Rullo
p Squirrel Hill resident Gabe Feinstein met President Joe Biden during opening ceremonies at last month’s Maccabiah Games in Israel. Feinstein was among a delegation of global athletes competing in the Olympic-style event.
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Photo courtesy of Stefani Pashman
AUGUST 19, 2022
• All-natural poultry — whole chickens, breasts, wings and more
Empire Kosher Fresh Boneless Chicken Breasts
• All-natural, corn-fed beef — steaks, roasts, ground beef and more • Variety of deli meats and franks Available at select Giant Eagle stores. Visit gianteagle.com for location information.
Price effective Thursday, August 18 through Wednesday, August 24, 2022
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AUGUST 19, 2022
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