Charlotte Jewish News September 2015

Page 1

An Affiliate of the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte

Vol. 37, No. 8

Elul- Tishrei 5775/6

September 2015

See You at the Movies This Fall The Charlotte Jewish Film Festival continues its mission of bringing you films that make you laugh, cry, think, and feel with their exciting 2015 FallFlicks’ lineup: Sunday, October 11 – 1 PM The Outrageous Sophie Tucker is the rags to riches story about one of old time showbiz’s biggest stars. Nicknamed “The Last of the Red Hot Mammas,” Sophie’s

bawdy, brash, risqué attitude and songs paved the way for performers such as Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Midler, Cher, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé. Off stage/camera, this larger than life personality was equally as fascinating. “Sophie was like the Forrest Gump of the first half of the 1900s,” says film co-producer Susan Ecker. “She was close friends with seven U.S.

presidents, King George VI, young Queen Elizabeth, Charlie Chaplin, J. Edgar Hoover (who once asked to borrow one of her dresses), Al Capone, Judy Garland, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, and every other notable of her era.” Producers Susan and Lloyd Ecker are scheduled to appear. Sunday, October 18 – 1 PM The Farewell Party tackles an extremely sensitive issue in a vibrant and unique way as five friends at a Jerusalem retirement home struggle with their decision to help terminally ill patients take control of their own fates. In the press release for the film, co-directors Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit noted, “In our movies, we try to deal with contemporary social issues which are often controversial. We try to break the

emotional drama with absurd and comic elements. We feel this makes these difficult and important topics more accessible to our audience, and hopefully, as in life, they will laugh as they wipe away their tears.” Sunday, November 1 - 1 PM Look at Us Now, Mother! is a deeply personal film from director Gayle Kirschenbaum as she explores and tries to repair the extremely damaged relationship that she has with her mom Mildred. What emerges is a uniquely cinematic family study with humor and pathos in the midst of conflicts and affections that bind family members together. “This is the most complicated and emotionally charged film I have ever done and the most important,” commented Gayle. “This is my story but it also could be your story; laugh a little, cry a little and dis-

cover that forgiveness is possible even when it seems unlikely.” Gayle and Mildred Kirschenbaum are scheduled to appear. Please see ad on page 34 and visit for additional details and to purchase tickets.

Tickets will also be sold in the lobby of the Levine JCC on Sunday, September 27, from 10 AM– 2 PM. Y

Hadassah’s Annual Celebrate the Tatas Announces the “little” Reveal With sparkles, paint, laughter, and mammography, Celebrate the TaTas will again be saving lives. The Breast Cancer Fundraiser will be sharing its message this year at a more intimate venue in October. The conversation remains the same: raise funds for research so that one day our daughters don’t have to worry about this terrible disease. Celebrate the TaTas is a unique Hadassah breast cancer initiative designed to empower, educate and raise funds for breast cancer research. In its fourth year, Charlotte’s Celebrate the TaTas invites women (21 years and older) to participate. We offer a few important things: an opportunity to have your Tatas turned into a beautiful tapestry, and perhaps even more

importantly, an opportunity to receive a mammogram. Due to a generous grant by The Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, uninsured women can receive a life-saving mammogram. A huge thank you to Charlotte Radiology, Mecklenburg Radiology Associates, and Novant Health for making the mammograms a reality and for saving at least two lives last year. Insurance accepted. Appointments recommended. To make an appointment, please contact Lorrie Klemons at 704-944-6880 or New this year: On Thursday, October 8, Celebrate the TaTas is hosting the “little” Reveal at Dressler’s from 12:30-3 PM. Don’t let the name fool you, the “little” reveal is anything but small. This year, Cele-

brate the TaTas is paying tribute to the artists and photographers that bring paint, sparkles, and much joy to the program. Some of the highlights of the luncheon include: The TaTas tap-

THE STRENGTH OF A PEOPLE. THE POWER OF COMMUNITY. Turn to page 9 for the Jewish Federation’s annual listing of donors.

(Continued on page 14)

5007 Providence Road, Suite #112 Charlotte, NC 28226 Change Service Requested


The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 2

JEWISH FEDERATION NEWS programs are offering at-risk populations and people of all ages the skills, coping mechanisms, and tools to live productive lives. Jeff and I were also fortunate to learn first-hand about the after effects of last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. A briefing by an IDF spokesperson at Black Arrow vista overlooking Gaza, a visit with David and Etti at Kibbutz Nir Oz to find out how its residents coped each day, and a meeting with 29 year old Talli, whose seven and nine year old daughters are still traumatized by the sounds of trucks going by and who continue to look for safe places to hide wherever they go, gave us a better understanding of the ways Israelis dealt with the terror of last summer’s war. It also made us proud of our Federation system which raised 28 million dollars in 62 days for Operation Protective Edge. Participating in JFNA’s Campaigners Mission was an amazing experience. Not only did we learn so much about Federation to share with Federation lay and professional leaders, we also had the opportunity to share our trip with the warm and wonderful leaders who are Federation. To find out more about Federation, or to volunteer as a Federation campaigner and experience next year’s JFNA’s Campaigners Mission, please contact Y

Trip to Israel Invigorates Local Federation Sue Littauer and Jeff Turk See Your Federation Dollars at Work By Sue Littauer As we prepared to board our flight to Tel Aviv on Saturday night, July 4, Jeff Turk and I watched the fireworks in New York City from JFK Airport. What a great way to embark on our wonderful journey and the exciting experiences that awaited us in Israel. Jeff and I started our trip with a visit to Hadera, our P2Gether community. As a member of Federation’s Allocations Committee, Jeff was eager to visit Hadera and the agencies our Federation funds. We visited the Charlotte Good Deeds Store at an elementary school in Givat Olga, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Hadera. The value-based Good Deeds Store provides at-risk children

with tools to achieve academic success by rewarding them for learned behavior. According to the school principal Yael, “every penny donated makes my dreams come true.” Jeff could hardly pull himself away from the wonders of Technoda, a science and technology based hands-on enrichment center for disadvantaged children in Givat Olga and gifted students throughout Israel. Also in Givat Olga, we met Victor and Vital at Aharai!, an agency that prepares periphery students for full and meaningful army service and active adult lives. Because of Aharai!, Victor and Vital, who were destined to become high school drop-outs, have made amazing strides toward fulfilling

SHABBAT AND HOLIDAY CANDLE LIGHTING FOR SEPTEMBER 2015 Friday, September 4, 7:29 PM Friday, September 11, 7:19 PM Rosh HaShanah Eve, September 13, 7:16 PM 2nd Night of Rosh HaShanah, September 14, after 8:10 PM Friday, September 18, 7:09 PM Yom Kippur Eve, September 22, 7:02 PM Friday, September 25, 6:59 PM Sukkot Eve, September 27, 6:56 PM 2nd Night of Sukkot, September 28, after 7:50 PM

The Charlotte Jewish News 5007 Providence Road, Suite 112 Charlotte, NC 28226 Phone (voice mail after office hours)

Office 704-944-6765 FAX 704-365-4507 email: An Affiliate of the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte Amy Krakovitz - Editor Advertising Sales Reps: Jodi Valenstein, 704-609-0950 or Scott Moskowitz, 704-906-2474 Art Director, Erin Bronkar CJN Editorial Board Chair - Bob Davis Members: Bob Abel, Evelyn Berger, David Delfiner, Ann Langman, Linda Levy The CJN does not assume responsibility for the quality or kasruth of any product or service advertised. Publishing of a paid political advertisement does not constitute an endorsement of any candidate, political party or position by this newspaper, the Federation or any employees.

Published monthly except July An affliate of:

Birthright Israel and returned to Israel on MASA, both Federation-funded programs, before making Aliyah. Ron, a 26 year old engineer from Donetsk, had arrived in Israel only six days before we met. From these young men, we learned about the challenges of learning Hebrew, finding employment and getting settled in their new country. All three left their countries to find a better life in Israel. When asked who pays for David and Etti at Kibbutz Nir Oz. them to leave, they each retheir dreams. Vital hopes to be- sponded, “You do.” The Jewish come a surgeon and Victor’s goal Federations’ overseas partner is to become an officer in the army JAFI (The Jewish Agency for Isand a member of the IDF’s elite rael) has helped more than three unit. “In drugs and alcohol, there million Jews from around the are no winners,” said Victor. world make Aliyah to Israel, and At the end of our long day in has helped to integrate them into Hadera, we joined 53 dedicated Israeli society. Federation lay leaders and profesAt the Bank Discount in the sionals from 17 communities on Hertzi-Lilenblum financial disJFNA’s (Jewish Federations of trict, we learned about modern North America) Campaigners’ Israel through the eyes of enterMission. Each day was packed prising entrepreneurs Sharona with training workshops, educa- Meushar, founder of Applicaster, tional sessions, visits to agencies and Yonaton Meiri, founder of Sufunded by our Annual Campaign and the young North dollars, and meetings with men, American interns they employ. women, and children who are the Many young adults who particigrateful recipients of our Federa- pated in Birthright yearn to return tion’s generosity. to Israel, and through We met new immigrants to Is- Federation funded prorael from the Ukraine and from grams such as MASA and France. Ola is from Donetsk, a Onward Israel, they have city in the Ukraine ravaged by returned to Israel to intern war. He came to Israel one month in these and other Israeli prior to our visit and is learning startups. Hebrew with other new immiAt each of these stops grants at an absorption center in and many others, we met Ramleh. Terit, who experienced Israelis who are overblatant anti-Semitism in Paris and coming the challenges of immigrated to Israel from France poverty, assimilation, five months previously, now physical disabilities, culworks in the financial services in- tural and literacy barriers. Sue Littauer (standing, center) and Jeff Turk dustry in Tel Aviv. Both Ola and At each stop, we learned (standing, 2nd from right) visit Aharai! Givat Terit were participants on how Federation-funded Olga.


Schools ..........................................pp. 22-24

Federation News ..............................pp. 2, 3

Youth Visions .......................................p. 24

Synagogues/Congregations .............pp. 3-7

Levine-Sklut Judaic Library ..............p. 25

Jewish Family Services .........................p. 8

High Holidays....................pp. 26-31, 34-42

Community News.....................pp. 8, 13-20

Jewish Community Center .........pp. 32, 33

Federation Donor Listings.............pp. 9-12

Dining Out............................................p. 43

Women’s News.....................................p. 24

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 3

Tributes to the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign The Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte thanks and acknowledges the following tributes made May 9–July 31. In honor of the birth of Hannah Dove Friedman, daughter of Jonathan and Rachel Friedman By: Mike and Sue Littauer In honor of Sharyn Handelsman’s Birthday By: Bernice Solomon

In honor of Linda Seigel’s Birthday By: Elaine Melnick, Gina Salvati In memory of Elizabeth Klein By: Kevin and Laurie Berzack In memory of David Cabillis, father of Jodie Iagnocco By: Michael and Jodie Iagnocco

In honor of Alison Lerner By: Lisa Richman

In memory of Nancy Udell, mother of Janice Fisner By: Anna Garcia

In honor of Howard Levine and Julie Lerner Levine By: Jeff and Aviva Stein

If you would like to make a Tribute to the Jewish Federation, please contact the Federation office at 704-944-6761.Y

In honor of the birth of Scarlett Mae Rosen, daughter of Andrew and Jen Rosen, sister of Bayla Bea Rosen By: Mike and Sue Littauer

Agency Boards Achieve 100% Giving The mission of the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte is to raise and distribute funds to support and enrich the lives of Jews locally, nationally, in Israel, and worldwide. Through education, planning, and community building, the Federation’s mission ensures that Jewish values, goals, traditions, and connections are preserved for current and future generations. The Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte appreciates the support from the boards of directors of the following beneficiary

agencies/institutions that have achieved 100% giving to the 2015 Annual Campaign: The boards of directors of the following agencies/institutions achieved 100% giving: * Charlotte Jewish Day School * Charlotte Jewish Film Festival Committee * Charlotte Jewish News * Charlotte Jewish Preschool * Congregation Ohr HaTorah * Consolidated High School of Jewish Studies * Foundation for the Charlotte



Temple Solel Joins URJ Temple Solel, the Reform congregation in Fort Mill, has announced its affiliation with the Union of Reform Judaism. In doing so, they become one of a small number of congregations who are members of both URJ and ISJL (Institute of Southern Jewish Life). In making the announcement, James Fox, President, said, “The endless resources of both of these organizations will enhance our services, enrich our Religious School, and help guide a variety of congregation activities. We’re in a great spot as we head toward our High Holiday services.” Temple Solel’s Lay Leaders, Edie Yakutis and Russ Cobe, have already benefited from the affiliation, having just returned from an extensive Lay Leader education program in Wisconsin. The ISJL membership provides the congregation with a Torah, visits from knowledgeable ISJL Fellows, and an outstanding curriculum for the congregation’s religious education program. In addition to religious school, the Temple also plans to add a confirmation class as well as adult education. As has been the case for the last three years, Temple Solel will be

holding its High Holiday services on the campus of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church. A detailed schedule for all services can be found on the congregation’s website at and in this edition of CJN. Once again, there is no charge for members, students, or members of the Armed Forces. Services are open to nonmembers for a cost of $50 (covering all HH services). Any questions regarding High Holidays or general membership can be directed to the Roy and Wendy Weinberger at 803-619-9707.Y

Jewish Community * Hebrew Cemetery Association * Jewish Family Services * Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte * Jewish Preschool on Sardis * Levine Jewish Community Center * Shalom Park Freedom School Committee * Temple Beth El * Temple Israel * Friendship Circle * Ballantyne Jewish Center * Jewish War Veterans

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 4

Temple Or Olam Immerses in Nature for the New Year The Torah tells us to protect nature and sustenance – even when we are at war: “When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the ax against them. You may eat of them, but you must not cut them down. Are trees of the field human to withdraw before you into the besieged city?” (Deuteronomy 20:19). To do so,

our sages say, would be to engage in bal tashchit, what Talmud calls needless destruction. Needless destruction plagues our world, from the devastation of our environment to the enslavement and genocide of whole peoples. This past year, we have all seen the terror wrought by fanatics of every stripe. Innocent lives have been lost. Needless destruction can de-

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stroy a family’s security and a community’s peace. In Genesis, we read of two trees: The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, and the Tree of Life. In Proverbs, we read that our Torah is “a tree of life to all who grasp it, and whoever holds on to it is happy; its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all it paths are peace” (Proverbs 3:17-18). Torah is our source of wisdom and understanding, a source of life itself. This year at Temple Or Olam’s High Holy Days, we will explore ways in which we can dedicate ourselves to planting and nourishing wisdom and life in ourselves, in our community, and in our world. If we were blessed with a single tree of life and wisdom, what kind of revelation could we expect to receive? What kind of spiritual fruit could it bear for us and for our congregation? To that end, we will begin our High Holy Day season with a S’lichot service in the midst of nature; our havdalah will, of course, take place under the stars. On Rosh Hashanah, when we celebrate the birth of the world, we will reflect on the nature of awe and the awe of nature. Our Rosh Hashanah Shacharit services will conclude in a nearby park. TOO has recently decided to devote increased energy to the care of our environment during

our next year. Over the Days of Awe, we will ask: When we get in touch with our sense of wonder about the created world, how are we led to protect and care for the world we live in? What promises and vows can we be sure we can keep? We will be sharing our reflections on Yom Kippur afternoon at a special communal study session. And at Neilah, we’ll conclude our spiritual travels with a service of renewal, one based on our commitment to integrate sources of life and wisdom in our lives. Feel free to join us for a musical, rich, and reflective experience of the Days of Awe.Y

Temple Or Olam High Holy Day Service Schedule * September 13: Erev Rosh Hashanah Service, 7 PM: McGill Baptist Church, 5300 Poplar Tent Road, Concord, NC * September 14: Rosh Hashanah Morning Services, 10 AM-12 noon followed by brunch and Tashlich at Dorton Park: McGill Baptist Church, 5300 Poplar Tent Road, Concord, NC * September 22: Kol Nidre Service, 7 PM: McGill Baptist Church, 5300 Poplar Tent Road, Concord, NC * September 23: Yom Kippur Morning Service, 10 AM-12 noon: McGill Baptist Church, 5300 Poplar Tent Road, Concord, NC * September 23: Neilah Service: 6:30 PM, Havdalah, and break fast: McGill Baptist Church, 5300 Poplar Tent Road, Concord, NC Temple Or Olam does not require tickets for attendance at our services. Suggested donations for guests to defray our rental costs are below: * Families: $216 * Individuals: $108 * Students: gratis Please visit for more information. Y

Temple Solel Blazing a Path for Reform Jewish Education in Fort Mill Temple Solel is the home of the only Reform Jewish education program in Fort Mill, SC. Partnering with the Goldring Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL), Temple Solel offers an innovative religious education program for the entire family, from ages 3-103. This year, we are adding opportunities for Confirmation and Adult Education through our program. We offer our students the opportunity to be life-long learners in the teachings of the Torah on Sundays during

the school year from 10 AM-12 noon at Blooming Einsteins, 2752 Pleasant Road, Suite 103, Fort Mill. The ISJL Education Curriculum includes the key content areas: Community, Culture and Symbols, God, Hebrew and Prayer, Israel, Jewish History, Jewish Holidays, Lifecycle Events, Mitzvot, Jewish Values, and Torah. Our teachers will share their love of what it means to be Jewish through a variety of face to face and online activities, which

will appeal to multiple learning styles, while fostering communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Our religious education program is based on these three big ideas from the ISJL: 1. Celebrating the Jewish holidays is an essential aspect of Jewish identity. 2. The Torah contains stories that teach us how to live our lives. 3. Hebrew is the language of the Jewish people. Education Director, Mara Cobe, brings more than two decades of experience as a teacher and administrator. She has an extensive background in language education, curriculum, assessment, and educator’s professional development. In addition, our teachers attend annual training from the ISJL, and return each year renewed and energized, ready to share with Temple Solel family. We’re looking forward to a wonderful year. We’d love to have you join us “Pathfinders” as we start this year’s religious education journey at Temple Solel. For more information on enrollment, please contact us at Y

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 5

High Holiday Schedule at Havurat Tikvah As the record-breaking heat of this summer dies down, Havurat Tikvah has a lot to celebrate. After a few months of lighter programming, we are busy preparing for our lay-led High Holidays services, and we also have a few other exciting events coming up. Recently, we celebrated the 2nd Bar Mitzvah of one of our members, Saul Brenner. It was a wonderful opportunity for all of his friends and family to gather and commemorate such a joyous occasion. Since it is the start of a new Jewish year, we at Havurat Tikvah like to remember that we are a family. Therefore, on September 20, we will hold a community memorial service to remember our

loved ones. We will convene at the Hebrew Cemetery (1801 Statesville Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28206) at 10:30 AM. Rosh Hashanah services will take place on Monday, September 14 and Tuesday, September 15 at 10 AM. On September 14, we will also hold Tashlich services, which will take place at 3:30 PM. Please see our calendar for more information and directions. On Tuesday, September 22, we will have Kol Nidre services at 7:15 PM. In order to start on time, we ask that everyone is seated by 7 PM. We will begin our Yom Kippur services at 10 AM on Wednesday, September 23. At approximately 12:30, we will transition to the

Yizkor/Healing service and then break for the afternoon. At 6 PM, we will reconvene for Mincha and some group discussion, which will take us to the 7 PM Neilah service. Immediately after the prayers conclude, we will have a pot luck break-fast. All of our High Holiday services will take place in the Fellowship Hall at Avondale Presbyterian Church (2821 Park Road). Please see our calendar for more details.

Havurat Tikvah is an affiliate of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, providing a comfortable, family atmosphere where all Jews can feel welcome. If you are interested, we invite you to visit, get to know us, and to become part of our congregation of nearly 60 households.

For more information about any of our activities, check out our website ( You can also find Havurat Tikvah. If you have any questions about membership or other aspects of Havurat Tikvah, give us a call at 980-225-5330.Y

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High Holiday Services at Temple Kol Ami of York County Temple Kol Ami of Fort Mill, SC, is pleased to extend an invitation for our High Holiday Services to all in York County and beyond who wish to observe. Services are held at Unity Presbyterian Church in Fort Mill which is easily accessible to the Ballantyne area as well as the Sun City area. Once again we will be led by Rabbi Joseph Levanon and Cantorial soloist Beverly Levy. Rabbi Levanon served at Fayetteville’s Beth Israel Congregation for 17 years and has been with Temple Kol Ami for the past year. He is a renowned scholar and widely

published author who has also worked previously as a professor of Judaic Studies at six universities. Beverly comes to us with an extensive background in Jewish religious education and a beautiful voice. The full schedule of services is posted on our website Tickets are required for ages 13 and up and can be purchased on our website as well. For more information, please contact us at or 803-7010149. Babysitting will be available for a $5 donation by

reservation only- please contact us at the above e-mail to reserve your spot today. Tickets will not be mailed out- your name will appear on a list at the door at time of services. Wishing all a sweet, happy and healthy New Year! L’Shana Tova. Y

Temple Solel High Holy Days Services Temple Solel, the Reform Jewish Congregation in Fort Mill, has announced their High Holy Days schedule for 2015. This will be their fourth High Holy Days services. All services (and the breakthe-fast) will be held at St. Philip Neri Church (Community Room), in Fort Mill as they were last year, (except otherwise, as noted). September 13 - High Holidays Family Service – 10 AM at Blooming Einsteins, 2752 Pleasant Rd., Suite 103, Fort Mill Erev Rosh Hashanah – 7 PM

Rosh Hashanah – 10 AM; Tashlich to follow September 18 - Shabbat Shuva - 7 PM September 22 - Kol Nidre - 7 PM September 23 - Yom Kippur – Morning Service, 10 AM; Yizkor, 4 PM, Neilah following Yizkor; Break-the-fast following Neilah Participation is free for all members of the congregation and is $50 for non-members. James Fox, the President of Temple Solel, has also announced that stu-

dents and active military personnel are cordially invited to participate at no charge. Non-members who are interested in attending any of the services should call Wendy and Roy Weinberger at 803-548-5415.Y

“I would say that behind all my ideas, the strongest idea of mine which is conveyed in my thinking, even more than in my writing, is the freedom of choice. I feel that the freedom of choice is the very essence of life. Although the gifts which God has given us are small in the comparison to the gifts which He has given maybe to the angels or the stars, we have one great gift – and that is to choose.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer in Isaac Bashevis Singer: Conversations, ed. Grace Farrell

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 6

Catch the Spirit with High Holidays at Ohr HaTorah “Seek God when you can find Him, call on Him when He is near.� These are the famous words of Isaiah speaking to the people of Israel. Maimonides writes that these words of Isaiah refer to the first 10 days of the year, beginning with Rosh Hashanah and culminating with Yom Kippur. The statement is a powerful testament to the spiritual meaning of these days of Awe. As our souls feel a longing to connect with our source and to get recharged Jewishly. The key to unlocking the divine beauty of these days is by opening our hearts and minds to the deep mystical spirit that emanates during these special days. When these days are experienced in a genuine way, they can have an positive impact on our lives and our Jewish life. Attending services at Ohr HaTorah during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is a way to tap in to this divine experience. The services at OHT convey a deeper meaning to the words read and, accompanied by the passion felt at the service, they create a special connection with God and the community. The heartfelt words read by Rabbi Binyomin Weiss and his melodious voice inspire the participant and allow for the heart to open to the spirit of these days. This awesome experience begins at midnight of Saturday night September 5, with the Selichot service. That is when the feeling of the days of awe envelops the community with a sincere call to God. A pre-Selichot Farbrengen

which will set the mood for the upcoming service and the High Holidays will begin at 11 PM. The High Holiday services at Ohr HaTorah are a journey of the soul seeking to connect to the inner soul of the Jewish experience. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are pivotal to the entire year and they present an extraordinary opportunity to bond with God and with community in a momentous and spiritual way. Those of you who are searching to explore the deeper meaning of the High Holidays and seek to touch the Divine will find the Ohr HaTorah experience truly rewarding. The High Holiday service is in a sense a learning activity as Rabbi Yossi Groner provides short and succinct commentaries on the liturgy and expounds on the mystical significance of many of the rituals observed on Rosh Hashanah. The atmosphere in the synagogue reflects the spirituality of the Holy Days and it helps shape the total experience. Ohr HaTorah is a welcoming

synagogue which helps congregants form friendships and excels with its joyous and uplifting service. One of the distinctive advantages at Ohr HaTorah is that it allows for worshippers to engage in their prayers at their own pace and to truly connect to God in a meaningful way. Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of September 13. The service schedule at Congregation Ohr HaTorah is as follows: Evening services at 7:15 PM and morning services at 9 AM. Kol Nidrei services on Tuesday night, September 22, is at 7 PM. Yom Kippur morning services, September 23, is at 9 AM. Evening services begins at 5:30 PM. Tickets are not required to attend services. For more information please call our office at 704-366-3984 or visit our website

Hold The Date

The entire Charlotte Jewish Community will join over 400 communities across the globe on the morning of Sunday, November 15 as we come together for the Global Day of Jewish Learning.

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 7

High Holiday Services – Right Near You Once again, the Ballantyne Jewish Center will be hosting Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in the Ballantyne area. Join us this year and feel right at home. Whether your background in Jewish prayer and practices is extensive or limited, attending services at the Ballantyne Jewish Center - where the warmth and authenticity of the traditional are blended with the comfort and practicality of the contemporary will leave you felling enriched, connected, uplifted, and inspired. Rosh Hashanah is a time when we once again accept God's King-

ship, and when the entire Creation, the Universe with all its creatures, is judged. Yom Kippur is the time when the Almighty forgives us for all our wrongdoing. The High Holidays is not only a time of remembrance of a certain occasion in history, but also a recurrence of the original event. It is a time of reawakening of the special relationship between God and the Jewish people, and between God and the world. Everyone is welcome free of charge. Rosh Hashanah services will be held at the South Charlotte Ban-

quet Center, 9009 Bryant Farms Road, Monday, September 14. Morning service at 9:30 AM, Shofar Blowing at 12:15 PM. Services followed by a Kiddush lunch at 1:30 PM. Tuesday, September 15. Morning Service at 9:30 AM, Shofar Blowing at 12:15 PM. Services followed by a Kiddush lunch at 1:30 PM. Yom Kippur services will be held at The Springhill Suites in Ballantyne, 12325 Johnston Road. Tuesday, September 22. Kol Nidrei at 7:15 PM. Wednesday, September 23.

Morning services at 10 AM. Neilah at 6:45 PM. Our Fantastic Children’s Program At the Ballantyne Jewish Center we are committed to making the High Holidays a meaningful and enjoyable experience for the entire family. Therefore, we are very excited that once again we will have a fantastic, exciting, and interactive children’s program during services for all ages. Parents can enjoy services while their children have a blast. Program highlights include games, songs, activities, food crafts, stories, refreshments, and prizes. Kids love this program and learn so much in

the process. The children are divided into age appropriate groups to ensure that everyone will enjoy. For more information, please contact Rabbi Yisrael and Leah Levin 704-246-8881 info@ or visit our website

Camp Gan Israel Ballantyne The second summer of CGI Ballantyne was a smashing success. With handpicked, devoted and talented staff, daily trips, crazy fun activities, Kosher cooking, unbelievable camp spirit, Jewish themes, and learning and of course fantastic campers. Special thank you to the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte Impact Fund for their support.

Evan Rogers and Seth Cohen ready to roll on Lake Norman

Damien Rouchouze makes his own Some of our Seniors show off the tote challah bags they made at Sew Fun

On left, Holden Obrien enjoys horseback riding at Red Barn

Noa Widger is ready to play Human Hungry Hippo

At right, The Weiss family all dressed up for “Twin Day”

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 8

Jewish Family Services Hunger is Here in Charlotte Hunger often results from a crisis. It could be losing a job, facing divorce, suffering an illness, or family violence. You can stop hunger where it starts.

During this High Holiday season, your tax-deductible gift to the Jewish Family Services annual Family to Family campaign will improve the lives of people facing hunger, financial instabil-

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Mark Your Calendar October 11: Women’s Self Awareness and Defense Course with Sherriff Carmichael October 15: Lunch and Learn: Anticipatory Grief with guest speaker Larry Dawalt from Hospice November 5: Aging Resource Center Ribbon Cutting December 10: Senior Chanukah Party Y

Programming in Lake Norman Parent Meet Ups: September 27, October 4, and October 11 during religious school. Enjoy coffee and bagels at these informal parent gatherings. Our licensed therapist will facilitate discussion with moms and dads to openly ask questions, discuss your concerns and experiences, share your support and advice and develop solutions that work for your family. Healthy Relationships curricu-

JFS Volunteers Thank you to the following people who contributed their time to Jewish Family Services in June. Volunteers: Ben and Susan Aizenman, Linda Babich, Marcia Borden, Jennifer Collman, Elana Congress, Alicia Cooper, Andrea Cronson, Sheryl Effren, Mel and Caren Frank, Robert Friedman, Gail Halverson, Becca Horner, Tara Hubara, Robert Jacobson, Karen Knoble, Matt Luftglass, Frada Mozenter, Margaret Musa,

Applications for the 2016 Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte Impact and Innovation Fund are now available. The Jewish Federation’s Impact and Innovation Fund distributes grants that are intended to inspire individuals, organizations, synagogues, and agencies to provide innovative and impactful engagement opportunities for the greater Charlotte Jewish community. For more information or to receive an application, please contact the Federation office, 704.944.6757

Barbara Rein, Jenny Rosenthal, Lisa Shporer, Harry Sparks, Jeff and Stacy Strauch, Amalia Warshenbrot, Mike Weinberg Hadassah Cooks: Susan Aizenman, Ilene Cantor, Sharon Cavanaugh, Gladys Cherny, Mary Gordan, June Hirschmann, Sari Hochberg, Fran Kaplan, Judy Kaufmann, Penny Krieger, Andy McCleary, Sharel Persin, Fran Schuler, Hagit Stav and Susan Ziker

lum with Madrichim: October 18, December 6, February 7, and April 3 during religious school. Our licensed therapist will discuss healthy relationships with friends, boy/girlfriends and families; keeping safe while staying connected to technology; and what to do when a friend is in trouble. Learn, Kibbitz, Nosh with JFS: October 14 and March 9. Y Food Pantry Donations: Temple Israel and Temple Beth El Congregants, Sheryl Effren, Ellice Liss, Erica Valenstein, Alex Berenfeld, Matt Luftglass and Meg Goldstein, Kim Wilkoff, Jan Weiner, Stephanie Kurtz Thompson, Susan Gundersheim Tzedakah Donations: Morah Yudi’s Alef 2 Class TIRS, Wednesday Lunch Bunch, Eric and Susan Lerner, Todd Fishman and Marcia Kaplan, Lindsey and Alison Houser, Michele Laube, Jared & Elizabeth Lawrence, Rick and Tina Rogovin, Cheryl Ross Y

Community News Scouting’s New Membership Policy By now almost everyone has heard about the new Boy Scouts of America membership/leadership policy. For those of us involved in Scouting at the JCC, this is a long overdue change. The revision does permit the sponsoring institution to set its own standards with regard to the change, but for us this is not even a consideration. The JCC has a non-discrimination policy and those of us in Scouting at the JCC have always respected that policy. In fact, we have always encouraged diversity in our membership because we feel it is an important component of a child’s education and best reflects contemporary Judaism’s viewpoint. If you are considering Scouting for your child, or know somebody who is, we hope you will strongly consider Scouting at the J. We are starting a new Cub Pack for boys in grades 1-5. Leadership is by parents and family, but excellent support and training are provided by experienced Scout Council professionals and volunteers. If there is sufficient interest we

would also like to start a Scout Troop for boys who have completed fifth grade, and a Venturing unit for boys and girls who have completed eighth grade. Cub Scouting is a fun-filled, exciting program with a strong family emphasis. The five objectives are character development, participatory citizenship, personal fitness, outdoor skills, and leadership. The focus is on learning by doing. We plan to have most meetings on Sunday afternoons from 4-5:30. In addition to regular

meetings, Cub Scouting has a newly revised and exciting advancement program. Also, we will plan family activities such as camping, fishing, service events, aircraft carrier trip, and a week of Cub Scout Day Camp. Yes, you can join Cub Scouts at many area churches and a other locations, but why not do it at Shalom Park where you and your son already have family and friends. For more information call David Lintz at 704-451-4411 or email

Ben Bernanke to Receive the Inaugural Levine Medal for Life at The Echo Foundation 17th Awards Gala *McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square *September 17 *Keynote speech at 6 PM *Tickets: $300 for Awards ceremony and gala reception *Limited number of $65 tickets for Awards ceremony only *Tickets available by calling 704-372-100 *Sponsorships available by calling 704-347-3844

Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 13

Chesed Shel Emet: The Truest Act of Kindness By Brian Yesowitch, President, Hebrew Cemetery Association Board Our Cemetery Association Board is filled with volunteers, young and old, who come from many different hometowns and backgrounds. Aside from the fact that all of us are Jewish, another trait that unites us is our desire to perform “chesed shel emet” – the truest act of kindness. The medieval French Rabbi known to us as Rashi considers performing the mitzvot surrounding Jewish burials “chesed shel emet.” This comes from the story of Jacob asking Joseph to not bury him in Egypt. In Genesis 47:29, “The time drew near that Israel must die; and he called his son Joseph and said to him: ‘If I have found favor in thy sight, deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray, in Egypt.’” Rashi’s explanation is: “The kindness shown to the dead is a true kindness, for (in such a case) one does not expect to be repaid.” (Rashi’s commentary on Genesis 47:29) At the Cemetery Association, we don’t believe that the act of “chesed shel emet” ends with the funeral. Our Association board members, Director and grounds keepers work to ensure that the headstone markers (some of them erected over 140 years ago) continue to be cared for and legible. For the families of the recently deceased, visiting the cemetery and seeing that their family’s plots are in a dignified and beautiful setting is very important. For other visitors, immersing themselves in over 100 years of Jewish tradition becomes an important experience - one that leaves an impression and provides enrichment for months to come.

It is in that spirit that we would like to invite the community to join us at the Cemetery on Sunday, September 20 at 10:30 AM for this year’s Annual Memorial Service. 5775 has been a year filled with many challenges for the Jewish people. Individually, as well, we all recognize there has been loss, grief, illness, and sadness in our lives and in our neighbors’ lives. For many in Charlotte, the Annual Memorial Service can be the most meaningful and enriching experience during the High Holy Days. Last year, the service was led by twelve clergy members representing seven area congregations. We expect a similar turnout this year. We have shaded accommodations for 600 participants. All are welcome to attend this free event. One doesn’t have to be a member of an area synagogue to participate. One doesn’t have to even have family buried in our Cemetery. We are sincere with the declaration, “All are welcome.” Upon conclusion of the service, all are welcome to visit the Memorial Building featuring the Mindy Ellen Levine Chapel. Tours will also be given of our Blumenthal Memorial Garden along with the historic section of the Cemetery, which includes Jewish graves dating back to 1870. Membership to our Hebrew Cemetery Association is an affordable $72 annually. It always pays to pre-plan your funeral expenses. Contact our Director, Sandra Goldman ( or 704-5761859) to receive information or arrange a meeting to discuss plot availability and pricing. Have you considered adding the Hebrew Cemetery to your es-

tate planning? We are in our 3rd year of participation in the Create Your Jewish Legacy program through the Foundation for the Charlotte Jewish Community. Our Director Sandra Goldman can walk you through the process of turning an existing financial vehicle into a bequest to support the long term maintenance and upkeep of our community’s oldest institution that continues to serve the Jewish people of this region. My wife Martha and I have made our commitments along with nearly 30 other individuals and families. I hope you will join us. Additionally, our community supports needy individuals with reduced cemetery fees during their time of loss. You can make a contribution of any amount to the Steinberger Funeral Assistance Fund on our website or by contacting our Director, Sandra Goldman, at 704-576-1859 or Don’t forget to “like” our Facebook page at HebrewCemetery. Our #ThrowbackThursday posts have gotten so popular; they will be featured in the September issue of Charlotte Magazine. “Chesed Shel Emet” — the truest act of kindness. The idea has been around since biblical times and it continues to serve our community today. All of us at the Hebrew Cemetery Association wish you and your family a Shana Tova U’mtukah. Y

2nd Annual CJFF Fan Appreciation Day Wrap Up Capacity crowds enjoyed a full day of great movies, entertaining speakers, delicious food and community fun at the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival’s 2nd Annual Fan Appreciation Day event that took place on July 19 at Regal Ballantyne Village Stadium Theaters. Highlights included Ziggy Gruber and Erik Greenberg Anjou leading an insightful and funny tour of the deli world, the inspiring story of the establishment of the Israeli Air Force and a tailgating party before Paul Hirschberger and Koren Cohen tackled the American style football league that is currently thriving in the holy land. And of course, there was the Inaugural CJFF Chicken Soup Contest. A huge shout out to the six amazing chefs who shared their tasty creations with CJFF fans – Shellie Barer (Mommy’s Soup), Giosue Coppola/Portofino’s Ristorante (Minestra Di Pollo E Vedure), Sandra Goldman (Goldie’s Soup), Jered Mond/Izzy’s Catering (Momma Rita’s Soup), Melanie Rowe/Melanie Rowe Catering (Meli’s Deli Chicken

Soup), and Janice Zacks (Finkel’s Hindl Zup Mit Michael’s Homemade Lochshen). Jered Mond/Izzy’s Catering won the Fan’s Favorite Award for Momma Rita’s Soup while celebrity judges Ziggy Gruber, Erik Greenberg Anjou, Jon Dressler (Dressler’s Restaurant and Dogwood Southern Table and Bar), Frank Scibelli (FS Food Group), and Amy Rogers (WFAEats) chose Shellie Barer’s Mommy’s Soup for the Critic’s Choice Award. Frank Scibelli commented afterwards “the soups were great examples of Jewish comfort food, the kind of soups that make you

Ziggy Gruber and Janice Zacks (photo by Peter Safir).

want to catch a cold.” Thank you again to everyone who made 2015 another recordbreaking year for the CJFF and we look forward to seeing you at the movies – please check out all the details on the 2015 FallFlicks’ lineup at or on page 1 and page 34.Y

Shellie Barer and Jered Mond hold yheir trophies (photo by Marissa Brooks).

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Dr. Scott Menaker, DDS Dr. Tricia Rodney, DDS UÊ i iÀ> Ê i Ì ÃÌÀÞÊv ÀÊ> Ê }ià UÊ , Ê-> iÊ >ÞÊ À Ü ÃÊ> `Ê6i iiÀÃ Ê ÊÊÊ ÊÌi « À>À iÃÊ UÊ-> iÊ >ÞÊ- iÊ > i ÛiÀÃÊ UÊÎ Ê8 ,>ÞÉ iÊ i> Ê >} }Êv ÀÊ « > ÌÊ ÊÊÊ* > }Ê> `Ê* >Vi i ÌÊ UÊ Ê>ëiVÌÃÊ vÊ Ã iÌ VÊ i Ì ÃÌÀÞÊ> `Ê- iÊ ÊÊÊ > Vi i ÌÊ-iÀÛ ViÃÊ UÊÇ\ääÊ Ê «« Ì i ÌÃÊ > ÞÊ UÊ Õ Ì « iÊ i>ÀÊ"ÀÌ ` Ì VÊ"«Ì ÃÊv ÀÊà « iÊ ÊÊÊÌ ÊV « iÝÊV>ÃiÃÊ UÊ >ÀiÊ Ài` ÌÊ > V } Ê£ÓÊ Ì Ê Ê ÌiÀiÃÌÊ ÊÊÊ «Ì ÃÊ UÊ/iV } V> ÞÊ>`Û> Vi`Ê«À>VÌ ViÊ V Õ` }Ê` } Ì> Ê ÊÊÊÝ À>ÞÃ]Ê >} }]Ê> `Êi > Ê> `ÊÌiÝÌ }ÊÊ ÊÊÊV Õ V>Ì Ã°Ê

Scott is a long time community volunteer, leader, and sponsor in the Jewish community since 1985. Both he and Tricia, along with their dental team, volunteer their time and expertise to make a positive impact in our community.

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 14

Moishe House Charlotte September 2015 Events Moishe House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting community among Jewish young adults in their twenties and early thirties. It seeks to fill the void that often exists after graduating college and prior to settling down.

The organization, with 76 houses in 17 countries, brings together Jewish adults who live together and plan local programs, both home-based and external, for other young Jewish adults. Moishe House Charlotte began in August 2013 and has hosted over

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100 events ranging from service projects to social events to Jewish learning and more. Its current residents are Elana Congress, Audrey Singer, Danielle Soowal, Matt Hirschl, and Tahis Haloulos. Read on to see what we’re up to this September as we bring in 5776: 1. Rosh Hashana Baking for JFS - Tuesday, September 1 at 7 PM at Moishe House Help others celebrate a sweet new year by making personal honey cakes and round challah which will go in gift bags to Jewish seniors in our community. No baking experience necessary- and yes, you might get to try a little too. 2. Radical Reels Tour - Friday,

September 11 at 7:45 PM at the Whitewater Center We will attend the Radical Reels Tour at the Whitewater Center, an offshoot of the Banff Film Festival. The showing is a collection of short films featuring action sports such as whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. The movie starts at 8 PM and is free. Bring chairs or a blanket and view some beautiful scenery and rad moves under the stars. 3. Rosh Hashanah Dinner with UNCC and Queens students Monday, September 14 at 7:30 PM at Moishe House Celebrate the Jewish New Year and the beginning of 5776 in style with a festive dinner at the Moishe

House. Traditional (and not-so traditional) main courses and nosh will be provided. Special guests from UNCC and Queens, and apples and honey, will be in attendance. 4. Trivia Night at VBGB’S Thursday, September 17 at 7:45 PM. Come join us for a fun summer night of trivia. Rave Production Trivia Team will host the event. It starts at 8:15 PM and it’s free to play. Win some prizes and have a beer with your friends. Be sure to come by 7:45 PM to get a seat. 5. Break the Fast with Moishe House and Torah on Tap Wednesday, September 23 at 8:30 PM at Brixx Wood Fired Pizza Foxcroft You have fasted all day, now join Moishe House and Torah On Tap as we eat the night away. Join other young adults in the greater Charlotte Jewish community as we celebrate the end of Yom Kippur and the start to an exciting New Year. We provide free appetizers to start you off. Feel free to invite all your friends, just let us know how many people will be attending so we can save you a seat. For more information about Moishe House Charlotte, visit us on the web at, or on facebook at MoisheHouseCharlotte. You can also e-mail us at We look forward to hearing from you. Y

Hadassah Celebrate the Tatas “little” Reveal (Continued from page 1)

estries, inspirational message from two breast cancer survivors, and an incredible silent auction. The luncheon is open to all women and men that care about raising awareness, education, and funds for breast cancer research. Tickets are $54 per person. While we hope to accommodate everyone that is interested, availability is limited. If you are interested in attending, please contact Penny Krieger at Want to help? Join our “WigOut,” a new campaign to sponsor wigs for breast cancer patients. A donation of $50 secures a wig for someone in need. Donate at the luncheon or contact with the number of wigs you want to sponsor. The Big Reveal will be back next year on October 27, 2016, at The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte. Celebrate the TaTas will be honoring Dr. Matthew Gromet of Charlotte Radiology, and Dr. Nicole Abinanti of Mecklenburg Radiology Associates. For sponsorship opportunities please contact Talia Goldman at Wishing the community a year full of paint, sparkles, and good health. Y

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 16

Shalom Park Freedom School Gives 80 Scholars a Summer They Won’t Forget There were extra shouts of joy at Shalom Park Freedom School’s morning pep rally “Harambee” one day this summer. The scholars and friends of SPFS surprised volunteer and resident photographer Alan Goldberg with a birthday celebration. Alan, who turned 90 on July 11, was “toasted” by several scholars who read anecdotes of some of Alan’s many life expe-

riences — from meeting General Patton in World War II to the first time he met his wife Ruth. Alan has volunteered with SPFS since it began five years ago, using his photography skills to capture the fun and memories of Freedom School. From the sweltering heat at Cane Creek to indoors at the JCC, Alan, along with Temple Israel’s Ralph Besnoy, has been


Ari Shavit*

7:00 PM Sam Lerner Center for Cultural Arts *Ari Shavit is the author of the critically-acclaimed, New York Times bestseller My Promised Land: the Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. An outspoken columnist for Haaretz, Israel’s newspaper of record, and a prominent commentator on Israeli Public Television, Shavit has become one of the strongest voices in the nation’s public arena. He challenges the dogmas of both Right and Left with his unique insights into the roles of Israel and Zionism in the 21st century.

Freedom School scholars enjoy swimming on a field trip to Cane Creek Park.

there to document the scholars’ experiences at camp. He has snapped away at the children taking home their first challah ever and captured them getting off the bus the first day of Freedom School and giving their site director a “chai five.” “They say a picture speaks a thousand words,” SPFS Co-chair Marcia Stern said. “Our pictures speak more than a thousand words. They tell the story of the Freedom School here. You are a part of Freedom School.” From

Freedom School scholars spent an afternoon learning about science and enjoying the theme “Blow it Up!” thanks to Atomz Lab.

there, Marcia presented Alan with his very own SPFS T-shirt, a “billion dollar chocolate bar,” and a birthday cake to feed all. For his part, Alan said he’s enjoyed watching SPFS grow and flourish every year. “This is the best group we’ve ever had,” he said, referring to the 80 scholars. Every time he volunteers, the kids recognize him and hug him. “A wonderful feeling — just look at them,” he said. In addition to the hugs, the best part about SPFS according to Alan? “Seeing the spirit

WWW.JEWISHCHARLOTTE.ORG For more information, please contact Tal Stein, Director of Community Relations & Israel Affairs, 704.944.6751 or


Jewish Community Relations Council

SPFS scholar and teen board members Dana Sheinhaus, Rachel Musa, Lindsay Rosenzweig, and Ian Bodeheimer cool off with a treat.

of these young children — their involvement, their happiness. And the fact they are learning along with it.” Alan is one of the many 150 volunteers who helped make SPFS a success this year. This summer marked the fifth time that eight Shalom Park agencies have pulled together to provide a sixweek, literacy-based camp for economically disadvantaged children. The camp expanded to serve 80 scholars, up from 50 in previous years. These scholars are selected from Huntingtowne Farms and Sterling Elementary, the two schools that have faith-based partnerships with Temple Israel and Temple Beth El. In addition to the 11 Freedom School staff members

and interns, 27 teens served at the camp. These rising 10th-12th graders worked as school assistants for at least two weeks at the camp, helping scholars boost their literacy skills and assisting with daily activities. They also helped with fundraising for the school, planned a book drive and raised funds for Challah for Scholars. “Being on the board gave me an opportunity to participate in a great program that really benefits these young scholars,” said Ian Bodenheimer, a first-time teen board member who spent four weeks at the camp. “I thoroughly enjoyed making meaningful bonds with the scholars, other board members and interns. I look forward to continuing my involvement.” More than 45 individuals and organizations volunteered their time to provide afternoon enrichment activities for the scholars that ranged from an interactive drum circle to making “snow” in a science experiment. Community volunteers chaperoned off-site trips to Discovery Place, Ray’s Splash Planet, Cane Creek Park, theater performances and bowling. Twenty-eight people served as guest readers each morning. And others helped ensure SPFS had the supplies needed for the camp. From 2,400 snacks and drinks to 1,200 books to 88 bathing suits and towels, SPFS is a true example each summer of the Charlotte Jewish community engaging in Tikkun Olam and giving children a truly memorable summer experience. For more information about SPFS or to make a donation, visit Y

The birthday presentation made to Alan Goldberg.

Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 17

Have a sweet year. And share what Rosh Hashanah means to you. #RoshHashanahPublix

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 18

Internship Program at ZABS Place Begins This Fall By Rebecca Gale College students are always looking for a way to get their foot in the door. This fall, students pursuing careers catering to individuals with special needs will have this opportunity by interning at ZABS Place. ZABS Place is a non-profit thrift boutique in downtown Matthews that employs young adults with special needs. The brainchild of Friendship Circle directors, Bentzion and Rochel Groner and Temple Beth El members, Charles and Caren Gale, ZABS Place became a reality through the overwhelming support of a key group of committed community members because they knew the statistics: There are 50,000 young adults with special needs and 70% of them are unemployed. After being featured in articles in The Charlotte Observer and Charlotte Jewish News, the organization was inundated with phone calls from parents all cradling the same hope: Can my child work at ZABS? Knowing that they did not have enough job coaches to support these young adults, Caren Gale reached out to Isabel Owen, the Executive Director of Autism Charlotte, who with Laura Cozart had already established an internship program for their organization with several colleges. Gale saw the benefits of utilizing these colleges to draw from a population of students interested in fields such as psychology, special edu-

that outline preferred job coaching methods. “Currently, teaching is through instruction, observation, and hands-on experience.” Dugo says. The interns assist employees in a variety of tasks such as sorting donations, working the cash register, and posting merchandise for sale on eBay. The goal is for the college students to support the employees while still promoting their independence. Greg Trombello of Wingate University is one of ZABS Place’s first interns. After working for Intern Greg Trombello helps an employee sort some items.

cation, and speech therapy. “It seemed like a perfect match,” Gale says. “Our young adults benefit from having a peer mentor and the college students benefit by gaining hands-on experience for college credit.” Autism Charlotte provides college students with as many resources as possible before they begin their internship program. Cozart even takes them through a three-hour training program so the students know what to expect. “We take everyone’s needs into consideration,” Cozart says. “We are there to provide hands-on support.” Alison Salerno Dugo, Supported Employment Coordinator at ZABS Place, also assists these college interns before they begin working with ZABS employees by providing them with materials

Join Us! Wednesday, October 28 8:30am-2:30pm Admissions Open House Come for your private tour.

Friday, October 30 Morning Preschool Visitation

only a couple weeks, he feels he has already learned so much. “All the workers here are good workers,” he says. “Even though they have disabilities, they are just like you and me.” The internship program is offered to all college students in the Charlotte area, and students can contact Laura Cozart at Autism Charlotte or Alison Dugo at if they are interested. ZABS Place is grateful for the support of the Charlotte Jewish community and thrilled by their

new partnership with Autism Charlotte. ZABS Place is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte. Y

Operation Understanding Includes Charlotte in Their Summer Itinerary Again 23 days. 6 states. 16 cities. 24 teenagers. By Amy Krakovitz Every year Operation Understanding DC selects both Jewish and African American teens from their area to travel the US in search of the past, present, and future of civil rights, tolerance, and an appreciation of each other’s cultures. From New York City to the Deep South, OUDC’s mission is to “build a generation of African American and Jewish community leaders who promote respect, understanding, and cooperation while working to eradicate racism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of discrimination.” In New York, they visit com-

munities in Harlem and in Borough Park; they meet with people who marched on Selma, and people who survived the Holocaust; they experience a living history and a turbulent past, all while planning for a brighter future. Part of their visit includes Charlotte, where they visit the Museum of the New South to see the “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers” exhibit and hear from two notable local speakers. Susan Jacobs, director of Temple Beth El religious school, and lifelong member of Temple Israel, speaks to them about growing up Jewish in the south. And for a special (Continued on page 24)

Andrew Goldberg and Lauren Lee Bellamy

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 19

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 20

Baruch HaBah: Peter Blair Joins Levine JCC as CEO By Amy Krakovitz “We just felt in our kishkes that this was home for our family,” Peter Blair says of his visit to Charlotte. “It spoke to me as a Southern Jew, having been born and raised in Memphis.” Blair joins our community as the new CEO of the Levine JCC and his enthusiasm and vision are already well in place. He comes most recently from the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee, but was in the Jewish education field for 15 years prior to that as Director of Early Childhood Education for the Mercer Island and Seattle campuses for the Stroum Jewish Community Center in Seattle, followed by a stint

as Head of School for the Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County in Irvine, CA. His experience in education plays a large role in his plans for LJCC’s future. “I have a deep commitment to the role learning plays in Jewish life,” he asserts. “… The LJCC can be a unique destination for life-long Jewish experience, one that celebrates our traditions and diversity, and offers an inclusive entry point for community engagement.” As important as education may be to Blair, he also feels that the people are essential, too. “I have a real simple goal for the near term: to meet the community and learn from its members. … People will

learn pretty quickly that I am a hyper-communicator. … I’m not hesitant to engage in respectful, open communications, even when opinions differ.” But for all his experience in Jewish communal work and his commitment to communication, members of the Jewish community of Charlotte know one thing: Shalom Park is a unique and different kind of organization than found in all of the Jewish world. But Blair feels that the partnership structure will not be a stumbling block for him. “I … very much believe that the success and strength of any one organization directly impacts the other. I come from a very collaborative environment, where a shared vision and

Peter Blair mission can be accomplished in a variety of ways. I’m excited to join a community where the foundation of that culture is in place.” Blair does not join us alone. He

brings with him with wife Traci, children Hudson and Cohen, and a history of Jewish commitment. In Memphis, he “was a member of Temple Israel – a large Reform synagogue. … My parents instilled in us the value of education, and I’ve made that a priority in my life through ongoing fellowships.” The whole family is excited to begin this chapter of their lives in Charlotte. “We have every intention for this chapter to be a long one!” Y

Shalom Green Forges Ahead with Initiatives Efforts to improve environmental awareness and increase sustainability on Shalom Park are progressing as Shalom Green, the Shalom Park Environmental Initiative, moves ahead on a number of fronts. • Shalom Park Community

Garden - The design for the Shalom Park Community Garden is complete, and the first work days for garden construction and planting will take place in late September and early October. Community members are encouraged to participate. For more in-

Teen campers planting.

formation or to volunteer, contact Yonatan Thull at The Shalom Green Garden Committee is currently seeking donations to help complete the build out of the garden. Donations in any amount are appreciated $72 will help purchase a tree; $360 a rectangular raised bed; $720 a large trellised raised bed. All donations are tax deductible. Checks may be made payable to the Foundation of Shalom Park with “Community Garden” in the memo line and mailed to the Foundation at 5007 Providence Road, Suite 102, Charlotte NC 28226. • Reducing our Carbon Footprint Energy Audits of Temple Beth El and the main campus buildings on Shalom Park have identified opportunities to save thousands of dollars, while at the same time re-

Teen camp learns about the new garden from designer Bobbie Mabe.

ducing energy usage and impact on the environment. Green teams at each agency will be evaluating ways to implement recommended changes, and Shalom Green’s Carbon Footprint Reduction Committee will be supporting these efforts with information and educational programming. For more information, or to get involved, contact Lisa Garfinkle at • Shalom Green Challenge – Beginning in October, LJCC Cares will be leading the Shalom Green Challenge, monthly challenges - connected to Jewish values – to live more sustainably at home. The challenge will include learning opportunities, activities, and discussion topics to get families working together to go green. Monthly themes will include Appreciating and Caring for the Earth, Reducing Waste, Reducing Carbon Footprint, Conserving Water, Eating and Growing Green, and Spring Clean/Green Clean. Register by sending an email to Julie Rizzo at

• Educating our Youth - Teen campers at the LJCC enjoyed a morning with Garden Committee members and Education Co-Chair Rabbi Jonathan Freirich, as they learned about Jewish values related to protecting the planet, started seeds of fall vegetables for the community garden with Garden designer Bobbie Mabe, and worked in the Charlotte Jewish Preschool garden with Garden Committee chair Candice Serbin. Religious school students of all ages, from kindergarten to high school, will have the opportunity to learn more about Jewish values and sustainable living during the upcoming school year. Y

“Meditation and prayer before God are particularly efficacious in grassy fields and amid trees, since a man's soul is thereby strengthened, as if every blade of grass and every plant united with him in prayer.” -- Nachman of Bratslav

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 21

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 22


New Leadership Team for a New Year at CJP By Andy Tucker, President, Charlotte Jewish Preschool Board of Directors It is hard to believe that another

school year has begun, and at CJP we are excited for many of the new changes. In addition to our new Execu-

tive Director, Lisa Shporer, we have an entirely new leadership team. Joining Lisa is Ruth Ann Smith, a long-time teacher at CJP, who moved into the role of Director of Operations. Brooke Amo, former Assistant Director, will serve as the Director of Education, overseeing the curriculum and its implementation in the classrooms as well as the development of new programs to enrich our school’s learning environment. We are all very excited for this team to continue the wonderful legacy of excellent Jewish preschool education. The CJP Board of Directors also has exciting plans for this school year. Last year the Board began to investigate our school’s communication strategy. To that end, we conducted a parent survey with a specific focus on how CJP communicates with our families and what resources are most beneficial. What we learned was that

parents find the weekly communication from teachers, newsletters highlighting the week’s activities as well as previewing the upcoming week, very helpful. Additionally, some members of the Board met with CJP parent Robin Rothberg, a communications professor at UNC Charlotte, to discuss ways to improve our communication with many of our constituents: parents, staff, and community partners. She provided some great recommendations on how to better leverage some of our present channels of communication as well as some important best practices for tools such as Facebook. All of this work culminates in the forthcoming upgrade of our CJP website. While parents indicate that they primarily use it to download forms and to search the calendar, we hope that it will be a more dynamic place that will make both communication and

The American Hebrew Academy continues to attract top-tier students from around the globe to your own backyard. We nurture your child’s Jewish identity and offer unparalleled academic opportunities. Our students discover who they are as learners, as leaders and as Jews. Why do we attract students from around the globe? Come for a tour of campus and find out. Now accepting applications for 2016-2017. Call 336-217-7074 for more information.

other transactions much easier. Some of our planned upgrades include electronic forms submission and online payment for annual fund and perhaps tuition. As we continue our exploration, if you have other ideas that we could add to our “website wish list,” please contact me ( Another exciting opportunity that will ultimately enhance our children’s learning at CJP involves our Judaica Specialist, Morah Becca Weiner. This fall she will be joining Hebrew College for its Master’s Program in Jewish Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Education. Hebrew College has been nationally recognized for its excellence in distance learning, and because the program is fully online, Morah Becca will still be working with our children. One of the great benefits of such a program is that Morah Becca will get to interact with Jewish educators around the world. For example, she will have the opportunity to work with author Rachel Raz who has published Jewish children’s books that are used at CJP. About this incredible opportunity, Becca says, “My primary goal in pursuing my Master’s Degree is to grow myself as a Jewish educator. A good teacher never stops learning, and I want to learn about best practices in Jewish education and apply them to my classes at CJP.” Her experience in this program will also enable her to provide professional learning opportunities for her colleagues at the preschool. “I will be taking a Hebrew class for the early childhood classroom as well, which means more implementation in the Judaica classroom. Also, I will take what I learn in my program and pass it on to our CJP teachers during my monthly Lunch and Learn class,” says Becca. Morah Becca also received the Legacy Heritage Fellowship, a financial award for tuition that will also enable her to attend the annual Legacy Heritage conference in Boston. At this conference, she will have the opportunity to meet her professors in person and collaborate with her classmates from around the country. Congratulations, Becca, on this wonderful opportunity. The start of a new school year always holds the promise of new possibilities, new ways for us to fulfill our motto: “Learn – Grow – Connect”. This year is no exception, as we all work together to ensure that our children discover new wonders and learn the joy of Jewish life. Y

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 23

Countdown to the First Day of School at CJDS It has become our annual tradition at Charlotte Jewish Day School to get ready for the upcoming school year, by having a “Facebook Countdown� beginning 10 days before school begins, featuring our teachers and staff. This allows our families and friends the opportunity to get to know us! You can find out more about CJDS by visiting our Facebook page at

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 24

Goals for the New Year at JPS By Dedee Goldsmith, director, Jewish Preschool on Sardis I love that the beginning of the school year and that Rosh Hashanah fall around the same time. It is a wonderful, in your face, reminder of renewal. Goals. Planning for the year ahead. In the eyes of a child, a goal may be to learn to write her name, to tie his shoes alone, or to make a new friend. As an adult, we aspire to accomplish new things too. I know all the teachers at the Jewish Preschool on Sardis have many goals. They strive to make new connections with the children and families, to develop a creative curriculum to engage children in new ways, and to prepare children for future learning. How about you? What are your goals? How can JPS help you? Looking to volunteer, looking to finally get to that Mommy & Me class? Want to finally inquire about that preschool for your child for the coming school year? Contact us to help you reach your goals. Volunteer in the classroom. Come to Shabbat Send off

or Mommy & Me. Take a tour and get to know us. You’ll be grateful you did. L’shanah Tova to our JPS families and supporters. Wishing you a year of health and fulfillment. Y

Babies learn to share at JPS.

Operation Understanding (Continued from page 18)

Benjamin makes his own challah.

Shabbat at camp.

treat, Charles Jones, one of the original Freedom Riders from 1961, talks to them about paving the way for the civil rights movement of the 60s. The students all have different hopes for the program and varying reasons for joining. Lauren Lee Bellamy, a 17-year-old senior from The School Without Walls in Washington, DC, wanted to join because, as she said, “I don’t have a lot of Jewish friends and I wanted to learn more. It seems to me that our communities have similar histories. “We all have the potential to be leaders and be more outspoken,” she continued. “I want to take the knowledge I gain here and put it out into the world.” Andrew Goldberg of Potomac, MD, said, “I wasn’t an activist before I started this, but now I feel it. The rally for voting rights in Winston-Salem really affected me.” The 17-year-old senior from Bullis High School joined the program because he had a friend who did it two years ago and it sounded interesting. The day we spoke, Goldberg was looking forward to meeting with some of the men who participated in sit-ins in the early 1960s to protest segregation. And learning about Rabbi Joachim Prinz’s devotion to the civil rights also impressed him as well as Bellamy. “Rabbi Prinz said, ‘Being a neighbor is not a geographical term; it’s a moral concept,’” Bellamy quoted. And ultimately that is what we hope all of us can learn. Y

“We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.” --Albert Einstein

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 25

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Top Kids’ Books for the Season Include New Book from Local Author By Penny Schwartz (JTA) — From Antarctica to Shanghai and farms to cities, this year’s crop of High Holidays books for children offers a globetrotting exploration. Friendship and family are the themes that run through five new titles that entertain and inform young ones and older readers. Turning the pages of a new book is the perfect way to usher in the holidays. Time to Start a Brand New Year (Hachai Publishing; ages 2-5) by Rochel Groner Vorst; illustrated by Shepsil Scheinberg With this new title, Hachai publishing adds to its collection of rhyming, colorful stories for young kids. This High Holidays story by Rochel Groner Vorst features a contemporary haredi Orthodox family getting ready to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, from apple picking to harvesting honey, to hearing the shofar. The author, who as a teen won Pittsburgh’s Holocaust poetry contest, is a kindergarten teacher at a Jewish day school in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she grew up. Other recommended books are: Penguin Rosh Hashanah (CreateSpace Independent Publish-

ing; ages 3-6) by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod Talia and the Very Yum Kippur (Kar-Ben; ages 4 to 8) by Linda Elovitz Marshall; illustrated by Francesca Assirelli

Tamar’s Sukkah (Kar-Ben; ages 3-8) by Ellie B. Gellman; illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn Shanghai Sukkah (Kar-Ben; ages 5-9) by Heidi Smith Hyde; illustrations by Jing Jing Tsong Y

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Wednesday, September 2, 1:15 PM Levine-Sklut Judaic Library and Resource Center Event will be followed by a book signing and a craft

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 26

Women’s News Charlotte Chapter of Hadassah Presents

“Buy to Build Israel” Trip To Israel Raffle Charlotte Chapter of Hadassah’s 2nd Annual Israeli Products Fair November 22;10 AM–2 PM Sam Lerner Center for Cultural Arts, Main Street, and Weinberger Activity Center at Shalom Park The Charlotte Chapter of

Hadassah is pleased to announce that we will be selling raffle tickets to win a 2016 Hadassah Mission for two to Israel at the “Buy to Build Israel” Fair on November 22. Tickets are $72 each and can be purchased at the front desk of

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the Levine JCC. The drawing will occur at the Fair on November 22. You do not need to be present to win. In addition to this fabulous raffle, the event will feature an Israel Travel Room, children’s activities, photos, music, and vendors offering a wide variety of Israeli products, including Judaica, jewelry, skin products art, olive oils, and much more.

For additional information, contact Stacy Baum at 704-8080423 or For a complete list of rules and trip dates, additional information about the Fair, or to sign up for a table to sell Israeli items, please visit Thank you to our sponsors Charlotte Chapter of Hadassah,

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 27

Wishing vs. Praying

By Rabbi Chanoch Oppenheim, Charlotte Torah Center A small ship was battling for survival amidst a storm at sea and the caption asked if anyone knew how to pray. One woman raised her hand and said “yes.” The captain replied, “Great, we’re short one life jacket. You pray and the rest of us will put on life jackets.” Before beginning any conversation about the long prayers associated with the High Holidays, one must understand that real prayer requires neither synagogue, congregation, nor stan-

dardized prayer. There is great personal and communal benefit every time one prays because it causes us to realize that we ultimately are not in control. One can’t control sickness, having an abusive spouse, or being let go from the company you have given the best years of your life to because they merged with another company. It takes effective life skills to be able to deal with life on life’s terms, not ours. The following story was related by Abraham Twerski, a retired psychiatrist and rabbi, which he heard from an alcoholic in recovery. When I began attending Alcoholics Anonymous, I was told that prayer was an essential part of the program and element of recovery, I said, “I can’t pray; I don’t believe in God.” It’s now seven years later and I’ve prayed every day since then even though I’m still not sure if I believe in God. You may ask, ‘if I don’t fully believe in God, then why do I pray.’ That’s easy; when I pray I am reminded that I am not God. Listen to the wise words of one

whose life was once hopeless. Really, the captain of our story is mistaken. There’s a huge aspect of prayer that has nothing to do with getting results and therefore both the people with and without life jackets need to pray because even if you have a life jacket you need to remember that you are not God. You can attempt to control people and situations and might sometimes be successful in doing so but ultimately life has a way of presenting situations that no amount of financial resources, academic expertise, or life experience will allow you to solve. Still in all, most people I speak with who pray believe in God. Even though some people haven’t prayed in years, when sickness or some other tragedy strikes, they find themselves praying and at that moment they consciously or subconsciously realize that they are not in control. If they would have been in control, if they would have had some way to have solved this problem, they wouldn’t be praying. Prayer is a foreign concept for many Jews and sometimes the reason is because they view prayer as getting a result but there

leader), then the prayer will reflect that terrible deficiency in our lives. Imagine a person who gets great advice for how to deal with an abusive relationship but doesn’t think he/she has the ability to implement the advice s/he has been given. If one doesn’t believe in oneself, one can’t move forward. What does believing in yourself have to do with prayer? When you pray to God, it is crucial to believe in yourself; that you possess a beautiful and generous soul that was lovingly gifted to you by God. God has given you another day to live and that testifies that God believes in you. Wherever you find yourself this year during the High Holidays, make sure that you remember to believe in yourself and your ability to pray/connect to God. This year don’t just wish, pray. Y

is a huge difference between actually praying—spending time with God — as opposed to just wishing things would get better. When we just wish things get better, nothing usually does. But when we actually spend the time directly asking for God’s help, something happens to you. (Exactly what is not for this article.) Some people say that they pray for something to happen but the truth is, they might not be praying, they might be wishing. The great 19th century Chassidic master Rav Tzadok Hakohen of Lublin once said that in order for prayer to be real, belief only in God is not sufficient; you must believe in yourself also. If one doesn’t believe in himself, it doesn’t matter how much you believe in God because ultimately you don’t think you have the ability (I’m not strong enough; I’m not smart enough; I’m not confident enough; I’m not enough of a

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A Conspiracy of Love

By Rabbi Murray Ezring, Temple Israel Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel once said, “there never were greater days of joy in Israel than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur (Ta’anit chapter 4).” This statement sounds strange to us today. Yom Kippur, after all, is a day of fasting. It is a day on which we envision ourselves on trial before God. It is the day that God and judged whether we are worthy of living another year. On the other hand, Tu B’av is a little known holiday which is often referred to as the Jewish Sadie Hawkins Day or Valentine’s Day. How could these two days be compared to each other because of based on their joyousness? In the ancient world, Yom Kippur afternoon and Tu B’Av revolved around the same ritual. Young, unmarried women would dress in wore white dresses, and danced in the vineyards enticing the young men to come choose them for a wife. Love has always been a fundamental of Jewish life: Love of life, spouse, children, Israel and her people, your neighbor, the

stranger, and of course, our love of God. Just as there are many forms of love, there are many different expressions of love. Whether love is expressed emotionally, physically, or filially, it defines the closeness of relationship. Last month, Temple Israel dedicated an entire Shabbat to celebrate Tu b’Av. We acknowledged every loving relationship in our synagogue family. It was a beautiful Shabbat as loving couples explained the ways in which their love for each other continues to grow. Years ago, I used this story to illustrate filial love. Nearly 100 years ago, two young medical school graduates, with their father, tried an important experiment. They built a small sanitarium on a small farm in Kansas. The doctors were Charles Menninger and his sons Karl and William. They were determined to create a new loving, family atmosphere which included patients and staff. They wanted a place where the emotional and mental wellbeing of their patients would be as important as their physical health. Nurses were specially trained and taught to let each person know how much you value them. Steve Goodier reminds us that Karl Menninger wrote, “Love cures people, both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.” He continues by quoting Hamilton Wright Mabie, “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” Our High Holy Days are a season of such a conspiracy. We tend to wrap ourselves in the guilt and fear of Judgement Day. In truth,

Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are the time of year that God showers us with love. The Days of Repentance should not be filled with fear and trepidation. Instead, we are taught that they are filled with love and hope. Yom Kippur is the day that God, our Parent and Creator, responds to our requests to be forgiven. Our Divine Parent, like our mothers and fathers, will respond with the love that is the foundation of our religious relationship with God. God does not sit in judgement to condemn. Founded in the love God holds for us, our Holy One hopes to find the reason to forgive and grant us another year of life. Join me in this conspiracy of love. Ponder this verse written by Emmett Fox: There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer. No disease that enough love will not open. No gulf that enough love will not bridge. No wall that enough love will not throw down. No sin that enough love will not redeem. As we prepare to approach God, requesting forgiveness for the mistakes we have made, let us remember that God’s answer will be based in love for us all. Imagine what our year would be like if we let each person in our lives know how much we value them? May 5776 be, as our Talmud describes Tu b’Av and Yom Kippur, “the most joyous year yet, filled with love for family, neighbors, strangers and for God, our Divine Parent.” Y

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 28

The Power of Our World’s Birthday and Our Own By Rabbi Judith Schindler, Temple Beth El In American culture, birthdays are a day for celebration. That was the case for me as I was growing up. Given that I was a twin and my brother and I were the youngest of five kids, a big deal was made of our birthday. My family would always gather on the beach in Westport, Connecticut for a cookout and invite friends, family, and anyone who wanted to take the drive. Now that I am an adult, my birthday continues to be an opportunity to connect with those who are most important in my life.

Each birthday, I look forward to the long conversation that I have with my twin. Both of our lives are crazy. Throughout the year, we have quick conversations. Inevitably, one of us has to run to a meeting, to pick up a child or to put a child to bed. However, each birthday, we take time to talk not about the small things but about the big things and the greater picture of our lives. In Jewish culture, birthdays are a time of awe because that is the day on which your life’s course began. The Hebrew date on which you were born has special power. (If you don’t know the Hebrew

Barbara & Jerry Levin Linda & Mark Goldsmith Rabbi Binyamin & Ilana Levin Brian Goldsmith - Certified Pedorthist

date of your birth, you can easily calculate it at or by asking your rabbi.) On your lunar birthday, your mazal, your constellation and good fortune radiates with added strength. My birthday according to the lunar and Hebrew calendar is most definitely a time of awe. I was born on the new moon of Elul which is the last new moon of the Jewish year. For Jews, the first of Elul is like an astonishing alarm calling us to awaken to the ways we have gone off course – physically, spiritually, emotionally, and with our relationships. During Elul, we blow the shofar at services each morning.

Elul is an intense time of preparation for the High Holidays. For me, there is the professional component that puts me into overdrive – making sure the Temple, services and most of all, my sermons, are in order. Then there is the personal component for all of us. Elul represents a turning point for focusing on getting our lives and our priorities in order. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of blessed memory, instituted a “Jewish Birthday Campaign” and encouraged Jews to make birthday resolutions. He taught that on our birthdays we are reborn with potential. Birthdays are an ideal time for selfevaluation and for increasing our daily acts that lift the world. The question of “What did you do on your birthday?” should be answered with a commitment you make and a mitzvah you fulfill with more regularity. “I made a commitment to giving more tzedakah this year,” you could say or “I made a commitment to care for the elderly” or “to love the stranger.” If our personal birthdays are time for self-reckoning how much the more so is our world’s birthday, that we share with the Jewish people. We celebrate Rosh

Hashanah on the day that our tradition teaches Adam and hence humanity was born. Just like personal birthdays are a time for resolutions and rebirth, so is the world’s and humanity’s birthday a time for collective reflection and resolution, and deeper, more meaningful conversations. Rosh Hashanah is not likened to a secular birthday where some are inclined to celebrate with drinking or dancing and filling their day with revelry. Rosh Hashanah is likened to a Jewish birthday, where we reflect on the meaning of life and work to create a good year by committing to fill our days with acts of goodness and devotion that make a difference. The first of Elul is a time for awakening. There is a forty day time span from that date until Yom Kippur. We are given forty days to assess our lives daily. Yet, the truth is it is not just the countdown to the High Holidays that ultimately matters, it is the countdown of our lives. Every Hebrew month, every day, and every hour matters. Make we make the most of them. Shanah tovah – may this New Year be good. May we make it good through the way we live.Y

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 30

It Is The Heart That Counts ships God because God commanded worship, even if that person does not know even the meaning of the words, the prayer

By Dr. Rabbi Barbara Thiede, Temple Or Olam If a person does not know the meaning of the prayers, but wor-

ascends and pierces the firmament, for the sacred words of the Torah and prayer contain a superior sanctity, and when they issue

At this special time of Rosh Hashanah, all of us at Levine Properties wish all of you a New Year blessed with good health, happiness, and prosperity



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from the heart of a person who is praying for the sake of heaven, they bring about great amendments in the superior world. —Or Yesharim, quoting the Baal Shem Tov It is the heart that counts, after all. For centuries, rabbis have worried about whether congregants understand the kavannot of prayer, of ritual, of practice. They have taught, written, and sermonized. They have hoped to teach their congregants the rich traditions they have inherited. Their concern, past and present, is not groundless: Which of our synagogue members have studied the multi-layered intentions and meanings behind High Holy Day liturgies? How many Jews can translate the Hebrew they read? High Holy Days frequently turn, like Pesach, into cultural comfort food – something we do rather than something we feel, something we know rather than understand. We might be familiar with the nusach, the melodies, the themes of creation and majesty or forgiveness and atonement. But familiarity does not, by itself, lead to discernment. It may only ensure that we do not feel uncomfortable. Singing Avinu Malkeinu do we pause, even tremble at the recognition that creation is a mystery we cannot fathom? How shall we avoid making the Days of Awe merely a ritual of the fall season? How shall we make these days real, not rote? Ask congregants. They will tell you. One year, members of Temple Or Olam wrote anonymously about the burdens they longed to leave behind. Their answers became a “People’s Haftorah” which I sang to haftorah trope during Yom Kippur. God, help me tear down the walls – I want so much to know companionship and love but my soul is afraid. My work is stifling me. I am tired of my fear and self-doubt. I feel so impatient with others. I must listen more and judge less. I wish I could leave behind shyness. My distrust of other people. The guilt because I was not there when my mother died. Why do I believe that those I love will do me harm, or leave me? I don’t want to be ruled by that terrible fear, that fear of people harming me. I am tired of being frightened. I don’t want to be so hard on myself. I want to forgive myself. As I sang my congregants’

words their longing – their kavvanot – became a mirror for everyone present. Nothing I sang was unknown. Everything I sang came from a human heart – open, vulnerable, longing for compassion and understanding. True sacrifice to God, so Psalm 51, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. God, I am sure, also welcomes hopeful hearts. Congregants wrote, too, of what they needed. This, too, became part of the People’s Haftorah: I want more of the love of my life, my wife. I want more time with my husband. I want to spend time with my parents. Friendship, a clean home, to see our granddaughter more often. Time to work out, time for running. Time for joy. I want quiet days, free time to do as I wish, more time to study. I want to write more and feel the breath of inspiration. I want the wisdom to heal my family. Hanging out with the kind of people I like – spiritual, positive, people who make living life a great joy. To be more of me. More singing, singing harmony. Singing of the soul. I want more of God’s presence in my life. Who among us does not long for second chances, to start afresh? Who among us does not need renewal of body and spirit? Hearing their own hopes reminded our congregants of the very purpose of our High Holy Day observance: To examine our souls in order to be able to start afresh, to find a way to lay down the burdens of the past and to embrace – and create, too – a peaceful future How do we make our observance of the Days of Awe real? By taking the courage and the time to listen to our own hearts, by sharing their contents – with friends and family, with community, and with God. It is the heart that counts, after all.Y

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 31

Unity Through Diversity - This Is a Hakhel Year By Rabbi Yossi Groner, Congregation Ohr HaTorah An interesting ritual proscribed by the Torah, that was observed every seven years in the days of the Temple in Jerusalem, has much relevance to this coming New Year. Every seven years, during the Festival of Sukkot at the conclusion of the Sabbatical Year, the King of Israel would gather all the people of the land to the courtyard of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem for a formal address. It was the largest assembly held in the Holy city. During the Sabbatical year the lands would lie fallow and the poor and the homeless would help themselves to the crop and fruits of the field. Farmers and landowners would focus on the their spiritual life during this time as they were prohibited from working the land during the Sabbatical year. Once the Sabbatical year was over, they would resume their regular agricultural life. It was at this time when the Torah instructs the king to remind the nation, as they go back to the real world, to conduct their business with integrity and fairness. There in the presence of all the people, men, women, and children and all residents of the Land of Is-

rael, the king was to read a portion of the text of book of Deuteronomy where the words of Moses would guide the people to be pious and upright in their affairs which is imbued with reverence for God. The scene in Jerusalem was incredible. It was a pilgrimage of the great multitudes, of all kinds of people, who came together for one common goal. There were farmers and country folk mixing with urban city dwellers, scholars with simple people, rich and poor, upper class and blue collar. It was a demonstration of love and reverence for the words of God as they were being read aloud by the king. This ceremony of the gathering

of the masses in Jerusalem is called “Hakhel” which means assemble. It is rooted in the Hebrew word Kahal or Kehila which means and assembly or a congregation. The act of Hakhel has a powerful energy about it as it gathers together so many people, each with individual character and unique skills, and brings them together as one community with a common goal. This coming year of 5776 is a Hakhel year, as the year 5775 that we are leaving is a Sabbatical year. The entire year is named a Hakhel year, and the Hakhel spirit injects every day of the year with Hakhel energy. The ultimate spirit of Hakhel is unity, a kind of unity that unites people of diverse walks of life who come together as one with one common goal. It is a much greater expression of unity when people of diverse backgrounds or opinions unite. The Jewish people are likened to the human body. Each limb and organ has its individual and unique character and function. Yet no limb can function independently, if it did, the body would not be in the right state of health. Only when there is proper cooperation and coordination is the body

healthy. As this year is a Hakhel year, the call to action is to emphasize genuine unity in our community, to respect each other regardless of our diverse attitudes or opinions, and, in addition, to focus on our

spiritual growth by developing reverence and love for our treasured Torah which the heritage of all of us. May all of our community be blessed with God’s blessings of life, health and tranquility. May this indeed be a year of unity and cooperation amongst all of us. Y



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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 34

Why Are These Services Different Than All Others? Happy New Year

from Bill & Patty Gorelick

Happy New Year Bob & Anne Yudell

By Rabbi Michael Shields, Temple Kol Tikvah The High Holy Days, Yamim Noraim, the Ten Days of Awe are most certainly different than all of the other days of the year. The worship shared has a heightened sense of urgency. The prayers and readings emphasize the specific themes of the season. Man of the melodies change and are often more cantorial in nature. These changes are very appropriate in that they serve the sacred atmosphere and worship that we are hoping to achieve. However, not all changes are good. A story: When I was a rabbinical intern in rabbinical school, a congregation member came to me and said, “Rabbi, I just love how Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services are like going to the theater. We all get to dress up, fight for the

best parking spots and fight through the throngs of people filing in to services. Then we get to listen to beautiful melodies and appreciate the artful poetry of the prayers and the beautiful choreography of the Torah service.” She had transformed the High Holy Days into a theater production. The rabbi, cantor, and Torah readers were the actors, the congregation members were the audience and the clergy’s robes, tallitot, and even the Torah were props. Unlike regular Shabbat services where the rabbi is a humble facilitator and everyone worships together, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur had turned into a spectator sport. The true audience was forgotten. God was forgotten. For many, the High Holy Days are an ordeal or a burden, simply

something one must do. Every worshipper is an actor in a Divine production, or if you’re a sports fan, a player in the big game. What is done on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as well as every day can change one’s life and change the world. Sometimes the Yamim Noraim, the High Holy Days, are different in a negative way. We lose our sense of obligation and participation and relinquish our religious responsibility and possibility to our rabbis and cantors. These High Holy Days, the sound of the Shofar challenges us to hearken to our best selves. In order to do this, we must be willing to show up to the big game. A colleague shared this anecdote comparing football to the High Holy Days: “Football is a sport in which twenty-two physically fit men run around on a field while ninety thousand people who need exercise watch them. High Holy Day services are a sport in which hundreds of people who are not sure how to daven watch a few people who do.” In Jewish tradition, the words “da lifnei mi atta omed,” (“know before whom you stand”) are critically important to the High Holy Days. The prayer leaders do not stand before you and perform the liturgy. We all stand before God.

Every time we get distracted, every time we have a nasty thought, every time we show up late or leave early, we should remind ourselves, “da lifnei mi atta omed.” A wagon driver was once taking a rabbi from town to town. They came upon an orchard and the driver said, “I’ll climb up a tree and get some apples for lunch.” As soon as the driver was up in the tree, the rabbi yelled: “He’s watching! He’s watching!” Nearly falling out of the tree, the driver scurried down and ran off, fearful that the farmer would catch him. The rabbi took the reins and continued on. A while later, the rabbi caught up with the wagon driver. “Rabbi, why did you yell, ‘He’s watching!’? The farmer was nowhere to be found.” The Rabbi said, “I wasn’t talking about the farmer. I said, (pointing upward) God’s watching!” I hope that we don’t just “enjoy” these High Holy Days. Instead, I hope we all can laasok b’divrei Torah (engage meaningfully in Torah). May we carry the lessons of the Yamim Noraim into our lives and continue to pray both with our mouths and our feet, our prayers and our deeds. May the High Holy Days become infused into the every day. Shanah Tovah U’metukah! Y

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 35

An Under the Sea Camp Experience By Patty Torcellini, Early Childhood/Katan Program Supervisor Camp Katan, the preschool summer camp at the Sandra and Leon Levine JCC, finished its very successful six-week run on Friday, July 31. It was a fun-filled summer where campers had a chance to grow, make new friends, and create life long memories. Our preschoolers, all 186 of them, had swimming lessons in the Levine JCC’s amazing pools, soaked their counselors on the Splashground, saw a magic show complete with magic wands and flying tables, used their imaginations watching a puppet show, listened to Ms. Linda’s stories in the library, had science lessons with Ms. Rachel, danced in music with Ms. Lo, celebrated Shabbat with Ms. Nancy, played on gymnastic equipment, bounced and played in the bouncy houses, had games and sports in the gym with Coach D, and so much more. I was amazed by the creativity and nurturing of the staff, most of who are local preschool and CMS teachers. I miss seeing the smiling faces in my office, watching swim lessons at the outdoor pool, and listening to the two-year-old campers as I roam the hallways during lunch learning to say Hamotzi before eating. Thankfully the JCC is not just a place for fun in the summer. It is year round fun offering programming for all ages. I hope to see many of my new little friends around the JCC this year, building upon their newfound swimming capabilities with swim lessons through our aquatics department, celebrating holidays through our fall and winter enrichment programs, and continuing to grow in our community. The excitement of Camp Katan may have come to a close, but the new and enriching opportunities our community provides for families carries on throughout the year. I look forward to sharing many more great experiences with all of you. Visit to view all fall classes at the Levine JCC. Registration is now open for members and non-members. To enroll in classes, please call 704366-5007 or visit the Levine JCC Customer Service Desk. Y

3100 Miles Later…

Thank You To All Who Contributed to My Bike Tour from San Diego to New York Supporting Friendship Circle Charlotte Camp Katan kids.

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At the LJCC water park.

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 37

Waiting for an Apology That Will Never Come By Nina Badzin (Kveller via JTA) - I used to have the right idea for Yom Kippur. I liked the notion of an entire month to clean up my messes from the past year, and I worked hard to deliver carefully worded apologies. The promise of a clean slate appealed to my resolutionmaking personality. And I appreciated the fact that the obligation to make life improvements deeper than, say, eating better, differentiated the Jewish New Year from the secular one. I was a High Holidays superfan. This year, however, I’ve found it difficult to focus solely on my faults, my wrongdoings and my petty behavior. Enough about me, I’ve found myself thinking. Let’s talk about you. I realize it’s not in the “High Holidays spirit” to preoccupy myself with the ways I’ve been wronged, but I can’t stop thinking about the few relationships in my life that could use some healing. One friend, in particular, I’ve drifted apart from due to so many layers of back and forth “offenses” through the years that I’m not even sure how the tension started or why. I’m willing to do my part, but I refuse to take all the responsibility. Knowing it was time to get some guidance, I asked one of my rabbis in Minneapolis the central question bothering me: “As I prepare for Yom Kippur, am I supposed to offer some kind of universal catchall forgiveness

Nina Badzin

even to people who have not asked for it?” According to Rabbi Fredman, we are not obligated to forgive those who do not ask. However, Jewish law requires that we engage someone in dialogue if we feel we’ve been wronged. “If you are able to mend the relationship,” Rabbi Fredman said, “you should try.” I was afraid I would get that kind of answer. It’s the worst-case scenario. I’m not obligated to forgive someone who doesn’t ask, yet I’m not supposed to hold a grudge. What’s worse, I have to do the work of starting the conversation even if the other person has made no move to discuss where we stand. I told Rabbi Fredman that I found the task unrealistic. Let’s say I gently bring up the issue so I can put the negative feelings behind me. How do I move on from my anger if my friend still won’t acknowledge

any wrongdoing? Certainly the time I’ve wasted going over the same details and telling myself that I’m justified in my point of view has added nothing positive to my life. Nevertheless, it’s hard to forgive someone who cannot shoulder any blame. Thinking that perhaps a woman would better understand my need to obsess a bit this year, I asked my friend (and fellow Kvell-er) Rebecca Einstein Schorr, a Reform rabbi, to advise me as if I were a congregant. I gave her the same spiel: “How can I move forward in a relationship when I’m owed an apology, but it never comes?” Rebecca agreed that the responsibility for teshuvah (repentance) lies with the one who has wronged another individual. “However,” she continued, “waiting for another person to recognize his or her role in causing you pain can shackle you to the past. While the onus still resides with the person who has hurt you, there is nothing constructive about holding onto grudges.” “But how am I supposed to get rid of a grudge?” I asked. “The best advice I can give someone is to act as though the other person has asked for forgiveness. Aside from extreme examples of physical or emotional abuse, it can be more productive to release others and move forward with the relationship in cases where no apology is forthcoming.”

I admitted that I had no extreme situations to report, but I was still apprehensive about starting a new year devoting any time to a friend who is unable to recognize her role in a rift. I continued the conversation with my friend Rivkie Grossbaum, who also happens to be a teacher at Chabad Minneapolis. There are three levels of forgiveness in Judaism, she told me. In the first level, “We might still be upset, yet we find it in ourselves not to hope for the person’s downfall.” I could manage level one, as I don’t tend to imagine revenge schemes. “At the second stage,” Rivkie said, “we might not be ready to relate to the person as we did before, but we are able to stop carrying feelings of resentment.” I liked that Rivkie differentiated between moving on from resentment and being close to the person again. “The third stage is restoring the relationship. At this level not only have we forgiven the individual, but we’re now ready to be close again. The Talmud explains that we’re expected to find the strength to forgive on the first level. Absence of any forgiveness whatsoever is a sign of cruelty.” There’s no doubt that the toxic nature of a grudge has allowed me to overly focus on the few problematic relationships in my life instead of the many that are going well. I do not want to become the

kind of person who is always feeling offended. And I think it’s safe to say if you’re perpetually waiting for an apology from friends and family, the problem is likely you and not everyone else. Another friend of mine, Tzipporah Leah Kalatsky, gave me a final way to think about the apologies I might be waiting for. “What you learned from the negative aspects of these relationships is a gift,” she said. “An apology would be nice, but maybe it’s unnecessary.” The truth is, even if I decide to bring up the issues with the few people I have in mind, the exact apology I’m hoping for is probably not coming. By the time Yom Kippur begins, I’m going to force myself to stop obsessing about it, which is a decent form of forgiveness, albeit the most basic one. I hope that the people I’ve hurt will release me on that level, too. Maybe in another year I can improve my capacity for a higher form of forgiveness, or at the very least spend more time worrying about who I’ve hurt rather than the other way around. Y (Nina Badzin lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children. She’s a columnist for The HerStories Project and for Many of her essays have appeared in Brain, Child Magazine’s site, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere, and her short stories are published in various literary journals and anthologies. This piece originally appeared on Kveller, a 70 Faces Media company.)

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 38

Abraham as a Role Model: Gratitude for Life A Rosh HaShanah Message By Louis Aiello There are major similarities to what it means have life and to be alive, but there are major differences to what it means to be alive and living. The very definition to the purpose of life is the act of living, but it doesn’t signify an end but a beginning to something. It gives reason to exist with the understanding the time we have here is limited. Our lives are indeed a privilege, that could end any time and so we structure our lives accordingly around this by teaching our children about God. In understanding what it means to talk about the existence of God, one can better understand there is more to this universe then their initial self. In a world where God is being squeezed out of the equation, individuals are setting themselves up for

self-destruction. In believing in something higher than one-self one will therefore be able to think of others. In understanding this, we know it’s what we do with our own lives which affect our children and futures. Upon our last breath, our life may indeed be over but it’s when we know our legacy truly begins. Depending on how we lived it, that will be our contribution. Abraham understood this better than anyone. It’s what he did with the time he had that made him


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successful. Above all he and Sarah wanted children and due to their faith in God they were rewarded with Isaac. A parent like Abraham understood what it meant to sacrifice his own life and life’s ambition for the greater good with Isaac. Even in the most traumatic of experiences Abraham believed God would not sacrifice his son because he and Sarah were both old and could no longer procreate. Upon reaching the alter Isaac asked his loving father where the sacrifice was, and Abraham replied, “God will provide the sacrifice, my son.” This wasn’t a lie. Even in the most difficult of situation, Abraham knew he was being tested but he wasn’t trying to deceive Isaac. Sometimes we must do things as parents for the betterment of our future and place our own children in uncomfortable positions so they can understand the gratitude of life. As one with Asperger’s Syndrome, I sacrificed my entire childhood to survive, in doing so I forced myself to understand myself and the world I lived in because no one else could. In a growing environment of discontent where one finds solace with their communities, I never found that. I remained within my very own individual class and ethnicity of myself my entire life. I have been on a journey to discover myself so that I could make sense of the world and, just like Abraham, never asked for anything. In a world where the idea of receiving is far more important than giving, we forget our mortality and that fame and fortune are not the key to happiness but instead the acts of faith, hope, love, and charity and how we go about delivering them. I have come to realize that the relationship that Abraham had with God is real. Since then I have entered a state of inner peace. Abraham never once asked God for anything, but since he didn’t he was rewarded because he understood the future to come was most crucial. In believing in himself and God, he was motivated to succeed. If we as Jews are to remember anything today, remember it’s when we pray to the Almighty that it’s not just a means of worship but really a message for ourselves that we must all make ourselves useful in the climate of anti-Semitism. If our purpose to live within our community is not understood, then eventually Israel and the West will become non-existent. Let us pray, that today we remember all those that came before us and understand what it is they did with their own lives which gave them solace. If we are to remember anything today remember this, the world is not perfect and it never will be but that is exactly why we are here today, to make it better. Hence is the definition to the gratitude of living.Y Louis Aiello is a member of Temple Beth El, Charlotte.

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 39

During Days of Introspection, How to Get Back on the Proper Path By Steve Bayar (My Jewish Learning via JTA) — We live with a practical tradition. We begin the Jewish New Year with 10 days devoted to introspection. Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we are asked to review our past failures and victories, to evaluate our relationships and how we can make things better for ourselves and those we care for. We take stock of our lives and try to put ourselves back on the right path. “Chet” is the Hebrew word commonly translated as “sin.” It is derived from the term that means “to miss the target.” The assumption is that sin is a mistake; an action we would correct, if possible. It is human to make mistakes — it is brave to try to correct them. This makes “teshuvah” — translated as “to return” — an attainable task. We are not expected to be perfect, but we are expected to clean up the messes we have made. Our tradition identifies two categories of relationships: those we have with each other and those we have with God. The mistakes we make fall into these categories as well: the ways in which we hurt others and the ways in which we hurt God. Isn’t it incredible that we can hurt God? Some may disagree and ask, “How can a perfect God be concerned with our sins?” In my opinion, it is a measure of God’s love for us that God created a relationship in which God is affected by our actions. While some may say this is only a metaphor, I’m not so sure. If one truly believes in the concept of tikkun olam, and recognizes our responsibility to fix the world, how can God not be disappointed and hurt when we fail? This interplay between teshuvah and chet, our relationship to others, creates a very involved dynamic and ideally forces us to face our frailties and responsibilities. We have made mistakes — how can we atone for them? We are always in need of repentance and atonement. We learn from the Midrash (Mishle 6:6): The students of Rabbi Akiva asked him, “Which is greater, teshuvah or tzedakah?” He answered, “Teshuvah, because sometimes one gives tzedakah to one who does not need it. However, teshuvah comes from within (it is always needed).” The students said, “Rabbi, have we not already found that tzedakah is greater than teshuvah?” In this text, Rabbi Akiva places emphasis on the necessity of teshuvah — we are always in need of repentance and atonement. Yet the students refuse to accept his answer. The text doesn’t provide a resolution to the debate and seemingly leaves the matter for us to decide. This text identifies some of the most important issues in our community today: How does one explore Judaism and derive deep meaning from it? What if you want to strengthen your Jewish identity? One way is through in-

Rabbi Steve Bayar

trospection and to find yourself in intense moments that we create through silent ritual and prayer. This is the essence of teshuvah, the “return to one’s tradition.” This is one way, and it is a good way. But it is not the only way. Another way to achieve this goal is to immerse oneself in tzedakah. I have experienced moments of spiritual delight wrapped in my prayers and turning toward God, when the door opened and my path was illuminated. But I have also experienced the intensity of giving a bag of school supplies to a child who has never had

them before, of delivering 20,000 pounds of food to a shelter in Mississippi or building a house in Appalachia. I found these experiences equivalent ways of becoming close to God. I can tell you this: When I am alone and feel in the dark, when I am scared and aware of my mortality, or when I am in pain, it is the tzedakah experiences that I dust off and recall. They bring me back. Ritual and prayer are vital expressions of my identity and form the basis of my observance, but my humanity comes from tzedakah. Y (Steven Bayar received his bachelor’s degree in religious studies and master’s degree in biblical studies and medieval Jewish philosophy from the University of Virginia. He was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and served congregations in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Chestnut Ridge, New York, before coming to Congregation Bnai Israel in Millburn, New Jersey, in 1989.)

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The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 40

On Yom Kippur, Must We Ask Forgiveness for Communal Wrongs? By Edmon J. Rodman Los Angeles (JTA) - On Yom Kippur, as we focus on our personal faults, how do we acknowledge those shortcomings that are more communal? In synagogue, reciting line by line the Al Chet prayer, seeking atonement for the areas of our lives where in the past year we have fallen short, events in the news, even those that may have touched our lives, seem far away and better off resolved by the talking heads of the cable news.

Beating our chest for each “chet,” we ask God in page after painful page to forgive us for “rashly judging others,” “scorning parents and teachers,” even engaging in “idle chatter” and “forbidden trysts.” Isn’t that enough? Yet in an “Alternative Confessional” found in the Mahzor Lev Shalem, the High Holidays prayer book published by the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement, we find the additional shortcomings of “refusing to

hear,” “hesitating,” “complacency” and “not using our power,” which suggest we look outside the usual range of things for which we are accustomed to taking responsibility. Reading this new litany last year, I couldn’t help but think, “Do I have to own up to this stuff, too?” Seeking advice on how to approach the added failings, I had lunch with Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director of CLUE-LA (Clergy and Laity United for Eco-

nomic Justice), a Los Angelesbased organization that is “committed to worker justice,” according to Klein. Before our lunch orders even arrived, I realized that chet-wise, I was not going to get off easy. Referring to the language in the High Holidays confessional prayers, Klein pointed out that “the prayers are in the plural, not just to prevent embarrassment of the individual,” but “because there is an understanding or collective responsibility.”

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“If we don’t contemplate our culpability for communal wrongs at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when are we supposed to do it?” asked Klein, a former rabbinic director at the University of Southern California Hillel who was ordained from the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1997. It was a question for which I had no answer. “Some are guilty, all are responsible,” he added, looking at me from across the table, quoting Abraham Joshua Heschel. Waiting for our orders, we talked over events in the news. The rabbi noted the stabbing of six marchers at the Jerusalem gay pride parade by a repeat offender, a haredi Orthodox man - a 16year-old girl died from her injuries. There was also the firebombing of a Palestinian home on the West Bank that killed an 18-month-old boy and injured three other family members. His father later succumbed to the injuries from an attack allegedly perpetrated by Jewish extremists. “We should be pondering as individuals, as part of a larger collective, how such evils can pervade our society,” said Klein, who noticed that the smoothie I had ordered suddenly was not going down so easily. “All the chets are very real and easily done,” said the rabbi, who (Continued on page 42)

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 41

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 42

Communal Wrongs (Continued from page 40)

wanted me to understand that “chet” means “missing the mark” and not “sin,” per se. Since in the confession “they are alphabetical,” they represent “encyclopedic options for making mistakes,” he added. “There is also a recognition that there are other dimensions to a chet.” One of those chets was the way we do business. In Los Angeles, where the County Board of Super-

visors recently voted to raise the minimum wage from $9 to $15 by 2020, as well in other areas of the country, the issue of a “living wage” had earned its share of headlines, forcing us to look at the way we literally have fallen short. “The people who work in our stores, who we may employ, were made in God’s image, too,” said Klein, whose organization has made raising the minimum wage



a key goal. Though Klein said he was proud of the “Jewish community’s commitment to the public sphere,” he added, “People forget just how hard it is to be on the other end.” Klein reminded me that the haftarah from Isaiah chanted Yom Kippur morning “teaches you to think beyond the individual.” Since I had brought along a mahzor, we looked over the lines describing the fast desired by God that directs Jews to “let the oppressed go free” and “to share your bread with the hungry.” “The whole point of the holidays is to re-center ourselves around our commitment to the highest ideals of Judaism,” he said, leading me to ask, “How do I begin?” On Yom Kippur, he began, “We say the Al Chet over and over. Maybe one reading should be through the lens of your individual faults.” For the second, he suggested, “make it through the lens of communal thoughts.” The third time would be “as fellow human travelers on this planet,” said Klein, noting the universality of a holiday period that begins with celebrating the birthday of the world. The bill came and we agreed to split it, with Klein insisting to cover the tip. Rising from the table, and still digesting our conversation, I noticed that he was a good tipper. Y (Edmon J. Rodman is a JTA columnist who writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles. Contact him at

North Carolina Council on the Holocaust

SEEKING DIRECTOR OF HOLOCAUST TEACHER WORKSHOPS The North Carolina Council on the Holocaust is seeking a Director of Holocaust Teacher Workshops to identify sites in North Carolina to hold workshops for teachers on how to teach the Holocaust. The Director is also responsible for recruiting teachers to the workshop. The North Carolina Council on the Holocaust provides educators with the training, lesson plans, and resources they need to teach the history of the Holocaust and lessons learned from the Holocaust. The Council offers teachers traveling exhibits, Holocaust survivor speakers, dramatic plays, DVDs, and books free of charge. The North Carolina Council on the Holocaust is the only state-mandated organization in North Carolina with the objective to educate the public about the Holocaust. The Council is used by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to foster teamwork, tolerance, compassion, and anti-bullying in the public schools. The position would require someone who has a valid North Carolina driver’s license and who can travel throughout the state. The position may require an individual to spend the night “on the road” as much as eight nights per year. This is a paid position per workshop conducted. Expense reimbursements are provided. Teaching and classroom experience would be helpful; training will be provided. Please send a resume and cover letter in a Word attachment directed for Mike Abramson, Chairman of the NC Council on the Holocaust, to Please visit our website at:

The Charlotte Jewish News - September 2015 - Page 43

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