SNACshots #8

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SNAC/shots Journeys

Issue #8 /

APRIL 2019 / nissan 5779 / Photo courtesy of Charles Green

~ Special Supplement ~

SNAC’s Journey Home P.14-19


Who is this young snapper? P.4

Tiyul Time

Secret passageway in Zichron P.18

A Place to Call Home All hands on deck...  P.15


From DC to SNAC P.20


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Issue #8 / april 2019


Chairman's Words

Rabbi's Message

The theme of this edition of SNACshots is ‘journeys’; how appropriate for us nationally, individually, and communally. Our national journey began in Egypt culminating in our arrival in the Land of Israel. Individually, all SNAC members began their journey in the land of their birth; however, each has returned home to Israel, whether permanently or part-time. In Hebrew, a journey (‫ )מסע‬masa can also be called an “aliyah” (‫)ע ִליָ ה‬, ֲ a journey that signifies ascent or progress. This has been our communal experience here in Netanya. Geographically SNAC may only have travelled slightly ‘up’ Pierre Kenig to complete our masa, our physical journey, to a new home, but spiritually our journey has only just begun. May our community continue its ascent in terms of SNAC’s three core principles: Community, Commitment and Torah. Wishing you all a Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach!

Each SNAC member could doubtless write volumes to describe his or her individual journey from early childhood. From finding a soulmate to the decision to make a home in Netanya, few of us could have envisaged being members of today’s special and vibrant community. This year the SNAC community travelled further when we entered our new home. Consequently the experience of belonging to SNAC has become even more inspiring. The introduction of shul furniture means that SNAC actually looks like a shul, and a beautiful one at that, enhancing the special atmosphere that has long been SNAC’s trademark. Ultimately, however, our community’s success will always depend on the efforts of each one of us to advance SNAC’s core values. Our journey will continue as we recognise our duty and responsibility to maintain this phenomenal momentum. Chag Pesach Kasher VeSameach,

• Shelli Weisz, Chairman

• Rabbi Chaim Fachler

Editors' Welcome 5 Kehillat Tzfat Netanya | Chairman: Shelli Weisz Editorial Committee: Reva Garmise, Judy Isenberg, Joyce Mays Graphic Design: Michal Magen Advertising:Robert Casselson Printing: Kwik Kopy, 9 Shmuel Hanatziv, Netanya Tel. 09-862-0769 Advertising:

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A trip is defined as the act of going somewhere, often briefly, and often returning to one’s point of departure. By contrast a journey implies something longer with the implication that it may be arduous and discoveries made along the way. This edition is themed on your individual journeys but also we are delighted to feature some aspects of SNAC’s own journey to our new home. The beauty of all journeys is that one may not really know where they will lead, just as the Children of Israel had no real notion of ‘the Promised Land’ to which they were heading! But, as our pages showcase, this has been an exciting period for the community. As ever we thank you for your support and wish you a Pesach kasher Ve’Sameach,

• Judy Isenberg, Joyce Mays, Reva Garmise

SNAC/shots journeys

A Journey of a Lifetime By Charles Green


uckingham Palace was ablaze with light. Cars queued up by the main gate waiting to enter the Inner Quadrangle. IDs were being checked against personal invitations by Bob the policeman, who was in charge of security. The event was taking place in the ground floor reception area. I had first photographed Her Majesty The Queen with the Gentlemen At Arms 28 years ago, when I was appointed the official Investiture Photographer to Her Majesty. The room easily takes 500 people, and that’s the number that was coming. Toni and I were there with all our children: Kenny, Michelle and Davina, with their spouses: Jessica, Ben and Josh. Our ten grandchildren were also there: Matan, Yakira and Noam, Liora, Yoni, Eitan and Gadi, Zac, Sienna and Amelie. Of course my mum and Toni’s parents were also present. I was signing my autobiography on the table in the centre of the room. Everybody I had ever known was there: family, friends, colleagues, photographers and staff. It was wonderful going round the room speaking and catching up with people I hadn’t seen in years. My son-in-law Ben’s mum, a.k.a. Rosena the balloon lady, had done a marvellous job of adorning the room, including an oval arch of balloons around the main entrance. Balloons were even hanging

from the chandeliers. Of course, there was food. The kosher caterer, Mr. Reich, had waitresses going around with silver trays loaded with gefilte fish, kebab skewers, potato latkes and Chinese sweet and sour chicken nuggets. We told him we didn’t want his usual geriatric waitresses and he did us proud. The waitresses were French girls wearing short black dresses with white

I had already written two books. I had no plans whatsoever to write yet another book. But after that dream, lying awake for hours, I began to think that maybe now was the time to write a third one. aprons and high heels. Mimi, one of the French waitresses, went round asking “Quelque chose à boire mesdames et messieurs?” The Orthodox men found a corner of the room, where they could daven ma’ariv. What a miracle to be allowed to have my book launch here, where I had worked for 20 years! Suddenly a trumpet fanfare sounded. Everyone turned towards the staircase,

and froze. Instantly it became so quiet that one could hear a pin drop. Queen Elizabeth was coming down the wide, red-carpeted staircase. She looked as radiant as ever, wearing a yellow dress with matching handbag and shoes. She was accompanied by her Private Secretary John Haslem, who was the person who had contacted and interviewed me all those years ago. The Queen approached me and, wearing her white gloves, shook my hand warmly. “Hello Charles, I miss seeing you and Toni at my Investitures. It’s not the same without you. I really miss you!” I was just about to say “I miss you too,” when there was a loud bang and hissing noise. Could it be a surprise indoor firework display that I hadn’t been told about? With a huge shock I opened my eyes. The room was in total darkness. The noise came from the old air conditioning unit on the wall of our hotel bedroom in New England, which had just switched itself on. I had been dreaming. What a shame! Everyone dreams. But usually, on awakening, one immediately forgets the dream. My dream was so vivid and real that it kept me awake. I thought about it for hours. I had already written two books. The first, ‘Shooting For Gold’, was written over 30 years ago, and the second, ‘Creating The Image’, followed about 15 years later. I had no plans whatsoever to write yet another book. But after that dream, lying awake for hours, I began to think that maybe now was the time to write a third one.

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Issue #8 / april 2019


~ ‫~ לך לך‬ Photo by Gidi Friedman, Tour Guide

Our children, grandchildren and friends often ask me for one of the many stories from my 45 years as a professional photographer, including 20 years as the exclusive Investiture Photographer to HM the Queen at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Maybe this dream was a sign from heaven that I should be writing my autobiography? That morning I immediately started writing, revisiting everywhere and everyone I ever knew, and being able to enjoy every minute of this journey of a lifetime – all over again.

Mitzpe Ramon By Joyce Mays


hat variety this tiny country has to offer! From mountains, rivers and waterfalls up North to the arid desert regions of the South. So deserts are boring featureless places, right? Wrong! Very wrong. A couple of days spent down south are well worth the trip. Mitzpe Ramon – Israel’s highest city – is the perfect base from which to marvel and explore the magical Negev regions, Sde Boker (home of Ben Gurion), Avdat national park with its gorge, waterfalls and ancient Nabatean, Roman and Byzantine ruins and the Ramon crater itself with its lunar landscapes, impressive rock formations, wadis and wildlife. The crater itself is not the result of volcanic activity or meteorite impact, but rather it is a mahktesh; the largest example of an erosion cirque (40km long, 2 – 4km wide) in the world. Mitzpe Ramon is perched above the northern tip of the heart-shaped crater which forms Israel’s largest national park and houses

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a variety of rare wildlife including wild asses, striped hyenas and Arabian leopards! There is no shortage of activities to excite travellers of any age. Thrill-seekers can enjoy rappelling, jeep tours, horse riding, desert archery and cycling tours. In search of tranquillity? No better environment in which to enjoy some solitude and serenity!

A Jewelled Canopy Whether you choose to stay in the pampering luxury of the Beresheet Hotel or a local AirBnB there is one unmissable opportunity you should try and grasp. Take a ride out of this small town at night. Get out of your car and look up. You will be standing under the night sky as you have probably never seen it before. Myriad twinkling stars, planets and the Milky Way form a jewelled canopy above you. And, if you want to see and know more, just contact Ira, the star man of Mitzpe, who – at modest cost – will provide telescopes, explanations and blankets for you to enjoy the experience.

SNAC/shots journeys

Wandering Jews

Belinda’s grandparents, Max and Dorothea Ackerman. Left: Belinda’s mother, Frimeth Ackerman

By Belinda Calvert


Teplitz-Schonau, Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia: life for my large family was idyllic. In summer they swam in the river; in winter they skated on it. My mother, born in April 1924, was the eldest of six children. The first tentacles of hate uncoiled in 1930. Anti-Semites in her German school made her life a misery. In 1938, before the Nazi annexation of Sudetenland, my mother’s family left Teplitz and moved to a beautiful flat in Prague with a piano and parquet flooring. My mother considered it an adventure. The elderly grandparents came to live with them and the children started school. Maybe life could continue normally? Hitler was poised to seize all of Czechoslovakia. In March, 1939, a radio announcement: Hitler’s troops were massing. Where to go? No-one wanted the Jews. My grandfather packed a suitcase and, with promises to bring his family to safety, got on the last train

out of Prague before Hitler invaded. He was fortunate. Allowed into England, he found lodgings in Stoke Newington. Three of my mother’s younger siblings, the youngest aged just 20 months, boarded a kindertransport train from Prague to London. My mother, aged 15, remembered the label round her little sister’s neck stating her name and destination. The three remaining siblings were scheduled to follow on 15th September. My grandmother obtained a visa to go to England as a domestic. All set. But war broke out on 3rd September, 1939. Trying to reach a neutral country, my grandmother and the three children set out by train from Prague to Bratislava on 30th December. At the Czech/German border guards took my grandmother off the train to check her papers. As the train left the station gathering speed, the three children were on their own. To their great relief she returned; the guards had put her back on the train in the end carriage.

She had walked along the train to find them; a frightening experience for all.

Always Agitated and Worried Arriving in freezing Bratislava in January, 1940, the snow was knee deep and they couldn’t speak the language. The Jewish community advised them to take a taxi to Budapest over the border. The lengthy journey was illegal and the driver threatened, “More money or you’re dumped”. Luckily, my grandmother had cash. Budapest: a refugee camp next to a synagogue. Survival was a battle. My mother remembered some beautifully dressed ladies wearing hats and silver fox furs visiting and handing out milk chocolate with nuts as treats for the children. My mother never ate milk chocolate with nuts again. The memories of the camp it evoked made her feel sick. My grandmother queued for hours each day at the consulate. Nine months

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Issue #8 / april 2019


later, in September 1940, she eventually obtained permission to leave for Greece. My grandmother, always agitated and worried, kept going. In Greece they took a tiny boat from Piraeus to Lisbon. My mother’s memories? Heat, lying on a wooden bunk, being sick all the time and the joy of once receiving an apple! Lisbon: my grandmother went to the consulate to try to get the family to England. “Go to Gibraltar, where you can join a ship to Liverpool taking South African volunteer pilots, headed for England.” Gibraltar: a stay including Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. My mother’s memories? A very kind Jewish community and beautiful Sephardi synagogue with silver lamps and ornaments. Night times were unsafe. The streets were full of sailors, all drunk! The community invited them for meals, but my mother – too proud to go – preferred to stay in the hotel where she ate boiled eggs and buns. They kept kosher, throughout it all. Finally, in November,

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1940, a ship docked bound for Liverpool. Together with about 25 other refugees, the family boarded. Liverpool: all the refugees were locked into sealed trains and taken to an oldage home in London. There they stayed until someone from the Czech Embassy turned up a week later to check their papers and ensure they were not spies – a dishevelled woman with three children and no English! Stoke Newington: arrival at my grandfather’s flat. Such joy! My grandfather had given them up for lost – they hadn’t seen each other in 20 months! Stories of the fate of the Jews of Europe had filtered through. My grandfather was unkempt and broken. The furniture sent from Prague was just standing there. He hadn’t even unpacked it. All his worldly possessions were on the kitchen table together with some bread, jam and cheese. He thought he would never see his family again. It was a lovely reunion. They slept in his unheated flat – a freezing English December – with no bathroom and only cold water from a basin. That first night sirens sounded. They dressed and went to the even colder shelter.

Finally Reunited My grandfather eked out a living selling handbags. The younger siblings started school. Each night was spent in the shelter or underground to evade the bombs. My mother attended Pitmans College learning English, shorthand,

Frimeth, Belinda, Graham & grandchildren

typing and bookkeeping. This was her only education in the UK and she loved it. Thereafter she got a job and became financially independent of her parents. In 1942 my grandmother started the process of reuniting the family. All her energy had been devoted to setting up her new life. She had not even seen her other three children in all this time. She started with her son aged 12. Nearly Bar Mitzvah it was time to start his Hebrew education. Living in Peterborough, with the gardener to an estate, his older sister was placed in the Manor House. My mother, speaking English by now, went to fetch him by train. He was thrilled. Not so his sister, whom my mother fetched several months later. She loved the comfortable Manor House where she lived in luxury, even enjoying horse riding. When brought to the new flat in Stamford Hill, she saved up and ran back! She was fetched again, this time adjusting and settling down with her family. The youngest little girl, sent away aged just 20 months, was now five years old. Placed with a family who adored her, they believed her to be officially adopted. My grandmother provided evidence from the refugee committee that no adoption papers had been signed. The woman was devastated and the child miserable at the separation – pain all round. Finally, however, the family was reunited. Postscript – The family eventually adjusted to their new life. Unfortunately, they were never to see again those left behind in Prague.

Max and Dorothea on holiday, in the 1950s.

SNAC/shots aliyah

Aliyah and All that Jazz! By Reva Garmise


hat fun it was meeting Gail and Norman Jacobson! They made aliyah only three years ago when Gail was a young 85 and Norman only three years older! During the 40 years that preceded their move to Israel, Gail and Norman lived in Laguna Beach, California where Norman ran a successful business, manufacturing quality glass products (it began with a non-glare computer screen and has grown to be a leader in optical coated glass technology). The company is today managed by the Jacobsons’ son Howard and one of Howard’s five children who live right here in Netanya (a clue to their 2015 aliyah decision). In California, Gail found herself in a glamorous career as a jazz singer rubbing shoulders with many of America’s music greats. She even attended a special dinner at the White House in honor of the Newport Jazz Festival, as the guest of her good friend Pianist Dorothy Donnegan who was performing at the event. Gail is proud to display her framed and signed invitation from the White House among her memorabilia of an exciting career. It is not difficult to persuade her to offer a taste of the talent that won her fame, belting out renditions of “Summertime” or other favorite melodies. Although Gail had studied interior design and

jewellery making, she made her mark in the music world after voice training lessons with singer Sue Raney and a 10-year stint with a band.

“‫”אני רוצה ללכת הביתה‬

In California, Gail found herself in a glamorous career as a jazz singer rubbing shoulders with many of America’s music greats.

Although they just made aliyah in December 2015, Gail and Norman were no strangers to Israel. Their son Kenneth, a renowned doctor at the National Health Institute in Baltimore, spent two years at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, in 1982-83; they visited often. “During my visits here, I fell in love with the country;” says Gail, “though we’ve always had Israel in our system.” In 1994 Gail and Norman visited Israel for a 2-week tour. While in Caesarea, Gail noticed a secret-service man guarding a house. It was the home of Benjamin Netanyahu and even back then, Gail had fantasies of buying a home in Caesarea, if at all possible, across the road from the Prime Minister. Norman recalls seeing movies in 1948 depicting immigrants landing in the nascent state and decided then and there that he wanted to move to Israel. “Since then, aliyah has always been in the back of my mind.” In 2013 they went to the Jewish Agency to sign up, together with their son Howard and his

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wife Leah, and Gail proudly declared: “‫( ”אני רוצה ללכת הביתה‬I want to go home”). It took 67 years, but they finally fulfilled this wish.

A Comedy Act? “Israel is a comedy act; you can’t take it too seriously,” muses Norman whimsically. “I just enjoy being here.” For Gail, it hasn’t been easy. She left many friends in America and would like to go back for visits but can’t leave her 15-year-old dog, Honey Bella, who is “tied to Gail like an umbilical cord” (explains Norman). Gail also misses driving as she was not prepared for the Israeli driving scene (who is?), so different from what she was used to. She misses the spaciousness of Laguna Beach as she watches one building after another shooting up in her new neighborhood. Of course they miss their son Kenneth and his family as well as their niece Dena whom they raised after she was orphaned. Their flat is filled with the beautiful furnishings and artwork from their split-level California home. They enjoy the services and the friends they’ve made at SNAC, and with the warmer spring weather now heading in, they hope to become more involved in SNAC activities.

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Countdown to Lift Off!

Many of you will have noticed the flurry of activity in recent months at the site of the new beach elevator in front of The Island Hotel. As pictured above, the foundations are being laid, concrete is being poured and friendly workmen have explained to your intrepid SNACshots reporters that erecting the supporting columns for the lift shaft is next on the work schedule. The lift should be completed about a year from now and the surrounding area is, apparently, to be landscaped. No information is yet available about plans for the vacant lot at the side of the hotel currently functioning as a temporary ‘carpark’, but shops and cafes are a possibility. Watch this space! advertisment

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SNAC/shots travels


Our Ethiopian Adventure


he grinding poverty in Addis Ababa is depressing: a world of tuc-tucs and half constructed buildings, tiny corrugated iron hovels and people just sitting around. Our ultra-luxurious Sheraton Hotel was an almost embarrassing contrast. In Gondar we visited a synagogue. Built of corrugated iron, it is permanently guarded by three rifle-bearing, kippahwearing shomrim. A sign outside specifies the dress code for entry. Miriam was wearing trousers and had to drape a jacket round her waist. We chatted with a young man (in Hebrew!) who has been waiting for 24 years, since age 11, to go to Israel. He is married and has a beautiful five-year-old son and four-day-old daughter. He showed us round. The synagogue has two Sifrei

Torah and newish-looking siddurim and chumashim with Amharic translation. He explained that the armed guards are needed to guard their precious Sifrei Torah. Twice monthly a rabbi comes from Haifa to lead their services and to lein for them. It was all very sad and they spoke wistfully about hoping to go to Israel. Boys come after school form mincha, stay for ma’ariv and then learn in the evening. The Ethiopian Jews think of themselves as Jews, do their best to live Jewish lives and desperately want to go to Israel. What more do the Israel government and the Chief Rabbinate want? Any questions about their Jewishness can be simply dealt with by taking them to the mikvah. Of course, bringing people who lead such simple and unsophisticated lives to Israel will have social implications in our 21st century lifestyle, but we really must try. Miriam and Alan Lewis

From the Killing Fields to Snake & Scorpion Wine


he morning in Phnom Penh was spent at the Killing Fields, a place of mass graves and site of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge against their own people. Many of the million plus Cambodians murdered there were women and children. A monument houses the skulls and bones of some of the victims. We left wondering how, from 1975 - 1979, the world could permit this type of atrocity to occur. Weren’t lessons learned from the Shoah? With some physical and emotional distance, we made the transition later

in the day for the much anticipated stop for lunch at Chabad Phnom Penh. Woohoo - schnitzel, chicken and rice!!!! Our first real meal. Then off to Saigon. First, breakfast at Chabad, and then Jonathan arranging for bottles of Cabernet for Shabbat meals. A Visit to the ‘Museum of Glorious People’s Army Smashing American Aggression,’ or some such name, proves that the victors write the history. But a bit too much poetic licence for Jonathan. Sunday we drove to the Mekong Delta. Leaving the overcrowded city, we passed fields, fields, and a few more fields of rice. The quantity of rice, and variety and quantity of other produce grown here is amazing. We stopped at a store where the locals come to buy fresh snakes and rats to cook. We were rowed along the Mekong River wearing traditional Vietnamese pointed hats and did a little shopping at the tourist shop. We passed on the snake and scorpion wine. Walking through a village along the river, we saw some surprisingly beautiful houses. We stopped to sample some of the exotic fruits many of us

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buy for Rosh Hashanah. Our guide Nam and Sharon drank a l’chaim on fermented fruit juice. The toast is to count, clink glasses three times and yell something unintelligible. Next a long boat ride across the Mekong River and a walk through the market: the shuk on steroids – fish, frogs, snakes, roosters, fruit and veggies. Finally, off to the hotel for a well-deserved rest. Sharon & Jonathan Sherman with Penny & Ashley Leboff

“Spot-the-Jew” in Portugal?


bout a third of Portuguese citizens have Jewish DNA markers in their systems and most of them do not know it. Escapees from the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th-16th centuries soon found themselves victims of the Portuguese Inquisition and were forced to convert or be expelled from the country. Over the centuries, these Crypto Jews intermarried with Christians. Their descendants, though

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unaware of their Jewish ancestry, retained traits of their forbears that were passed down through the generations. Some, for example, might make a habit of eating braided white bread on Fridays but would be hard put to tell you why. A three-and-a-half hour free walking tour of the seven hills of Lisbon (all uphill, never downhill; how was this even possible?) gave us our first taste of local history, which included the story of the Jews of Portugal. With unbelievably sore legs we embarked the very next day on a five-and-half hour (!) tour led by Paulo, a Jewish guide with encyclopaedic knowledge of the country

and its Jewish history who fleshed out the information we already had received. ‘Spot-the-Jew’ became a fun pastime during our nine-day stay in beautiful Portugal. We spotted a couple of “sure bets” as we parked our rental car near the Porto synagogue, where a man in Hassidic garb was deep in conversation with a dignified looking gent in an elegant though rather dated suit and hat. Mike rolled down the window and greeted the two with a hearty “Shalom Aleichem”, only to be told that they were not Jews! They were actors in a film being produced about the founding of the synagogue in Porto! Reva Garmise



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Issue #8 / april 2019


A Bird’s Eye View


ou humans have some nerve! The term ‘birdbrain’ is used as an insult but, when it comes right down to it, how clever are you? Twice a year, since I was four months old, I have journeyed between my two homes. One in Europe where I spend the summer months; the second in Africa to get away from the cold European winters. And you primitives? Why, you only just learned to fly! You have to crowd into these huge metal birds to take you where you want to go. Before you figured that out, most of you stayed within a few miles of where you were born for your entire lives. And me? Well, each year my mate and I take to the skies with our young and join up to form big flocks making their way south. It’s physically tiring as we cover as much as 200 miles a day without stopping. Our journey can be as long as 3000 miles, so of course we have regular stops. We also take an extended break in what I must confess is one of my favourite places. It is in the north of what you call ‘the Holy Land’. Great place that... and even the people there are less boring than most of you. The natural swamps of the Hula Valley have been drained and the new lake you created and surrounding crops...well, they’re just perfect. About 100,000 of us stop off there each autumn on the way south and then again on the return journey in the spring. Time was when the visit was very brief, just a day or so, but increasingly now we extend the stay. Some even remain there all winter; the peanuts that have recently been cultivated have something to do with that fashion I think. A great supplement to the grains we usually eat. There are plenty of fish too, but we leave those for others like the noisy pelicans who, frankly, are an undisciplined lot flying in higgledy-piggledy formations without family structure, ordered formations or manners in my view. Still, we all get along for the time we spend in the Hula. The people of the Holy Land are relatively interesting too. And very amusing. Each evening they climb into trailers which are dragged by tractors. Why? I have no idea. They stop near the lake and just sit there for an hour or so till dusk and then,

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just as suddenly, depart. They don’t come to feed or sleep as we do, so what are they doing there each evening? Some come in the morning too as we rise up in our flocks, but far fewer of them. My wife says they are just too lazy to get up at dawn. Could be. Still, credit where it’s due, the people of this land have seen something of migration. They come from all corners of the globe and have returned to their historic birthplace. I get that. And they do grow peanuts. For us I assume... Dictated to Joyce Mays by a Crane advertisment

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‫ח‬ ‫ת ך ד‬ ‫ ס נ כ‬SNAC/shots ‫ג‬ SNAC saga ‫הק ר ש‬ ‫ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ת ס ד ג‬ ‫נ כ‬ ‫ג‬ ‫הק ר ש‬ ‫ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ת ס נד ג ה‬ ‫ג ק ר כ ח‬ ‫ה ו ז ש ת‬ ‫ח ך ד י ג‬ ‫ת ס נ ג ה‬ ‫ג ק ר כ ח‬ ‫ה ו ז ש ת‬ ‫י‬ ‫ח ך ד ג ג ק‬ ‫ת ס נ כ ה ו‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ג ק ר‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫חה ו ז‬ ‫י‬ ‫ ך ד ג ג ק‬Three perspectives on the ‫ת‬ ‫ ס נ כ ה ו‬move ‫ ג‬to our new synagogue: ‫ח‬ ‫ ק ר ש ת ך ד‬reflections by Shelli Weisz, ‫ ה‬Hirschfeld & Ros Cole ‫ס נ‬ ‫ ו ז‬Ralph ‫י‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ת ך ד ג הג ק ר‬ ‫ו ז‬ ‫ג ס נ כ‬ ‫ח‬ for “community”. We may “finally” be for Comunity ‫ ש ת ך ד‬C‫ר‬is ‫ק‬ home, but the journey has just begun. ‫ ו‬a‫ה‬place to call home! Shelli Weisz ‫ז י ג ס נ כ‬inally… ‫ ח‬success” was a ‫ך‬ Our “overnight F ‫ק‬ ‫ ד‬journey ‫ר‬ ‫ג ה‬multi-year The Bureaucratic Battle ‫ ת ס‬that saw four ‫ו‬ ‫ז‬ SNAC‫נ‬Chairmen, seven Boards, ‫כ‬ ‫י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ך‬ four different he Business Dictionary defines ‫ ק ר‬locations, a dedicated ‫ש ת ס ד ג‬ ‫ה‬ building committee and countless bureaucracy as: “A system of T ‫ו‬ ‫ז‬whose behind-the-scenes ‫נ כ‬ others administration distinguished by ‫י‬ ‫ ג‬work all ‫ח ך‬to bringing us ‫ק‬ contributed its clear hierarchy of authority, ‫ד‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ג‬SNAC’s current ‫ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ה‬ to home. Once we rigid division of labour, written ‫ס‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ נ‬we allowed ourselves ‫ח ך ז י‬had‫כ‬the keys, and inflexible rules, regulations ‫ג‬ ‫ר‬but‫ק‬ exhale, only long enough to and procedures, and impersonal ‫ת ס ד ג‬to ‫ש‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ו‬ breathe deeply, stand tall and step relationships.” ‫נ‬ ‫ז‬ ‫ י‬once ‫ח‬brought ‫ג ק כ ח‬forward again. We In the case of the Netanya ‫ך‬ ‫ד‬revelled in‫ת‬having a municipality, I prefer to go by this ‫ה ו ר ש‬down‫ג‬walls, ‫ס‬ ‫נ‬ ‫ז‬ kitchen and two (!) bathrooms, and definition: “The intention to apply ‫כ‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ח‬ ‫י ג‬ have filled a calendar with events, to prevent active chaos, resulting ‫ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ ר‬and shiurim that order in inactive chaos.” When we first ‫ש ת‬workshops ‫ ס נד ג ה‬lectures, ‫ה‬ ‫ ו‬congregation. ‫ ז‬large rival any started our negotiations with the City ‫י‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ ק כ ח‬would ‫ג‬ ‫ך‬ As one board member commented, of Netanya in 2009/10, we heard the ‫ ד‬at one ‫ת‬ ‫ר‬ time stood expression “Al tid’ag. Yihiye ‫“ה‬C”‫ג‬in SNAC ‫“ ו ז ש ת‬the ‫ נ‬but‫ס‬today it stands Hebrew for congregation, b’seder” (Don’t worry, it’ll be fine) ‫כ‬ ‫י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ה ו ז ש ת ס נ כג ה ו‬ ‫ח ך ד י ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫ג ה ו‬ ‫ש ת ס‬

A Place to Call Home

many times from multiple sources in the municipality. That’s when we knew we had good cause to worry! Our battle with bureaucracy started well before the municipality gave us land to build the shul on the Lagoon site. Delighted to be allocated a site, we even set a cornerstone in a ceremony conducted by the Mayoress. We thought we were well on our way. However, Dizengoff Shahar, the Lagoon’s developers, persuaded the municipality to reverse their decision to have a shul next to The Lagoon and we were promptly moved to Hazohar street. Again, we eventually thought that we were finally making progress. But then the bureaucracy really set in. Plans were submitted several times, however they required approval by multiple departments. This was a lengthy process. Frustratingly, by the time the plans reached the final

page 14

SNAC saga

assume that their influence was key in getting the municipality to agree to let us move in quickly before Rosh Hashanah and start the process of re-zoning the use of the building. The rest is history... Ralph Hirschfeld

The Saga of SNAC Synagogue


department for overall approval, the rules had changed! Back to the drawing board. Plans had to be changed and the approval process started all over again. The municipality was not against us – the key individuals with whom we dealt always acted in good faith and with good intentions when we came to them with requests. However, these individuals tended not to communicate with one another. One would agree and another, in a different department, would say it was not doable. After a series of many steps forward and almost as many steps backwards, we were just about ready with the plans for HaZohar when Dizengoff Shahar apparently decided that having two shuls next to the Lagoon was better than having two kindergartens! It’s probably safe to

page 15

here were you when you heard that finally, finally, we had been given the go ahead for our shul building? A phone call was interrupting my afternoon game of bridge. I tried to listen to a one-sided conversation. Who was interrupting us? Couldn’t it wait? How important could it be? Then I heard the words we had been waiting to hear for 10 years: “We have the keys”. Yes, that’s right; the keys to the building that had been so frustratingly designated as a kindergarten, but that should so obviously be our shul. WHAT? HOW? WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN? Questions raced through my head, but the answers had to wait. For those who don’t know our history, we have negotiated, begged and pleaded with the municipality for a permanent home, moving from one temporary space to another, and yet another. With each move our numbers expanded. We always seemed to be bursting at the seams. Who knew it would be so hard to build a bet knesset in Israel? A small band of people worked tirelessly, jumping through ever-higher hoops to satisfy the Council’s demands. Finally, SNAC had triumphed and the mayor handing over the keys provided a great photo opportunity. But, as in all good stories, there was a catch. We had the keys, but Rosh Hashanah was barely two days away. How were we to clean away the builders’ dirt and transform the empty space to hold our first service on Rosh Hashanah in time? You

‫ה‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫נ כ ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ז י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ ק‬2019 ‫ד ג‬ Issue #8‫ר‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ ש‬/ april ‫ת‬ ‫ה ו‬ ‫ס‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י ג ק נ כ‬ ‫ר ש ת ס ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ could almost hear the music… Dan ‫ג‬ ‫ג ה ו ז ש ת‬ Deran Dan Dan...‫ס נ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י ג‬ The four bridge players‫ק‬ overreacted ‫ח ך‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ only a little.‫ש‬ We dropped the ‫ה‬ cards,‫ג‬ ‫ש ת‬ ‫ ז‬a‫ו‬ abandoning ‫י‬ the game bit like the ‫ס נ כ‬ ‫י ג‬ last meal on the Marie Celeste as ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ג‬ we dashed out of the door to join ‫ג ה ו ז ש ת‬ ‫ס‬ ‫נ‬ the celebration. ‫כ‬To say that‫ק‬our ‫י ג‬ ‫ח‬ community rose to the ‫ר‬occasion is an ‫ת ך ד ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ה‬ understatement. Unified in‫ו‬ ‫ ז‬common ‫ג ס נ כ‬ purpose, we cleaned, ‫ י‬schlepped, ‫ח‬ ‫ך‬ organised and set about ‫ה ק ר‬ ‫ד ג‬transforming ‫ש‬ ‫ת‬ the space into a bona fide synagogue. ‫ח ךו ז י‬ ‫נ כ‬have‫קס‬ A bird’s eye view would revealed ‫ג‬ ‫ ר‬as an enormous burst‫ש‬ of activity ‫ת ס ד ג‬ ‫ו‬ one synagogue was dismantled and‫ה‬ ‫נ‬ ‫ז‬ ‫ י‬across ‫ג ק כ ח‬ transported, piece-by-piece, ‫ך‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ the road to another.‫ג‬ The Sephardi ‫ה ו ז ש ת‬ minyan were also rushing ‫נ‬ to ‫ס‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י ג‬ complete their new home in the other ‫ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ ש‬to the‫ס ד ג ה ו‬ half of the building, adding ‫נ‬ chaos and excitement.‫ז י‬ ‫ק כ ח‬ ‫ך‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ו ר ש‬ We beat the deadline ‫ת‬ ‫ס‬ Of course, we beat the deadline. ‫נ כ‬We‫ך ז י ג ק‬ held our first service on Friday‫ר‬ ‫ס ד ג‬ ‫ ש‬night, the very next day, and I will always ‫ה ו‬ ‫ז‬ ‫י‬As you ‫נ כ ח ך‬ remember how special it felt. can see, our new baby thrives. ‫ק ר‬ ‫ד ג‬in ‫ז ש ת‬ Now we have a synagogue to pray‫נ‬ ‫ס‬ which is great, but that’s not‫כ‬ all: ‫י ג‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ We have shiurim. We have discussion ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ו‬ groups. We have Zumba, movie ‫נ כ ח ך ז י‬ nights, musical appreciation, ‫ד ג‬ singalong evenings and a writing ‫ר ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ס‬ circle. We even have bridge. So‫כ‬ now ‫נ‬ ‫י ג‬ I can play an uninterrupted hand ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ש‬ of bridge as I reflect on the day we ‫ד ג ה‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ז‬ received the great news. Ros Cole ‫י‬ ‫כ ח‬ ‫ך‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש ת‬ ‫י ג קס נ כ‬ ‫ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש ת‬ ‫ס‬ ‫נ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ד‬ Race against the clock. Ros, Terrie & Gill ‫ג‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ג קס נ כ‬ ‫ה ו ר ש‬ ‫ח ך ז י‬

‫ח‬ ‫ת ך ד‬ ‫ ס נ כ‬SNAC/shots ‫ג‬ ‫הק ר ש‬ ‫ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ת ס ד ג‬ ‫נ כ‬ ‫ג‬ ‫הק ר ש‬ ‫ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ת ס נד ג ה‬ ‫ג ק ר כ ח‬ ‫ה ו ז ש ת‬ ‫ח ך ד י ג‬ ‫ת ס נ ג ה‬ ‫ג ק ר כ ח‬ ‫ה ו ז ש ת‬ ‫י‬ ‫ח ך ד ג ג ק‬ ‫ת ס נ כ ה ו‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ג ק ר‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫חה ו ז‬ ‫י‬ ‫ך ד ג ג ק‬ ‫ת ס נ כ ה ו‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ק ר ש ת ך ד‬ ‫ס נ‬ ‫חה ו ז‬ ‫י‬ ‫ת ך ד ג הג ק ר‬ ‫ו ז‬ ‫ג ס נ כ‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ק ר ש ת ך ד‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ח ךו ז י ג ס נ כ‬ ‫ד ג ה ק ר‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫ג ק נ כ ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ר ש ת ס ד ג‬ ‫חה ו ז‬ ‫נ כ‬ ‫י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ך‬ ‫ת ס ד ג ה וק ר ש‬ ‫ג ק נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫ר ש ת ס ד ג‬ ‫ה ו‬ ‫נ‬ ‫ז‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת ס נ כ ה ו ז‬ ‫י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ג ק ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ה ו ז י ת ס נ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ת ך ד ג הג ק ר‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ו ז‬ ‫ג ס נ כ‬ ‫ח‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ק ר ש ת ך ד‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ה ו‬ ‫ס נ‬ ‫ז‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫ה ו‬ ‫ש ת ס‬

SNAC saga

An Explosion of Activities


t took almost no time after moving into our new building for an explosion of activities to erupt. In a flash members stepped up to provide a bridge class, Zumba, a Writing Circle, a Discussion Group on World Affairs, a Tu B’Shvat seder, a Music Appreciation group, Tanakh study sessions, Movie Nights, a Guest Lecture series, Singalong Sessions and more. We are grateful to Carolyn Casselson, Molly Zwanziger, Norman Bailey, Shelli

Weiss, Aubrey Kreike, Tom Weisz, Charles Green and Alan Lewis for proposing and running these events. On a daily basis, the synagogue transforms itself to provide for the needs of the community, both body and soul.. The building seems just to have been waiting for the opportunity to burst into life. From its beginnings, SNAC has been a home to its members, but now, for the first time, our home has a concrete building. Welcome Home SNAC!

The World Comes to SNAC


n December 16th the first meeting of the new SNAC initiative, the South Netanya World Affairs Discussion Group was held in the shul. Over 30 participants heard SNAC member Professor Norman Bailey lead a discussion on the topic “What do George H. W. Bush and Bibi Netanyahu have in Common?”. The discussion group meets every third Sunday of the month at 11:00am. to discuss a topic chosen by Prof. Bailey. Other topics

page 16

SNAC saga

so far have included “Leviathan and the Minnow – China and Israel” and “Our New Best Friends - Israel and the Gulf States”. The topics involve world or regional developments that impact Israel. Norman is Professor of Economics and National Security at the National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, and the Galilee International Management Institute in Nahalal. He has a background in the military, academia, business and finance and was a senior official of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration.

Siyum at SNAC By Ros Cole ine women who have been studying Tanakh for over six years under the tutelage of Shelli Weisz, celebrated the completion of the book of Samuel 1 at a special siyum breakfast in January. All these years our Sunday mornings have begun with a Tanakh lesson, until recently at the home of Gillian


page 17

Heron and now in SNAC’s new home. As is customary upon completion of a book of the Tanakh, we recited the Hadran prayer, which begins as follows: ”We will return to you, Sefer Shmuel Aleph, and you will return to us...” and then immediately started the next book, Samuel 2. It was very special having our first siyum in our new SNAC premises. What a privilege to be learning

‫ה‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫נ כ ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ז י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ ק‬2019 ‫ד ג‬ Issue #8‫ר‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ ש‬/ april ‫ת‬ ‫ה ו‬ ‫ס‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י ג ק נ כ‬ ‫ר ש ת ס ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ג ה ו ז ש ת‬ ‫ס‬ ‫נ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ש ת ס נ ג ה‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ז‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ג ה ו ז ש ת‬ ‫ס‬ ‫נ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫נ כ ח ךו ז י‬ ‫הג ק ר‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ח ך ז י ג קס נ כ‬ ‫ת ס ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫הג ק ר‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ך ז י ג קס נ כ‬ ‫ס ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫נ‬ ‫ז‬ Tanakh, with our own‫י‬ inspirational ‫ק כ ח‬ ‫ך‬ teacher in our own bet knesset, in ‫ד‬ ‫ו ר ש‬ the holy land of Israel ‫ג‬ where our ‫ת‬ ‫ס‬ history took place. ‫ך ז י ג ק נ כ‬ ‫ס ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ A Tasty Tu‫ק נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ז ש ת‬ B’Shvat Seder ‫ס‬ ‫נ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ or the first time in three ‫ש‬ years, ‫ד ג‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ו‬ SNAC members took part in a Tu F ‫נ כ ח ך ז י‬ B’Shvat seder and, this time, in our ‫ד ג‬ own synagogue building. Chairman ‫ר ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ס‬ Shelli Weisz explained that due‫כ‬ to our ‫נ‬ ‫י ג‬ ever increasing numbers it became ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ harder to find a restaurant that ‫ש‬ could ‫ד ג ה‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ז‬ seat us all. But on this Tu B’Shvat‫י‬ ‫כ ח‬ ‫ך‬ morning, close to 50 members sat ‫ד‬ around a horseshoe-shaped table‫ג‬ ‫יש ת ס‬ and took turns reading from our ‫נ כ‬ haggadah. Irith Langer prepared ‫ג ג ק ר‬ ‫ש‬ an interesting two-sided leaflet to ‫כ ה ו ז‬ take home about the importance ‫י‬ ‫ח ך‬ of trees. Charles Green ensured we ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש ת‬ sang whenever an opportune phrase ‫ס‬ ‫נ‬ ‫י‬ appeared in the text, beginning with ‫כ‬ ‫ג ק‬ “‫הנה מה טוב ומה נעים‬...“ (How pleasant ‫ר ש‬ it is to sit together...) And it was. The ‫ה ו ז‬ ‫י‬ yummy breakfast that followed was ‫ח ך‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ג‬ catered by Holy Bagels. → ‫ת‬ ‫ג קס נ כ‬ ‫ה ו ר ש‬ ‫ח ך ז י‬

‫ח‬ ‫ת ך ד‬ ‫ ס נ כ‬SNAC/shots ‫ג‬ ‫הק ר ש‬ ‫ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ת ס ד ג‬ ‫נ כ‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ ה ק ר ש‬First ‫ח ךו ז י‬Shabbaton ‫ ת ס נד ג ה‬s the good Lord continued - to shower us with the A literally ‫ג ק ר כ ח‬ blessing of winter rain, SNAC held ‫ה ו ז ש ת‬ its first Shabbaton hosting Rabbi ‫ ח‬Weil as scholar in residence. ‫ ך ד י ג‬Steven Immaculate planning and impressive ‫ג‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ה‬ by Gillian Heron and ‫ ס נ‬organisation ‫כ‬ ‫ח‬ Ros‫ג‬ Cole, ably assisted by a band of ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ו ז ש ת‬willing ‫ ה‬helpers, resolved the logistical difficulties of holding the after‫י‬ ‫ח‬kiddush indoors and then service ‫ך ד ג ג ק‬ rapidly ‫ת‬converting the synagogue ‫ס נ כ ה ו‬ into the venue for a delicious sit‫ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ down lunch for 80 people! Rabbi ‫ק ר‬ ‫ש‬ us with three first‫ה‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫ ו‬entranced ‫ ז‬Weil class presentations. The first covered ‫י‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ד ג ג ק‬the‫ך‬differences in the leadership King Saul and King David ‫ ס‬of‫ת‬ ‫נ כ ה ו‬styles and how history ‫ ג‬judged them; the ‫ח‬ ‫ק ר ש ת ך ד‬ ‫ס נ‬ ‫חה ו ז‬ ‫י‬ ‫ת ך ד ג הג ק ר‬ ‫ו ז‬ ‫ג ס נ כ‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ק ר ש ת ך ד‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ח ךו ז י ג ס נ כ‬ ‫ד ג ה ק ר‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫ג ק נ כ ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ר ש ת ס ד ג‬ ‫חה ו ז‬ ‫נ כ‬ ‫י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ך‬ ‫ת ס ד ג ה וק ר ש‬ ‫ג ק נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫ר ש ת ס ד ג‬ ‫ה ו‬ ‫נ‬ ‫ז‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת ס נ כ ה ו ז‬ ‫י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ג ק ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ה ו ז י ת ס נ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ח‬ ‫ת ך ד ג הג ק ר‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ו ז‬ ‫ג ס נ כ‬ ‫ח‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ק ר ש ת ך ד‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ה ו‬ ‫ס נ‬ ‫ז‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫ה ו‬ ‫ש ת ס‬

SNAC saga

second over lunch overviewed the career, capture and trial of Adolph Eichmann and his impact on the course of the Holocaust. Finally, at seuda shlishit, Rabbi Weil analysed Queen Esther’s strategy to trap Haman and save the Jews. A Shabbat to remember!

Carmel Coast Tiyul


he chagim over and the heat of summer fading, a group of some 35 SNAC members set off up the coast for the first tiyul of the season. First stop Tel Dor, which houses the fascinating Mazgega Glass Museum. Originally the glass factory to supply wine bottles for Baron Rothschild’s nearby winery at Zichron, the renovated structure displays a

wealth of disparate archaeological finds from land and sea as well as contemporary glass exhibitions. On to Zichron Yaakov, where a stroll through the picturesque streets brought us to the Aharonson Museum. The museum, housed in the home of the Aharonson family, documents the heroism and tragic fate of this pioneering family and their comrades in the NILI spy ring who fought to defeat the Germans and their Ottoman allies during WWI. True to SNAC traditions, lunch was a splendid affair at the Tishbi Winery. A sumptuous spread beneath a canopy of vines, washed down by a selection of fine wines, fortified the group for an afternoon stroll through the nature reserve at Ramat Hanadiv. There we walked along the natural stream to its source at the cave of Eyn Tzur taking in the ancient ruins

page 18

SNAC saga

of the Second Temple era Jewish settlements. A tranquil end to an informative day.



s ever SNAC celebrated Purim in style. The synagogue was crowded to hear Mike Garmise’s magnificent reading of the Megillah, beautiful mishloach manot were distributed to all, Rabbi Fachler collected money for the poor and on Purim day, a sumptuous seuda was

page 19

held at Lechem V’Basar. Sixty-four members and their guests packed out the restaurant. The enthusiastic ‘Besamim Boys Band’ comprising Charles Green, Roy Cohen and Marcel Sterngold provided musical entertainment throughout the evening and a surprise guest – an Anglican Vicar with a remarkable resemblance to our own Ephry Eder – recalled the salutary lessons to be learned from the tragic tale of Thomas Faircluff, Richard Mason and Harold Walker, otherwise known as Tom, Dick and Harry.

‫ה‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫נ כ ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ז י‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ ק‬2019 ‫ד ג‬ Issue #8‫ר‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ ש‬/ april ‫ת‬ ‫ה ו‬ ‫ס‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י ג ק נ כ‬ ‫ר ש ת ס ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ג ה ו ז ש ת‬ ‫ס‬ ‫נ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ש ת ס נ ג ה‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ז‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ג ה ו ז ש ת‬ ‫ס‬ ‫נ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ח ך‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ת ס‬ ‫נ כ ח ךו ז י‬ ‫הג ק ר‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ח ך ז י ג קס נ כ‬ ‫ת ס ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫הג ק ר‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ך ז י ג קס נ כ‬ ‫ס ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫ק ר‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ו‬ ‫ך ז י ג קס נ כ‬ ‫ס ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ק ר ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ס‬ ‫ז י ג ק נ כ‬ ‫ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫נ כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ר ש‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ס‬ ‫י ג ק נ כ‬ ‫ד ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש ת‬ ‫י ג קס נ כ‬ ‫ג ה ו ר ש‬ ‫כ ח ך ז י‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ש ת‬ ‫ס‬ ‫נ‬ ‫כ‬ ‫י ג‬ ‫ק‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ש‬ ‫ה‬ ‫ח ךו ז י‬ ‫ד ג‬ ‫ת‬ ‫ג קס נ כ‬ ‫ה ו ר ש‬ ‫ח ך ז י‬

SNAC/shots profile

Meet Barbara & Norman Barbara Pfeffer-Billauer and Norman Bailey: the power couple from Washington who have found a home in SNAC By Reva Garmise

Barbara I have a confession to make. I’m a nerd. I love to learn.” And learning has been Barbara’s forte her entire life. Her studies, interests and professional life are prolific: law, medicine and health, Bible and Jewish history, women’s rights, home décor and hatmaking. Yep, hat-making. Barbara Billauer, with her law degree and vast litigation experience in medical liability and malpractice, who is also well known for confronting gender prejudices and for authoring books and articles in which she solves biblical mysteries, is the very same SNAC member who sports self-made, eyecatching hats in shul. She has written three novels and science fiction. In a bookshop, you might catch a glimpse of a colourful book Barbara authored: “Baronial Bedrooms: The Kama Sutra of Grand Design”. A true Renaissance Woman.

Defending Doctors Although she studied biology at Cornell University and contemplated a medical career, Barbara ended up defending doctors rather than becoming one. The

Washington, Barbara writes articles for law journals, with the aim of influencing legislation and legal opinions in several important areas. She explains: “Legal opinions are generally based on precedents. In the absence of precedents, jurists turn to articles in law journals.”

The Challenge of Bioethics

credit for the switch goes to Barbara’s mother. When her daughter won two university-wide debates at Cornell – the first woman to win any! – she told her: “You speak so well, you should be a lawyer,” and the ever-obedient daughter agreed. (“I was high school valedictorian because that’s what my parents told me to do.”) Today, with a doctorate in law from Haifa University, a faculty appointment in international bioethics at the University of Porto and a research professorship of Scientific Statecraft at the Institute of World Politics in

Bioethics is an important legal area to Barbara. With Professor Amnon Carmi, she co-edited his Casebook for Bioethics for Judges. In a recent article, she deals with sperm bank issues. Sperm banking is a multibillion-dollar industry internationally, enjoying a whopping 2000 percent markup in some cases and bursting with ethical issues. The industry’s aim is not only to generate more pregnancies – but to make money! Sperm donation in the US and Israel is anonymous, prompting the paid donors to be less than candid on their applications. There are no restrictions on the number of donations a sperm donor can make in the US, and even genetic testing is not required. Sperm banks can make mistakes, sometimes implanting the wrong sperm. The industry opposes testing because of costs and fear of restricting product

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Issue #8 / april 2019

profile (sperm or egg) supply. The disability rights community opposes genetic screening, labelling the practice eugenics (controlled breeding), raising ethical questions about whose rights should prevail and who decides what to test for. The counter-argument comes from children, born of anonymous sperm donors, who yearn to know their biological parent – if only to learn of health issues and avoid unwitting incest. With little regulation and even less enforcement, results are legally, emotionally and morally impacted. Where legal precedent is absent, law review articles become important. “My objective in the articles I write,” explains Barbara, “is to use existing legal frameworks to address new problems and provide new means of redress where possible.”

the spirituality I had been seeking in Israel.” Barbara has published articles on “biblical mysteries,” such as what brought down the walls of Jericho. An article dealing with the spies Joshua sent to reconnoitre the region and the role played by innkeeper/harlot Rahav in the conquest of Jericho was published in “The Intelligencer, the Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies.” Another article in the planning stages will discuss Joshua’s “stopping of the sun” in Givon in order to gain time to vanquish the Canaanites. Clearly, all of the above is but a forshpeis of the life of a seemingly inexhaustible member of our small community. One might call it a work in progress.

Gender Issues With her strong interest in gender equality, it is not surprising that Barbara served as President of the New York Women’s Bar Association and Vice President of the National Conference of the Women’s Bar Association. She recounts conditions that existed years ago in the State Courthouse in New York City. “The building has four stories but the only ladies’ room was on the second floor. Imagine the inconvenience if you were a female lawyer trying a case on the fourth floor!” Barbara initiated the first training course for women trial lawyers in New York and the Second Women’s Gender Bias Task Force.

Solving Biblical Mysteries Judaic studies are yet another area that intrigues our Renaissance Woman. Barbara was raised in an Orthodox home and studied at religious day schools and Teachers’ Seminary. She was among the first women NCSY (National Council of Synagogue Youth) National Advisors, to give shiurim around the USA. “Judaism and Zionism were always an important part of my life. My first Yom Kippur at SNAC, I found myself crying. I finally felt

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The Time of My Life Norman had planned on a career in the Foreign Service after completion of his Masters’ degree at Columbia University’s School of International Affairs. But Uncle Sam had other plans for him. “They gave me a choice: enlist in the army or be drafted. I decided to enlist where I would be assured of a better placement.” This turned out to be a fortuitous choice. Norman’s active service was based in England in the Office of the Military Attaché and then in NATO headquarters in France, where he was in strategic intelligence. Fluent in French, Norman also served as an interpreter for the United States Commanding General. “Actually, I had the time of my life in my military career in England and France.” Back in the US, he returned to Columbia University, earned a doctorate in international relations and was invited to join the faculty of the City University of New York, after working for Mobil Oil. “I taught two days a week and worked in an investment banking firm on the other three days.”

The Time of My Life II

Norman I was always interested in foreign countries and international relations, even as a child, growing up in Chicago. My father was one of the foremost neuroscientists of the 20th century, but medicine never attracted me as a calling.” Norman’s interest in world affairs led him to a career in which he rubbed shoulders with leaders in the highest circles, holding senior positions on the advisory staffs of two US presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

“In 1980, when Ronald Reagan was nominated for president, I decided I could not live with myself if I didn’t do everything I could to keep Jimmy Carter from serving another term. I volunteered to work on Reagan’s campaign.” This was Norman’s first involvement in politics which sparked a close relationship with the person who was to become the next president of the United States as well as with Reagan’s running mate, George H. W. Bush (Sr). Reagan won the presidency and Norman was asked to join the transition team. This led to an appointment as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director of National Security Planning and International Economic Affairs. “I hesitated for about 10 seconds before accepting the offer”, he quips. Concurrently he served as an Executive Director at the Treasury Department. “I was having the time of →

SNAC/shots profile where’ve you been? Haven’t seen you in ages...’ Eventually Bush’s secretary interrupted to remind the president that the governor of Missouri was waiting to meet him. Norman was also involved in government during the George W. Bush Administration. In 2006-2007, he was on the senior staff of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that had been set up after the 9/11 attacks.

From the White House to SNAC participating in world-changing decisions and involved in all kinds of fascinating stuff. The most fascinating of all was being instrumental in the formulation of strategic planning that won the Cold War and eventually brought down the Soviet Union.” This experience was detailed in the book “The Grand Strategy that Won the Cold War”, published in 2016. Following the Reagan Administration, Norman decided to remain in the Washington area, where he was a Professor of Economics and National Security at the Institute of World Politics. Additionally, he had his own economic consulting company, which numbered foreign countries, companies and banks among its clients, and he was President of the Institute for Global

Economic Growth, to name a few of the positions that have kept Norman off the streets for several years.

Hi Norm! Norman was a popular figure in the White House. When Bush Sr. was president, the governor of Missouri wanted to invite the president to attend a conference. At the governor’s request. Norman arranged an appointment with the president and agreed to attend the meeting. In the waiting room before their meeting, people walking by kept waving and calling out, ‘Hi Norm, how are you?’ The governor was very impressed and whispered to Norman, ‘You know everybody!’ The door then opened and President Bush came out, making a beeline for Norman: ‘Norm,


English-Speaking, Israel-Licensed

Electrician David Hersh Tel. 052-387 1625

So how was SNAC lucky enough to find Norman Bailey on its membership list? In 2001, Norman met successful lawyer Barbara Billauer. His first wife had died in a car accident in 1994. By 2011, Norman and Barbara, disheartened with the state of things in America, decided to make aliyah. He called the decision a push/ pull situation. “Israel is a country that believes in the future. It is an economic, financial, scientific phenomenon with a dysfunctional political system and lots of social problems. But it is dynamic and believes in the future.” That was the pull. “The US is imploding, no longer a pleasant place to live.” That, in short, was the push. Before the move to Israel, Norman set up three positions here (he has never worked in only one role at any given time). Due to an illness that kept him at home for the better part of a year, two of the positions were lost. The one that remained was a research project for the National Security Studies Center of Haifa University, where he now teaches. And just so that he wouldn’t have too much free time, Norman became involved with the Galilee International Management Institute, which offers two-week seminars introducing Israeli technologies to foreign officials The presence of a man of his stature, soft spoken and unassuming as he is, may be a surprise to some members of the SNAC community. “Now, I’m as happy as a bug in a rug, living in Netanya, belonging to SNAC, teaching in two different places, writing for Globes and Asia Times, lecturing and leading discussion groups.” A comedown from Washington DC? “Not at all. I love it here.”

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Issue #8 / april 2019


1=‫א‬ 2=‫ב‬ 3=‫ג‬ 4=‫ד‬

Journey to Riga By Harold Sterne


y mother was born in Riga in 1906 en route to Scotland from a shtetl 20 kilometres from Yanova in Lithuania. My grandparents had travelled to Riga, presumably by horse and cart, in order to catch a ship to Scotland. So in June last year I decided to spend four days in Riga. A close friend of mine in London, hearing that I was planning this trip, said he would love to accompany me as his roots were also near Riga. There had been a very large Jewish community in Riga, which suffered badly during the Shoah. When we met the guide, who was recommended by the local rabbi, she handed us her card. My friend let out a shriek of surprise. Her name was the same as his original family name! She was able to tell him much about a place called Spunginy. Her name was Spungina! Jewish Riga is very interesting and our first stop was the historical archives. The archivist could not find any information about my mother but she found a definite relative who moved to Cape Town. She may have been my grandfather’s sister. The archives detailed her date of birth, marriage and place of burial. My cousins in Cape Town will now try to trace the family. Riga’s old town is a World Heritage Site and has the largest number of Art Nouveau (1895 to 1906) buildings anywhere in the world. The architect of most of the buildings was a Jew called Eisenstein, father of the famous film director, Sergei Eisenstein. We were taken to all the major Jewish areas including the ghetto and cemetery and also to neighbouring areas which once had large Jewish populations. Today a large centre is used for communal activities. The complex houses a Jewish museum and a kosher restaurant in the basement. I enjoyed two of the most amazing meals ever in Riga! Well worth the four-day journey.

page 23

5=‫ה‬ 6=‫ו‬ 7=‫ז‬ 8=‫ח‬ 9=‫ט‬ 10 = ‫י‬ 20 = ‫כ‬ 30 = ‫ל‬ 40 = ‫מ‬ 50 = ‫נ‬ 60 = ‫ס‬ 70 = ‫ע‬ 80 = ‫פ‬ 90 = ‫צ‬ 100 = ‫ק‬ 200 = ‫ר‬ 300 = ‫ש‬ 400 = ‫ת‬

Gematria Gems Gematria is a method of co-relating Hebrew words in sacred writings by computing the numerical value of their constituent letters. It does not imply religious dogma. The first day of Pesach always falls on the 15th of Nissan. When counting days of the month we generally use the 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, ‫י‬, to represent the number 10, and the 5th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, ‫ה‬, to represent the number 5. However, because these two letters combine to spell the name of God, we do not put them together to represent the number 15. Instead, we use ‫ טו‬representing 9 and 6 to do this. That is why the holiday of Tu B’Shvat - ‫ ט“ו בשבט‬- has that name Pesach marks the coming of spring – ‫– אביב‬ which also has a Gematria of 15 (1+2+10+2). It is our perennial hope that spring will herald a year of blessing and prosperity for ourselves, productivity for our land and progress for our country in the form of our nation state. These hopes are echoed here in Israel where we receive the Priestly Blessing daily: ‫יברכך ה’ וישמרך‬ ‫יאר ה’ פניו אליך ויחנך‬ ‫ישא ה’ פניו אליך וישם לך שלום‬ The number of words in these 3 lines respectively comprise the primary numbers 3, 5 and 7 which together add up to 15. Before reciting the Priestly Blessing, the Cohanim make a Beracha - … who has commanded us to bless His people Israel ‫ – באהבה‬in love. The word ‫ באהבה‬similarly has a Gematria of 15 (2+1+5+2+5). Finally, the ascent to the altar in the Temple was by 15 steps, and an appropriate Psalm was recited on each step. There are 15 such “psalms of ascent” each of which is known as a ‫שיר המעלות‬. • Ephry Eder

SNAC/shots journeys

Family Reunion in New Zealand By Terrie Eder


s the plane comes in for a landing after a gruelling 33-hour journey, the emotional roller coaster begins. It is over a year since I have seen my daughter and two granddaughters. New Zealand is such a long way away! Get through Passport Control and Immigration amazingly quickly, and then there they are waiting with open arms. My daughter clings to me, my granddaughters join in. The tears are flowing, and this is just the beginning

of my visit. For three weeks I immerse myself into their lives, savouring every minute. I slot quite quickly into the everyday mundane events of their family life, but it is oh so special to be there and to receive so much love from them.

Shrieks at every whoosh... As the girls are older than when we were last together, we are able to do some travelling. We spend a weekend in Rotorura, the thermal centre of North Island. It is raining nonstop!! Paradoxically this actually enhances the magical quality of this amazing place. The hot mud pools bubble extravagantly. The geysers whoosh to great heights, and steam is constantly escaping everywhere from the earth. My daughter Nicci and I manage to spend a couple of hours in the hot mineral pools – truly a must if you visit Rotorura and whatever the weather. To lie in hot mineral pools, different minerals in each, and look out over the beautiful lake, steam everywhere. Sensational. This is the my first visit to this area with

The Icing on the Cake by Judith Fachler


n the winter of 1998, Chaim and I were invited to a wedding in Melbourne, Australia. The groom’s father was a cousin of my father-in-law, but neither of Chaim’s parents could face the long journey; so they sent us instead. The mother of a friend who lives in Melbourne contacted me and asked if we’d take kosher yeast to her daughter. Having read all the travel instructions, I knew we weren’t allowed any foodstuffs.

When I mentioned this she replied: “Oh no. Yeast doesn’t apply.” Finding it hard to say no, I agreed, but thought about this yeast the entire journey.

Sprayed with DDT The flights were long but uneventful apart from being sprayed with DDT... not a particularly nice experience! Finally we landed, collected our suitcases and made our way to the exit.

my granddaughters. Their delight and fascination are memories to cherish. Shrieks at every sudden whoosh. All too soon the last few days are upon us. My emotions are all over the place. I am dreading leaving and yet I long to be in my own home. I am not going to describe the farewells; I leave that to your imagination. Nonetheless it’s now so good to be home!

Suddenly we were stopped by customs. Never happens to us. We had four cases between us and hand luggage (I’ve never learnt to travel light!) The tall stern customs official said, “Would you please open – um – this case?” My heart sank. Of course it contained the yeast. He took everything out and finally pointed to the yeast and asked “What’s this?” My heart sank further and even Chaim’s voice shook a bit as he said “Oh, that’s yeast.” We heard the official reply “Thank you sir. You can repack your suitcase. Enjoy your stay in Australia.” We were giddy with relief. But the icing on the … yeast… cake was still to come. Later that evening we were invited to our friends for a BBQ and of course schlepped the yeast with us. As we handed it over to the hostess and told her the story, she said “Oh I wish my mother would stop sending me yeast. I can now get kosher yeast here in Melbourne!!!”

page 24

Issue #8 / april 2019


The Jews of Bubbados By Al Syam


eah and I made aliyah some six years ago from the little known Caribbean island of Bubbados. Given our backgrounds, we are often asked why we joined the very Anglo SNAC community. The answer lies in our origins. Our respective forebears were early settlers in England after the return of Jews in Cromwell’s time. My great grandfather Osher Grobstock, a director of the East Bubbados Tea Company, became a pillar of the Great Synagogue in East London. In his declining years, to escape the damp London climate, he and my great grandmother Zelda emigrated to Bubbados where there was already a fledgling Jewish community in the quaint capital Zaiderville. Their traditions were many and varied, ranging from East European to Jamaican, and the shul music was, to put it mildly, somewhat exotic. Osher found it difficult to adapt to the Calypso style kedushas and gradually introduced some of the customs of the Great Synagogue, whilst trying to fit in with the locals. Portraits of my great grandparents, which many of you will have seen on the wall of our salon, show Osher attired in his Shabbat best, with dreadlocks flowing from under his top hat and Zelda with an interesting headdress which would have been a touch out of place at the Great! Leah’s background was somewhat more exotic. She was descended from the celebrated – if notorious – pirate Morgan ben Gunn whose ship the Freiliche Rogerle was shipwrecked off the coast of Bubbados in the early 1800s. He and the surviving crew took

page 25

Zelda Grobstock

Osher Grobstock

break our fast after Yom Kippur on a the disaster as a sign that they should delicious Jew plum compote. On Purim abandon their delinquent lifestyle we ate a pastry of uncertain origin. They and they remained, becoming active were not unlike hamantashen and were members of Kehillat Zaiderville. The known as Hook’s Etzbas. community still commemorates the Although our lives were contented, as anniversary of the shipwreck each we grew older, the effort of obtaining year in a unique tradition known as kosher food from the mainland and the ‘Planck Shpatzeren’ named after a continuing struggles to keep a regular ceremony that was periodically carried minyan going, made us think about out on board ship. A wooden beam aliyah. We contacted Nefesh B’nefesh was brought to shul and balanced on in the States and were fortunate to each side of the bima. Two gaboim be helped by a delightful young lady would stand at each end waving flags called Penina. By amazing coincidence, with a distinctive design and a coconut she was a great-great niece of perched on top. The congregants the late Haggai (Horatio) would attempt to walk Baal-Tokeya, a much across whilst chanting respected former the ancient melody “oy member of Kehillat oy oy und a bissele Zaiderville. The kehilla schnapps!” If they fell, gave us a wonderful they were required to – if tearful - send-off make a donation to the with a magnificent shul. I felt this custom kiddush. Our aliyah would be a wonderful could not have been and novel fundraiser for smoother and we are truly SNAC – but the suggestion grateful to SNAC for making did not go down well with the Jew Plums us so welcome. As retirees we gaboim here. did not have to seek employment. We The foods we ate were largely based do not have children, but our three pet on Ashkenazi cuisine although we took monkeys that we brought with us take advantage of local produce. The island up much of our time and give us a great grows plums introduced from Jamaica deal of naches. known as ‘jew plums’ and we would

SNAC/shots greetings

Pesach Greetings! Susan & Anthony Arnold Marilyn & David Ashton Laraine & Roy Barnes Birgitte Savosnick & Michael Baziljevich Brenda & Eric Brett Carolyn & Robert Casselson Les & Roy Cohen Marcel & Shirley Cohen Ros & Tony Cole Terrie & Ephry Eder Judith & Rabbi Chaim Fachler Sylvia & David Fellerman Gertie & Morris Forman Gill & David, plus Saul & Sasha Gallick Reva & Mike Garmise Ruth & Ivor Gertler Phillipa & Peter Goldberger Toni & Charles Green & Family Yisrael & Miriam Haber Gillian & Lee Heron Brenda & John Katten Linda & Ronnie Kaye Sandra & David Kibel Martin & Ros Landau Irith Langer Annette & Stephen Lambert Clemy & Len Lazarus Penny & Ashley Leboff Haya & David Lewi Miriam & Alan Lewis Karen & Julian Lewis Shosh & Stuart Lewis Ann & David Marks Dorothy & Stanley Mason Joyce, Alan & Emma Mays Elaine & Bernard Oster Marcia & Nate Peretzman Ginger & Roy Pinchot Nechama & Tuly Polak Angela & Peter Redstone Roberta & Rafe Safier Pam & Mickie Sallmander Sharon & Jonathan Sherman Simone & John Sless Tina, David, Lara, Avi & Zaza Son Gigi & Freddy Speaker Mindy & Avi Tokayer Barbara & Paul Westbrook Shelli & Tom Weisz Barbara & Brian Wolkind Iresine & David Woolf Sue & Issy Zuckerbrod advertisment

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Issue #8 / april 2019


Minyan Man* By Judy Isenberg


y oldest son, Benjy Isenberg, driven by his passion for the hotel industry, chose to study Hospitality Management in Manchester (at the ‘Toast Rack’ for those who know the area). He was both delighted and apprehensive when the university offered him a year-long placement at a hotel in a suburb of Chicago. The opportunity to gain experience within the Marriott group was too good to turn down, but as a recent Baal Teshuva, he fully recognised the potential difficulties of sharing a flat with a non-Jewish group. He contacted the hotel in advance to ensure his shifts could be scheduled to avoid working on Shabbat or Yom Tov. However, keeping kosher in a treif environment was more challenging. He had been informed that the Jewish area of the city was near the hotel, but misunderstanding comparative distances in the States, it turned out that the nearest provider of kosher food was a forty-five minute-

drive away! He soon found that living an observant Jewish life in an unknown area with no support system was overwhelming.

Sinister in the Gloom Desperate to find a community, Benjy was relieved to hear of a Hillel Centre in the nearby suburb of Skokie. He borrowed the car shared with his fellow students and set off one evening on the quest to find his people. Trying to navigate the unfamiliar streets, he needed to stop and check the map – long before the era of GPS – and pulled into a dark, almost deserted parking lot. Immediately several youths approached the car, seeming sinister in the gloom. Benjy felt some trepidation – perhaps this was not the best place to stop. As the figures came close, however, he was relieved and surprised – all were wearing kippot! He lowered the window and they eagerly invited him to complete their minyan so ma’ariv could commence.

Naturally he was glad to comply. A little bemused, he was ushered into a dimly lit building and entered a small room. Someone passed him a siddur and the service began. Benjy opened the prayer book and was amazed to see the words engraved on the flyleaf, ‘Donated by the Isenberg Family…..’. He could hardly believe what he was reading. Isenberg – what were the chances!

The British Brother When davening was over, he remained in his place, still dazed, unsure what would happen next. The fatherly gentleman who had led the service, came over to Benjy and thanking him for his participation, began to quiz him in a kindly manner. This extended conversation had several outcomes. Benjy never made it to the Hillel Centre, but his new friend, Stu Goldman, a local doctor, invited him to stay for Shabbat with his family. Benjy got on so well with Stu, his wife Jan and their four sons, that he spent many happy Shabbatot and Yom Tovim with the family – the boys calling him their ‘British brother’. Through the Goldmans, Benjy was welcomed into the Skokie community and received hospitality from other local families. This support was a huge contributing factor in his enjoyment and successful completion of the placement in Chicago. Twenty years later, Benjy is still in contact with his ‘surrogate’ family and shares many milestones with them through the wonders of facebook. * Title refers to a song with a related theme, written by Victor Shine. Check it out on watch?v=nXvFHWWCT6I

page 27

SNAC/shots halachic issues

The Last Mitzvah? What You May Not Know about Organ Donations By Joyce Mays


annai Segal was 12 years old when he was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease. He waited over 10 years until, finally, he received the gift of an organ. He explains, “The wait was a scary and painful journey. At the time of my transplant, I was literally on my death bed. I am alive because someone said ‘yes’ to organ donation.” Within weeks Yannai regained an active lifestyle and went on to marry and become the father of four.

Halachic Issues Organ donations have saved thousands of lives over the past decades, but what are the halachic myths and issues surrounding this important topic? The first myth is that Judaism is against organ donation. “This,” says the sage Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg (son-in-law of the late revered Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach) “is simply untrue. The assumption that Judaism insists on burial after death is correct. This has led to the presumption that if an organ is donated, and that part is not buried after death, a violation of halacha has occurred. Equally, however, we are to understand that saving a life is a vital mitzvah praised as

among the most noble of deeds. Until our generation, these two concepts never coincided after death because organ donation was simply not a viable medical procedure.” Jews consider the human body sacred both in life and after death; however normative rabbinic opinion now holds that if, after death, one can save a life with a body part, that pre-empts and

overrides other mitzvoth because of the paramount principle of pikuach nefesh. Another myth involves the notion that techiyat hametim, resurrection of the dead, could be compromised if organs are missing. Rabbi Dr Avraham Steinberg states, “Such fears should not inhibit anyone from donating organs after death. This is this not only halachically unfounded, but it is also a medical fact that all organs disintegrate with time and even people who died many generations ago will, according to our beliefs, be resurrected.” Further, R Steinberg points out that there are many who lose limbs or various body parts during their lifetimes through accident or surgery, yet we do not believe they will be excluded at the time of resurrection.

Defining Death A problem remains. How is one to define death? Traditionally death was defined by cessation of heartbeat. Some years back, when transplantation became medically viable, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel was asked by the Ministry of Health to give halachic advice. A committee comprising the

page 28

Issue #8 / april 2019

Photos courtesy of Yannai Segal

halachic issues

“Such fears should not inhibit anyone from donating organs after death”

foremost halachic and medical experts was formed to study both aspects of the issue. The rabbinate was careful to include a broad range of rabbinic experts and foremost poskim most of whom were unconnected to the rabbinate. They came to a unanimous conclusion. Drawing on primary sources, Rabbi Steinberg explains, “When the cessation of breathing occurs in an irreversible fashion that can be objectively verified, this is the moment of death.” Hence the advisory committee concluded that a person can become an organ donor even if his or her heart is still beating. Based on this ruling, irreversible brainstem death (which is incompatible with independent breathing) has become the accepted benchmark to determine death. Today, an organisation called the Halachic Organ Donor Society provides guidance and donor cards for those who wish to register as organ donors worldwide but are concerned that all correct measures are taken to ensure compliance with halacha. The Halachic Organ Donor Society also actively promotes the ADI card which is available here in Israel. However, the Society does not compete with ADI and so does not generally offer HOD cards

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to Israeli citizens. Over 200 Orthodox rabbis are card-carrying members and a wealth of information is available on the HOD and ADI websites. Of course inspirational stories abound concerning the recipients of organs; Yannai’s case above merely illustrates the magnitude of this mitzvah. As Yannai Segal explains, “Without that donation I would not have been able to hold, teach

and love my children the way I do now. Saying ‘yes’ to donating your organs, rather than helping a single person, helps a whole family and community.” Halachic Organ Donor Society: The National Transplant Center:

SNAC/shots words

Say it in Hebrew!

Bonjourney J

ourneys are not what they once were. Once upon a time you would set out from your home site and foray (from fuerre straw, for which our ancestors foraged in Egypt) into the surrounding area, and a jour’s (day’s) ride or a day’s labour later you would be finished. What you accomplished in that day was your journey. No more. Today’s journeys have been fragmented and anatomised into bits that fit into a photographic instant or the twitter of a bird. Simply glue together enough of them and you can rebuild your ex*cur*sion (a running (cur)** out (ex) and about) into a more respectable time period.

It’s all a pain The more things change, however, the more they stay the same. Take travel, for instance. Travel in our own younger years was an adventure, sallying (from the Latin salire – to go out) forth into the unknown or the less known, with knapsack on back or suitcase in hand (who had wheels on them then?). It might have been a bit uncomfortable but that was part of the fun, the ad*ven*ture (something that is about to arrive-venire or happen), the added value of travel. But way back when a journey was a day’s walk, travel was, well…travail – suffering. It was hard. It was uncomfortable. And it was dangerous. You did not undertake it lightly. Of course, in some cases the travailtravel was religiously inspired – notably among pil*grims. Pilgrims were pellegrinos or peregrinos – people from foreign (pelle or pere) lands (the …gri… in the word is the same land we find in agriculture) who came to pay their respects at a sacred site. Of course we had our own pellegrinos which we called olim, from oley regel, people who went up on foot (regel), originally on the shalosh regalim – the three feet, referring to the three festivals in which we were

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By Mike Garmise


supposed to walk (what other options were there?) to the Temple. That must have been true travail. A donkey, if you had one, to carry you or your belongings, poorly paved or unpaved roads, bandits just waiting for those foot-hoofers padding their way to the holy place, few hotels or hostels. When (if) you reached your destination (your designated place), you truly felt the need to give thanks for having survived the multiple-jour ex*pedi*tion (ex – going forth, on ped – foot).


Back to the Future But as noted, the more things change, the more they return to what they used to be. While travel today still retains vestiges of excitement, centering mainly on the places we are going to visit, the actual act of travelling has again become travail. Ask anyone who has gone through security at Ben-Gurion or Heathrow or JFK. Ask anyone who has had to wait on one endless line after another, from security to check-in to security to boarding. And the seats on board! The Inquisition could certainly have used them as a means of non-blood-letting torture. But travel we must, and travel we shall, either because we have to (see family members who are halfway around the globe) or want to (wanderlust never really dies), and travail or no travail, air, land, sea or lower-limb trans*port (port – carry; trans – across) are the only ways to physically get from point A to point B. Happy journeys! **By the way, the cursor on our computer screen also comes from the same root – a cursor used to be a courier – runner, someone sent to deliver a message.

journey ‫מסע‬ (ma-sa) passenger ‫נוסע‬ (noh-saya) bus ‫אוטובוס‬ (autoboos) bus stop ‫תחנת אוטובוס‬ (ta-cha-nat autoboos) central bus station ‫תחנה מרכזית‬ (ta-cha-na merkazit) train ‫רכבת‬ (ra-kevet) train station ‫תחנת רכבת‬ (ta-cha-nat ra-kevet) platform ‫ָר ִציף‬ (ra-tseef) light railway ‫רכבת קלה‬ (ra-kevet ka-la) plane ‫מטוס‬ (ma-tos) flight ‫טיסה‬ (tee-sa) ship ‫ֳאנִ יָ ה‬ (oniya) ‫ספינה‬ (s’fina) cruise ‫ׁשַיִ ט‬ (shayit) ticket ‫כרטיס‬ (kartees) return ticket ‫חזור‬-‫כרטיס הלוך‬ (kartees ha-loch chazor) rav-kav (‫)רב־קו‬ Multi-trip travel card (like English oyster card)


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~ Judy Isenberg ~

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