Photo by Mickie Sallmander
Lost & Found
Issue #9 /
APRIL 2020 / nissan 5780 /
SNAC Celebrates the Shabbat Project P.7
On the Bus
Which SNAC member served in the IDF? P.12
Every day is an adventure... P.11
Candles, sufganiot, song & dance... P.8
Who are the happy newlyweds? P.9
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Issue #9 / april 2020
After the Exodus from Egypt, it took several hundred years and quite a few miracles for the Israelites to coalesce into a nation in their own land. In a small way, the creation of our community reflects this growth process. Thirteen years after SNAC was founded with a handful of members, we have grown into a community of over 130 families who made their own exoduses from no fewer than 18 countries around the world... and still they come. With hard work, good will and a few miracles too, we have found and forged our SNAC family.
Many themes appear in the narrative of the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt. Not least among them is the extraordinary transformation of a nation of slaves into the Chosen People. This could not have happened, had their spark of faith in HaShem been totally snuffed out. But it categorically wasn’t. Despite unfathomable hardships and a tortuous existence, they courageously maintained their unshakable faith so that eventually the pledge made to our forefathers would be fulfilled. They never lost their way. As we celebrate the Festival of Freedom, we have much to learn from that “nation of slaves.”
Chag Sameach to all,
Chag Pesach Sameach,
• Shelli Weisz, Chairman
• Rabbi Chaim Fachler
Dear Friends, During this time of uncertainty and social isolation SNACshots is a reminder of the strength and unity of the SNAC community. We are thankful for the chesed and outreach our community has shown towards one another and look forward to coming together in person once again. Wishing everyone good health and a refuah shleima to all those in need.
5 Kehillat Tzfat Netanya www.snacshul.org SNAC@snacshul.org Chairman: Shelli Weisz Editorial Committee: Reva Garmise Roy Pinchot Graphic Design: Michal Magen Advertising: Ephry Eder
Printing: Kwik Kopy, 9 Shmuel Hanatziv, Netanya Tel. 09-862-0769 firstname.lastname@example.org
Our lives are filled with losses and finds. SNACshots, for example, recently “lost” two of its founding editors (Joyce Mays and Judy Isenberg) both of whom have “found” exciting new projects; we wish them success and self-fulfillment in their new endeavors. But SNAC has no shortage of talented members, and a new editor was soon found to take up the mantle and ensure that the magazine continues to be chock-full of all the synagogue news and happenings, and, no less important, your personal stories. • Reva Garmise, Roy Pinchot
SNAC/shots lost & found
New on the Team: Roy Pinchot Editor
oy and Ginger made aliyah from Silver Spring, MD in October 2018. Roy has a passion for the printed word and studied journalism in college. This led to a career in marketing and advertising that included a position as Editorin-Chief and Publisher of US News & World Report’s book division. Roy’s avocation is the study and teaching of the Rambam. Here in Netanya, you’ll find Roy almost daily at the Green Beach pool, trying to match the swimming records he established as captain of his college team.
Ephry Eder Advertising Manager
ormer red-headed, volatile Londoner, susceptible to passionate self-expression, but kindly disposed to all, Ephry is good with anecdotes, stories, jokes – and children. He attended Menorah Primary School, followed by Christ's College Finchley, and then Manchester University ending with a BSc in physics and mathematics. Subsequently Ephry qualified as a Chartered Patent Attorney, Chartered Trade Mark Attorney, and European Patent Attorney. He also survived several years’ service on the Business Practice Committee of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys. Married to Terrie, they have between them bli ayin hara, 5 children and 11 grandchildren kayn yirbu.
The delight of a sunset or a flower
Reflections By Ginger Pinchot
s I approach the end of my 70s, I’m acutely aware of the “lost and found” items this decade has generated for me. Lost are family members and friends, who shaped and soothed me. Lost are physical abilities – acuity, strength, flexibility and endurance. Lost is memory, which has turned into a group activity. Conversely, in the decade of my 70s, there is also much I have found. Found is the ability to make happiness a choice, determined by attitude and intention. Found is the capacity to carry pain and bliss without one denying the other. Found is the gift to find what I seek – love, beauty, kindness… Found is the joy to delight in everyday things, such as a sunset or a flower. Found is the insight to know what I want and the peace to accept that many of my desires will not be fulfilled. Found is the knowledge that pleasing others is tempered by my own needs and that’s okay. Listening to my heart and acting in my own best interest is not selfish; it’s self-fulfilling. Found is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I’ve lived long enough to spend 55 years with the love of my life, to play with greatgrandchildren and to experience living in our beloved land. Found is a retirement, which affords me time for forming precious new friendships with whom I’m able to share these thoughts… This piece was inspired by Mary Pipher, Clinical Psychologist
Issue #9 / april 2020
lost & found
SNACshots Saves the Day By Gertie Forman
s is the case with most people, my mobile phone is attached to my hip. I go nowhere without it, at least not knowingly. Apart from performing its original function, the pouch that it is kept in also serves as a purse, housing my credit cards, teudat zehut and odd bits of valuable papers. I would be jelly-like and lost without it. A few weeks ago I automatically reached for my ringing phone in my bag while attending a shiur at SNAC (I instantly turned it off, dropped it on the chair beside me, and turned my attention back to the thought-provoking shiur). 4pm. End of shiur. I picked up my bag
and we all departed in time for the gabbai to prepare the shul for mincha. A hot cup of tea awaited me on my return home. Shoes off and seated comfortably, I reached in my bag for my phone to catch up on what I had missed. Alarm followed – no phone! The sinking feeling and realization that all my valuable information was lost almost brought me to tears. Soon enough I remembered dropping the phone beside me in the synagogue. An urgent call that Morris could not miss advertisement
was coming through on my phone at 7pm. It was imperative that we not miss it! Dashing to the shul I discovered that mincha and maariv were over and all was desolate and dark. Time was running out. On my return home, the names of committee members whirled around in my head. Morris did not have these numbers on his phone. I was lost. Then I caught sight of SNACshots. Contact numbers had to be featured somewhere in the magazine. I scoured every page but found no hint of any committee member information. It was now 6pm. I did find Irith’s phone number in her advertisement. Relief flooded in when Irith passed Shelli’s number to me. Shelli knew that Adrian had my phone and that he was attending Tom’s shiur at that very moment. I had time to dash through and collect my phone before 7pm, raced home and Morris’s call was successfully completed. Morris made me another cup of hot tea and I said a silent thank you to my copy of SNACshots.
SNACtivities SNAC Tours the Golan
On the journey back to Netanya we were privileged to have a talk by SNACer Yossi Skoczylas, who had been called up as a reservist tank officer during the 1973 war and was able to describe the horrors of that conflict first hand. We arrived back tired but exhilarated after a long enjoyable trip. • Alan Mays
Food for Thought
ou don’t have to look far for intellectual stimulation in the SNAC community. Members of our community, as well as guest scholars, provide lectures on diverse subjects of interest. Once a month Norman Bailey
Photo by Charles Green
he first tiyul of the season was an immediate sell-out, with the prospect of seeing some of the most spectacular views over northern Israel. Our guides were Miriam and Rabbi Yisrael Haber who had lived in the Golan before moving to Netanya. The planned visit to a Druze town was called off for security reasons, but instead our first stop was the chair lift at Mount Hermon. We were advised to bring warm clothes and a variety of suitable attire. The resulting display included clothes which had never been seen in Netanya (one intrepid participant was actually wearing shorts). The ride was breathtaking with magnificent views and an awesome stillness – punctuated by SNAC chatter! On descent, we enjoyed
our packed lunches – and dreamed about hot soup! Our next stop was Birkat Ram, a crater lake with more spectacular views. Throughout the journey Rabbi and Mrs. Haber regaled us with first-hand accounts of their years living in the area. Our final stop was Mount Bental from where there were clear views into Syria including both the old and new towns of Quneitra and the UN encampments. We also explored Syrian bunkers and emplacements where some of the most ferocious battles of the Yom Kippur War took place. Seeing the terrain and listening to tour guides’ commentaries brought home to us what a miracle it was that Israel prevailed despite the overwhelming odds.
Issue #9 / april 2020
Photo by Mickie Sallmander
presents his World Affairs Lectures, providing insight on subjects such as The Trump Peace Plan, Israel’s Structural Election Problem, and How Israel Should Utilize Its Coming Gas-Income Bonanza. Aubrey Kreike, our own SNAC expert on all things musical, this year presented three fascinating music and commentary lectures: Opera – (The Horse in the Course), The Concerto, and Mexican Music – (Down Mexico Way). Each lecture featured a range of ten or more musical selections. Stepping into the Rosh Chodesh lecture spot, Roy Pinchot offers a series of talks discussing “Did Maimonides Believe in Personal Providence?” Last month Roy presented the Rambam’s description of the five different ideas of providence held by various religions and philosophers and Maimonidies' own idea of how to harmonize providence with philosophy, the prophets, and history. “Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?” This was the title of a thoughtful presentation by Barbara Billauer. She led the audience through the scholars’ disagreement over the date of the Exodus and presented a biography of the Pharaohs and their dynasties. Her conclusion based on the weight of evidence: Tutmose III was the Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus. Dr. Stefan Reif, curator of the Genizah Collection at Cambridge University, returned to SNAC to discuss the findings of researchers
Photo by Mike Garmise
about the state of prayers in the letters and fragments of the collection. During Chanukah week, SNAC held a Shabbaton with guest Rabbi Samuel Landau, son of our very own Ros and Martin Landau, who presented interesting perspectives about the miracle of Chanukah. It was a full house for the lunch and seudah, and all enjoyed the presence of the young Landau family. • Roy Pinchot
The Shabbat Project
avdalah candles created dots of light in the dark, crisp evening, causing residents of buildings to peer from their balconies, as over 100 people sang and danced in the synagogue garden. On
Shabbat Vayera, SNAC and the Sephardi congregation joined in a havdalah celebration as part of The Shabbat Project, the initiative of South Africa Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein; his mission is to have Jews all over the world celebrate one Shabbat a year together. This year, Jews in over 1600 cities in 106 countries participated, creating a worldwide unifying Shabbat spirit for our people. SNAC and members of the Sephardi synagogue met in the garden on November 16, gathering around Alan Mays, who presented a moving melodic rendition of the havdalah prayers. Assisted by his daughter Emma and the congregation, Alan’s baritone voice rang out as havdalah candles swayed and congregants joined in, creating a sense of reverence and unity. Following havdalah, the dynamic duo, Charles Green and Roy Cohen, broke into song, providing continuous Israeli music for communal singing and dancing. Perhaps in future years, the neighbors who viewed the event from their balconies will sing and dance with us in the garden. • Roy Pinchot
The SNAC Challah Bake
NAC began the Shabbat Project two days early this year with a challah bake, converting the synagogue into a mini-bakery with 33 enthusiastic bakers from Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Yemenite backgrounds, including several first-timers. After the dough was kneaded and left to rise, Miriam Haber explained the religious essence of challah baking, sharing her personal experiences as well. Miriam and Shelli Weisz demonstrated the art of braiding a six-strand challah. After about an hour the dough had risen and the women gleefully sank their hands into the sticky dough and began to braid the challah and prepare it for baking. Each woman took her prepared challah home to finish the job in her own oven. Thanks to a great team of volunteers, the evening was a huge success. Linda Kaye, Barbara Westbrook, Marcia Peretzman, →
Gertie Forman, Ros Cole, Barbara Wolkind, Toni Green and Miriam Haber assured that all went smoothly, leaving the synagogue ready for the next day’s prayers and activities as though flour and water had never been mixed on the premises. By Gertie Forman
Chanukah is Party Time
NAC members participated in a spiritual, psychological, meaningful (and quite tasty) seder the morning of Tu B’Shvat. Approximately 50 members crowded around a U-shaped table arrangement adorned with plates of fruits and nuts to read from a special Tu B’Shvat haggadah, conceived, written, and produced by Chairman Shelli Weisz. As each person read a section of the haggadah, all were delighted to note the many different accents among the SNAC community – English, American, Swiss, Scottish, South African and even Norwegian. Interspersed with the blessings were Kabbalistic commentaries on the spiritual meaning of the holiday, explaining how each symbol should increase our personal devotion and highlight our desire for selfimprovement.
ust days before PM Netanyahu announced the restriction of gatherings to under 10 people, SNAC members gathered for the magnificent megillah reading by Mike Garmise and on Purim afternoon for a delicious meal at the Saga Restaurant. Charles Green and Roy Cohen provided the musical entertainment and Ephry Eder had us all in stitches with his “dramatic” reading of two Rowan Atkinson skits. Costumes were colorful and imaginative and spirits were high. Photos by Ephry Eder
nce again, dancing feet and swinging guitar music, provided by the ever-exuberant Charles Green, filled our synagogue garden. On the second night of Chanukah, following Ma’ariv prayers, SNAC members joined our partners from the adjacent Sephardi synagogue in an evening of candlelighting, sufganiot, song and dance. As we gathered around the chanukiah, Rabbi Fachler lit the candles and all present belted out Maoz Tzur. Members of the two congregations addressed the gathering, expressing the importance of unity among the Jewish people.
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Issue #9 / april 2020
Meet Irith Langer By Reva Garmise
lthough most people will tell you that Irith Langer hails from Switzerland, not many know that she is one of the few sabras at SNAC and was actually born in Hadera, just a few kilometers north of Netanya. During World War II, Irith’s parents were refugees in Switzerland. After the war, the Swiss “encouraged” the 30,000 Jewish refugees to leave. Irith’s Zionist parents chose to emigrate to Israel, where Irith was born. “My father was a jeweler who worked in Haifa and came home every weekend. Home was a maabara (one of the many temporary camps set up in the 1950s to absorb new immigrants; conditions were as basic as could be). Eventually the family moved to a two-room apartment in a house owned by a Yemenite who had two wives. Life was difficult and Irith’s grandmother in Austria was ill, so when Irith was nine months old, the family moved back to Europe, first to Austria and then to Basel, where Irith grew up.
The First Proposal When she was five years old, good friends of Irith’s parents, the Langers, came to visit from New York. It was love at first sight for the Langers’ five-year-old son Leslie, who proposed to Irith. She turned him down, apparently not yet ready to tie the knot. Over the years the Langers visited several times. “I knew from the beginning that we would end up together,” says Irith. When they were 17, on another visit to Basel, the relationship became serious. During the following years they corresponded. Leslie’s German was minimal and Irith’s English even worse. Somehow love overcame these minor obstacles and at age 20 they married in Basel.
New York Right after their marriage, Irith and Leslie flew to New York where they lived for three and a half years. Having completed a four-year jeweler apprenticeship with her father, Irith went straight to Tiffany (why not start at the top?) in search of a job. Through the recommendation of an acquaintance of her father’s, she found a job designing and creating jewelry. Her boss introduced Irith in the jewelry district as “schatzi,” which means sweetheart in German, and all the other jewelers in the district began to call her “schatzi,” much to her amusement. Now, pregnant and missing her family, Irith convinced Leslie to move to Switzerland. Leslie was happy as long as he could find a basketball team to play on (he did). He also found an excellent job in his profession as financial manager of a large company. Irith also managed to convince Leslie’s parents to move to Switzerland.
New Careers In 1983, now a mother of three boys, Irith studied and taught physical education and prepared women for birth and post-natal care in her own studio. “I was always very involved in my work, creating my own style, rather than following trends. Likewise, I loved to dance and was inspired by many modern dance techniques.” Irith and Leslie came from secular backgrounds. At one point, they decided to take a course in Judaism. “We enjoyed
the course but felt it was not enough to learn about our religion; we should also practice it.” Gradually they adopted a more observant lifestyle. Together with a friend, Irith organized seminars for religious and secular women. One Sunday morning, 100 women came together and learned to accept one another, often shedding tears in the process. While looking for literature to help bring together the two factions, Irith came across F.M. Alexander’s fourth book on his technique. “What I read there was exactly what I believed in. The Alexander Technique is not simply a way to relieve a backache. It is more a way of life, a way of living,” explains Irith. The Technique is a method for improving quality of life by re-training habitual patterns of movement and posture. Irith embraced the concept, went for the three-year training course and has continued to teach the technique ever since. She had found the niche that would define her future life. The many people she worked with and helped remained loyal to her for years – until the day she and Leslie made aliyah in 2004. “We moved to Netanya, joined SNAC when it was established, and both of us felt very much at home in the shul. SNAC enriched our lives. Leslie was involved as the treasurer of the synagogue for several years. Our three sons live with their families in Basel, Madrid and Berlin.” Leslie died in 2016. The love affair between two five-year-olds had blossomed into a union of two souls, together for almost 50 years.
SNAC/shots lost & found
Journey to Freedom Lost
By Ephry Eder
he late Mendel Monderer was a good egg. In Antwerp of the 1930s, he was the life and soul of the social scene and had a wide circle of friends. Among them, maybe his best, was my late father, Naftali. Their friendship was not limited to parties, concerts, museums, Yiddish play readings and theatrical performances. Rather, it extended to the joint purchase and ownership of a motor car. We are here talking pre-war. A car! How they arranged this shared ownership, I do not know. Whatever their arrangement, it worked, to such an extent that when World War II came to Belgium, this jointly-owned car was pressed into the service of escape. Mendel and my parents packed the vehicle with bare essentials and started the drive along the coast towards France. They drove up to the border town of La Panne. There Mendel and my parents parted company. My parents decided to continue on foot, while Mendel chose to drive back and see if there were others whom he might ferry to hoped-for safety. My parents never saw him again. On his return journey to Antwerp, the car with Mendel Monderer inside received a direct hit from a German bomber. The date was 13 Iyar 5700 (21 May 1940). Loss is actual, but memory can survive. The weekly JNF News of 14 May 1943 indicates that trees in Eretz Israel (then Palestine) “were planted in the name of Mendel Monderer by his friends Lenni and Naftali Eder.” The date corresponds to his yahrzeit.
Lenni and Naftali Eder
pon reaching the outskirts of Dunkirk, and pausing from the long and tiring walk, my father went to the docks to find a ship to transport them away – any unoccupied country would do. He left my mother on the street pavement outside a small parade of shops. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, she turned round to face the road and
the lines of tired pedestrians fleeing Belgium. As she turned, she saw in utter amazement her dear parents-in-law walking past. She promptly rescued them from the moving line. Family found – against the odds. She held them close until her husband returned with news of a Scandinavian coal ship that was prepared to take refugees and sail for England. They managed to get on board and were lucky to find there other family members. That journey was marked by several memorable incidents. Firstly, among the ship’s passengers were Belgian and French soldiers who undressed and dropped their uniforms overboard as soon as the ship sailed, so as not to be seen as deserters. Then there were the constraints of maintaining Jewish life. On the Friday on board, my mother used her substantial charms with the galley staff to procure half a potato. This she deemed would be a suitable substitute over which her father-in-law could make kiddush. Standards must be maintained, no matter what. Their 1940 journey took three or four days to cross from Dunkirk to Southampton – with enemy warplanes flying above. It was around Lag BaOmer 1940, that my parents actually arrived in England. To my mother’s surprise, upon docking in Southampton, all were handed gas masks by volunteers from the Women’s Institute. My mother considered this a wonderful chesed as, having been born in Holland, she was a foreigner in Belgium and did not qualify for one there. In England, though a refugee and a foreigner, she was considered an equal with the same entitlements as any indigenous Englishman. Amazingly those volunteers, notwithstanding the war, organized a “Thé Dansant” in a stadium, with a band and all. My grandmother could not fathom how young people could be so carefree and dance while war was raging. Go explain what freedom means and how wonderful it is to deem it ‘Found.’
Issue #9 / april 2020
On the Bus with Roy and Ginger By Roy & Ginger Pinchot
Photo by Roy Pinchot
hen Ginger and I made aliyah, we agreed to try living without the trouble and expense of maintaining an automobile. This was a bold move as both of us had owned cars since we were 16 years old (a very long time ago.) As luck would have it, our new apartment was only a few hundred steps from the Egged stops for the number 7 bus that runs through our neighborhood, along Ben Ami from the Carmel Hotel to Simcha Erlich and beyond. Of course, our first trip on the bus was quite an adventure as we did not know its winding route through multiple neighborhoods, the 38 stops it makes along the way, and that we needed to get a RavKav card at the main bus terminal on Benyamin Boulevard. That first bus trip reminded us of a Bob Newhart comedy routine, where
Bob plays a bus driving instructor. He’s praising a student bus driver, saying, “Okay, accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake, excellent, you’ve got Mrs. Jones spinning down the aisle.” Bob’s instructor must have had a hand in training the drivers of the number 7 buses. On an Israeli bus, navigating from paying the driver to reaching one’s seat takes practice, balance, speed, and guts. During our first bus adventure, I took along a map of Netanya (they do still exist) and traced the bus route, so I would know how to get to my destination, even transferring buses when necessary. Fortunately, my most frequent bus route was and remains the one to the swimming pool, which is blessedly the last stop on the southbound number 7.
Meeting Israel Conveniently, our most frequent haunts are on Bus number 7’s routes. Northbound, it proceeds from our stop (opposite the Island Hotel) to: downtown, the Maccabi offices (handy when you’re in the golden age category) and the Central Bus Station on Benyamin near Herzl Street. From the station, it’s a short walk to anywhere in the downtown area including government offices. Southbound, number 7 departs from the Central Bus Station, passes through our neighborhood, meanders around the Simcha Erlich vicinity, and then makes its way to Ir Yamim Mall, ending up at Poleg and Hahof Hayarok (Green Beach) at the southern end of Netanya. We truly find riding the bus a fascinating experience, allowing us to rub shoulders with many segments of the Netanya population. Schoolchildren energize the aisles, laughing and texting,
nonstop. Particularly fascinating are the Ethiopian female passengers draped in their traditional African apparel, featuring multiple shawls, ankle-length skirts and various turban-style head coverings – all in rich African color palettes. In contrast, the Ethiopian teens sport sneakers, jeans and tee shirts – identical to their non-Ethiopian peers. And there are solo passengers, some younger than 8, rolling or schlepping backpacks larger than they, armed with cell phones and RavKav cards, confidently traveling home from school – surprising Americans, who are not used to letting our children out of sight. Bus travel also presents only-in-Israel moments – the driver wishing us “Shabbat shalom,” as we de-board on Friday, the person in the next seat reading Tehillim or – our personal favorite – Ginger’s recent bus experience. She was comfortably seated at the front of the bus when an elderly man laboriously stepped onto the bus, a bag of apples weighing him down. He presented an apple to the driver who graciously accepted the gift and proceeded to recite the bracha before taking a bite of the apple. As he finished saying “ha-etz,” the entire bus, in unison, shouted, “Amen!” To those of you who have not yet experienced a local bus ride, we strongly recommend a field trip – just remember, never stand up when the bus is rounding a curve and hang on to a nearby pole for dear life until the bus has come to a complete stop. Take it from us, two highly experienced bus-travelers. Every trip is an adventure on bus number 7.
Shelley & David Fishel By Reva Garmise
helley and David Fishel made aliyah on October 3, just half a year ago. For Shelley, this was not the first time. “I was 11 years old, living in Leeds, when one morning my parents woke us, saying we were going on a trip. Very exciting! What they didn’t tell us was that the trip would end up in Haifa after 16 days of travel via Dover to France, Italy and Greece. And three weeks after our arrival, they broke the news that we were staying in Israel. I was devastated, uprooted, friendless in a land where everyone spoke a foreign language. In Leeds I was just starting as a pupil in a prestigious girls’ school. Entering school here was a big shock. I went from being a goodie-two-shoes English girl to an English- speaking girl in the noisy and boisterous Israeli school system. Fast forward to 1977. The tables were turned. Shelley’s family decided to return to the UK, but now Shelley refused to go back with them. “I had become a fully acclimated young girl, with an Israeli boyfriend. I stayed with the family of a girlfriend and entered army service as a ‘lone soldier’ and eventually moved to a shared flat in Rishon LeZion. My only trips back to England were in 1978 for my father’s funeral and then a year later for the stone setting.” On to 1980. Enter David, a first-time tourist on holiday in Israel, staying with a friend, not far from where Shelley was living. A blind date was arranged
and bingo, they were a couple. David remembers that one of the first things Shelley told him about herself was that she “never ever wanted to live in England again.” David went back to London after his holiday and Shelley followed some three months later. He was at the beginning of his career as an accountant and was about to become a partner in an accountancy practice so the timing was not right for aliyah. However, the plan was always to return to Israel. In 1992 David started his own practice. The time still was not right for aliyah.
Completely and Utterly Secular David came from a traditional Jewish upbringing. “My family, on the other hand, was completely and utterly secular,” says Shelley. “It was clear to me that if I wanted to invite David’s parents to our home, we would have to maintain a kosher kitchen.” This was the beginning of a gradual change to an Orthodox
lifestyle. They were involved with Project SEED, which introduces an Orthodox way of life to participants. In 2017 David sold his practice, the final step towards making the move to Israel. David still does some consultancy work and Shelley also continues to work in her profession. She ran her own IT Training company in England and now offers the same service online, rather than face to face. Their aliyah has been relatively smooth, in great part due to Shelley’s fluency in Hebrew gained during the 10 years she lived here. David plans to study Hebrew once they are firmly settled. “Actually, I have no trouble making myself understood,” says David, “as long as Shelley is with me!” The Fishels have three children, all married and settled in different parts of the world: New York, Ramat Bet Shemesh and London. They also have seven grandchildren. “Wherever we live, at least two of our children are living in other countries.” Israel, of course, was the logical and preferred choice for them. They purchased their apartment from plans in 2007, finally getting the keys in 2010 – and it turned out to be a great choice, with many other SNAC members living in the same building. They are here, happily established in Netanya and a welcome addition to the SNAC community.
Issue #9 / april 2020
lost & found
Monkey Returns from Down Under By Alan Mays
Photos by Joyce Mays
ur daughter Emma inherited Monkey from her brother aged three, shortly after her birth. To describe him as a 'glove puppet' is to do him a grave disservice. Monkey quickly settled into the role of Emma's companion, confidante, counselor and nightly storyteller. He accompanied her everywhere and on her occasional absences from mum and dad – whether at Bnei Akiva camp, sleep-overs, hospital or at residential college – he stood in loco parentis and helped her to feel safe. So it was with shock and disbelief that one day Monkey was nowhere to be found. Our house was scoured from top to bottom in every conceivable place – and some very inconceivable ones – but to no avail. The sad conclusion was that Monkey was irretrievably lost. He had gone missing once before on an overseas trip where he was accidentally left behind
in a café. I was tasked with returning to find him while wondering how to describe to a non-English speaking waiter what I was looking for. Fortunately, on that occasion Monkey had the good sense to be readily visible under a chair!
Monkey Calls Home This time there was no such easy solution. Emma was bereft. To console her I settled on arranging for a nightly 'phone call' from Monkey to Emma telling her about his day. Fortunately, his voice very closely resembles my lower ranges. In the first such call, Monkey explained to Emma that, in a rash moment and as an adventure, he had found his way on to an aircraft bound for Australia. Although he missed Emma very much, he was settling into his new life and had actually met some monkey relatives who were helping him
to acclimatize. He promised Emma that he would ring her every day and tell her a story and describe his new life. She could also ring him any time she needed his advice or reassurance. Emma was greatly comforted by this and bedtime once again resumed with monkey stories, although now he spoke 'over the phone' rather than on my hand. The following year we were preparing for our annual summer holiday. Suitcases were retrieved from the loft where they had languished for the past twelve months. When the first case was opened ---JOY! There, a little dusty but otherwise none the worse for wear was Monkey! A euphoric reunion ensued and bedtime resumed its old pattern with Monkey perched on the end of my hand; only now, every story began with the words 'One day when I was in Australia I was walking down the street when...' and a new adventure would unfold. Finding him in a suitcase added credence to the Australia adventure! Monkey is still with us although it would be fair to say that he is looking somewhat older, frailer and faded. However, his intellect is as sharp as ever and he continues to offer sound advice and to help me think of quiz questions to ask Emma. From time-totime, Emma likes to reminisce about Monkey's adventures in Australia.
The Jewish Opera By Aubrey Kreike & Roy Pinchot
n 1842, Guiseppe Verdi, one of opera’s greatest composers, staged Nabucco. Nicknamed, “The Jewish Opera,” Nabucco established Verdi as a rising star in the opera world and made him a national idol to his Italian countrymen. Nabucco was Verdi’s first great success following two operatic failures. These, coupled with the death of his wife and two children, threw Verdi into a deep depression, and he vowed he would
culture ran through the lines that followed and they made a tremendous impression on me… but I went to bed. I took it back to the director in the morning to say ‘no,’ but he shoved it back in my pocket and commanded, ‘Set it to music!’ and pushed me out the door… Little by little the opera was composed.” Nabucco was an overnight sensation and a triumph.
Photo by Roy Pinchot
never compose again. However, the director of La Scala Opera theater in Milan saw Verdi on the street and thrust the libretto for a new opera into Verdi’s hands. In no mood to write music, Verdi violently threw the libretto on his desk when he returned home. “I stood directly in front of it. The bundle of pages, falling on the table, opened by itself: without knowing why, I stared at the page before me and saw the line, ‘Va Pensiero sull’all dotare’ (Go thoughts on golden wings). I
Patriotism, Lament and Revolution Nabucco is a story about the Jews, Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucco in Italian) the king of Babylon, the Jews’ exile, and captivity in Babylon. “Va Pensiero” is the song the chorus of Jews sings in Babylon as they remember, “Oh my country so beautiful and lost! Rekindle the memories within our hearts, tell us about the time that has gone… give us a sound of lament.” The Italians, under the tyranny of the Austrians, saw themselves in the same sorrowful condition as the Jews. When the curtain came down, the audience, inspired by the Jews’ patriotic
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lost & found longing for their homeland, leapt to their feet and shouted, “Freedom for Italy!” The aria “Va Pensiero” became the flame that ignited the Italian Risorgimento (unification/ revolution). According to many historians, this song of the Jews and the opera Nabucco launched the Italian revolution for independence and freedom. “Va Pensiero” became the virtual anthem of the national movement. “Viva Verdi!” was a rallying cry across Italy because the composer was a symbol of unification leadership, and because his name was the acronym for Victor Emanuele Re d’Italia (King of Italy), who was to be the first king of a united Italy.
Grand Opera – Not History! The opera takes great liberties with the actual history of the Jews in Babylon. In the opera, Nabucco defeats the Jews, destroys the Temple, and exiles the people to Babylon. Nabucco is visited with madness, but is later struck by a thunderbolt, causing him to regain his senses and convert to Judaism. In the end, Nabucco makes peace with the Jews and frees them to return to their beloved land. Although history suffers in the cause of drama, the music is majestic and has endured throughout the years. Nabucco takes up the struggle of an oppressed people and the power of a seemingly absent god.
Opening Success and Eternal Fame Following the opening, the opera ran for 64 performances, an unheard of success, and in a revival later in 1842, it ran for an additional 57 performances. Within three years Nabucco had premiered in Vienna, Lisbon, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and Hamburg. Verdi went on to write another 28 operas, including four of the most popular of all time: Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, and Aida. In 1901, at the age of 88, Verdi died in Milan. Some 300,000 people gathered in the streets of the city (half of the city’s population) for the funeral procession – and as the coffin passed by, the crowd sang “Va Pensiero” – 60 years after the Jews in Nabucco first sang this great lament for their lost homeland on opening night at La Scala in Milan.
The Plaque By Graham Calvert
y family has been in England since the 1890s when my great grandfather Yizchok ben Yehoshua Shimon Klapich immigrated from Wilczyn, near Kolo, Poland. In fact, I am one of the rare Englishmen, all of whose great-grandparents are buried in London. In 1962, my father changed our last name to Calvert. Recently, as part of my search for my family’s history I was able to trace the history of Sarah Peizer, one of my great grandfather’s four siblings. Although so much of my ancestors’ background is lost to me, I am gratified to learn that their lives had an impact on the Jewish world. Sarah was married to Philip Peizer. She died, childless, in 1911, at age 40. Her husband commemorated her passing with a donation of £100 as well as a memorial plaque to the London Etz Chaim Yeshiva. In 1962, the yeshiva moved to Golders Green and the plaque that had been given in Sarah’s honor got lost in the shuffle. In 1977, I inquired at the yeshiva about the whereabouts of the plaque but no one knew. By sheer chance, 30 years later, I was looking in the garden behind the building adjacent to the yeshiva and found the Peizer donation plaque …a little grubby but still legible - a lasting remembrance of my great grandaunt’s generosity! The plaque reads: Remember the passing of this dear lady, Supported and gave strength to lomdei Torah, To set up a yeshiva in the city of London. A donation of £100 In a pure heart, To remember her name Sarah bas Yehoshua Who passed away 7th July, 1911, 11th Tammuz Aged: 40 years old.
Finding new information about my great grandfather’s family has given me a greater sense of connection to them.
ara’s husband Philip was an active member of the Jewish Baker’s Union. The Gazette of March 12th, 1897 reports a law case concerning Jews and Sunday baking. “Mr. Philip Peizer, of 91, Wentworth St. was the fourth and last case on the list. He stated that he had now ceased to bake or deliver on Sundays, but admitted that on the previous Sunday morning one of his customers came and took some bread, and the prosecution swore it was before 9 o’clock. A fine of 1 shilling with 2 shillings’ cost for opening his shop on Sunday was inflicted.”
Pesa c VeSa h Kashe mea r ch
Issue #9 / april 2020
lost & found
A Key Goes Home By Norman Rose
ast spring Helena and I took part in a J-Roots trip to Portugal. A direct ancestor of Helena on her father’s side, David Jacob Namias de Castro, was born in Lisbon in 1546 and, together with his wife Hannah, left for Hamburg to escape the Portuguese Inquisition. Subsequently their descendants moved to Holland, where Helena’s father was born in 1912. The Inquisition was formally established in Portugal in 1536. By then the practice of non-Catholic religions was forbidden. The Inquisition was directed at converts to Catholicism (mainly Jews) who were known as New Christians or Conversos – but who were suspected of secretly practicing their former religion. In the 15th and 16th centuries some Converso families managed to emigrate to places such as Holland, England, France, Italy, Germany, the Caribbean, Central and South America and the Ottoman Empire.
Shabbat in Lisbon We traveled to Lisbon a few days before the start of the tour to spend Shabbat in the capital. There we witnessed just how successful the Inquisition had been in destroying Jewish life in Portugal. At the Shabbat morning service in the main Shaare Tikvah synagogue, Brooklyn-raised Rabbi Natan Perez delivered his sermon in English. We later discovered that, of the 50 people present in the synagogue that day, at least 45 were tourists. On the first day of the J-Roots tour we took part in a lengthy walk through parts of the beautiful capital, including the Rua de Judiaria and the Rossio Square, site of the massacre of hundreds of New Christians in April 1506. After Lisbon, we traveled to Castelo de Vide, a picturesque historic city close to the Spanish border. It was here that many Spanish Jews first arrived in Portugal following the Edict of Expulsion issued on March 31, 1492 by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain.
The Key The Jewish population of Castelo de Vide increased greatly after the expulsion from Spain and a small synagogue, built there in the 13th century by Gibraltarian Jews, has been recently restored. We met Carolino Tapajedo, a non-Jewish local resident, who was one of the driving forces behind that restoration. Some years ago he discovered his hidden Jewish ancestry and
in 2015 he took part in a Conference on Anusim (Jews forced to abandon Judaism), at the Netanya Academic College in Israel. There he was approached by a woman who was born in Castelo de Vide into a family that had secretly maintained Jewish traditions since arriving from Spain. Having no close family, she made aliyah to Israel at an advanced age. She still had the original key to her family’s former house, which had been handed down through the generations, long after the house had been destroyed. She gave the key to Senhor Tapajedo as she wished it to remain in safe hands in her birthplace.
The 500-Year-Old Secret We traveled north to Belmonte to learn about the New Christians of that small, isolated mountain town. Following the death in 1970 of Antonio Salazar, Portugal’s Fascist dictator, and a return to democracy, a group of Belmonte citizens revealed publicly that, for 500 years, they and their ancestors had been practicing Catholicism publicly, while secretly continuing some Jewish traditions and marrying among themselves. In 1996 they opened a synagogue, Bet Eliahu. There we were addressed by the community’s president, who proudly informed us that he had a son studying at Hakotel Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Our tour also took us to the remnants of the Jewish quarter in Porto, as well as to the most impressive Kadoorie synagogue. We enjoyed a cruise on the River Douro before returning home. By then we were deeply grateful to have been born in a country which has allowed Jews to worship freely for hundreds of years.
SNACpackers Cruising the Greek Islands
e had heard stories about Mano Cruises, the Israeli cruise line operating out of Haifa. Mostly, they weren’t all that complimentary, apart from the food being kosher and plentiful! The main complaints were that it was an old ship, which was very off-putting, until we learned that the company was now operating a new ship, the Crown Iris, formerly of the Royal Norwegian cruise line. So while chatting over burger and fries in Netanya’s BP restaurant, Marcia and Nate, Angela and Peter and Penny and I decided to give it a try. By the end of the evening we had each booked cabins on a five-night cruise to Greece. After all, isn’t that the kind of thing we all dreamt about doing when we retired? Our group thinking was that if it didn’t come up to scratch, we only had few days left before we disembarked! Then, on the day before we left we learned that Roy and Laraine
Barnes were booked on the same cruise. And so it was that the following morning the (now) eight of us met on the boat and together enjoyed five fabulous days. None of us had previous cruising experience, but to us, the ship was comfortable and the food, as promised, just kept coming. The weather was bright, the Mediterranean was smooth and the main highlight was our visit to Kahal Shalom, the old synagogue in Rhodes. Built in 1577, it is rarely used except for occasional services relating to weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. It now serves as a Jewish museum telling the tale of the once thriving Jewish community in Rhodes. A 10- minute walk from the port, we found our way there. We weren’t disappointed; in fact, we were very moved. Prior to World War II, the Jewish community was 4000-strong. It now numbers about 50. After the island’s Italian governor introduced anti-Jewish laws in September 1938, more than 2000 Jews fled from Rhodes. The Germans occupied the island in 1944, leading to the deportation of the remaining 1,673 Jews to Auschwitz. Only 150 survived. Near the synagogue’s entrance a plaque lists the names of the Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust. We all look forward to cruising on Mano again soon. Ashley Leboff
Sicily – After the Expulsion Inside Kahal Shalom, Rhodes. l-r Ashley, Laraine, Roy, Penny, Nate, Marcia, Angela. Photo: Peter Redstone.
here are many clever ways to prepare for touring holidays and we did none of them! After five hectic days in the UK, a taxi collected us at 04.45 to take us to Heathrow for a flight to Rome and then
to Palermo. Unsurprisingly, we arrived in Palermo in need of a holiday. Over the centuries, Christians, Moslems and Berbers all had a hand in the rise and fall of Sicily. A walking tour in Palermo highlighted where the Jewish community “had been.” Palermo looked tired and run down. The first place where we saw an active life with shops and restaurants and people in the streets was Syracuse. At what was described to us as a mikva in the town, we descended 56 steps to see three inter-communicating pools fed by underground natural springs. In 365CE, a major earthquake destroyed the city’s huge and monumental Roman theater in chic Taormina. Restored in the mid-20th century, it is now used for performances for three summer months of the year. It is splendidly located overlooking a beautiful bay, with Mt. Etna smoking in the background. Messina is a port city with a large population. Following the expulsion, it was the main exit place for the Jews. Spain did an incredibly efficient expulsion of some 45,000 Jewish souls representing about 9% of the total island population of the time. The expulsion led to an immediate and
Issue #9 / april 2020
severe decline in the island’s economy. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned from that. Culled from Alan Lewis’ blog
Life on the Ocean Wave
was heartening to see the resurgence of Jewish life in the Baltics. Boredom? On days at sea there were multiple activities to keep us occupied; one of our favorites was a choir led by a charismatic conductor (of course we joined). We sang our way through old favorites – although passed on Stealing Away with Jesus! Lessons for our next cruise? Bring a sharp pair of scissors to open the muchswathed kosher food to replace our tiny sewing scissors which finally broke – fortunately at the ‘last supper’ – and wait as long as necessary for a table for two to avoid constant explanations as to why our meals came multi-wrapped! Oh – and happily no sea sickness!! Joyce Mays
e had never given serious thought to a cruising holiday – one of us concerned about boredom, and the other about seasickness. However, the prospect of visiting interesting cities without packing and unpacking and traveling effortlessly from one destination to another won us over. Our cruise-enthusiast friends reassured us that we would love it. And so we did! Two weeks of tranquil sailing, cocooned from the outside world, adjusting to the culture shock of a British childfree ship, and dressing for four 'dress nights' when military medals could be worn – and frequently were. The cities themselves – Riga, Tallinn, St Petersburg, and Copenhagen – more than lived up to our expectations. Although there were grim memories of what befell Jewish communities during the Nazi era, it
Looking for a Cool Time
ony and I love Israel, but truthfully we don’t love it so much in August. Netanya is hot, humid and crowded. That’s when we travel somewhere cooler. This year we cruised to Iceland and Greenland. And yes, it was COLD. Greenland is not green. It was given its ironical name by Erik the Red in the tenth century, obviously a bit of a joker, hoping that this marketing incentive would entice people to come and live there. It is the world’s largest island and 80 percent of it is covered by ice. The day we visited Greenland, Donald Trump must have known, as that was the very day he tried to buy Greenland
for America. We didn’t know we were so important! This idea sounds like a mad scheme thought up by Trump but actually, the United States has made several proposals to buy Greenland since 1867. The day we were there it was bright and sunny, which was great for us. The village in which we docked was gorgeous, the houses brightly colored and inviting. But the blocks of ice visibly melting as we looked on, portended a disaster in the making for our planet. Positioned in the Arctic, the Greenland ice sheet is especially vulnerable to climate change. The people of Greenland are Inuit. Looking just like Eskimos, they are an honest, though not a beautiful race. I hasten to add that they must appear lovely to each other. But the Icelanders! My goodness. They are all tall, blond Vikings. I bet their DNA would not have much Ashkenazi Jew in the mix. Reykjavik, the capital, is a hip, modern city. We marveled at the thermal swimming pools and diverse cultural life. It is among the cleanest, greenest and safest cities in the world. We stayed for a couple of days though really you could spend a week there without seeing everything. We found our cool time. Hot or not, there is no place like home. Ros Cole
Jews in the Land of the Midnight Sun By Mickie Sallmander
9.3293° N. That is the latitude of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. My birthplace and where I spent the first 24 years of my life. When you live that far north you learn to live with Jewish extremes. How about taking your Shabbat nap on Friday instead of Saturday afternoon during the long dark winter months? Shabbat starts as early as 14:30, so you light candles, take a nap and then go to shul for Kabbalat Shabbat. Or how about havdalah around 10 minutes to midnight during the long light days of summer? It is, after all, “the land of the midnight sun.” Notwithstanding the extremes, the city of Stockholm, built on 14 islands, is breathtakingly beautiful. If you have not yet spent time there in the summer, put
it on your list; you will not regret it. But make sure your timing is right because as the Swedes quip, “I love the Swedish summer; it is the best day of the year.”
The Founder Jewish life in Sweden began in 1774 with the arrival from Germany of Aaron Isaac, founder of the first Jewish congregation in Stockholm. Mr. Isaac had to fight the Swedish government and its bureaucracy for permission to settle and work as an engraver. They wanted him to convert and get baptized. In his memoirs he recalls his conversations with government officials: “… if you agree to be baptized, you will immediately be granted citizenship and enjoy all the freedoms and rights and for 10 years be exempt from all dues (taxes). No other person has received an offer like this. Think about it and get back to us in 8 days.” Aaron Isaac replied, “Dear
Sir, I do not need any reflection time. I do not want to exchange faith for all the gold in the world. I have not come here to sell or change my religion.” The following year King Gustav III gave Aaron Isaac and his family the right to live in Stockholm and practice their religion, which meant bringing in enough families to form a minyan. By 1778-79, a community of 40 families comprised Stockholm’s Jewish community. Jews were only allowed to live in three cities – Stockholm, Gothenburg and Norrköping – and were permitted to work in only a few crafts. They also were
→ Before Shabbat at Jewish Summer Camp
← The Great Synagogue of Stockholm
Issue #9 / april 2020
"Even after 28 years in the US and 7 years in Israel, some Swedish traits remain part of who I am." required to have a minimum amount of money corresponding to at least 10 times a yearly salary. In 1870, a constitutional amendment gave Jews complete civil rights. Until 1870, Jews came mainly from Germany and the Netherlands. Most of them gradually assimilated into Swedish society. Around the turn of the century, more and more Eastern European Jews migrated to Sweden. Anti-Semitism had increased in Eastern Europe and many Jews were forced to flee persecution and pogroms in Russia. The majority were passing through on their way to the United States. Through this Eastern Jewish immigration, the number of Jews in Sweden more than doubled between 1880 and 1930, from around 3000 to about 6500. In 1903 my grandfather (Farfar in Swedish) Bernhard Sallmander (Salamonitsky) migrated from Odessa to
Stockholm. It was meant to be a stopover on the way to the United States. Instead he stayed and married my grandmother Flora Linnea Neuman (Farmor) whose father Selman had come to Sweden as a 16-year-old from Pikkale in Lithuania around 1880. Sweden was officially neutral during the Holocaust but the government made concessions and sometimes breached the nation’s neutrality in favor of both Germany and the Western Allies. In 1943, following an order to deport Denmark’s Jewish population to concentration camps, almost all of Denmark’s 8000 Jews were brought to safety in Sweden. The country also became a refuge for Norwegian Jews fleeing German-occupied Norway. After the Holocaust, in 1945 and shortly thereafter, about 12,000 men, women and children released from concentration camps were transported to Sweden. Most of them stayed until they were healthy enough to move on to Israel or to the USA. Approximately a third remained in Sweden. My grandparents temporarily adopted one of the survivors, a little girl, Malchi, who some years later made aliyah and settled in Netanya. Twenty years later, my grandparents followed and from then on split their time between Stockholm and Netanya. This sequence of events and early exposure to Netanya is one of the main reasons Pam and I live here today.
Glämsta Later Jewish immigration to Sweden followed anti-Semitic campaigns and political upheavals in Central and Eastern Europe during the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘90s. The Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities estimates around 20,000 Jews in all of Sweden. Of those about 7000 are affiliated to a congregation. Stockholm has by far the largest community. A Jewish day school in Stockholm called Hillelskolan has a pre-school and grades 1-6; after completing grade 6, the students move to a “regular school” where the Jewish students, as a group, continue their Jewish and Hebrew studies during a set
number of hours per week. Stockholm’s Jewish community also runs a sleepaway summer camp called Glämsta, where many Jewish children get their first exposure to Judaism and develop a love for Israel – all while learning to swim, sail and play soccer. Stockholm has three synagogues, each one with its own unique history. The largest and oldest is the Great Synagogue, located in the city center. It was built in 1870 in an “oriental” style, seating 900. Today it is a Liberal synagogue, but was considered Conservative when I was growing up. The rabbi at the time understood that Jews from Eastern Europe were, in general, more observant and would not feel entirely at home in the newly constructed, very large synagogue. He also supported the creation of an Orthodox synagogue, Adas Yisroel, in the southern part of the city that opened in 1871. For a long time, it was known as the “poylische minyan.” Today, 149 years later, it still has a daily minyan. A second Orthodox synagogue called Adat Yeshurun is housed in the Jewish Community Center, also known as “Bayit.” It opened its doors in 1940 and its furnishings were sent on a train from Hamburg Germany, from one of the few shuls that survived Kristallnacht.
My Swedish-Jewish Heritage Writing this article made me think about my Swedish-Jewish heritage. Even after 28 years in the US and 7 years in Israel, some Swedish traits remain part of who I am. More than anything else, Bnei Akiva influenced me, in particular the summer and winter camps where Jewish kids from all of Scandinavia came together and lived and breathed Judaism 24/7 for a couple of weeks at a time. Most of my Jewish friends and I spent a year at Kibbutz Lavi and eventually settled in Israel. It is difficult to live as a practicing Jew in Sweden. Keeping kosher, as we did in my home, was hard then and remains a challenge. Circumcision is once again a topic of discussion among politicians. And last but not least, anti-Semitism, veiled as anti-Israel sentiment, is on the rise in Sweden as it is in so many other parts of the world.
SNAC/shots lost & found
My Grandfatherâ€™s Kippah By Ephry Eder
was only three years old when my grandmother and my grandfather died within a month of one another. Their passing was a loss to their 12 children scattered across the world who had been planning to visit the UK that year (1946) and celebrate their parents' Golden Wedding Anniversary. I too remember them well. Whenever we visited them my grandfather would tease me by chucking me under the chin. My grandmother, noting my displeasure would always step in to stop her husband's playfulness.
She, too, caused me a little irritation, as I would have to suffer her warm and tender but very wet kisses whenever we said goodbye. My grandfather had had a need for a passport and, to this end, went off to have the necessary photo taken. As per instructions, he removed his hat and kippah and the process was ultimately completed. I was shown a copy of the photo and refused to accept that this was a photo of my grandfather. "It's not him," I said as firmly as I could. "He's not wearing a kippah. It cannot be my grandfather." The primary need for taking the photo having been met, the family advertisement
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had no choice but to go back to the photographer and have him 'paint in' a kippah onto the negative from which subsequent prints could be distributed to the children and grandchildren. The photographer was none too expert in this task and his sense of perspective was somewhat awry. I am pleased to have found this photo as a remembrance of my grandfather and the fabled family tale.
Issue #9 / april 2020
Meet Linda Kaye By Reva Garmise
orn in Blackpool, a seacoast town with a small but solid Jewish community, Linda attended a Church of England school in which she and the other Jewish pupils enjoyed a privileged existence. “It was great fun for Jewish girls. We were excused from prayers and from communion and other chapel ceremonies and generally had a great time. The school turned out well-groomed girls... perhaps not the highest level of education, but we were a very ‘polished’ bunch,” relates Linda. “Just to be sure I wouldn’t end up with a Blackpool accent, my parents sent me for private elocution training as well.” Linda was also involved in the Blackpool synagogue from an early age. “My father was in charge of education and then served as chairman of the shul... The synagogue played a major role in my childhood. My family kept Shabbat and holidays and it was important to my parents that I have a Jewish education.”
A Turning Point Linda was 20 when her mother died at the age of 49, and in many ways this was a turning point in her life. Her father, a vibrant, energetic man in his youth, was a heartbroken man. He decided the family should move away from Blackpool and soon found an old dilapidated house in Edgware, London, around the corner from Linda’s brother’s home. There she gradually made friends with young Jewish people in the area and eventually met her husband-to-be, Ronnie Kaye, SNAC’s gabbai emeritus.
Off to a Difficult Start Linda and Ronnie Kaye have been happily married for 41 years, despite a less than auspicious beginning to their marriage. Linda’s father suffered a stroke a week before the wedding and was still hospitalized on the day they married. Her best friend and cousin was absent, having gone into labor 10 weeks early. “But our rabbi said we should not cancel and we went ahead. “On the day of my wedding, I went to the cemetery to visit my mother’s grave and then to the shul and finally visited my cousin who would now not be at my wedding. After the chuppah, Ronnie and I actually left the wedding to check on my father in the hospital, missing part of the festivities and driving the caterer into a frenzy. My father insisted we carry on with the honeymoon the
next day, but unfortunately the car engine blew on our way to Scotland and we had to return to Blackpool. End of honeymoon.” During the next two years, Linda and Ronnie drove back and forth between London and Blackpool, spending two weeks of every month attending to Linda’s father. Exactly two years to the date of the wedding, Linda’s father passed away. He was 56. Linda and Ronnie now spent more time in London and made lots of friends, including a group we called the Stanmore crowd. Among these friends were Ros and Tony Cole, Barbara and Brian Wolkind and Toni and Charles Green, all SNAC members who have continued their friendship with the Kayes to this day, now transposed to Netanya. “We made aliyah in 2011, exactly a week after Ronnie retired. It was the best thing we’d ever done!”
“You have a gift...”
nyone who knows Linda is aware of her ‘people skills,’ a talent that has served her well. This became apparent when she visited a friend at a hospital for paraplegics; a patient in the room was paralyzed from the neck down, depressed and suicidal. “She asked me to help her leave this world. I talked to her at length, telling her all the reasons she had to live. Not long afterwards the hospital social worker called me in to tell me that, following my visit, the woman began to recuperate. ‘You have a gift,’ she told me. Linda had worked at a home for mentally challenged children in Blackpool. In London, she served as a volunteer coordinator at a Jewish Care home for the elderly. She worked with abused women for Jewish Women’s Aid. For about 20 years before moving to Israel, Linda worked with Charles and Toni Green, when Charles was the official photographer to the queen at Buckingham Palace. She chatted with honorees and their families on Investiture Day, helping them decide on photos. She had done the same as a young girl, boosting sales at her father’s furniture stores. Yes, she definitely has a gift.
Photo by Roy Pinchot
new at snac
“It is a Tree of Life to those that hold fast to it, and all its supporters are happy.” – Proverbs 3:17-18 Our Tree of Life is a reminder of the joy we share together as a kehillah. Each leaf celebrates a loved one’s special occasion.
Pesach Greetings! Marilyn & David Ashton Laraine & Roy Barnes Birgitte Savosnick & Michael Baziljevich Brenda & Eric Brett Carolyn & Robert Casselson Les & Roy Cohen Shirley & Marcel Cohen Ros & Tony Cole Leah & David Cutler Terrie & Ephry Eder Judith & Rabbi Chaim Fachler Sylvia & David Fellerman Gertie & Morris Forman Reva & Mike Garmise Phillipa & Peter Goldberger Toni & Charles Green & Family Miriam & Yisrael Haber Gillian & Lee Heron Brenda Katten Linda & Ronnie Kaye Sandra & David Kibel Martin & Ros Landau Irith Langer 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 Roberta & Rafe Safier Barbara & Eric Salamon Pam & Mickie Sallmander Sharon & Jonathan Sherman Simone & John Sless Tina, David, Lara, Avi & Zaza Son Mindy & Avi Tokayer Jennifer & Leslie Wagner Barbara & Paul Westbrook Shelli & Tom Weisz Barbara & Brian Wolkind Iresine & David Woolf Susan & Issy Zuckerbrod
Issue #9 / april 2020
lost & found
My Yiddishe Mama By Gertie Forman
y mother, Sere Chazan, died in 2001 and with her passing I was worried that her story would be lost forever. During her lifetime she had related many incidents about her life and I listened but never felt the need to write them down. They were stored someplace in the recesses of my mind for eventual retrieval. A few months ago, at Judy Isenberg’s suggestion, I joined the SNAC Writers’ Circle, hoping to put my mother’s story down in writing and pass it on to my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I would call the book, “My Yiddishe Mama” and include the stories she related as well as others, sent to me from relatives in Israel, North and South America, South Africa and Australia. I knew that if I didn’t write this book, the stories would be lost. Through the Writers Circle I am finding my mother’s voice. Thank you Judy, Barbara, Charlotte, and Brenda for giving me the encouragement to write this story. I could not have done it without you.
How Sere Met Pinkus In 1930 Anne showed Pinkus a photo of her sister Sere Spitz who lived in Zagare, Lithuania, and asked him if he would be prepared to marry her. A new law prohibited immigrants from entering South Africa unless they were sponsored for a potential marriage. Sere was tall, thin and beautiful and Pinkus was lonely. He agreed to sponsor her. Anne would pay for
her sister’s passage. Sere was preparing to leave Zagare when she received a letter from Pinkus; he was having second thoughts and was not sure if he could go through with the plan. Sere tore up the letter. She had made up her mind. Whether he married her or not she was leaving Zagare. She would take a chance despite the government’s immigration law. Her mother had died a year earlier and she felt there was no future for her there. As hard as it was for her to leave her younger and older brothers and sisters as well as her father, she knew she was doing the right thing.
She thought that perhaps she too could arrange shidduchim for her siblings and, together with her father, they could leave Zagare. In her luggage Sere put together a small parcel consisting of her mother’s Shabbat candlesticks, a perene (goose down eiderdown), and a wooden rolling pin for baking. This was her yerusha (inheritance). Her friends escorted her to the ship which left from a port in Germany. When the ship docked in Cape Town, to her surprise, Pinkus was waiting for her, together with his uncle Rabbi Kotlewitz and his family. Pinkus and his family all loved her from the beginning as she was a cheerful and beautiful person both inside and out. When she saw Pinkus, she was impressed. He was very good looking and even though he was shorter than she was, she decided that she could live with that. Sere and Pinkus lived a happily-ever-after marriage for 61 years, with 4 children, 11 grandchildren and a growing number of great grandchildren in 4 countries around the world. Sere always said she was forever indebted to Pinkus because he saved her life: "Er hot mein leben geratevet."
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SNAC/shots jewish world
Jewish Leaders Honored at Palace
HRH Prince of Wales addressing Jewish leaders at Buckingham Palace
By Julian Lewis
of the most prominent members of our was privileged to be invited by His Jewish community who, through the Royal Highness The Prince of Wales ages, literally have transformed this to a reception at Buckingham Palace on country for the better. I am thinking also 5th December 2019 honoring the Jewish of those who are the cornerstones of their Community of the United Kingdom. The own local communities. They are the guests were leaders of Jewish volunteer people who, I am delighted to say, make organizations who made a significant up the larger part of this evening’s guest contribution to their community. list and to whom I want to offer particular His Royal Highness paid tribute in his speech: “The connection between the Crown gratitude.” and our Jewish Community is something I was invited to the Palace as treasurer special and precious… I have grown up and fundraiser for University Jewish being deeply touched by the fact that British Chaplaincy, an organization supporting synagogues have, for centuries, remembered Jewish students of all affiliations on my family in your weekly prayers. And as you British university campuses. remember my family, so we too remember This was certainly an evening never to and celebrate you. I am thinking not just be forgotten. z advertisement
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• SNACstats • At SNAC, we represent 18 different countries! Since Rosh Hashanah 5 new families have joined SNAC: Paula & Torvald Kanter Dina & Avi Klein Ed & Barbara Susman Tzpipi Trogan Jennifer & Leslie Wagner Since last Pesach we celebrated: 5 Engagements ● 10 Weddings ● 28 Grandchildren (20 boys, 8 girls) ● 4 Great Granddaughters ● 4 Great Grandsons Our community has taken 18 cruises since last summer! We’ve had: 10 members enjoy weekly Zumba lessons ● 12 members learn and play mah-jongg each week ● 12 members yell NO TRUMP in their weekly bridge games ● 6 people enjoy creative writing as part of a weekly writing circle
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Issue #9 / april 2020
The Sound of Music – Shearim By Reva Garmise
he year was 1989 and the influx of olim from the (former) USSR was beginning. Netanya received 30,000 new olim, many of them musicians who were determined to maintain their profession. Every corner of Herzl Street became an impromptu stage for violinists, accordionists, flautists, singers and other musicians who filled the air with the sound of music. Ervin Birnbaum, rabbi of Bet Yisrael Synagogue at the time, assessed the situation. With a good ear for music, he strolled the streets and zeroed in on a talented accordionist, offering him the opportunity to play before a paying audience. Proceeds of the concert would go to the musician. That was the beginning of Shearim (“Open Gates of Netanya,” pronounced sh’-a-rim). More than three decades later, the Monday noon concerts are still a tradition, drawing music lovers to the concerts in Shearim’s quarters on Kikar Artzmaut where the Bet Yisrael Synagogue had once been housed. Everyone’s a winner: Netanya residents can enjoy concerts by top-notch musicians at a very reasonable cost and the artists have the opportunity to perform professionally, often advancing from the informal local stage to well-established orchestras and larger stages.
Photo by Mike Garmise
Rabbi Ervin Birnbaum at Shearim concert
No more than 30 people attended the first concerts. But as word spread, more and more music lovers arrived; today audiences usually number 50 – 70. And some of the musicians who have established themselves in Israel’s cultural spheres continue to come back to Shearim where they got their start.
Beyond the Concerts Since its musical beginnings, Shearim has branched out to other areas, all with the single aim of facilitating the aliyah process. With a large number of singleparent families among the Russianspeaking immigrants, Shearim opened a kindergarten for the younger children, freeing the parents to go to ulpan and find work. Children aged 3 and up were picked up at their homes at 7:30 in the morning, offering them all the benefits of city-supported or private kindergartens plus extra lessons in Jewish studies, keeping the children happy and fruitfully occupied until 4 in the afternoon. Today, Shearim offers an after-school program (zaharon) from 1:30pm until 4pm. Teachers work with children on their homework, especially in math, English and music. The zaharon is recognized by the municipality (“though not financially,” remarks Rabbi Birnbaum). After 4pm, the doors
are open for arts and crafts and other activities. To acquaint the new Israelis with their new country, Shearim organizes a monthly outing to different sites in Israel, from the Negev to the Golan. The cost for olim is subsidized by English speakers who join the tours. A Pesach outing to Kibbutz Maagan Michael for a seder has proved to be a popular attraction. As immigration from the former USSR includes a fair number of newcomers who are not considered halachically Jewish, Rabbi Birnbaum organized classes in Judaism in preparation for conversion. From the beginning the classes have been very successful and a growing number of olim have been approved for conversion by the Bet Din rabbis. In addition, the organization runs a support group for Holocaust survivors from the former Soviet Union.
Award-Winning Initiative Shearim was the country’s first outreach program for Russian-speaking olim and its success has not gone unnoticed. Rabbi Birnbaum received the highest award offered by the City of Netanya, the title of Distinguished Citizen of Netanya (Yakir Ha-ir). He also was awarded the Special Mark of Distinction by the Masorati Movement as well as an Award of Special Recognition by the World Council of Synagogues in Paris, to name only a few. Few, if any, have done as much to facilitate the absorption of so many newcomers to Israel, in the process also bringing them closer to their Jewish heritage. The recognition and appreciation is well earned. For music lovers in Netanya, the Monday noon concerts are a highlight of the week. At NIS 35 per ticket this is amazing value for a concert by top musicians and operatic soloists. The concerts are held at 11 Kikar HaAtzmaut, in the Bank Hapoalim passageway, on the right side one floor up. The doors open at 11 for light pre-concert refreshments.
The Election Experience By Harold Sterne
ore than a year ago I completed and returned a form requesting to be included on the electoral roll in England. ThisÂ election was a crucial time for UK Jewry, and I wanted to exercise my right to vote. The last time I had voted in the UK was more than 30 years ago. Prior to the elections, a card was sent to me with the address of the polling station. It clearly stated that there was no need to bring the card in order to vote. No other identification document was required either. Surprise! I have been indoctrinated never to be without my teudat zehut! Having lived in Israel for several decades, I have experienced a number of Israeli elections, three (so far) in the present year alone. Here a long string of political parties invests heavily in advertising, posters, banners, jingles, transporting voters to the polling stations, whatever they feel it takes to win votes. In London I walked in a heavy downpour to cast my vote. The polling station was in a church hall about a quarter of a mile away. I found the church and a short walk around the corner brought me to a lone poster with voting instructions but nothing else. Where were the signs, the crowds, the jingles, the posters? The election results, as well as the entire process that preceded them, were a total surprise and certainly a good one for the Jews. I am glad that I managed not only to have my vote counted, but also to experience a totally different kind of election from what I have been accustomed to in Israel. How very British it was!
Drawing by Judy Isenberg
lost & found
At the Kinneret By Judy Isenberg
n the final hours of the festival, the band ecstatically embraced fiddle and guitar like lovers, releasing a flow of music. Hundreds of feet pounded the tired grass, while others, engulfed in a haze of harmony, sprawled on the ground. They lay on a mat. The boy turned his pretty, unformed face towards the girl, circling her with his urgent tie-dyed body. She sat up. Her features were strong, the nose and chin sharply defined; her abundant hair mostly dark, just the tips tinted a delicate bluegreen. He spoke earnestly with eager, puppyish gestures, his long tousled hair trembling. Unmoved, motionless, she seemed complete within herself. Abruptly the boy jumped up and walked away; she didn't turn her head. Waves of sound from the stage continued to lap around her, but she remained firm; her compelling equilibrium intact. After the masses had departed, as the light was turning pink on the empty shore, she approached the lake, purposefully but without haste. By the side of a discarded deckchair, she shed her clothes and strode onwards, oblivious to the sharp shingle. Not flinching or even hesitating, she entered the water with a fluid motion, as if it did not exist and swam with deft, economical strokes. A party of pilgrims disembarking from their holy cruise at a nearby dock, disturbed the calm, until at last the lake regained its tranquillity; its darkened surface once more smooth as a polished floor. On the shadowy beach, by the side of the discarded deckchair, the small pile slowly dissolved in the dusk. While somewhere in the lake, green-tipped hair gently merged with the water and gradually disappeared.
Issue #9 / april 2020
creativity Photo by Paul Kaye
The SNAC-RAP by Iresine Woolf
Lagoon Beach at Sunset By Brenda Brett I spent my time today looking for seashells along the shoreline that felt like wet fudge between my toes. Sinking into soft sand my footprints made little pools along the way that filled and gurgled with lacy foam. I walked along with eyes alert for little bits of shiny shell dumped upon the beach with each new wave spill. I found a few and held them gently in my hands to marvel at their shape and curl to run a finger round their creamy smoothness to raise them towards the light and watch the sun’s rays catch each prism of coral pinks and purples. I walked along until my pockets hung heavy with shells and sand and the water’s dampness. And a cheeky breeze carried the mystery of the sea home with me.
Welcome one and all to SNAC The heart of our community, It may not be the biggest shul But there’s much to do and see. Join us for our services On Shabbat and Festivals too It can get rather crowded But we’ll try and make room for you. If you’re interested in bridge games Come Mondays two till four With any luck you’ll make a slam And get the highest score. You could come along to Zumba You’ll need lots of energy For all the jumping to the music At the classes each Tuesday. You could help us in the kitchen Wish there was room for more I was in a bit of bother Being wedged behind the door. If you’re in the mood for learning There’s a shiur just for you So come along and take a seat Any questions welcomed too. We have speakers, we have film shows We have meetings and much more, There is no doubt that we at SNAC Know what a shul is for. So come along, enjoy yourselves But one thing you should know That when it’s time to tidy up... There are eight chairs in each row.
Say it in Hebrew!
The Last Word
By Mike Garmise
Lost & Found in Words
ntil the last few decades, language changed slowly. Today, with the new media leading the charge, it is undergoing almost as many changes as our daily headlines. In the process it is being enriched and debased at the same time.
Words Lost Language has always changed, of course. Very few can read Beowulf today in the original Old English. And even Chaucer, that paragon of Middle English, is accessible only to a handful of pedantic literati who smugly assert they can read – and understand – him. Alas poor Shakespeare, even he, whose English is considered modern, might say that English "has seen better days," especially words that he used. For example, a "nice" person in his day was silly. Perhaps s/he still is. American English has done its share of losing words and unburdening the language for the lazy. For example, "shall" was buried without pomp or circumstance at Arlington National Cemetery in the 1950s (notwithstanding "We shall overcome"), and a decade or so ago "whom" was interred in Pauper's Field for lack of supporters, except for pedants like the editors of this publication. And the distinction between "as" and "like"…well, we won't even go there.
Words Found On the plus side, thousands of new words have been added to our vocabulary and dictionaries, many pertaining to people, jobs, inventions and gizmos that simply did not exist 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ago. Those you either know or don't know. But what we have also noticed is an expansion of uses for solid words. "They grow" used to describe the
Passover – Pesach –פסח
developmental process of children and plants. You could also grow geranium in your garden and pumpkin in your field. Today you can grow a company. Grow your money. Grow your headaches. Another newish word we like is "repurpose," as in, "We are going to repurpose these old shoes. They will be great as planters." That's quirky and…nice [sic]. Repurposing has also been spotted in one of the biggest areas of change, and discomfort: pronouns. The word “they” is now a pronoun used to refer to a person (singular) whose gender identity is non-binary. In simple terms this means that the person in question has not yet decided whether he/she/it is a male, female or android. In fact, "they" was chosen as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Word of the Year for 2019. Fortunately, this total disregard for gender has not yet become widespread in Israel, although I am sure that in circles of gender-confused people who speak what they call English, the new term has been accepted with alacrity. I think I would have trouble using it. If I said, "They is ready," would I be referring to him/ her/it or simply speaking sloppily? Would "They are ready" be a statement as we usually understand it or a reference to one person in the sense of "you are ready"? As I said, it's confusing. On the one hand I'm sad about what I consider a devaluation of language. The trend is to think less about how to say what we want to say, to write it faster and shorter, and to obviate ambiguity with emoji (another new word). On the other hand, I applaud the flexibility of English. This is what has allowed English to usurp the title of lingua franca from French (a sin never to be forgiven by Francophiles). And I look at the loss of certain stalwart words as a form of vocabularypopulation control. Something has to keep the ever-burgeoning English language from splitting its dictionary seams.
To pass over ַלִ ְפסֹוח [Lif-so-ach] Order ֵס ֶדר [Seder]
Haggadah הַּגָ ָדה [From the verb לְ הַגִ ּיד- to tell]
Tradition סֹורת ֶ ָמ [Masoret]
Festive חַגִ יגִ י [Cha-Gigi]
Holiday חַג [Chag]
To celebrate ל ְַחגֹוג [Lachgog] To praise לְ הַלֵ ל [Le-hallel]
Seder plate צַלַחַת לֵ יל ה ֵַס ֶדר [Tzalachat leil ha-Seder] (Wine) cup ּכֹוס [Cos] Tablecloth מפה [Ma-pah]
Napkin מ ִַּפית Ma-pit
Next year in Jerusalem! ּירּושׁלָ יִ ם ָ לְ ָשׁנָ ה ה ַָב ָּאה ִב [Le shanah ha-ba’ah b’Yerushalyim!]
~ Barbara Westbrook ~
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