Style Schmuley talks Michael Famous Chabad rabbi takes questions about pop icon, book Page 12
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE thejewishchronicle.net JANUARY 27, 2011 Shevat 22, 5771
Vol. 53, No. 39
Israel advocates cautious about leaked papers
A Jewish Twedding
BY TOBY TABACHNICK Staff Writer
Twedding started about two years ago. Eli, a contracts manager, and Anthony, a teen-parent advocate, were married after dating in college, in a simple, civil ceremony. As Anthony was Catholic, there was no Jewish wedding option; the issue of conversion was long tabled. But when Anthony underwent a heart transplant in March 2009 after years with congenital heart defects, he finally felt ready to convert — he became a Jew in April 2010. With the Twedding, Anthony said, “We’re making it official.”
Until scholars have had the opportunity to study the 1,600 documents purporting to reflect years of negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian officials, which were leaked this week by the Al Jazeera cable news channel, the effect those documents will have on the ongoing Mideast peace process will remain in question. Still, there is speculation that, if the documents are accurate, longstanding public perceptions could be shattered. Some of the documents reveal that during the 2008 round of talks, the Palestinian Authority was willing to concede much more to Israel than it was acknowledged publicly, including giving up the so-called “right of return” for a strict limit on the number of refugees to be absorbed by Israel, as well as giving up its claim to almost all of the East Jerusalem settlements. Some Palestinian officials have denied the authenticity of the documents, and have accused the Gulf state of Qatar, where Al Jazeera is based, of using the channel to weaken the West Bank’s Palestinian leadership. The British newspaper, The Guardian, published parts of the documents as well. The Palestinian Authority has almost no presence in Gaza, where rival group Hamas is the dominant political force. If all, or many, of the documents reflect the actual negotiating positions of the Palestinian Authority, the revelations could pose problems for P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas. His administration could be perceived by the Palestinian street as weak, and being willing to sell out their constituents. Moreover, Israel’s longtime claim that it has no true Palestinian partner in the peace process could come into question. “I don’t know whether anyone will
Please see Twedding, page 23.
Please see Papers, page 23.
Chronicle photo by Justin Jacobs
Anthony and Eli Pugliese look over their ketuba before heading to Israel for their 25th anniversary Twedding.
Local couple to hold Twitter-organized wedding in Israel BY JUSTIN JACOBS Associate Editor
For their 25th wedding anniversary, Eli and Anthony Pugliese had always dreamed of a Jewish wedding ceremony in Jerusalem. There was only one problem: getting friends and family there was way too pricey. So Eli turned to a different family — her followers on social media site Twitter. And now, on Feb. 17, the couple, along with their son, Evan, will celebrate a quarter-decade together with 40 guests — most of whom they’ve never met.
A group of American and Israeli Jews who band together on Twitter under the name Twitpacha (Eli’s creation, a combination of Twitter and mishpacha, or family), who know each other almost exclusively through interactions online, came to the Puglieses’ aid to help plan their, as it came to be known, Twedding — from booking the venue to finding a dress to the reception music. “This is a total Internet endeavor,” said Eli, who also blogs for the Chronicle. “I’ve really been working the web on this.” The genesis of the Jeannette couple’s
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Times To Remember
KINDLE SABBATH CANDLES: 5:14 p.m. EST. SABBATH ENDS: 6:16 p.m. EST.
2 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011
Metro A lite in the theater
Freda Alber performed on Pittsburgh stage for half-a-century BY LEE CHOTTINER Executive Editor
In an acting career that spanned 60 years, Freda Alber played roles as diverse as Queen Gertrude in “Hamlet” and Yenta the Matchmaker in “Fiddler on the Roof.” And she performed most of them in Pittsburgh, the only city she ever wanted to call home. Alber died Thursday, Jan. 20, at the Charles Morris Center in Squirrel Hill, where she lived for the last two years of her life. She was 99. Born Freda Cazen on May 18, 1911, at Magee Hospital in Oakland, Alber, who grew up in the lower Hill District, never quite explained why she wanted to act. Her son, Stephen Alber, asked her once, but said she didn’t really answer. “I think she was born that way,” Stephen said. “Some people are born with blue eyes, some are born with brown hair. I think she was born with an actor’s gene.” If so, she used it well. Alber majored in drama at Carnegie Tech,. After she graduated, she moved to New York, at the urging of her future husband, Elliot. “He said ‘Go take your shot.’ ” Stephen said.
And she did, finding work in several radio soap operas of the day. But she missed Pittsburgh and returned home. “She didn’t like being alone,” her son said. “She was a Pittsburgh kid. She liked Pittsburgh.” Here, Alber made a name for herself as a talented local actress in community theaters as well as Jewish organizations, for whom she did several dramatic readings at social functions. She made another foray into radio in the 1950s when she assumed the role of Eve in the series “Adam and Eve,” the story of contemporary Jewish family. The show was part of the larger radio program, “Hadassah Speaks.” Alber also appeared in several stage performances over the years, including the 1960 Pittsburgh Playhouse production of “Tevye and His Daughters,” based on the stories of Shalom Aleichem, which inspired the Broadway musical, “Fiddler on the Roof.” In it, she played Tevye’s wife, Golda. The play was a hit. “At the time, it was the longest running play in Pittsburgh Playhouse history,” Stephen said. “It ran in the community theater for seven or eight months, which was unheard of.” She also performed at the “Y” Play-
Jewish Criterion photo
Freda Alber, seen here in a 1961 performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” with actor Eddie Steinfeld, died Thursday, Jan. 20.
house, did dramatic readings for celebrations of Israel’s independence, and made dramatic performances for Hadassah, Jewish Family & Children’s Service and B’nai B’rith functions, to name just a few. After “Fiddler on the Roof ” became a hit, Alber joined the cast of a local production of the musical, this time playing the role of Yenta. But her favorite role, according to her son, was that of Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” “She liked that [role] very much because of its complexity.” Generally speaking, Alber’s career spanned from 1930 to 1990. During that time she also left her mark on the Jewish community, volunteering her time for Hadassah, Friends of Technion, Pittsburgh Conference of Jewish Women’s
Organizations and other entities. In her spare time, she read. And read. “She was an avid reader — books, magazines, you name it,” Alber said. “By her nightstand was her copy of Shakespeare.” In fact, Alber amassed an impressive collection of plays over her lifetime that held value beyond her own bookshelves. “After she moved out of her apartment I donated the whole collection to the CMU Drama Department,” Stephen said. In addition to her son, Alber is survived by a daughter-in-law, Joanne Tyzenhouse; and by nieces and nephews. (Lee Chottiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011 — 3
METRO Briefly Rodef Shalom Congregation will host its annual Milton E. Harris Interfaith Institute Luncheon and Lecture Friday, Feb. 4. Joel M. Hoffman, author and lecturer, will deliver the keynote address entitled “The Bible Doesn’t Say That: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning.” Joel M. Hoffman An expert in translation, Hebrew and the Bible, Hoffman previously taught on the faculties of Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College. His latest work, “And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning,” explores how translation mistakes mask the original meaning of the Bible. The Milton E. Harris Interfaith Institute promotes interfaith understanding among southwestern Pennsylvania clergy. It focuses on areas of commonality and has allowed our region’s clergy to find a common ground to explore our differences amidst these commonalities. Contact Rodef Shalom at (412) 621–6566 or email@example.com for more information. JFilm will present a special screening of “Noodle,” the opening movie of the 2008 Pittsburgh Jewish-
Clip from the movie “Noodle”
Israeli Film Festival, Saturday, Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m., at the Carmike Galleria 5 Cinema, 1500 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon. “Noodle” is a comic drama involving an Israeli woman whose life is overly structured and the plight of an abandoned Chinese boy. The story is about relationships between sisters, wives and husbands, as well as friends and strangers. Contact JFilm at (412) 992.5203 or at http://jewishfederationpittsburgh.org/s ection.aspx?id=560 for tickets. Kollel Jewish Learning Center will present its 30th annual Melava Malka Dinner, Saturday night, Feb. 26, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill. Five people will be recognized as “Builders of the Torah” for their sponsorship of the Kollel’s new Torah. They are Abby Seigle, Marilyn Sindler, Ruth Ann Kaden, Dr. Geraldine Palkovitz and Norman Sindler. Contact Sara Weiss, executive administrator, at (412) 420-0220 Ext. 212 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Please see Briefly, page 5.
4 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011
METRO Class is in session:
And not just for kids; parents are learning, too BY TOBY TABACHNICK Staff Writer
The Jewish parents’ traditional role in their children’s religious school education has always been to drop them off at the doors of the synagogue, and to pick them up two hours later. As that role changes, some parents are finding that they must now park their cars and come inside. “Family education” is the buzz phrase for an education model that places parents in the classroom, along with their children, on a regular and ongoing basis. The idea is finding some traction. Synagogues across the country are experimenting with the model to some degree, according to Lisa Langer, education specialist for the Union for Reform Judaism. “There is a huge spectrum of family education,” Langer said. “There are many congregations trying to do something on that spectrum.” On “the intense end of the spectrum,” Langer said, is Temple Shalom, in Wheeling, W. Va., which has re-configured its religious school to include parents as students every week with their kids in grades K to 8. The Temple Shalom model was born out of necessity, said its rabbi, Beth Jacowitz Chottiner. “We have a shortage of teachers, and a small student population — 10 kids spread between the different grades,”
Chottiner said. “I was trying to figure out how we could provide the best education for our students. I had conversations with educators across the country, and the idea of the family model kept coming up.” Each Sunday morning, Chottiner meets with the children in grades six through eight for 30-minute lessons in Hebrew. Then, parents join the class for an hour of Judaics. For grades K to 4, Chottiner teaches the children Hebrew for 30 minutes, then parents join in the class for 30 minutes of Judaics. “The parents are really enjoying it,” Chottiner said. “Being in the class with the children allows them to continue the conversations throughout the day. Attendance has been good. And the kids say they like it better than the old model. Parents serve as positive Jewish role models when their children see them as active learners.” Parents attending the classes say they appreciate the value of learning along with their children, and then applying the lessons learned to situations occurring in their lives. “I’ve learned a lot, participating with my child,” said Amy Humphrey, the parent of a sixth-grader. After learning about the different levels of tzedaka, Humphrey said, she and her daughter encountered someone on the side of the road, asking for money. “That led to a conversation between my daughter and me about the different
ways we could help. We went through the levels we had learned, and talked about it. “Look, you can drop off and pick up your children from religious school,” Humphrey continued, “and when you ask them what they did, they will tell you ‘nothing.’ This format allows me to know what they’re learning.” Attending religious school with a child sends the child the message that Jewish learning is important, said Janice Meister, a parent of a sixth-grader at Temple Shalom. “It shows the child you’re interested in it, and that you’re more than willing to be there for them,” Meister said. At Beth El Congregation of the South Hills, which has a larger enrollment, Spiegel Religious School Director Fern Reinbeck has integrated parent participation into the Conservative synagogue’s more formal religious school to benefit the parents, as well as the children. “I wanted to start intergenerational learning to make it easier for parents and their children to engage in discussions and conversations about Judaic topics at home,” she said. “Maybe there are things the parents missed out on in their own religious education, or maybe they didn’t have any religious education.” Reinbeck introduced what she calls “family interactive homework.” She said it is an effort to take “baby steps” toward intergenerational learning.
“I created the interactive piece because I didn’t want to jump into the parent education model,” she said. “But I had to start building bridges.” After introducing the family homework projects, Reinbeck began a parent/child education program for each grade level, bringing the parents into the synagogue for specific programs in which to participate along with their children. In the Reform movement, there are more than two dozen congregations across the country that have some sort of ongoing family education component to their religious school programs, and Langer recently convened a network to provide support for these family models. Family schools are used in both small and large congregations. At Rodef Shalom Congregation’s Jacob Religious School, director Susan Loether is using the family model in the Family Hebrew Program. “Our goal is the same — one parent and one child combination weekly for Hebrew,” she said. “The program is set up for one hour of class each Sunday, and the parent/child team is supposed to study together for an hour during the week at home.” The parent/child team works together, and once they have begun the process of learning together, “they usually continue [the program] for all four years of Hebrew school,” Loether said. “Parents Please see Education, page 23.
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011 — 5
METRO Briefly Continued from page 3. Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner of Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va., has been appointed to the City of Wheeling Human Rights Commission. If confirmed by Wheeling City Council, Jacowitz Chottiner will succeed the late Rabbi Daniel Lowy, a member of the Rabbi Beth Jacowitz commission Chottiner since its inception. Lowy, rabbi emeritus of Temple Shalom, had been named to a new term shortly before his death, Sept. 30, 2010. Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie appointed Jacowitz Chottiner on Wednesday, Jan. 19. The Human Rights commission promotes greater equality for racial, religious and ethnic groups in the city. It investigates complaints of discrimination in employment, public accommodation, sale of property, and can initiate its own probes in these areas. Congregation Beth Shalom is hosting a winter film festival class with discussions by expert facilitators. There is no charge (donations appreciated). The three movies will be screened at Congregation Beth Shalom in the Samuel and Minnie Hyman Ballroom, 5915 Beacon St. Call
(412) 421-2288 or visit bethshalom.org for more information. All are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served. Films and facilitators are: Jan. 30, 7 p.m., Waltz with Bashir,” 2008, animated; An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict. Winner of several awards. Facilitator: Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg, professor, Carnegie Mellon University. Feb. 13, 7 p.m., “I Was There in Color,” 2009; A documentary about the newly discovered film reels of Fred Monosson showing footage from the Holocaust and the birth of the State of Israel in color. Feb. 27, 7 p.m., “Ajami,” 2008; Ajami is the religiously mixed community of Muslims and Christians in Tel Aviv. These are five stories about the everyday life in Ajami. Facilitator: Deborah Fidel, Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee. The Age Well department of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh is inviting older adults to an eight-week series, Dunkin’ Brunch. Each Dunkin’ Brunch will feature healthy food items from Dunkin’ Donuts’ DD Smart menu, a lecture by a local health and wellness professional and an exercise class. Lecture topics will range from nutrition to pain management. The series will be held Wednesdays, beginning Feb. 2, from 9:30 to 11:15 a.m., in Room 202 of the Kaufmann Building, 5738 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill. There is a charge to attend.
Dunkin’ Brunch is a program of Dunkin’ Donuts, AgeWell Pittsburgh and the JCC. Call (412) 521-8010 Ext. 225 to register. Rabbi Norman M. Cohen of Bet Shalom Congregation, Minnetonka, Minn., will speak at Rodef Shalom Congregation, Monday Jan. 31, 7 p.m. The topic will be “A Community in God’s Image?” Lay leaders, professionals, educators, parents and those interested in what an inclusive Jewish community looks like, and why including people with and without disabilities together is our Jewish way are invited. This event is sponsored by the Agency for Jewish Learning and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, and hosted by Rodef Shalom Congregation. GreenFaith and the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation have announced a three-year partnership to enhance JRF’s existing environmental initiatives by offering new educational and training opportunities to Reconstructionist congregations. JRF is the congregational arm of the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement. GreenFaith is a leading national interfaith environmental coalition whose mission is to help diverse religious communities become environmental leaders. Through the partnership, GreenFaith will provide resources to members of Reconstructionist communities, including scholarships to GreenFaith certification programs. GreenFaith will also work with JRF staff and leaders to integrate education and training in the use of JRF environ-
mental resources into the certification and fellowship programs for Reconstructionist participants, and to make presentations at key JRF meetings and conventions. “This partnership is a milestone for JRF,” Rabbi Shawn Zevit, director of Tikkun Olam for JRF, said in a prepapred statement. “The JRF has taken a stand for sustainability and Jewish life since our 1990 resolution on the environment. With GreenFaith’s help, JRF will be able to offer new, cutting edge ideas, examples, and resources on the environment and sustainability for our communities.” Zevit is a former visiting rabbi for Dor Hadash, Pittsburgh’s only Reconstructionist congregation. Reconstructionist Judaism emphasizes the importance of “Tikkun Olam,” which means “the healing and repair of the individual person and the world at large.” One piece of that is a focus on the environment. Visit jrf.org or greenfaith.org for more information. Rodef Shalom Congregation is one of 20 Reform congregations in North America selected to receive an Incubator Grant of up to $5,000 from the Union for Reform Judaism. The selections were made from a field of 170 applicants. The grants will be used to implement new programs to further engage current members and attract new members. “The decision to choose 20 out of 170 was difficult, but there were some that really grabbed our attention and made us really curious to see where they could take these creative initiatives,” Rabbi Daniel Freelander, vice president of the URJ, said in a prepared statement.
6 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011
The Jewish Chronicle
Inappropriate use: part II
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ast week, we said here that it was too bad we needed to write an editorial about Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” to describe attacks on her following the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others. Well, multiply that reserved statement by 100 and you get how we feel this week for having to take U.S. Rep. Steven Cohen to task for using the exact same term, plus an absolutely uncalled-for reference to Nazi era propagandist Josef Goebbels. Plus, he made these remarks immediately after the brouhahah over the Palin statement. And he’s Jewish. So if Palin should have known better, Cohen has absolutely no excuse. Here’s a little background. During a floor speech last week in the House of Representatives, before the body voted to repeal the new federal health care act, Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, had these words for his Republican colleagues who pushed for the bill: “They (Republicans) say it’s a
government takeover of health care — a big lie just like Goebbels. You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it. Like blood libel. That’s the same kind of thing.” By that time, Cohen was already in too deep, but he had to add this: “Germans said enough about the Jews and people believed it — believed it and you have the Holocaust. We heard on this floor — government takeover of health care.” What was he thinking? And right on the heels of the Palin mess, too. Cohen later offered up a weak apology, saying he would never do any thing to “diminish the horror of the Nazi Holocaust,” (which he did do), and that he never called Republicans Nazis (which he didn’t do). But he drew comparisons between Nazi actions and Republican actions, which is bad enough. And in today’s hostile political climate, it’s downright stupid. The Holocaust was a unique and
tragic chapter in human history. It’s a subject that should be treated reverently, a lesson to mankind that such unspeakable acts should never happen again to anyone. It should never be used to score political debating points. The same is true for loaded references such as blood libel — a term that led to the deaths of thousands of Jews long before the dawn of the 20th century. True, this is America, and free speech is protected. Palin and Cohen may say whatever they wish. They may also be held accountable for whatever they say, and they have been — rightly so. But our purpose with these editorials is not to trash a couple of politicians (that’s too easy), it is to sound the alarm that civility in our national dialogue is vanishing. Hate speech, from both sides, is widening the gap between us. If we can’t talk to each other without attacking each other — viciously — what chance have we to move this country forward? Answer: None.
Reb Bunim: A master for our times Menachem Z. Rosensaft
NEW YORK — There are two very distinct types of religious leaders: those who consider their particular ideologies and practices to be exclusive and sacrosanct, and those who seek to help others find their own respective truths, their own sources of strength, within themselves. At a time when inflexible adherence to dogma increasingly clashes with autonomous (in the Kantian sense) moral imperatives, the early 19th century teachings of Reb Simhah Bunim of Pshyskhe, the Yiddish name of the Polish town of Prszysucha, some 100 kilometers southwest of Warsaw, resonate far beyond the confines of Chasidic lore or even Jewish theology. Simhah Bunim Bonhardt, referred to most often simply and with affection as Reb Bunim, was unlike any other Chasidic master before or since in that he spoke numerous languages, including German and Polish, dressed in so-called western clothes, had been to trade fairs at Leipzig and Danzig, and enjoyed playing cards and chess with assimilated Jews. He was born in Wodzislaw in southern Poland in 1765 or 1766, the son of a German-born Maggid, or preacher. After studying at two Hungarian yeshivas, Reb Bunim married and went into business, first as a bookkeeper, then in the timber trade, and ultimately as a licensed pharmacist. It was not until 1814 that he became a rebbe (a term that, in Chasidism, encompasses the roles of master, teacher and guide), and he died 13 years later in 1827. In the superb “The Quest for Authenticity, The Thought of Reb Simhah Bunim,” the late Michael Rosen depicts an approach to
spiritual leadership in which the rebbe partners with rather than dominates his followers. As Elie Wiesel has observed, Reb Bunim embodied “the secret and strength of the true rebbe: to know how to inspire.” Reb Bunim’s friend and disciple, the enigmatic, iconoclastic Menachem Mendl of Kotzk who is the central figure of Abraham Joshua Heschel’s “A Passion for Truth,” looms as one of the dominating personalities of Chasidism. The Kotzker Rebbe’s uncompromising insistence on authenticity is encapsulated in one of his most famous aphorisms: “If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I, and you are not you.” Gentler and less acerbic, Reb Bunim was every bit as compelling in his quest for truthfulness in every aspect of human behavior. A person, he stressed, “should do everything for the sake of Heaven, without ulterior motive.” To be genuine, Reb Bunim taught, all prayer, all worship of God had to emanate spontaneously from within. “An idol is an image which is not real,” he said, “and if one’s service of God is done without the desired intention, it is a great abomination in the eyes of God, like the image used by an idol worshipper.” For Reb Bunim, praying perfunctorily by rote was utterly inadequate if not meaningless. “If keeping the Sabbath is simply a remembrance,” he observed, “namely that he remembers what he saw by his father; then even though he is called a Sabbath observer, he is not doing the will of God, for he is not thinking about that at all.” Hypocrisy was anathema to Reb Bunim. He believed that the only sinners he could not reform were liars, and among the liars he included those who lied to themselves. “ ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ ” he declared, “always meant that you should not steal from yourself, just as you must not steal from anyone else.” In contrast to other Chasidic masters, Reb Bunim was more populist than elitist.
The personality cults that prevailed at other Chasidic courts were not for him. A rebbe, he said, should “be one of the congregation, to mingle with them, and to take part in the political and social life of the Jewish community.” Moreover, he told his disciples that “someone who has the quality of learning from everyone, even from simple people speaking about mundane matters, and who finds in them some wisdom that alludes to how to serve God — such a person does not need a master at all.” As far as Reb Bunim was concerned, “no Jew, however learned and pious, may consider himself an iota better than a fellow Jew, however ignorant or irreligious the latter may be. This is confirmed by the law that if a learned and pious Jew were commanded to slay the ignorant or impious one, or be himself slain, he must accept death rather than kill the other. No one can tell whose blood is redder, and whose life is more important in the eyes of God. If a man in this crucial moment has no right to deem himself superior to another, what right can he possibly have to do so on less critical occasions?” Reb Bunim understood that self-confidence must always be balanced by humility. “A person” he said, “should have two pieces of paper, one in each pocket, to be used as necessary. On one of them [is written] ‘The world was created for me,’ and on the other, ‘I am dust and ashes.’ ” He also seemed to sense that the future was precarious. Almost as if he had a window into our own age, Reb Bunim prophesied: “Before the Messiah will come, there will be rabbis without Torah, Chasidim without Chasidism, rich men without riches, summers without heat, winters without cold, and grain stalks without grain.” (Menachem Z. Rosensaft is an adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School, a distinguished visiting lecturer at Syracuse University College of Law, and vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants.)
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011 — 7
Attempts to isolate Israel won’t succeed Guest Columnist ALAN EISNER (Editor’s note: With stepped up efforts by the Palestinian Authority to politically isolate Israel while securing international support for its own independence, the Chronicle has made the rare decision to publish an opinion piece on its front page.) WASHINGTON — A new campaign orchestrated by the Palestinian Authority to score diplomatic points and win international recognition for a unilateral declaration of independence seems to be gathering some momentum — but the effort is self-defeating and will ultimately harm Palestinians more than Israel. The campaign is being waged on three levels. First, in the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians are trying to steer through a resolution condemning Israeli settlements and demanding a halt to all construction in territories captured in 1967, including East Jerusalem. The United States, which does not want to be put into a position where it is forced to use its veto, is trying to persuade the Palestinians not to move the resolution to a vote, so far without success. Second, Palestinians are trying to persuade countries around the world to recognize their existence as an independent state with 1967 borders in preparation possibly for a U.N. General Assembly resolution in the fall followed by a unilateral declaration of independence. They have scored some successes, especially in Latin America where important countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Chile have gone along with the charade. But most key players, including Russia, the United States and the European Union, realize that such declarations amount to nothing more than a scrap of paper. Third, enemies of Israel are working
around the world to persuade companies and institutions to disinvest from Israel, break off ties with their Israeli counterparts and boycott Israeli products and individuals. The problem from the Palestinian viewpoint is that none of these tactics can ultimately deliver them what they most want or most need — true independence in their own state. This can only be achieved through tough negotiations to resolve difficult issues. Sadly, these days, prospects of a negotiated peace agreement look bleak. Palestinian leaders walked out of the talks last September and say they won’t return unless Israel freezes all building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a demand they had never previously made in almost 20 years of direct negotiations. (Editor’s note: Additionally, P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas criticized Israel and then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005 for unilaterally withdrawing from the Gaza Strip. With that in mind, current P.A. demands for unilateral action on the settlements and East Jerusalem are hypocritical.) The fate of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is one of several legitimate issues that need to be resolved. But it is far from the only issue. Israel and the Palestinians share power grids,
water resources and their economies are deeply entwined. How will they live together? How will they ensure mutual security? All this needs to be worked out. The parties also need to negotiate about refugees, Israel’s status as a homeland for the Jewish people and the status of Jerusalem. Rather than tackling these complex issues, Palestinians seem to have adopted a PR strategy aimed at isolating and weakening Israel. They tried it once before in the 1970s. It didn’t work then; it won’t work now.
Some people may not recall how diplomatically isolated Israel was at that time. The Soviet Union and the entire Eastern bloc with the single exception of Romania broke off diplomatic relations with Israel after the 1967 war. Then almost all of Africa, under heavy Arab pressure, severed ties after the 1973 war. The United Nations passed one slanted resolution after another condemning Israel. In 1975, the Palestinians and their allies managed to engineer a U.N. General Assembly resolution declaring that Zionism was a form of racism. Ultimately, none of this worked. When Soviet power collapsed, Eastern Europe, Russia and most former Soviet republics rushed to restore ties to Israel and several of these countries are now among its closest friends. Africa followed suit in the 1990s. And “Zionism equals racism” was repealed by the same body that passed it in 1991. Today, Israel has diplomatic relations with 156 countries, including Egypt and Jordan. The current Palestinian campaign may win some cheap PR successes and some empty votes – but it will make no difference to the daily lives of Palestinians, neither will it seriously dent Israel’s long-term security or international status. The big losers will not be Israelis – only Palestinians. (Alan Elsner is the senior director of strategic communications and research at The Israel Project.)
8 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011
The vote in South Sudan is for ‘the Jews of our time’ Guest Columnist CHARLES JACOBS WANYJOK, Sudan — The stars in Wanyjok’s sky blazed so bright it seemed as though God himself had switched on the lights in the vast blackness. I hadn’t seen a sky like this since I was a boy in the New Jersey countryside. It helped me understand how men from time immemorial have sought patterns in the stars — signs from the Creator of what was to come. I felt that here, in Bahr el Ghazhal province in South Sudan, God was signaling a miracle. I flew to Sudan on Jan. 6 to witness the birth of a nation. In 2005 President Bush, pressed by an unusual American grassroots human rights campaign, forced a peace treaty on both sides of the bloody conflict between the Arab-Muslim North and the mostly Christian South of Sudan, Africa’s largest country. The treaty gave the South autonomy and said that in six years it could decide if it wanted to separate from the North. We had reached that moment with this month’s referendum, whose official results are slated to be announced Feb. 14. Indications are that 99 percent of voters opted for independence. From the start, I viewed the South Sudanese as the Jews of our time, targeted
for mass murder and slavery by the government in Khartoum while the so-called civilized world sat on its hands. Since the British granted Sudan independence in 1956, the North had dominated. Swept up in the surge of Islamic fundamentalism, Sudan’s leaders in Khartoum sought to impose Islamic law throughout the country. The South rebelled, and over the decades an estimated three million were killed and tens of thousands enslaved. Though the British largely had suppressed the enslavement of blacks in Africa, the practice was rekindled by Khartoum’s war. Slave raids were used as a weapon of terror to break southern resistance. Arab militias, armed by the government, stormed African villages, killed the men and captured the women and children as religiously sanctioned war booty. Little girls were used as domestics, boys as cattle herders, women as concubines and sex slaves. The right not to be owned by another human is second only to the right to life. Yet none of the establishment human rights groups screamed out about these slaves. In 1994 Mohammed Athie, a Mauritanian Muslim refugee, and I published an Op-Ed in The New York Times telling the story of a modern-day slave trade in North Africa. The response was overwhelming. We launched the American Anti-Slavery Group and built a bipartisan abolitionist coalition, including Christian evangelist Pat Robertson, gay Jewish congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the NAACP
and more. We got Al Sharpton to go to Sudan to witness the liberation of slaves. Francis Bok, an escaped slave, published a book and spoke at churches, synagogues and schools across the United States. We testified before the U.S. Congress. At a meeting once with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, I asked why the United States refused to use the word genocide when describing Sudan. Did America not make the same mistake 60 years ago when it ignored the annihilation of Europe’s Jews? The answer: By law, if we call it genocide we have to act. We were not going to act, so we couldn’t call it genocide. When the real heroes of this story — the brilliant and brave John Eibner and Gunnar Wiebalk of Christian Solidarity International — were criticized for redeeming slaves with unorthodox methods, I invoked Maimonides in their defense. CSI sought to free slaves through an existing peace treaty between Dinka tribes, whose people were being targeted in southern Sudan, and local Arabs who needed Dinka wetlands for their cattle. To secure those grazing rights, the Arabs would go north and retrieve Dinka slaves, returning them to the South. CSI further motivated the return of slaves by providing cash to the Arab retrievers. When criticized for “incentivizing more slave raids,” I argued that this Christian group was following Jewish law. Jews, the Sages said, are required to redeem Jewish captives. When UNICEF blasted us for redeeming slaves and suggested the slaves must wait for liberation until hostilities ended, I responded: That’s exactly what the West told the Jews about Auschwitz. On Passover 2000, I participated in a CSI liberation trip to Sudan. I brought matza and explained to the slaves that my people had been held in bondage long ago not so far from where we were. On our trip in January, we interviewed dozens of people at the polls. All voted for separation, for independence. Why?
They said of the North Sudanese: “They stole our children and our wives. They stole our cattle. They murdered us.” President Obama sent Sen. John Kerry to the country to ensure that Khartoum would abide by the vote. South Sudan likely will be free. But what of the slaves? Bush’s treaty had no provision for the emancipation of slaves still serving masters in the North. We remain pledged to set them free. So we trekked to the liberation sites last week, meeting and photographing 397 retrieved slaves. We posted the account of our trip at The Wall Street Journal and video interviews of slaves at iabolish.org. They are hard to watch. In one, a woman named Achol Yum Deng recalls being captured in a slave raid. She was threatened with death, gang raped, genitally mutilated, racially and religiously insulted and forced to convert to a religion not her own. She lost sight in one eye when her master thrashed her face with a camel whip for failing to pray. Achol also lost the use of one arm when her master attacked her with a machete for failing to grind grain properly. Who would we be if we left these people in bondage? It was good to be a Jew in Juba, South Sudan. An airport guard, a Balanda tribesman, upon learning I was Jewish, brightened with a smile and a hug: “Welcome, you are one of God’s chosen people,” he said. And several Dinka men marveled at Israel’s defeat of Arab armies. We’ve come a long way. Years ago, when Francis Bok watched “The Ten Commandments,” he grew tearful. “God opened the Sea for the Hebrew slaves, but He’s not yet redeemed my people,” he said. Go look now, dear Francis, at the stars in Wanyjok.
(Charles Jacobs is the president of the Boston-based American Anti-Slavery Group.)
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011 — 9
Americans must unite in tough times such as these Guest Columnist WILLAIM DAROFF WASHINGTON — In the days President Obama was preparing to deliver his State of the Union address, everyone knew the economy would play a major role. What remains unknown is what will result for millions of vulnerable Americans once the applause dies down and the political maneuvering picks back up. What will tomorrow be like for the one in five American children who live below the poverty line? How will the 26 million unemployed and underemployed Americans feed their families? And when will our seniors receive the care they deserve but can’t afford on their own? The answers to these questions depend on the answer to the real mystery in Washington on Tuesday. Will our officials come together as they’ve done around the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords? Will leaders from all
parties work side by side to support our struggling Americans in the same way they said they’d sit side by side at this year’s State of the Union? Or is this new wave of bipartisan civility only temporary — and tomorrow Congress once more will refuse to compromise, forcing hard-working Americans with urgent needs to stay on wait lists until it’s their turn for help? I hope that’s not the case, because tragedy is not all that can unite our union. Lending a hand to our neighbors in need is a responsibility that every American values and must agree to uphold. The last few years have proven that there are no quick fixes for our nation’s economic woes. But in the meantime, there are actions we can take to help our fellow Americans cope. Although the Jewish Federations of North America doesn’t pretend to have all the solutions, we certainly do have a few. First, the United States must invest in the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, which is designed to help Americans who find themselves in sudden economic distress and need a lifesaver to prevent their immediate economic trou-
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bles from spiraling into long-term despair. The number of these Americans in need is growing; requests for emergency food assistance climbed 24 percent last year. By providing extra support to more than 13,000 nonprofit and public food banks, shelters and homelessness prevention organizations nationwide, this program is helping Americans stay afloat. While the banks were bailed out and put back on track, millions of Americans have been silently losing their homes as the foreclosure crisis has swept across the country. Our neighbors deserve support getting back on track, too. Congress should preserve funding for low-income housing assistance and housing for the elderly who may have lost the financial support of their families in this down economy. Numerous other programs that help our seniors are endangered as lawmakers engage in the important battle to reduce the deficit. But instead of cutting these life-upholding services to seniors, we must choose new, more efficient ways to provide them. Because a quarter of the Jewish population will be eligible for Medicare in the
next decade, Jewish Federations has taken a keen interest in planning innovative home- and community-based programs that serve seniors and save the government money. Persevering with this type of innovation will be crucial as we seek to balance the budget without abandoning our parents and grandparents as they age. The Jewish Federations will keep working with our allies in Congress and the White House to make these ideas a reality and find even more solutions that will improve the everyday lives of our neighbors. As an organization, the Jewish Federations represents Jewish Americans of all viewpoints, but despite our differences we all unite around our belief in tikkun olam and tzedakah, repairing the world and charity. As our union struggles, it’s time for the rest of America to come together in the same spirit.
(William Daroff is the vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of The Jewish Federations of North America.)
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10 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2010
Globe State of the Union?
Obama misses Jewish priorities: poverty, abortion rights, Israel BY RON KAMPEAS JTA
WASHINGTON — Civility? Check. Clean energy? Check. Health care? Check. Immigration? Check. Education? You bet. Isolating Iran? That’s in there. Poverty, guns, reproductive rights? Israel? Ummm … President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night was as notable for what it excluded as what made it in. Obama abjured the traditional checklist and delivered a speech centered on a grand theme, American renewal, after an election that left government splintered, with a Democratic White House and Senate and a Republican House of Representatives. “What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow,” the president said. “We will move forward together, or not at all, for the challenges we face are bigger than party and bigger than politics.” That was a recipe for stirring rhetoric, but it left out the manna for groups that watch the speech to cheer on their special interests. “What NCJW missed?” the National Council of Jewish Women tweeted on the Internet within seconds of the speech’s
White House photo
President Obama did not mention Israel in his State of the Union Address Tuesday
conclusion. “Mention of poor, middle class, reproductive rights, gun violence prevention — to name some.” The absences were telling. Obama focused on areas where he might persuade the Republican-controlled House to join him. The missing pieces all portend clashes with the Republicans: There are increased demands to tighten regulations of automatic weapons in the wake
of the shooting earlier this month in Tucson. Democrats want Obama to push back against a national Republican campaign to further restrict abortion rights. House Republicans have vowed to slash funding to the Palestinian Authority, a key element of Obama’s efforts to prop up moderates in the region. Instead, Obama used the speech to emphasize bipartisan consensus issues,
some of which are Jewish community priorities, too. He outlined a plan to boost education, including preparing 100,000 new teachers of science and technology and making a $10,000 tuition tax credit permanent. He called for 80 percent of electricity to be powered by “clean energy” by 2035 and for a million electric vehicles to be on the roads by 2015. Obama did not entirely leave out liberal causes. He offered some compromise with the Republicans on health care, but he vowed to leave in place the coverage guarantees for people with preconditions, which became law with last year’s reform bill. Obama also pledged to revive his effort, failed in the last Congress, to create paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. He noted the success — spearheaded by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) — in the final hours of the last Congress repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule that kept gays from serving openly in the military. Troops, he said, are “Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love bePlease see State of the Union, next
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011 — 11
GLOBE State of the Union: Continued from previous page. cause of who they love.” The slew of brief Jewish organizational news releases late Tuesday and early Wednesday were reduced to praising the speech’s general tone. What they’re really waiting for are the details of the president’s budget, to be released at the beginning of February. The Jewish Federations of North America pleaded for special consideration for needs for the elderly. “President Obama is right when he says we must be cautious of the deficit,” the Jewish Federations’ Washington director, William Daroff, said in a statement. “But there are certain social services that must be preserved now more than ever. Creating more crises for our seniors and poor is not the way to stop the crisis facing our nation.” The Jewish Council for Public Affairs sought to highlight the issue of poverty. “With the President’s budget forthcoming, we are anxious to see that he follows through on his call not to balance the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable,” the public policy umbrella group said in a statement. “President Obama must listen to his own advice and avoid a hatchet where a scalpel is called for.” Obama reassured Americans that he would not touch Social Security except to “strengthen” it, which got him plaudits from B’nai B’rith International. “The benefits to seniors are modest in the big picture, but a lifeline for too many individuals, and we must continue to provide benefits at fair levels,” B’nai B’rith said. “An across-the-board domestic spending freeze could have devastating results for many of our most vulnerable citizens.” The Reform movement’s Religious Action Center set up a checklist on its website to comment on 10 signature issues as they came up in the speech. On at least five of them, including Israel, gun control and Gulf Coast recovery, the RAC ended up regurgitating its past statements because they did not get a mention. Israel was missing in his speech, but Obama noted his success in an area that pro-Israel groups consider key: isolating Iran.
“Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before,” he said. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wanted to know what he planned to do going forward — and wondered why he didn’t mention other threats in the region. “The President also did not mention the threat posed by Iran and Syria’s sponsorship of terrorism and efforts to undermine its neighbors, on the very day that the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis took a severe step to undermine Lebanon’s sovereignty,” she said in a statement. Obama started by noting perhaps the most poignant element of the evening: The empty seat of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), recovering from being shot in the head in the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting that left six dead. “As we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague and our friend Gabby Giffords,” Obama said. TV stations cut later to a photo of Giffords’ husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, holding her hand in her Houston hospital room. Marking the civil tone, lawmakers wore black and white ribbons, traditionally used to protest gun violence and in this case designated for the victims of the Tucson shooting. Republicans and Democrats also sat together. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who since his freshman year in Congress in 1989 has arrived early to secure an aisle-side seat so he can be among the first to shake hands with the president, partnered this year with Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio.), who adopted the same habit in her freshman year, 2005. The long hours spent watching out for their seats on the House floor have made the two buddies, despite ideological differences. “In the wake of Tucson, and all the incivility, we want to make the place more civil, and we’ll be heated and passionate about it,” Engel told JTA before the speech. Schmidt, grabbing Obama on his way out, made sure he signed her program for the evening and added: “Eliot needs one too! It’s bipartisan!”
12 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011
Style Shmuley remembers Michael Book recounts rabbi’s talks say I didn’t remember, and he’d tell me to go back and do it again.
BY JUSTIN JACOBS Associate Editor
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach had more in common with Michael Jackson than you might expect. Sure, one is a religious leader famous for his books, television appearances and statements regarding relationships and “kosher sex;” while the other was arguably the biggest pop icon of all time. But beyond that, both were family men at their core. Jackson, who died in 2009, was notoriously protective of his children and extremely devoted to them — the latter being a quality he shared with Boteach. The two men met several times toward the end of Jackson’s life to discuss family and the wonder and innocence they called “the child spirit.” The conversations were recorded, and were released on Jan. 11 as a new book, “Honoring the Child Spirit.” The Chronicle caught up with the ever-busy rabbi to talk about Jackson’s legacy.
JC: Even after Michael was found innocent of charges brought against him, why do you think the public was so skeptical about his love of children?
The Jewish Chronicle: What was the purpose, for you, of putting this book together?
RSB: Everything today is utilitarian; life is about the end result, the goal. We don’t go to college to get knowledge; we go to get a degree so we can get a job. That explains why Americans are so educated and so ignorant. We’re not studying out of a deep thirst to know, but rather a deep thirst to earn. If you see a beautiful mountaintop, and your first thought is whether you can climb it or turn it into a ski resort, then you can’t just stand by and be awed.
RSB: I don’t believe for a moment that Michael was a pedophile, but he did make major mistakes. He confessed to sharing a bed with a child that wasn’t his. I don’t think anything sexual happened; I think Michael saw himself as a big kid, but that doesn’t matter — that was a big no-no. The second reason people remained skeptical is that he was perceived of as strange. If he’s strange, then that bad stuff must be true. That’s why I thought Michael should do books like this. JC: The book talks a lot about innocence and wonder. Why do you think those concepts are so foreign to most adults?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: I was Michael’s rabbi, and I was hoping he’d be able to get his life together. One of the most important things in that process was simply explaining himself. Michael had a lot to say about what parents could learn from children. This book is telling parents the opposite of what they normally hear, which is “Your kids need you, and if you don’t prioritize them, they’ll grow up scarred.” This book says, “You need your kids, and unless you’re around them, you’ll grow old very quickly.” JC: Why did you want to keep the format of the book as a question and answer? RSB: I felt it captured the authenticity of the message. A lot of people were disparaging of Michael’s message. They’d say he’s odd, he’s not smart or he’s out to lunch. Had I put words in his mouth, they would have continued saying that. In using his own words, people will judge for themselves. I think a lot of
JC: How will Michael Jackson be remembered?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s newest book, “Honoring the Child Spirit,” recounts his conversations with Michael Jackson.
what he says is profound. JC: Your talks with Michael were pretty extensive. What’s one thing you feel like he taught you? RSB: He taught me that you can never
be too busy for your children. He had every right to give an excuse: “I love you kids, but I need to fly here for a concert.” He never did that. He used to call me and ask if I’d told my kids I love them. I’d say I did. And he’d ask if I looked them in the eye when I said it. I’d
RSB: Michael’s death was absolutely tragic. But for the public, it was almost redemptive. Since he died, so much of that hatred has disappeared. He’ll be remembered as an artistic genius who inspired a lot of people by his song and dance, but also by the social messages behind his lyrics. Michael was very proud of the fact that his lyrics weren’t “I want to do you, baby,” they were, “Heal the world.” What a waste; what a shame. He’ll be sorely missed. (Justin Jacobs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011 — 13
STYLE Collection of Bellow letters may be outdated, but worth a read Book R eview
BY MORTON I. TEICHER For the Chronicle
In these days of electronic communication by computer, this giant collection of Saul Bellow’s letters is a dinosaur. Unfortunately, publications such as these now join the ranks of relics along with the epistolary novel, popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, in which the narrative was presented through letters written by one or more of the characters. This literary genre has largely disappeared just as collections of letters are doomed to extinction. The simple truth is that people rarely write letters these days and the deplorable extent of our loss is fully demonstrated by the wit and wisdom contained in Bellow’s remarkable letters. We are keenly indebted to editor Benjamin Taylor, a prize-winning author in his own right, who spent a great deal of time with Bellow before he died in 2005 and who diligently located, selected, and edited the letters. Taylor tells us that his book contains about 40% of Bellow’s known letters. Taylor’s significant contribution constitutes the eloquent autobiography that Bellow never wrote. Along with Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud, Bellow was a crucial member of the great trio of American Jewish writers, of whom only Roth is still alive. The book contains many letters from Bellow to Roth and Malamud, expressing his esteem for them. There are also letters in which Bellow recommends Malamud for a Guggenheim Fellowship and Roth for the Nobel Prize, both of which Bellow had been awarded. He was the sixth Jewish Nobel Laureate in literature. Bellow also won the Pulitzer Prize and three National Book Awards. The book opens with a fine introduction by Taylor and with a 19-page chronology that is extremely helpful in providing context for the letters. In addition, the book contains 16 pages of useful photos. The presentation begins with one letter written in 1932 and then jumps to 1937, continuing by year to the last letter in 2004. Bellow’s incessant traveling is reflected throughout the book in the datelines of the letters. The difficulties he had with getting his early work into print is
Book Review Saul Bellow: Letters Edited by Benjamin Taylor. New York: Viking, 2010. 607 pages.
shown through letters to his literary agent, publishers, and editors. There are also letters to other writers, a group to whom he wrote throughout his life, commenting brilliantly on their work and expressing gratitude for their appreciation of his publications. Some of these letters usefully analyze the books he wrote. Other sets of people to whom Bellow wrote were friends from his youth, members of his family, academic colleagues at the numerous universities where he taught, lovers and wives. The lovers and wives were especially important since Bellow married five times and while many love letters are included in the collection, there are also numerous letters complaining bitterly about de-
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mands for alimony and about arguments over custody of his children. In 1977, he was sentenced to ten days in jail for failure to pay alimony and child support but the sentence was overturned. Bellow made several trips to Israel and, in 1976, he published a memoir, “To Jerusalem and Back.” He became friendly with Teddy Kollek, mayor of Jerusalem, and there are numerous letters to Kollek, one of which expressed appreciation for Kollek’s warm comments about “To Jerusalem and Back.” Writing to another author, Bellow characterizes Kollek as “rude…bumptious…and candid.” In an additional letter, Bellow writes that Kollek is a “phenomenal personality…a schemer, finagler, and arranger.” In 1986, Bellow wrote a laudatory letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee recommending Kollek for the Nobel Peace Prize. Readers will revel in this tribute to Bellow’s lasting legacy and should rue the sad truth that letters as a literary form are rapidly disappearing. Dr. Morton I. Teicher is the Founding Dean, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University and Dean Emeritus, School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel
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14 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2010
GLOBE Will standard activist toolkit be enough to fight delegitimization? BY B EN H ARRIS JTA
NEW YORK — When a Miami community organization first conceived of holding a Jewish summit to address the campaign to delegitimize Israel, it expected 400 people might show up. Instead, 1,200 people packed a Miami auditorium for the Jan. 16 event, including an all-star cast of Israel’s most prominent defenders: Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Israel’s U.S. ambassador, Michael Oren. The summit, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Miami, was the highest profile meeting of the minds on combating Israel’s delegitimization since the Jewish Federations of North America announced last November at the General Assembly in New Orleans that it would be tackling the issue head-on. Participants at the Miami conference were encouraged to use the standard tools of political advocacy — contacting elected officials, calling in to talk radio — and they were given information sheets to help them do so more effectively. “We really laid the foundation for our community to respond when they hear myths, misinformation — whether its bloggers, radio talk shows, newspapers — to be able to respond,” said Carol Brick-Turin, director of the Miami JCRC. “We’re hoping to set a model for the nation.” Yet it’s not clear whether a strategy that relies on what is essentially the standard activist toolkit will be enough to set back the campaign of delegitimization. The campaign encompasses a broad range of tactics from the official to the grass roots: picketing stores that sell Israeli products; urging corporations, universities, and state and local municipalities to stop investing in Israel; and pressing the case against Israel in Washington and foreign capitals, and at the United Nations. On the pro-Israel side, a national strategy is taking shape under the direction of Martin Raffel, a senior vice president at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Its main focus will be on
Prominent Israel defenders, from left, Alan Dershowitz, Natan Sharansky, Irwin Cotler and William Daroff at a Miami summit addressing the campaign to delegitimize Israel, Jan. 16, 2011. (Greater Miami Jewish Federation)
civil society — the trade unions, liberal churches and university campuses that have proven receptive to the claims of Israel’s detractors. Among the initiatives planned is a move to bring civil society leaders on trips to Israel and to provide financing to communities to conduct meetings with key local leaders. All this and more will be financed by a budget of just over $5.5 million over three years from the JCPA and the Jewish Federations of North America. Much of the concern over delegitimization stems from the global rise of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, though several figures prominent in the pro-Israel counterdelegitimization effort took care to note that the two are not synonymous. In New York, the Jewish Community Relations Council is seeking part of that money to conduct outreach to liberal Jewish groups and the civil society targets of BDS initiatives: trade unions, churches and the like. “This effort is clearly labor intensive and demands significant resources,” said Hindy Poupko, the council’s director of Israel and International Affairs. “Micro-grants from the JFNA/JCPA ini-
tiative would enable communities like ours to devote the resources necessary to combat the BDS movement on the ground.” Raffel also promised to exploit the vast network of relationships built by Jewish groups throughout the United States and organize a grass-roots response as necessary. But he offered few specifics. “We will be seeking to mobilize the grass roots,” Raffel said. “And we will also try to encourage messaging and tactics by those who are not necessarily a part of the organized Jewish community that are consistent with our goals and strategies.” There are some success stories in the counter-deletimization movement. A move to divest from companies deemed complicit in Israeli “war crimes” was defeated last year at the University of California, Berkeley. So was a referendum to provide an alternative to Israeli-made hummus at Princeton University. Both measures were turned back the old-fashioned way — through relationship building and grassroots politicking. “Our focus on campus is to build relationships with decision-makers, to build relationships with students, to build rela-
tionships with other organizations on campus, so that we can tell the true story of the State of Israel and not the story that Israel’s enemies would have us believe,” said Jeff Rubin, spokesman for the Jewish campus group Hillel. The BDS movement was launched in 2005 with three official objectives: ending the “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands,” full equality for Arab Israelis and promoting the return of Palestinian refugees. Many supporters of Israel interpret the movement as an effort to destroy the Jewish state. But most BDS supporters who talk to the media portray their effort in starkly different terms, saying it’s a peaceful way to effect political change. Frequently they invoke high principle — respect for international human rights law, equality before the law and the end of occupation. “For me, there is no wrong type of human being,” Ali Abunimah, a prominent BDS activist, said at a speech last November in New Mexico. Abunimah’s speech criticized Israeli policies that, he said, failed to grant Palestinians equal rights because they are not Jewish. “There is only one type of human being,” Abunimah said. “And that is the vision we have to work towards.” Jewish views of BDS are not monolithic across the political spectrum. Rabbi David Saperstein, who heads the Reform movement’s Washington arm, the Religious Action Center, called BDS “neutral tools.” Nevertheless, a consensus exists, even among more dovish Jewish groups, that the effort to delegitimize Israel is real and must be countered. It’s not clear, however, that a broad coalition can be held together, particularly if it includes groups whose objectives occasionally overlap with the professed goals of BDS. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the director of the political lobbying group J Street, agrees that a counter-deligitimization campaign is necessary. But he says the effort cannot succeed without addressing humanitarian and peace issues by ending the occupation. “You can’t stop the delegitimization of Israel without ending the conflict,” Ben-Ami said. “That’s the root issue.”
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011â€” 15
Simchas Births Block: Zachary and Beverly Block of Squirrel Hill announce the birth of their daughter, Talia Brooke (Talia Bracha), Dec. 30, 2010. Grandparents are Larry and Sharon Block of Collier, and Edward and Ellen Betel of West Bloomfield, Mich. Talia joins big brother, Jordan Rami. Talia Brooke is named in loving memory of her paternal great-grandmother, Betty (Bracha) Kelson. Hochman: Ruth Rubenstein announces the birth of her great-granddaughter, Eden Sunshine Hochman, Dec. 20, 2010. Parents are Dr. Dan and Erica Hochman of S. Salem, N.Y. Grandparents are Richard and Olivia Loeb Burten of Oradell, N.J., and Dr. Howard and Patty Hochman of Stonington, Conn. She is the sister of Isaac. Reinherz: Ariella and Adam Reinherz are announce the birth of Bella(Yehudit) Maayan Reinherz. Grandparents are Lee and Liora Weinberg of Pittsburgh and Rick and Sharon Reinherz of Buffalo Grove, Ill. Greatgrandparents are Ruth and Morris Kimmel of Detroit and Menucha Nestelbaum of Worcester, Mass. Big sisters are Tahara Dana and Sima Faye. Bella is also the great-granddaughter of the late Eli Nestelbaum, the late Jake and Belle Weinberg and the late Howard and Faye Reinherz. Bella Yehudit is named in loving memory of her great-grandmother, Belle Weinberg; and great-aunt, Jolene Mallinger.
Tobias: Adam and Ilene (Silverman) Tobias of Squirrel Hill announce the birth of their daughter, Livia Nell Tobias, Dec. 11, 2010. Grandparents are Lyn and Alan Silverman and Marsha Zuckerman and Michael Tobias, all of Squirrel Hill. Livâ€™s big brother is Sammy. Liv is named in loving memory of her paternal great-great-grandmother, Nellie (Hirsch) Tobias.
Bar Mitzva Jacob Aron Mayer, son of Sherri and Fred Mayer, will become a bar mitzva Saturday, Jan. 29 at Congregation Beth Shalom. Grandparents are Gussie and the late Alfred Mayer, Irwin and Marge Berliner and the late Rita S. Berliner.
20 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011
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MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENT THE HOT MATZOHS, Pittsburgh's #l Klezmer Band, is available for your Wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Corporate or other special event! The dynamic band, featuring violinist Barbara Lowenstein (founder), offers many styles of music in addition to Klezrner, e,g, classical, jazz, swing and folk. Call 412-344-3338 or 412-303-01 46. Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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TORAH The Jewish view on torts Portion of the Week RABBI DAVID C. NOVITSKY BETH ISRAEL CONGREGATION WASHINGTON, PA. Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18
Any civilized society must possess a system to provide for the compensation of injured persons, which occurs as a result of the negligence of third parties. If there is no monetary restitution available to the victims of malfeasance that civilization will gradually disintegrate since its citizens will ultimately pay minimal attention to the consequence of their actions. Additionally, in a community that provides no recovery for the misconduct of others there will be many instances in which the aggrieved parties will be forced to turn to the state to provide for their special needs at the public expense. The corollary of this thesis is true as well. One might assert that a collective group of people would be unable to sustain liberal restitution policies, which in many instances provides for excessive remuneration for plaintiffs. Such a system also encourages fraud, results in a greater inequity and ultimately stifles all forms of commerce as well as economic growth. If we attempt an analysis of the legal redress available for the victims of negligence, we will ascertain that remedies provided under Jewish law provide the optimal fulcrum between the advocates of strict tort reform on one end of the equation and the aggressive stance of some trial attorneys, which rests on the other side of the spectrum. According to this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, if an individual is negligent and as a result of his carelessness an injury ensues, the tortfeasor is obligated to provide restitution for the aggrieved party. Even though the Bible mandates an “Eye for an Eye,” the Talmud further clarifies this concept by indicating that this oft-misinterpreted verse relates exclusively to awarding equitable financial compensation. Upon interpreting this phrase, the authorities assert its proper meaning, that pecuniary value of an eye be tendered for the loss of an eye. It does not signify that our actual eye be gouged as restitution for the wrongful act of another. The Talmud mandates that a perpetrator who inflicts harm upon another person either willfully or through negligence to compensate the victim for his damages. The amount of the plaintiffs’ award consists of five items of recovery: damage, pain and suffering, medical payment, loss of income and finally embarrassment. Damage is the actual loss or specific harm for the loss of a limb or bodily function, which has a set monetary value such as an eye or tooth. The liquidated amount for the compensation of “damage” is determined by contrasting the appraised
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amount of an indentured servant who possesses his eyes or teeth to the sum of the value of an indentured serving lacking an eye or tooth. The monetary differential between these two figures is a set total sum referred to as damages. This concept of remuneration is analogous to that part of our contemporary legal system, which provides a fixed financial reimbursement for the specific loss of a limb such as to the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Act. Under biblical law an injured person is allowed to recover from the tortfeasor his medical expenses in addition to his lost wages. Finally, the ecclesiastical authorities permit the plaintiff to recover for his infirmity a settlement based upon his pain and suffering and his monetary recovery for the embarrassment and humiliation the plaintiff experiences as a consequence of his disfigurement. An individual’s occupation, marital status, age and socio-economic statuses are some of the many criteria that are taken into account to ascertain what is a fair amount of compensation for these two items of recovery. It is apparent that Jewish law goes much further than Pennsylvania law in providing compensation for tort victims. The Bible clearly allows for an additional fixed sum for damages. In addition to this payment, the Bible provides the plaintiff with the usual restitution for the economic damages as well as the noneconomic losses of pain and suffering pursuant to Common Law. According to the talmudic sages, if the tortfeasor confessed his misdoings and brought the plaintiff’s cause of action before a rabbinic tribunal and then presented the panel with an admission of negligence, the defendant is then only obligated to pay for damages, medical expenses and loss of wages. He becomes exempt from the payment of both pain and suffering, and for embarrassment. The rationale for this exclusion is based upon a legal principle found in Judaic civil law, which exempts the wrongdoer who confesses his malfeasance from all the penalties, fines and punitive damages related to his action. In this intended matter the defendant is therefore exempt from payments for pain and suffering and for damages. If instead of confessing his wrong doings the responsible party does not contest his alleged errors and as a result of his posture litigation commences. If the outcome of the trial is favorable to the plaintiff the award which the defendant must satisfy increases. The plaintiff may now recover from the defendant all economic losses as well as the non-economic losses for pain and suffering, and embarrassment. I not only believe that this religious approach to torts is fair and just; I am also confident that this proposal will restore the integrity of both the medical and legal professions, and ultimately rehabilitate our economy by cutting the costs of doing business. (This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.)
LEGAL NOTICE ESTATE NOTICES Letters have been granted on the estate of each of the following decedents to the personal representative named, who requests all persons having claims against
the estate of the decedent to make known the same in writing to him or his attorney, and all persons indebted to the decedent to make payment to him without delay:
WACHTEL, Sandra, deceased, of Pittsburgh, PA, Allegheny County; No. 02-1007644 or to: Joel Pfefffer, Esq., Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP, 535 Smithfield St., Suite 1300, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. 3Th 338, 331, 324
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011 — 21
ENVIRONMENT Greeing a landfill
MORNING SERVICES - 9:30 A.M. Is Hiriya, a mega landfill near Tel Aviv, Israel’s national eco-symbol? It looks more that way.
Israel Arbor Day focuses on green development
BY MAURICE PICOW
Although the just completed Tu B’Shevat celebration in Israel included many tree planting ceremonies, especially on the site of recent disastrous Carmel Forest wildfires, Israel’s annual Arbor Day for 2011 had more emphasis on “greening” former landfills, such as the Hiriya garbage mountain, east of Tel Aviv. The former “mega dump” is now being turned into one of the largest ecological parks in the world, according to an article in the weekend edition of Haaretz. The eco-park will compose an area of 8,000 dunam (2,000 acres), and besides the amphitheater will include an artificial lake and a special observation site and picnic areas. The site, which is now being turned into a recycling site, as well as a park, became a symbol for this Arbor Day celebration. The event lasted three days this year and is being considered as much of an environmental consciousness event as one commemorating the annual “birthday of trees.” The environmental importance of making people more ecology conscious this year was emphasized at Hiriya with a special tree planting ceremony held on the site itself and attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (who recently was noted as being in favor of the Palestinian Authority creating a “green city” on the West Bank).
Also in attendance were Jewish National Fund Chairman Efi Stenzler, and several mayors. Besides the special ceremonies at Hiriya, there are others held by environmental groups at locations in the largely Arab inhabited Wadi Ara area to emphasize coexistence efforts between Arabs and Jews. During the Hiriya tree planting ceremony, Erdan said that his ministry plans to close “all of Israel’s landfills, except for one, Efeh (located near the Dead Sea) over the course of the next decade”. In its heyday the Hiriya landfill took in some 12,000 tons of domestic waste and 5,000 tons of building waste per day. This is about a quarter of the country’s entire amount of waste disposed daily.
‘Million dollar mattress’ Turning Hiriya into an eco-park is a great idea and we at Green Prophet are highly in favor of this project. The problem of solid waste disposal is one that will not go way soon, however. Landfills will be unfortunately still needed to dispose of items such as the “million dollar mattress” that a woman threw out and was alleged to have contained a $1 million stashed inside it. This incident alone only strengthens the ecological importance of recycling; and the Hiriya eco-park will be an everlasting symbol of our need to recycle even more. (Stories from The Green Prophet appear here by agreement with its editor, Karin Kloosterman. For more Green news from the Middle East, visit The Green Prophet at greenprophet.com. Contact the Green Prophet at email@example.com.)
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SUNDAY, JANUARY 30: HARRIET H. AMDUR, ANNIE M. BAKER, MORRIS BERGER, LOUIS BERNSTEIN, DAVID R. BROWN, NOCHEM BUCKSTEIN, ROSE CANTER, JOSEPH CHALFEN, LEONARD CHASICK, ABRAHAM COHEN, ISRAEL FINEMAN, MARK FISCHEL, ISAAC FISHER, IDA FORMAN, HARRY FRANK, IDA GOLDBERG, HARRY GOLDSTEIN, RACHEL GOODMAN, LENA GORDON, SOPHIE GRAUER, MORRIS A. GREENBERG, ESTHER GRODSKY, LEAH GROSSKOPT, MAX JACOBS, IDA KAHN, LOUIS KANTOR, ESTHER LEHMAN, FRANK LEVIN, SOPHIE LEVIN, FREDA LEVINE, JOSEPH RABBI LEVINE, HARRY LINDER, PESIE Z. LINDER, ANN LIPSITZ, JOSEPH LOVE, SARAH LURIE, MARY RAPOPORT, MOLLIE ROGOW, BLANCHE F. ROSEN, LOUIS RUZEWICH, HERMAN RYAVE, SIGMUND SCHOENFELD, ROSE SCHWARTZ, ROSE SCHWARTZ, ROSE L. SCHWARTZ, ANNA E. SHAPIRO, MORRIS SHAPIRO, TILLIE SHILLIT, SOLOMON SILVERMAN, MARGARET STEINER, ROSE C. SUGAR, SAMUEL TOKER, JACK WAGNER, JACOB C. WEDNER, SAMUEL WEISBERG, ESTHER WEISS, JEFFREY S. WEISS, ROSE WERSHBAL, ESTHER WIESS, MAX WILKOFF, SYLVIA WITTLIN, ESTHER WOLFF, CELIA WOLK, ALBERT ZIMMER. MONDAY, JANUARY 31: LOUIS J. ACKERMAN, FANNY ADLER, ISAAC APPLE, SIGMUND S. AUSLANDER, MIRIAM BALBOT, SAMUEL I. BERMAN, FANNIE BINSTOCK, ALFRED DEVON, FANNYE EGGLESTON, ABRAHAM D. ENGELBERG, ERNEST J. FEIG, JOSEPHINE FELDMAN, FRIEDA FOREMAN, KATIE GOLDSTEIN, JACOB GREENBERG, JACOB HALPERT, REVA HANKIN, JOSEPH L. HARRIS, CARL HIRSCH, ETTA JACKSON, FRUMA JACKSON, HAROLD O. KAMONS, LOUIS KANENSON, HELEN KATZ, LENA KLEE, ALBERT F. KLEIN, JOSEPH H. KRAMER, LOUIS LANDY, JOSEPH G. LAZEAR, RABBI JOSEPH LEVINE, CELIA LEVY, SOPHIE LEVY, LEAH SACHS MUSSOFF, ISRAEL NEVIN, DOROTHY NEWMAN, LABE NIDERBERG, MOISHE OFSHINSKI, WILMA OLBUM, SERRAE ROBERTS, MANDEL SAMBERG, HYMAN SAPEER, MAX F. SELEKMAN, JACOB H. SIEGEL, TILLIE SIEGEL, CHIRLE SILBERMAN, CELIA SILVERBERG, BEN SIMON, LOUISE S. SOBEL, RACHEL STRUMINGER, HARRY SUSSER, BENJAMIN WALKEN, MOSES WEIL, IDA J. WILNER, ANNA WINER, JOHN WIRTZMAN, ANNETTE WOLK, NAT A. ZIMMER, NATHAN M. ZVIRMAN. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1: RACHEL ADLER, HYMAN ALLEN, ESTHER MOLLY BOND, DAVID CAPLAN, HARRY H. CAPLAN, A. EDGAR COHEN, A. EDGAR COHEN, MAX COHEN, JOSEPH L. FREED, ANNA FRIEDMAN, LOUIS FRIEDMAN, O. HICKS FRIEDMAN, FANNY GITELMAN, JACK MORRIS GLANTZ, MARY GOLDBERG, SAMUEL GOLDSTEIN, FANNIE P. GOLOMB, ROSE L. GOODMAN, ADOLPH GOTTDIENER, DR. SAMUEL GRINBERG, ANN R. HENDEL, CHARLES I. HOREWITZ, ROSE G. KARP, JENNIE KESSLER, GEORGE KLEMPNER, HENRIETTA KLINE, LIBBIE KOPELMAN, MILTON B. KRUPP, JACOB K. LEVY, JOSEPH LEWINTER, CELIA LIPSITZ, EVA G. LITTLE, IDA S. MANDELL, WILLIAM MINTZ, RUTH BRILL MOLDOVAN, HARRY NOVICK, EZZIE C. PORTNO, CELIA ROFEY, DAVID M. ROSENBERG, FLORENCE SAMOWICH, MORRIS SATTIEN, SAMUEL EARL SCHUGAR, ROSE SHERRY, BENNIE SILVERMAN, MORRIS SILVERMAN, HENRY SINGER, MAURICE SKIRBOLL, TILLIE TEX, CHARLES WANETICK, CHARLES WHITMAN, IDA WIDOM, ABRAHAM A. WOLK. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2: ABRAHAM B. AMPER, PHILIP ANOLIK, SOPHIE AUERBACH, HENRY AUSLANDER, MARY G. BAKER, HANNAH BIEDERMAN, JULIA BLUMBERGER, LENA BOWYTZ, GERTRUDE BRODY, DAVID BUCK, LEAH CANTER, ABE COHEN, WOLF COHEN, ESTHER COVEL, ANNE M. DARLING, NORA G. EINSTEIN, MINNIE FEINERT, HERMAN S. FELDMAN, HARRY FRIEDMAN, MILTON X. FRIEDMAN, BERNARD GELLER, SARAH GERSHENSON, DR. LESTER GOLDSTEIN, LESTER H DR. GOLDSTEIN, MINNIE GOLDSTEIN, BERNARD GOODSTEIN, MINNIE GORDON, MORRIS J. GORDON, ABRAHAM GORMAN, MENDEL HELFAND, MORRIS HERR, MIREL HOFFMAN, CELIA HOLZMAN, SAMUEL HORELICK, JEROME M. KAMINSKY, SHELLEY E. KESSLER, JENNIE G. LASDAY, WILLIAM E. LEVY, BENJAMIN MALLINGER, ROSE MARKOVITZ, YENTA MENDLOWITZ, HASKELL D. MERVIS, HARRY NEIMAN, ANNA ROMANOFF, DORA B. ROSENBLATT, ETTA FAIGA ROSENBLUM, SOL ROTH, CECIL SHENSON, RABBI CECIL SHENSON, ZELDA SIEGEL, BENJAMIN SILKEN, ABRAHAM SIMON, JULIUS SKIGEN, LEONARD P. SNYDER, MARY DAVIS SOLOMON, ESTHER SPIRO, HYMEN STAPSKY, ISADORE ZEIDENSCHNEIDER, DAVID ZYTNICK. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3: ROSE ABEL, ADOLPH AVERBACH, ELIJAH BECKER, ABRAHAM BLATTNER, MEYER BOROFSKY, DAVID BROWN, ROSE CHAPKIS, REBECCA COHEN, ROSE DELINSKY, BELLA FREDLAND, YEHUDI MENDEL FRIEDLANDER, MORRIS GOLDBERG, RAY M. GOLDMAN, IRENE M. GOLOMB, MEYER GOODMAN, BETTY G. GORDON, GERTRUDE GROSSMAN, EDWARD HAIMS, IDA HANSELL, LEEBA HAUSMAN, ROSE HERSKOVITZ, ANNA HILL, LILLIAN HOFFMAN, JACK ISRAEL, ABRAM KATKISKY, HELEN KLEIN, ROSE KLEIN, HARRY LANDIS, SAM LAVINE, SAMUEL S. LEVIN, JACOB LEVINE, MARGARET LEWIS, MAX MALKIN, LILLIAN MALLINGER, MORRIS MALT, LEONARD MERVIS, GEORGE MORRIS, HARRY PROTETCH, RACHEL RAPPORT, MINNIE ROSENBERG, MOSHE RUBENFELD, ANNA RUTTENBERG, ROSE SEIGLE, HYMAN SHANKER, BENJAMIN SHRUT, RACHEL SHEFFLER SHUKLANSKY, PAULINE SILBERBLATT, FANNIE SMOLOVITZ, ABE WEINER, LOUIS WEISS, GUSSIE WOLF. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4: BESSIE TABAK AMERICUS, SALLIE AMSHEL, SADIE H. BERKOWITZ, ABRAHAM BLANK, ISADORE BOLNER, MILLIE BRUDER, YUNKOV CHAUTERANSKY, ANNIE CHERNUCHIN, ISRAEL COHEN, LOUIS B. COHEN, SAMUEL DANIELS, RACHEL EISENBERG, DORA FELDMAN, SARAH R. FINEMAN, BESSIE GILBERT, ISAAC GLASSER, DAVID GOLDBERG, NATHAN GOLDSTEIN, ADOLPH GRAFF, ISADORE KAPLAN, JOSEPH R. KAUFMAN, GOLDIE KREIGER, BESSIE LEVIN, ISADORE LIBSON, MILTON EMANUEL LINDER, SARAH MANES, DAVID ELI MARKS, MORRIS T. MASON, BEN NEIMAN, ANNA GOLDIE PEARLMAN, BEN B. PERLOW, LOUIS RAPPORT, ROSE RECHT, EDWARD MORRIS ROTH, MORRIS ROTHMAN, NATHAN ROUTMAN, ELEANOR SAUL, LILLY SAUL, JAKE SIEGLER, LENA SILVERBERG, SOPHIA SLESINGER, EVA TOPOLSKY, MARY UDIN, MORTON WEINBERGER, ESTHER WEISS, ANNA H. WOLFE, ABRAHAM ZELIGSOHN, LOUIS A. ZIEVE, IRA ZIMMER. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 5: MAX H. BARNETT, HERMAN BLOCK, JOSEPH BROIDA, HARRY COHEN, JOSEPH COHEN, ARTHUR EDELSTEIN, SARAH FINKELSTEIN, GLADYS FRANK, GERTRUDE GOLDENBERG, NORMAN B. GOLDFIELD, SADYE GOLDSTEIN, JOSEPH GRAFF, DR. MAX HEATTER, MINNA HOHENSTEIN, DAVID KAPLAN, SARAH KAUFMAN, ROSE KLEIN, ROSE G. KLEIN, SHANA LEIBOWITZ, DR. JACOB MARTIN, LOTTIE MEYERS, MOLLIE MOSKOWITZ, BENNIE ROSENBERG, ISAAC ROSENBERG, BERTHA B. ROSENFELD, REGINA ROTH, LENA RUBIN, BLANCHE SCHULTZ, SAM SINGER, CELIA SOLOMAN, MOLLIE SPOKANE, SAMUAL SPOKANE, RUTH STEIGER, SAUL E TOBIAS, ETHEL WALTERS, WILLIAM WEIZER, JOSEPH WISE, BINA BEATRICE ZEIDMAN, JACOB ZEIDMAN, ISAAC ZUCKERMAN.
22 — THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011
OBITUARIES ALBER: On Thursday, January 20, 2011, Freda C. Alber, 99, of Pittsburgh; beloved wife of the late Elliot Alber; beloved mother of Stephen A. Alber (Joanne Tyzenhouse) of Pittsburgh; daughter of the late Albert and Anna (Sachs) Cazen; also survived by nieces and nephews. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc, 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside. Interment Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Hadassah-Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, 1824 Murray Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217, Sivitz Jewish Hospice, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 or Technion, 55 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022. BERGER: On Sunday, January 16, 2011, Joseph M. Berger of Atlanta, formerly of Squirrel Hill; beloved husband of Betty Berger; beloved father of Marc A. (Regina) Berger, Jeffrey S. (Michie) Berger, Scott B. (Beth) Berger, and Keith A. (Beth) Berger; also survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren; preceded in death by his parents and brother Eli. Funeral services were held at Shaare Torah Congregation, Pittsburgh. Contributions may be sent to Hillel Academy, Yeshiva Schools, the Kollel, or Shaare Torah Congregation. Arrangements by the family with community support and assistance through the Chevra Kadisha Jewish Burial Society of Pittsburgh. FAX: On Sunday, January 2, 2011, David H. Fax of Canton, Massachusetts, formerly of Pittsburgh; beloved husband of Eleanor Fax; father of Gene (Ruth) Fax of Boston, MA and Chuck
(Michele) Fax of North Bethesda, MD; also survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Burial was in Baltimore, MD. Contributions may be made to the Jewish National Fund, 77 Franklin St. # 514, Boston, MA 021101527 or American Technion Society, 1 Gateway Center, # 515, Newton, MA 02458-2802. FELDMAN: On Thursday, January 13, 2011, Ruth Feldman; beloved wife of Emil Feldman; loving mother of Joan P. Feldman (William J. Adams) and Hilary Feldman (David Karp); sister of the late Richard Colen; sister-in-law of Morton Feldman and the late Racelle Feldman, Carol Colen and Jan Colen; grandmother of Richard Karp and Evan Luis Adams; also survived by loving nieces and nephews. Services and interment were held at Homewood Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Pittsburgh Symphony, 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-3259 or Family Hospice & Palliative Care, 50 Moffett Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15243. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. HABER: On Friday, January 21, 2011, Edward L. Haber; beloved husband of Pearl Haber; loving father of Anne (Larry) Moskovitz, Julie (Kirby) Christy, Carrie (Barry) Hollander and Jacqueline Larson; brother of the late Samuel H. Jackson, Beverly Haber and Sylvia Weiss; grandfather of Rachel, Leah and Abby Christy, Jenna Hollander and Miranda Larson; uncle of Fran, Becky and Larry Weiss. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside. Inter-
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ment Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made to New Light Congregation, 1700 Beechwood Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. HERSH: On Monday, January 10, 2011, in Delray Beach, FL, Ruth C. Hersh, 90; beloved wife of the late Henry Hersh; mother of Edward (Mary) Hersh and Robert (Christine) Hersh; daughter of the late Joseph and Fanny Cohen; sister of Dolly Landay of Monroeville and Milton (Helen) Cohen of Hilton Head, SC; grandmother of Joanna, Michael, Elizabeth, Nathan and Jaclyn Hersh. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside. Interment Beth Abraham Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Birthright Israel Foundation, birthrightisrael.org . LEVIN: On Friday, January 21, 2011, Helen Levin; beloved wife of the late Meyer Levin; loving mother of Linda Levin Messineo and the late Carl Levin; sister of the late Sadie Goldberg, Mary Darling and Henry Abraham Perlut; also survived by two grandsons and two great-grandsons. Graveside services and interment were held at Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Charles M. Morris Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. LIGHT: On Monday, January 17, 2011, Harvey F. Light, beloved husband of Lenore Light; loving father of Dina Ranade of Beach Haven, NJ, David H. (Mara) Light of Pittsburgh, and Debra Light of Los Angeles, CA; brother of the late Martin Light; loving Grandpa of Evonna, Indya and Devan Ranade and Livia Light; also survived by loving cousins, nieces, nephews and many devoted friends. Services were held at Temple Sinai. Interment West View Cemetery of Rodef Shalom Congregation. Contributions may be made to Western PA Conservancy , 800 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh , PA 15222 or Western PA Humane Society, 1101 Western Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. MARKOVITZ: On Saturday, January 15, 2011, Edward A. (Adolf) Markovitz of Pembroke Pines, FL, formerly of Pittsburgh; beloved husband of Goldie Markovitz; beloved father of Samuel (Michelle) Markovitz and the late Seymour Markovitz; also survived by two grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside. Interment Poale Zedeck Memorial Park Cemetery. MAZER: On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Edward Mazer, 88, of Squirrel Hill; beloved husband of Jean Mazer; loving father Jeff Mazer of New York, Richard Mazer (Tzippy) of Squirrel Hill, and Amy Fenton (Mike) of Maryland; also survived by beloved grand-
children Elise Abromson (Hank) and Marc Mazer, Justin, Greg and Jared Fenton and great-grandson Andrew Abromson. Graveside Service were held at Homewood Cemetery, Star of David Section. Contributions may be made to the Kidney Foundation. Arrangements by D’alessandro Funeral Home, Lawrenceville. PICKHOLTZ: On Thursday, January 20, 2011, Beatrice Pickholtz of Jerusalem, formerly of Vandergrift and Pittsburgh ; wife of the late Lawrence Pickholtz; mother of Israel Pickholtz of Jerusalem, Israel, Daniel Pickholtz of Arlington TX, Jean Moskowitz of Arad, Israel, Judy Bohm of Elkannah, Israel, Amy Kritzman of Buffalo Grove, IL, Sarajoy Pickholtz of Wheeling, IL, and the late Carol Drot; daughter of the late Raymond and Sarah Gordon of Vandergrift; sister of the late Martin Gordon, George Gordon, Ethel Stull and Sadie Gordon; also survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren. ROSEN: On Sunday, January 23, 2011, Freda Zeff Rosen, beloved wife of the late Leonard B. Rosen; loving mother of Iris (Robert) Friedman, Sara (James) Guttman and Beverly (David) Brinn; sister of Lester (Maggie) Zeff; beloved Grandma of Dara and Rob, Marla, Samantha and David, Jena, Jeremy, Katie and Ari, Laine and Louisa. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., Shadyside. Interment Beth Israel Cemetery/ Hermitage. Contributions may be made to Jewish Association on Aging, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 or Greenville Public Library, 330 Main St., Greenville, PA 16125. SCHNEIR: On Sunday, January 23, 2011, Naomi Schneir; beloved wife of the late Charles Schneir; loving mother of Martin and Armida Schneir, and Natalie and Donald Milmaster; sister of Bea Pollock, Miriam Perl and the late Sam Daktor, Paul Daktor, and Louis Daktor; loving and devoted grandmother of Scot and Nora Schneir, Rachel Schneir, Robyn and Marc Friedberg, Eric Milmaster, and Mark and Joy Milmaster; great-grandmother of Kahlil Schneir, Zachary and Jacob Friedberg and Jordan Milmaster. Graveside services and interment were held at Kether Torah Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Forward-Shady Housing, 5841 Forward Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. SMILACK: On Monday, January 17, 2011, Craig R. Smilack, 57, of Pgh.; husband of Phyllis Smilack; loving father of Savannah Smilack of Murrysville; brother of Robin Petrusek of TX, Sandra Kasraie of Pgh., Pamela Smilack of FL, and the late Debra Stevick; son of the late Marlene and Sheldon Smilack. Visitation at the Thomas M. Smith Funeral Home, 930 Center Ave., Blawnox. Interment Toledo Hebrew Cemetery, Toledo, OH.
Please refer to www.thejewishchronicle.net for regularly updated obituary information.
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THE JEWISH CHRONICLE JANUARY 27, 2011 — 23
METRO Papers: Continued from page 1. come out looking good here,” said Laurie Eisenberg, professor of history, specializing in the modern Middle East, at Carnegie Mellon University. “It appears that Abbas was much more forthcoming in the negotiations with the Israelis then they let anyone believe.” While the documents indicate that the Palestinian Authority offered some “farreaching concession points,” Eisenberg said, “it had failed to prepare its constituents to make compromises, such as
Twedding: Continued from page 1. While Anthony is still a relative novice on Facebook and Twitter, Eli is a master at navigating the social media landscape. Twitter is a social network site on which people connect and send messages, or Tweets, of only 140 characters, Eli boasts almost 1,100 followers, or people who read her “Tweets.” To date, she’s Tweeted over 30,000 times, often mentioning her Twitpacha — a network of, she said, about 500 Jews worldwide. But Eli said she didn’t expect her second wedding to grow into such a large affair. Initially, the couple courted Rabbi Danny Schiff, formerly the community scholar at the Agency for Jewish Learning in Pittsburgh, to conduct their small ceremony, because he stood by the family during Anthony’s transplant and recovery. Schiff agreed — but only if the Puglieses created a full, vibrant Jewish wedding, complete with a ketuba, chupa, witnesses and a celebratory dinner. “I suddenly thought ‘Oh, my God.’ We’d thought this could be just a symbolic renewal,” said Eli. “But when Rabbi Schiff said ‘I can’t wait to see you as a kallah, I realized I can’t just wear my Pens shirt and a pair of sweats. I had to find a wedding dress.” So Eli got to work, Tweeting her followers for help to set up a wedding in just three months. And her Twitpacha came through. Rafi Goldmeier, an Australian planning to make aliya this month, will be a witness at the Twedding. After connecting with the Chronicle through Twitter, of course, Goldmeier said the event, “does show that even the Jewish community has globalized, in the sense of being a global village. Now, we are able
for the so-called ‘right of return.’ ” “The right of return has been a deal breaker for the Palestinians for awhile,” Eisenberg said. “Now [the leaders of the P.A.] look kind of stark naked in front of the Palestinian constituency, and it will be angry they were willing to compromise. They will face the wrath of the people, and it will be a problem for them. To the extent the Palestinian Authority seems to be working with Israel against Hamas, it will be a difficult point to explain away. To actively cooperate with Israel against a brethren Palestinian group is tricky.” The content of the leaked documents, if proven authentic, “could also cut
to make a wedding on the other side of the world, in the Jewish homeland, in Jerusalem, with friends around.” Eli and Anthony will meet Goldmeier for the first time on Feb. 17, at the Twedding, to be held at the Anna Ticho House in Jerusalem. Chaviva Galatz, another Twitpacha member, won’t make the Twedding — but she’ll be following the live Tweets written as the ceremony happens. A blogger and social media consultant, Galatz said, “Social media has created what I call a new community of Judaism. It allows cross-denominational involvement in all types of simchas.” To Anthony, using social media simply means he’ll have a wedding full of guests. “I tell my friends, anyone with a passport and plane tickets is more than welcome to come,” he said with a laugh. “[They say] ‘If you’re going to take out people you don’t know in Israel, you’ve got to take your friends to dinner when you come back.” Through Anthony’s heart transplant, Eli used Twitter as a support system, one that so clearly has materialized behind her Twedding. “So many people use Twitter because they’re so far apart,” she said. “In places where there’s just a little Jewish community, we can use Twitter to have a Jewish family. Somebody might Tweet ‘I need a Shabbat recipe! Quick!’ and people will respond.” With just over two weeks, the Puglieses are excited to meet members of the Twitpacha. “They want this to be nice for us,” said Eli. “The dress is here. The shoes are on their way. The ketuba is here. We just have to get ourselves to the airport.”
sharply against Israel,” Eisenberg said. Israeli leadership could have a problem “if the Israelis believe that a peace deal was within reach and the government walked away from it.” “Ever since 2000, Camp David II, there has been a mantra that there is no Palestinian partner for peace, that there is no partner to make concessions. That has been the party line for quite some time,” Eisenberg said. “Israelis could be upset to find there was a partner for peace, but Israel walked away.” “Of course,” she continued, “that begs the question: what if Israel had accepted the Palestinian Authority’s bluff? Once the P.A. went public with its concessions, would it be in better shape with its constituency than it is now?” Because the veracity of the documents has been called into question, some local Middle East observers believe it is too early to second-guess their significance. “I don’t think [the release of the documents] is a big deal,” said Stuart Pavilack, executive director of the Zionist Organization of America-Pittsburgh District. “There is nothing to verify the information as accurate. All the documents are Palestinian; no documents are Israeli. They seem to be unsubstantiated and incongruent with everything we’ve heard over the last few years.” Deborah Fidel, executive director of the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee, declined to comment in light of the current lack of verification of the documents’ authenticity. If, however, the documents are genuine reflections of what went on during those years of negotiations, “the poten-
Continued from page 4. become close friends, the families share their simchas together, bar and bat mitzva. This year, we added a conversational Hebrew program for the parent/child teams who did not want to stop studying together once the students were in seventh grade. The program has been hugely successful.” But there are drawbacks to family education, according to Langer. “I think it is tremendously meaningful and has enormous potential,” she said. “It’s good academically, and good for community building, but it’s hard to find and train teachers, and curriculum is virtually nonexistent. Most programs have to create new learning materials every year. Twen-
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
(Justin Jacobs can be reached at email@example.com.) DONOR
tial ramifications could be very big,” Eisenberg said. “What if the Palestinian Authority is driven from power? What if they’re delegitimized and they are not the people calling the shots anymore?” Eisenberg queried. “Then we have a whole new vista.” Accepting the documents as evidence of a Palestinian willingness to negotiate seriously, J Street press secretary, Amy Spitalnick, believes the leak should serve as an impetus for more effective U.S. involvement in the peace process. “I think it’s fair to assume that they (the Palestinians) are willing to make some if not all the concessions laid out in the documents,” Spitalnick said. “There is a willingness to talk about the core issues at hand. “I don’t want the papers to be used as a blame game, but as an incentive for the United States to step up and fill the vacuum [in the peace negotiations] that the documents underscore. We know what an outline [for peace] looks like,” she continued. “It’s really about having the wherewithal to have the courage to put it there. And it’s not going to happen without the United States. Left to their own devices, the parties are not going to get there on their own. We’ve seen what hasn’t worked. Now there needs to be a bolder, more assertive effort.” The Israeli government has had no official comment on the documents’ release.
ty-five family schools [across the country] are not enough of a market for publishers to publish materials. “Plenty of congregations do well with family schools,” she continued. “But it is not right for every family, and it is not right for every congregation.” But if a congregation and its families make the effort to develop a working family model work, Langer said the results can be rewarding. “Families tend to fragment with their time, which is one of the reasons the family school can be so powerful,” she said. “It is an identified time and place where families come together as a family, doing something important, doing something meaningful, and engaging in a community with other families. It can be a real gift, and a real opportunity.” (Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
IN MEMORY OF
GERTRUDE M. ADAMS . .RUTH WEINBERGER JANET & GORDON CAMPBELL . . . . . . . . . . . . . .LOUIS LUTERMAN HARRY CHIZECK . . . . . . .GERTRUDE CHIZECK JACOB CHOTTINER . . . . . . . .HARRY STEINER STANFORD P. DAVIS . . . . . . . .WILLIAM DAVIS RUTH K. GOLDMAN . . . .IRVING S. GOLDMAN M.D. SUSAN P. GOLDMAN . . . . . . . . . . . . .ISADORE PACHTMAN ALVIN & GLORIA GREENFIELD . . . . . . . . . . .JACOB GREENFIELD ALVIN & GLORIA GREENFIELD . . . . . . . . . . . . .JOSEPH HORVITZ RUTH P. HABER . . . . . . . . . . . .YALE S. LEWINE RUTH P. HABER . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ELLA LEWINE MORRIS & RUTH HECHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .FRANNY KINGSTONE MORRIS & RUTH HECHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .REUBEN KINGSTONE MAX HELFAND . . . . . . . . . .MENDEL HELFAND BEVERLY GERBER KALSON . . .DAVID DUGAN CAROLE F KAUFMAN . . . . . . .ANN R. HENDEL BLAIRE & MARVIN KRAMER . . . . . . . . . . .JASON WEDNER KRAMER ALAN D. KRUPP . . . . . . . . . .MILTON B. KRUPP PEARL LABOVITZ . . . . . . . . . .CARL LABOVITZ LOIS BUCK LEVIN . . . . . . . .HELEN MARGOLIS BUCK IRENE LIPKIND . . . . . . . .MELVIN SILBERBLATT
IN MEMORY OF
IRENE LIPKIND . . . . . . . . .BETTY SILBERBLATT IRENE LIPKIND . . . . . . . . .SAMUEL KAUFMAN IRENE LIPKIND . . . . . . . . . .MIRIAM KAUFMAN IRENE LIPKIND . . . . . . . . . .TILLIE GALLAGHER IRENE LIPKIND . . . . . .SYLVIA RITA PODOLSKY LIPSITZ CHARITABLE TRUST . . .CELIA LIPSITZ JOYCE & LEN MANDELBLATT . . . . . . . . . . .RAYE SUPOWITZ IDA JEAN & ROBERT MCCORMLEY . . . . . . .BENJAMIN SILBERMAN BARBARA E. OSTROW . . . . . . . . .FRANCES A. BARNIKER RITA H. REESE . . . . . . . . .FRANCES BARNIKER RHODA ROFEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .CELIA ROFEY RHODA ROFEY . . . . . . .MARVIN L. KAUFMAN MILDRED K. RUBENSTEIN . . . . .GIZELLA KOVAES STEVEN RUDKIN . . . . . . . . . .ESTHER RUDKIN ANNE SCHLESINGER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .HARRY SCHLESINGER LEE SILVERMAN . . . . . . . .SOPHIE AUERBACH ETHEL SISSELSKY AND FAMILY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ENOCH SISSELSKY PHILLIP L. WEIN . . . . . . . . . . . .IDA JANE WEIN GARY & STEPHANIE ZINMAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .MORRIS AND JOSEPHINE ZINMAN LOU ZEIDEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ISADORE ZEIDENSCHNEIDER SYLVIA ELIAS . . . . . . . . .RUTH B. MOLDOVAN SYLVIA ELIAS . . . . . . . .GERALDINE A. TYSON