February 26, 2021 | 14 Adar 5781
Candlelighting 5:51 p.m. | Havdalah 6:50 p.m. | Vol. 64, No. 9 | pittsburghjewishchronicle.org
Zach Banner, Josh Bell and Jasiri X pledge to combat anti-Semitism
NOTEWORTHY LOCAL Call him ‘Chief’ Jason Lando to lead Frederick, Maryland Police Page 2
The search for vaccines ‘has brought out some angels’
Telling tales at Temple Sinai
Please see Vaccines, page 14
Please see Anti-Semitism, page 14
LOCAL Making inroads in medical tech
The Squirrel Hill Giant Eagle pharmacy helped Bikur Cholim’s director, Nina Butler, left, secure vaccines for several community members. Photo provided by Nina Butler
ometimes, it takes a virtual village. A local volunteer grassroots movement has started online, offering help to those who qualify to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but struggle to find appointments. Marissa Weisblatt first became aware of the difficulties some seniors are having with vaccine appointments when she tried to help family members in Pennsylvania and Florida. “I was helping my 80-year-old grandparents, so you can imagine that they weren’t apt to jump on a computer and wait to refresh web pages and figure out these ways of doing things,” Weisblatt said.
She found there was no consistent system from county to county, pharmacy to pharmacy, or location to location. “Once I found a system that I was able to understand, I started talking to some of my friends who are of like minds and trying to help people as well,” said Weisblatt, a small business owner and mother of two. “We were just trying to share some tips about how to get into these systems to be able to assist people who were searching for the vaccine.” Despite her hectic schedule, Weisblatt, whose husband is Rabbi Jeremy Weisblatt, spiritual leader of Temple Ohav Shalom in Allison
By David Rullo | Staff Writer
By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
ittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Zach Banner entered the orbit of Lauren Apter Bairnsfather, who leads the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, due to a Tweet. DeSean Jackson, a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, had shared anti-Semitic quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler on Instagram back in July. Banner, a cross-state rival who was part of a predominantly Jewish fraternity in college, took to Twitter to call for those fighting racism and anti-Semitism to work together. In the months since, he has become something of a celebrity in Pittsburgh’s Jewish circles. “It was just stepping up for what’s right,” Banner told a virtual audience on Feb. 17. “We preach for the identity of Black and brown people … but you can’t do that by turning off the light of Jewish people in Squirrel Hill.” Banner shared his most recent thoughts on combating hatred last week during “Athletes Against Antisemitism,” a YouTube event featuring athletes and local Jewish leaders talking about the specter of bigotry and the benefits of education and knowledge. Guests also repeatedly stressed the need for Black Lives Matter followers and those mourning the shooting at the Tree of Life building to work together in toppling white supremacy. Bairnsfather moderated the free Holocaust Center event, which featured Banner, Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, former Pittsburgh Pirates first basemen Josh Bell, hip-hop artist and 1Hood founder Jasiri X, and WNBA champion Alysha Clark. Both Banner and Jasiri X, who lives in Pittsburgh but grew up on Chicago’s South Side, talked about “two Pittsburghs” — one that wins national awards for its livability
Sharing stories about disabilities
Dr. Jeffrey Cohen and AlphaLab Health
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LOCAL Hillel educator expands reach
LOCAL Olympic hopeful
LOCAL A new face at South Hills JCC
Headlines Local Jewish police commander accepts chief position in Maryland — LOCAL — By Toby Tabachnick | Editor
rom the time he was a child growing up on Northumberland Street in Squirrel Hill, it was Jason Lando’s dream to be a Pittsburgh Police officer. “At the time, it was Zone 6 — now it’s Zone 4 — but the police car used to race up and down the street, and I would just stand out there,” Lando recalled. “And I said, ‘That’s what I want to do when I get older.’” His parents thought it was just a childhood fantasy, said Lando, but he “never grew out of it.” Now, after 20 years of serving the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police — and as a commander of Zone 5 since 2014 — Lando has accepted the position of chief of police in Frederick, Maryland. While he has “loved every minute” of his career in his hometown, he wanted to pursue greater leadership opportunities, which were not currently available in Pittsburgh, he said. Lando grew up attending Tree of Life Congregation and celebrated his bar mitzvah there. That’s one of the reasons being in command on Oct. 27, 2018, during the anti-Semitic massacre at the building, was so traumatic on both a personal and professional level. His grandfather, Morris “Moe” Lebow, now 101, was a regular at Tree of Life, and Lando feared he was inside the building and had been shot. As it turned out, Moe felt under the weather that day and had stayed home to rest. “Looking back in my entire career, of all of the experiences that stuck out the most — good, bad, whatever — when I think about
there. And it has nothing to do with not wanting to honor the victims, but for me, that’s how I deal with it.” He feels a bit sad about that. Growing up, he said, “that’s where everyone gathered and that was kind of a hub for the Jewish community, especially the kids in Squirrel Hill. There were just so many memories there. And now looking back, I never think about the good memories anymore. It’s just that horrible day.” Because he knows firsthand how stressful the job of a police officer can be, he hopes to make wellness and peer support one centerpiece of his tenure in Frederick. “It never ceases to amaze me that we send officers out in the street to deal with all of society’s problems every day, but we do very little to make sure that Jason Lando Photo provided by Jason Lando they themselves are healthy and ready to go out and tackle those the Tree of Life, that absolutely, without a issues,” he said. “That weighs heavily on the doubt, will always stick out in my mind,” officers, and I think that we can only expect Lando said. “It’s still something I think about the cops to treat people out in the street the every day, both because it was professionally way we treat them internally. So, I really one of the most difficult days of my life, hope to work with the officers to develop a but personally, it was absolutely the most program where they feel as though they’re horrific day of my entire life — personally, healthy and taken care of every day.” because I thought my grandfather was inside Frederick’s new police chief also plans to at the time, and professionally, because I was focus on community relations and educathe incident commander that day.” tion, and to help develop a model for Lando still avoids driving past the building. responding to people in crisis — something “Some of my family members go visit that is being talked about on a national level. periodically and just reflect and pay their Sometimes, an officer with only a week of respects,” he said. “I can’t even go back crisis training has to handle a call. There has
to be a better way, Lando said. “It might take a mental health professional years to work with somebody in helping them get well,” he said. “And we’re putting a police officer in a situation where that person is in crisis, and that officer’s relying on their one week of training in how to safely get that situation under control.” He hopes to partner with the Department of Health, government officials and medical professionals to come up with a model. Lando, who starts his new job on March 8, has already visited Frederick a few times. While it “will never take the place of Pittsburgh,” there are some commonalities the two cities share, including a strong sense of community and a “pride in the city.” Also, like in Pittsburgh, Frederick’s mayor and his staff “are supportive of the police department, but they also want to continue to move things forward,” Lando said. “Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not the type of person that likes to just sit behind a desk and let things continue as is. And the mayor has made it clear that he hired me because of some of the forward-thinking and progressive philosophies I have. I’m just really looking forward to implementing some of those.” Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor is “confident” that Lando will be “an excellent addition to our already high-performing police department,” he said in a prepared statement, noting Lando’s “commitment to procedural justice, officer training, officer well-being, work with community programs, including co-responder efforts and youth engagement priorities.” “No police chief and no police department can be successful if they don’t have Please see Police, page 15
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Headlines Jewish educator Danielle Kranjec leaves Hillel JUC for Hartman Institute
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it was a pluralistic space.” Pitt junior Dionna Dash called Kranjec “such an influential person” who’s been an “educator and friend to hundreds.” Kranjec gained national attention through her eponymous Kranjec Test, which recommends that study source sheets with more than two sources should include at least one non-male-identified voice. That practice, as well as Kranjec’s incorporation of female voices into Torah portions and ensuring that underrepresented thought is given its due, are nurturing and inviting ways to learn, said Leah Berman-Kress, a senior at Chatham University and president of its Jewish Students Association. Those qualities will make it hard for Hillel JUC to say goodbye to Kranjec, but Hartman is fortunate to have her, said Dan Marcus, Hillel JUC’s CEO. “Danielle has transformed the way that Hillel JUC approaches and understands how to build authentic relationships with students and inspire them to engage with Jewish learning,” he said. “Everyone at Hillel JUC is so appreciative and honored to have had Danielle as our senior Jewish educator and knows she will continue to be a part of the Hillel JUC family.” Although the Shalom Hartman Institute is located in Israel, Kranjec will stay in Squirrel Hill. She expects to travel to the Jewish state and campuses across North America as part of her duties, but said COVID-19 will dictate when that begins. Being based in Pittsburgh will allow her to partner with Hillel JUC on future Hartman programs. “I’m just so grateful for the Pittsburgh Jewish community, and all of the time and resources that have been invested in me and in my work over the years,” Kranjec said. “The support of the donors, the support of our board of directors — it’s really a testament to all of the support and experiences that I’ve had these past years that I’ve been able to accomplish this big promotion and next step in my career.” PJC
IN SP IR ED RE CO GN IZ ED SE CU RE
FU LF ILL ED
ight years after joining Hillel JUC as its senior Jewish educator, Danielle Kranjec is moving on from Oakland. Effective March 1, she will be the director of campus initiatives for Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, overseeing the implementation of programming intended to strengthen Jewish peoplehood, identity and pluralism. During her time at Hillel JUC, Kranjec, 41, has introduced hundreds of students to formal Jewish life and a corpus of Jewish teachings. “There’s something very satisfying in taking everything I’ve learned and being able to give back in a way that goes beyond our local campuses,” said Kranjec. She has learned a lot while meeting the shifting needs of two generations of college students in Pittsburgh — eight years ago brought Facebook-first millennials; these days, engagement with members of Gen Z is achieved primarily through Instagram. Now there will be new challenges. “I feel like we’re so blessed in Pittsburgh because things are not highly politicized on campus with regard to Israel, but on other campuses we’re seeing where any Israel conversation [occurs] it’s framed through a political lens,” she said. Such a framework isn’t necessarily “the Jewish way to approach the question,” continued Kranjec. “If we’re talking about the deep connections and heritage of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, that’s a very different conversation than politics or BDS. So, giving Jewish students a language and a world of ideas that is separate from that, but is connected to their heritage, is such an opportunity to strengthen them and to strengthen their feelings of connection to the global Jewish people.” Kranjec will oversee the Shalom Hartman Institute’s efforts on North American campuses. “We are thrilled to have Danielle Kranjec join the Shalom Hartman Institute to lead our work on college campuses,” said Rabbi Justus Baird, Hartman’s senior vice president of national programs, in an email. “She brings with her a deep understanding of the campus environment, a well-earned reputation as a stellar teacher, and trusted connections to Hillel colleagues. This position will give Hillel professionals and top college students across North America a chance to benefit from Danielle’s commitment to Israel education.” Kranjec makes people comfortable regardless of background, said Carolyn Brodie, a 2019 University of Pittsburgh graduate who met Kranjec at Hillel JUC. “As a patrilineal Jew, who was raised Christian, I wasn’t sure I would fit in at Hillel,” said Brodie. “But while I was there, Danielle made sure everyone fit in and that
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Headlines “The Failure of Jewish Leadership: ‘Where’s the ADL?’” — an analysis of Jewish institutional failure presented by two pre-eminent intellectuals: Jonathan Tobin and William Jacobson Join us for this lively discussion (including audience Q&A) at noon on March 10, featuring:
Jonathan S. Tobin, editor-in-chief of JNS
William A. Jacobson, professor at Cornell Law School and editor of Legal Insurrection
Moderated by APT president Dr. Charles Jacobs:
Jewish Aspinwall teen readies for Olympic trials — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
oe Skirboll, 16, a Jewish Aspinwall native and Fox Chapel High School junior, knows exactly how long she felt like a fish out of water: seven weeks. The champion swimmer, a Team USA hopeful who qualified for the Olympic trials, had to stop training in pools due to the pandemic — a hiatus that made her appreciate swimming in a new way. “Taking that little break honestly made me realize how special the sport was, and how much it meant to me, and how big a part it is in my life,” said Zoe. But the time away from the water wasn’t exactly a vacation: Zoe worked hard on dry-land exercises to maintain fitness and develop strength. Her devotion paid off, said her coach-father Jim Skirboll, 55. Zoe’s ability to “bounce back and swim these unbelievable times” is a testament to “how tough swimmers are,” said Skirboll. “I think it’s remarkable how some of these kids are handling this situation. I’m not sure if I could do that when I was 16.” Zoe’s life, like that of many teenagers, is an amalgam of friends, school and planning for what comes next. And then there’s swimming. “I like to sometimes keep my swimming life separate so I don’t really get overwhelmed by swimming,” she said. “Swimming can take a really big toll on your mental health, especially during practices. It’s a really hard sport and you have to be mentally tough in it. I feel like just taking some breaks from it, like on the weekends, and just being with my friends and them helping me through, it is always great.” Her father, who swam at Ohio University and heads Racer X Aquatics, structured Zoe’s early workouts around form rather than distance. By middle school she was recognized as a prodigious swimmer. In 2015, as a fifth-grader, Zoe set her first of five national age group records by swimming the 100-meter freestyle
in less than a minute. One day after that she set a new record in the girls’ 10-and-under 100-meter freestyle. Later, she became the second 10-year-old girl in history to swim the 50-meter freestyle in 24.90 seconds. During her freshman year at Fox Chapel, Zoe won a Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League title in the 100-meter breaststroke and a championship in the 200 individual medley. Before her sophomore season, Zoe decided to forgo swimming with Fox Chapel and focus solely on the Olympic trials, a decision that took her to Palo Alto, California, for the Phillips 66 National Championships in 2019. After touching the wall at Palo Alto, Zoe peered up at the scoreboard and realized that at 15 she’d made the Olympic trials. She subsequently also qualified for the Olympic trials in the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter freestyle. Her father couldn’t be any more proud. “It’s just great seeing what your work and your own blood does,” he said. “It’s very special.” Four months remain until the Olympic trials, and Zoe’s future is filled with other meets and opportunities. She is ranked 15 on SwimSwam.com’s list of 2022 recruits, and last August verbally committed to the University of Virginia, a powerhouse that’s won 11 Atlantic Coast Conference championships since 2008 and included 2016 Olympic gold and bronze medalist Leah Smith, a Pittsburgh native who formerly swam for Pittsburgh’s JCC Sailfish. Zoe is relishing the chance to swim with the UVA Cavaliers under coach Todd DeSorbo, but for now is focused on more immediate matters — as is her father. “I’m sure a lot of dads, if they coach their kids, they can relate to it,” said Jim. “The swimming career might last for me and Zoe maybe another year or two, then she’ll go to the University of Virginia, but the bond we have will last a lifetime.” PJC
Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
Dr. Charles Jacobs, president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance
Register at: www.peaceandtolerance.org/webinar Anti-Semitism surges in America, yet the Jewish “defense department,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), seems unwilling to fight Jew-hate from politically incorrect sources. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation so that APT can continue to do the work our community leaders will not do. Americans for Peace and Tolerance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is fully tax-deductible. Please, donate to our cause. Send a check to: APT, 15 Main Street, Suite 118, Watertown, MA 02472. Or donate online with a Credit/Debit Card or Paypal 4 FEBRUARY 26, 2021
Zoe and coach-father Jim Skirboll
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Photo courtesy of Jim Skirboll
Headlines Temple Sinai celebrates Jewish Disability Awareness Month with live storytelling — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer
f the Jews didn’t invent storytelling, they certainly helped perfect it. From the Talmud to Mel Brooks, the Jewish people have retold their pain, hardships and achievements — often in humorous ways — before groups of people since they’ve been a people. On Sunday, Feb. 21, nine Temple Sinai members contributed to the canon of Jewish oration at a Moth-like storytelling event in recognition of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month. The stories told during the hour-long program were split between speakers who have disabilities and the friends, family and caregivers of those with disabilities. The virtual program, attended by more than 80 people, was emceed by Temple Sinai member Alan Olifson, who also emceed the Pittsburgh Moth StorySLAM. Anne Alter opened the event with a raw and emotional story about living with schizophrenia, describing her schizophrenic episodes as well as the community she’s found at the synagogue. Delilah Picart spoke about her witty
Samantha Skobel provided comic relief in a story that centered on miscommunication.
brother, Eric, who was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome and displayed symptoms of autism. Picart recounted his love of movies and TV shows, including
Screenshot by David Rullo
“M*A*S*H,” “Family Ties,” “How I Met Your Mother” and his favorite, “Star Wars,” and painted a portrait of someone who is more than the disability she called “the kissing
cousin of Down syndrome.” Lynn Rubenson talked about a crosscountry trip with her friend, Didi, and Didi’s husband, Gary, a quadriplegic. Rubenson recounted the frustration of the journey, including hotel rooms that claimed to have wheelchair accessible rooms, but didn’t; visits to memorials that were difficult to access; and restaurant mishaps. “My eyes didn’t just take in the beautiful countryside but the careless disregard of the physically disabled,” Rubenson said. “And don’t even get me started about the stigma of mental illness.” In perhaps the most emotional story of the event, Rachel Kudrick cautioned against judging a book by its cover. And then, in words that seemed to hang in the air, she stated, “Yeah, I’m fat.” Kudrick explained that obesity is not her disability. Instead, she told of her battle with binge eating, and how food gave her a sense of security in a sometimes cruel world. “I don’t recognize or even understand my own hunger cues,” she said. Joan Stein and Deb Knox spoke together of their friend and Pittsburgh icon Linda Dickerson. The late Dickerson was born with Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, but her Please see Storytelling, page 15
To celebrate Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Jewish Residential Services are highlighting the diverse and authentic stories and experiences of local Jewish community members with disabilities.
I am Tami Roskies. I have Down Vyndrome. Ever since I can remember, I have been part of the Pittsburgh Jewish community. I went to the JCC preschool part time until 4 years old. I went to J&R day camp every summer until I was old enough to go to Emma Kaufmann Camp for overnight camping. During the school year, I went to Beth Shalom’s afternoon program, and had my Bat Mitzvah and read the Haftarah in Hebrew. I can still read Hebrew, know all the prayers and love going to Synagogue. These days, I practice at the JCC for Special Olympics basketball, and yes, I am 4 foot 10 inches, but a good guard, thanks to my coach. I have been participating in Special Olympics for many years. In May 2018, I received an award from the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. I live in Squirrel Hill and I love it. I feel very much a part of Jewish Pittsburgh.
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Calendar Submit calendar items on the Chronicle’s website, pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Submissions also will be included in print. Events will run in the print edition beginning one month prior to the date as space allows. The deadline for submissions is Friday, noon. q FRIDAY, FEB. 26 – MARCH 8 The Zionist Organization of America: Pittsburgh is accepting applications for its Israel Scholarship Program. Open to local Jewish teens in qualified programs who will be a junior or senior in high school in September 2021. Three $1,000 scholarships will be awarded. Applicants will be judged on their involvement in Jewish organizations, volunteerism and on an essay about Zionism and Israel. Applications accepted through March 8. For information and applications, please contact ZOA executive director, Stuart Pavilack, at email@example.com or 304-639-1758. q SUNDAY, FEB. 28 Join Temple Sinai for their Drive-Thru Purim Carnival. Enjoy all the activities from your car: game, prizes, hamantaschen, lunch and a partial megillah reading. Sign up for one of the eight time slots. Masks required for everyone in car. 10:00 a.m. $20 per car. For more information, visit templesinaipgh.org/event/Carnival2021.html. The American Friends of the Hebrew University present their Annual Leadership Education Forum (ALEF), A Portal to Tomorrow: Bringing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to You. Speakers include Gilian Erdan, Asher Cohen, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum and Dr. Mmoran Yassour. $36. 1 p.m. For more information and to register, visit afhu.org/alef2021. Classrooms Without Borders, in partnership with Rodef Shalom Congregation and the Maltz Museum of Jewish History, is honored to bring professor Susan Neiman, author of the book “Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil,” to our community of educators and learners. 1 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/events Moishe House presents Grief Workshop (part 2): The Earth Can Hold Us. In this second workshop, discussions will include why stones are a Jewish tool for holding grief and memory, how the earth can help us hold the pain we carry, and briefly cover the concept of Yahrzeit. 7 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/moishehouse.pittsburgh. q SUNDAYS, FEB. 28; MARCH 7 Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh for the virtual bus tour, “The Secret Jews of Majorca Island.” The series will include “Medieval Majorca,” “Crypto-Judaism,” “Chuetas,” “Rebirth & Renewal” and “Taste of Spain.” 3 p.m. https://tinyurl.com/ jewish-spain q SUNDAYS, FEB. 28; MARCH 7, 14 What does Jewish tradition have to say about God, Torah, mitzvot, suffering, messiah, Israel? In this special course, Pittsburgh Rabbis on Jewish Belief, Jewish Community Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff hosts 14 Pittsburgh rabbis, each teaching a session on fundamental aspects of Jewish belief. 10 a.m. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org. q SUNDAYS, FEB. 28; MARCH 7, 14, 21 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. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org. q MONDAYS, MARCH 1, 8 Temple Sinai presents “Getting Good at Getting Older,” a tour for all those of “a certain age”
through the resources and skills needed to navigate the years between maturity (building careers/raising families) and frail old age. It brings humor, warmth, and more than 4,000 years of Jewish experience to the question of how to shape this new stage of life. Free and open to the public. Register at templesinaipgh.org. q MONDAYS, MARCH 1, 8, 15, 22 Join Rabbi Jeremy Markiz in learning Masechet Rosh Hashanah, a tractate of the Talmud about the many new years that fill out the Jewish calendar at Monday Talmud study. 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit bethshalompgh.org. Most people associate the term “Haftarah” with opaque prophetic reading on Shabbat morning. This course, Haftarah, will attempt to make the opaque sparkle. Choosing selectively from the most interesting Haftarah portions, Jewish Community Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will seek to imbue meaning in these powerful prophetic passages. 9:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org. q TUESDAY, MARCH 2 Classrooms Without Borders is excited to embark on their Jewish Heritage Around the World Part II series with CWB scholar Avi Ben-Hur and guest speakers. This session will explore Turkey. 2 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org. q TUESDAYS, MARCH 2, 9 Treating Jewish jokes as text, From Sinai to Seinfeld invites students to analyze and interpret the evolving concerns, styles, rhythms, preoccupations and values of the Jewish people that lie buried deep in words that make us laugh as Jews, and that bond us as a people. $50 per person, includes all books and materials. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org. q TUESDAYS, MARCH 2 – JUNE 1 What is the point of Jewish living? What ideas, beliefs and practices are involved? Melton Course 1: Rhythms & Purposes of Jewish Living examines a variety of Jewish sources to discover the deeper meanings of Jewish holidays, lifecycle observances and Jewish practice. Cost: $300 per person, per year (25 sessions), includes all books and materials. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org. q WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3 Join Classrooms Without Borders for Artists of the Harlem Renaissance: Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Jacob Lawrence; part of their series “From Frederick Douglass to Ta-Nehisi Coates: A workshop series exploring race using texts as a window into history with Susan Stein.” 4 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org/fromdouglas-to-coates. Beth Shalom Congregation’s Derekh Speaker Series welcomes five authors from across the country. Ariel Sabar will discuss “Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.” 7:30 p.m. Free. For more information, and to register for the Zoom event, visit bethshalompgh.org/ speakerseries.
q THURSDAYS, MARCH 4, 11
q SUNDAY, MARCH 14
The Mishna, the Oral Law in written form, is one of the greatest works of the Jewish people. In this survey course, Jewish Community Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff will provide a comprehensive overview of this singular, foundational work. Co-sponsored with Derekh at Congregation Beth Shalom. 9:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org/mishna.
Sidekicks help the superhero get the job done and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh needs your help! Join the Super Sunday Sidekick, an extra day to make phone calls and raise money for Jewish Pittsburgh. Sign up for one of two sessions beginning at 10 a.m. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/event.
q THURSDAYS, MARCH 4, 11, 18
The Women of Temple Sinai invite you to their March cooking class. Guest bakers Susan Cohen, Laura Arnold and Carolyn Schwarz will share their favorite Passover cookie recipes. Free and open to the public. Register at templesinaipgh.org for Zoom link.
Join the 10.27 Healing Partnership and Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife for Jewish Style R&R — Rachamim and Resilience. This series of weekly interactive workshops will be an opportunity to engage in classes that will build on Jewish values, core concepts of resiliency, and mindfulness tools as a way of expanding our resiliency toolbox in this next year. This program is being offered at no cost and is open to all ages. 7 p.m. For more information, visit 1027healingpartnership.org/events. q THURSDAYS, MARCH 4, 18, 25 The University of Pittsburgh Jewish Studies Program presents the four-part series “Shazam! Jewish Biblical Texts Transformed by the Power of Pictures,” featuring artist-in-residence Ben Schachter. 7:30 p.m. For more information and to register, visit jewishstudies.pitt.edu. q FRIDAY, MARCH 5 Shabbat Shelanu (our Shabbat) is a new 13-week program from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Young Adult Division for Pittsburgh families with children aged 0-3. Help your children learn about Shabbat and Jewish holidays while having fun and connecting with other families. Only 15 spots available. $72/family. 10:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/ shabbat-shelanu. q SUNDAY, MARCH 7 Screen the film, “RBG,” and discover the exceptional life and career of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Join a Zoom discussion with Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice David Wecht, award-winning employment litigator Ann-Marie Ahern and Professor Jonathan Entin, a former law clerk of Justice Ginsburg and David L. Brennan, professor emeritus of law and adjunct professor of political science at Case Western Reserve University. Presented by Classrooms Without Borders. 4 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org/rbg. q MONDAY, MARCH 8 Beth El Congregation presents Oy Joy Labs 2021: L’Chaim, L’Chaim — To Life! Do you find yourself asking “Why?” and “How?” Are you eager to find a deeper meaning? Are you now the “go-to person” for family and extended family to be there for answers? Are you trying to put into words “the reasons and what to do” for your children or grandkids in a home where there is Judaism and perhaps another religion? Join Beth El for this threepart series. 7 p.m. For a complete list of guests and to register, visit bethelcong.org. Join Classrooms Without Borders in Israel — virtually. Monthly tours with guide and scholar Rabbi Jonty Blackman via Zoom. 7 p.m. For more information and to register, visit classroomswithoutborders.org.
q THURSDAY, MARCH 4
q THURSDAY, MARCH 11
Classrooms Without Borders, in partnership with Rodef Shalom Congregation, is excited to offer the opportunity to watch the film “The Good Nazi” and engage in a post-film discussion with the film’s director, Yaron Niski, Michael Good and CWB scholar Avi Ben Hur. 3 p.m. classroomswithoutborders.org/ the-good-nazi
Join the Young Adult Division (over Zoom) to learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Mega Mission 2022. The mission will take place in Israel June 13-21, 2022. 7:30 p.m. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/event.
q MONDAY, MARCH 15
q TUESDAY, MARCH 16 The Jewish Pittsburgh History Series, sponsored by Rodef Shalom Congregation, will feature a presentation by Eric Lidji, Rauh Jewish Archives director at 7 p.m. The topic will be Rodef Shalom members who were prominent in Pittsburgh’s early social action movement. There is no charge to attend this Zoom event. For details and to register, follow the Jewish History Series link at rodefshalom.org. Save the date for another delicious evening with Pittsburgh native, chef Michael Solomonov. Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh for a free event to see Solomonov’s award-winning culinary skills in a Passover cooking demonstration. Registration coming soon. 8 p.m. q WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17 Beth Shalom Congregation’s Derekh Speaker Series welcomes five authors from across the country. Janice Kaplan will discuss “The Genius of Women: From Overlooked to Changing the World.” 7:30 p.m. Free. For more information, and to register for the Zoom event, visit bethshalompgh.org/speakerseries. Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Young Adult Division’s young adults book club. The book “Last Chicken in America,” a collection of short stories of Russian-Jewish immigrants who live in Squirrel Hill, will be discussed. Feel free to join the chat even if you have not read the book. 8 p.m. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/event. q THURSDAY, MARCH 18; MAY 6; JUNE 17 We live in a time of multiple challenges. Controversial issues and struggles confront us daily. But the truth is that Jews have never desisted from addressing tough problems. In this year’s CLE series, Rabbi Danny Schiff will dive into “Tense Topics of Jewish Law.” Each topic raises significant concerns in our contemporary lives. And Jewish law has something to say on them all. With CLE/CEU credit: $30/session or $150 all sessions; without CLE/CEU credit: $25/session or $125 all sessions. 8:30 a.m. For more information, including a complete list of topics, visit foundation.jewishpgh.org/ continuing-legal-education. q FRIDAY, MARCH 19 Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Young Adult Division & OneTable for Virtual Shabbat Dinner and Game Night. 6:30 p.m. For more information, including how to receive a $10 Giant Eagle gift card for dinner, visit jewishpgh.org/event. q MONDAY, MARCH 12 In a time of chaos and uncertainty, join Temple Sinai to hear Rabbi Karyn Kedar speak on Finding Spiritual Depth in a Flattened World. 7 p.m. For more information and to register, visit templesinaipgh.org. PJC
www.pittsburghjewishchronicle.org 6 FEBRUARY 26, 2021
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Headlines Alberta Veverka seeks seat on the bench — LOCAL — By Adam Reinherz | Staff Writer
lbert Veverka believes there’s a real opportunity for systemic improvements in Allegheny County’s judicial process, especially regarding technology. “There are great inefficiencies in our court system,” said Veverka, 38, an attorney and first-time judicial candidate for the Court of Common Pleas. “We have limited access to the court system. The court system is not open for everybody.” The Mt. Lebanon resident and father of two has crafted a plan for bettering the judicial process. Within the court’s family division, Veverka would like to see “a more regular motion schedule” whereby litigants who are “seeking more time with their children have an opportunity to present their case to a judge, more than once every two weeks,” he said. Within the court’s civil division, he wants to “move away from a docket where there are no judge assignments so judges can’t be held accountable for moving cases forward,” he said. And, within the criminal division, he believes “we need earlier bail review, and we also need to see incarcerated defendants at an earlier stage in the process. If a judge would sit and listen and hear why somebody
is incarcerated, there may be a way to move them from incarceration outside into a diversionary program or into some electronic monitoring system, which takes the cost burden off of the taxpayers and also gives that person an opportunity to better prepare for their case.” Veverka, who celebrated his bar mitzvah at Temple Emanuel of South Hills 25 years ago, is positioning his candidacy as one based on
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McCamey & Chilcote, P.C., said while at the Pittsburgh law firm he has also served at a legal clinic in Sharpsburg, represented victims in protection from abuse orders, and represented children in best interest cases and custody disputes. He also has worked with the Mt. Lebanon Democratic committee on local elections. Running for office during a pandemic has been a unique experience, explained Veverka — bouncing from one Zoom meeting to the next, with limited opportunities for in-person engagement. But he’s pleased by endorsements he’s received from labor unions and elected officials, including state Sens. Jay Costa, Jim Brewster Photo courtesy of Albert Veverka and Wayne Fontana, state Rep. Ed Gainey and City Councilman expertise and outcomes. Corey O’Connor, as well as community “As an attorney who stands before a judge leaders Dr. Cyril Wecht and Art Rooney II. often, I have appreciation for what it’s like to “It’s just been incredible how many people be an attorney who has a client who would have stepped up and offered to help and need something done in a timely and effi- make phone calls, and try to reach out to cient fashion,” he said. “And I know where people,” said Veverka. “We’re sort of earning the roadblocks are, so I hope to cut through it one vote at a time.” PJC some of those roadblocks and allow better access to the court.” Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@ Veverka, a shareholder of Dickie, pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
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Headlines ‘JCC lifer’ Emma Litwak joins South Hills team — LOCAL — By Justin Vellucci | Special to the Chronicle
he Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh has hired a new youth director excited to take the reins in the South Hills. The organization recently named Emma Litwak as its new director of the JCC South Hills Children, Youth and Family Department and the director of its South Hills day camps. Litwak, who now lives in Bloomfield, was born in Pittsburgh and lived the first five years of her life here. She later moved with her family to the Louisville and Cleveland areas before returning to southwestern
Pennsylvania in 2016 to attend the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated in April 2020. “I have always loved Pittsburgh,” Litwak told the Chronicle. “I have always loved the community I’ve felt here.” Litwak started as a counselor in a JCC after-school program while studying at Pitt in 2017. She said she “fell in love with the community, the activities and the kids.” When an opening came up as a program coordinator, she took it and started a leadership role in after-school programming. In that role, she planned Kids Nite Out, KDays and parties. She also more recently served as a school day engagement coordinator to support the virtual learning of kindergarten and first-grade students in the JCC Squirrel Hill All Day at the J program.
“ I have always loved Pittsburgh,” Litwak told the Chronicle. “I have always loved the
community I’ve felt here.
— EMMA LITWAK
to keep someone of Litwak’s caliber in town. “We feel we have someone here who cares, who is a JCC lifer and who is passionate about the work,” Speck said. “I knew early on she was someone with a lot of potential … It was all sort of meant to be.” In her new role, Litwak will oversee South Hills day camps and assist with children’s programming at the JCC’s South Hills branch. Litwak stressed she is joining a team experienced in keeping up with the demands of maintaining safety for children during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a road she’s walked before. In her youth, Litwak attended J&R Day Camp Emma Litwak Photo provided by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Monroeville and JDay Camps of the Mandel JCC in Cleveland. After graduating from Pitt with a degree “The community here, it drew me in,” in psychology and certificates in nonprofit Litwak said. “There’s no place I’d rather be than management and Jewish studies, Litwak in Pittsburgh and in this community.” PJC approached Rachael Speck, JCC’s Children, Youth and Family Division director, and told her “I want to stay here,” the two recalled. Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living Speck said the JCC in Pittsburgh is fortunate in Pittsburgh.
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Headlines Former Allegheny General Hospital president looks to ‘disrupt’ the medical world — LOCAL — By David Rullo | Staff Writer
r. Jeffrey Cohen likes the idea of disruption. The chief physician executive, community development and innovation officer at Allegheny Health Network is working to fund and develop new Pittsburgh-area medical technology companies that will disrupt the way the health care industry operates. So, how does a doctor from the boomer generation become head innovation officer at AHN? As Cohen recounts it, getting his position was bashert — the Yiddish word for fate. Cohen grew up in Port Jervis, New York, and went to Syracuse University for undergrad and med school. He completed his residency at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he met Ellen, a Pittsburgher, who “thought that the center of Western civilization was the corner of Forbes and Murray,” he said. The pair got engaged, and after a fellowship in Texas, Cohen was in an enviable position: His chosen field — oncology with a sub-specialty in surgical oncology and urology — was in demand.
“We don’t ask a patient who they “I had offers literally all over are or where they came from,” he the country,” he said. told the Chronicle in 2018. Cohen presented the possibilIn 2020, Cohen stepped down ities to his fiancée, who made it as president of AGH to focus on clear that his options weren’t as medical technology instead. He limitless as he thought. had already made inroads in the “I said, ‘Where do you want industry, serving since 1992 as to move when we get married?’” chief medical officer and then Cohen recalled. “She said, Dr. Jeffrey CEO of ChemImage, a molecular ‘Pittsburgh. We are moving Cohen chemical imaging company. to Pittsburgh.’” Photo provided by Dr. Jeffrey Cohen When he told his supervisor, In 1985, his new father-in-law James Benedict, and Allegheny introduced him to a physician at Allegheny General Hospital who took him Health Network administrators of his plan, on as a partner. He thrived there, and in they decided to work with him on the new project. So Cohen, Benedict, AHN 2016, was named president of the hospital. “It was the people that were important, President and CEO Cynthia Hundorfean the patients,” Cohen said of his role, which and Highmark Health President and CEO he took on after a stormy period for the David Holmburg repurposed the former hospital that included bankruptcy. “That’s Suburban General Hospital in Bellevue as why we’re here. We focused on the funda- their headquarters. It was an appropriate mentals. We took care of the patients and we choice, given its history. moved forward.” AGH’s decision to close Suburban in 2010, During his tenure, the unthinkable Cohen said, is “endemic of what is going to happened: In 2017 an anti-Semitic gunman happen to health care over the next 10 years. attacked the Tree of Life building, murdering The idea is, how do you repurpose a hospital 11 worshipers at Dor Hadash, New Light and that used to be a community asset in a disadTree of Life, where Cohen was a member. The vantaged community?” shooter, who was wounded by police during Cohen and his team at AHN have partthe attack, was transported to AGH. Cohen nered with tech incubator AlphaLab to create visited him to make sure he was comfortable. AlphaLab Health to find the next generation
of medical technology companies. “If you look at the fundamental revolution that we’re going through, it’s the transformation from a manufacturing-based world to a digital world,” Cohen said. Cohen compares the paradigm shift in health care to the displacement of steelworkers several decades ago. A new generation has a better understanding of technology and how to use it in industry. AlphaLab Health selects companies to work with, gives them rental space at the former Suburban General Hospital, and invests $100,000 to help them grow. Though they recently selected seven companies to assist, COVID-19 has disrupted the disrupters. “Right now, it’s all digital until such time we get through the pandemic,” Cohen said. But whatever form the project takes, he’s committed. “They ask you why you want to go to medical school and the answer is always the same: You say, ‘I like science. I want to help people,’” Cohen said. “You find out 35 years later that is really true. People come to me with the worst problems in their lives. My job is to figure out how I can help.” PJC David Rullo can be reached at drullo@ pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.
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PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
FEBRUARY 26, 2021 9
Headlines Shouts and voices — HISTORY — By Eric Lidji | Special to the Chronicle
n late March 1940, a Jewish student at the University of Pittsburgh named Meyer H. Fogel received a signed letter from Father Charles E. Coughlin. “I must confess that, though accustomed to opposition of all sorts, nevertheless, I do not relish being characterized as an anti-Semite, a pro-Nazi and a falsifier of documents,” Coughlin insisted. “Not that this matters much in itself. But, incidentally, I happen to be a priest in good standing, and, therefore, feel that the entire attack leveled against me smacks not only of a personal nature but, possibly, of one against the Christian religion.” Coughlin was a Catholic priest who became a leading media figure of the late 1920s and especially through the 1930s. He initially supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and then became one of his loudest opponents. With the turn against FDR came associated attacks on “New Dealers,” “communists” and “international bankers.” If those words made you wince, know that they made Jewish readers wince then, too. The Jewish press waited for “bankers” to become “the Jews,” and Coughlin obliged. Speaking in late August 1936, at a
Meyer Fogel received a form reply from Rev. Charles E. Coughlin in 1940, about four years after criticizing the priest in a letter to the Pittsburgh Press.
Images provided by Rauh Jewish Archives
convention for the National Union for Social Justice, an organization he had founded to promote his political agenda, Coughlin told followers, “We are a Christian organization in that we believe in the principle of ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’ With that principle I
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challenge every Jew in this nation to tell me that he does or does not believe in it. I am not asking the Jews of the United States to accept Christianity and all of its beliefs, but Please see History, page 15
This week in Israeli history — WORLD — Items provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.
Feb. 26, 1973 — Kissinger, Ismail secretly meet
On the second day of meetings in Armonk, New York, Egypt’s Hafez Ismail tells his U.S. counterpart, Henry Kissinger, that Egypt is willing to negotiate directly with Israel to trade land for normalized relations.
Feb. 27, 1928 — Ariel Sharon is born
Ariel Sharon is born in K’far Malal, near Hod Hasharon. He enters politics after a military career covering the War of Independence to the Yom Kippur War. He becomes Israel’s 11th prime minister in 2001.
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Feb. 28, 1942 — Justice Dorit Beinisch is born
Dorit Beinisch, who in 2006 becomes the ninth president of Israel’s Supreme Court and the first woman in the post, is born in Tel Aviv. She also is Israel’s first female state attorney in 1989.
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March 1, 1920 — Arab raiders attack Tel Hai
An Arab militia attacks the Jewish agricultural community of Tel Hai on the border between British-controlled Palestine and French-controlled Syria. Eight Jews are killed, including Joseph Trumpeldor.
March 2, 1977 — First woman is appointed to high court
President Ephraim Katzir appoints Miriam Ben-Porat and Shimon Asher to the Supreme Court. Ben-Porat is the first woman to serve on the highest court of Israel or any other nation with a common law system.
March 3, 1939 — Mufti rejects majority-Arab state
Opposing any permanent Jewish presence, the mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, rejects a British proposal to severely limit Jewish immigration while working to establish a majority-Arab Palestine.
March 4, 1996 — Tel Aviv suicide bombing kills 14
A Palestinian from Ramallah detonates a bomb packed with nails outside Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center on the eve of Purim, killing the Hamas bomber and 13 Israelis, five of whom are 13 or younger. PJC
FEBRUARY 26, 2021
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Headlines — WORLD — From JTA reports
CPAC cancels speaker who said Judaism is a ‘complete lie’
CPAC, the conservative political conference, has canceled the appearance of a speaker who has made several derogatory comments about Jews on social media. Young Pharaoh, an online commentator and promoter of conspiracy theories, was set to speak on a panel at CPAC, which is being held in Florida at the end of the month. The conference is traditionally a gathering of leading Republican and conservative officials and figures, and will include former President Donald Trump this year, along with other politicians. But Young Pharaoh has been removed from the program following a report by Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog, calling attention to Young Pharaoh’s anti-Semitic tweets. He has called Judaism a “complete lie,” referred to “thieving Jews” and said Israeli Jews commit pedophilia online. “All the #censorship & #pedophilia ON #socialmedia is being done by #Israeli #Jews!!,” he wrote. “All #YouTube, #Twitter, #Facebook, & #Instagram are all owned or controlled directly by them!!” He has also promoted conspiracy theories including QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory with anti-Semitic roots. Following the Media Matters report,
CPAC tweeted that a speaker with “reprehensible views” had been removed from the conference program. Young Pharaoh no longer appears on the CPAC website. “We have just learned that someone we invited to CPAC has expressed reprehensible views that have no home with our conference or our organization,” CPAC tweeted. “The individual will not be participating at our conference.” The theme of this year’s CPAC is “America Uncanceled.”
Amos Oz’s daughter rejects sister’s claims of abuse
A daughter of Amos Oz, one of Israel’s most celebrated authors, alleges that he physically abused her beginning in her childhood. In “Something Disguised As Love,” an autobiography released in Hebrew on Sunday, Galia Oz writes that “my father beat me, swore and humiliated me,” and that “the harassment and abuse continued until the day he died” in 2018, according to Haaretz. “The violence was creative: He dragged me from inside the house and threw me outside,” writes the late novelist’s younger daughter. “He called me trash. Not a passing loss of control and not a slap in the face here or there, but a routine of sadistic abuse. My crime was me myself, so the punishment had no end. He had a need to make sure I would break.” She was estranged from her father for years, Haaretz reported. Galia’s sister Fania Oz-Salzberger, herself an author, historian and frequent
collaborator with her late father, tweeted on Sunday that the rest of the family remembers things “completely differently.” “Galia decided to sever all contact with us seven years ago. The claims she voiced against us then caught us all by surprise,” Oz-Salzberger tweeted. “Even though he did not recognize himself in her accusations, Father really tried and hoped until his final day to speak with her and understand her, even about the things that seemed to him and to us the opposite of reality.” Amos Oz published dozens of books that won prestigious international prizes, as well as political commentary that placed him among the forefront of his generation of leftleaning Israelis. Galia Oz, 56, is a celebrated children’s book author. A brother, Daniel Oz, is a musician and poet. Galia Oz writes that she had “no choice but to overcome the violence and secrecy, the habit of keeping it all inside me and the fear of what people will say. I’m not really overcoming it, of course. But I am writing.”
Garland: ‘I’m a pretty good judge of what an anti-Semite is’
Merrick Garland turned emotional when asked during his Senate confirmation hearing why he wanted to be the U.S. attorney general. “I come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution,” the erudite and soft-spoken judge said before pausing for several seconds to gather himself. “The country took us in and protected us,
and I feel an obligation to the country to pay back — this is the highest, best use of my own set of skills to pay back. I want very much to be the kind of an attorney general that you are saying I could become.” Garland, 68, also said that combating white supremacists would be a priority should he lead the Justice Department, particularly in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which included far-right extremists along with visible displays of racism and anti-Semitism. He called the attack “heinous” and “sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.” Garland would be the fifth Jewish official in President Joe Biden’s Cabinet. When Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, pressed him on whether he would work with anti-Semites, alluding to conservative media attacks on Kristen Clarke, whom Biden has nominated to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division, Garland defended Clarke and said in a rare show of annoyance: “Senator, I’m a pretty good judge of what an anti-Semite is.” Garland has said a critical point of his career was in 1995, when he directed the prosecution of the white supremacists who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing at least 168 people. In 2016, then-President Barack Obama had nominated Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Republican-led Senate at the time would not allow his nomination to advance. PJC
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PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
FEBRUARY 26, 2021 11
Opinion Michael Che’s SNL joke: Not funny, not factual, definitely hurtful Guest Columnist Alan Edelstein
t’s Pavlovian. Someone makes an inaccurate, out-of-context, stereotypical comment about Israel or Jews. Jews react, condemning the comment as false, feeding anti-Semitism, being anti-Semitic and coming from an anti-Semite. The defenders of the comment or commenter then respond that the Jews are using anti-Semitism to protect Israel, that not every critique of Israel is anti-Semitic, that Jews are trying to stifle legitimate debate, that Jews are too sensitive, that Jews exploit the Holocaust, and on and on. The pattern is so common, it is tiresome. And we are now seeing it repeated in the case of Michael Che’s “joke” on “Saturday Night Live” in which he said that since Israel has vaccinated half of its population, it must be “the Jewish half.” The point is not whether Che is anti-Semitic or even whether the “joke” was anti-Semitic. The questions are whether it is true, fair in the context of the situation, and whether, given the history of bigotry and persecution of Jews, it unnecessarily contributes to the atmosphere that encourages prejudice against Jews and violence against Jews and Jewish institutions. Critiquing Israel is fine. Israelis and Jews do it all the time. However, a one-off joke about Jews keeping a vaccine only for themselves, with no background, no context, and devoid of any truth is not, given Jewish history and current threats, a critique. And the joke did not appear out of nowhere. The joke would not have been made, and SNL viewers would not have had any reference point, if the audience had not been subjected to weeks of misinformation and unfair allegations against Israel for the alleged sin of not providing vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. In short, it was the natural
outcome of a sustained campaign of lies, the types of lies that have led to injury and death to Jews in the past. Israel is vaccinating all of its citizens regardless of religion or ethnic or national background. This includes the almost two million Israeli citizens who are Arab/ Palestinian. This is unremarkable because all Israelis are covered equally by Israel’s universal health care system. What prompted the “joke” was undoubtedly the unfair and unjustified charges that Israel is not providing the vaccine to the West Bank and Gaza. The “joke” was neither funny nor accurate. Some have asserted that as an “occupying power” Israel is obligated under the Geneva Convention to provide vaccines to the territories. Despite conventional wisdom in some quarters, there is a credible dispute about whether Israel is truly an occupying power and whether the Geneva Convention applies here. But there is no need to walk through the legal weeds for this discussion. The Oslo Accords clearly provide that the Palestinian Authority has responsibility for the health care of residents of the territories. [Oslo II Accords, 1995: “Powers and responsibilities in the sphere of Health in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be transferred to the Palestinian side, including the health insurance system.”] Some argue that the duties of the “occupying power” supersede the parties’ agreement. Again, getting into the legal argument is not productive or necessary. The fact of the matter is that both parties have long abided by the Oslo provisions in the health care area, and all relevant parties have respected this for years. Israel only gets involved if the Palestinian Authority requests or approves. Most importantly, on Dec. 21, 2020, the Palestinian Authority specifically declared that it was not seeking vaccines from Israel and that it was securing its own supplies. Israeli offers to coordinate efforts were rejected. As the Jerusalem Post reported, “He
[a Palestinian Ministry of Health official], too, clarified that the PA has not asked Israel to supply the Palestinians with the vaccine.” “We are working on our own to obtain the vaccine from a number of sources,” the official added. “We are not a department in the Israeli Defense Ministry. We have our own government and Ministry of Health, and they are making huge efforts to get the vaccine.”’ The Palestinian Authority’s position is consistent with the anti-normalization sentiment which drives Palestinian policies to differing degrees depending on the issue, the needs, and the surrounding politics. If Israel had somehow attempted to override this desire, many, and most assuredly those now criticizing Israel for not supplying vaccines, would have criticized Israel for violating the wishes of the Palestinian’s self-governing body. Who knows — maybe Michael Che would have made a “joke” about those overpowering, controlling Jews. Once several human rights groups and other organizations started criticizing Israel, and once there were delays in the delivery of the Russian Sputnik vaccine that the PA had ordered, the PA reversed its position. Why not turn an unfortunate snag in getting the vaccine into a chance to bash Israel a bit? The usual suspects are sure to join in. Having contracted for the number of vaccines that it thought was needed based on the Palestinian Authority’s position, what should Israel have done at that point? Should it have deprived some of its own citizens (including it’s almost two million Palestinian Israeli citizens) in order to supply the PA? If Michael Che or any of the SNL gag writers were Israeli, or if the members of Congress who have criticized Israel were Israelis, would they have had their moms and dads, their health care workers, their vulnerable relatives, give up their vaccines for those whose governing body had said “no thanks, we’ll do it without you?” Michael Che’s comment is not funny, not based on fact, and is indeed quite hurtful and
contributes to a dangerous environment for Jews. And it contributes to the campaign to delegitimize Israel, whether intended to or not. Despite this history and context, Israel has shipped several thousand doses to the PA for health care workers and some other essential workers, and, as part of a broader hostage deal, it has reportedly bought $1 million worth of a Russian vaccine for Syria. Some have said this was just a joke. The Jews are being sensitive again. The reason many Jews fail to see the humor in the “joke” is because we know our history and, therefore, we understand that the “joke” plays into the old canard that Jews are selfish, controlling, manipulative, sneaky people who watch out only for themselves to the detriment of others. And we understand how that canard has been used through the centuries to paint Jews as evil and subhuman and to discriminate against them, to engage in pogroms, and to send them to ovens. So we’re justifiably just a little sensitive when it comes to the “joke.” And this is not history or theory, and it’s not far away. Think Poway and Pittsburgh. Understand that while it may not make national news, Jews are being beaten up and subjected to bigotry on a weekly, if not daily, basis. There is a reason virtually every Jewish day school in the U.S., every Jewish Community Center, many synagogues, and other Jewish institutions have security guards, security codes, security fences, panic alarms, I.D. requirements, metal detectors, and fearful people. So, joking about Jews being selfish, keeping life-saving medicine to themselves, butting into the front of the line, not playing fairly, is no joke. Whether intended or not, it is part of the mix of anti-Semitism that leads to Jewish injury, death and hurt. PJC
Alan Edelstein was a lawyer and lobbyist in California, for 30 years. He lives in Jerusalem and Sacramento, California and consults on governmental affairs, communications, politics, and business development This article was first published by Times of Israel.
A North American Conservative Judaism for the next generation Guest Columnist Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg
“Unless this is done, I declare unhesitatingly that traditional Judaism will not survive another generation in this country.”
he “this” in the quote above refers to change, and the words come from Solomon Schechter’s address at the founding of the United Synagogue in 1913. What were Schechter’s radical reforms, integral to the survival of Judaism? Sermons
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in English, “scientific” methods of rabbinic training, and “order and decorum” in the synagogue. These, on the whole, have been addressed over the last century. Yet Schechter’s sentiment that our institutions must change if they are to survive is, once again, exactly right. The builders of the Conservative Movement in America (though they would not have called it that) were trying to create a form of Judaism that would work for immigrants and their children: one that combined the traditional Judaism they brought with them from Europe with something their children could connect with and not feel embarrassment about. Ultimately, they succeeded.
In later years, their children and grandchildren moved to the suburbs and Conservative Judaism went with them. American Jewish life was undergoing a transformation and the institutions followed suit. No longer was it contentious to give a sermon in English. Synagogues were building swimming pools and basketball courts and striving to be places that served young couples and their 2.5 children. To stay relevant, the movement realized that synagogues needed to be places of gathering, not just places of prayer and education.
Many current Conservative Jews remember this period as the heyday of Conservative
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Judaism. Synagogues flourished for decades and the Conservative Movement was dominant in American life. In 1951, Rabbi Louis Finkelstein, chancellor of the movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary, was featured on the cover of Time magazine. But it’s been clear for a while now that American demographic and cultural tides are shifting once again. And the needs and expectations of American Jews are in transition as well. It can no longer be assumed that even people who move to a new area with a nearby Jewish congregation will automatically join the synagogue out of a sense of obligation, as their parents did. Please see Konigsburg, page 15
Opinion Planting an Audrey Guest Columnist Kally Kislowicz
here were so many trendy hobbies to choose from during the lockdowns of the past year. I’m not super into sourdough, and after six of my friends tried and failed to teach me how to crochet in ninth grade, I decided I did not want to relive that trauma. But I did get into gardening. I bought big ceramic planters for my backyard and painted them (because my gardening phase came right on the heels of my wall mural painting phase), and I planted strawberries, wildflowers and red peppers. The strawberries and wildflowers took off right away. They grew and spread throughout the planter just like nature intended. And while the peppers took a bit longer, those divas soon began to poke their heads up as well. I started to think that my hands, which had failed so spectacularly at crocheting in 1995, might have just been saving themselves
for their gardening dexterity in 2020. I love my little garden. I water it every morning and I move the pots around so they get enough sun. I fret over them and I worry about their options for higher education and keeping them off of Parler. I soon noticed that one of my pepper plants was growing much faster than the others. She was getting tall and wide and taking up a lot of space in the small container. I loved this precocious overachiever so much that I researched (by watching one-third of a two-minute YouTube video) how to replant her in a larger pot. I worried that the move would damage her roots and her soul and our relationship, but even in this new environment, she continued to thrive and climb. I named her Audrey 3, and I was so enthralled with her and with myself, that I called my husband and kids out to the yard one day to bask in Audrey’s and my collective beauty and talent. My son looked at Audrey 3 and noted how large she was compared to her siblings. And while I waxed poetic about how I had never fancied myself a gardener, but everything feels so different now that the Lord has
— LETTERS — In remembrance of Rabbi Abraham Twerski
In the early 1980s, I was a young lawyer when a young man charged with vehicular homicide while drunk was referred to me as a client. The car exploded, incinerating his best friend and sister. As his charred body was inserted into a bag, his hand moved. When I eventually met the client, he was virtually unrecognizable, given the burns he had suffered from careening into a telephone pole. After dozens of surgeries he was two-sided: One side of his body looked normal, with the other side resembling a skeleton, given the burns. Given the circumstances, he faced a mandatory three-year jail sentence. No excuses. No exceptions. However, for him prison would be a death sentence. I simply dreaded his court date. Someone recommended that I contact Rabbi Abraham Twerski. It was then that I learned of his approach and of his clinic, Gateway Rehabilitation Center. Now, 40 years later, I explicitly remember my one telephone call with the rabbi. I was spent and nervous, but his simple response was: “We’ll take care of him.” I had a host of questions. The rabbi’s response was always, “We’ll take care of him.” He never asked for money. It was just that simple refrain. In court, I argued that no jail could handle my client. When asked by the judge if there was any alternative, I mentioned Rabbi Twerski and Gateway Rehabilitation Center. My client’s life was spared. Dr. Rabbi Abraham Twerski took good care of him and countless others. Mark D. Schwartz Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Nikki Haley let us down
There are two articles of importance in the Feb. 19 edition of the Chronicle for those of us who are fascinated with politics. The first is “Nikki Haley broke with Trump. It could make her a Jewish GOP favorite in 2024.” Ambassador Haley will get no support from me as she clearly positions herself to run for the Republican nomination in the next presidential election. Haley supported Trump through one atrocity after another. She stood by him through the Nov. 3 election and she surely would have remained with him if he had won. Only now, with Trump out of the White House, has she purportedly changed her tune: “He let us down...he went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have listened to him.” I did not ever listen to him or follow him down that path, Ambassador. Why did you? In her moving opinion essay “A deep abiding thank you to Rep. Jamie Raskin,” author Elinor S. Nathanson tells us why patriotic Americans did not follow Trump, his “vicious lies, virulent hatred, white supremacist glorification and incitement of deadly violence.” Why did the ambassador close her eyes to the many ways in which Trump sought to bring down our country and savage our ideals and values, all of the noble tenets that our country has represented and espoused throughout our history? PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
chosen to partner with me in bringing forth food from the Earth, his eyes focused on a patch of tall weeds that live in a corner of our yard not far from Audrey and the gang. By the end of my rousing speech, the whole family was crouching down for a closer look at Audrey and the weeds. And then I saw what had captured their attention … Audrey did not resemble her pepper brethren. Her leaves were longer and pointier, and a bit fuzzy. She did, however, look remarkably like the tall, pointy, fuzzy weeds in the corner. Audrey 3 had been switched at birth. I had been watering, repotting and overidentifying with a weed. Audrey is never going to grow into a pepper. She will never graduate pepper school with honors and become part of a stirfry. I was devastated. My kids cried with laughter. Because they are horrible people. And I have plans to stir fry them when they least expect it. The logical thing to do now is to uproot Audrey 3 to make room for the actual peppers. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. I keep watering her and moving her into the
sun. When they predicted snow this week, I brought the whole garden inside. First the strawberries, then the flowers, and then Audrey and the peppers. (Audrey and the Peppers is going to be the name of the band I form when we go into a fourth lockdown and I discover my hidden musical talents.) Audrey is not who I thought she was, but I love her. And I want to see how tall she’ll get. And if she’ll flower. Maybe she’ll surprise me. Or maybe she’ll only ever be a funny story and a reminder that I am not a botanist or a person with eyes. But I am a parent. And parents are used to doing things that are dumb and futile. Have you ever baked hamantashen with children? You spend time and energy and so much flour on baked goods that ultimately taste gross and have an average of 4.2 sides. You, my friend, have planted an Audrey. Have you ever tried to clean up the kitchen before lunch on a day where everyone is learning from home? Or swept the floor when you know that you’re having everything bagels for dinner? You know you are Please see Kislowicz, page 20
A newspaper article recently featured an interview with a professor who has specialized in the study of white supremacist groups. The piece featured a chilling photograph of hundreds of robed Ku Klux Klan members marching in Washington, D.C. in 1925. The professor noted the similarities between that movement and those of similar ilk who have rallied around the Trump presidency. He noted that bigotry is more accepted and out in the open today in significant part because of the tenor of the past four years. The haters no longer feel the need to shield their identities. It is a chilling phenomenon. There is a level of hypocrisy in both major political parties and in every human being. I try to identify the worst of the hypocrites. Ambassador Nikki Haley is among them. She is the one who let us down because she knew better. Oren Spiegler Peters Township
Life lesson learned at Beth Samuel
I live in Palo Alto now, but I used to live in Ambridge and I went to religious school at Beth Samuel Jewish Center until I was 15. Beth Samuel was a storefront synagogue to begin with. Its former location is now an Ambridge institution, the Maple Restaurant, known for its roast beef sandwich. What used to be the bimah is now the kitchen. When it became a restaurant instead of a synagogue, my father sent the owners, the Pappas family, a good luck horseshoe which is still there. I was about 12 when Beth Samuel moved into the new building at its current location. My friend in Pittsburgh, one of the handful of girls that made up my entire religious school class, sent me the article from the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle via Facebook. I was so charmed by it, by Beth Samuel’s religious school still being a functioning institution. More than anything, I was charmed by the students repairing the world with animal treats. It was at Beth Samuel that I learned that Jews must care for animals, and anyone who has known me, knows that the dog eats before we sit down to dinner because the Torah and the Talmud say so. They shrug their shoulders with a “there-goes-Natalie-again” gesture, but I know I answer to a higher authority. I learned that at Beth Samuel. Natalie Krauss Bivas Palo Alto, California 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, fax or email letters to:
Letters to the editor via email:
Address & Fax: Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 5915 Beacon St., 5th Flr., Pittsburgh, PA 15217 Fax 412-521-0154
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FEBRUARY 26, 2021 13
Headlines Vaccines: Continued from page 1
Park, found time to do what some others could not: scour the internet looking for vaccine appointments, using multiple computers. She shared her findings on Facebook groups like Jewish Pittsburgh and Getting Pittsburgh Vaccinated – COVID-19 Appointment Tip Page, co-created by her friend Liz Huber. Huber was stymied by what she found online when she went to help her parents secure appointments. There were no directions, she said. “Even today, it’s not clear how to get an appointment,” she said. “So, I was just trying to share information on what we were learning and how it was changing every day.” Getting Pittsburgh Vaccinated became a place for Huber and her friends Leighann Bacher and Heather Lucci to post information about vaccine clinics, PDFs, resources for seniors and tips they gleaned from their research. Since its creation on Jan. 31, 2021, about 20,000 people have become members. Both Huber and Weisblatt recognize the people they are trying to help — seniors who are not computer savvy — may not be on Facebook. The goal, they said, is to reach the children and grandchildren who are attempting to find appointments for them. “It’s very frustrating if you don’t know how
“ COVID brought a lot of pain and hardship. It also brought out some angels.” — NINA BUTLER
to navigate computers,” Huber said. When Community Day School parents learned that some teachers at the institution were having trouble getting vaccine appointments, they banded together to help by sending tips and information to CDS staff member, Jill Braasch. “It started out with them telling me, ‘We found out this great information,’ and me spreading it around as fast as I could,” Braasch said. She said the parents were eager to help because they knew that teachers were working with their children all day and did not have time to click on and refresh web pages. The parents also actively posted on pages like the one created by Huber, Braasch said. The input has given teachers a sense of
relief. “Just knowing that it’s taken care of means they can breathe and take care of other things, like kids,” Braasch said. Nina Butler, director of Bikur Cholim of Pittsburgh, has been helping Squirrel Hill residents find vaccine appointments by distributing information through email. Several times a day, she sends out messages with updates on where vaccines are available, as well as potential vaccine reactions and ideas for working with specific insurance companies. “Squirrel Hill has a high proportion of elderly residents,” Butler said. “With the scarcity of COVID vaccine, and seniors’ limited familiarity with technology for online registration, matching seniors with vaccine appointments has been anything but a smooth process.”
Anti-Semitism: Continued from page 1
and a second where the working class and people in minority neighborhoods struggle. “My experience was 100 percent Black — and then I moved to Monroeville,” Jasiri X laughed. “The power of Pittsburgh is the relationships I’ve been able to build with people. This is where I make my home [and] I’m glad to finally be accepted into the Pittsburgh community.” Banner said he received backlash for inviting Jasiri X to the forum, in part because of offensive comments the hip-hop artist previously made about Jewish people. Jasiri X said those comments came from a place of ignorance, and expressed regret. “I’m willing to be held accountable,” Jasiri X said. “For me, my job is to now exhibit better behavior, continue community work, learn more, keep my ears open and fight — not just for my community, but for all communities.” “We’re really at the beginning of walking a path together,” Bairnsfather told Jasiri X. “And this is where we start.” Myers talked about the Jewish concept of teshuva and repentance and called Jasiri X’s reckoning with his past comments “a public teshuva.” “Let’s find ways we can work together,” Myers said. “We’re stronger together when we build a better Pittsburgh.” That theme echoed throughout the evening, with Jasiri X at one point saying “white supremacy violence is not just a Black issue or a brown issue.” “Why shouldn’t we be in solidarity to protect each other?” he asked. Bell, who now plays for the Washington Nationals, said the shooting at the Tree 14 FEBRUARY 26, 2021
Clockwise from top left: Lauren Apter Bairnsfather, Jasiri X, Zach Banner, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers Screenshots by Justin Vellucci
Clockwise from top left: Lauren Apter Bairnsfather, Zach Banner, Josh Bell and Alysha Clark
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Younger tech-savvy community members have helped these seniors secure appointments. “Bikur Cholim connects those who need appointments with these computer whizzes and their teams, who reserve appointments,” Butler said. Butler, through her role with Bikur Cholim, also has advocated for community members at local vaccination sites. The Squirrel Hill resident approached the pharmacy manager at a local Giant Eagle, explaining that neighborhood seniors were being sent to other Giant Eagle branches an hour or two away and were having issues getting appointments without email or cell phones. She said that the pharmacy manager said, “These are my people and I must help.” He then did the necessary work to secure vaccinations for several on Butler’s list. “COVID brought a lot of pain and hardship,” Butler said. “It also brought out some angels.” Weisblatt said the crisis has proven a universal truth: “I think this has shown us that we need each other,” she said. “The irony is that we have been so separated. I think that this past year has shown that in order to be able to come back together, we need each other.” PJC David Rullo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. of Life building opened his eyes to the complexity of bigotry in the United States. “That was the first incident [where I thought], ‘It’s not just hatred against Blacks in America that needs to be addressed,’” Bell said. “With the Tree of Life, [it] opened up my eyes to what’s going on, and then that year with Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd … Hatred is one and the same.” Bell stressed the need for people to read more about current events and American history, a point Banner appreciated. Banner and Bell have participated in educational forums with the American Jewish Committee, and both pledged to work with their respective teams to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. “It’s important that the players like us … keep standing up,” Banner told the group. “It’s our privilege to help others.” Clark, who was Skyping from France, was sidelined for much of the forum by technical issues. (Bell also was interrupted briefly when his dog and cat began fighting off screen.) But she closed by telling her powerful story of making aliyah and playing basketball in Israel as a biracial woman. She also stressed the importance of activism in the WNBA. “We’re a league of diverse women,” Clark said. “It’s only natural for us to fight for causes that affect us.” “The only way we can evolve,” she added, “is if we learn.” Banner echoed her words in his closing remarks, touting the importance of being an educated public figure. “If we don’t know enough about something,” Banner said, “we have to learn.” PJC Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.
Headlines Police: Continued from page 2
the support both of the community and the police officers,” Lando said. To that end, his first priority is to “really get to know the officers and the community members and find out what’s most important to them. And when we do develop programs and
Storytelling: Continued from page 5
life, as Stein and Knox noted, was defined by her work, family and friends. “Linda was a powerful community leader whose body never worked well,” Stein remembered. Mara Tepper Kaplan began her story by recounting a time in grade school when a boy claimed she could not read and then insisted she do so out loud.
History: Continued from page 10
since their system of ‘a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye’ has failed, that they accept Christ’s principles of brotherhood.” Religious authorities of many faiths condemned and refuted the speech, as did Fogel. In a letter to the Pittsburgh Press, he wrote, “Father Coughlin can be excused for his obvious ignorance of economics because that is not his specialty. There is no excuse, however, for his equally obvious ignorance of theology, which is his specialty.” A few days later, Fogel received a handwritten note from a Catholic woman in Irwin, Pennsylvania, named Carolyn Marius.
Konigsburg: Continued from page 12
What do synagogues and other institutions of our movement need to do more consistently in order to embrace this new generation? What do we imagine might be on Schechter’s list of innovations if he was giving his speech today? Meet Jews where they are. We need to engage Jews at home, in parks, in coffee shops (when that’s possible again), and online. Though we have poured love and thought into our buildings, we must not allow property lines to be the boundaries of organized Jewish life. Focus on relationships. We need to use an engagement model that builds relationships and networks one person at a time, first discovering what people want and need, and then empowering them to create meaningful experiences. Instead of providing ready-made programs, we must first facilitate the connection and community that our people are seeking. Provide individualized services. Many newly successful companies tailor their products for each customer, using data to PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
initiatives, make sure that we’re doing it with their voice.” Lando will miss Pittsburgh and his friends and family here, he said, but he won’t be too far from home. “You know, I didn’t just want to be a police officer when I was a little kid — I wanted to be a Pittsburgh Police officer. And so going to work every day as a police officer, but putting on a different department’s badge, is
going to take some getting used to. But I’m only three hours down the road, and I plan on making frequent visits just to reconnect with family and friends.” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert congratulated Lando on his new position in a Facebook post. “Jason always did an outstanding job staying focused and motivated, no matter what the circumstances were, and he
effectively motivated and mentored others with his quick wit, experience, empathy, compassion and always leading by example,” he wrote. “Your service is greatly appreciated and you will be missed by your PBP family! We have no doubt you will do extremely well in your new role!” PJC
“My stomach started to hurt because he was right, I couldn’t read out loud,” she said. Kaplan spoke of finally being diagnosed with a learning disability, and the battles brought on by the disability as an adult. Samantha Skobel brought a dose of comic relief in her story about working with a student with special needs. It centered around a lunch episode and the difficulties posed when caregivers misinterpret communication. She illustrated the point contrasting the words “chili” and “cold.” The event’s final speaker, Elaine Lesgold,
talked about untreatable brain injuries in the wake of a car accident — and being open to the questions people ask. “There is a saying in the disability advocacy community: ‘Nothing about us without us,’” Lesgold said. “If I were not open to the questions, I would be closing myself off to the opportunities to educate and to grow. As for the answer to the question, ‘Are you better yet?’ — while I might never be the person I was before the accident, the answer is, absolutely yes.” The event was organized by the
congregation’s Disability Task Force. Co-chair Lisa Guttentag Lederer said all the storytellers spent a lot of time preparing for the event. “I expected there to be a lot of really impressive, revealing stories,” she said. “It was almost like once people opened their mouths, you could tell they had been waiting to tell someone this. It made me think about the power of storytelling.” PJC
She praised his logic and courage. “It pleased me also to hear you condemn Mr. Coughlin’s politics; he has fooled many followers with his talk of ‘justice’ etc., but he cannot fool me. He is using the same tactics that put Der Fuhrer in power. Thank goodness that America is still imbued with the spirit of Paine, Lincoln and the founding fathers — and that a priest as Dictator will not easily be tolerated.” Coughlin’s ugliness increased with time. He plagiarized Nazi writings, echoed the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” defended Kristallnacht, and blamed the Jews for inciting World War II. Some of his followers attacked Jews on the streets of New York. He also practiced the art of taking cover. Speaking about a German American Bund
rally in New York, he said, “Nothing can be gained by linking ourselves with any organization which is engaged in agitating racial animosities or propagating racial hatreds.” His self-protection campaign peaked in 1940 with the book “An Answer to Father Coughlin’s Critics.” Fogel sent for a copy, but he only got the signed form letter. By denying the consequences of his speeches and articles, Coughlin helped to reinforce them. High winds can extinguish a small fire, but they will fan a large one. With the advance of World War II, Coughlin’s influence waned. He was undone by quick shifts in public opinion and by the Roosevelt administration, which used many legal mechanisms to prevent him from disseminating his message. With a warning
from the Catholic Church, he went quiet and was obscure for the final decades of his life. Fogel kept the personal letter from Marius and the form letter from Coughlin. He added them to the scrapbooks he compiled throughout his coming of age: work with the local chapter of the Hapoel Hamizrachi, plans to start an Orthodox junior congregation, his religious school lesson plans, letters to the editor, and all the documents of a youth spent in communal service during a time when threats to his people had never felt graver. PJC
anticipate trends and individual expectations. From eyeglasses to clothing to vacations, there is no longer a need to settle for something generic when you can have something made exactly to your personal specifications. Clearly, our institutions must catch up by refocusing on our values, honestly assessing our strengths, and then developing a comprehensive range of customized experiences beyond traditional lifecycle rituals. Invest in technology. While many organizations have recently transitioned to online prayer services and classes, to meet the expectations of potential participants, we must embrace truly up-to-date technological tools to facilitate communication, connection, and logistical tasks. This will require ongoing training for our leadership and staff (who may not be as technologically adept as the people we are trying to reach). Embrace diversity. The Jewish community is diverse, and we must adjust our self-conception — and our planning — accordingly. We are a people of different racial backgrounds, sexual and gender identities, family compositions, physical and cognitive abilities, economic statuses and more. Our members also express their Judaism in a
variety of ways. If our communities are to be successful, we must do more than acknowledge this: we must think expansively about our community as a whole and ensure that we are engaging everyone where they are and as they are. This list, of course, is hardly comprehensive and none of these trends are particularly new. In fact, there are already examples of each of these being done successfully here and there. Now it is time to muster our strength to fully reshape our institutions, and then equip ourselves to change again in and for the future. One complicating factor is that the people who feel our movement already meets their needs are the ones paying dues and serving in leadership. When something is working for us, it’s hardest to see what is not working for those on the outside. This can make initiating change very difficult. In his remarks, Schechter cautioned his audience about “selfish salvation.” That is, “salvation which is bought at the expense of sacrificing your children and the whole future of Judaism for the imaginary welfare of your own little soul.” For Schechter, the future of Conservative Judaism was at stake and he was not timid about calling upon those
for whom the system was already working, to go outside their comfort zone in order to ensure its continuity. While Schechter’s language may have been harsh, his message is still applicable: Many of us still benefit from the current structures and must find the courage to embrace transformation even if that means sacrificing what we have come to love. If we are able to acknowledge that demographics, technology, and the expectations of our people have shifted, we can then rise to meet the moment and shape or reshape our movement’s future accordingly. Fortunately, the Conservative Movement has shifted before; we can do it again. Our movement has always stood for maintaining tradition while embracing change. That is the essence of Conservative Judaism. Now, if we want our values to endure, we must, once again, change our structures to meet the needs of today’s — and tomorrow’s — American Jews. Let’s get to work. PJC
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Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg is chief operating officer of the Rabbinical Assembly, the professional international association of some 1,700 Conservative and Masorti movement rabbis around the world. FEBRUARY 26, 2021 15
Life & Culture Chagall’s ‘Purim’ Journey to Pennsylvania — ART — By Jesse Bernstein | Jewish Exponent
t takes planning and a little willpower to visit Marc Chagall’s painting “Purim” during the pandemic. You have to reserve a time slot at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in advance, get your temperature taken when you get there, and navigate the museum’s warrens of galleries. But it was a similarly circuitous route — from pre-revolutionary Russia to Nazi Germany, from Brooklyn to Philadelphia — that brought “Purim” to Gallery 267a, where it’s lived since the 1960s. Chagall was in high demand when he painted “Purim” in 1916. Back in his hometown of Vitebsk in present-day Belarus after nearly a decade in St. Petersburg and Paris, Chagall was fresh off of successful exhibitions in Berlin and Moscow and snared a commission from the Petrograd Jewish Society for the Promotion of the Arts. The Society tasked him with creating large-scale murals of religious festivals for a Jewish secondary school attached to the city’s main synagogue. “Purim,” a study Chagall painted in preparation, depicts a man and a woman as they prepare to exchange gifts for the holiday; the word “Purim” is written in Hebrew in the corner of the study. “He had gotten connected with these artists who were really very interested in exploring Jewish visual traditions, among others, in order to create a kind of authentically Jewish modern art in Russia,” said Matthew Affron, the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art at the museum. The era of “Purim” was a fruitful one for Chagall; the following year, the revolutionary Soviet government asked him to
p Marc Chagall in 1941
Carl Van Vetchen/Library of Congress/ Wikimedia Commons
p “Purim,” c. 1916-1917, by Marc Chagall
Image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963, 1963-181-11 © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
serve as commissar for the arts, but Chagall declined, choosing to establish a school in Vitebsk instead. The commissioned murals were never completed, but Chagall took “Purim” with him when he moved to France a few years later, and sold it to Dr. Herbert Tannenbaum, a German-Jewish art dealer. Tannenbaum lent “Purim” to a Chagall exhibition in Cologne in 1925, and in 1928, sold it to a museum in Essen, Germany. But as Chagall’s star rose higher in Europe, so too did other forces. A day after Chagall’s 50th birthday in 1937, “Purim” was confiscated by Nazi authorities for The Degenerate Art Exhibition, conceived by Joseph Goebbels, Affron said. The exhibit in Munich, intended to denigrate the work on display, featured more than 5,000 confiscated paintings and sculptures deemed insufficiently patriotic, exceedingly modern in style or generally inimical to the Aryan ideal. Several paintings from Chagall were displayed in a room designated for the disparagement of Jewish art, Affron said. More than 2 million people attended the exhibition as it traveled around Germany. In 1941, Chagall and his wife just barely
escaped Vichy France for the U.S. without “Purim,” which had been given to Ferdinand Möller, an art dealer appointed by the Nazis to sell “degenerate art” on the international market. According to the PMA, Möller failed, as the painting was sold to a German, Dr. Kurt Feldhäusser, who was killed in an Allied bombing raid. His mother brought “Purim” to Brooklyn in 1948; the following year, it was sold to lawyer Louis E. Stern. Stern, born in Balta, Russia, in 1886, was raised in Vineland, New Jersey, and went to law school at the University of Pennsylvania. He practiced international law in Atlantic City, Newark, New Jersey, and New York, and amassed a considerable art collection, including many works by Chagall, who became a personal friend. When Stern died in 1962, some of his art collection went to the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, while his art library went to Rutgers University. But the bulk of the collection, including “Purim,” was left to the PMA, where it hangs today in Gallery 267a. PJC Jesse Bernstein writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication.
p Entartete KUNST Ausstellungsführer; Degenerate art exhibition catalogue front cover, 1937 Nazi Germany Propaganda Otto Freundlich Der neue Mensch (L’Homme nouveau)
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Life & Culture After 11-month hiatus, Israeli cultural events come roaring back, cautiously — CULTURE — By Jessica Steinberg | Times of Israel
early a year after being shut down by the pandemic, cultural institutions are reopening this week, bringing musicians, comedians, actors and others back onstage for shows in front of a live, vaccinated audience. Theaters, concert venues, museums and other spaces are allowed, as of this week, to welcome (small) crowds back, as Israel emerges from what it hopes will be its last extended coronavirus lockdown. “Culture is coming back and we’re excited,” said Uzi Bairut, senior vice president at Zappa, a chain of music venues. “We thank all the artists, musicians and stagehands for their patience and willingness to continue to make Israeli music and culture during the crisis.” Restrictions are still in place, limiting crowd sizes and requiring face masks, temperature checks and social distancing. Many places are only open to so-called Green Pass holders, who have either been vaccinated or recovered from COVID, though museums are open to all, according to rules laid out by the Health and Culture ministries. Nearly all theaters and clubs have been closed for the duration of the pandemic, although museums and some of the smaller venues opened briefly during the summer and late fall, at the end of the first and second lockdowns. The move to bring back culture comes as infection rates have dropped and nearly half the country has been vaccinated against the virus, allowing the government to move toward reopening as much of the economy as possible, including malls, gyms and hotels. Some venues planned to open as early as Feb. 22, including Zappa Beersheba, which was hosting rocker Aviv Geffen. The chain also planned to put comedian Lior Schleien onstage at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art for a night of Purim humor, followed by fellow comic Reshef Levi. Zappa was planning to open their Herzliya, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba and Amphi Shoni locations for now, with all tickets ordered online and presented by smartphone or printed beforehand, as box offices will not be opened. Among the performers booked at their venues over the next two months are mentalist Lior Suchard, musician Asaf Amdursky, singer Rotem Cohen, Amir Benayoun, Avraham Tal, Gidi Gov, Danny Sanderson, Miri Mesika and Rami Kleinstein. The music club company announced they will handle ticket exchanges for events that were canceled due to the coronavirus, offering the option to use the tickets for other upcoming performances. “We’re all about creating music and performance right now, and hope we can return to full mode soon,” said Bairut. Jerusalem’s Khan repertory theater was putting on a full rehearsal of Noel Coward’s comedy “Blithe Spirit” this week for an
p Israel Museum director Ido Bruno (second from left) with visitors for a capsule tour of the museum in August 2020.
Photo courtesy Israel Museum via Times of Israel
audience ahead of the show’s official opening. “We brought the whole staff back two weeks ago,” said artistic director Elisheva Mazia. “We said we’d take the risk together, and we hoped we’d be able to open, and we thought the risk was fairly small.” About 50 seats in the theater will remain empty for social distancing purposes. “We’ve got a full calendar for the next two months,” said Mazia, who plans on running six shows per week for now. Several municipalities are sponsoring concerts, many of them in a bid to salvage Purim celebrations, which have mostly been canceled. In Jerusalem, singer Miri Mesika was slated to perform in the Pisgat Ze’ev concert hall, the first live concert held by the city in months. The city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa announced plans to celebrate the return of live performances with a concert by Nurit Galron for the city’s older residents, held outside in Ganei Yehoshua at 5 p.m. Also Wednesday, Herzliya’s city hall was slated to host a concert by Idan Raichel, followed by Rotem Cohen and Dikla, a night later. “Despite the restrictions, we managed to put together a wide variety of activities and events for the whole family, in public spaces and private, for Purim,” Mayor Moshe Fadlon said in a statement. One of the first dance troupes to schedule a stage performance is Vertigo, with a new work by Noa Wertheim at their ArtFood& event on March 17 at the troupe’s Eco-Art Village in Kibbutz Netiv Halemed Hey. The troupe, which performed in a makeshift drive-in theater during the summer, will perform “Shape On Us,” featuring dancers with and without physical disabilities on
March 21 at the Jerusalem Theater. Not all cultural institutions were rushing to open their doors. Tel Aviv’s Cameri repertory theater announced it would open April 18, with ticket sales starting March 14, while the Habima Theater, Hagesher Theater and the Israeli Opera noted they would be opening soon. The Jerusalem Cinematheque arthouse theater will continue to operate its website with online screenings, while reopening the theater on March 1, with the Francophone film festival. “All the restrictions that were directed by the Ministry of Culture will be fulfilled by us,” said Roni Mahadav-Levin, who manages the Jerusalem Cinematheque. Government regulations require that venues hosting screenings or live shows only allow in Green Pass holders only. Audiences will be capped at 300 people inside and 500 outdoors, using only 75% of the seating and one empty chair in between each audience member or group. All audience members must be seated, and food or open drinks may not be sold in any venue. Museums, public libraries and galleries are open to anyone, but visitors must abide by guidelines requiring masks, social distancing and temperature checks. Crowds will be limited to one person per seven square meters (75 square feet) or 10 people per 150 square meters (some 1,615 square feet). Many museums around the country planned to reopen on Tuesday, including the landmark Israel Museum. The Jerusalem mainstay will feature two exhibits that opened recently, Tamara Rikman’s drawings in “Mostly Pink,” and “Salt of the Earth,” paintings of farmers and fishermen in 19th-century Holland.
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“We’re pleased to open new exhibits and to reinstate art and culture in the center of Israeli public life,” said Ido Bruno, director of the Jerusalem museum, which offered capsule tours and virtual visits at different times during the pandemic. Families can also purchase Teddy’s Code, a scavenger hunt activity named after late Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, one of the founders of the museum who needs help finding an important object, with challenges, activities and clues found throughout the galleries, sculpture garden and Shrine of the Book. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art will opened Tuesday with a new solo exhibit, “Great Yellow Sun,” featuring the works of Alexander Calder, the pioneering American sculptor famed for his mobiles. The popular Jeff Koons exhibit of balloon animals and teddy bears, which first opened one year ago, at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in Israel, is still on display at the museum. The museum also adapted its children’s activities with personal art kits inspired by the leading exhibits, as well as a scavenger hunt for the family throughout the museum, in order to keep younger visitors separate and distanced from one another. Visitors can take themselves on selfguided tours at Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum after buying tickets in advance on the website. An exhibit on the musical Banai family is still on display, and the museum’s night experience shows will begin in March on Thursday nights. Children can enter the museum for free on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m., and all visitors must be masked and practice social distancing. PJC FEBRUARY 26, 2021 17
Clothes make the man — in many ways
Elyse and Yakov Baylis of Chicago joyfully announce the birth of their son, Avraham Yitzchak, on Thursday, Jan. 7. His big brother is Yisrael Mayer and his big sister is Elana Tamar. Maternal grandparents are Anita and Ted Heyman of Monroeville, and paternal grandparents are Helen and Dr. Barry Baylis of Lincolnwood, Illinois. Avraham Yitzchak is also the great-grandson of the late Sylvia and Milton Heyman of Johnstown, the late Eleanore and Mayer Handley of Pittsburgh, and the late Diane and Carl Gzesh of Boca Raton, Florida. Avraham Yitzchak is named in loving memory of his maternal great-grandfather, Milton Abraham Heyman, and maternal great-uncles, Jacob “Jerry” Gzesh, and Isadore Zinman, who would have celebrated his 120th birthday on Jan. 7. PJC
News for people who know we don’t mean spiced tea. Every Friday in the
Rabbi Yaier Lehrer Parshat Tetzaveh Exodus 27:20 – 30:10
or centuries, popular and academic figures including such luminaries as Homer, William Shakespeare and Mark Twain have observed in various forms that “clothes make the man.” The clothes that women and men wear often are the product of how they view themselves personally and professionally. And of course, it also affects the way others view them as well.
accordance with the special nature of his intricate and jeweled vestments. The clothes were of a regal nature as well. The person who wore them easily could have felt like a monarch, all-powerful and supreme. And yet the little bells and pomegranates on his clothes reminded him that he was not all powerful. Instead, he was accountable and subservient to the Source of the clothes he was wearing. While the ensemble he wore may have boosted his self-esteem, the bells were humbling. While the clothes reminded others of his close connection to God, they reminded him of his position as agent of
And if a priest or a king is required to recognize his power as not self-derived, but
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as coming from God, how much more so is it for the average person? Our Torah and tradition recognize this fact as the portion of Tetzaveh spends a good deal of time describing the intricate clothing to be worn by the Kohane Gadol (the high priest) as well as the other priests, the kohanim. Each article of clothing was to be made by artistic designers and fabricators charged with fashioning the ephod/apron made of gold, blue, purple and scarlet along with bejeweled shoulder straps. Jewelers and artisans were charged with creating the breastplate — which was worn by the high priest — with four rows of precious stones, one stone for each of the tribes. Among the various items that the high priest would wear included golden bells and pomegranates of yarn all around the hem of his robe that would make a sound as he would enter and exit the sanctuary before the Lord. As one can imagine, there was a difference of opinion among our ancient rabbis as to the design and purpose of the pomegranates and bells, not to mention how the failure to wear all or certain of the articles of clothing could lead to the priest’s death. That particular argument certainly has a connection to the story of Purim as well. In the Megillah of Esther, one of the underlying premises is that Esther could not approach the king without having been summoned on punishment of death. Esther fasts and then risks her life by approaching King Ahasuerus without invitation. Much like the story of Esther, the high priest has to announce his presence before God by the sound of the bells as he enters the sanctuary — and the failure to do so risks his life. But as much as the bells announced the Kohane’s presence to God, they served another purpose as well. They were also a reminder to the high priest of the special nature of the worship and work in which he was involved. He was reminded of the holy nature of what he was doing and that as a result he was required to carry himself a certain way. He was required to act in
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God, acting only at God’s direction. This is a theme we see elsewhere in the Torah, when a new king was required to have his own personal Torah with him whenever he went to war or sat in judgment. He was to read it all his life and become familiar with the teachings. According to the Torah, the king would have this personal Torah written for him by the Levites; but according to the Talmud, the king actually was required to write it himself and keep it with him at all times. He was to use it as a reference, not just for the laws and beliefs included therein, but as a reminder of his true status, powerful, yet still subservient to the laws of a much higher authority. For the Kohane Gadol, the clothes truly made the man. They established the unique and powerful nature of his position and confirmed it for all to see. Yet at the same time, the clothes reminded him and demonstrated to the people what he stood for and who he served, just as the Torah did for a new king of Israel. And if a priest or a king is required to recognize his power as not self-derived, but as coming from God, how much more so is it for the average person? Our status, success, and achievements are never ours alone. We can never forget where our gifts come from. We may not have bells to wear on our clothing, but we have other ways — including regular prayer, study, and acts of lovingkindness — that teach us and remind us always of who we are and what our true status is in the world around us. It is not through the clothes we wear, the houses we own or the jobs we have. It is through humility and gratitude that even the most powerful and successful understand their real status in this world. PJC Rabbi Yaier Lehrer is the rabbi of Adat Shalom Congregation. PITTSBURGHJEWISHCHRONICLE.ORG
Obituaries BRUNWASSER: Maxine Slavonsky Brunwasser: Loving daughter of the late Florence (Weinberg) and Maurice Slavonsky, devoted wife of the late Albert Brunwasser, and wonderful mother of Lou Ann (Cliff) May, Brenda (Jeff) Southworth, Eileen (Randy) Sherman and Allison (Jeff) Nabonsal. Grandmother of 10 devoted grandchildren: Miranda and Evan May; Griffin, Gillian and Tyler Southworth; Justin and Marissa Sherman; Alex, Nate and Sabrina Nabonsal; and dog mom to her rescue princess, Zelda. Maxine was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and grew up surrounded by a loving family with many aunts, uncles and cousins. She graduated from the Canonsburg General Hospital Nurses Training Program before a brief stint in the U.S. Army Reserve as a registered nurse. Throughout her lengthy career at Kane Hospital, Woodville and Mayview State Hospitals, she made many lifelong friends. Upon her retirement as a nursing supervisor, she enjoyed traveling to visit her daughters and her extended family. She also found the time to see a bit of the world with friends and relatives. Some of Maxine’s favorite things to do included touring museums, seeing a show, sampling baked goods, watching ghost movies and enjoying a restaurant meal out with friends. But more than anything else, she loved to shop, and especially enjoyed a one-day sale. She is famous for her cookie baking, and we will all miss her delicious treats. (Although, she herself could have lived exclusively on banana splits!) She was a longtime member of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills and enjoyed participating in First Monday programs there. Maxine was fun and funny, a great mom and grandma to her daughters, grandchildren and Chihuahua, Zelda. She will be sorely missed by many. Services and interment private. Donations can be made in Maxine’s memory to Washington Area Humane Society at washingtonpashelter. org. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com COLEMAN: Greta Gold Coleman, on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. Beloved wife of the late Dr. Morton Coleman. Loving mother of Howard (Linda) Coleman and Jim (Adele) Coleman. Sister-in-law of Phyllis (late Lester) Dreyfuss. Grandmother of Hannah Coleman (Alvaro Vela), Aaron Coleman and Cecil McCumber. Greatgrandmother of Miles and Gabriel Vela. Also
survived by numerous nieces and nephews. Services and interment private. The family requests that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to UPMC’s Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute (upmc.com/ services/transplant/about/starzl-institute/ giving). Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com E I S E N S TAT: Libby Eisenstat, a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh, passed away on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. She recently enjoyed celebrating her 91st birthday while watching the inaugural ceremony of our 46th president. She was the devoted daughter of the late Sarah and Morris Simon, and sister of the late Ben (Lil) Simon, Lillian (Phillip) Katzman and Ida (Aaron) Fox. She was the beloved wife of the late Sandy Eisenstat, who predeceased her by 30 years. She will be missed dearly by her son, Larry Eisenstat, and daughter-in-law, Diana Eisenstat, and daughter, Moira Kostman, and her partner, Marc Schmerin. She also leaves behind her adored grandchildren, Adam Kostman, Marni Kostman, Sam Eisenstat and Jacob Eisenstat. She was a favorite Aunt Libby to a host of nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews. Private graveside services were held on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, and a celebration of her life will be scheduled when friends and family can safely gather. Contributions in her memory can be made to the Jewish Association on Aging. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com FELDER: Dr. Herman Felder, 88, of Ventnor, New Jersey. Born Oct. 8, 1932, in Montevideo, Uruguay, to Jennie (nee Neuman) and William Felder. He was the oldest of three boys. He moved to Pittsburgh at the age of 14 where he lived for most of his adult life. He and his wife were summer residents of Ventnor for over 40 years and made it their permanent home in 2018. He married his high school sweetheart, Raye, in 1954. He was a loving and devoted son, husband, father and grandfather. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for his undergraduate degree. He
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graduated from Pitt Medical School in 1958 and then did his residency at Eye and Ear Hospital in Pittsburgh. He served as a captain in the United State Army from 19621964 in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, as head of the ear nose and throat clinic on the base. He was a pediatric ENT doctor in Pittsburgh for 35 years before his retirement in June 1995. People from the tri-state area of West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania came to see him as patients. He was president of Eye and Ear Hospital and the Pittsburgh Otological Society. He was a doctor’s doctor. He loved the children who saw him as patients. He carried stuffed animals in his pocket to entertain them and make them comfortable during exams. Dr. Felder was an active and dedicated member of many Jewish organizations including serving as gabbai of Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Atlantic City. He loved to travel and take road trips with his wife. He enjoyed summers at the beach and walks on the boardwalk. Survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Raye (nee Sternberg). Loving father of Neil
(Suzette), Murray (Cecila), Dr. Louis (Dr. Jill) and daughter Susan Felder. Adoring Zadie of Viti (Abie) Merkin, Laivi, Avigdor, Eliana and Asaf Felder. Brother of Martin (Marilyn) and the late Donald Felder. Brother-in-law of Marsha Felder. Also survived by his uncles, aunt and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Funeral service and interment were held on Sunday, Feb. 21. Contributions in his memory may be made to: Poale Zedeck Synagogue, Pittsburgh, firstname.lastname@example.org; Rodef Sholom Synagogue, Atlantic City, NJ 609-345-4580; or Chabad at the Shore, Ventnor, NJ, email@example.com. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Roth Goldsteins Me m o r i a l C h ap e l . rothgoldsteins.com
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Irwin Loft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Max Loefsky
Sandra L. Wortzman . . . . . . . . . . .Sgt. Sherwyn W. Meyers
THIS WEEK’S YAHRZEITS — Sunday February 21: Dr. Simeon Allen, Bella Bonder, Ida Sisser Bortz, Malvina Chotiner, Clara Cohen, Isidor Davis, Mildred Cohen Feldman, Sadie Fink, Anna Fireman, Dr. Ben Greenberger, Alexander Handmacher, Miriam Keilly, Bessie Kempler, Ella Klein, William Lederer, Ella Miller Lewine, Abe Albert Lewis, Adolph Lobl, Helen Miller, Louis Pechersky, Lucille Pollock, Aaron Pretter, Evelyn Rebb, Esther Ruben, Ralph Rubinoff, Jean Y. Shapera, Mollie Silverman, Minnie L. Sokole, Sadie M. Speer Monday February 22: Rebecca Adler, Dorothy Friedken, Ida Goldberg, Rachel E. Goldberg, Dr. Norman Golomb, Lillian Hellman, Gerhart M. Horewitz, Ida Levy, Isaac Marcus, Bessie Michelson, Mildred S. Moss, Albert Rapport, Sylvia L. Samuels, Hyman David Segal, Manuel Selker, Edna M. Siegal, Goldie R. Siegel, Genevieve Stern, Nathaniel Stutz, Isaac Young Tuesday February 23: Joseph Abravanel, Louis Cohen, Solomon Evelovitz, Esther S. Finkelhor, Mollie Friedman, Nisan Gilboa, Sophie Goldman, Harry H. Green, Johanna Halle, Harold M. Harris, Martin A. Hepps, Ruth Kaplan, Samuel Katz, Rosia Kauffman, Rose Kertman, Helen S. Latterman, Edward Lewis, Samuel Lichtenstein, Shirley F. Little, Philip Mallinger, Judith Moritz, Jennie Ostrow, Benjamin Rambach, Max Reifman, Sam Rosenberg, Sarah Schwartz, Marvin Sniderman, Mayme Sukolsky, William Taylor, Sara Weiner, Samuel Yanks Wednesday February 24: Frieda Alper, Mollie Chaimovitz, Frances Light Feinberg, Philip Friedman, Nathan H. Gross, Ethel Miller, Hattie H. Rapoport, Jacob M. Rose, Rose Roth, Harry Scott, Arthur J. Stern, Ruth Stern, Sadie Weiss, Robert S. Yecies, Joseph Zinner Thursday February 25: Anna Bernfeld, Morris J. Bialer, Estelle H. Braver, Rose Cohen Calig, Frank R. Cohen, Goldie Davis, Anne S. Debroff, Ike Diamond, Pearl M. Feinberg, William Fried, Rebecca Friedberg, Nathan Glosser, Sadie C. Heller, Sophie Hersh, Leonard B. Jacobson, Lena Kaufman, Samuel Linetsky, Payce Lipkind, Joseph M. Orringer, Rae Venig Rubin, Florence Schorin, Leonard L. Schugar, Leonard Schwartz, Hyman Shalansky, Ben Shanker, Fannie Siegel, Elvin Teitelbaum, Isaac Weis Friday February 26: Samuel L. Alpern, Sarah Dorothy Cohen, Leo Gitelman, Gerald B. Greenwald, Harry Greenwald, Jacob L. Gropper, Morris Klein, Saul A. Kwall, Earl Lebovitz, Sam Lewinter, Samuel Lewis, Carl Lieberman, Julius Jakob Maas, Harry Margolis, Fannie Melnick, Abe Miller, Sally Miller, Darlene Robinowitz, Ethel Bodek Rogers, Clara Saltman, Max Samuels, Birdie H. Schwartz, Manuel Wikes, George Wintner Saturday February 27: Bella Bilder, Sidney Bilder, Henry Bloch, Bailie Anna Cohn, Sedalia Ekker, Rita M. Friedman, Charles Gilles, Clara Goldhammer, Frances H. Gordon, Joseph Greenwald, Hyman L. Hausman, William Hinkes, Haimen Kauffman, Abe Kirshenbaum, Edward Lewis, Abraham Pervin, Al N. Plung, Jack Sarbin, Hannah Rae Shapira, Benjamin Siegal, Vera Silverman, Fannie G. Tavernise, Henry Weinberger, Samuel N. Whiteman, Joseph Wilkofsky, Manuel Zapler
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
FEBRUARY 26, 2021 19
Obituaries Obituaries: Continued from page 19
LAZEAR: Robert Alan Lazear, age 74, died from a rare form of cancer on Feb. 14, 2021. He is survived by his loving sisters Mary Jo Lazear (Richard Karp) of San Francisco, California, and Nancy Lazear (Patrick Coyne) of Washington, D.C. He is also survived by his beloved nieces Megan Coyne (Matthew Plummer) and Rachel Coyne, and his beloved nephew Peter Coyne. In his last years, he delighted in his grand-nephew Declan Joseph Plummer. He was preceded in death by his parents, Manuel and Sara (Green) Lazear. Robbie was a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh and loved the city. He was a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School, and he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in education from Duquesne University. Robbie worked for many years for a variety of organizations including
Kislowicz: Continued from page 13
being ridiculous, but you can’t help but plant an Audrey. Do you remind your child to be careful and to make good choices as he runs out the door to meet his friends? Do you make your bed in the morning knowing full well you are going to mess it up at the end of the day? Perhaps you bookmark motivational
Karma House, the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Next Big Thing Productions and the Disability Division of the Social Security Administration. Robbie also served as a judge of elections in his beloved neighborhood of Shadyside. He never missed an election day at the polls in over 25 years. Robbie was an avid reader and loved all kinds of music, movies, symphony and opera. He was an excellent poker player and dancer, a political junkie, and a Starbucks regular. He never missed watching the news, “Pardon the Interruption” or “Jeopardy.” Robbie was a true sports lover. He often said there was nothing like a day at the ballpark. During the last game of the 1960 World Series, he ran all the way from his home in Squirrel Hill to Forbes Field just in time to see Bill Mazeroski hit his historic home run. He never forgot that experience. Robbie enjoyed the company of a wide circle of friends with whom he kept in close touch. They all benefited from his kindness, generosity, selflessness and compassion. He was truly interested in and loved people. Robbie was a man of great wit and intelligence, and he had an incredible sense of humor. He
loved nothing better than to make people smile and laugh, illustrated by his huge repertoire of jokes and his eagerly anticipated yearly holiday card sent to over 300 family and friends all over the world. Robbie wanted to offer special thanks to Jay Reifer and Barbara Villa and Molly Youngling, all of whom provided him a home and cared for him during his illness. He was especially grateful to his wonderful team of caregivers, led by Linda Boston. Linda said it was fitting for Robbie to pass away on Valentine’s Day because he loved and was loved by so many. He will be remembered as a wonderful and loving brother, uncle and friend. Services and interment were private. A memorial gathering will be planned when COVID restrictions are lifted. Robbie requested that donations in his memory be made to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank or the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. schugar.com
Ted Talks that you pretend you will listen to later. No one is listening to you, nobody cares about your rumpled sheets, and no one thinks for one minute that you are going to start a Fortune 500 company that employs the homeless by teaching them how to operate space lasers, but go for it, you plant that Audrey like a boss! My kids laughed when they saw that Audrey had been moved inside. I explained that Audrey may not be what I expected, but she does not deserve to be cold. And though
we continue to joke about my gardening fail, I think they are hearing the underlying message: that even if they have different ideas about how to grow and who to be, they will always be welcome to come in from the cold to bask in my graciousness and wisdom. Sometimes we plant Audreys because we are stupid. Sometimes because we are out of touch. But sometimes we plant Audreys because we are hopeful, and we want to make things fun or nice or neat even though we know it will never last. Peppers are what we are,
MENDLOWITZ: Allen Mendlowitz, 91, of Monroeville, formerly of Wilkins Township,
peacefully passed at home Thursday Feb. 18, 2021. He was born April 4, 1929, in Luzerne County. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife Harriet (Talens) and their infant son Benjamin, as well as his two brothers Sidney Mendlowitz and Paul Mendlowitz. He is survived by his daughter Ann Hardy and her husband Steve, his son David Mendlowitz and his wife Ann, granddaughter Erin Hardy and grandsons Max Hardy, Andrew Mendlowitz, Patrick Mendlowitz and Shane Mendlowitz. Allen served in the Army during the Korean War earning a Combat Infantry Badge, United Nations Service Medal and Korea Service Medal with Bronze Service Star. After his service, he settled in Pittsburgh and married Harriet Talens. His career included positions from retail sales, wholesale sales to store operator on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Due to the ongoing pandemic, there will be no visitation. Donations may be made to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh or any other organization dedicated to helping the victims of hate crimes. Professional services by D’Alessandro Funeral Home & Crematory Ltd., Lawrenceville. dalessandroltd.com PJC but Audreys represent all that we could be!! Audreys are our dreams for the future. They may be unrealistic, but they are worth keeping and watering. (Worth Keeping and Watering is the forthcoming hit single of Audrey and the Peppers. We are a one-hit wonder, because our follow-up song, Keeping Kids off Parler, is a flop. But we have a good run. Come bask in our time-limited fame.) PJC Kally Kislowicz lives in Efrat. This piece was originally published by Times of Israel.
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F O R S A LE
LAWRENCEVILLE - MCCLEARY SCHOOL CONDO • $675,000 One of the largest and beautifully appointed 3 bedrooms in area. Great room living area with ceilings close to 12 ft. Cooks kitchen with 9.5 ft. island & lots of cabinetry. Closet turned into work room. 2 car parking. Many bldg. amenities, rooftop deck, dog washing area. Tax abatement until approx 2027.
SHADYSIDE • $1,300,000 Secluded, stunning, refined carriage house has never before been for sale. This totally unique property designed by the architect/owner showcases contemporary design with light-filled rooms which blend seamlessly to one another. The manicured private setting is minutes to shopping, schools, Oakland, Downtown. Shown by appointment with Etta Golomb. 412-725-6524
SHADYSIDE • $1,100,000 • 5000 FIFTH AVE CONDO Special! 3 bedroom 3.5 Bath condo with 3-car side-by-side garage. This unit has many living spaces including an expansive living dining room, a raised library above a family room, another den for the use of the bedrooms and a great eat in kitchen. This building includes a guest suite, exercise room, fabulous storage rooms, and a 24/7 attendant in the entry.
SQUIRREL HILL • $210,000 • IMPERIAL HOUSE Reduced. 2 bedroom/2 bath in move in lovely condition. Enjoy beautiful screened in balcony. Building has many amenities including pool, exercise room guest suites, and party room.
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FEBRUARY 26, 2021 21
Life-Sustaining and Enriching Programs Lunch Meals to Go and Meals Delivered Kosher, freshly-made lunches for adults age 60+ in Squirrel Hill in conjunction with Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging
Virtual Senior Academy Online Classes We offer free, live online interactive courses using video chat software that cover topics like health and wellness, arts and music, book clubs, history, current events and much more. Expand your horizons and make new friends! Sign up on the VSA website: www.virtualsenioracademy.org. For more details, email Maddie Barnes at email@example.com or call 412-697-1186.
You can now register for the Senior Center AgeWell at the JCC is accepting Senior Center registrations for adults ages 60+, which will allow participation in the Meals to Go and Meals Delivered programs. Registrations can be accepted by phone and by appointment for in-person registrations. Contact Darlene Cridlin, LCSW, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-697-3517.
22 FEBRUARY 26, 2021
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
Community Bubbe Bingo
Doing a mitzvah, one meal at a time
p Bubbe Bingo, led by hosts Amneeja and Dixie on Feb. 20, gave participants a chance to hear more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Campaign. Photo courtesy of Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
p Rabbi Eli Seidman helps pack Agewell Meals to Go at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Purim Carnival to go
Broomsticks, books and winter
p Abdi Kater delivers boxed items for an at-home version of the Snyder Family Purim Carnival at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.
Photo courtesy of Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
And away we go
p Community Day School third-grader Ryan Guttman enjoys a quiet spot outdoors to read “Harry Potter.” Photo courtesy of Community Day School
p Community Day School eighth-grader Maya Smith competes in the “Super Scooter Relay” during the 8th Grade vs. Faculty All Sports Challenge, a COVID-safe competition held in place of the traditional student vs. faculty basketball game.
Photo courtesy of Community Day School
p Temple Emanuel’s Torah Center teachers get into the Purim spirit with costumes and goofy smiles. Screenshot courtesy of Temple Emanuel of South Hills
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE
FEBRUARY 26, 2021 23
Empire Fresh Kosher Bone-In Split Chicken Breasts
• All-natural poultry — whole chickens, breasts, wings and more • All-natural, corn-fed beef — steaks, roasts, ground beef and more • Variety of deli meats and franks Available at select Giant Eagle stores. Visit gianteagle.com for location information.
Price effective Thursday, February 25 through Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Available at 24 FEBRUARY 26, 2021
PITTSBURGH JEWISH CHRONICLE