December 10, 2021 | 6 Tevet 5782
Candlelighting 4:35 p.m. | Havdalah 5:39 p.m. | Vol. 64, No. 50 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org
Tree of Life gets $6.6 million in state funding
NOTEWORTHY LOCAL Supporting abortion rights
Car window smashed and swastika painted on home in Highland Park
NCJW Pittsburgh joins national initiative
By Toby Tabachnick | Editor
says it includes: “preserving the historic spaces, including stained-glass windows and iconic structure at the corner of Shady and Wilkins; modernizing and right-sizing the main sanctuary to serve as a flexible space for worship, celebrations, educational programming and communal space; creating a welcoming and commemorative space to reflect and remember events and lives lost on Oct 27, 2018; designing an innovative and interactive Holocaust and modern anti-Semitism exhibit; adding flexible and modular classrooms, state-of-the-art collaborative and communal space for symposia and conferences.” Gov. Tom Wolf appeared at a press conference at the Tree of Life building on Dec. 6 to discuss the funding. Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers also appeared at the press conference, along with a host of local politicians and community leaders, including Mayor Bill Peduto, Mayor-Elect Ed Gainey, state Sen. Jay Costa, Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh Director Lauren Apter Bairnsfather and 10.27 Healing Partnership Director Maggie Feinstein.
ittsburgh Police and the FBI are investigating an antisemitic hate crime that occurred at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 29. The Jewish victims had their car windshield smashed, and a large white swastika was spray-painted on the front of their home. Additionally, their Black Lives Matter and Stronger Than Hate yard signs were stolen. The incident occurred in Highland Park. Police were alerted and responded immediately after a neighbor reported a “commotion” and described what they had seen and heard, according to Shawn Brokos, director of community security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “Law enforcement is investigating this fully,” she said. While both the FBI and the police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, Brokos said there have been no additional reports of other similar incidents in the neighborhood. Both Jewish and non-Jewish neighbors responded to the incident in Highland Park in an “overwhelming show of support of the victims,” Brokos said. “Immediately after this happened, I had multiple people request Stronger Than Hate signs that they could place in their yards as a show of support and solidarity,” she said. “The community outreach and support was absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to the strength of our Pittsburgh community.” Many community members arranged to have Stronger Than Hate signs printed themselves, Brokos said, and she received multiple calls and emails from neighbors asking how they could further help by raising awareness
Please see Funding, page 14
Please see Highland Park, page 14
LOCAL Shabbat in a box
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers presents Gov. Tom Wolf with a menorah at the Dec. 6 press conference announcing a $6.6 million state grant to rebuild the Tree of Life site.
Young families embrace new traditions
Photo by David Rullo
LOCAL Getting to know:
Charlie Baron Page 4
By David Rullo | Staff Writer and Toby Tabachnick | Editor
ree of Life Congregation will be receiving $6.6 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Dec. 3. The grant reflects the full amount of funding Tree of Life requested. RACP funding provides financial assistance for “the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects,” according to the website of Pennsylvania’s budget office. Tree of Life’s property on the corner of Wilkins and Shady avenues in Squirrel Hill is being rebuilt as a site for worship, education and commemoration of the Oct. 27, 2018 antisemitic attack that left 11 Jews dead and six people seriously injured. The redesign is under the direction of world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind and the Pittsburgh firm Rothschild Doyno Collaborative. The description of the Tree of Life project on the Pennsylvania budget office’s website
keep your eye on PittsburghJewishChronicle LOCAL
Pittsburgh fights AIDS
COVID outbreaks in Squirrel Hill
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Headlines NCJW to sponsor forums on abortion rights — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
he National Council of Jewish Women Pittsburgh has signed on to participate in 73Forward, a national Jewish campaign to support abortion rights, as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the issue and the fate of Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance. The campaign, led by national NCJW, will work to increase access to abortion services across the U.S., as well as stimulate activism among Jews. Two forums on abortion rights are slated to take place Jan. 28-30, 2022, during a weekend dubbed “Repro Shabbat.” “The narrative in this country about abortion and religion belies the Jewish story,” said Sara Segal, interim executive director at NCJW Pittsburgh. “In Judaism, abortion is not only permitted, but sometimes required. Protecting an individual’s ability to make their own health care decisions in accordance with their needs and personal beliefs is tied to religious freedom.” Forums such as the ones hosted next month, Segel added, “are opportunities for us to become stronger advocates for abortion justice.” The first virtual event — “The Changing Landscape of Abortion Rights,” set to take place on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 at 4 p.m. on Zoom — will feature University of Pittsburgh School of Law Professor Greer Donley on the changing perspectives and aspects of abortion rights. There will be a particular focus on Pennsylvania, which, due to its politically “purple” profile, could become a battleground state for the issue of abortion access. Donley told the Chronicle she was “motivated to participate in the Repro Shabbat because I’m Jewish and have devoted my
p U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
scholarly life to reproductive justice.” “I think we are looking at the strong possibility of a post-Roe world, and in that world, we will need to mobilize,” Donley said. “It is all but certain that the Supreme Court will allow the [recently argued] 15-week ban [in Mississippi] to stand. My prediction after listening to the oral argument is that the Court will overturn Roe.” Donley said she feels Chief Justice John Roberts “wants to craft a compromise where a watered-down ‘right’ to abortion still exists, but it did not seem like any other conservative justice wanted to join him as the fifth vote.” The second virtual event — “Jews, the First Amendment, and Abortion Rights,”
slated for Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022 at 2 p.m. — will be led by Rachel Kranson, director of the Jewish Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh and a scholar of modern Jewish history, American Judaism, and gender and sexuality studies. Using her research, she will discuss the history of reproductive politics and the political investments of American Jews — specifically how legal teams representing American Jewish organizations, including NCJW, developed arguments that defended abortion access as a religious right. This discussion is co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom, Congregation Dor Hadash and NCJW Pittsburgh. “In a number of court cases since the 1970s, American Jewish lawyers have been
at the forefront of arguing that laws restricting abortion access compromised the religious freedom of American Jews,” Kranson told the Chronicle. “According to their arguments, abortion restrictions violated the establishment clause because they were based on particular Christian ideas about when life begins. “Jewish religious traditions, they argued, did not agree with the notion that life begins at conception,” she added. “These lawyers also argued that restrictions on abortion violated the free exercise clause [of the First Amendment] because there are some instances in which Jewish law would demand that a woman terminate her pregnancy, particularly in cases when that pregnancy threatPhoto via Pixabay ened her life and health. Not being able to access an abortion when their tradition demands it would prevent American Jews from freely exercising their religion.” The Supreme Court is not expected to reach a decision on the Mississippi case argued last week until summer, Donley said. “My talk in January will have to be based on the speculation that Roe will be overturned or gutted,” Donley told the Chronicle. “But most reproductive justice scholars feel pretty confident in that outcome at this point — the only open question is one of degree.” To register for the virtual events, visit ncjwpgh.org/events. PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.
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Headlines Shabbat in a box: Young families unpack new traditions through Shabbat Shelanu — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
ara Reilly gave birth to her daughter Lydia 15 months ago. With pregnancy behind her, Reilly faced the postpartum reality of child-rearing in the midst of COVID-19. Between the pandemic and having a baby, Reilly said, time felt completely reshuffled. While Friday nights were once a chance to dine with friends, grab drinks or socialize, now days and evenings started blending into one another. As the pandemic stretched on, Reilly and her husband, Brendan, spent more time at home, time as a family. It was nice, she said, but what helped separate time was Shabbat. Recently, the Reillys traveled from their house in Wexford to Kara’s brother’s home in Franklin Park to welcome the Sabbath as an extended group. The evening was inspired by Shabbat Shelanu, a virtual Friday morning program sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Young Adult Division and PJ Library. Shabbat Shelanu began as a 13-week pilot program last spring. During the one-hour sessions, the Reillys and a cohort of nine
Adults from left to right: Chris Smith, Neil DiBiase and Kara Reilly. Children from left to right: Noah DiBiase and Lydia Reilly Photo courtesy of Kara Reilly
other families, whose children were 3 years old and under, joined together online, made projects, sang songs and ate. Prior to each gathering, participants received a box containing challah, crafts and activities
corresponding to that week’s theme, according to Federation staffer Carolyn Slayton. Susannah Glick, of Moon Township, who participated in Shabbat Shelanu with her son Judah, praised the boxes they received
through the program. “They were definitely part of our weekly routine,” Glick said. Each Thursday evening, Glick and her son would open the package, “so he could become familiar” with the contents prior to the following morning’s Zoom session, she said. Like the boxes, which contained toys, art supplies, musical instruments (and of course, challah), the entire Shabbat Shelanu program was well-planned, Glick said. In addition to allowing the kids to see each other on Fridays, several virtual parent-only nights were scheduled during the 13 weeks. Raising a child during the pandemic is “just an experience,” Glick said, and the post-bedtime meetups were a chance to socialize. “For me and my husband, we hadn’t seen most of our friends in person, so to be able to see people, even over the computer, was essential to building a community,” Glick said. “It was nice to know we weren’t alone.” Neil DiBiase and his husband, Chris Smith, participated in Shabbat Shelanu along with their son Noah. Like Glick, DiBiase found the program to be a helpful tool during a trying time. “I think that as a new parent and raising your Please see Shabbat, page 15
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DECEMBER 10, 2021 3
Getting to know: Charlie Baron — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
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harlie Baron, a trained herbalist and member of a “shmita hive,” has been unearthing new connections to Judaism and Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. The Squirrel Hill resident regularly welcomes friends to celebrate Shabbat and Havdalah, and organizes gatherings to learn about Israel’s seven-year agricultural cycle, or shmita. “Judaism was a part of my life growing up,” Baron said. “Now, I think I’m returning to it with a lot more intentionality.” Raised in a Reform household, Baron attended a Jewish day school from second through eighth grade and celebrated her bat mitzvah at a large temple in Atlanta, Georgia. In July 2020, after completing a three-year clinical herbalism program at Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, Baron moved into Pittsburgh’s Moishe House, a residence where young adults lead their peers in Jewish engagement. Thus, Baron was introduced to the city’s Jewish landscape and began collaborating with several local organizations, including Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Ratzon and Repair the World. The latter, which hailed Baron as its 2021 Volunteer of the Year, provided her with the chance to work in its Sheridan Avenue Orchard and Garden, allowing her to put to use her years of schooling and expertise in nature. While living at Moishe House, Baron and several of her housemates started exploring different ways to mark Shabbat. While celebrating Shabbat wasn’t necessarily new for her — her family would sometimes have Shabbat dinner together — observing it on regular basis was. Marking the Sabbath with intention each week was inspiring, Baron said, and offered a “bridge” to exploring other aspects of Judaism, such as shmita, a biblical mandate for property owners in Israel to let their fields lie fallow and provide sustenance to the poor for one year out of every seven. Baron said she’s learned about shmita largely by gathering with friends once a month within a “shmita hive.” “We talk about rest and restoration and release, and what that means in community, and what that means for the world,” Baron said. Exploring these topics coincides with Baron’s interest in herbalism, energy and a connection to the earth and its seasons, she said. Additionally, learning about shmita dovetails with her current Shabbat practices. Every week, in the company of friends, Baron welcomes in Shabbat with candles, challah and grape juice or wine. Dinner then follows. She said the remainder of the
Photo courtesy of Charlie Baron
Sabbath is dedicated to resting. “I want to feel a special holy space that’s separate from the daily grind of the other six days,” she said. She’s able to find this sacred space by melding “traditional halacha” with her own interpretations, she said. For instance, although she doesn’t use most electronic devices on Shabbat, she occasionally uses technology to reconnect with a distant friend. “Having a phone call with a friend does feel aligned with my Shabbat practice sometimes,” she said. “Whereas getting caught in notifications and texting and email is very much not part of my Shabbat practice and I avoid that.” Before concluding Shabbat with a Havdalah service, Baron said she gathers with friends for about two hours to practice “being present with each other.” Currently, Baron and her peers are “in flux about whether we’re allowing creative work like writing or drawing,” but the general idea is to use the two-hour window to provide distance from weekday activities. As Baron moves forward with her Jewish journey, her challenge is to balance study, practice and work, she said. Soon, she will welcome clients to her business, Slowpoke Herb Clinic, and said that starting a company requires a lot of time and energy. For that reason, if ever there was a time that the strength of community was needed, it’s now. “I had a community that I was celebrating Shabbat with, and when I moved out of Moishe House, I’m living alone again,” Baron said. “I want to still have that on a weekly basis.” Along with getting her clinic going, her goal is to create a “shomer Shabbat space that we can invite other people into, engage in practices that we really care about and get to have some community around it.” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
11/18/21 1:46 PM
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Headlines Pittsburgh joins coalition to end HIV — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
ayor Bill Peduto recently designated Pittsburgh as a “Fast-Track City,” aligning with more than 300 global partners to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. “We know that Pittsburgh is becoming the place [where] the world comes to heal. Let us also be the place where compassion becomes the rule of healing,” Peduto said on Nov. 18, as he signed the commitment for Pittsburgh to join the coalition. Fast-Track cities share data in an effort to prevent new cases of HIV and AIDS-related deaths, and eliminating the stigma against people living with HIV. The latter is one of the principal reasons to welcome Pittsburgh’s involvement in the initiative, said Julia Och, project manager of AIDS Free Pittsburgh and a Jewish Healthcare Foundation staffer. From speaking with people living with HIV, and through surveys and interactions with community members, “we know that stigma is persistent,” Och said. She hopes this partnership teaches Pittsburghers how “other communities around the world are addressing stigma and fighting it in a way that works.”
Mayor Bill Peduto, right, designates Pittsburgh as a “Fast-Track” city.
Photo courtesy of Jewish Healthcare Foundation
The difficulty in eradicating stigma is that so many ideas — and misconceptions — about HIV and AIDS remain heavily influenced by 1980s imagery, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public service announcements at the time, featuring corpses, grim reapers and individuals playing Russian roulette, told audiences that AIDS was a death sentence. That type of fear persists today, Och said, and it’s one of the reasons why many
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Pittsburghers are either afraid of disclosing their HIV status or even getting tested. For years, there also was a concern that insurance companies would deny coverage to people because of an HIV test, said Richard Smith, chief relationship officer at JHF and chair of AIDS Free Pittsburgh. But since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are no longer permitted to deny coverage or charge more for individuals with preexisting conditions,
including HIV/AIDS. Additionally, under the ACA, most insurers must cover “certain recommended preventative services,” including HIV testing for people aged 15 to 65 and others at increased risk “without additional costsharing, such as copays or deductibles,” according to the CDC. Economics play a big factor in the significance of Pittsburgh’s status as a Fast-Track City, Och said. “From a public health standpoint, we want people to make sure that they get the care they need, but at the same [time], if we could prevent those cases before they start, it would be a huge health savings for the taxpayers and for the health care systems,” she said. According to the CDC, the “lifetime treatment cost” of an HIV infection is approximately $379,668 (in 2010 dollars). “From a very pragmatic standpoint, those are resources that could be spent on other things,” Och said, including COVID-19 or outdoor air quality. For both Och and Smith, conversations about normalizing testing, statuses or even fiscal allocation, are nothing new. In 2012, following a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health Special Pharmaceutical Benefits Program, the JHF established its Minority AIDS Initiative, in
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Calendar Submit calendar items on the Chronicle’s website, pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Submissions also will be included in print. Events will run in the print edition beginning one month prior to the date as space allows. The deadline for submissions is Friday, noon.
reflect and write, moving through Chanukah to Tu B’Shvat. Each class will begin with a communal ritual and creative prompt. 6 p.m. $200 for all eight sessions. tickettailor.com/ events/briyaproject/604183
Present” with Dr. Josh Andy. This program is geared for educators but open to all. 4 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/weekly-bookdiscussions-people-love-dead-jews-reportshaunted-present-dr.-josh-andy
Join Temple Sinai to study the weekly Torah portion in its hybrid class available on Zoom. Open to everyone. 12 p.m. templesinaipgh.org/ event/parashah/weekly-torah-portion-classvia-zoom11.html
q SUNDAYS, DEC 12-JAN. 23
q TUESDAYS, DEC. 14-MAY 24
Join Congregation Beth Shalom for an After Hanukkah Celebration featuring heavy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. $36. 7 p.m. 5915 Beacon Street to register, visit bethshalompgh. org/after-hanukkah-celebration.
Join a lay-led Online Parashah Study Group to discuss the week’s Torah portion. No Hebrew knowledge is needed. The goal is to build community while deepening understanding of the text. 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org.
q SUNDAY, DEC. 12
q MONDAY, DEC. 13
Be a superhero and virtually join Super Sunday, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s annual phone-a-thon to raise money for the community. Three sessions, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Training session Dec. 8. For this event, you will need a computer with internet access and separate mobile device to make calls. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/event/ super-sunday.
Learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Mega Mission over Zoom. This Mega Mission information session will focus on the pre-mission to Poland and post-mission to the United Arab Emirates. RSVP required to receive Zoom link. 12 p.m.jewishpgh.org/event/mega-missioninformation-session-pre-mission-to-polandand-post-mission-to-the-united-arab-emirates
Sign up now for Melton Core 2, Ethics and Crossroads of Jewish Living. Discover the central ideas and texts that inform our daily, weekly and annual rituals, as well as life cycle observances and essential Jewish theological concepts and ideas as they unfold in the Bible, the Talmud and other sacred texts. $300. 9:30 a.m. foundation.jewishpgh.org/melton-2
In The Jewish Moral Virtues, Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will explore Jewish teaching on critical moral virtues. Based on the qualities listed in the 13th century “Sefer Maalot Hamiddot” (“The Book of the Choicest Virtues”), Rabbi Schiff will explore the contemporary application of these moral virtues to our 21st century lives. $65 for all 13 Zoom sessions. 9:30 a.m. foundation. jewishpgh.org/jewish-moral-virtues
q SATURDAY, DEC. 11
Join the Jewish Cemetery and Burial Association of Greater Pittsburgh as it dedicates a new monument recognizing the largest section of Jewish children’s graves in Western Pennsylvania. With generous support from New Castle’s Temple Hadar Israel Endowment Fund and from JCBA donors, a headstone in memory of the 71 children, many in unmarked graves, will be dedicated at Beth Abraham Cemetery in Carrick at 11 a.m. All are welcome. Classrooms Without Borders and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage are excited to offer the opportunity to watch the film “My Neighbor My Killer” and engage in a post-film discussion with the documentary filmmaker Anne Aghion, and survivor and activist Liliane Pari Umhoza, in conversation with Dr. Alexis Herr. 3 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/ my_neighbor_my_killer Friendship Circle presents Wellness Speaker: Robert Anthony. The event will create a platform where teen participants understand their inherent value and parents and community members understand how teens are feeling and what they are presently dealing with. Robert Anthony is a motivational and public speaker, professional prosthetic educator, founder of Limb Possible, U.S Amputee Soccer Player, American Ninja Warrior from Season 9, and much more. 7 p.m. Free. fcpgh.org q SUNDAYS, DEC. 12-JAN. 16
In the Briva Project’s weekly writing course, Sh’ma-Hear Your Inner Voice, students will
Join Classrooms Without Borders for a virtual tour of Israel. Monthly tours with guide and scholar Rabbi Jonty Blackman via Zoom. 4 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org. Join Mega Mission tour guide Yona Leshets for a virtual tour of Israel. During this session, you will understand how Israel’s economy evolved from agriculture and defense to a powerhouse of innovation in the global arena including leading chip designs, fintech, agri-tech, food-tech and digital health. 7 p.m. jewishpgh.org/event/mega-missionvirtual-tour-4 q MONDAYS, DEC. 13-DEC. 20
Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will examine the accounts of some of the most interesting righteous gentiles in the Tanakh in his new course Righteous Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible. $55 for all 11 Zoom sessions. 9:30 a.m. foundation.jewishpgh.org/ righteous-gentiles Moishe House kicks off its monthly book club reading “I Saw Ramallah” by Mourid Barghouti. 7 p.m. forms.gle/xT4vqQsKZqC6E99K9 q MONDAYS, DEC. 13-JAN. 24
Join Congregation Beth Shalom for a weekly Talmud study. 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org. q TUESDAYS, DEC. 14-DEC. 21
Join Classrooms Without Borders for their weekly book discussion of “People Love Dead Jews, Reports from a Haunted
q WEDNESDAY, DEC. 15
The Squirrel Hill AARP chapter welcomes seniors to an open meeting in the Falk Library at Rodef Shalom Congregation on Fifth Avenue. There will be a short meeting with a report on current legislation and health tips. A fun bingo game with prizes will follow. Attendees must bring proof of vaccination and wear a mask. 1 p.m. Any questions, contact Marcia at (412) 656-5803. Classrooms Without Borders, in partnership with Liberation75, is excited to offer the opportunity to engage in our unique series, Confronting the Complexity of Holocaust Scholarship: Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of Holocaust Studies. The third session in this series, “Auschwitz: Not Long Ago, Not Far Away,” will offer a virtual tour of the award-winning exhibition on Auschwitz now in Kansas City, with Dr. Michael Berenbaum. 3 p.m. classroomswithoutborders. org/confronting_the_complexity_of_ holocaust_scholarship The holidays bring a world of feelings and emotions with them every year. They can be especially difficult when you have lost a loved one. Whether the celebration is Thanksgiving or Chanukah, being sensitive to those who are grieving is essential for friends and families getting together. Join JAA Bereavement Counselor Jan Kellough for “Grief at the Holidays,” live support sessions that delve into a different topic, sharing stories, discussing the challenges we face, and looking ahead toward the New Year. 6:30 p.m. jaapgh.org/news/ wed-11032021-422pm-support-during-holidaysthose-who-have-lost-loved-one q WEDNESDAYS, DEC. 15-JAN. 26
Bring the parshah alive and make it personally relevant and meaningful. Study the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman. 12:15 p.m. bethshalompgh. org/life-text
q THURSDAY, DEC. 16
Classrooms Without Borders, in partnership with the Czech Embassy, is excited to offer this opportunity to engage in a discussion with Hadar Galron, a playwright, actress, screenwriter and comedian based in Prague, Czech Republic. 3:30 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/czech-embassyseries-hadar-galron q THURSDAYS, DEC. 16-JUNE 30
The Alan Papernick Educational Institute Endowment Fund presents Continuing Legal Education, a six-part CLE series taught by Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff. Earn up to 12 CLE credits. Each session is a standalone unit; you can take one class or all six. 8:30 a.m. With CLE credit: $30/session or $150 all sessions; without CLE credit: $25/session or $125 all sessions. For a complete list of dates and topics, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org/ continuing-legal-education. q TUESDAY, DEC. 21
The Arab-Israeli conflict plays a large (some would claim outsized) role in current events. This course aims to unpack the causes and core issues that relate to the conflict. The goal is to make the subject accessible to educators and to give them the tools with which to grapple in the classroom with the subject at large and with breaking news. 2 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/ arab_israeli_conflict. q SUNDAY, DEC. 26
Registration is now open for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Mitzvah Day, a long-standing tradition where the Jewish community provides services to organizations throughout the entire community. Times and locations vary. Check the website for more information. jewishpgh.org/ mitzvah-day. PJC
Join the Chronicle Book Club: ‘People Love Dead Jews’ Note: There has been a time change for this meeting. It is now scheduled for noon rather than 1 p.m. Go Steelers!
he Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle invites you to join the Chronicle Book Club’s Dec. 19 meeting, when we will be discussing “People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present” by Dara Horn. From the author’s website: “Reflecting on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank,
6 DECEMBER 10, 2021
the blockbuster traveling exhibition called ‘Auschwitz,’ the Jewish history of the Chinese city of Harbin, and the little known ‘righteous Gentile’ Varian Fry, Dara Horn challenges us to confront the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths, as emblematic of the worst of evils the world has to offer, and so little respect for Jewish lives, as they continue to unfold in the present.”
Toby Tabachnick, editor of the Chronicle David Rullo, Chronicle staff writer
How It Works
We will meet on Zoom on Sunday, Dec. 19, at noon to discuss the book. As you read it, we invite you to share comments and join discussions in our Facebook group, Chronicle Connects: Jewish PGH. We invite you to join now if you are not already a member of the group.
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
What To Do
Buy: “People Love Dead Jews.” It is available at Barnes & Noble at the Waterfront, Amazon.com and from other online retailers. 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 meeting. See you in later this month! PJC — Toby Tabachnick PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Headlines Pittsburgh native Brian Cuban makes fiction debut with ‘The Ambulance Chaser’ — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer
egal thrillers and crime novels have a reputation for being the literary equivalent of a fast-food meal. Books are churned out quickly to satisfy buyers spinning through titles in an airport convenience store, who are more interested in burning through pages during vacation stopovers than pondering theme, symbolism or style. Just as McDonald’s doesn’t expect to earn a Michelin star, most writers of the genre don’t expect to be nominated for a Nobel Prize in literature. And yet, like Mickey D’s “more than 99 billion served,” thrillers are hugely popular. The crime/mystery category sold over $728 million in 2020, according to Book Ad Report. John Grisham might not earn a lot of respect in the literary community, but he has stacks of $100 bills to wipe away his tears. It might be more empty calories, but Pittsburgh thriller fans will find a lot to like in Brian Cuban’s new book, “The Ambulance Chaser.” The novel takes place against the backdrop of the Steel City. Its main character, Jason Feldman, is a drug addict and Jewish personal injury lawyer. Jewish cultural references and Yiddish words are sprinkled throughout the fast-paced thriller. Cuban, who now lives in Dallas, said that there was never a question where the novel would be set. “It’s my home,” Cuban said. “I bleed black and gold. There’s just so much about Pittsburgh that I love. It will always be a part of my DNA.” “The Ambulance Chaser” begins downtown but quickly winds its way through Oakland, the Hill District, Mt. Washington and Squirrel Hill. Locales include popular sites like the Cathedral of Learning and the Duquesne Incline, and mark a fictionalized
burn,” Cuban said. “The dream fast-forwards to adulthood and I have this awful feeling in my stomach that there are bodies buried from my childhood and I’m going to be arrested for it. It occurred to me that there are some characters there. There’s a plot. It’s nothing new — dead bodies coming back to the present is nothing new to fiction — but that was the genesis of ‘The Ambulance Chaser.’” If you think Cuban’s name sounds familiar, you’re right. He is the younger brother of Pittsburgh expat, entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban — a fact, he said, that helps in the promotion of his books, Brian Cuban Photo by Noah Purdy The Ambulance Chaser Photo courtesy of Post Hill Press but not their creation. “It doesn’t make a bit of difference to a literary past, which allows Cuban to create the creating his main character. agent,” Cuban said. “They want to know if it’s Feldman family’s migration from the Hill “Bits and pieces of Jason are taken from well written, period. They don’t care if your District to the East End, Squirrel Hill and my life on multiple levels, for sure,” Cuban brother is the president of the United States. finally Mt. Lebanon — a journey experi- said. “Jason struggles with drugs and How many books will it sell, that’s what they enced by many Jewish immigrant families. alcohol, like I did. That’s nothing new — care about. In terms of getting the word out The author said it was important to him that’s a lawyer trope, right? He struggles it helps. [Mark’s] social media following that the book had a Jewish feel to it. with his Jewish faith, which I did early on. has been a huge help. He’s been incredibly “It has a Jewish flavor because my life has Jason has a Holocaust story. That’s part helpful, as has my younger brother, Jeff.” a Jewish flavor,” he said. of Jason’s history that I have. I think in Cuban isn’t banking on following in the Cuban considers himself “culturally any fiction book there are bits and pieces footsteps of John Grisham or Dan Brown, Jewish,” a trait that caused him to go head- of the writer.” or eying the Hollywood casting of “The to-head with Facebook in 2008. He fought Cuban candidly discussed his challenges Ambulance Chaser” — although he wouldn’t with the social media giant, publicly urging with drugs, alcohol and other mental turn it down. For now, he’s thinking about it to remove posts promoting hate speech health issues in his memoir, “The Addicted what’s next for Feldman and the world he’s and Holocaust denial. Lawyer: Tales of the Bar, Booze, Blow and created for his main character. “It’s very important to me,” Cuban said, Redemption.” He called the move from “If you look at the epilogue, there’s a lot adding that several of his family members non-fiction to fiction a natural progression. of things unresolved,” Cuban said. “I left it were victims of the Holocaust. And the plot of his novel, he said, began as a open. There will be a sequel to this.” PJC While the novel is a work of fiction, recurring nightmare. David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ Cuban, who is an attorney and outspoken “There’s this bonfire and we’re throwing recovering addict, mined his own life when bodies into a bonfire, watching the bodies pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
Fox Chapel grad headed to Israel to play pro soccer the Israel Women’s Premier League. Veltri joins past teammates Juliana Vazquez and Amaia Pena as the third player to go pro since Pitt head coach Randy Waldrum took over the program in 2018. Veltri, who is not religious but was born to a Jewish mother and Christian father, told the Chronicle that the Israel Women’s Premier League “is definitely a great starting place for playing in Europe — but it’s also very competitive. “The Israeli teams have done well but I think they’re going to do even better,” she added. The Fox Chapel High School alum was a three-year letterwinner in the previous three seasons for the Pitt Panthers after transferring from UNC-Wilmington, where she spent her freshman year. During her last two years at
— LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
arah Sinnott met Dixon Veltri about five years ago, when the two young women were playing on the Fox Chapel High School women’s soccer squad. “When I got there, it was her class that was the heart of our team,” said Sinnott, who graduated from high school in 2019 and is two years younger than Veltri. “She was always one of the hardest workers on the team — you could see she loved the game. And you could tell she was going places.” Veltri is now headed to Israel. The former University of Pittsburgh mid-fielder has signed a two-year pro soccer contract with Maccabi Emek Hefer WFC of PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
p Dixon Veltri will be playing professional soccer in Israel.
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Photo by Korey Blucas
Please see Soccer, page 15
DECEMBER 10, 2021 7
Headlines COVID outbreaks hit day schools and childcare centers — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
illel Academy is the latest school hit with a wave of COVID-19 cases that has swept through Pittsburgh’s Jewish community since Thanksgiving, school officials told the Chronicle this week. Rabbi Sam Weinberg, Hillel’s principal, declined to provide specific COVID case numbers to the Chronicle, citing student privacy, but acknowledged that cases were totaling in the dozens. Most of the cases were reported among students under 5 years old, who are not eligible for the vaccination, he added. Dozens more COVID cases were reported in recent weeks at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, and the Early Childhood Development Center at Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. Of the city’s three Jewish day schools, only Community Day School in Squirrel Hill seems to have evaded the uptick in cases. That K-8 school, which also offers pre-kindergarten education, had one positive COVID case in November and officials there are not aware of any new cases among its students or staff, CDS spokesperson Jennifer Bails said. Though both Yeshiva Schools and the JCC’s preschool closed for several days
in November due to the swell in cases, Weinberg stressed that Hillel is staying open. “We think we have it under control — I think we have it very well contained,” Weinberg told the Chronicle. “Our priority is maintaining in-person education. We want to keep the school open in a healthy way.” Shayna Wolfe, Hillel’s school nurse, said staff and students have been fighting back against the spread of COVID by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, as well as doing regular pooled testing of students and mandating that children eat snacks outside. Pooled testing started at Hillel at the beginning of the current academic year, Weinberg said. Only Hillel students who receive a negative COVID test this weekend will be allowed to return to class on Monday, Wolfe told the Chronicle. All students were tested at Hillel earlier this week. Wolfe also declined to provide specific case numbers. Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum, CEO of Yeshiva Schools, said positive COVID cases at Yeshiva were “definitely in the tens of people – 20, 30, 40,” though, he said he could not cite specific numbers. Three weeks ago, the boys and girls schools closed for four days due to the outbreak but things since have calmed down, he said. “We are almost at full capacity presently,” Rosenblum said. “We probably have only a handful [of cases], two or three.” Community Day School experienced a positive
“ Our priority is maintaining in-person education. We want to keep the school open in a
— RABBI SAM WEINBERG
result from recent pooled testing of consenting students, the Chronicle reported last week. Rapid antigen testing that followed, however, all returned negative results, according to Bails. “It’s either a false positive or the case of a tail-end of an infection,” she said. At the JCC, seven children in one preschool classroom and three staff educators tested positive, with results coming in around Nov. 22, said Fara Marcus, division director of development and strategic marketing at the JCC. The JCC responded by closing parts — but not all — of its Early Childhood Development Center. This week, the JCC preschool operation was fully open, Marcus said. “Health and safety are our top priorities,” she added.
ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA
The Allegheny County Health Department on Dec. 2 reported 653 new COVID cases within the county’s borders, 589 of which were confirmed cases. Of the 653 positive cases, 163 were children and teens under age 18, according to statistics the health department released. Amie Downs, a spokeswoman for the county, told the Chronicle last week that officials would not report the number of cases at specific schools or facilities, fearing they would identify individuals. Since March 14, 2020, there have been 151,539 cases of COVID among Allegheny County residents, 9,343 hospitalizations and 2,463 deaths, the county health department reported. Beth Goldstein is the parent of a toddler who attends the JCC and previously attended Hillel Academy. She heard about the outbreak in cases “just before Thanksgiving.” “[The JCC] is being very transparent about cases,” she told the Chronicle. “As a parent, I feel very safe.” Goldstein’s child missed three days of school due to the partial closure, she said. But she still has nothing but kind words for both JCC and Hillel. “I think both schools have done a great job handling this,” she said. PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19 7:00 PM EST
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Contact your Senators and Representative, urging them to oppose the Biden Administration’s plan to open a U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem for the terrorist dictatorship of the Palestinian Authority. This could be the first step to divide Jerusalem. Call: Senate 202-225-3121 and House of Representatives 202-224-3121.
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Headlines Temple Sinai seeks a new song for the future — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer
emple Sinai’s assistant rabbi, Keren Gorban, will be leaving the Reform congregation on June 30, 2022. Rather than employing another rabbi to replace her, Temple Sinai’s leadership said it would instead hire an ordained cantor. Alison Yazer, president of Temple Sinai’s board, said the decision not to renew Gorban’s contract was the result of two, simultaneous factors. The board, Yazer said, had begun having conversations with congregants concerning the temple’s needs for the future. At the same time, Gorban began searching for a new congregation to serve. “So, it was really her decision to move on from Temple Sinai,” Yazer said. The congregation’s plan to hire a new cantor now — after not renewing Cantor Laura Berman’s contract in September 2020 — is a priority for the congregation, Yazer said. “We realized that music is so much a part of who Temple Sinai is,” she said. “We really wanted an opportunity to bring that back to the forefront, so it made sense for us to hire a cantor rather than another associate rabbi.” Gorban currently oversees both youth and Please see Sinai, page 15
Temple Sinai Rabbi Keren Gorban will be leaving the Reform congregation in June 2022.
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Photo by Adam Reinherz
DELI & LS BAGE “REAL” BAGELS ARE BACK! Meats, Fish & Salads
Chef Scott Walton, former Executive Chef of Shadyside’s Acorn Restaurant, has recently opened Gussy’s Bagels and Deli at 3606 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. Pittsburgh’s newest bagel shop and deli is driven by Chef Walton’s commitment to high-quality ingredients paired with expert culinary techniques.
Chef Walton approaches his deli meats and salads with the same expertise and care as Gussy’s bagels. Pastrami, turkey pastrami, salmon and whitefish are all smoked in-house. Gussy’s salmon is imported from Loch Duart in Northwest Scotland, and cured inhouse for Gussy’s Gravlox and Pastrami Lox. Chef Walton uses locally-sourced, hormone-free chicken to make his amazing Amish Chicken Salad.
Bagels Made the Old-Fashioned Way
No Sugar Unbleached Flour Long Fermentation Process (48 hour minimum) Kettle-Boiled Baked on Cedar Boards Wrapped in Burlap
S & DELI
Gussy’s Bagels & Deli offers online ordering, delivery, and catering services.
Catering, Ordering & Delivery
G U SS
Bagel Flavors include plain, sesame, poppyseed, cinnamon raisin, egg and sea salt, and everything. Schmears are sold by the half-pound in a variety of flavors, including plain, caper, wild berry, honey walnut, scallion, chocolate hazelnut and peanut butter.
All meats, fish and salads are sold by the quarter-pound, halfpound and pound.
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GUSSYSBAGELS.COM • 412-224-2114 PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
DECEMBER 10, 2021 9
Headlines — WORLD — From JTA reports
The Spinoza scholar who was banned from Amsterdam synagogue is now invited to visit it
An organization responsible for Amsterdam’s historic Portuguese Synagogue has apologized to a scholar whom a resident rabbi last week declared persona non grata due to a centuries-old edict against the philosopher Baruch Spinoza. “We regret that a perfectly normal request to visit the premises of the Portuguese
Synagogue […] has led to an international uproar,” Michael Minco and Emile Schrijver wrote on Nov. 30, to the scholar, Yitzhak Melamed, a professor of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. Melamed sought access to the synagogue to make a documentary about Spinoza, whom the Portuguese Jewish community of Amsterdam excommunicated in 1656 for writings that it deemed heretic. Rabbi Joseph Serfaty last week rejected Melamed’s request in a letter that the scholar posted on Facebook. The ban “remains in force and cannot be rescinded. You have devoted your life to the study of Spinoza’s banned works and the development of his ideas,” Serfaty wrote.
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“I therefore deny your request and declare you persona non grata in the Portuguese Synagogue complex.” Serfaty’s decision has been overturned, they wrote, and Melamed is welcome to visit the synagogue and its library.
Israel’s health minister wants to make it easier for women to get abortions
Israel’s health minister laid out his plans to simplify what he called Israel’s “chauvinistic” abortion process on Dec. 1. “It should be a given — the rights to a woman’s body are the woman’s alone,” Nitzan Horowitz told the Israeli news site Ynet. “Any decision or medical procedure such as the choice of whether to perform an abortion must be in the hands of the woman. We have no moral right to decide for her how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.” Horowitz, head of the left-wing Meretz Party, wants to allow women to terminate a pregnancy within its first 12 weeks without approval by a committee, which is currently a requirement for all abortions in Israel. While abortions are legal in a number of cases in Israel, women seeking an abortion have to present their reasons for ending the pregnancy before a committee of three people. Committees approve abortions for women under the age of 18 or over the age of 40, in cases where birth defects are expected; when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest; when the woman is unmarried; or when the pregnancy may endanger
— WORLD — Items provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 68, is inaugurated as Israel’s second president after 30 days of mourning for his predecessor, Chaim Weizmann. Ben-Zvi serves three terms until his death in office in April 1963.
Dec. 11, 1948 — U.N. offers Palestinian ‘Right of Return’
The U.N. General Assembly passes Resolution 194 on “the situation in Palestine,” calling for refugees to be permitted to return home as soon as possible. Palestinians interpret that as an unlimited “right of return.”
Dec. 12, 1920 — Histadrut is founded Serving the Pittsburgh area for over 25 years
The last stop you’ll make in successful hearing aid use
The General Federation of Jewish Labor, known as the Histadrut, is founded in Haifa to serve as an independent trade union for Jewish workers in Palestine. David Ben-Gurion is elected secretary-general in 1921.
Call to schedule a FREE demonstration today! Squirrel Hill ~ 2703 Murray Ave ~ 412.422.8006 ~ eartique.com 10 DECEMBER 10, 2021
Palestinian car ramming attack injures Israeli border guard and puts border crossings on high alert
A Palestinian teenager rammed a car into an Israeli border police officer at a checkpoint early Monday morning, seriously wounding the officer. Officers at the checkpoint opened fire on the driver, who was later pronounced dead at a hospital. According to The Times of Israel, Palestinian media identified the assailant as Muhammad Nidal Younis, a 16-year-old from the Palestinian city of Nablus in the West Bank. Younis drove the car into another car at the Te’enim checkpoint around 1:20 a.m. and hit a 34-year-old guard. He was then shot by other Israeli officers stationed at the crossing. The car ramming came just one day after a stabbing attack in the Old City Saturday and just over two weeks after a Hamas gunman killed an Israeli man in the Old City of Jerusalem Nov. 21. In all three cases, the assailants were killed by Israeli officers. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank to operate on high alert in the wake of the attacks. “The defense minister ordered a comprehensive investigation, that the lessons be learned and level of alertness and readiness be raised in all crossings in the area of Judea and Samaria,” Gantz’s office said, according to The Times of Israel. PJC
This week in Israeli history Dec. 10, 1952 — Israel’s second president is inaugurated
Debra L. Greenberger, M.S., CCC-A
the woman’s life or mental or physical health.
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Dec. 13, 1961 — Death penalty is sought for Eichmann
After the reading of a 100,000-word guilty verdict for Adolf Eichmann, prosecutor Gideon Hausner requests a death sentence for the Nazi. Eichmann is hanged May 31, 1962, Israel’s only use of capital punishment.
Dec. 14, 1858 — Land deeds are introduced in Palestine
The Ottoman Empire enacts the Tapu Law, which introduces title deed registration to its Arab provinces, including Palestine. The law concentrates ownership among Arab nobles, including many absentee landlords.
Dec. 15, 1999 — U.S. fund buys stake in Israeli water
San Francisco-based venture fund Aqua International Partners buys a 25% stake in Israeli bottled water company Mayanot Eden (Eden Springs) for $47.5 million, financing the company’s expansion into Europe.
Dec. 16, 1984 — Peace activist Abie Nathan aids Ethiopia
Israeli peace activist Abie Nathan arrives in Ethiopia with $300,000 worth of relief supplies for a country suffering a drought-driven famine that kills an estimated 1.2 million people over two years. PJC
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DECEMBER 10, 2021 11
Opinion For the love of Israel, we need to say: The Reform Movement is Zionist Guest Columnist Ammiel Hirsch
he New York Times Magazine recently published a long article entitled “Inside The Unraveling of American Zionism.” The piece focused on 93 rabbinical and cantorial students enrolled in multiple non-Orthodox American seminaries who published a letter during the May hostilities between Israel and Hamas, harshly criticizing Israeli policies and actions. While the majority of students at our Reform seminary, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, did not sign the letter, fully 30 of our seminarians did. Out of deep respect for the need to provide as much safe space for students to explore and express whatever is on their minds, I am reluctant to comment publicly on anything students say, even if they, themselves, want their views in the public domain. Students are in training and do not yet have the standing or responsibilities that leaders of the Jewish community bear. However, once The New York Times published an in-depth analysis that the students seemingly encouraged, the issue was no longer one of internal debate within the classrooms and clergy networks of our movement. The matter became one of public record both within the broad Jewish community, and the public at large. Under these circumstances, it seems to me that we have a responsibility, even an obligation, to respond. The Reform seminarians identified themselves as students of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). The HUC-JIR even permitted The New York Times to take photos in the sanctuary of the New York campus for the story. We have a communal responsibility to clarify what it is that the Reform movement believes. What are our values and principles?
For the record, the Reform movement is a Zionist movement. Every single branch of our movement — the synagogue arm (Union for Reform Judaism), the rabbinic union (Central Conference of American Rabbis), and our seminary (HUC-JIR) — every organization separately, and all together, are Zionist and committed ideologically and theologically to Israel. We are theologically committed to the centrality of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. We have said so repeatedly. We have obligations to fellow Jews. We are commanded to be ohavei Yisrael, to love fellow Jews — and to support them, especially in times of war, hardship and struggle. We have a right, and an obligation, to teach future leaders our values and commitments. We have a right to insist that some values and beliefs held by some American Jews are inconsistent with our beliefs. The student letter calls for a rethinking of American Jewish education about Israel. Fair enough; but our movement has a right to encourage some American Jewish seminary students to rethink their approach to ahavat Yisrael. Jewish leaders have an obligation to speak about Jewish peoplehood and our struggle to survive. Jews want to live. Why is that so hard to speak about? Why is it so hard to speak about the war crimes inflicted on our people, and the blood-curdling threats to commit another genocide? What higher responsibility does a Jewish leader have than to love and protect fellow Jews? Are we so emotionally distanced from our own people that we cannot even bring ourselves to condemn war crimes against Jews in the middle of a war? How is it possible for future Jewish leaders to write an open letter to the public in the middle of a war, missiles raining down on our people, without ever mentioning Hamas, the instigator of the war? How is it possible to write of “tears that flow” without weeping for our own brothers and sisters, killed, maimed
and scrambling to underground shelters at all hours of the day and night? I honor and respect all those who are troubled by the moral ramifications resulting from the unresolved Israel-Palestinian dispute. I am troubled, too. It is right to point out that military force must be employed in accordance with the laws of war — and when there are violations — offenders should be held accountable. But no one should have any illusions: The war initiated by Hamas was a terrorist war, perpetrated by a terrorist organization. Hamas believes that no form, act, or means of Palestinian resistance is terror. All Israelis are soldiers. All Palestine is occupied. All means are legitimate. The strategy of Israel’s opponents is to minimize threats against Israel because that allows them to delegitimize Israel’s response to defend its people. They seek to deprive Israel of the right to self-defense. They argue that terrorists are not really terrorists; they are freedom fighters; that the threat is not really a threat; that Israel has all the power; that Israel employs disproportional force. Israel’s opponents know what they are doing. Some American Jews, wittingly or not, provide Jewish cover to forces that seek not coexistence with Israel, but Israel’s destruction. The issue is not criticism of Israel. We need critics. Many of our debates are both healthy and necessary. The issue is that the Reform movement does not speak enough about our people’s enemies or their threats against us. We have enemies who seek to destroy us three generations after the Holocaust. That is the root cause of the unresolved conflict: The inability or unwillingness of Israel’s enemies to accept a Jewish state within any borders. Where you sit often determines where you stand on an issue. If you are sitting in a lecture hall on an American campus or seminary, you might come to view the IsraelPalestinian dispute differently than parents of three children who are spending the night
in shelters five miles from Gaza. If you are sitting in an American seminary or university, you might come to view the conflict as a racial one, or one of oppression, patriarchy, or colonialism, as so many students nowadays view every social problem. Thus, the seminary students wrote, “So many [American Jewish] institutions are silent when…racist violence erupts in Israel and Palestine” — as opposed to vocal American Jewish leadership in reckoning with racial violence in our country. It is preposterous to imply that American racial problems have anything to do with Israel’s struggle with Hamas: That Israel fought Hamas because Israelis are white and Gazans are people of color, and Hamas is simply a civil rights organization that is being discriminated against. First, most Israeli Jews are not of European descent. They are Jews of color. And second, can anyone seriously argue that Hamas launched 4,000 missiles, every one of which was a war crime, because indigenous people of color rebelled against white colonial Jews whose sole purpose is to exploit and oppress? Most Israelis and most Palestinians want what most people worldwide want — dignity, a decent job so that they can provide for their families, and they want peace. Palestinians do not want Israeli soldiers in their lives, and Israelis do not want to send their children to fight wars. Both peoples have an indisputable claim to the land. But we need to be aware of the effort by Israel’s opponents to portray the Palestinians exclusively as victims, because if you are a victim, you feel no need to be morally accountable. PJC Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is the senior rabbi of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City. He previously served as executive director of the Association of Reform Zionists of America. This first appeared on The Times of Israel.
Larry David has never been more Jewish than in this season’s ‘Curb’ Guest Columnist Andrew Silow-Carroll
urb Your Enthusiasm” has always been a Jewy show, but this season it is downright Jewish. On the HBO sitcom, now in its 11th season, Larry David has never been shy about surfacing, and lampooning, Judaism and Jewishness. He has contemplated the dilemmas of Holocaust survival, waded into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (via a local chicken restaurant) and gotten stranded on a ski lift with an Orthodox Jew on Shabbat. This season, it’s not just the occasional matzoh ball joke, or the Yiddish lesson he 12 DECEMBER 10, 2021
gave Jon Hamm in the season premiere. David is plunging into questions of Jewish pride and belief, and if he isn’t exactly Abraham Joshua Heschel, he could provide a Jewish educator with a semester of lively classroom debate. In the latest episode, for example, a Jew for Jesus joins the cast of the show that Larry’s character is developing for Hulu. Although neither Larry nor his Jewish friends are remotely religious, they seem genuinely upset by the actor’s apostasy, and Larry gives him a rather sober warning that he shouldn’t proselytize on set. A week earlier, a member of his golf club (played by Rob Morrow) asks Larry to pray for his ailing father. Larry declines, saying prayer is useless. He also wonders why God would need, or heed, the prayer of a random
atheist like himself instead of the distressed son who wants his father to live. For anyone who has gone to Hebrew school, it’s a familiar challenge, usually aired by the wiseacre in the back row who the teacher suspects is perhaps the most engaged student in the classroom. And it is not just atheists posing the question, “Why pray?” The Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a devout Orthodox Jew, believed that “worship of God must be totally devoid of instrumental considerations.” In addition to a Jewish funeral, the episode has a bonus theological theme: “Middah k’neged Middah,” or as Morrow’s character puts it, “what goes around comes around.” Morrow warns Larry that his actions will have consequences, which actually gives Larry pause. If anything, the entire “Curb”
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enterprise is an exercise in Jewish karma. Larry is constantly being punished in ways large and small for his actions, inactions, meddling and slights. As the old theater expression has it, if Larry opens a donut shop to drive a rival out of business in act one, his own shop will burn to the ground in act three. A prior episode was even more self-consciously Jewish: Larry attends High Holiday services only because he lost a golf bet to the rabbi, and he literally bumps into a Klansman coming out of a coffee shop. The latter sets off a string of plot twists, as he and the KKK guy trade a series of favors and obligations that will have disastrous consequences for both. Larry’s salvation comes at the end, Please see Silow-Carroll, page 13
Opinion The true meaning of Christmas television Guest Columnist Steve Hofstetter
imagine it’s much more difficult to be Jewish on Christmas than it is to be Christian on Chanukah. You don’t find many Chanukah specials about families getting stranded in an airport learning the true meaning of the menorah. But if there were lots of Chanukah specials, I’d be just as annoyed as I am at those about Christmas. I finally realized that I do not dislike most Christmas specials because they are about a holiday I do not celebrate — I dislike them because most of them are dishonest. I love the original Grinch cartoon. The Peanuts specials are always fun, and Seinfeld’s Festivus episode is a classic. A number of sitcoms have simply had funny events happen at Christmas parties, which
is fine considering that the holiday is a part of our country’s pop culture. But the shows that have people changing their lives based on the true meaning of Christmas really exasperate me, and I finally figured out why. There have been several sitcoms that have two Christmas episodes in one season. Sure, many sitcoms are already absurd, but how long are they trying to celebrate this holiday? I know about the supposed “Twelve days of Christmas” thing, but I don’t know anyone who actually celebrates the holiday for more than a day-and-a-half. I bet someone in religion marketing noticed that Chanukah has eight days, and decided that something had to be done to compete. “They have eight days? Well, we can have 12!” TV execs probably know that the way Christmas is portrayed on the majority of their shows is not how it’s celebrated by a majority of the people in our country. First of all, more than half the marriages in America end in divorce, which destroys
the notion of the large family meal with everyone accounted for. Then there’s the realization that not everyone is Christian (gasp!), and some of the people who are Christian don’t have a dozen relatives that want to come over for dinner. And a lot of people out there don’t get along well enough with their extended family to do anything but hurl insults and mashed potatoes. But none of that matters because the executives have a job to do, and it’s not to accurately reflect society. It’s to create want and need. In a rush to beat each other to the holiday punch (ba-dum!), TV networks have been releasing Christmas episodes earlier and earlier. They used to be released the week before Christmas. Then it was two weeks before Christmas. Now, they begin the first week of December. Pretty soon, Christmas specials will start so early that they’ll air during the Christmas prior. And the year in between will just be one continuous commercial. TV execs can tell viewers about how
Christmas is about love and selflessness and family, but not until after Macy’s tells them about their sale. Running all those sale ads during the heartwarming story of a family learning about the wise men? The only wise men here are the ones in the ad department. Because if you really look at Christmas entertainment, they’re not pushing selflessness and family. They’re pushing their sponsors. Christmas TV teaches that you should give. And to help, it also directs you to the nearest store. Driving up profits in the retail sector is the true meaning of Christmas sitcoms, and that’s something I discovered without the help of a snowed-in airport. Learning this true meaning has made me all warm and fuzzy inside. Come on everyone — let’s carol. How does that Macy’s jingle go? PJC Steve Hofstetter lives in Stanton Heights, where he operates the Steel City Arts Foundation. For more information, visit SteelCityAF.com.
Chronicle poll results: Omicron
ast week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “How concerned are you about the new COVID-19 variant, omicron?” Of the 225 people who responded, 55% answered, “Somewhat concerned, but I’m waiting to see more information about it.” Thirty-seven percent said they were “very concerned.” Only 8% of respondents said they were not concerned. Forty-nine people submitted comments. A few follow. The only way out of this is for more and more to get vaccinated. The unvaccinated are the superspreaders. It is troubling that we know so little about the new variant at this point. It has the potential to crash the economy and the stock market and to again throw the world into coronavirus pandemonium just as we have begun to come out of our veritable cocoons. Let us pray that our concerns are ultimately shown to have been unfounded.
Silow-Carroll: Continued from page 12
when he blares a shofar from his balcony, literally raising the alarm on antisemitism and waking his neighbors to the threat of white supremacy. The episode suggests the failure of good intentions. Larry spills coffee on the Klansman’s robe and offers to have it dry-cleaned. Good liberal Jew that he is, Larry appears genuine in his belief that empathy is a better response to hate than confrontation, and that if he turns the other cheek it might lower the temperature in a post-Trump America. Of course, it doesn’t work out that way, and the last word goes to his friend Susie PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
It’s been a pleasure to witness the search for the science rather than wild speculation. I am glad I got “boosted.” Those who are at risk should take the necessary precautions. The rest of the world should not be locked down or have their freedoms infringed for this pandemic. Enough is enough. We’re in this situation because of the people who refuse to be vaccinated. I’m a firm believer in vaccine mandates.
How concerned are you about the new COVID-19 variant, named omicron?
Somewhat concerned, but I’m waiting to see more scientific information about it
May delay getting booster until we know more in case they alter it to better address new variants.
At some point we need to get on with our lives. I’m so tired of living an isolated life. I feel now like taking some risk is necessary for me to enjoy myself. I have been so anxious and fearful throughout this entire pandemic that I’m actually just running out of space in my brain to worry with. With the unlimited support that the federal government is giving to big pharma, we justifiably expect that big pharma will provide a solution to omicron. PJC — Toby Tabachnick
We are very concerned about COVID so I don’t know how we can get even more concerned about another variant, because there are numerous variants. There is only so many times the media can make us
hysterical. The media cries wolf or tells us the sky is falling so often that it is tough to get crazy over and over and over again.
Green, who performs a pointed act of Jewish sabotage that gets the Klansman pummeled by his fellow racists. Give David credit for embedding within a preposterous half-hour of television a debate about vengeance and resistance that engaged the followers of Jews as different as Jesus and Jabotinsky. Make no mistake: The Larry David character is sacrilegious and heretical, and “Curb” is no friend of the religious mindset. But to dismiss him as “self-hating” is to miss out on the unmistakably Jewish conversation at the heart of the show. David’s character is a deeply principled person: Most of the nonsense he gets himself into is the result of his enforcing unspoken social rules that others appear to be flouting, whether it is taking too many samples at the ice cream
counter or dominating the conversation (poorly) at the dinner table. Larry is rude and inconsiderate, but he is seldom wrong. He is what Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik might have called a “Halachic Man” — an actualizer of “the ideals of justice and righteousness,” even when the rest of the world resents it. If you think I am overdoing it, remember that there is an actual discussion in Talmud about the right and wrong way of putting on a pair of shoes. And just as in the Talmud, there are no easy answers in David’s moral universe: If a friend lends you his favorite, one-of-akind shirt, and you ruin it, what are your obligations to him? (See: Bava Metzia 96b) If a thief breaks into your house and then drowns in your swimming pool, which
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This week’s Chronicle poll question:
The end of the tax year is fast approaching. What are your plans for charitable giving in 2021? Go to our website, pittsburghjewish chronicle.org, to respond. PJC
wasn’t protected by the required fence, who is owed damages and how much? (See: Ibn Ezra on Exodus 22:1-2) In last week’s episode, Larry even touched on — consciously or not — a classic debate in the Talmud: If you and a friend are stranded in the desert, and your canteen has only enough water for one of you to survive, must you share it or save your own life? Yes, Larry was talking about sharing a phone charger, but if the Sages had cell phones, what do you think they’d be talking about? PJC Andrew Silow-Carroll is the editor in chief of The New York Jewish Week and senior editor of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, where this first appeared. DECEMBER 10, 2021 13
Headlines Funding: Continued from page 1
Myers opened the press conference by noting that it was being held on the last day of Chanukah. He said the holiday was significant because it recalls the struggle of a minority community to maintain its right to live and worship as Jews. “Chanukah mean rededication,” Myers said, “and that is the journey we are on.” Myers presented Wolf with a gold hanukkiah, or Chanukah menorah, in the shape of a tree of life. While presenting the gift he quoted Holocaust victim Anne Frank. “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness,” he said, adding, “May you continue to defy the darkness and bring more light into the world.” “The Holocaust Center is grateful for Gov. Wolf ’s support of this unprecedented project to build a space of hope and education at the site of an attack whose reverberations were felt around the world,” Bairnsfather told the Chronicle. Wolf said he was proud to support the reimagining of the Tree of Life building “to create a welcoming place for residents, for visitors in Pittsburgh to reflect, learn and grow.” Sen. Jay Costa (District 43) said the funding, part of the congregation’s Remember. Rebuild. Renew. campaign, would help strengthen the roots of Tree of Life Congregation, which was founded in Pittsburgh more than 150 years ago. “Through this campaign, we seek to work with a state-of-the-art campus,” Costa said. “Tree of Life will reach beyond the walls that we know today, and in all the neighborhoods in our community, into a space of inclusion and collaboration — a cooperative space located here at the Tree of Life Center.” Unable to attend the event in person, Rep. Dan Frankel (District 23) thanked Wolf for supporting the Tree of Life rebuilding project in a statement. “After the attack on the congregations
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers addresses the crowd at the Dec. 6 press conference.
in the Tree of Life building three years ago, many noted that our community had joined a club that nobody wants to be in: those devastated by hate-driven violence,” Frankel said. “This funding allows the site of that trauma to become something more — a place of remembrance, healing and education for all.” Neither Myers nor Wolf said they knew the total cost of the rebuild or what, specifically, the money would be used for, and said the project was evolving. The rabbi would not publicly identify other
organizations that might ultimately occupy the building along with his congregation. “All I can say is this: This site will be a place of memory,” Myers said. “It will be a site of education. It will be a site of prayer. Beyond that, it’s still a work in progress.” The RACP funds going to Tree of Life are among $54.5 million “going to 16 projects around the commonwealth, and only one of two in all of western Pennsylvania,” the Pittsburgh Business Times reported, with $5 million going to the Children’s
Highland Park: Continued from page 1
of bias crimes. In a Dec. 1 Facebook post, the Highland Park Community Council wrote: “With a heavy heart — and an angry one — I’m writing about an anti-Semitic crime here in Highland Park. On Monday night, the second night of Hanukkah, a swastika was painted on someone’s home and their car windshield was smashed. One of the things I love most about our neighborhood is that it’s small enough that we really feel like a community. The HPCC is committed to making our neighborhood welcoming to all. We hope that everyone will join us in this mission. “Please speak out against acts of hate and words of intolerance,” the post continued. “But also, let’s go one step further and commit to living with our neighbors in peace.... In this season of holiday — Hanukkah, Winter 14 DECEMBER 10, 2021
p Neighbors in Highland Park sought out Stronger Than Hate signs following an antisemitic hate crime there on Nov. 29. Photo by Adam Reinherz
Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa — we want you all to know peace and joy, safety and comfort, in your homes, our community,
and in this great, wide world.” On Dec. 2, in another Facebook post, the Council encouraged people to put pictures
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Photo by David Rullo
Museum in Erie. “I am pleased to announce these projects will receive the state funding they need to improve or create new community projects and facilities that add to the quality of life for residents in these communities,” Wolf said. PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
of menorahs in their front windows “to make the point that hate will not be tolerated in Highland Park.” Pittsburgh was the site of the most violent antisemitic act in the history of the United States in October 2018, when a gunman entered the Tree of Life building and murdered 11 Jews worshiping in three congregations there. Last summer, three members of the Orthodox community were verbally assaulted by an assailant in Squirrel Hill, and a week later, an Orthodox man was physically assaulted near Murray Avenue and Bartlett Street while walking home from Shaare Torah Congregation. Those incidents are not believed to be related to the recent incident in Highland Park. The hate crime investigation of the Highland Park incident is ongoing. PJC Toby Tabachnick can be reached at email@example.com. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Headlines Shabbat: Continued from page 3
first child, especially during COVID, it can be really isolating and certainly not the environment we envisioned when we thought about being new parents,” DiBiase said. “Having a program that provided education, a social network and outlet to other parents was something we were missing.” Shabbat Shelanu offered many benefits, DiBiase continued. “So much became a gray area during COVID, the lines were really blurred and it didn’t seem like there was a lot
Coalition: Continued from page 5
collaboration with 20 AIDS service organizations statewide, to improve the quality of patient care. In 2015, the JHF became the hosting agency for the newly created AIDS Free Pittsburgh. Upon its establishment six years ago, the goal of AIDS Free Pittsburgh was to reduce the rate of new HIV infections in Allegheny County by 75% by 2020. Smith said he’s proud of the achievements the group has made. When AIDS Free Pittsburgh began in 2015, there were 139 new HIV cases and 43 new AIDS cases in Allegheny County. In 2016, that number dropped to 121 new HIV cases and 37 new AIDS cases. By 2019, which is the most recent data on file, the number of new HIV cases was 74, and the number of new AIDS cases was 33. The reduced rate of infections, Smith
Soccer: Continued from page 7
Pitt, she served as a leader for squads that have seen a strong rebuild under Waldrum, and was selected a team captain in 2020. “That work ethic — she was something the team desperately needed and she was one of the first players that set a new standard for the team,” Waldrum told the Chronicle. Waldrum said many young female players are going to countries like Israel, Iceland and
Sinai: Continued from page 9
adult education through the congregation’s Center for Jewish Learning. Yazer said there are several possibilities to fill that role once Gorban leaves. The first option is for the newly hired cantor to step into the position. A second possibility is that Senior Rabbi Daniel Fellman would head the Center. A third possibility would allow for a combination of the first two options, Yazer said. A final option is for the congregation to hire an education director. “We want to do what’s in the best interest of our students and our teens,” Yazer said. “We will do whatever will give them the best educational experience.” The original decision in 2020 to reduce its PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
to tether you to,” he said. “For us as a family, Shabbat Shelanu was kind of the ritualized element of having something to do at the same time every week.” Hours after Shabbat Shelanu finished, DiBiase and his husband welcomed their extended family for a Shabbat celebration. “It was nothing fancy or formal, we just picked up challah and a bottle of wine,” he said. Each week, alongside his sister, Kara Reilly, and her husband, Brendan, DiBiase and his husband, Chris, lit candles and paused. Marking Shabbat was a way for the group to differentiate time and “take a collective breath,” DiBiase said.
Months have passed since the first cohort completed the Shabbat Shelanu pilot program — Slayton said a new and larger group is now participating — and the DiBiase and Reilly extended clan is still gathering each Friday night to welcome Shabbat. “It’s become something really important to our family,” DiBiase said. The program left a similar mark on Glick. “Before Shabbat Shelanu, my husband and I could probably list the times on one hand that we lit the Shabbat candles,” she said. The program offered “a little push, or a reminder, that Shabbat was a way to bring my family together at the end of a busy week.”
said, is a result of increased reliance on PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), medicine taken to prevent an HIV infection. AIDS Free Pittsburgh has encouraged people who are HIV-negative and who are at risk of contracting the virus to take those pills. Pittsburgh and other Fast-Track cities are working toward the following goals to be accomplished by 2030: Ninety-five percent of people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 95% of people who know their status will receive treatment; and 95% of people on HIV treatment will have a suppressed viral load, ensuring their immune system remains strong and the likelihood of infection transmission is greatly reduced. Och believes those numbers are within reach but said one difficulty AIDS Free Pittsburgh has faced is getting individuals to understand their likelihood of infection. “We have seen a pretty stark mismatch of the number of people who are engaging in behaviors that are statistically more likely to
result in HIV transmission, and the actual number of people who think they’re at risk,” Och said. “Many of the people who are at high risk for HIV are also at high risk for other adverse health outcomes. And so much of that is related to social determinants of health.” Some of those social determinants are unsafe housing situations, mental health or substance disorders, or racial discrimination, Och said. “We see people engaging in some level of exchange, sex for survival,” she said, leading to HIV becoming a “long-term abstract concept.” The reality is HIV is a “preventable and treatable disease,” Smith stressed. “There should be no fear or worry that with proper medication it can be treated, and people can live a happy, healthy life.” Since AIDS was first reported in the United States in June 1981, there have been significant scientific achievements and “remarkable progress,” President Joe Biden
said in a Dec. 1 statement marking World AIDS Day. “Ending the HIV epidemic is within our reach, and we are committed to finishing this work.” But reaching that point begins with everyone knowing their status, Och said, adding that throughout Pittsburgh, there are multiple sites where testing is free. “It doesn’t hurt, it’s quick, it’s easy,” and Aids Free Pittsburgh can help, Och continued. If a person tests positive “it’s not the end of the world. There are so many people living wonderful lives, amazing advocates who’ve been living with HIV, short-term and long-term, in our community. There’s a really strong support system here. This is nothing to be afraid of, but it’s just something important that everyone should do. It doesn’t take long. That would be my ask — just get tested.” PJC
Finland to start their pro careers. “This is a pathway a lot of young players take,” he said. “She’ll always be able to say she did it [and went pro]. I think she’s realizing that dream. We’re really proud of her, and as a program we’re very happy for her.” Veltri plans to start playing for Emek Hefer later this month — she’s leaving Dec. 20 — after she earns her master’s degree in sustainable engineering from Pitt. She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance there with a minor in economics and a certificate in sustainability. She was named three times
to the ACC Honor Roll, which is comprised of student-athletes with a grade point average of 3.0 or above for the full academic year. Veltri said she is considering applying for aliyah and becoming an Israeli citizen, which would make travel in and out of the country easier — and would also make her eligible for the Israeli national team. She has family friends in Israel, which she said should make the move smoother, but speaks no Hebrew. The young player will be moving to Netanya, on the Mediterranean coast in central Israel, and will be rooming with four
other pro soccer players from the U.S., Israel, Africa and Canada. “It’s girls from all over the world — it’s exciting,” she said. Veltri also feels she is taking the next step in a life journey, something she’s been playing out in her mind for years. “I always wanted to play Division I,” she told the Chronicle, “and I always had dreams of playing professional soccer.” PJC
clergy staff from three members to two by not renewing Berman’s contract, Yazer said, was made for budgetary concerns and to “right size” the clergy for the congregation. “We are not at the number [of members] we were originally when we had three clergy,” she said. Drew Barkley, the congregation’s executive director, said Temple Sinai currently has approximately 700 family units, and that a congregation that size typically employs two — not three — clergy members. Despite the decrease in the congregation’s size, Yazer said that Temple Sinai’s leadership thought it best to keep an associate rabbi on board during Fellman’s first year for purposes of continuity. That decision, though, meant that the cantor position had to be eliminated. “It was no reflection of Laura Berman,” Yazer said. “We couldn’t afford three clergy and our
size didn’t justify it. We had to make a decision.” A year later, the congregation now feels bringing a cantor back into the fold is important, Yazer said. “We realize we are lacking that and it’s really a part of who we are,” she continued. “We need to honor that.” Expecting a rabbi to have the musical ability that rivals a trained cantor, she said, is a big ask. Yazer compared Temple Sinai’s former senior rabbi, Jamie Gibson, to a “unicorn” — an esteemed rabbi with a respected musical skill set. “There aren’t that many rabbis out there,” she said. Fellman is accustomed to working with a cantor, Barkley said, noting that Fellman worked alongside a cantor at his former synagogue in Syracuse, New York. Barkley said the decisions made by Gorban and the congregation make sense
for both parties, but that it’s always difficult when a rabbi leaves a congregation. “Rabbi Gorban has been here seven years,” Barkley said. “She was in Denver for three years before that. We hired a new senior rabbi. It makes all the sense in the world that she would think about her career. This is the time to do it. The hard part is that if a rabbi is good, you have a relationship with them. It’s hard anytime a rabbi moves on.” Temple Sinai, Yazer said, has begun to plan for the future. “We have a task force called Sinai 2030 to figure out what’s next, what the next iteration of Temple Sinai looks like. It has been tasked with laying the groundwork,” she said. Gorban declined to comment. PJC
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Glick recalled that during one Friday morning session her son made a pair of candlesticks. Since Judah completed that craft and the program concluded much has changed. Glick and her husband have been vaccinated. Her friends have been as well. Many of her peers have resumed activities like going out on Friday nights, but Glick and her family have not. “Judah is just so proud of these candlesticks that he made,” Glick said. “We kept doing Shabbat.” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.
David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. DECEMBER 10, 2021 15
Life & Culture French Canadian meat pie warms the soul — FOOD — By Jessica Grann | Special to the Chronicle
y mother has made this recipe for as far back as I can remember, and it’s just as comforting to me now as it was during my childhood. It’s very simple to prepare, especially if you use store-bought pie crust. I’m not an expert with pastry and fluting edges, and I think a lot of us are intimidated by making pies because we have this idea they must be perfect. If you’re talented in these areas, your techniques will only add to the presentation, but you can see by my photo that I used a fork to press the layers of pie crust together. It doesn’t look as beautiful as my mother’s pie but it tastes just as good. This recipe has lots of sage and black pepper and makes a wonderful meal on a cold winter day.
p French Canadian meat pie 2 teaspoons black pepper 1 teaspoon sage ½ cup water 3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and diced — about 1.5 cups 1 egg, beaten, to brush over pastry crust before baking
Stir in the salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and sage, allowing to cook for 1 minute longer before adding in the water and potatoes. Allow this mixture to come to a soft boil before reducing the heat again to low. Cover with lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
French Canadian meat pie
Makes 1 deep-dish pie with 6 full servings
Preheat oven to 425 F and place the wire rack in the center position. Using a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine the meat and onions, browning and chopping up until the onions soften and the meat is no longer pink. This takes 10-12 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add in the garlic, stirring it just until it becomes fragrant but doesn’t burn.
Line a pie plate with the first layer of pastry, leaving extra pastry along the edges so you are able to seal the pie to the top layer. Using a fork, prick the bottom layer of pastry about 10 times. This allows the fat from the meat to bake into the bottom crust so the pie crust doesn’t stick to the plate. Scoop in the meat and potato mixture. There will be fat at the bottom of the pan. You don’t have to add it all, but you will want
Ingredients: 2 pie crusts; store-bought is fine 1.5 pounds ground beef 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning 1 teaspoon salt
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to add about half of it to the pie. The fat combines with the pastry crust while baking, and that is what gives this pie such amazing texture and flavor. Add the top layer of pie crust. Flute the edges or simply press them together with a fork. Brush with the egg wash and bake at 425 F for 15 minutes before reducing the oven temperature to 350 F. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, then remove the pie from the oven. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. This is a family favorite and is the kind of meal that is warming to your soul. Enjoy and bless your hands! PJC Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.
Director of Programming & Operations (Part-time)
For over 100 years, Beth Samuel Jewish Center (BSJC) has served the Jewish community of Western Allegheny and Beaver Counties. We’re looking for a new, part-time Director of Programming & Operations to oversee the day-to-day operations of our vibrant synagogue. Visit us at bethsamuel.org. For more information or to apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
16 DECEMBER 10, 2021
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Life & Culture An Israeli documentary chronicles a real-life relationship between an Auschwitz prisoner and an SS officer — STREAMING — By Andrew Lapin | JTA
azisploitation,” a pop-culture subgenre that draws on imagery and stories from the Holocaust for winkingly perverse entertainment, is built around the idea that there are bad-taste ways to interpret an incomparable tragedy that can nevertheless prove enlightening. The form reached its apex — or, depending on your vantage, its nadir — with films about forbidden love affairs between Nazis and Jews, or Nazis and other survivors of their brutality. In one notable, and polarizing example, the 1974 erotic Italian drama “The Night Porter,” a concentration camp survivor tracks down her former guard to rekindle their sadomasochistic relationship. In another, the 2006 Dutch spy thriller “Black Book,” a Jewish member of the Dutch Resistance begins a relationship with an SS officer as part of her cover, but comes to develop genuine feelings for him. Both of those movies are fictional (or heavily fictionalized) interpretations of such a love affair, using made-up stories to pose questions about power dynamics and internalized guilt. History gives us an actual example of what this kind of relationship actually looked like: the story of Helena Citron, who was a Jewish prisoner of Auschwitz in her teens, and Franz Wunsch, the Austrian SS officer who simply decided, while guarding her at
the death camp and hearing her stories on Israeli television and, sing old German love songs, that in Wunsch’s case, a home-video she was the love of his life. recording prior to his death. There Now, this story is being retold in are occasional fresh interviews, the Israeli documentary “Love It such as that of Wunsch’s daughter, Was Not,” which began streaming who found it odd her father in the United States last week after carried a torch for his Jewish being nominated for an Ophir prisoner all his life. Award for Best Documentary Safarty’s chief storytelling in Israel last year. And as its title innovation borrows from one of indicates, the actual dynamics Wunsch’s quirks — he would cut at play in this affair were not out the photo of Citron’s smiling easy to define. face from Auschwitz and paste it in Most importantly, from the a variety of more pleasant settings Jewish perspective, is the fact that to imagine the two of them living this was not a mutual love affair. a happy life together. So the filmIn the camp, Wunsch held all the maker also creates dioramas out of cards; he could decide whether Citron’s photo as a way of retelling Citron and her family would live her story — though this also has ”Love It Was Not” is an Israeli documentary examining or die. The film depicts his infat- p the (perhaps intended) effect of uation as something like a coping the relationship between an Auschwitz guard and his Jewish making her horrific experience prisoner. Photo courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment mechanism for the barbaric acts seem almost childish. he was committing against every other Jew and whether there was any part of her that Many of the decisions Citron makes in at the camp — Wunsch seemingly displaced reciprocated Wunsch’s affections. the camp reverberate into new worlds of his humanity toward his fellow man by In the film, we see an infamous photo tragedy, some things her surviving friends redirecting it toward Citron alone. of her in Auschwitz, wearing her striped and family cannot forgive her for: chief Citron, in turn, did what anyone in her uniform as she smiles brightly for the camera among them, her leaning on Wunsch to save situation would do, and used every leverage in a way few Jewish prisoners of the camp a sister bound for the gas chambers, while she could to ensure her own survival, recip- had reason to. We also see testimony she leaving her two young children to die. The rocating affection in order to convince gave on Wunsch’s behalf decades later, when film’s title refers to the name of one of the Wunsch to give her placement in an easier he was being prosecuted by the Austrian songs Citron would sing to Wunsch in the labor barrack, and to allow her to nurse government for his role in the Holocaust. camp, a sign that perhaps there was little herself back to health when she came down Director Maya Sarfaty reconstructs Citron emotion undergirding this relation. Despite with typhus. Much of the attention placed and Wunsch’s story primarily via archival the tabloid-y nature of the film’s subject, on the story in the intervening decades interviews — her two subjects and various Safarty’s approach is far from exploitative. has focused on the question of how much other witnesses (including fellow survivors “Love It Was Not” is available for videoCitron actually enjoyed playing this role, from the camp) have previously told their on-demand rental in the United States. PJC
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DECEMBER 10, 2021 17
Two paradigms: Yosef and Yehuda
Ruby Elizabeth Aronson,is the daughter of Michael and Leslie Aronson, and older sister of Maya Aronson. Grandparents are Ellen and Philip Stein (z”l), Ellen and Jeff Primis, and Mark Aronson. Ruby is in the sixth grade at Environmental Charter School. Outside of school she enjoys ski racing, summer camp in the Finger Lakes, dancing and spending time with her family, friends, cat and dog. Ruby will be celebrating her bat mitzvah on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, at Chabad of Squirrel Hill.
Engagement With happiness and joy Lester and Leslie Frischman announce the engagement of their daughter, Charlotte, to Jake Titlebaum, son of David and Michelle Titlebaum of Westport, Connecticut. Charlotte is the granddaughter of the late Leon and Pauline Kroll and the late Milton and Rosalyn Frischman. Jake is the grandson of Cynthia Weissman of Boca Raton, Florida, Robert and Carol Weissman of Stuart, Florida, Phyllis Titlebaum of Naples, Florida, and the late Alan Titlebaum. Charlotte is a senior talent acquisition manager at Melio in New York City. Jake works in sales and operations at Radiate Textiles for his father in Norwalk, Connecticut, and High Point, North Carolina. Charlotte and Jake reside in Greensboro, North Carolina. A 2023 wedding is planned. PJC
Rodef Shalom’s rabbi takes leave of absence
abbi Aaron Bisno, Rodef Shalom Congregation’s senior rabbi, has taken a leave of absence “to have some time away from work,” the congregation’s president, Matthew Falcone, announced in a Nov. 30 email to congregants. “We know that when someone important to the congregation takes a bit of time away, it can feel unsettling,” Falcone wrote. “However, please know that our senior leadership, board, and staff have been working to put special measures in place to ensure the congregation is running smoothly during Rabbi Bisno’s leave.” No details were provided as to the particular reasons for the leave or its anticipated length. Bisno has served Rodef Shalom since June 2004. While Bisno is on leave, Rabbi Sharyn
Henry, who has served the congregation since 1999, will “be here for our spiritual needs and concerns,” Falcone said in his email. Henry, Molly May and Don Megahan will be leading worship services and providing pastoral care. While Bisno is away, the congregation will “probably bring someone in on a temporary basis” to provide additional support, Falcone told the Chronicle. Falcone added that he hoped Bisno’s leave “will be as brief as possible. We are anticipating it will be through the end of the calendar year.” In his email, Falcone asked the congregation to contact Rodef Shalom’s staff with any questions, rather than contacting the rabbi directly “out of respect for Rabbi Bisno.” Bisno declined to comment. PJC — Toby Tabachnick
JEWISH CEMETERY BURIAL ASSOCIATION RESTORATION ✡ PRESERVATION ✡ CONTINUIT Y
Thank You to our 2021 Donors Your support enables us to continue the important work of preserving, protecting and sustaining cemeteries in our region. JCBA is committed to proper care and maintenance of sacred grounds, preserving existing rituals, and is devoted to the stewardship of Jewish cemeteries. An important part of the JCBA mission is the age-old custom of ensuring a proper burial for those in our community who are truly in need, or individuals who have no one to take care of them. Your generosity enables us to continue this sacred and vital work. Thank you. For more information about JCBA cemeteries, to volunteer, to read our complete histories and/or to make a contribution, please visit our website at www.JCBApgh.org, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the JCBA office at 412-553-6469 JCBA’s expanded vision is made possible by a generous grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community Foundation
18 DECEMBER 10, 2021
Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum Parshat Vayigash Genesis 44:18 – 47-27
his week’s Torah portion, Vayigash, represents the final act in a drama between Yosef and his siblings. Yosef had demanded that his brothers set Binyamin before him in order to buy food for their families. Their father, Yaakov, first refuses this request, but finally complies. The brothers bring Binyamin down to Egypt and Yosef gives them grain. However, before the brothers can return home, Binyamin is accused of theft and Yosef claims him as his slave. At this point, Yehuda steps forward. He recounts their journeys. He describes his father’s love for Binyamin. Then he begs, “So now, please let your servant remain as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go up with his brothers.” In response, Yosef breaks character and reveals himself to his stunned siblings.
higher level of teshuva and his self-sacrifice for Binyamin, as the Torah testifies: “Yosef could not abide the presence of all those standing around him, so he announced ‘Remove every man from my presence.’ Thus, no man stood in Yosef ’s presence when he made himself known to his brothers.” In other words, Yosef was no longer second in command to Pharoah, king of Egypt. He was no longer the nation’s director of food distribution. He was no longer Egypt’s representative to the world. Yehuda’s sincerity and conviction empowered Yosef to reveal his true identity: “I am Yosef!” he says simply. The Zohar states that in the future, Moshiach (Jewish messiah) will make the tzadikim (perfectly) righteous do teshuva. If a person is a tzadik, he has no sins. So why does he need repentance/return? While he has no need to repent for a sin, he can always deepen his relationship with his Creator. Moshiach will empower the tzadik and every individual to break through their boundaries and to get “in touch” with the Divine. Knowing this, we can answer two further questions.
According to our sages, Yosef and Yehuda represent two paradigms. Yosef represents the righteous individual. … Yehuda is the paradigm of the baal teshuva, someone who has overcome challenges. What made Yosef change his mind? He wasn’t moved earlier when Yehuda described the effect that Binyamin’s capture would have on his father before. So why should Yehuda’s final plea, “For how can I go up to my father when the boy is not me,” change Yosef ’s mind? One possible answer is that Yosef wasn’t convinced by something that Yehuda said, but by something that Yehuda did. According to our sages, Yosef and Yehuda represent two paradigms. Yosef represents the righteous individual. He was able to descend to Egypt, a place of immorality and superstition, and not be affected. Yehuda is the paradigm of the baal teshuva, someone who has overcome challenges. There are various levels of teshuva. On the most fundamental level, it means taking responsibility for one’s actions and expressing remorse. Yet there is a higher level of teshuva, which involves rectifying the misdeed to the point where it becomes like a merit. Who was responsible for Yosef being sold as a slave? Yehuda! Now Yehuda was begging for the chance to become a slave! And to whom? Yosef! Yet this episode isn’t just about Yehuda and Yosef. It centers on the youngest of Yaakov’s sons,’ Binyamin. Yehuda was willing to sacrifice his personal freedom, his future with his own family, and even his ability to see his father again to save Binyamin from such a fate. Yosef was unable to withstand Yehuda’s
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
There are three names given to the Jewish people: Hebrews, after the term iverim, referring to “those on the other side of the river”; Bnai Yisroel, after Yaakov’s second name; and, most commonly, Yehudim, or Jews, after Yehuda. Yehuda is related to the word lehodot, meaning “to thank, or praise” as well as to “admit.” In essence, it describes a process of communication and unification — not just with another person, but with Hashem. More than any other name, Yehuda describes who we really are. The second question is: Why does Moshiach come from Yehuda rather than Yosef or any of the other tribes? One answer can be found in the spelling of Yehuda. In Hebrew, it is spelled yud, hey, vav, daled, hey. Notice that Yehuda contains the four letters of Hashem’s Supernal name that is not pronounced, along with the letter daled. More than any other name, Yehuda reflects the intrinsic relationship we have to the Creator. Currently, that relationship is hidden by the Hebrew letter daled, referring to four spiritual worlds, from the highest and most G-d-like down to our material world. When Moshiach is revealed, we will experience Divinity symbolized by the four letters of Yehuda’s name with our physical eyes. May it occur immediately. PJC Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum is CEO of Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh and rabbi of Congregation Kesser Torah. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Obituaries COHEN: Richard (“Dick”) Lawrence Cohen, formerly of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, passed away in his home in Cary, North Carolina, on Nov. 4, 2021. He had just celebrated his 99th birthday. Dick was the husband of Sally Bloom Cohen of Pittsburgh, and the late Mildred Kutner of Philadelphia. He is survived by his two sons, Robert (Linda Tramel) and Paul Cohen; stepdaughters, Margery Amdur and Ellen Amdur Andelman (Martin); grandsons, Jacob and Alexander (“AJ”) Rubel; sisterin-law, Adele Cohen; and many loved nieces and nephews. Dick was preceded in death by his parents, William and Theresa Cohen of Philadelphia, and his brother, Mark Cohen, M.D., of Wilmington, Delaware. Dick received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and later served as a physician in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. After developing his psychiatric practice in Philadelphia, Dick moved to Pittsburgh and served as director of the Pittsburgh Child Guidance Center for several years. The rest of Dick’s medical career was spent at the University of Pittsburgh’s Medical School and Western Psychiatric Institute where Dick was the director of the Program for Children and Adolescents. Dick was an active member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and was its president in 1991 and 1992. During his “retirement,” he was director of the Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School.
One of Dick’s greatest interests was teaching and training medical students. He was an avid reader and writer. His professional research was published in many medical journals and texts. He also authored “House Officer,” a study of how and why medical students ultimately select an area of practice, as well as multiple works of fiction. Dick’s love of music was reflected by his substantial collection of jazz and classical tapes and albums which ultimately provided the foundation for various courses he taught to fellow seniors at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Dick was respected and admired by his friends and colleagues and dearly loved by his family. Memorial contributions can be made to the charity of your choice. FRANK: Leslie Ivan Frank, age 76, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, in Delray Beach, Florida. Pittsburgh was his native home for 74 of those years, living in Squirrel Hill, Shadyside and Nevillewood. He graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School and Michigan State University. For over 40 years he was associated with Bev-O-Matic Company in Homestead, Pennsylvania, serving as president in later years. Since he was 10 years of
age, he was an avid golfer belonging to several country clubs in the Pittsburgh area. His love of travel took him to many places throughout the world where he rode camels in the deserts of Morocco, horses in Argentina and climbed Machu Picchu. His personality, wit and sense of humor were his special attributes with his many friends and acquaintances. He is survived by his beloved wife of 20 years, Kelsy Cohen Frank, daughter Megan Frank and granddaughter, Brooke Maurer. He is predeceased by his son Brennan Frank and his parents, Walter and Fritzi Frank. He is also survived by his stepdaughter, Elizabeth Milewski (Matt) and grandchildren Ellis and Emory, his sister Elsa Beckerman (Kenneth) and a niece and nephews. Services at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, at 11 a.m. Visitation one hour prior to services (10 - 11 a.m.). Interment Homewood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to First Tee Pittsburgh, 5370 Schenley Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. schugar.com GINSBERG: Miriam “Mimi” Ginsberg passed away peacefully on Dec. 3, 2021. Beloved wife of the late Hy man Ginsberg for more than 65 years. Beloved daughter
of the late Thomas and Jennie Seiner. Adored mother of Dr. Jay Ginsberg (Janice) of East Lyme, Connecticut, Ellen Ginsberg Roteman (Michael) and Sam Ginsberg (Nancylee) of Pittsburgh, and David Ginsberg (Daphne) of Los Angeles, California. Proud Grandma of Shaina Bodenheim (Michael) of Passaic, New Jersey, Joshua Hyde (Vered) of Herzliyah, Israel, Daniel Ginsberg (Alexandra) of Brooklyn, New York, Dylan Ginsberg of Pittsburgh, and the late Ryan Ginsberg. Cherished great-grandma of Leah, Rina, Naftali and Chaim Bodenheim. Beloved sister of Elkie Secher of Pittsburgh and the late Joan Lasday of Delray Beach, Florida. Much loved aunt of several nieces and nephews. Mimi took tremendous pride in her family and she will always be remembered as the loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and aunt that she was. She will also be remembered for her lifetime of service to the Pittsburgh Jewish community. Born on Jan. 28, 1927, Mimi attended Taylor Allderdice High School and the University of Pittsburgh, where she began her leadership career as president of her sorority, Phi Sigma. She was a life member of many organizations, including Hadassah, which she served as president of the Pittsburgh chapter, as well as president of the Aviva Group. She was honored many times by Hadassah including with the National Hadassah Leadership Award and the Youth Aliyah “Ima” Award. In 2007 she was honored by the Jewish Association on Aging Please see Obituaries, page 20
2021Year-End Tax Planning Strategies by Glenn Venturino, CPA and James Lange, CPA/Attorney
If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to start thinking about cutting this year’s taxes and/or considering whether you should make a Roth IRA conversion. Let us look at some tax-planning considerations that can help lower your 2021 tax bill or reduce future taxes beyond 2021. For 2021 year-end tax planning purposes, once again we highly recommend that taxpayers who have yet to implement Roth conversions in 2021 to consider doing so. In the right situation, strategic Roth conversion planning can utilize incremental tax costs while also providing a tax-free retirement nest egg account. Please read Chapter 6 of our book, The IRA and Retirement Plan Owner’s Guide to Beating the New Death Tax, which describes Roth IRA conversions after the passing of the SECURE Act. Making Roth conversions used to be considered an “offensive strategy” meaning you would likely get a great result for your family if you made the appropriate Roth IRA conversions. Today, with the SECURE Act, we are recommending Roth conversions for many clients as a “defensive strategy.” That is, you and your family might suffer horrendous consequences by not doing Roth conversions. Some of those draconian consequences could be avoided or at least reduced by doing the appropriate Roth IRA conversion. Please feel free to watch our recent Roth IRA conversion workshop available at https://PayTaxes Later.com/roth-workshop. In the continuing effort to offset COVID-19 financial hardships to American taxpayers, in March 2021, The American Rescue Act was signed
To read the remainder of our year-end tax planning strategies, please visit our website:
into law and some provisions are highlighted. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) brought significant tax reform changes for both individuals and businesses that have now become relevant. Many of the new changes that took place in 2018 were anything but simple. One change that affected millions of taxpayers was the elimination or drastic reduction of certain itemized deductions on Schedule A. Nearly 90% of taxpayers utilize the standard deduction in lieu of itemizing their tax deductions since the law change took place. While this change did simplify the tax return filing for many, there are still plenty of tax-savvy ideas to consider. With many taxpayers no longer itemizing deductions, additional focus should shift to Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) tax planning. Reducing your AGI can increase tax deductions, increase certain tax credits, and reduce exposure to other taxes. Itemized Deductions: We have a higher standard deduction allowance in 2021 ($12,550 for individuals, $14,250 if 65 or over, $25,100 for married filing jointly, $27,800 if 65 or over). There are also significant limitations on what we may include for itemized deductions.
For those taxpayers who typically never itemized their deductions, the increase in the standard deduction is welcome. For itemizers, particularly if you pay high real estate taxes and state and local income taxes, the change in itemized deductions generally hurt you.
Gaming the Standard Deduction Allowance vs. Itemizing Deductions Bunching Strategy: Bunching your itemized deductions is a technique that involves accumulating deductions, so they are high in one year and low in the following year. You can benefit from the “bunching” strategy. It’s very typical for most taxpayers to wait until tax time to add up everything and use the higher of the standard deduction or their itemized deductions. It should be easier for most taxpayers to project their total itemized deductions before the end of 2021 due to the elimination of certain itemized deductions and limitations on others [State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction]. By being proactive, you can time the payments of tax-deductible items to maximize your itemized deductions in one year while using the standard deduction the following year.
Bunching Charitable Donations: Consider bunching charitable donations every other year while taking the standard deduction in the off years. A popular vehicle for maximizing your charitable donations is the use of a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). The DAF functions as a conduit. The taxpayer gets an immediate tax deduction up to certain limits when the money is directed into the fund. The donor decides what charities will receive the money and when it shall be paid out. In a highincome year, front loading the fund with a larger contribution can be quite nice. By the way, the assets within the fund also enjoy tax-free growth. Please note that the 100% of AGI charitable contribution limit for 2021 does not apply to DAFs. A reminder: if you qualify and have not received your 2021 stimulus check, it can be claimed as a recovery rebate credit on your 2021 tax return.
YOURS FREE... If you would like a free copy of Jim’s book, The IRA and Retirement Plan Owner’s Guide to Beating the New Death Tax, simply call Edie Britton at 412-521-2732.
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The foregoing content from Lange Financial Group, LLC is for informational purposes only, subject to change, and should not be construed as investment or tax advice. Those seeking personalized guidance should seek a qualified professional.
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
DECEMBER 10, 2021 19
Obituaries Obituaries: Continued from page 19
as one of the Eight Over Eighty leaders in the Jewish community for a lifetime of service and leadership. She has also been honored by the Israel Bonds Pittsburgh Women’s Council and many other organizations. Mimi was very active in the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, where she served as a board member and a member of the Community Planning Committee and Campaign Cabinet, as well as serving the Women’s Division as a vice president and chairing the Speakers Bureau, Leadership Development, Campaign Workers Training and various campaign divisions. She was honored by the Federation as a Volunteer of the Year. Mimi was a founding member and co-chair of Community Day School’s Grandparents Association and she volunteered at Family House. Her spirit of volunteerism is embodied in her remark that, “Being a professional volunteer is the most exciting and challenging job. It’s creative, nurturing, lifesaving and life sustaining — and enabling. And it is a part of the Jewish tradition.” A hostess extraordinaire, Mimi loved a good party and took great joy in welcoming guests into her home for Shabbat, Chanukah and other holidays, as well as to larger settings for celebrations of family milestones. She was at her happiest ensuring that everyone enjoyed and shared in special occasions. Mimi will be greatly missed by all who
knew her. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside, on Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. Interment at Kether Torah Cemetery. Contributions in Mimi’s memory may be made to the Hyman and Miriam Ginsberg Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh or the Jewish Association on Aging. Shiva will be observed at the residence of Ellen and Michael Roteman, from Dec. 6 until Dec. 12, excluding Friday evening, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., with minyan at 7 p.m. The family has requested that those attending the funeral and shiva please be vaccinated and wear masks. schugar.com REICHLIN: Rita Reichlin (née Rubinoff), Nov. 25, 2021, of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Wife of Stanley Reichlin; mother of Caryn Johnson (Malcolm), Jonathan Reichlin (Lisa Bardarson) and the late William “Billy” Reichlin; sister of Richard Rubinoff (Jo Anne) and Marcia Rosenthal (the late Gordon); beloved grandmother of Dr. Jaime, Chloe (Kenny), Anna (Ian), Rae and Lily; great-grandmother of Sloane, Tyler, Coraline, Kaylee and Mikayla. Beloved aunt of Amy Rubinoff, Caryn Rubinoff, Michael Rubinoff, Dan Rubinoff, Lee Rosenthal and Lecia Rosenthal. Services are private. The family respectfully requests contributions, in lieu of flowers, be made to Ronald McDonald House, in memory of Rita Reichlin, at philarmh.org or Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, 3925 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19104. levinefuneral.com SOLOMON: “Sol” Jarmell Solomon, on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. Beloved husband of 64 years to Ethel Jarmell. Adored father of Barbara (Jon) Schwartz, Mitchell Jarmell and Jay Jarmell. Brother of the later Shirley Wilbur and Paul Jarmell. Grandpa of Elliot (Hannah Gibson) Snyder, David (Jessica) Snyder, Sarah, Joseph, Kaitlyn and Steven Jarmell. Great-grandfather of Jacob Steel Snyder. Graveside service and interment were held at Poale Zedeck Memorial Park Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Adat Shalom Synagogue, 368 Guys Run Road, Cheswick, PA 15024 or UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 4401 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com STAHL: Miriam F. Stahl, 71, on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. Beloved daughter of the late Benjamin and Freda Katz Stahl, beloved sister of the late Jayne H. Stahl. Cousin of Joel and Goldie Katz of Point Breeze and Gerald and Barbara Katz of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Dear lifelong friend of Marilee Glick of Point Breeze. Mimi was the former owner of Rings & Things. Services were held at Homestead Hebrew Cemetery. Arrangements were entrusted to D’Alessandro Funeral Home. WEISBERG: Dorothy “Dotty” Weisberg, on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Beloved wife of
Dr. Edward “Fast Eddie” Weisberg. Beloved mother of Hannah Jo Weisberg and Molly Pashel. Sister of Carolyn (Al) Reynolds. Grandmother of Waverly June Pashel. Aunt of Lauren Reynolds and Taylor McAuley. Dotty was the perfect combination of Princess Diana, Bette Midler and Glinda the Good Witch. Best described as “unconditional love personified.” Nurse by trade, but her true purpose in life was to be a mother. Dotty was married to the love of her life for 38 years and he’ll continue to adore her for the rest of his life. She raised two beautiful biological children and was a second mother to numerous others. She served as president of Hadassah, was extremely active in the Jewish community, and giant supporter of the arts. The definition of class and grace, she always led by example and lied only about her age. The world is a little darker without her in it, but she will live on in the hearts of the countless people who loved her. Her memory is already a blessing. Services and interment private. Contributions may be made to Hadassah, hadassah.org/donate or M&D Playhouse, 78 Grove Street, #341, North Conway, NH 03860. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com PJC
Jewish Association on Aging gratefully acknowledges contributions from the following: A gift from …
In memory of …
Faye Bleiberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bessie Bleiberg Faye Bleiberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Max Mallinger Faye Bleiberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Morris Krantz Joyce Diamondstone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Naomi Freedman Sherwin Glasser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joseph Goldhammer Sherwin Glasser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eleanor F. Glasser Edward M. Goldston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Izzy Brown Edward M. Goldston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Lepke Brown Edward M. Goldston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Anne B. Goldston Lynne Gottesman and Debra Ritt . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Fred Gottesman Sharon Greenfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Racille Olender Light Sharon Greenfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marvin Olender Cheryl Kalson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bella Kalson
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Shirley E. Preny . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bessie M. Bleiberg Shirley E. Preny . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Diane S. Friedman Rita Reese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Edward F. Reese, MD Anne D. Rosenberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Edward David Rosenberg Paula Rofey Singer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Anna Ruben Harold C. Weiss. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Marian Weiss Susan Zeff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rebecca Cody Susan Zeff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harry Zeff Susan Zeff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Deanna Zeff Ostrow
D’Alessandro Funeral Home and Crematory Ltd.
Joan M. Zeiden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Milton Zeiden Joan M. Zeiden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Albert Epstein Joan M. Zeiden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Anna Epstein
“Always A Higher Standard”
Dustin A. D’Alessandro, Supervisor • Daniel T. D’Alessandro, Funeral Director
4522 Butler St. • Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (412) 682-6500 • www.dalessandroltd.com
THIS WEEK’S YAHRZEITS — Sunday December 12: Mollie Gilberd, Ida L. Gusky, Israel Herring, Eva Katz, Rose Levine, Lib H. Levy, Stanley Myles Perilman, Milton Henry Platt, Elsie Wintner Rosenberg, Celia Siff*, M. Alan Slone, Minnie Stein Monday December 13: Lepke Brown, Florence Burechson, Linda Elmaleh, Joseph L. Friedman, Anne B. Goldston, Harry Gordon, Fred Gottesman, Freda Halpert Gross, Irvin Grossman, William M. Kahanowitz, Bessie Levine, Joseph A. Mervis, Bessie Recht, Max Selkovits, Joseph Sigal, Harold Sylvan Soltman
PITTSBU RGH NEWEST ’S FUNERA L HOME
Tuesday December 14: Herbert Burechson, Nelson Carl Cotlov, Sylvia S. Cramer, Lena Diznoff, Fanny R. Goldstein, Jerome S. Goldstein, Louis S. Klee, Seymour Kramer, Leah Krauss Lenchner, Simon Linton, Anita Middleman, Nathan A. Pearlman, Abe Robin, Esther Rothman, Anna Ruben, Edward F. Stein, Estelle Strauss, Eleanor Lee Swartz, Harry Tannenbaum, Rose Weinberger Wednesday December 15: Minerva Aschkenas, Rose Fruhlinger Berger, Joseph M. Cohen, Avrom Dobkin*, Miriam L. Gallow, Harry Green, Max Greenberg, Rose Kalser, Harry Kaufman, Benjamin Knina, Louis Levin, Jack I. Mallinger, Esther Marks, Helen Rosenbloom, Louis Silverblatt, Florence Silverman Thursday December 16: Mary Dine, Saul Franklin, Diane Friedman, Eleanor Glasser, Lena Goldstein, Saul M. Gordon, Tillie Green, Rena R. Labbie, Herbert Lenchner, Lillian M. Levick, Samuel Moses, Leonard Rofey, Lilly E. Rosenberg, Zelda Sadowsky, Hyman Schwartz, Marion Segal, Rachel Seidenstein, Kenneth Zapler Friday December 17: Darlene D. Beck, Harold E. Caplan, Abraham Cohen, Jacob Coon, Molly Crea, Jacob Harry Feingold, David S. Finkel, Samuel Goldblatt, Phillip Jacobson, Louis C. Klein, Leonard L. Launer, Sidney Linzer, Hyman Mallinger, Marvin L. Olender, Seymour N. Seltman, Belle Skirboll, Dorothy Stein, Lena Steinfeld, Arthur J. Stern, Sam Warmstein, Edith Wolinsky Saturday December 18: Dora S. Birnbaum, Hyman Bleckman, Violetmae Caplan, Sarah Gerson, Anna Lebovitz Glick, Jack Green, Benjamin Hushan, Helen Karnold, Sonia B. Lewinter, Henry Mustin, Carrie W. Nevins, Rose Rosenberg, Irvin Skirboll, Leo B. Stoller, M. D., Yetta Weiss, Jacob Wolk
20 DECEMBER 10, 2021
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PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
1650 GREENTREE ROAD • PITTSBURGH, PA 15220 412.563.2800 • FAX 412.563.5347
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FOX CHAPEL MEWS • $599,000 Stunning, move in ready condo with every updated amenity! Just hang up your clothes! 3 BR, 3 BA, double patio, storage galore, and steps from the elevator. The Mews offers indoor pool, exercise room, outdoor tennis, and beautiful guest suites. Convenient location to all city areas, and walking distance for coffee or shopping. Shown by appointment with Etta Golomb. 412-725-6524 LAWRENCEVILLE • $659,000 • MCCLEARY SCHOOL CONDO Spectacular 3 bedroom 2 bath condo. McCleary School Condo. Great for a family. Mile high ceilings, 9.5 ft. island, sleek counter tops stainless appliances. 2 car covered parking. Bldg. amenities include roof top deck, exercise room, dog washing station. SHADYSIDE • $185,000 Only a few doors from Walnut and Starbucks. Adorable garden apartment with parking. Rarely one on market. Pets permitted.
Close to hospitals and universities, down the street from many restaurants and shops.
SQUIRREL HILL • $349,900 • MELVIN STREET REDUCED! 2-story family home awaits your family. 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2nd floor laundry. First floor living room, dining room, remodeled kitchen and a large, versatile room with cathedral ceiling that can be used as a wonderful family room, office, den, primary bedroom suite, or in-law suite. Devin Canofari 412-552-9115
The real estate market is very strong! If you are wondering what your house would sell for, please give me a call!
Jordana Zober Cutitta, Realtor, Associate Broker, MBA 412-657-3555 | Jordanazc@kw.com
SHADYSIDE • THE HIGHWOOD CONDO • $169,000 Charming 2 bedroom with great windowsIand NG light, hard wood floors, END units rarely come on the market. roof top deck and assigned parking. PThese Permitted to have 2 cats.
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In the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle For home delivery, call 410.902.2308
Jason A. Smith & Caryn Rosenthal Jason: 412-969-2930 | Caryn: 412-389-1695 Jasonasmith@howardhanna.com Carynrosenthal@howardhanna.com
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PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
DECEMBER 10, 2021 21
Community YAD Chanukah Party
Light Up Night 7
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh hosted an evening of joy and light to celebrate Chanukah at their Young Adult Division Chanukah Bash at Iron City Circus Arts on Dec. 4.
p Rabbi Daniel Fellman of Temple Sinai, left, joins Rabbi Ron Symons of the JCC during a combined Havdalah and menorah lighting ceremony on Dec. 4. Photo courtesy of Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
p Eden Sittsamer, Dylan Nagy, Tori Weiner and Adam Livingston
p Fourth-graders Talia Goldwasser, left, Aliza Goldwasser, Chana Cohen, Naomi Martel, Adira Levy and Aria Small prepare for a Chanukah-related performance. Photo courtesy of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Girls on the run to do good
p David Knoll (YAD board chair), Rebecca Knoll, Zachary Spigel, Tanya Koul Strausbaugh (Ben-Gurion Society co-chair) and Carolyn Slayton (Federation YAD staff) p Girls on the Run, an afterschool program at the Squirrel Hill JCC, includes a 100% girl-driven service project. This year, the girls chose a bake sale, with proceeds donated to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Photo courtesy of Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Lunch and learn
p Scott Fedan, Jessica Fedan, Alexander Goodstein (YAD Outreach & Engagement chair), Aaron Weiss and Emily Weiss Photos courtesy of Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
22 DECEMBER 10, 2021
p Chabad of Squirrel Hill hosted a Dec. 1 lunch and learn about “The Kabbalah of Miracles.” Photo courtesy of Kelly Schwimer
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Appeal The Chronicle keeps me connected to Jewish Pittsburgh Goldie W. Stein (z”l), passed away at the age of 95, Pittsburgh read of our loss in the Chronicle. When my wife and I got married on the bimah in the main sanctuary at Beth Shalom we announced our simcha in the Chronicle. And when my sons were born, we kvelled in the Chronicle. The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle connects Jewish Pittsburgh and connects me. This community is an integral part of who I am, and we are all an integral part of this community. And yet the future of the Chronicle is not guaranteed. The future of all media is being challenged these days. The subscription model, where readers must pay for the quality journalism they consume, is no longer viable. The advertisement model has also become a casualty of the internet and the COVID pandemic. For publications like the Chronicle, old ways are giving way to a more substantially donordriven business model. The Chronicle relies on the generosity of the members of our community not only to survive, but also to thrive. It’s incumbent upon us to carry the torch; to continue the legacy of our ancestors to support our community and to guarantee the future of the Jewish people. It’s incumbent upon us that we connect with each other and stay connected, that we celebrate our simchas together and grieve our losses together. The product is greater than the sum of its parts, and we are Stronger Together. At this festive time of the year, as the treasurer of this award-winning publication, as your neighbor, as your friend, and as your brother, I beseech you: Support our community. Support our valuable institutions and the infrastructure we’ve built for ourselves. Support The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle — and stay connected! PJC
Guest Columnist By Evan H. Stein
was born in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh’s largest Jewish neighborhood, our own little slice of Anatevka. I went to Hebrew school three days a week, became a bar mitzvah on the bimah in Beth Shalom’s main sanctuary, continued my Jewish education at the School of Advanced Jewish Studies (SAJS), went to Jewish summer camp, am a member of the Jewish Community Center, support the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, buy kosher meat at the local butcher and light candles on yontif. Our tradition teaches us l’dor vador: that our rituals are handed down to us from generation to generation. And we are the beneficiaries of the values and commitments of our ancestors who came years, decades and generations before us. Our predecessors and ancestors invested in the success of their descendants. They built foundations and infrastructure to ensure the future for their children. They built houses of worship, community centers, food banks, and health and senior care facilities. They established funds and endowments to help our brothers and sisters in need to eat and pay their rent. They gave generously of themselves to secure the future of their children. The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle is one of the core assets that brings depth to Jewish Pittsburgh. What more tangible evidence of the strength of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community than that it has a publication that was nominated for 12 Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western PA last year? What further proof is there of the quality of the publication that we’ve built than two
recent Rockower awards from the American Jewish Press Association? And what more proof of success can we demonstrate than being one of five Jewish media outlets in the
country to be selected to participate in the inaugural Jewish Journalism Fellowship of the Maimonides Fund? When the matriarch of our family, my Gram
Evan H. Stein is the treasurer of the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle and is the founder and managing partner of FSA Consulting/ Green Light Wireless.
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PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
DECEMBER 10, 2021 23
Empire Kosher Fresh Bone-In Split Chicken Breasts
• All-natural poultry — whole chickens, breasts, wings and more
• 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, December 9 through Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Available at 24 DECEMBER 10, 2021
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE