Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 9-23-22

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September 23, 2022 | 27 Elul 5782

Candlelighting 6:57 p.m. | Havdalah 7:54 p.m. | Vol. 65, No. 38 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org

Eradicate Hate Global Summit implores attendees to not only study but act

NOTEWORTHY LOCAL Free holiday options abound

Local congregations get creative for the High Holidays

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F have lost and, perhaps through our actions, to provide some small measure of comfort to those who continue to mourn,” summit co-chair Mark Nordenberg said. While praising Pittsburgh’s “better angels,” Nordenberg highlighted the efforts of several local residents, including Wasi Mohammed, former executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh; David Shapira, who chaired the independent committee established by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to determine the distribution of donated funds after the massacre; and Michele Rosenthal, whose brothers, Cecil and David Rosenthal, were among the 11 Jews murdered on Oct. 27, 2018. In the lead-up to this year’s summit, organizers asked Rosenthal, a consultant and former community relations manager for the Pittsburgh Steelers, to head a working group focusing on hate and sports. The group, Rosenthal told the Chronicle, built on an earlier United Nations’ strategy and plan of action. Launched by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in 2019, the strategy and plan called hate speech “one of the clearest guides” to atrocity crimes and genocide — including the

or Rabbi Seth Adelson of Squirrel Hill’s Congregation Beth Shalom, writing his High Holiday sermons — his most widely heard sermons of the year — is a months-long affair. “First of all, my theme, I settle on six or eight months earlier,” Adelson told the Chronicle. “My theme this year is ‘Being There.’ As we are emerging from the pandemic, gathering together in person … is extremely important. “I think about these sermons much more carefully because of their visibility,” Adelson said. “I think of them as a series — it’s like writing a book. People do resonate with a theme, and some do come to hear how they all fit together. People appreciate that I put a lot of thought and care and planning into putting together a coherent message.” Adelson, like several other area clergy the Chronicle spoke to about their High Holiday sermons, is focusing on a challenge met — be it weathering the pandemic or dealing with society’s socio-political stressors. Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer of Temple Emanuel of the South Hills said he believes the best High Holiday sermons “combine the insights of Jewish tradition with that which is immediate and relevant in people’s lives.” “Hoping to address the needs of the modern Jewish community in the same style, I will be offering insights into retaining our ethics and highest values in the

Please see Summit, page 27

Please see Sermon, page 27

Meet Shaare Torah’s new rabbi

 The Eradicate Hate Global Summit 2022 welcomed nearly 260 thought leaders.

Photo by Adam Reinherz

By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer

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LOCAL A twist on a holiday favorite

Date and orange honey cake

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Gathering together, meeting challenges are common sermon themes this High Holiday season By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle


Rabbi Yitzi Genack settles into life in Pittsburgh



our years after the largest antisemitic attack in U.S. history, researchers, activists and thought leaders implored colleagues to combat hate in a call for action at the Eradicate Hate Global Summit, a deliberate evolution from last year’s event. As opposed to merely convening experts for a Pittsburgh-based discussion on theoretics, organizers asked hundreds of change agents to do more than simply study. “Each of you in this room come from all different disciplines, all parts of the world,” summit co-chair Laura Ellsworth told the hundreds of people gathered at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Sept. 19, and those watching online. “And yet each of you have something unique and precious that we want you to bring to the table.” The purpose of the three-day event, she continued, was to “set that table, to lay out the possibilities for you and invite you to come and join with us in this global movement.” Although a significant focus was placed on deliverables, organizers remained committed to remembering the 11 people murdered on Oct. 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life building and respecting their families. “One of our missions is to honor those we

Olesya/Adobe Stock

Shana Tova!

Headlines Congregations find the right High Holiday balance between being welcoming and secure — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer


or Jonathan Young, making people feel welcome and secure are two halves of the same coin — and both begin with relationships. Young, president of Shaare Torah Congregation in Squirrel Hill, said that members don’t need tickets to attend services at his congregation, and it is open to all who need a place to worship on the High Holidays. “You can come in, go upstairs and, if there’s no one’s name on a seat, you’re welcome to it,” he said. That doesn’t mean there aren’t procedures to keep members and guests safe while worshiping, though. Shaare Torah’s security team is well seasoned and tenured, Young explained. The guards who greet members coming to the synagogue on both Shabbos and holidays know the community and those who attend services regularly. They are partnered with volunteers from the congregation who serve as part of the security committee. “Our guards are really personable,” Young said. “The guys that have been in front of Shaare Torah regularly engage with people walking up and down Murray Avenue on a Saturday morning. If you stand outside every Saturday morning, you know the routine. You know who’s driving by, who’s going to Giant Eagle.” If, as the maxim states, location is everything, Shaare Torah exists at a spot on Murray Avenue that could be considered prime real estate. As a result, its security team has helped keep the broader community safe as well as its members, assisting in the apprehension of criminals committing antisemitic acts not associated with

p Congregation Beth Shalom

the congregation. Young said that regular training is provided for the security committee to make it more effective and to help ensure people feel welcome as well as safe. Chabad of Squirrel Hill Rabbi Yisroel Altein said that the relationship between its security guard and its members is important. “If it’s a regular, he obviously lets them straight in,” Altein said. “If it’s someone that isn’t usually in shul, he tries to make eye contact with me to make sure I know the person or that I feel comfortable.” In the rare occurrence that a person is unknown to the security guard and the rabbi, a quick conversation ensues to ensure a person is there to attend services, the rabbi said.

Photo by Toby Tabachnick

No matter if it’s a High Holiday or Shabbos service, the goal is the same, Altein explained: “We try to give everyone that walks into shul a personal welcome.” Like Shaare Torah, Chabad of Squirrel Hill doesn’t require tickets for the High Holidays but does ask those planning to attend services to register in advance. Its security guard won’t prevent someone who didn’t reserve a spot in advance from attending, but reservations help the rabbi to be prepared. “In fact, someone joked with me, ‘Rabbi, your email is contradicting. It says everyone is welcome and no reservations are necessary; please reserve your spot here.’” Altein said that by interacting with everyone coming through the door, attendees feel both

welcome and secure: “No one is like, who’s that guy; why is he sitting in shul?” Congregation Beth Shalom’s strategy to be both a welcoming and a secure place to celebrate the High Holidays might be summed up as “a good offense starts with a good defense.” “We communicate with our congregation what entrances are open,” Executive Director Robert Gleiberman said. “All others are shut down.” Security is present not just outside but throughout the building, he said. That, though, is only one tier of the congregation’s system. Beth Shalom issues passes that must be presented and checked by volunteers to worship there on the High Holidays. “We have greeters greeting everyone, welcoming them,” Gleiberman said. “We have ushers by the sanctuary, helping people find their seats and know where to go and greeting people, as well.” Those without passes can still worship at Beth Shalom, but they are required to stop at the synagogue’s office first where they will be issued the required document. Making people feel both welcome and secure isn’t complicated, Gleiberman said. “We have everything in place to greet all of the people that are coming,” he said. “We use our common sense to make everybody feel as warm and welcome as possible. Temple David President Reena Goldberg said the Monroeville congregation has practiced its addition in the run-up to the High Holidays. “We’ve added more cameras. We have more ways of communicating with each other. We’ve had more training so that all the volunteers at Temple that help with security have been trained by experts,” she said. Please see Congregations, page 34

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Headlines Congregations serve up a menu of options — some free — this High Holiday season — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer


ickets, please.” It’s a familiar refrain heard in synagogues across the globe as congregations welcome members for High Holiday services. An interesting thing has happened on the way to shul, though. Over the last several years, congregations have attempted to reach members and nonmembers alike through alternative services and non-traditional experiences outside their building’s walls. Temple Emanuel of South Hills found success more than half a decade ago with its Tashlich and Tacos program. The experience includes a traditional Tashlich service at Canonsburg Lake followed by a meal at nearby Mad Mex. While the Tashlich service is free and open to anyone who wishes to attend, the meal at Mad Max has reached capacity and is closed. Leslie Hoffman, Temple Emanuel’s executive director, said the Reform congregation launched the program as a way to increase visibility of the Tashlich service and create an engaging, social High Holiday event. It has since become one of the most popular parts of the congregation’s regular holiday offerings. Nearby Conservative synagogue Beth El Congregation of the South Hills has a host of activities free and open to the public that don’t require tickets. On Sept. 24, those who find spirituality in nature can share the fresh air with Beth El. The congregation will mark the end of Shabbat with a pre-holiday candlelight hike and Havdalah at Peters Lake. If your legs haven’t had enough, the congregation is hosting an “easy hike” at Bird Park two days later complete with a Tashlich service and ice cream. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, Beth El hits cyberspace with a virtual contemplative walk. The nature experience is completed with an outdoor reflective service on Yom Kippur. Realizing that braving the autumn weather might not fit like a comfortable pair of shoes for everyone, Beth El also has programmed several musical experiences including both Rhythm and Renewal and Rockin’ Rosh Hashanah on Sept 26. Jewish community members are also welcome to take in Yom Kippur Musical Meditations on Oct. 5. Beth El will conclude its nontraditional offerings with a virtual Yom Kippur afternoon discussion through the lens of Jewish ethics, according to Chris Benton, its executive director. “They’re nice ways for people to experience Beth El when they might be new to the area or interested in belonging to a congregation or experiencing Jewish community,” Benton said. “I think we do community really well. It’s a nice opportunity for people to get a taste of that for the holidays.” Temple Sinai Executive Director Drew PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

p Chabad of Greenfield’s search for a place to hold High Holiday services has paid dividends. Rabbi Yitzach Goldwasser leased an old PNC building for the month. Photo by David Rullo

Barkley said parts of the Squirrel Hill Reform congregation’s services were open to the public before he got to the city six years ago. Community members can participate in two “tot services” on Erev Rosh Hashanah and Erev Yom Kippur free of charge, as well as the regular Erev Rosh Hashanah service and afternoon Yom Kippur service. Additionally, nonmembers can participate in Sukkot and Rosh Hashanah second-day services. “For security purposes, everyone needs to be ticketed before they come. People who aren’t members should reach out so we can register them and give them a ‘community ticket.’ What we don’t want, again for security purposes, is people just showing up,” Barkley said. “The only exceptions are college students at Pitt, CMU, Chatham, Duquesne or wherever. Students with a student ID don’t have to have tickets and don’t have to call us in advance.” The hope, Barkley said, is that those attending High Holiday services at Temple Sinai will feel at home and want to return. “Whatever their journey is,” he said, “we hope we can be a part of that.” At New Light Congregation, community members can take advantage of the congregation’s “Seat Holder” policy adopted several years ago. “These are people who are not members of the congregation who attend High Holiday services with us,” the congregation’s co-president, Stephen Cohen, said. “They’re on our mailing list, but they chose not to be a formal member. We ask for a donation, and

most of them do, but we don’t badger them. They send us a check. We’re very grateful if they just attend services and enjoy them in a meaningful way.” Everyone must preregister for services at New Light, which is located at Beth Shalom Congregation. “We live in a different world of security now,” Cohen said, “and with COVID, we just need to make sure that everything is copacetic.” Both Chabad Jewish Center of Monroeville and Chabad of Greenfield have taken their services on the road, celebrating in nontraditional spaces. Rabbi Mendy Shapiro of Monroeville said High Holiday services will be outdoors in a tent and do not require tickets. There are no fees, but reservations are appreciated. He began holding services in the tent several years ago out of necessity, as the number of attendees outgrew the space in the Chabad Jewish Center of Monroeville, he said. “We call it the High Holiday Tent at Chabad of Monroeville,” he said, “It offers us more space in a beautiful setting.” As an added benefit, the tent offers anyone who might still have any lingering COVID concerns an added measure since services are outside, he said. There is no charge, he noted, for any service or luncheon, including break-fast following Yom Kippur services. The one exception is a Rosh Hashanah dinner, which has a fee and requires an advance RSVP. Rabbi Yitzchak Goldwasser of Chabad


of Greenfield also needed a location to accommodate his growing list of High Holiday attendees. Luckily, he didn’t have to look far. “I was sitting in my office, and I was thinking, ‘Where are we going to do this?’ Two doors down is a former PNC bank with a big for lease sign. I called them up,” he said, “and they were happy to make arrangements for the month.” The rabbi has spent the first part of the month cleaning the location and setting up tables and chairs. He’ll hold Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services there. He’s asking families to preregister so he has an idea of how many people will be attending, but registration isn’t required. All are welcome to attend services, he said, which will vary slightly from traditional Rosh Hashanah services. “We’re doing an afternoon service. It will be about an hour and half, mainly for families with children that find it difficult to participate in full services,” he said. “It will be at 2 p.m., and they’ll get a piece of everything. We’re going to blow the shofar, some selected prayers, the main prayers and a kiddish.” Goldwasser also will blow the shofar at Summerset at Frick again this year on Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. In addition, he plans on visiting various senior living facilities and apartment buildings. PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 3

Headlines Shaare Torah’s Rabbi Yitzi Genack adapts to new life in Pittsburgh — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


even weeks have elapsed since former New Jersey dweller Rabbi Yitzi Genack assumed the pulpit at Shaare Torah Congregation. The span, which gardeners know is enough to harvest beetroot, cucumbers and turnips, has permitted the rabbi to plant his communal seeds for future growth. Genack said he realizes it will take years to yield the fruits of his labor, but that he’s eager to do the work. Since arriving in Squirrel Hill on Aug. 2, the spiritual leader has dedicated his days to meeting Pittsburghers, hearing their stories and reminding himself who is related to whom. Speaking with the Chronicle, Genack, 38, marveled at the extent to which local generational ties are proudly held. “There’s a lot of richness and legacy here that doesn’t exist in other places,” he said. In trying to explain it to those less familiar with Pittsburgh, Genack said he’s cited the recent births of two baby boys. Not only do both sets of parents belong to Shaare Torah, but “all four sets of grandparents are in Shaare Torah,” he said. “It’s crazy.” These sorts of occurrences — or the fact that members of the congregation have been in Pittsburgh for almost 100 years — aren’t akin to the experiences of many other


SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

p Rabbi Yitzi Genack

Photo courtesy of Rabbi Yitzi Genack

American Jews, the rabbi told the Chronicle. Genack comes to Shaare Torah after serving Riverdale Jewish Center for 11 years. Before joining Riverdale’s rabbinic team, he attended Yeshiva University — where he received degrees in mathematics and medieval Jewish history, as well as ordination from the university’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. As a member of RIETS’ Wexner Kollel Elyon, Genack dedicated hours to combining intensive Torah study with developing skills in counseling, conflict resolution and oration. Moving to Pittsburgh has been “eyeopening,” he said. Genack described living in the Bronx, in an

apartment complex he called “the kibbutz,” but noted even that tight-knit community was nothing like Pittsburgh. This is an extremely “warm and welcoming” place, yet one aspect of Pittsburgh remains surprising: “On Sunday morning, everybody wears jerseys and T-shirts,” the rabbi said of game-day attire. “There were even people wearing davening jackets over their jerseys.” With football season underway, Genack will surely gain greater insight into the region’s near ecumenical obsession with the Steelers. Even so, the rabbi hopes to better understand his congregants and their concerns. From conversations he’s had since coming to town, Genack has learned that although certain community members have possessed the same bonds and friends for decades, that experience isn’t uniform. “I want to foster a community that reaches outward,” he said. Creating an environment where people can meet and befriend those outside their immediate circle is something he hopes will benefit all, including his family. Genack and his wife, Shoshana, a nutritionist who previously worked at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital, are parents to five boys, ages 13 to 1. Jonathan Young, Shaare Torah’s president said it’s been a pleasure welcoming the Genack family to the congregation and the community. Between seeing the Genack children


seamlessly make friends with other kids in the shul and hearing comments from congregants about how “knowledgeable, lovely and wonderful” Shoshana is, Young said Shaare Torah can be excited about its future. “It’s sort of that feeling when you know you got it right,” Young said of Shaare Torah’s recent hire. Genack is similarly gracious when speaking about Young, Shaare Torah and Rabbi Daniel Wasserman, who served the congregation since 1996. “I have tremendous respect for what Rabbi Wasserman did and for the institutions and community that he fostered,” Genack said. “He’s a dynamo ... All the things that he did — it was clear he never stopped.” Genack acknowledged that Pittsburgh is a place that prides itself on legacy. Even so, and while praising his predecessor, Genack made clear that he isn’t looking to replicate prior rabbinic models: “I’m not here to fill Rabbi Wasserman’s shoes. I’m going to stand next to them and take my own steps.” The approach, Genack said, will help the community get to know its newest member while he, in turn, learns more about his congregants and neighbors. “I want to get to know people, be there with them and foster relationships,” he said. “That’s my personality.” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.


Headlines Chabad of the Hospitals to spread holiday cheer on Rosh Hashanah — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer


hile studying to become a rabbi at yeshiva, Rabbi Shlomie Deren probably wasn’t aware that he’d need a set of strong lungs. The Pittsburgh native, who recently returned to his hometown, will test those lungs this High Holiday season as he walks a Rosh Hashanah route that includes UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital, UPMC Presbyterian/ Montefiore Hospital and UPMC Shadyside Hospital. If the travel by foot isn’t enough for the rabbi, who served as the spiritual leader of Ezrath Israel Chabad in Ellenville, New York, before moving back to Pittsburgh, he also will blow the shofar during each of his visits as well as conduct brief services. Deren is the director of Chabad of the Hospitals, a new organization under the auspices of Chabad of Western Pennsylvania. Led by Deren and his wife, Mushky Deren, Chabad of the Hospitals is new to Pittsburgh but not unique, according to the rabbi, who said it exists in other cities, sometimes under

names like Chabad on Call. Part of his plan includes getting board certified as a hospital chaplain, a process, Deren said, that includes a year of education, as well as a certain number of volunteer hours spent with patients. “When a Jewish person is in the hospital, primarily patients but also staff, we’re going to be available to help them with their spiritual, religious and emotional needs,” he said. The idea, he said, came about during a conversation with Rev. Gaea Thompson, the manager of pastoral care at Presbyterian/ Montefiore Hospital. “When I mentioned I wanted to offer a Rosh Hashanah service, she jumped on the idea,” he said. “Not only that, but she emailed chaplains from the other UPMC hospitals to let them know about the idea. That got the ball rolling.” Patients unable to attend the service can contact the chaplain on duty and request that the rabbi visit them in their room. The Rosh Hashanah hospital visits are the start of outreach for the rabbi who plans on growing the organization, both organically and through the help of other Jewish organizations, like Bikur Cholim of Pittsburgh and its director, Nina Butler. “I’ve been working with her, sending

Wishing all of our neighbors sweetness Wishing all of our neighbors in theinnew sweetness the year. new year. Shana Tova! Tova! Shana

people to her; she’s been sending people to me,” he said. “We’re working together to let people that are coming from out of town know what’s available. If you’re in the hospital and you need help, we’ll do whatever we can to meet your needs.” Butler, Deren said, has helped him spread the word beyond the UPMC hospitals. “She mentioned that she knew the names of some Jewish patients at West Penn, so I contacted them and added them to the list,” he said. “Growing up, I always was inspired by the spirit of chesed (kindness) and caring I saw in the Pittsburgh Jewish community,” Deren said. “I find a lot of meaning and support and comfort in the teachings of Judaism. When people are in the hospital, that’s the time they need that support. I’m excited to share what Judaism has to offer in a way I’m sure will be appreciated by people.” He plans on continuing his chaplain training after the High Holidays and expanding the reach of Chabad of the Hospitals. If Deren’s lungs and feet hold out, he plans to visit Magee Women’s Hospital at 11:30 a.m.; Presbyterian/Montefiore Hospital at 12:45 p.m.; Children’s Hospital at 2:45 p.m.; and Shadyside Hospital at 4:45 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 26 and Tuesday, Sept. 27.

p Rabbi Shlomie Deren

Photo courtesy of Rabbi Shlomie Deren

Those interested in scheduling an in-person visit with Deren can do so by emailing him at rabbi@chabadofthehospitals.com. PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

“To save one life is to save the world entire.” — The Talmud

Blessings for a healthy and sweet new year! This High Holiday season, as we seek spiritual and physical renewal for ourselves and our loved ones, let us also remember those in Israel who nurture and renew life every day. Whether it’s treating civilians wounded in terror attacks or responding to any number of at-home medical emergencies, no organization in Israel saves more lives than Magen David Adom.

Goodman-Leib Family Cindy, Scott, Elena, and Josh

No gift will help Israel more this coming year. Support Magen David Adom by donating today at afmda.org/support or call 866.632.2763. Shanah tovah.




SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 5

Calendar Submit calendar items on the Chronicle’s website, pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Submissions also will be included in print. Events will run in the print edition beginning one month prior to the date as space allows. The deadline for submissions is Friday, noon. q FRIDAY, SEPT. 23

Finding it harder to make ends meet? You are not alone. A recent study shows a growing group of people in the Pittsburgh area are economically insecure, and inflation is adding additional challenges to meeting basic needs. Join NCJW for “Yes, You May Qualify!” to see what financial supports you may qualify for. Noon. ncjwpghevents.org/upcoming-events. Q


The Jodee Harris Gallery Seton Hill Arts Center presents “From Darkness to Light: An Exhibition of Mosaics Inspired by the Tree of Life.” 205 W. Otterman St., Greensburg, 15601. q SUNDAYS, SEPT. 25-OCT. 30

Join a lay-led Online Parashah Study Group to discuss the week’s Torah portion. No Hebrew knowledge is needed. The goal is to build community while deepening understanding of the text. 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org. q MONDAYS, SEPT. 26 -OCT. 31

Join Congregation Beth Shalom for a weekly Talmud study. 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org. q WEDNESDAY SEPT. 28

Join the 10.27 Healing Partnership’s holistic support group as they partner with Sunny’s Community Garden on a journey to address grief through the healing power of gardening and herbs. This five-week program involves selfexpression through gardening and writing. The group is open to all adults who have experienced grief, no matter where they are on their healing journey, and offers an opportunity to connect and grow with others. 10 a.m. 5738 Forbes. Ave. 1027 healingpartnership.org/seeds-of-resilience. q WEDNESDAYS, SEPT. 28-OCT. 26

Bring the parashah alive. Study the weekly

Torah portion with Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman. 12:15 p.m. bethshalompgh. org/life-text. Join Temple Sinai to study the weekly Torah portion in its hybrid class available on Zoom. Open to everyone. Noon. templesinaipgh.org/event/ parashah/weekly-torah-portion-classvia-zoom11.html. q WEDNESDAYS, SEPT. 28-MAY 24

Registration is now open for “Melton Core 1: Rhythms and Purposes of Jewish Living.” This 25-lesson course will take you through the year’s cycle — the life cycle traditions and practices that bind us together. Explore not just what is and how is of Jewish living, but the why is that go with them. 7 p.m. $300 per person, per year (25 sessions), includes all books and materials. Virtual. foundation.jewishpgh. org/melton-core-1. q THURSDAY, SEPT. 29

Classrooms Without Borders, in coordination with Tali Nates, founder and director of the Johannesburg Genocide & Holocaust Centre, and in partnership with the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Liberation75 and the USC Shoah Foundation is pleased to present “Remembering the Holocaust in the United Kingdom.” 2 p.m. cwbpgh.org/ event/holocaust-museums-and-memorialsaround-the-world/?cwb-cache-buster=1. Presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the course Advanced Community Active Threat Training (CATT) With Defensive Tactics will address the mind of an active shooter, predator versus prey, situational awareness and survival mindset; explore basic self-defense using techniques such as Krav Maga and is hands-on for those wishing to do so; explore weapons awareness and disarming techniques and will build on skills learned adding more advanced defensive tactics to include team tactics and reality-based training. 5 p.m. Squirrel Hill JCC. jewishpgh.org/ event/advanced-community-active-threattraining-catt-with-defensive-tactics. Join Community Day School and the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania for Together We Rise: Challah Baking Event, a free community event to celebrate each other and the history of challah baking

with the Challah Back Girls and special guests. Bake your own challah to take home and participate in a one-of-a-kind raffle. Free. 5:30 p.m. Estelle S. Campbell Clubhouse, 4600 Butler St, Pittsburgh, 15201. eventbrite.com/e/together-we-risetickets-411534419527. q THURSDAYS, SEPT. 29-OCT. 6

Join the 10.27 Healing Partnership and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy for a four-week healing, consciousnessbuilding forest bathing series at the Frick Park Environmental Center. We will take 90-minute gentle walks throughout Frick Park while nurturing our connection to the natural world through reflective practices. If you feel disconnected from nature, yourself or others, consider participating in this forest bathing series. Registration is required. Series is free. 9 a.m. Frick Park Environmental Center. 1027healingpartnership.org/ forest-bathing.


Chabad of the South Hills presents Seniors in the Sukkah. Enjoy holiday music, a special Sukkot program, delicious lunch, shake the lulav and etrog, raffles. $5 suggested donation. Noon. 1701 McFarland Road. Call 412-278-2658 to preregister. chabadsh.com. Chabad of the South Hills presents a ladies’ event, Soup in the Sukkah, with a special guest speaker. 7:30 p.m. 1701 McFarland Road. chabadsh.com.


Register now for the virtual course “Melton: Social Justice – The Heart of Judaism in Theory and Practice.” This 10-part Melton course highlights the Jewish call to action and provides a practical approach for achieving lasting change. Drawing from classic and modern texts, the course explores the communal connection that compels us to support the most vulnerable. 7 p.m. foundation. jewishpgh.org/melton-social-justicethe-heart-of-judaism-in-theory-and-practice. q MONDAY, OCT. 3

Join Beth El Congregation for First Mondays with Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, a monthly lunch and lecture program. This is a multi-access “hybrid program” where you can attend in person or via Zoom, by calling the office at 412-561-1168. This month’s topic is “the Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton.” Join Andrew Porwancher as he debunks a string of myths about this founder’s origins to arrive at a startling conclusion: Hamilton was, in all likelihood, born and raised Jewish. 11:30 a.m. $7. 1900 Cochran Road, 15220. bethelcong.org. q THURSDAY, OCT. 6

“The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are.” Libby Copeland

will explore the extraordinary cultural phenomenon of home DNA testing. This program is possible through the generous support of the William M. Lowenstein Genealogical Research Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation. Presented by the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh and the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center. Free for JGSPittsburgh members; $5 for the general public. 7 p.m. heinzhistorycenter.org/ events/jewish-genealogical-society-libbycopeland-oct-6-2022.


Chabad of the South Hills presents a men’s event, Scotch in the Sukkah. 7:30 p.m. 1701 McFarland Road. chabadsh.com. q MONDAYS, OCT. 24-MAY 15

Understanding the Torah and what it asks of us is perhaps one of the most important things a Jew can learn. But most Torah classes begin in Genesis and never finish the first book. If you want a comprehensive overview of the whole Torah, Torah 1 is the course for you. In the first year of this two-year Zoom course, Rabbi Danny Schiff will teach Genesis, Exodus and the first half of Leviticus. In the second year, he will complete Leviticus and cover Numbers and Deuteronomy. $225. 9:30 a.m. foundation.jewishpgh.org/torah-1. q TUESDAYS, OCT. 25-NOV. 15

Join Rabbi Danny Schiff for The Afterlife: Jewish Views on What Happens After We Die. In this Zoom course, learn Jewish approached to the nature of the afterlife from ancient times to the present day. $45. 9:30 a.m. foundation.jewishpgh. org/the-afterlife-jewish-views-on-whathappens-after-we-die. PJC

Join the Chronicle Book Club!


he Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle invites you to join the Chronicle Book Club for its Oct. 2 discussion of “Antiquities and Other Stories” by Cynthia Ozick. From The New Yorker: “Five and a half decades after her belated début, [Ozick] has established herself as one of our era’s central writers, with an ample supply of exquisite fiction and belleslettres; and she is still going. To publish a novel in your early twenties is impressive; to publish one at the age of ninety-three is something else altogether ... A brisk work of some thirty thousand words, [‘Antiquties’] explores her

favorite subjects — envy and ambition, the moral peril of idolatry — in her favorite form. As you might expect, it also has much to say about last things, and the long perspectives open to the human mind as it approaches its terminus.”

Your Hosts

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

How It Works

We will meet on Zoom on Sunday, Oct. 2, at noon. As you read the book, we invite you to share your

favorite passages on a shared document you will receive when you register for the meeting.

What To Do

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

www.pittsburghjewishchronicle.org 6

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022



Headlines Duquesne University receives $50 million from Jewish alum, renames law school — REGIONAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle


he law school of Duquesne University has a new name, thanks to a $50 million gift from an alumnus recognized as one of the country’s top courtroom litigators. Thomas R. Kline — a Philadelphiabased lawyer selected as the No. 1-ranked attorney among 65,000 active Pennsylvania lawyers by the publication Super Lawyers every year since its inception in 2004 — donated earlier this month, leading officials to rename the 111-year-old law school the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University. Kline stressed it was not out of the ordinary for a Jewish professional to gift millions to one of the nation’s most highly regarded Catholic universities. “Yes, it’s a Catholic university with a strong tradition, but it allows education to go forward unimpeded and unrestricted; that was my experience at the law school,” Kline, who graduated there in 1978, told the Chronicle. “It was completely positive as a young Jewish man.” “Duquesne was a great place for me — and a perfect fit to give back to young people like me,” he added. Kline made a similar donation to Drexel University in 2014, which likewise led to the renaming of its law school after Kline. Kline also donated to Society Hill Synagogue in Philadelphia to establish a learning center in memory of his wife, Paula, who died in 2004. Kline attributes his philanthropic zeal to the values his parents taught him. “We were family first, we had a sense of community and we had a sense of the greater good,” Kline said. “I learned that from my mom and my dad, God bless their souls.” Kline’s commitment to Duquesne University will support student scholarships, faculty grants for excellence in teaching and scholarship, the law school’s noted Bar Preparation program, new clinical offerings that benefit the community and other strategic priorities. “It is enormously meaningful for Duquesne to have our law school named for an individual whose career success is synonymous with excellence in the legal profession,” said Ken Gormley, Duquesne’s president, who formerly served as dean of the law school. “We are grateful that Tom Kline has chosen to support his alma mater with such a transformational gift, recognizing the many contributions to society and the profession that our students and alumni have made for more than a century.” “We’re proud that one of our most distinguished alumni, who has represented Duquesne so impressively on a national and global stage, will now help shape the next century of our renowned law school,” he added. “This gift will benefit generations of students, graduates and members


p From left, Law Dean April Barton, Duquesne President Ken Gormley, Thomas R. Kline and Duquesne Board Chair Jack McGinley

Photo courtesy of Duquesne University

“At a lunch session, students were full of energy and imagination, and they were asking great questions,” Kline told the Chronicle. “At the time, I said, ‘These people were me, just two generations removed.’ I felt at home.” of society on a broad scale.” Kline’s gift is the single-largest commitment to the uptown university in its 144-year history. Kline already held the distinction of being the largest donor to the law school, with a $7.5 million gift in 2017 to launch the Thomas R. Kline Center for Judicial Education, which assists the courts in providing continuing judicial education to judges across the commonwealth. Kline often is named among the most respected and influential lawyers in the U.S. today. He is a founding partner of Kline & Specter, described by The Philadelphia Inquirer as “one of the nation’s leading personal injury firms.” The National Law Journal has listed Kline among “Ten of America’s Top Litigators.” Lawdragon lists Kline as one of the top 500 lawyers among 1.3 million active lawyers in America. He is the past

president of the Inner Circle of Advocates, which The Washington Post described as “a select group of 100 of the nation’s most celebrated trial lawyers.” Kline called his $50 million pledge part of “a progression” that started with his 2017 gift to jump-start the judicial education center. He said his gift “ultimately was motivated by … a visit I had to the campus.” “At a lunch session, students were full of energy and imagination, and they were asking great questions,” Kline told the Chronicle. “At the time, I said, ‘These people were me, just two generations removed.’ I felt at home.” Kline said his own time at Duquesne University’s law school “gave a sound grounding in the law, designed to help you assure you passed the bar … and succeeded as a lawyer.” Kline achieved many landmark jury


verdicts dating back to the 1980s with seven- and eight-figure jury awards in each of five decades. Recent accomplishments include his jury verdicts in the Johnson & Johnson/Risperdal litigation, winning an $8 billion award for his clients, and his leadership as chair of the Plaintiffs Management Committee, which achieved the historic Amtrak 188 settlement. Kline’s advocacy in the Penn State/Sandusky litigation and the Piazza fraternity hazing case also gained national attention. A graduate and recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award at Albright College, Kline earned his M.A. from Lehigh University and his J.D. from Duquesne University, where he received the Distinguished Student Award and later earned the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008. He is also an inductee into the Century Club of distinguished alumni at Duquesne University. “Working with Tom Kline has been an inspiration and absolute joy,” law school Dean April Barton said. “He is an exemplary embodiment of our distinct mission. He understands the history and value of Duquesne’s commitment to educational access and our focus on the law as a tool to ensure the welfare of all people. This is an extraordinary moment for Duquesne, certainly, as well as for the entire legal community. Linking Tom Kline and Duquesne permanently in the name of the law school will empower future lawyers for generations to come.” PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 7

Headlines Looking to the future, Chabad of South Hills adds new rabbi to its staff

Shana Tova from the Droz Family...

By David Rullo | Staff Writer


T Dan & Cathy Lani, Michael, Shoshi, Maayan & Shalom David, Allie, Noah, Eli & Jesse Ben Becca



5915 Beacon Street Pittsburgh, PA 15217 • 412-421-2288 8

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

aking leaps of faith is in Rabbi Mendy Rosenblum’s job description. Rosenblum, director of Chabad of the South Hills, believes in the growth of the South Hills Jewish community and isn’t afraid to take a calculated risk or two. Take a planned mikvah he announced late last year, for example. The rabbi told the Chronicle at the time that the typical procedure for establishing the ritual bath is to do research, identify potential property, explore obstacles and create a budget. He decided instead to announce the project and then work out the details. Rosenblum has decided to build on his faith once again. Confident in the growth of the Jewish community, the rabbi recently announced that his son, Rabbi Levi Rosenblum, and his wife, Hindy, have joined the Chabad of the South Hills team. The pair will direct all children, teen/youth and family programs. “There’s 100% growth potential,” the elder Rosenblum said, noting that it’s important to meet youths and young families where and how they are engaged today — which doesn’t necessarily mean weekly at shul. He called the decision “bold but responsible” and said he believed it is vital to Chabad’s continued growth and existence. “Synagogues are graying, Hebrew schools are getting smaller,” he said. “Younger people aren’t engaging the same way. We’ve got to pay attention to the trends.” Rosenblum said he believes young people have an easier time connecting with their contemporaries. “There are many ways to reach them, but young people, who understand and know the mentality of other young people and who are going through the same stages, are the right people,” he said. The younger Rosenblums will be building on the success of their cousin Mussie Rosenblum, who has done a lot of work with young families in the South Hills, the rabbi noted, adding that she will continue to lead the Hebrew school and some of the programming. Rosenblum said that his son and daughter-in-law have already begun developing new programs. “They’re thinking out of the box and reaching people in different ways,” he said. “You’ve got to figure out how to reach people who are not engaging in Judaism.” He pointed to a new initiative launched by the pair: For the last several weeks, the two have gone to the Green Tree Farmers Market and sold challah. Levi Rosenblum is excited about his new role. He recently moved back to Pittsburgh after spending a year in New York following


 Rabbi Levi and Hindy Rosenblum and their son Ephraim

Photo courtesy of Rabbi Mendy Rosenblum

his marriage. The couple have a son, Efraim, and will live in the South Hills. The pair said they will focus on creating youth programs, helping at day camp and running other programs at Chabad. The hope, Hindy Rosenblum said, is that through new and informal opportunities, they’ll not only get to know the Jewish community that might not be coming to shul regularly but also build relationships. “We want them to not just be a number but actually know them and know what’s going on in their lives,” she said. “That takes time.” They will be doing old-fashioned relationship building, as well. “We plan on going out before Rosh Hashanah,” Levi Rosenblum said, “knock on some doors and give out some challah — introduce ourselves and meet some people.” As for working with his father, Levi Rosenblum said the experience has been “amazing.” His wife agreed. “It’s been great working with him,” she said. “He gives us space. He says, ‘You want to do this program, go ahead and run with it and make it a success.’” Mendy Rosenblum said that when he decided to create the new position, he didn’t do it with his son in mind; rather, he wanted to find the most qualified person. That said, he’s excited to have the opportunity to work with Levi. “He grew up in this community. He grew up in a Chabad house setting,” Mendy Rosenblum said. “He was a great candidate. He’s married to someone outstanding who’s grown up in a similar community. It’s a natural fit. They’re very qualified. They happen to be my children but, as the community will see, they’re very qualified for this work.” PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG


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Publisher’s note



s we approach the new year, it’s a good time to extend greetings, take stock of where we are and to ask forgiveness. I wish each of you, our readers and fellow community members, l’shana tova, a happy, healthy new year. No matter what our personal circumstances in other areas, we all share the stress and difficulties of living through two-and-a-half years of a pandemic. The last two-and-a-half years were exceedingly difficult for the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. We saw a precipitous and unprecedented drop in advertising due to the pandemic, new challenges in fundraising as many donors prioritized organizations perceived to be more directly involved in responding to the pandemic, and increased costs due to the pandemic. We are cautiously hopeful that we might be finally transitioning from the most severe stages of the pandemic, but time will tell. It also remains to be seen whether the country falls into a recession or manages to avoid it. Something else has been going on in the past year or so that has also dramatically affected the Chronicle for the worse. For roughly a generation, this country did not experience significant inflation. However, for whatever combination of reasons, during the past year, and especially in the past six months, the United States has seen dramatic inflation. Jewish organizations of all types already were raising prices over the years, and now even more so. We saw many of our costs creep up over the years, but in the past six months we have seen significant price increases from our

Candle Lighting Time Friday, September 23, 2022 • 6:57 p.m. vendors in virtually all areas — not just in printing and postage which are needed for the weekly print edition, but also in our digital services which are needed for all of our publications and activities online. On the other hand, the Chronicle has not raised prices in more than 10 years; it’s been so long that I’m not really sure when we had the last significant price rise. It is no longer tenable for the Chronicle’s prices to remain as they are. Accordingly, all of our prices will rise effective Oct. 1. This includes advertising (including obituaries) and paid subscriptions. Truthfully this won’t directly affect the vast majority of our readers, who are members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community and will continue to receive the print edition, access to the website and all of our emails for free. Other customers will have to pay a bit more, but considering how long we maintained the same prices, those increases will be modest. Finally, our pre-Yom Kippur request for forgiveness. I don’t think a mass apology issued through media counts from a halachic standpoint. Nonetheless, I know that over the course of the past year we have offended or disappointed some of our readers with some of what we have — or have not — published. We try our best and we welcome feedback, but we also apologize for any mistakes or errors in judgment that we made along the way. We will endeavor to do better this year, and we fervently hope for a year of easier and more pleasant news stories. May 5783 bring comfort and contentment to all. PJC Jim Busis CEO & Publisher

Presumptive date set for start of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting trial — LOCAL —


he trial of the man accused of murdering 11 Jews in the Tree of Life building on Oct. 27, 2018, will likely begin on April 24, 2023, pursuant to an order by Judge Robert J. Colville, the federal judge presiding over the case. In his Sept. 19 order, Colville said it is anticipated that voir dire — the process of selecting a jury — will begin on April 24, and the trial will commence immediately following the completion of voir dire. “Counsel and the parties are advised

of this date in advance so as to allow for the clearing of personal and professional calendars such that the parties and counsel are prepared to proceed with the voir dire process beginning April 24, 2023, (the preceding juror summons and questionnaire process) and, of course, trial to its conclusion,” the court’s order read. If the trial begins on April 24, more than four years will have passed since the massacre. Prosecuting attorneys have accused the defense of employing various delay tactics throughout the litigation process. PJC — Toby Tabachnick

L ’shanah Tova




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8:00 AM TO 08:00 PM



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We Prepare Trays for All Occasions



May the joyful sounds of the shofar welcome in a new year of health, happiness, and peace! LUBAVITCH CENTER Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld Chaim Saul, President

www.pittsburghjewishchronicle.org PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG


SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 9

Headlines — WORLD — Prosecutors: ‘Camp Auschwitz’ Jan. 6 rioter was wearing SS shirt underneath

Robert Keith Packer’s sister asked people not to judge him by his cover, a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt. A prosecutor said he was wearing a Nazi SS T-shirt underneath, JTA reported. The revelation of what Packer, a 57-year-old Virginia pipefitter, was wearing on Jan. 6, 2021, came on Sept. 15 when a federal judge sentenced him to 75 days for his role in the riot at the U.S. Capitol. The sweatshirt, which became a symbol of the rioters’ ties to white supremacist movements, was “incredibly offensive,” U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said before handing down the sentence. “It seems to me that he wore that sweatshirt for a reason. We don’t know what the reason was because Mr. Packer hasn’t told us,” Nichols said.

Germany’s public broadcaster mandates that all employees support Israel’s right to exist

Germany’s public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, revised its code of conduct to require support for Israel’s right to exist, and employees who fail to do so may now be fired, JTA reported. The move announced Sept. 1 preceded

a court order last week that DW reinst ate a for mer employe e who was fired after the company determined she had made comments about Israel that could be construed as antisemitic. In all, seven employees from the broadcaster’s Arabic service were let go last year on similar grounds, and so far two have successfully sued DW for reinstatement. The revised conduct code appears to be timed to strengthen the company’s hand in such cases in the future. DW spokesperson Vera Tellmann said in an email that the company “is awaiting the reasons for the verdict in one case and reserves the right to take further legal action.” DW is not the only German media company to expressly endorse Israel’s right to exist. In 1967, the Axel Springer company, one of Germany’s biggest media conglomerates that now owns Politico and Insider, established “corporate principles” that include “support [for] the Jewish people and the right of existence of the State of Israel.”

Australian university magazine editor fired after writing ‘Death to Israel’

The student union at the University of Adelaide fired an editor of its campus student magazine after she called

for “death to Israel” in an article last month, JTA reported In a statement on Sept. 13, the board of YouX, the university’s student body, said that Habibah Jaghoori’s “recent public conduct would reasonably be perceived by any fair-minded person to be threatening the welfare of students at our University.” Jaghoori, an editor of On Dit, the campus student magazine, concluded an article on Aug. 4 with the phrase “Death to Israel.” The article was prompted by the threeday conflict last month between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. The YouX statement said it was not the article that prompted the firing of Jaghoori. Her removal was “specifically related to her conduct and behaviour since the article’s publication,” it said.

Study: Tel Aviv home to 42,400 millionaires

A new study released this week by Henley & Partners found that 42,400 millionaires live in Tel Aviv, or about one in 10 residents, jns.org reported. Among them, Israel’s coastal city and primary economic engine is home to 2,260 people with a net worth of more than $10 million, 118 residents with more than $100 million and 12 billionaires. Tel Aviv placed second in terms of

— WORLD — Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.

Sept. 23, 1920 — Shas Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is born

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is born in Baghdad. He moves to Jerusalem at age 4. He is Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi from 1973 to 1983, then serves as the spiritual leader of Orthodox Sephardi political party Shas.

Malke & Ivan Frank

Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst who served 30 years in prison in the United States on charges of spying for Israel, is engaged to be married, local media reported on Sept. 13, according to jns.org. Pollard will wed Rivka AbrahamsDonin, a widow and mother of seven from the ultra-Orthodox Chabad community in Jerusalem, in a ceremony that will reportedly take place in two months. Pollard’s former wife, Esther, whom he married while imprisoned, died earlier this year. Pollard was arrested in 1985, convicted of espionage and sentenced two years later. He is the only U.S. citizen to ever receive a life sentence for spying for an ally and the only one to serve more than 10 years in jail for the crime. Pollard was released on parole in 2015, eventually being permitted to move to Israel in December 2020. PJC — Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

Sept. 28, 1995 — Interim Palestinian deal is signed

Sept. 25, 1982 — Israelis protest massacre in Lebanon

p Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO

Sept. 26, 2002 — Rabbi Warhaftig dies

Temple David | Weiger Religious School | Monroeville, PA www.templedavid.org | 412-372-1200 |

Gamal Abdel Nasser says Czechoslovakia will supply large Soviet weaponry, including tanks, MiG-15 fighters and heavy bombers, to Egypt. The deal influences Israel’s decision to attack in 1956.

Sept. 24, 1950 — Operation Magic Carpet concludes

Some 400,000 protesters in Tel Aviv respond to the massacre in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon with a demand for an investigation into Israel’s role in the killing of Palestinians by the Christian Phalangist militia.

Happy New Year

Sept. 27, 1955 — Egypt announces Czech arms deal

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat sign the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, known as Oslo II. It establishes the elected Palestinian Authority.

Two planes carrying 177 Jews to Israel from Aden mark the end of Operation Magic Carpet, the airlift of nearly 50,000 Jews from their ancient community in Yemen over 15 months.

May 5783 bring us all together in community, good health, and peace.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

Former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to remarry

Today in Israeli History

Blessings for a healthy and sweet new year!


the richest cities in the Middle East — based on the number of millionaires — behind Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Globally, New York City has the most millionaires (345,600), followed by Tokyo, the San Francisco Bay area, London and Singapore.

Rabbi Zerach Warhaftig, a founder of the National Religious Party and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, dies at 96 in Jerusalem. A native of Belarus, he made aliyah in 1947.


Chairman Yasser Arafat shake hands in front of President Bill Clinton after signing the Oslo II agreement on Sept. 28, 1995. Jordan’s King Hussein applauds them.

By Ya’acov Sa’ar, Israeli Government Press Office

Sept. 29, 1947 — Arab Committee rejects U.N. partition plan

The Arab Higher Committee for Palestine rejects the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine’s partition plan, which calls for separate Jewish and Arab states and an international zone around Jerusalem. The Jewish Agency accepts the plan days later. PJC PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG


GOP candidate Doug Mastriano makes opponent Josh Shapiro’s Jewish day school an issue in PA governor race — REGIONAL — By Andrew Lapin | JTA


osh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, attended a Jewish day school as a kid, and last week his Republican opponent made that alma mater a campaign issue. At a rally, state Sen. Doug Mastriano said Shapiro “grew up in a privileged neighborhood, attended one of the most privileged schools in the nation as a young man — not college, I’m talking about as a kid.” In addition, Mastriano said on Wednesday, Shapiro is now “sending his four kids to the same privileged, exclusive, elite school, $30-40,000 per pupil. We talk about him having disdain for people like us.” The school in question is Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, known when Shapiro attended it as Akiba Hebrew Academy. A private Jewish day school, the academy has turned out many famous Jewish alumni, including prominent rabbi David Wolpe, bestselling author Mitch Albom and documentary filmmaker Alison Klayman. Mastriano never mentioned the school by name or specified that it was a Jewish school. But fellow alumnus Jake Tapper took notice of the implication Thursday on his CNN program, “The Lead.” “It’s a private Jewish parochial school,” Tapper said. “And I suppose, in that sense, it is privileged. But I do not know many people who would describe it the way that Mr. Mastriano did.” Tapper went on to defend his alma mater from the charge of elitism, saying that more than 60% of the current student body is on some form of tuition assistance, and that he remembered attending school alongside many children who had fled antisemitic persecution in the former Soviet Union. Tapper also referred to Mastriano’s history of associating with Andrew Torba, the antisemitic founder of far-right social network Gab, and questioned whether the candidate — who issued a statement denouncing antisemitism after the Republican Jewish Coalition called on him to disassociate himself from his Gab ties — would have used the same descriptors on a private Christian school. “I don’t think I have ever heard Mr. Mastriano describe any other Pennsylvania parochial schools in that way: elite, exclusive, privileged, full of disdain for fellow Americans,” Tapper said. In 2017, the far-right news site Breitbart similarly called the school formerly known as Akiba “a private, elite high school with exorbitant tuition rates,” in a story aiming to portray Tapper’s upbringing as privileged. Breitbart even asked Tapper how much he had paid for his school’s tuition. Other politicos said Mastriano’s comments crossed the line. “This is an antisemitic


 Doug Mastriano

Photo courtesy of Times Leader Video, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

dog whistle from Mastriano,” tweeted Eric Columbus, a special counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee who previously counseled for Joe Biden when he was a senator. “Had Shapiro gone to Catholic schools rather than Jewish ones, Mastriano wouldn’t have attacked him for it.” Despite Mastriano’s comments, his own education plans would benefit Barrack Hebrew Academy along with all other private and religious schools in the state. The candidate has proposed drastically slashing funding for Pennsylvania public schools, including by eliminating their property taxes and dropping per-pupil spending. Local public education advocates have said one result of these proposals would be the elimination of Friday-night high school football games — which would, ironically, be in accordance with the Jewish Sabbath. Shapiro has centered his Jewish identity in his gubernatorial campaign in an effort to appeal to Christians alienated by Mastriano’s blend of conservatism. He has referenced Shabbat in campaign ads and wears a red string around his wrist that his daughter got for him in Israel — “the kind that little old ladies hand out in Jerusalem when they bless visitors to the Western Wall,” Politico reported. His campaign also funded an ad backing Mastriano in the GOP primary in the hopes that the more extreme candidate would be easier to beat in the general election — a strategy that has been repeated by many Democratic campaigns this election cycle. PJC PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 11

Shana Tova

Headlines New Mexico’s Jewish federation is on brink of collapse with no staff or funding for programs — NATIONAL — By Asaf Elia-Shalev | JTA


This Rosh Hashanah, we wish you and your family happiness, good health, and all sweet things for the new year.

jaapgh.org | 412-420-4000 200 JHF Drive | Pittsburgh, PA 15217

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

9/12/22 4:24 PM

he Jewish Federation of New Mexico has nearly run out of money and staff, and all of its programs have been suspended or are being handed over to other community entities, according to interviews and court records. The dysfunction is the result of mounting acrimony at a 74-year-old institution responsible for serving the state’s estimated 24,000 Jews. After board resignations, lawsuits and the flight of many longtime donors over the past two years, the board has been discussing dissolving the federation entirely. “All the programs are gone,” said federation board member Marina Rabinowitz, who agreed to join the embattled board in January in hope of turning things around. “The federation used to give grant money to almost all Jewish institutions across the state. But not anymore.” Among the programs and grantees affected are the Jewish Care Program, which aids the elderly, including Holocaust survivors, and is being transferred to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque; PJ Library, which provides books for free to Jewish families; the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival; and the Hillel chapter at the University of New Mexico. “The situation in New Mexico is unacceptable and we will do everything in our power to ensure that the federation is able to continue serving the Jewish community, supporting Jewish infrastructure, uplifting Jewish life, and serving the most vulnerable,” said Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, which represents 450 communities across North America. What the future holds for New Mexico’s Jewish community is unclear. For now, all “central” programs traditionally supported through federation funding are still in operation, according to a JFNA spokesperson. But even if the federation folds, donors could materialize to keep the programs afloat independently and the programs that have lost employees could be restaffed under new arrangements. The dispute in New Mexico, which the Jewish Telegraphic Agency first exposed in March, centers on the tenure of Rob Lennick, the federation’s former executive director, who departed recently. He has since been hired to head The Jewish Federation of Volusia & Flagler Counties, serving the area of Daytona Beach, Florida, a JFNA spokesperson has confirmed. Several staff members began complaining in late 2020 that Lennick was prone to fits of rage and was at times intimidating and hostile. Lennick denied those allegations, finding support among the executive committee of the federation’s board. The executive committee moved to offer Lennick a loan and a contract extension and the board approved the offer in a vote in February 2021. But shortly after, several board members accused the executive committee of concealing


p The building housing the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque and the Jewish Federation of New Mexico Photo courtesy of the JCC

the complaints against Lennick before the vote. About half the board soon resigned and four members who stayed on filed a lawsuit. They are now asking a New Mexico court to take over the federation to ensure its management structure can be overhauled. Lennick is now considering filing his own lawsuit because he says he has been unfairly maligned, according to his attorney, Daymon Ely, who declined to say who might be targeted in the lawsuit. “I’m not going to name names, but you have people that have a little bit of power and in my judgment, have abused that power,” Ely said. “We’re considering bringing a lawsuit because he has left and they continue to blame him for things that were not his fault. They’re still talking about the acrimony being his responsibility, but I think he really did try to turn down the volume and I think the facts will show that he tried to do a good job.” Current members of the executive committee did not respond to requests for comment. David Blacher, who resigned as president of the federation, declined to comment. In January, with many of the board seats vacant, the executive committee recruited Rabinowitz. An economist by profession, she agreed and saw an opportunity to contribute by sorting out what appeared as messy financial accounting. But she says that when she asked for access to the federation’s books, she was rebuffed by the executive committee. After repeatedly “begging,” she says she was finally given some numbers, such as a profit and loss statement, but not any documentation that would validate the figures. “I have no confidence that whatever is presented there is actually true,” Rabinowitz told JTA. What she has been able to establish is that the federation coffers recently dwindled to about $22,000, a minuscule amount for an organization with a proposed budget of about $1 million in 2020, and a massive drop from three years ago when the federation reported that it had 18 months in operating expenses in its reserves. Rabinowitz is not sure where the money has gone. At least some of it is going to pay the lawyer representing the executive committee members in court, according to court records. “I do not know what here is mismanagement and what is fraud,” Rabinowitz said. “The only thing that I can tell you is that an organization that has existed for over 70 years was destroyed in the last three years.” PJC PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 13


How I found God again Guest Columnist Sarah Birnbach


uring the month of Elul, God’s warm and loving embrace is supposed to be most strongly felt, but I didn’t feel it. My father had just died. I wanted to believe that my father had been shrouded in God’s loving kindness and that it had brought him peace in his final hours. But I felt God had turned his back on me by taking my father, rather than allowing him to recover from his surgery, as doctors had promised he would. I had prayed for Dad to recover. I had begged God to let him live. I implored others to recite the Mishaberach. But rather than feeling enveloped in God’s glow, I felt abandoned, numb and angry. My prayers had gone unheeded. God was supposed to be more accessible. After all, it was Elul. Rosh Hashanah came, and with it the end of Elul, the end of shiva, and the start of my avelut — my year of reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish every morning and evening for 11 months. While this responsibility is

historically reserved for males, as the eldest of three daughters, I undertook this act of love and devotion, despite my father’s initial request that I hire someone male to recite the Kaddish for him. Elul is a time for reflection, a time of divine closeness, a time when we deepen our relationship with God. What I didn’t realize as Elul gave way to Tishrei, was that by committing to praying in the presence of the minyan twice daily, I was blessed with time for reflection and the opportunity to renew my relationship with the Almighty. When I began reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish in synagogue twice daily, I had a singular focus: to show God that my father’s soul was worthy of being elevated to Gan Eden and to give my father the gift of eternal life spent there. But as I rose every day to pray and praise God, I was the recipient of profound gifts. Daily prayer gave me the chance to reflect on the many blessings in my life at the very time that I had lost a most significant one. In standing for the Amidah, showing my respect to the Almighty, I offered thanks: “I thank you and praise you for our lives that are in Your hand, for our souls that are in Your charge, for Your miracles which are

with us daily, and for wonders and gifts that accompany us, evening, morning and noon.” In praising the Lord and expressing thanks for God’s miracles, I focused more on my many blessings than I ever had before — I have a life filled with love, good health, freedom, wisdom and a family that fills my life with joy. I learned the value of slowing the busyness of my life, of quieting my mind, of assessing who and what is truly important, of turning toward God and connecting with that which is larger than myself. I am conscious, in a new way, of the need for serenity and the importance of protecting that time. Reciting the words of the prayers gradually healed my broken heart. Like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, the crack in my heart gradually began to close as if God was filling the break with strands of gold. I learned that prayer heals. Building trusting relationships takes time. By sanctifying God’s name amidst the other minyaneers over 11 months, I began to feel the love and strength of the Ever-present. I learned not only how to talk with God but, more importantly, as I tuned out distractions, I began to hear God’s whisper. Daily connection

strengthens relationships. Just as water wears away stone (Job 14:19), my daily prayer and sanctification of God wore away my grief and anger. My heart of stone softened like the honey we enjoy as we welcome the new year. As we listen to the sounding of the shofar and begin to prepare for Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, I prepare for my father’s yahrzeit. Soon I will again recite the Mourner’s Kaddish and will rise for the El Malei Rahamim. I will sing praises unto the Lord as I did during my avelut. I will always miss my father. But as I recite Psalm 27, “I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,” I am reminded of God’s many blessings and I know that I am stronger for having deepened my relationship with the Almighty. As we travel through this month of Elul, and I recommit my relationship with God, I know now that God never had his back turned. He was only waiting for me to turn around and embrace him. PJC Sarah Birnbach is author of the forthcoming “A Daughter’s Kaddish: My Year of Grief, Devotion, and Healing.” She lives in Rockville, Maryland.

Ebrahim Raisi’s predictable ‘CBS News’ performance Guest Columnist Ruthie Blum


he brouhaha surrounding Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s comments about the Nazi genocide of the Jews, during an interview that aired on Sunday with CBS News’s “60 Minutes,” is puzzling. Anyone who expected the radical political figurehead of the mullah-ruled Islamic Republic to acknowledge, let alone denounce, the acts of the Third Reich — when his regime makes no bones about wanting to finish the job that Adolf Hitler started — is living in an alternate universe. Nevertheless, the short exchange he had on the topic with correspondent Lesley Stahl made international headlines and was circulated widely on social media. When asked by Stahl whether he “believe[d] the Holocaust happened — that 6 million Jews were slaughtered,” Raisi replied, “Look, historical events should be investigated by researchers and historians. There are some signs that it happened. If so, they should allow it to be investigated and researched.” The only thing noteworthy about this was his willingness to point to “some signs that it happened.” It was almost amusing of him to suggest that it be “investigated and researched.” As though he had no idea that it’s been studied for decades and verified by historians and survivors. And as if his rolemodel ayatollahs aren’t keen to emulate


SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

the Holocaust, albeit Islamist-style: first, through terrorist proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Judea and Samaria and Gaza, and ultimately with nukes. “So, you’re not sure; I’m getting that you’re not sure,” Stahl said quietly, being careful to avoid causing her interviewee to rue over having agreed to be challenged by a woman. “What about Israel’s right to exist?” she then queried. Here, Raisi didn’t hesitate or moderate his answer. But he did, however, refrain from repeating the name of the Jewish state that’s in the crosshairs of his massive arsenal of weapons, both in Iran and along Israel’s borders. “You see, the people of Palestine are the reality,” he said. “This is the right of the people of Palestine who were forced to leave their houses and motherland. The Americans are supporting this false regime there to take root and to be established there.” Stahl failed to remind Raisi that the ancient homeland of the Jewish people became a state in 1948, 13 years before he was born. Instead, she invoked the Abraham Accords. “You know that Morocco, Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates have all recognized Israel and have relations with Israel. And it is said that Saudi Arabia is also talking directly with Israel,” she said. “I wonder if you want to comment on that.” As it happens, Raisi did. “If a state shakes hands with the Zionist regime [Israel], then they are also an accomplice to their crimes,” he stated matter-of-factly. “And they are stabbing the very idea of Palestine in the back.” Figuring that she had belabored the issue,

as well as that of the yet again stalled nuclear negotiations, Stahl immediately turned to the former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed on Jan. 3, 2020, in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq. “Are you intending to retaliate by assassinating officials from the Trump administration?” Stahl asked. Calling the targeting of Soleimani a “heinous crime,” Raisi replied, “We want justice to be served. We are not going to forget about this.” When she pressed him on what he meant — whether he was referring to an “eye for an eye,” for example — Raisi reverted to fake denial mode. “[Those are] the type of the actions that the Americans and Zionist regimes are doing in the world,” he said. “We are not going to carry out the same actions.” Most of Stahl’s criticisms, if you can call them that, were reserved for narration in between the Q+A segments. This included mention of American hostages, the arrest of dissidents and the case of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was beaten to death on Friday by Iranian “morality police” for not having her head properly covered. Speaking of which, Stahl was decked out for the interview — which was recorded last Tuesday at the presidential compound in Tehran — sporting a hijab of her own. In fairness to the celebrity journalist, she wouldn’t have been granted the tête-à-tête had she not adhered to a set of pre-interview rules. As she explained to the audience, she had been instructed what to wear, how to


address Raisi and when to sit down after his arrival. But she overdid her graciousness in a Western kind of way that didn’t fly. “Hi, I’m Leslie,” she said sweetly when he entered the room. To her embarrassment, he was visibly unimpressed. Clearly, she isn’t used to being given the cold shoulder, certainly not by a man about to bask in her coveted gaze and broadcast opportunity. In other words, in the absence of both feminine and feminist wiles, Stahl was out of her element. Raisi, on the other hand, was uber-comfortable in his. This hit home as the crew began to pack up its equipment. Stahl described the unpleasant scene as follows: “As we ended what seemed to be a cordial conversation, we were surprised when a member of Raisi’s staff reached up and blocked one of our cameramen from shooting our goodbyes. Another one of our cameramen’s phone was confiscated and held by President Raisi’s security team for two and a half hours.” It’s a perfect metaphor for the utter disconnect between the U.S.-led P5+1 countries and the terrorist regime that they keep trying to engage in meaningless and dangerous diplomacy. That Stahl and her team were “surprised” by the thuggish behavior of their hosts — all because of the “cordial conversation” that preceded the it — is as ridiculous as the media’s response to Raisi’s Holocaust remarks. PJC Ruthie Blum. an Israel-based journalist is author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’” This first appeared on JNS.



Chronicle poll results: Queen Elizabeth II Last week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “How do you feel about the death of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II?” Of the 225 people who responded, 55% said “I care and I’m sad”; 21% said “I care and I’m not sad”; 20% said “I don’t care”; and 4% said they weren’t sure. Comments were submitted by 52 people. A few follow. She was the world’s grandmother and she reminded me of my own, who was also wise and loving. I think the British monarchy is a bastion of white privilege and domination of other cultures and colonization. I don’t see the purpose of it anymore. We fought a Revolutionary War against the tyranny of the king of England. It perpetuates a spoiled, entitled family that has no right to the riches that the citizens of Great Britain deserve. The British are showing what respect and dignity look like as a unified people. We could learn something from them if we bothered to pay attention.

Her life, along with the institution of “royalty,” has no bearing on my life whatsoever. I’m not sure Charles can fill her shoes, so that in sense I am sad.

How do you feel about the death of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II? 4% I’m not sure.

Queen Elizabeth II exemplified a life of service and impact. I’m a history major so it’s of mild interest. There’s entirely too much fanfare. We have never given this recognition to people who have achieved truly noble or brilliant or courageous deeds. I’m not sure that longevity and “stiff upper lip” qualify. She was a very stately ruler who in this crazy world seemed to be able to keep being above all the turmoil. The media are going overboard with wall-towall coverage of every small repetitious detail. Suddenly thrust into a role she was totally unprepared for, she became a shining example of what it is to be a true leader!

20% I don’t care.

21% I care and I’m not sad.

55% I care and I’m sad.

Queen Elizabeth II was a role model as a sovereign. She carried out her duties meticulously throughout her adult life and was loved by people the world over.

Coping with the holidays Guest Columnist Jeff Weinberg


s the Jewish holidays approach, as well as Thanksgiving, then Chanukah, many of us are looking forward to celebrations, giving thanks and family gatherings. Unfortunately, for many caregivers, preparing for the holidays is stressful as they also continue to take care of a loved one. Caregivers have been referred to as “the sandwich generation” because as they take care of themselves, they are also caring for their children as well as a parent. The sandwich generation is now being called the “the panini generation” because they face increased pressure. I often teach caregivers how to deal with their stress and reduce it. Here are some tips that may help: • Put your oxygen mask on first! When you are on a plane one of the first instructions is, in the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first, so that you can then help others who depend on you. This applies to caregivers as well. You must find time for yourself every day. It could be going for a walk, reading, listening to music, exercising or anything that calms you or that you enjoy. • Ask for help without feeling guilty. As a caregiver, you do not have to provide all the help yourself. Most caregivers are family members, and often one family member carries the bulk of the


She lived a long life and seemed to be loved by her fellow countrymen. No reason to feel sad about that! She should have visited Israel. The passing of Queen Elizabeth marks the end of a historic era which has seen a great deal of change in the United Kingdom and across the globe. This event merits attention but for me it does not engender strong feelings of sadness or any other emotion. Hereditary monarchies are obsolete; the idea that anyone should be a ruler based on their birth is ridiculous. We fought the Revolution to break away from monarchy. The English monarchy provides theater and diversion for their country — nothing else. PJC —Toby Tabachnick

Chronicle weekly poll question:

Do you intend to fast on Yom Kippur this year? Go to pittsburghjewishchronicle.org to respond. PJC

— LETTERS — Models of care for seniors need to change

Ask for help without feeling guilty. As a caregiver, you do not have to provide all the help yourself. responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! • Tell friends and family that instead of bringing gifts or flowers on special occasions, you would prefer “acts of kindness,” such as giving you some relief a couple hours a week so that you can have some alone time. Ask them to bring something for the holiday meal, such as a kugle, dessert or maybe just help with the grocery shopping,

Thanks to the Jewish Healthcare Foundation for its support for the aging population of Pittsburgh as described by Karen Wolk Feinstein (“Seniors matter to us ... now more than ever,” Sept. 16). The programs and support offered by The New Riverview Apartments, Weinberg Village, Weinberg Terrace and AHAVA have most certainly made the last years of many Pittsburghers of all faiths more secure, protected and meaningful. It is also most unfortunate that these offerings, with the exception of The New Riverview Apartments, are financially out of reach of most Pittsburgh seniors. The closing of Charles Morris Skilled Nursing facility was both a blessing and a shame. That the Skilled Nursing Facility closed without the culture of care there ever having achieved the level which should have been the standard for all such facilities continues to be a tragic episode in the history of the Jewish Association on Aging and JHF. Models of care for seniors need to change around the nation. Let’s hope that Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, JHF and the JAA will some day lead the way in this effort in reality and practice as well as in garnered awards. Daniel Leger, RN Pittsburgh We invite you to submit letters for publication. Letters must include name, address and daytime phone number; addresses and phone numbers will not be published. Letters may not exceed 500 words and may be edited for length and clarity; they cannot be returned. Mail or email letters to: Letters to the editor via email: letters@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org

• Give thanks. Appreciate and be thankful for all that you do have, family, friends — and being a caregiver. As a caregiver you are providing your loved one quality of life as well as quality of care.

Address: Website address:

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


I hope these tips have been helpful and your holidays are blessed and less stressful. L’shana tova. PJC Jeff Weinberg, M.Ed., M.PH, NHA, is a Nationally Certified Health Care Advocate and owner of Caregiver Champion, LLC. PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE

Sign up on the right hand side of our homepage. www.pittsburghjewishchronicle.org SEPTEMBER 23, 2022


Rosh Hashanah Immigrants, Refugees, and Yinzers: All of Us Neighbors Monday, September 26 • 3-4 pm Levinson Hall • JCC Squirrel Hill Join us for a soulful conversation with our Pittsburgh neighbors no matter their country of origin. Our conversation will be highlighted with the sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn) as a wake-up call to all of us for how we need to “love the stranger because we were strangers in the land of Egypt”. We will share apples and honey for sweetness.

High Holidays of Hope

Our moderator, Feyisola Akintola, Manager, Office of Immigration Affairs for the City of Pittsburgh, will guide us through a conversation with neighbors including those from Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Congo, Latin America, and Asia.

Yom Kippur When Rights are Challenged Standing UP with Our Neighbors Women and Their Families The Incarcerated and Their Families The LGBTQ+ Community and Their Families Wednesday, October 5 • 3-4 pm Levinson Hall • JCC Squirrel Hill Join us for an essential conversation about our responsibility to stand UP with our neighbors when their reproductive health rights, civic engagement rights, and gender identity rights are restricted. Our conversation will be highlighted with modern interpretations of the Yom Kippur confessional prayers. We will conclude with a contemporary Yizkor memorial service.

(L-R) Our moderator, Lisa Schroeder, President and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation, will guide us in a conversation with Sydney Etheredge, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania; Anna Hollis, President and CEO, Amachi Pittsburgh; and Lynz Sickler, Executive Director, Proud Haven. Vaccines are required on the honor system. Please feel free to wear a mask if you like. Enter the JCC through the Darlington Road door. Electronic door will be kept open. All other JCC entrances will be closed.

Learn more and RSVP: jccpgh.org/event/high-holidays For info: rsymons@jccpgh.org


SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

*This program provides the community with a spiritual way of better understanding the challenges our neighbors face. While each of us might have our own opinions, the JCC – as an agency – focuses on the impact on our neighbors and how we can stand UP with each other. We choose a values-based approach rather than a partisan approach.





Life & Culture Local retailers suggest Rosh Hashanah wines to keep in mind — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer


ome nightfall on Sept. 25, Jews worldwide can raise their cups to a fun commandment. According to the Shulchan Aruch, a 16th-century code of Jewish laws, there is a mitzvah to “eat, drink and rejoice on Rosh Hashanah.” Gastronomes and bon vivants will likely follow this imperative with panache and little help, but the average High Holiday celebrant may need more assistance. For that reason, local wine sellers and connoisseurs recommended particular vinos to sweeten the new year. Murray Avenue Kosher’s Aryeh Markovic told the Chronicle that Herzog Be-Leaf, an organic no-sulfite-added cabernet sauvignon is a must-have this Rosh Hashanah. Markovic called the wine “well balanced and expressive,” while adding that Be-Leaf ’s easy drinking and soft nature allows it to pair well with lamb or red meat. The fact there are no added sulfites is another plus, Markovic added: “There are people who get headaches from the sulfites, so leaving them out makes it easier for some people to drink.”

Pixel-Shot / Adobe Stock

This time of year, at many synagogues worldwide, staffers and volunteers have swapped out multi-hued Torah covers, ark screens and other ceremonial fabrics for simple white ones. For wine-drinkers wishing to model similar behavior and substitute red for white, Markovic has another suggestion. Chateau De Santenay Mercurey is a “really fine and elegant white burgundy,” he said. Made from 100% chardonnay, it has a “nice taste of golden apples and peaches.” Markovic added that the “very complex

wine” pairs well with fish or chicken. Baila Cohen of Pinskers Judaica and Eighteen told the Chronicle that most people enjoy Moscato d’Asti but, regardless of regular preferences, it’s important to ensure your drink pairs well with honey. During Rosh Hashanah, many eaters dip apples, challah and other food in honey. One reason for the practice, according to rabbinic literature, is that honey offers a lesson. Typically, food that comes from an unkosher animal isn’t considered kosher; however, honey holds a different

status. Although a bee isn’t kosher to eat, honey is permissible. The lesson, according to the sages, is that just like an impure bee yields an acceptable byproduct, so, too, celebrants can spend the season creating purity. Curt Friehs, a Dormont-based wine merchant and owner of Chosen Wine, said that Rosh Hashanah is a time where “any number of red wines would be excellent.” Friehs specifically recommends Carmel Mediterranean. With its blend of five grape varieties grown in Israel, the wine is “excellent,” he said. Alternatively, those seeking a white wine could opt for Carmel’s sauvignon blanc, which is “really good too.” Whether online or in the aisles of your favorite merchant there’s often debate about the cost of a decent bottle of wine. For Friehs, the answer ultimately depends on preference: “You could spend $30 or $40, or you can get a really good bottle for under $20. It depends on what you like.” The real trick is remembering the value that each bottle brings. “Wine ages well, and it brings people together,” he said. “I say l’chaim to life, to another year. It’s a time to reevaluate priorities and what’s important to you.” PJC Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

Wishing an Aliyah Tovah to the thousands of Olim who made Wishing an Aliyah Tovah to Israel their home this year.

the thousands of Olim who made Wetheir look forward to helping Israel home this year. thousands more in the

We look to helping yearforward ahead. Shana Tovah! thousands more in the year ahead. Shana Tovah!





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www.nbn.org.il/cominghome • 1-866-4-ALIYAH • aliyah@nbn.org.il WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP TO BUILD A STRONGER ISRAEL THROUGH ALIYAH




SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 17

Life & Culture

Date and orange honey cake for the new year — RECIPE — By Jessica Grann | Special to the Chronicle


oney cake is a traditional food for Rosh Hashanah tables, yet rarely do I hear anyone raving about it. Year to year in the recipe forums that I read online, bakers are searching for recipes for a moist honey cake. Used in this recipe, date syrup, known as silan in Israel and other countries in the Middle East, is the biblical honey mentioned in the Torah. It’s a natural sweetener like bee honey, but it has a richer, darker taste that is closer to molasses. Apple desserts are well-loved favorites for the holiday, but it’s a nice change to offer something different. Orange-flavored desserts are more common in Sephardic homes at Rosh Hashanah, and I’m sure that this recipe will delight your holiday guests. When we have so much extra cooking to do, it’s nice to find a new recipe that is simple to make and easy to clean up. I like this loaf-shaped cake because no one is looking for a large dessert to eat after a filling holiday meal. This cake is also well received at breakfast. Ingredients: ½ cup oil

2 large eggs ½ cup sugar ½ cup of silan, plus 2 tablespoons, reserved ½ cup orange juice Zest from 1 medium orange 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1½ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional

I use a stand mixer for this recipe to make life easier, but you can absolutely use an electric hand mixer or even hand mix if you’re up to the job. A yummy cake recipe that can be hand mixed on yom tov is always a good thing to have tucked up your sleeve. Preheat your oven to 325 F, and place the oven rack in the middle. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper then lightly spray the parchment with a cooking oil spray of your choice. The parchment paper is wonderful because you can use it to lift the whole loaf out of the pan to cool without any concern about the cake sticking. It also saves your pans from burnt-on messes. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs gently, then add the oil. Mix on medium-low for about a minute, then add in the sugar and silan. When well combined, add the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt all at once,

then add the flour and orange juice alternately. Once the orange juice looks well combined with the batter, hand mix in the orange zest. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. You may need to adjust your timing a little depending on the material of your pan, but a toothpick should come out clean and the edges of the cake should be just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Overbaking the cake will result in dryness, so stay close and keep an eye on it. Once a toothpick comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and quickly drizzle about 2 more tablespoons of silan over the cake using the spoon or a small spatula to evenly distribute it across the top. If you’re going to add nuts, do that right away. I add nuts to half of my cake so that everyone can have their preference. Quickly place the cake back into the oven for 5 minutes; this helps create a lustrous honey coating on top. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Using the parchment paper, pull the cake out and place it onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Please be sure that the cake is completely cool before serving or wrapping it to store. You can make this cake 1-2 days in advance, and it stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy and bless your

p Date and orange honey cake

Photos by Jessica Grann

hands. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year full of blessings. Shana tova and anyada buena. PJC Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 19

Life & Culture

Apples and honey: Beyond the dip ¾ cup sugar ¼ cup honey 2¼ cups flour For the filling: 4 eggs ¾ cup sugar ¼ cup honey 2 sticks butter Pinch salt 1 tablespoon vanilla extract ½ cup flour 3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices Whipped cream or ice cream for serving

— RECIPE — By Keri White | Contributing Writer


pples and honey symbolize the Rosh Hashanah holiday in a meaningful way. Traditionally, plates are offered around for the ceremonial dip to symbolize the sweetness of the new year. As ingredients, they are infused through the festive meal in tzimmes, for stuffing and glazing roast chicken, with dessert and so on. I offer two recipes that give these culinary pillars a nod while mixing and mingling them in diverse preparations, different techniques and tasty ways. The first is a brown butter applecustard tart that is rich, delicious, involved, precise and impressive. The second, the apple parfait, is more of a guide. The result looks pretty, can be done far ahead and you can either make honey caramel or just use honey as a layer. The same goes for the apple mixture — if you are not inclined to chop and simmer, you can use canned pie filling. Ditto the graham crackers — feel free to use bits of oatmeal cookies, honey cake, crumbled mandel brot or whatever suits

20 SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

 Brown butter apple-custard tart

Photo by Keri White

your taste and you have on hand. Brown butter apple-custard tart

Makes a 9-inch tart

For the crust: 2 sticks butter, softened

Make the crust: Heat your oven to 350 F. Place the crust ingredients in a mixing bowl, and beat them with a mixer until the dough forms as crumbly bits the size of lentils. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan; prick the dough with a fork, and bake it for 15 minutes. While the crust bakes, make the filling. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl just to blend, and set it aside. Place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat with the vanilla. Cook, stirring often, until the butter foams, then browns (do not burn), about 5 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Slowly whisk the brown butter into the egg mixture; whisk


 Honey caramel apple parfait

Photo by Keri White

in the flour and salt. While the filling is cooling, line the tart shell with apples. Pour the filling over the apples. Bake it until the apples Please see Apples, page 21


Life & Culture Apples: Continued from page 20

are deep golden brown and the filling is puffed, cracked and set in the center, about 60 minutes. Let the tart cool in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove the pan sides. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

Traditionally, plates are offered around for the ceremonial dip to symbolize the

Honey caramel apple parfaits

Makes 4 parfaits This can be adapted to personal preference and mixed up as desired. Don’t feel like making the apple compote? Use apple butter or applesauce. Despise making caramel? Skip that step, and use a drizzle of good quality honey. Loathe graham crackers? Chuck in your favorite cookie or cake instead. The beauty of this recipe is twofold: It is supremely adaptable to personal taste, and it can be done far ahead of time — just be sure to wrap and seal the parfaits tightly to preserve the flavor. Another boon of this recipe is that you can use both the apple compote and the honey caramel in other ways. Not loving the ice cream as a vehicle? Drizzle the compote and/or the caramel over a traditional honey cake or a pound cake. If you have surplus compote, it is delicious in oatmeal or yogurt for

sweetness of the new year.

 Honey caramel

Photo by Keri White

breakfast! For the apple compote: 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped 1 tablespoon honey ¼ cup water (or more as needed) Sprinkle of cinnamon For the honey caramel: ½ cup honey

2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons water ½ cup heavy cream For the crumble: 1 cup crumbled graham crackers 2 pints vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

Make the compote: In a small saucepan or skillet, simmer all the ingredients until the apples are soft. Add water as needed

to keep it from burning. The end result should look like pie filling. Make the caramel: In a small saucepan, simmer the honey, butter and water over medium heat until they caramelize — this will take about 10 minutes; the sugars in the honey will begin to thicken as the mixture boils. Remove it from the heat, and add the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up and become thicker. Stir to integrate the cream, placing the pan back on low heat if needed to break up the caramel. Cool both the compote and the caramel completely — when they reach room temperature, chill them slightly; if you mix it with the ice cream when they are the least bit warm, the parfait will melt into a gloppy mess. Assemble the parfaits: Choose a small, attractive glass (about 8 ounces; an old fashioned/rocks glass or a white wine glass work well). Place a layer of crumbled graham crackers, a layer of vanilla ice cream, apple compote, ice cream, caramel, graham cracker, et cetera, finishing with apples. Seal the glass tightly with cellophane, and secure it with a rubber band or tape if needed. Store the parfait in the freezer until you are ready to serve. Remove it from the freezer about 5 minutes before serving to soften it slightly. PJC Keri White writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication where this first appeared.


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a n a h S a v To May your new year be filled with health, happiness, and peace. From the board and staff of the P I T TS B U R G H


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SEPTEMBER 23, 2022



Life & Culture The sky’s no limit for this Jewish 14-year-old who broke a national high jump record — NATIONAL — By Tom Tugend | JTA


OS ANGELES — JJ Harel, newly 14 years old and standing at 6-foot-2, expects to face some tough competition when the Olympics return to Los Angeles in 2028 and the starting pistol for the track and field events sounds off. But his first decision will be whether to march into the Olympic stadium under the American, Australian or Israeli flag. In any other family, such musings would be taken as the fantasies of an over-stimulated adolescent mind. However, to skeptics JJ need only unveil the array of 27 international medals he won over the past year as a 13-year-old, including at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, where he placed first in high jump and second in triple jump in the under-18 category after needing to receive special permission to participate since he was underage.

 JJ Harel shows off his AAU medals.

Then there’s the record-breaking high jump that earned him a profile in the Los Angeles Times this week. Last month, Harel participated in the American Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympics, one of the largest youth track and field competitions in the world, where he won three gold medals and cleared 6 feet and 5 inches in the high jump — breaking a record for the 14-and-under age group that had stood for 42 years (he was still 13 at the time). Harel won gold in the triple jump and javelin as well, and he was the only athlete to achieve All American status in five events, a title awarded to only the top eight athletes in the country for each event. JJ (Joshua Jayden) inherited his triple citizenship through his father, Oren, 47, born in Houston, and his mother Lucy, a native Australian. Oren Harel spent his formative years in Israel and served in the


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Israel Defense Forces, afterwards attending Cornell, where he met Lucy who was participating in an exchange program from Sydney University. After two years in Manhattan, and following Sept. 11, the couple moved to Sydney for 10 years, where all three of their children were born. They relocated as a family to Israel for two years before moving to Los Angeles in 2013. JJ is now a freshman at the Catholic Chaminade High School in the Los Angeles suburb of West Hills. When asked why his parents didn’t place their son in a public or Jewish school, Harel replied that Chaminade, noted for its outstanding sports program, offered a high level of track training, while Jewish schools offered none. However, his father consulted with school authorities beforehand to make certain that his son would not be compelled to participate in Catholic morning services. JJ said that his being Jewish never comes up — even though he occasionally wears a Star of David necklace and does not eat non-kosher types of meat (like his father, he

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Photo by Lucy Harel

will eat non-kosher beef and other things in certain situations, but never pork). When he was too young to know the names of non-Jewish faiths, and when he wanted to know whether another kid was Jewish like him, JJ would ask “are you Jewish or are you pork?” JJ seems to be as focused on his academic studies as he is on his athletic pursuits, as the only freshman in his current school taking pre-calculus mathematics. Oren Harel noted that JJ’s grandfather worked for NASA for about 20 years starting in the early 1970s, contributing research to the Voyager 2 and Galileo space exploration projects. “Sometimes I say a joke when people ask me about [JJ’s] ability: I tell them his grandfather worked for NASA, maybe that’s how he learned the secret on how to defy gravity,” Oren Harel said. PJC


Here's to a healthy and sweet new year! Here’s to a healthy and sweet new year

Barry & Janice Nathan and Sam Bushnick

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 23

Life & Culture At ‘The Fabelmans’ premiere, Steven Spielberg discusses how his Jewish identity is portrayed in the autobiographical film — FILM — By Stephen Silver | JTA


ORONTO — It would be difficult to debate what Steven Spielberg’s “most Jewish” film has been, after a career with highlights such as “Schindler’s List” and “Munich.” But it’s now clear what the famed director’s most personal film is. On Saturday night, Spielberg introduced “The Fabelmans,” his upcoming semi-autobiographical movie about his Jewish upbringing and his formative early years as an aspiring filmmaker, at a post-screening Q&A at the Toronto International Film Festival, where its debut earned a two-minute standing ovation and subsequent Oscar buzz in early critic reviews. Spielberg made no attempt to disguise the fact that the story is based on his life. “It’s not complicated,” he said. “This is something, obviously, that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.” The moderator of the Q&A, the festival’s CEO Cameron Bailey, noted that Spielberg grew up in a Jewish family “in mostly non-Jewish environments.” He asked the director about his “growing engagement with your Jewish identity” throughout his

p From left to right: Paul Dano, Mateo Zoryna Francis-Deford and Michelle Williams as fictionalized members of Steven Spielberg’s family in his film “The Fabelmans.” Photo courtesy of 2022 Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

career, and what it was like to “weave that into the film.” Jewish audiences have been highly anticipating how the film would incorporate Spielberg’s Jewishness since the official announcement that production was

underway last year. The three-time Oscar winner co-wrote the script with his frequent collaborator Tony Kushner, right after the duo finished their work together on the recent “West Side Story” remake.

“I like very much the sort of easy way that Jewishness lives in this movie. It’s a Please see Film, page 25

BE OUR GUEST AT TEMPLE SINAI FOR THE HIGH HOLY DAYS!* ROSH HASHANAH* Sunday, September 25, 2022 7:45 PM Erev Rosh HaShanah Service Tuesday, September 27, 2022 10 AM Rosh HaShanah 2nd Day Morning Service

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Looking for an informal, inviting way to teach your little ones about High Holy Days? Join Rabbi Daniel Fellman and Cantor David Reinwald for a fun, active service of stories, singing, and dancing for families with children ages 0–5.

Sunday, September 25, 2022, 6 PM

Erev Rosh HaShanah: Sunday, September 25, 5 PM For security reasons, registration is required for Community & Tot Services. Visit TempleSinaiPGH.org to order your Card of Admission for High Holy Day Community & Tot Services or contact Helene Kessler Burke at (412) 421-9715 ext. 115 or Helene@TempleSinaiPGH.org.


Visit TempleSinaiPGH.org to order your Card of Admission for High Holy Wednesday, October 5, 2022 Day Community & Tot Services or contact Helene Kessler Burke at 1:30 PM Beit Midrash 2:45 PM Minchah Afternoon Service (412) 421-9715 ext. 115 or Helene@TempleSinaiPGH.org. 5:15 PM Yizkor and N’ilah Service *Donation requested. For security Break Fast (a light snack to break reasons, registration is required for your fast) follows N’ilah all services.


SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

Kol Nidre: Tuesday, October 4, 5 PM

This year have a catered dinner at Temple Sinai before Erev Rosh HaShanah Service. No cooking. No cleaning up. No hurrying to get to service on time. Enjoy a relaxing community dinner to start off a sweet new year. The menu includes: • Beef Brisket with Braised Onions, Apples, & Gravy • Chicken Breast Scallopini with Crimini Mushrooms & Spinach • Barley & Squash Cake with Tomato Sauce • Roasted Beet Salad with Apples & Pecans • Roasted Maple Carrots Tzimmes with Golden Raisins • Honey Apple Cake with Cinnamon Ice Cream Cost: $29.50 per person (BYOB)/$10 per child (ages 6–12)/ FREE for kids 5 and under (seating is limited) Register online by 5 PM on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at:

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Life & Culture Film: Continued from page 24

very profound part of Steven’s identity, and of the Fabelmans’ identity,” Kushner said at the talk. “But it’s a movie that’s about Jewish people, rather than entirely or exclusively about Jewishness or antisemitism or something. So it’s not a problem, it’s who they are.” The film, which follows protagonist Sammy Fabelman as he falls in love with filmmaking from early childhood through high school, quickly establishes the family’s Jewishness. As the film begins, the Fabelman family (whose surname sounds like Jewish wordplay on the idea of fables, or storytelling) is based in New Jersey, and Sammy notes that he knows which house is his by the absence of Christmas lights. The family at one point sings Hanukkah blessings, and later there’s a Shabbat dinner with challah, kugel and brisket on the table. The family then relocates to Arizona, and then Northern California, where it’s made clear there are far fewer other Jews around. In Phoenix, they are visited by Sammy’s old-world immigrant great-uncle (Judd Hirsch), who tells tales of dealing with “Jew-haters” when he was in the circus, before darkly warning Sammy of how he may one day have to choose between his family and his art. These words are proven prophetic at a key moment later in the film. Hirsch, who is Jewish, said in the Q&A

that when he asked Spielberg about “the real guy” his character was based on, the director responded that he “never understood a word he said.” The director added that this was due to the Eastern European relative’s “thick accent.” In the California part of the story,

film and figuring out things that film can do.” The broader storylines of the film, which hits U.S. theaters in November, are also true to the details of Spielberg’s own life story. He was born shortly after World War II in Cincinnati, to a father who was a

Spielberg said that the antisemitic bullying he faced was “only a small aspect of my life… it isn’t any kind of governing force in my life. But I was made very, very aware of being an outsider, early on.” when he’s a high school senior, Sammy is bullied by antisemitic jock classmates who call him “Bagelman.” Sammy later dates a Christian girlfriend who tries to get him into Jesus. Spielberg said that the antisemitic bullying he faced was “only a small aspect of my life ... it isn’t any kind of governing force in my life. But I was made very, very aware of being an outsider, early on.” He added that it was only two kids who did the bullying, and that he doesn’t blame the school for the incidents. “I think in proportion of the film, it’s an aspect of his experience in that moment,” Kushner said of that scene. “It’s part of his arc, Sammy’s arc, towards reclaiming

pioneering computing engineer and a mother who played the piano. Arnold Spielberg came from a family of Orthodox Jews; Steven attended Hebrew school as a child and had a bar mitzvah in Arizona. The family really did move from New Jersey to Arizona to California, he really had three younger sisters, and his parents really did split in the mid-1960s. As Spielberg grew into his filmmaking, divorce, absentee fatherhood and strained parent-child relations emerged as key themes in many of his movies. Spielberg also did make amateur 8 mm films throughout his childhood before heading to Hollywood in the late 1960s and beginning his career as one

of the most successful directors in history. The film stars Paul Dano and Michelle Williams, neither of whom is Jewish, as Sammy’s parents. Seth Rogen — who as a character in his 2007 movie “Knocked Up” famously praised Spielberg’s “Munich” as a movie about “Jews kicking ass” — plays the father’s best friend who looms large in the family’s marital struggles. Spielberg and Kushner had discussed the director’s early life and a project about it for years — as early as 2005, when they were working on “Munich,” Kushner said. (Spielberg claimed in the Q&A that they began speaking about it while working on “Lincoln” in 2012.) “Tony kind of performed the function of a therapist,” Spielberg said about their writing process. “I was his patient, and we’d talk, and I talked for a long time, and Tony fed me and helped me through this. But when COVID hit ... we all had a lot of time, and we all had a lot of fear. And I don’t think anybody quite knew in March or April of 2020 what was going to be the state of the art, and the state of life, even a year from then. And I think in that sense I felt… if I was going to leave anything behind, what is the thing that I really need to resolve and unpack? My mom, my dad, and my sisters ... it wasn’t now or never, but it almost felt that way.” But don’t take this film as a sign that the 75-year-old Spielberg is slowing down, he said. “It is not because I have decided to retire, and this is my swan song,” Spielberg said. PJC

May the New Year Bring Sweetness and Happiness to You and Your Family


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SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 25

Life & Culture A Nina’s-eye-view of the Supreme Court and RBG — BOOKS — By Aaron Leibel | Contributing Writer

“Dinners With Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships” by Nina Totenberg. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2022. 304 pages $27.99.


f kindness and thoughtfulness are true measures of our lives, then Nina Totenberg, the iconic legal affairs correspondent for NPR, long ago would have earned the title “St. Nina.” One scene from this memoir illustrating the depth of her compassion — and which will be part of my memory bank for a long time — dealt with one of her good friends on the Supreme Court, Justice William J. Brennan. After a stroke in 1990, Brennan retired. In 1996 he fell, broke his hip, an injury from which he never recovered, and was put in a nursing home. When she visited him there, sometimes he was “mentally sharp and wanted to be told all the court gossip that I could offer,” she writes. During other visits, he seemed to be “just an old man sitting in bed. I would scoot my chair close, hold his hand, and sing ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling’ and every other Irish song I knew.” That’s caring on steroids.

p Nina Totenberg at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., on May 21, 2019

Photo by Allison Shelley

But it is the relationship between Totenberg and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that is at the heart of this memoir. The two had their first contact long before RBG was on

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

the Supreme Court. Totenberg called her at Rutgers where she was teaching to ask about a case, Reed v. Reed. Attorneys in the case argued that the Fourteenth Amendment’s “equal protection” clause, written to protect Black people, applied to women as well. She was mystified by that logic, until Ginsburg noted that amendment was meant to protect people and women are people. They finally met in person at a law conference in New York. It was so boring that they went shopping together. “And what I realized was that even though she was very accomplished, while I was younger and still had a lot to learn, we were similar in a very significant way. We were outsiders to the world in which we operated. We both had our noses pressed up against the windowpane, looking inside and saying, ‘Hey, men in there, let me in.’” They also were both Jewish and children of immigrants, although Totenberg doesn’t discuss how Ginsburg related to her Jewish heritage. With RBG, the caring was symbiotic, for Totenberg faced many crises in her life — she almost lost her vision from retinal detachment; her first husband fell in the ice of a winter storm and eventually died from complications from the fall; and her face and arm were badly cut by a boat’s propeller while snorkeling on her honeymoon with her second husband. During her times of need, her friend was there for her — as were her friends and colleagues at NPR, Cokie Roberts and Linda Wertheimer. But the care that Totenberg and her second husband David showed for the justice during the last year of her life was extraordinary. They invited her for dinner often and had to prepare special foods for her due to her illness and her need for a special diet. She couldn’t eat meat or fats or sugar. So many of the meals were fish and seafood. “To protect her, we would scrub every surface in the kitchen, bathroom and dining room with


antiviral liquids, and we put all the leaves in the dining room table so she … could sit at one end and we could sit at the other.” So, as a human being, Totenberg deserves all the accolades we can muster. But there are issues for her as a journalist. Reporters on a beat, like the Supreme Court, face a dilemma. They need to learn as much as possible about the “players,” in this case, the justices, to satiate their readers’ — in Totenberg’s case, listeners’ — desire to get a glimpse into the thinking of the people and the secret workings of the institution. To accomplish that, they need to establish relationships with those people. But if they get too close, their reporting may be compromised. Totenberg alludes to this problem several times in the book, such as when she regretted having written an article advocating Ginsburg’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Another time she was going to interview RBG publicly, and the justice asked her not to ask her a certain question. As a journalist, I must, Totenberg told her. In general, Totenberg says they tried to avoid speaking about court matters when in each other’s company. But both women were extremely interested in the law and the court, and it’s hard for me to imagine that occasionally their conversations didn’t stray onto a case to be considered by the court or about relationships among the justices. And when that happened, there must have been a clash between Totenberg the reporter and Totenberg the friend as to what she could reveal. (If she were to answer my critique by saying that it’s more important to be a good human being than a good journalist, I would agree. But, of course, that doesn’t resolve the basic conflict.) “Dinners with Ruth” is an extraordinary book, well-written and laced with finely drawn portraits of public officials mixed with insights into some of the most important events of our lifetimes and tales of love and tragedy. It is highly recommended. PJC Aaron Leibel’s memoir is “Figs and Alligators: An American Immigrants’s Life in Israel in the 1970s and 1980s” (Chickadee Prince Books).


Headlines Sermon: Continued from page 1

ever-increasingly digital world, helping people realize and normalize that it’s OK to not be OK when facing the pressures of that world, and speaking about the ways Jewish institutions and synagogues need to evolve to meet the contemporary needs of the Jewish community,” Meyer said. Temple Emanuel student cantor Sierra Fox is “thinking about science, space and the ongoing unfolding of the mysteries of creation,” Meyer said. “Jews have a long history of making choices and acting in ways that challenge the thinking of their rabbis,” Meyer said. “The shift and evolution in patterns of involvement brought about with the COVID-19 pandemic have synagogue leaders wringing our hands, but it is from us that change is long overdue. “My overarching hope is that congregants will find spiritual renewal in the process of teshuvah and words of wisdom applicable to their lives from the sermons,” he added. “If people think more deeply or differently about their lives and are informed or inspired by Jewish tradition after hearing my sermons, I have done my job.” Rabbi Yisroel Altein of Chabad of Squirrel Hill said the High Holidays in 2022 will focus “on the gathering of people, of people being together.” In ancient Israel, every seventh year was

Summit: Continued from page 1

Holocaust — noted working group member and U.N. special advisor Alice Wairimu Nderitu. Because sports generate a huge digital audience, extremists purposefully disseminate unfortunately “compelling” content to large online communities, explained fellow working group member Oren Segal — a vice president at the Anti-Defamation League. Lauren Culbertson Greco — a working group member who heads U.S. Public Policy at Twitter — said that although the social media platform can be used for negative purposes, Twitter is trying to “address the issues that plague our society and happen on our service.” By leveraging its power and partnering with others, including members of the working group, Twitter is trying to uplift those voices that are combating racism and hate, Greco said. David Friedman — a working group member and senior vice president of the Boston Red Sox — offered attendees a rare moment of levity when saying the summit’s mission is achievable: “I grew up in New York as a Yankees fan,

p From left to right: Rabbi Seth Adelson, Rabbi Aaron Meyer, Rabbi Yisroel Altein, Rabbi Yaier Lehrer, and Cantor Michele GraySchaffer

File photos

the Shemitah, or “sabbatical,” year, Altein explained. At the onset of the eighth year, on the second day of Sukkot, Jews traditionally gathered in the Holy Temple for a dose of inspiration. He called this the Year of Gathering or Shana Hokhel. “Every year is a unique year and there’s something unique about each year — we’re trying to find a unique message we can share on Rosh Hashanah,” Altein said. “In our day and age,” he continued, everyone reacts quickly to things, “and the negative messages go viral in our world … We want to create an action plan, we want to create a lot more positive energy in our lives.” Altein grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, following the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He said he is looking back to those teachings — specifically, the Rebbe’s writing about the Shana Hokhel for 1987/1988 — for inspiration. “I want them to walk away with the idea that the gathering is not just about getting

together,” Altein said. Rabbi Yaier Lehrer of Adat Shalom Synagogue in the North Hills said he “is happy to focus on uplifting people” during his High Holiday messages but also plans to focus on themes of gathering. “I want to make everyone in the synagogue feel welcome, and show this is a place that can unite,” Lehrer told the Chronicle. “I’m happy to educate a lot — and I won’t talk about politics because that doesn’t fit with my conception of unity, of bringing everyone together.” Michele Gray-Schaffer of Congregation B’nai Abraham in Butler County also has politics and unity on the mind. “I really want to concentrate on Jewish values because of the political and social landscape,” Gray-Schaffer said. “I just want to go back to what values from our tradition are shown to us in the High Holy Days readings and which ones we should model our lives on.”

B’nai Abraham’s situation is unique, she said, as it is one of few Jewish places of worship or Jewish gathering places north of Allegheny County and south of Erie County. “There’s got to be something for everyone because it’s the only game in town [and] our congregation is very much like a family,” said Gray-Schaffer, who noted some people drive as far as 90 minutes from Clarion County to attend holiday services. “It’s like the shtetl. We have embraced all kinds of people — people really do feel like family there very quickly.” But, above all, most of the spiritual leaders the Chronicle spoke to echoed a point best articulated by Lehrer. “I don’t want to give away too many secrets,” he said, “or no one’s going to want to listen to me!” PJC

so I know that hatred can be overcome.” Both Friedman and Rosenthal pointed to the National Football League and its senior vice president of social responsibility, Anna Isaacson — a fellow working group member — for demonstrating the possibility of tackling large societal issues like domestic violence, sexual violence and social justice. Isaacson said the NFL has long been devoted to helping underserved communities, but in recent years realized that inspiring change can also be achieved by allowing players and clubs to take the lead while the league serves as a partner to those efforts. Friedman said members of the working group are committed to being teammates and producing something “more than just a piece of paper or a report.” Despite the “daunting task” of creating a deliverable to eradicate hate, Rosenthal is encouraged by those striving toward that end. A uniform approach isn’t going to work with every fan base. Even so, the working group will continue speaking and learning from each other while also developing a “menu of options” that leagues and teams can employ among their players, fans and staff, she said.

By producing “plausible solutions,” experts, thought leaders and activists can return to their communities with relatable messages, Nordenberg told the Chronicle. Perhaps even more meaningful than the messages themselves, however, is the collective manner in which they’re created and dispersed, steering committee member Wasi Mohammed said. “It feels rather hopeless when you’re by yourself trying to fight back against all the hate and violence that has gone on in the last four years,” he said. “But when we’re together, when we’re focused on solutions, when we’re coming together regularly, it helps give us hope.” Throughout the day, keynote speakers praised the hundreds of in-person participants, and those gathered online, for undertaking a monumental effort. Former Squirrel Hill resident and U.S. Department of Homeland Deputy Security John Tien said that speaking with summitgoers and organizers made clear that as emotionally difficult as it is to recall the events of Oct. 27 — or details of mass shootings occurring elsewhere — it is necessary to do so to truly eradicate hate.

Fellow keynote speaker Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, told attendees that, as special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, recent data shows she is sadly working in “a growth industry.” “In many parts of the world, antisemitism has reached new levels of intensity,” Lipstadt said. “It seems that no matter where we turn, we see escalations of Jew-hatred.” While the swell of bigotry presents combatants with a near Sisyphean task, it can be tackled beginning with individual action, David Shapira said. Speaking to summit-goers shortly before the day’s end, Shapira — who chairs the Beacon and Shapira Foundations — recalled the words of Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel: “What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.” By committing to eradicate hate, Shapira continued, “each of you in your own way — through your action and leadership — are pushing back against that silence.” PJC

Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.

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

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 27



Engagement Announcement It’s all in the dots Nate and Jamie Bennett of Upper Saint Clair are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter Bailey Julia Bennett to Phillip Harris Gelman. Phillip is the son of Bruce and Dana Gelman of Squirrel Hill and grandson of Sylvia Newman of White Oak and the late Boris Gelman of White Oak, and the late Marvin Newman of White Oak and the late Phillip and the late Marlene Harris of Squirrel Hill. Bailey is the granddaughter of the late Don and late Judie Selig of Scott Township and the late Tilden Bennett of Presto, and Judy Spahr of Mt. Lebanon. The couple met while attending Kent State University in 2014. A fall 2023 wedding is planned. PJC

Here's to a healthy and sweet new year! Here’s to a healthy and sweet new year

Jeff & Jennifer Finkelstein

Mazel Tov! SPECIAL OCCASIONS DESERVE SPECIAL ATTENTION What is a special occasion…a birth, a b’nai mitzvah, an engagement, a wedding, an anniversary? Absolutely!

Rabbi Larry Freedman Parshat Nitzavim | Deuteronomy 29:9 - 30:20


ost of the time we talk about the big idea of the parasha, the grand flow of the Torah. Sometimes we drill down into just one little word. And sometimes we talk about teeny tiny dots. Today, it’s dots. The Torah portion is Nitzavim and in perek 29, pasuk 28 (that’s chapter and verse respectively) we get these words: “lanu ulvaneinu / for us and our children.” The interesting thing here is the dots over the letters in the Hebrew text. Each letter has one dot. There are only 10 times this sort of scribal marking is found, so it really calls out for some explanation. It is as if you underlined some passage in red ink, or took a highlighter to a poignant sentence.

As God recapitulates much of our story in Deuteronomy, we are reminded that all of the Jewish people, from the high-born to the low, from the elite cohanim to the average working stiff are all part of the covenant with God. The full pasuk is this: “Concealed acts concern Adonai our God but with overt acts, it is for us and our children ever to apply all the provisions of this teaching.” The context is simple if not nervewracking. As God recapitulates much of our story in Deuteronomy, we are reminded that all of the Jewish people, from the highborn to the low, from the elite cohanim to the average working stiff are all part of the covenant with God. All of us are welcome, all of us are privileged to receive Torah. Then we are warned what will happen if we turn to idolatry. Perhaps some of the people at that very moment are thinking of leaving. Well then, promises God, it will not go well with you.

But so is a birthday, a graduation, an athletic victory, an academic achievement…anything that deserves special recognition.

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Immediately there is a problem. For whom will it not go well? All of us? Because a few of us stray? And what if their sins are concealed? Nachmanides (d. 1270) offers two comments. One, the classic, is that the people should deal with any overt violators of the law but that God will handle those who perform violations in secret. Point number two adds something more intimate, something more fitting to this season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It says that while God will handle the concealed acts, “for us and our children” means we should attack our own overt sins, address that which we know we got wrong. It is for us and our children to be honest about how we have acted. But if there are concealed wrongdoings that are concealed even from ourselves, we should have no guilt. If you have done something wrong but have no knowledge of that, you should not feel guilty. Guilt on its own is not the goal. Feeling bad


about ourselves for no specific reason is not of interest to God. The general cry, “I’m a sinner, I’m a sinner!” without details is not desired, suggests Nachmaniodes. The dots tell us and our children to work hard at addressing what we know, to be honest about what we know and not to imagine anything worse. The upcoming 10 days are about striving toward honesty, not wallowing in guilt. And you can highlight that and underline it in red. Meaningful Days of Awe to you all. PJC Rabbi Larry Freedman is the director of the Joint Jewish Education Program. This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Clergy Association.

Congregation Bet Tikvah www.bettikvah.org (412) 256-8317 Bet Tikvah is a queer-centric, independent minyan, including family and friends. We hold services at Rodef Shalom Temple, Fifth & Morewood Aves. Services are free. To pre-register, e-mail info@bettikvah.org


Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 26

Kol Nidre

Tuesday, October 4


Yom Kippur

Wednesday, October 5




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Benjamin Franklin and Rabbi Salanter Rabbi Eli Seidman Parshat Nitzavim | Deuteronomy 29:9 - 30:20


enjamin Franklin had a simple method, designed to help a person achieve self-improvement. He took a long hard look at his life and concluded that there were 12 major areas in which he needed to improve. He wrote a listing of values, such as good order, moderation, justice and humility and others. In a daily diary, he advised that a person should keep track of their struggle to embody those values in their work and in their encounters with family and friends. At the end of the year, a person could

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his strengths and weaknesses. This tool, together with textual studies, could bring the person to a clearer awareness of what he or she could do to become a better person and a better Jew. Not merely more Torah and more mitzvot, but a heightened sensitivity to how we treat one another and the kavannah (intensity) with which the performance of mitzvot connects us to the Holy One. The Torah portion of Nitzavim, always read on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah, speaks of teshuvah (repentance) and selfimprovement. “And if you will return and listen to the voice of the L-rd, and fulfill all His commandments, which I command you this day ... Rather, this (repentance) is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it.” (Deut. 30: 8,14)

I pray that we all take seriously this time of “accounting of the soul”. May we be able to see areas of growth and self-improvement


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in the new year, and devise ways to achieve them. May the new year of 5783 be a year of sweet blessings. look back and measure how close or how far he or she came to those values, and keep them at the forefront of their minds. Twenty years after Franklin’s death, a Ukrainian rabbi, Menachem Mendel Lefin of Satanów, adapted Franklin’s method, which he incorporated into his book called “Sefer Heshbon HaNefesh (Book of the Accounting of the Soul).” Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, founder of the Mussar (ethical character development) movement, also introduced this method of self-reckoning into his teachings. A student would be able to examine and record

I pray that we all take seriously this time of “accounting of the soul.” May we be able to see areas of growth and self-improvement in the new year, and devise ways to achieve them. May the new year of 5783 be a year of sweet blessings. May all of you and your families be written and sealed in the Book of Life. Shabbat shalom and Shana tova. PJC Rabbi Eli Seidman is the former director of pastoral care at the Jewish Association on Aging. This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Clergy Association.


L'Shana Tova

Here's to a healthy and sweet new year!

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Mark & Rhonda Horvitz


SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 29

Obituaries For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as,

We Remember Them. Lee & Lisa Oleinick

L’Shanah Tovah!

Wishing You a Sweet New Year.


SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

BRANT: Paula Brant, 65, of Mt. Lebanon, on Sept. 16, 2022. Daughter of the late Evelyn and Richard Mottsman, preceded in death by beloved sister Diane Mottsman, sister of loving brother Daniel (Stephanie) Mottsman. Cherished wife of Gary, magnificent mother to Michael Brant and Lauren (Justin) Seltzer. Adoring Grammy to Samuel Ari Seltzer. After decades of running her family’s wholesale business, Paula kept busy in retirement with hobbies such as yoga, mahjong, walks with friends, bike rides with Gary, needlepoint, pottery and knitting. She loved dancing at rock concerts, eating candy as a meal and regularly visiting her kids in California. She was at her happiest when she was surrounded by treasured family and friends. Paula will be remembered for her quick wit, sense of humor, inquisitiveness, ability to forge everlasting friendships and her big heart. She was the life of every party and the light of many lives. She proudly supported women’s health causes, appreciated Mother Nature, followed science and didn’t suffer fools gladly. The family would like to express immense gratitude toward Dr. Mark Socinski and Dr. Timothy Burns as well as all the nurses and caretakers at Hillman Cancer Center. Services were held at Temple Emanuel of South Hills. Interment at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery/Temple Emanuel section. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Paula’s memory may be made to The Elizabeth S. Schmerling Endowed Scholarship, Washington University in St. Louis, Attn: Aly Abrams, MSC 1202-414-3100, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis MO 63130 or the Patricia Mallet Memorial Scholarship Fund, Pace University Gift Processing Center, PO Box 419268, Boston, MA 02241-9268, Attn: Patricia Mallet Memorial Scholarship Fund. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. family owned and operated. schugar.com HIRSH: Judi Hirsh, on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. Beloved wife for 62 years of Irwin “Irv” Hirsh; beloved mother of Evan Hirsh, David (Suzie) Hirsh and Pamela (David) Goodwin; sister of Barbara (late Yale) Rosenstein; Adored Gram of Jessica (Jeremy) Flowers, Harrison Hirsh, Clayton Hirsh, Jay (Rachel) Hirsh, Lauren (Camden) Stanke, Rebecca Hirsh, Rachel and Kate Goodwin and “G.G.” to Adele, Madeline, Audrey, Walter and Leroy. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. Interment Temple Sinai Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com. MARGOLIS: Lila Price Margolis, on Sept. 18, 2022. Lila is predeceased by her first husband, Ralph L. Margolis, with whom she shared a beautiful family and devoted partnership for 49 years until his passing in 2000. Lila is survived by her second husband, Harold Weiss, with whom she enjoyed 20 happy years, travels and adventures. Lila was born in 1930 to the late Rhoda and Harry Price, and was the sister of Madeline Kramer and the late Maxine Rabinowitz. Lila was the loving mother of Mitchell (Bonnie Van Uitert) Margolis, Fern (Barry) Silverman, and Sandy (Mark) Schefkind; grandma of Rachel (Daniel) Marcus, Joel (Valerie Shiba) Silverman, Melissa (Alex) Fick, Julia (Ben Bostic) Margolis, Daniel (Ruth) Silverman, Rebecca (John) Friedman and Adam (Laura Deal) Schefkind; and beloved Great-Grandma (Gigi) of Elena, Jason, Asa, Sonia, Nolan and Miles, with more on the way. Lila is also survived by many dear friends, cousins, nieces and nephews across many locations, including Squirrel Hill, Mt. Lebanon and Jupiter, Florida. Lila’s exceptional career launched as a preschool teacher at Congregation Beth Shalom, followed by teaching elementary school in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Lila ultimately found her passion in teaching the Gifted and Talented Program, and she rose quickly in the ranks to become a valued school administrator for many years. Her creativity and skill as an educator won her admiration from students and colleagues alike. Lila was a Master’s Rose level bridge player, and enjoyed competing in tournaments and teaching bridge students, including her family. She was a voracious reader, swimmer, baker, music lover, and crossword puzzle aficionado. Her positivity, energy and dynamic personality enriched the lives of all who knew and loved her. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. Interment Beth Shalom Cemetery. Contributions in her memory may be made to Temple Sinai, 5505 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 or to a charity of your choice. schugar.com RUBIN: Jerry Rubin, of Pittsburgh, Hallandale Beach, Florida, and Newton, Massachusetts, on Friday, Sept. 16. Beloved husband of the late Ida Rubin. Beloved father of Jodi (Bibhuti) Aryal and Marc (Lourdes) Rubin. Beloved grandfather of Ian Rubin. Brother of Lois Seiler and Judy Kramer. Graveside services were held at Tiphereth Israel Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, The Jimmy Fund (jimmyfund. org). schugar.com SELEKMAN: Maurice “Morry” Selekman, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. Beloved husband of Elaine Selekman for 54 years; loving father of Jennifer Selekman and Rebecca (Dave) Kadel; brother of Warren Selekman (Cathy) of New York City and Mark Selekman of Mt. Lebanon; also survived by a very loving sister-in-law, Rhonda Simon, and grandchildren Sean and Jenna. A special thank you to Maurice’s caregivers at Capital City Hospice for their wonderful care. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Maurice earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts in music education. He was also a graduate of Youngstown State University with an MBA in auditing. Graveside services and interment were held at Adath Jeshurun Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Congregation Beth Tikvah, 6121 Olentangy River Road, Worthington, OH 54385, or Capital City Hospice,



Obituaries 2800 Corporate Exchange Drive, Suite 170, Columbus, OH 43231. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com WERNER: Ellie Werner, née Eleanor Faye Platt, born July 19, 1951, passed away peacefully in Tucson, Arizona, on July 20, 2022, a day after her 71st birthday. Born to Herbert and Miriam “Mickie” Platt in Pittsburgh, Tucson was her home for the past 50-plus years. Ellie’s career in local broadcast media led to widespread Tucson connections and admiration. In later years, she shared her expertise with local nonprofits. Ellie was a personal shopper unmatched, and she knew the perfect restaurant to send you to for your favorite dish. Loyal friend and loving human to beloved pets of years past. Ellie is survived by her sister Louise Platt (Simon/Schulhof) of Tucson; nephew Daniel Simon (Amalia, son Zane) of Tucson; niece Rachael Simon (Jon Banuelos, son Mateo), of Pittsburgh; and former spouse Michael Werner. WITTLIN: Charles E. Wittlin, on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, loving husband and childhood sweetheart of Elaine T. Wittlin, devoted father to Sharon Perelman (Eric) and Michael Wittlin (Audrey). Adored grandfather of Andrea Perelman, Elyse Wittlin and Zachary Perelman. Devoted brother to Elaine London (Alan) and loving nephew of Harriet N. Kruman and beloved by nieces, nephews and cousins. He was a well-respected Pittsburgh attorney, avid golfer and master bridge player. He was an active member of the Jewish community having served on the boards of the United Jewish Federation and Temple Emanuel and serving as the South Hills JCC founding campaign chair, president of Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity and Westmoreland Country Club president. Services were held at Temple Emanuel of South Hills. Interment Mt. Lebanon Cemetery, Beth El Section. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh or a charity of your choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com

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

Rachel Letty Americus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leo Morris Americus Rachel Letty Americus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bessie Taback Americus Harry and Ronna Back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ethel Shaffer Pariser Reggie Bardin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bernard Hoddeson Norman & Sylvia Elias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kenneth C. Elias Marjorie R. Landay. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sylvia R. Rosenzweig Linda Levine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leonard Levine Robert & Judi Miller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Isreal Miller Robert & Judi Miller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harold B. Cramer Rhoda Rofey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marlene Rofey Kaufman Flo & Caryn Rosenthal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Donald Rosenthal Jules Spokane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Freda Spokane Richard Stuart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ruth E. Supowitz

Contact the Development department at 412.586.3264 or development@jaapgh.org for more information.

THIS WEEK’S YAHRZEITS — Sunday September 25: Maurice Robert Colker, Benjamin F. Cooper, Irving Farbstein, Jack H. Goldstone, Solomon Lehman, Max Levine, Jesse Levy, Beulah Lobl, Philip Seltzer, Minnie C. Serrins, Isadore Simon, Sheldon N. Topp, Herman Louis Turk Monday September 26: Anna Chinn, Anne Betty Frand, Louis Frischman, Henry Goldberg, Lena Roscow Goldberg, Sorali E. Lubarsky, Marilyn Hope Manela, Jack N. Pearlman, Sandor Shaer, Samuel Silverblatt, Karl Solomon, David Terner Tuesday September 27: Morris Barnett, Jacob Borovetz, Jennie Cohen, Stella H. Cohen, Harold Dunhoff, Melvin Gordon, Arlane Horewitz, Harry Hostein, Sylvan Joseph Israel, Aron Mayer, Abraham Volkin, Ida R. Weiss, Gertrude Zubin Wednesday September 28: Julius Abrams, Minnie Berman, Edythe Gelman Buchman, Bella G. Cohen, Sylvia Diamond, Harry Frieman, Charles B. Goldstein, Nathan Lupovich, Stella Smith Madenberg, Harry Mittleman, Meyer Sachnoff, Louis Sadowsky, Nellie R. Tobin, Agnes Venig, Leon Verk Thursday September 29: Hyman Berman, Sarah Brown, Sarah Lynn Dupr, Yeruchem Fireman, Harry Abe Geduldig, Albert Goldblum, M.D., Pearl Gould, Nathan Lautman, Sarah Reich Moses, Anna B. Papernick, Solomon Paul, Sarah Persky, Isaac Sissman, Jacob Zwibel Friday September 30: William Glick, Beatrice Barnett Goldhamer, Ida E. Goldstein, Marlene Rofey Kaufman, Samuel Sandor Klein, Marcus Landman, Gertrude Lieb, Pauline Marcus, Jacob M. Mogilowitz, Helen Moskovitz, Jennie Routman, Harry Soffer, Isadore Steinman, Norman Weizenbaum, Morris L. Wolf, Jacob Zinman Saturday October 1: Sylvia Drucker, Emanuel Friedman, Sara Gruskin, Murray Hersh, Morton Israel, Sidney Moskovitz, Abraham Opter, Samuel Papernick, Milton E. Ruben, Grace Z. Schwartz, Florence R. Stevenson, Minnie Wander, Alan Zeman

ESTATE NOTICE Roberta Fazio, deceased, of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 05847 of 2022, William McDine, Jr., Executor, c/o David J. Slesnick, Esq., 310 Grant Street, Suite #1220, Pittsburgh, PA 15219




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SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 31

Life & Culture ESPN documentary focuses on Holocaust and Munich Olympics survivor Shaul Ladany — DOCUMENTARY — By Jacob Gurvis | JTA


rank Saraceno has worked for ESPN since 1994 and has produced hourlong documentaries on some of the biggest stars in sports for the cable channel’s Emmy Award-winning “E:60” series. But he thinks working on the episode which aired Tuesday night might have been the most powerful experience with the show he has had since its inception in 2007. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more gratified in terms of the story that I pitched coming to fruition than I am with Shaul Ladany,” Saraceno told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “And it’s because of him. It’s all because of him.” Shaul Ladany, now 86, is a repeated survivor — first of a Nazi bombing of his family’s house when he was a child, then of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and then of the 1972 Munich Olympics terror attack. His “E:60” episode, “The Survivor,” was pegged to the recent 50th anniversary of the Olympics story. Though the attack that left 11 Israeli athletes and coaches dead had been chronicled in the 1999 documentary “One Day in September,” narrated by Michael Douglas, and in Steven Spielberg’s 2005 Academy Award-nominated film “Munich,” Saraceno wanted to ensure that the story continued to be told to younger generations. “The challenge for me was finding a unique way to tell the story,” Saraceno said. “I had an idea. And I said, all right, let me see if there’s anyone, hopefully, with us from the Israeli team, and maybe I’ll start from there. And that’s really what I did. I just looked up every name.” He stumbled upon Ladany — a race walker who was one of the few Israeli athletes to get out of the Munich Olympic village alive as the attack turned into a nearly-24-hour hostage crisis. “I pitched it as let’s tell the story of Munich through the eyes of one incredible human being,” Saraceno said. The film is narrated and reported by Jewish ESPN veteran Jeremy Schaap, who has won 11 Emmys and has covered eight Olympic Games. He is also the author of “Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics.” “To be there, talking to someone who saw it with his own eyes, who can communicate that story, for me, it was personally meaningful, too, and significant, because I am Jewish,” Schaap told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “When Frank brought [Ladany’s] story to my attention, put us in touch, I said, this is a rare opportunity to tell a story like this,” he added. It’s also a story unlike any other he’s ever reported. For one thing, Schaap said it’s the longest interview he’s ever conducted: approximately eight hours. “In much the way that he has this 32

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

p Shaul Ladany walks at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp memorial in 2019.

remarkable endurance physically as a walker, he has, mentally as well as an interviewee,” Schaap said. Schaap spent time with Ladany at his home in Omer, Israel, in Tel Aviv and in Germany — including taking a five-and-ahalf-hour train ride from Bergen-Belsen to Munich, where Ladany attended the German government’s ceremony marking 50 years since the attack. Though it is timed to that anniversary, “The Survivor” focuses on the survivor himself. It tells the story of Ladany’s family, his journey through the Holocaust, to Israel, and then back to Europe in 1972 for the Olympics. Leaning heavily on archival images and clips from the news and from Ladany’s personal life and athletic career, the episode seamlessly weaves the story together, bringing the viewer back and forth in time. Born in Belgrade in 1936, Ladany survived a series of close calls throughout the Holocaust. First, when he was 5 years old, German forces bombed his family’s home. Then, after the Ladanys fled to Hungary, they were captured by the Nazis in 1944 and sent to the Bergen-Belsen camp, where approximately 50,000 Jews were killed over the course of the war, including Anne Frank. Ladany was ultimately saved through the Kastner train, a series of cattle cars that brought over 1,600 Jews temporarily to Bergen-Belsen and then to Switzerland after a series of controversial negotiations with Adolf Eichman. Following the conclusion of the war, his family emigrated to Israel, where his athletic career took off. In 1963, he won an Israeli national title in race

Photo by Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

walking — the first of his 28 — and in the subsequent years would go on to break the U.S. record in the 50-mile-walk. Ladany also competed in the 1968 Olympics and multiple Maccabiah Games. Why race walking? “You need a certain type of mental attitude: a willingness to take punishment, to have a lack of comfort, and pain, to continue and continue,” Ladany says in a 2012 CNN documentary on the massacre. “I’m not a psychologist, but was I stubborn, so I entered race walking? Or did I enter race walking, and become stubborn? It’s the same in all long-distance events. Quitters don’t win, and winners don’t quit.” Then, decades after escaping the continent, Ladany returned to Germany as an Olympian, representing Israel. On Sept. 3, 1972, Ladany finished 19th in the 50-kilometer walk. Less than 48 hours later, a group of armed Palestinian terrorists entered the Olympic village quarters of several of his teammates, ultimately taking multiple rooms hostage. Ladany’s room was somehow spared, and he escaped. “You did not need one lucky event to survive,” Ladany says in the ESPN documentary. “To survive, you needed a series of lucky events. Fortunately for me, I had them.” Despite all that Ladany has been through, Schaap said, he does not wear his emotions on his sleeve. In the film, Ladany shares that he is practically incapable of crying. “Maybe that’s how you survive, right?” Schaap said. “Maybe the way to survive emotionally, through the things that he’s been through, is by internalizing things,


and not externalizing them, and certainly that’s what he says when he talks about not being able to cry. There is a stoicism, but not a cynicism.” Saraceno put together an Israeli crew to film on the ground — partly for Ladany’s comfort. At the same time, he began sifting through countless hours of news coverage from the 1972 Games — transcribing ABC News telecasts, filing and logging archival footage of competitions, opening and closing ceremonies, and Ladany’s personal archives. “I’m a historian. I’m a sports historian, so I eat this stuff up, I love it,” Saraceno said. “I love getting my hands dirty, so to speak, I love doing all that grunt work.” The film also features interviews with Israeli photojournalist Shlomo Levy and Olympian Zelig Shtorch, both of whom were at the 1972 Games, as well as Deborah Lipstadt, a noted Holocaust historian and current U.S. antisemitism envoy. In the decades since the massacre, Ladany became a grandfather and an engineering professor at Ben Gurion University. These days he still walks — but no longer competitively. As Schaap says in the film, every step Ladany has taken since his childhood has been “an act of defiance.” “Despite the efforts of so many to eliminate him, to exterminate his people, to attack his team, he’s still here,” said Schaap. “I think the message is that it’s not just about surviving — the title of it’s ‘The Survivor’ — but it’s about how he has responded to these awful things, by living life to its fullest.” PJC


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Headlines Congregations: Continued from page 2

Like most other congregations, she said, Temple David has a police presence for the holidays as well as a group of volunteers greeting those in attendance. They are the same faces seen performing the same function throughout the year. During the High Holidays, those greeters check people’s tickets and make sure those attending services receive a “happy New Year” greeting and a smile. If someone who isn’t a member comes to the synagogue during the High Holidays, they should expect to provide contact information to the congregation.

“Basically, we’ll need to get all of their information,” Goldberg said, “because we’re not going to take a chance with anyone. We’re going to ask who they are, their name, why are they there. We would follow up with them afterward, like we do with all guests to thank them for coming and see if they wanted to receive membership materials.” In the end, Young, of Shaare Torah, said that the community appreciates the security provided by its congregations. “People, certainly from Pittsburgh, understand what we’ve been dealing with and why security has to be there,” he said. PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.


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Community Marvelous Madrichim

Back-to-school BBQ

As part of Temple’s Torah Center program, nearly 25 teen madrichim support 100 students.

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh welcomed students and families back to school with an afternoon barbecue at Anderson Playground.

Photo courtesy of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

Lifting up the future p A group of Temple Emanuel of South Hills’ teen madrichim gathered during the start of Sunday school. Photo courtesy of Temple Emanuel of South Hills

Having fun together

Community Day School fourth-graders show that school brings the smiles.

Outdoor Kabbalat Shabbat is an elevating experience for Community Day School kindergartners.

Adding color to the text

Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh students are studying Sefer Yehoshua.

p Olivia Madrid, Lily Wedner and Yuval Arbely

p Sophie Novak, Caroline Feiner and Eliana Marcus

Photo courtesy of Community Day School

p Mussia Rosenfeld decorates her Navi notebook. Photo courtesy of Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh

Photo courtesy of Community Day School

Check the clock, it’s XC time Members of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh’s Girls High School Cross Country team gather after racing at White Oak Park.

Seltzer, sefarim and study sheets Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh welcomed families for an evening of father-son learning.

p The Hoexter family enjoys meaningful time together.

Photo courtesy of Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh


p Tahara Reinherz, Yehudis Kanal, Sima Reinherz and Kayla Weinberg


Photo by Adam Reinherz

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 35

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