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Chabad writers bring Avraham to film Page 8 Mamet writes about self-hating Jews Page 9 Fisher’s last words: From The Heart of Jerusalem Page 11 Ask Aviva: “I’m wigging out!” Page 14

THE JEWISH

STAR

VOL 10, NO 24 ■ JUNE 24, 2011 / 22 SIVAN, 5771

Misaskim to the rescue: A Shabbat story

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OH, JONATHAN Languishing in prison for 26 years, denied attendance to his father’s funeral, Jonathan Pollard still fights for his freedom.

By Sergey Kadinsky Misaskim, the Brooklyn-based organization best known for providing assistance to grieving families, has recently expanded its services with non-Jewish workers and assistance to fliers stranded on Shabbat in out-of-the-way locations. “Misaskim has a relationship with Continental, and our director is also the chaplain at the Port Authority Police,” said Misaskim coordinator Suri Roth. When deaths occur close to Shabbat, Misaskim operates a Shabbos Hotline, staffed by trained non-Jews, to help coordinate any situations regarding k’vod hameis. On June 17, a different situation arose where Misaskim rose to the challenge. With a few hours to go before Shabbat, the organization received calls from three separate planes diverted from Newark by inclement weather. The most troubling of all involved a yeshiva bochur from Israel whose mother in Brooklyn was critically ill. Taking the risk of a Friday flight, his plane was stranded at a military base in Bangor, Maine. At the same time, a flight from Chicago found itself in Hartford, Connecticut; and a plane from Toronto landed in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Roth said that the other two flights were easily handled, as the couple in Allentown found a ride to New York, while the passenger in Hartford spent Shabbat the local Chabad House. “Our relationship to Continental goes back to chol hamoed Pesach, when we had a trip for yesomim,” Roth said. The annual outing brings hundreds of local orphans to JFK Airport, where Port Authority police officers demonstrated a rescue drill aboard a plane. But the Bangor passenger was a more difficult case. “We asked for him to leave the plane, but international flights cannot bypass customs, and there were no customs officials in Bangor,” Roth said. The passenger could Continued on page 3

An exclusive interview with Eliot Lauer, the Lawrence lawyer who battles for him daily.

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Shabbat Candlelighting: 8:13 p.m. Shabbat ends 9:17 p.m. 72 minute zman 9:41 p.m. Torah Reading Parshat Korach

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By Sergey Kadinsky They work, raise families, and still want a master’s degree in Jewish education. Starting in September, teachers from seven local schools could have it all without the lengthy commute and tuition, as they enroll in Yeshiva University’s new School Partnership Master’s Program. “I have a family with kids and this is a convenience. It’s every Monday night for four hours,� said Woodmere resident Estee Lightstone, who teaches seventh graders at HANC. The 16 participants were nominated by their schools to study in the program, which lasts five semesters. Tuition has been arranged through a Jim Joseph Foundation grant, which promotes innovative programs in Jewish education. Instead of a commute to Manhattan, the teachers will meet in one of their respective schools, sharing ideas on teaching methods. “We are committed to Jewish educators learning new techniques, expecting as much growth in halacha, Talmud and chumash is in general subjects such as social studies and math,� said Dr. David Schnall, the dean of YU’s Azrieli Graduate School. “Quality Jewish education has to be supported by Torah values and this is what Yeshiva University stands for,� said HAFTR kindergarten teacher Aleeza Lauer. Her colleague David Schwab, who teaches fourth grade, has been in the field for 18 years, but said that the program helps him meet learn new approaches to teaching. “It’s always good to get more knowledge and I could not pass this by,� Schwab said. The group spans the range from kindergarten to Rabbi Yossi Bennet, who serves as the 12th grade rebbe at Mesivta Ateres Yaakov. “A degree from Azrieli will open many new doors for me in the field, both in the education and administration areas, in addition to educating, equipping and preparing me for new challenges to come,� Rabbi Bennett said. Other local participating schools include HANC, Yeshiva Darchei Torah, Yeshiva of South Shore, Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island and Torah Academy for Girls. Each participant will be observed and supervised in a classroom setting while teaching. They will also take classes on differentiated instruction. “We want our graduates to be aware of student differences and the various types of learning, and how to respond to and accommodate a mix of students,� said Dr. Jeffrey Glanz, director of the master’s program at Azrieli. The program is a pilot for YU, which seeks to expand it to other schools in the New York metro area. “It crosses various shades of Orthodoxy and this is an important contribution,� Dr. Schnall said.

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June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR

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get Jonathan out of prison? EL: I think we need to encourage our leaders, whether in Congress or in communal organizations, to understand that this issue is an extremely important one for us in that we need all of our leaders to make it a priority beyond signing letters, to make it a true priority to speak up to the president. People have written letters and others have signed them, but that is not as salient as the need for our congressmen, our senators and our community leaders to raise the issue with the President. And not in front of 50 other people publicly so they can say they raised it, but to genuinely raise it with him in those private meetings. Obviously not every leader has that kind of relationship, but Americans should press upon those people who have that kind of relationship with the President or with his trusted circle of advisors to make this a true issue, not a check the box issue for show to their constituents, but a true issue to actually sit down with the circle of advisors and bring Pollard counsel to those meetings so the pitch can be made directly.

By David F. Nesenoff This week Jonathan Pollard was denied permission to pay a final hospice visit and to attend the funeral for his father Morris Pollard, 95. Pollard was given an unprecedented life sentence and has been in prison for 26 years despite pleas from congressmen, senators, and community and world leaders for his release. The Jewish Star spoke with his present attorney Eliot Lauer of Lawrence to learn of the present situation and what can be done to right this American injustice. David F. Nesenoff: What took place this week with trying to get Jonathan to the hospital and the funeral? Eliot Lauer: While we were in contact with the White House, and other people were in contact with various political leaders, at the end of the day, the decision on all of these matters is not a political issue; this is a Bureau of Prisons issue. Beginning on June 14 it became clear that Jonathan’s father was gravely ill. My partner, Jacques Semmelman, and I wrote a formal letter to Thomas Kane the acting head of the Bureau of Prisons requesting that Jonathan could visit his father who was gravely ill, was in a hospice situation and that Jonathan should be permitted to attend the impending funeral. We obviously did not get a positive response. We got no response. We, and others, continued to press all various circles. Over the weekend, when Morris Pollard passed away we then worked furiously and feverously throughout Sunday and well into Sunday night speaking with the White House, speaking with the Department of Justice, communicating with Thomas Kane and followed it up with a late night letter requesting the release of Jonathan with an escort and we would make all the necessary arrangements for transportation with a private jet with any governmental travel needed. We made it clear that we would be prepared to underwrite all the expenses. After the funeral occurred I received an email stating that our request had been denied. DFN: Is there precedent for people leaving prison to visit a loved one in the hospital or to attend a funeral? EL: Sure, there are all sorts of accommodations made. Clearly there are many people let out on a furlough basis unsupervised or escorted with one or more prison officials who accompany them. It is clearly not unprecedented for nonviolent criminals. DFN: What’s going on here? EL: I cannot speculate but I can simply say that it is very hard to justify at this stage in the game, in his 26th year of imprisonment, the treatment that he is receiving in terms of this short term request of compassionate leave or the more substantive request that he have his sentence commuted for time served. He clearly has served a multiple now of anyone in the history of the United States sentenced by similar facts. He does not in any way present any kind of security risk nor does he have any information that the government is not fully aware. During his period of

Photo courtesy of www.jonathanpollard.org

Jonathan and Esther Pollard at the Butner Federal Correction Complex. cooperation, this goes back 25 years, he was interrogated over a period of many months through a polygraph system which the government satisfied itself that they knew every detail that he knew. The information is between 26 and 30 years old anyway. DFN: Can the commutation of his sentence only come from the President? EL: It is exclusively in the domain of the President of the United States. DFN: Is Jonathan entitled to parole? Jonathan was sentenced under the rules that applied in 1987 or more technically correct 1984 and 1985 during the period of his activity. Even though he was sentenced for life in prison he is presumptively entitled to parole in November 2015. The government has the right and ability to oppose parole if they so choose. I hope that the government at that time will do the right thing. I hope that long before that the issue will be totally mooted by President Obama doing the right thing, which is to commute his sentence immediately. It is a great injustice and it is a question mark in the American justice system. DFN: Is there something that you are actively doing on a monthly or weekly or even daily basis? EL: On a daily basis we are doing things. Rome was not built in a day. Each president is different so all the efforts we made cultivating the White House under President Clinton with his close advisors and colleagues were not particularly useful in approaching President Bush and the same is true with President Obama. We are dealing with an entirely new group of individuals, different relationships, different motivations and frankly different

foreign policies and domestic issues. We are working on a daily basis trying to work with people till we get to that moment when President Obama actually writes the note. DFN: Is it always the wrong time, or are we seemingly on the cusp of peace in the Middle East and Pollard’s release would somehow upset the precarious balance? EL: The way I look at it, this is not necessarily a Middle Eastern issue although from one perspective clearly Pollard is considered a national hero in Israel and there is tremendous support within Israel and in the Zionist community outside of Israel for Pollard to be released. More fundamentally the issue is an American issue. I took the case not as a Zionist but as an American lawyer. I took the case because I felt that Pollard had received inadequate and incompetent legal advice by a lawyer who currently represents Palestinians. There were serious miscarriages of justice. I look at it as an American lawyer trying to right a series of faults, the way the American judicial system and the penal system applied. I would hope that the President would look at this as a constitutional lawyer in America, as someone who can appreciate in terms of fundamental fairness inherent of the judicial system. Jonathan has more than adequately served his time. He has expressed tremendous remorse. His adult life has been spent in prison and he has served his time. The President, as an American lawyer and as an American leader, should commute the sentence. Our sense is that it transcends politics and Middle Eastern issues. The need to right this wrong is needed to repair the injustice in the system. DFN: What can Americans do to help

DFN: With all the issues out there, why is this issue important? With the economy and the wars, why is it important for this one guy to get out of jail? EL: It defines exactly the kind of system that we have. It’s like an open wound that bleeds on an ongoing basis. The judicial system is not just if community political leaders allow an unjust system to continue. Letting an immoral indifference to injustice could be representative of a bigger malaise. If you can look the other way at this injustice, and not be bothered enough to change it, what does that say about us as a civilization? Sure you can say it is only one person. You can say that about one person being tortured or assaulted, but at the end of the day, what captivates people’s attention on a daily basis are these anecdotal personal interventions. Statistically, it’s insignificant and in a certain way we can ignore it. It won’t create more jobs it will not remove Kadafi. On the other hand, our civilization has come to recognize that it is precisely the individual account that makes our society different than the types of regimes that exist in China or Syria. The preoccupation in the American media with the fate of the individual, in a way, is a very glorious one. So here you have the fate of one individual, the system has failed this individual, he should have been released many years ago, he is languishing in jail. He is suffering physically and emotionally and there is no do-over in this system. Unless there is a very powerful moral outcry that gets the attention of the President, this lingering soul remains. I think it is a fundamental issue even though it involves only one person. That’s precisely the point. That’s what America is all about. We care about the individual. We can empathize with the tragedy befallen this man that is suffering in jail because of an injustice. He should have been released many years ago.

Misaskim assists in airport Shabbat emergency Continued from page 1 not avoid leaving the plane before Shabbat, but through Misaskim’s efforts, the plane was dubbed a priority, and flew to New York on Shabbat as soon as the skies cleared. When the young man arrived in Newark, Misaskim’s Emergency Shabbos Initiative laid out a welcome with its non-Jewish workers picking up his luggage, supplying him with a chumash, food, and other Shabbat essentials,

as he davened in the airport’s Marriott hotel. Rabbi Yechezkel Roth trains the workers; specifically dealing with how to, and how not to, help Shabbat observers undergoing emergencies. “We cannot move a niftar anywhere on Shabbos, but they can make the phone calls to prevent an autopsy,” said coordinator Rabbi Yanki Meyer On the evening following Shabbat, another priority arose for Misaskim, with

famed vascular surgeon Dr. Daniel Clair set to perform surgery on Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv, 101, a leading halachic authority in Israel. Using their contacts in the Transportation Security Administration and El Al, Dr. Clair’s medical equipment was rushed through security at Newark, and he arrived at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in time for the surgery. Dr. Clair had treated Rabbi Eliyahiv seven years ago on the

same condition, a bleeding artery near the heart. Roth described the procedure as an “extreme time crunch,” as the doctor rushed from one complex surgery in Manhattan to another in Jerusalem. “Time was of the essence and they had to take their instruments with them on the flights,” Rabbi Meyer said. Yosef Shalom ben Chaya Musha is expected to fully recover and return home within the week.

THE JEWISH STAR June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771

Exclusive interview with Pollard’s lawyer: Eliot Lauer

3


June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR

4

Opinion I am write Dear Mr. Newspaper: I am writing to your Jewish paper to tell you what’s on my mind. I am a Jew who lives in the neighborhood. Not exactly in the middle of the town but not far from it and I have lived here for many years. Maybe not as many years as some other people, but still probably longer than many, or at least most or some. Although I often get the paper I am not an avid reader as there are probably those who read it more religiously than me, but I still do pick it up each week and follow the stories and columnists. DAVID’S HARP I would like to comment on a specific topic, but first must say that I am not ultra-Orthodox, but rather modern Orthodox leaning toward achdus with an open mind and a strong feeling toward kiruv. While I am politically right I am still socially compassionate and although I am not associated with the Tea Party I have been at times supportive of the Libertarian view without designating or aligning myself with the party formally, David F. Nesenoff physically or philosophically. In fact I am not registered with a specific group, and at one time was registered a Democrat and later a Republican. If I were presently registered with a specific party, which I’m not, I still wouldn’t feel the obligation to mention it at this time. That is my own private business. Please understand I am not rigid in my beliefs or at least not dogmatic in the conviction that all people have to agree with me or my theories or theologies, whereas there are those who will put their stubborn idiotic thoughts onto anyone and everyone that they stand in front of, or those, who given the opportunity, will thrust themselves in the company of non-believers and admonish and preach till they are blue in the face. It is important to me that you understand clearly that I come from a place of love and chesed when I speak of my community, its leaders and all their foibles, fallacies, falsehoods and fantasies that seem to bother others who are less understanding than myself. Unfortunately, not everyone is as learned and humble as I have been blessed to be and their chil-

Letters to the editor

dren are even more at a disadvantage and will cause the weakening of our people due to their frivolous and petty concerns and discussions. I have heard many words and banter that are inappropriate coming from the mouths of those who claim to be in the know, and although I speak of them often and ridicule their incongruent behavior, I only share these thoughts with my closest friends who are like-minded and who will not speak of this to others. And if they do speak to others, they will warn them to not speak to anyone else about our discussions. There are those who are religiously to my right and there are those who are to my left. I am such a patient person who takes a deep breath each day in order to deal with these people. Even in my own synagogue and in my very home there are those who actually don’t think the same way I do on each and every topic. I find it insulting, aggravating and it tests my very being. Why should they be allowed to think this way and why are they sometimes blessed? But I put up with it and hardly ever chastise them or mock them publicly. This is the way I was brought up. Not everyone has that yichus. I come from a long line of souls who taught each generation how to be more obstinate and fiercely inflexible and judgmental. This is a strong difficult concept that even my rabbi doesn’t understand. I am writing your paper to tell you that for the last two weeks you neglected to put in the crossword puzzle. Thank you.

I only share these thoughts with my closest friends who are likeminded and who will not speak of this to others.

Yisroel Klal Kfar Away, NY

VOICE YOUR OPINION! E-mail letters to letters@thejewishstar.com or fax to (516) 569-4942. THE JEWISH

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Independent and original reporting from the Orthodox communities of Long Island and New York City All opinions expressed are solely those of The Jewish Star’s editorial staff or contributing writers Publisher and Editor Assistant Editor Account Executives Contributors

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David F. Nesenoff Sergey Kadinsky Helene Parsons Hy Spitz Sandi Stanger Rabbi Avi Billet Jeff Dunetz Samuel Fisher Brigitte Fixler Rabbi Noam Himelstein Alan Jay Gerber Zechariah Mehler Aviva Rizel Ariel Rosenbloom Alyson Goodman Christina Daly

2 Endo Boulevard, Garden City, NY 11530 Phone: 516-622-7461, Fax: 516-569-4942 E-mail: newsroom@thejewishstar.com The Jewish Star is published weekly by The Jewish Star LLC, 2 Endo Boulevard, Garden City, NY 11530. Subscription rates: $9 per quarter on a credit card in Nassau and Far Rockaway, or $48 a year. Elsewhere in the US, $15 per quarter or $72 a year. Newsstand Price: $1. Copyright © 2011 The Jewish Star LLC. All rights reserved.

Kudos for Hebrew column and its words To the Editor: I have been enjoying the Hebrew articles by Rabbi Noam Himelstein--a very nice addition to the paper. I recently also experienced the emotions which Rabbi Himelstein so eloquently expressed in last week’s article about the Siyum on Sefer Vayikra by second graders in the Old City (at Yeshivat Hakotel) as my grandson from Alon Shvut also participated. What a beautiful event: it was truly a zechut to be have been there! Thank you, Rabbi Himelstein for enabling us, once again, to feel that pride! Bobbee Feiner Lawrence

Dershowitz interview on target To the Editor: I read your interview with Alan Dershowitz with great interest. My higher education was at Columbia, but I follow the rest of the Ivy League very carefully as well. As a result,

when I read that Yale had given up its Interdisciplinary Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism after only a year, I was thoroughly disgusted. It was an excellent interview. There was one aspect of the situation, however, that was not covered: Yale has a Jewish President, Richard C. Levin, who is the longest tenured Ivy League president, serving since 1993. Given his success on the job, it is disquieting that he was silent. Could he have exerted himself to save the Institute? Did he try and fail? As you might know, the Orthodox Union has had a branch of its JLIC Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at Yale for more than a decade. JLIC is on 15 major campuses around North America (including Harvard, Princeton, Cornell and Penn in the Ivies, besides Yale) with the aim to empower the Orthodox student community by recreating the atmosphere of the yeshiva on the secular campus. Your paper is very good and both you and Sergey are doing a top-notch job. Please keep in touch on this allimportant issue. Stephen Steiner Director of Public Relations Orthodox Union

Yankie & Luzer “Mazel Tov to Levi and Naomi.”

In the newspaper? They must be a special couple. Mazel Tov!


5

Washington Post columnist speaks, and it’s a shanda

W

ashington Post columnist Dana Milbank likes to write about subjects for which he has a very strong opinion, but very little knowledge. Milbank’s June 17th column, “Joe Lieberman joining Glenn Beck: a shanda” proves Milbank would not know a shanda if one jumped up, kissed him on the lips and wished him a Gut Shabbos. POLITICO The column’s purTO GO pose was to criticize Senator Lieberman’s commitment to “Restoring Courage,” Beck’s upcoming August rally in Jerusalem. “I’d love to participate,” Lieberman confirmed when The Post’s Felicia Sonmez found him in a Capitol hallway. “It’s just going to be a rally to support Israel and the U.S.-Israel Jeff Dunetz relationship. “This nearly caused me to plotz. “Joe Lieberman, first Jew on a presidential ticket, was embracing Beck, the leading purveyor of anti-Semitic memes in the mass media. One of the most visible Jews in America was making common cause with a man who invoked apocalyptic Christian theology in promoting his rally in Israel.

I admire Lieberman, and I’ve defended him over the years when he defied party and faction. But if he shares a stage with this creature, he will surrender the decency that has defined his public life.” Milbank uses Yiddish to establish his Jewish “street cred,” but calls Beck the leading purveyor of anti-Semitic memes. If Milbank truly wants to prove his Jewishness he should learn the concept of “motzi shem ra,” the spreading of malicious lies. With his false charges of Jew hatred, Milbank is spreading the George Soros/Media Matters slander of branding Beck an antiSemite solely to destroy his career (see Four Hundred Rabbis, lashon hora and Glenn Beck Feb 3. Jewish Star.) The rationale behind Beck’s rally is simple. Israel is in the most precarious position she has faced since the 1967 war. Palestinian terrorists are on three of its borders. Syria, facing collapse, is trying to divert attention from the fact that it’s killing Syrians, to those evil Zionists. Most of the parties with potential to win the next election in Egypt are promising to tear up the Camp David treaty. And Iran, close to developing the capability to send a nuclear warhead into Tel Aviv threatens to wipe the Jewish State off the map. All this is happening during the term of a U.S. President whose policies are the most anti-Israel in the history of the Jewish State. The purpose of Beck’s rally in Jerusalem is to prove to the world that good people of

Celebrating Our 24th Year

all faiths from across the world are standing with Israel. Based on his writing Milbank knows very little about Judaism, and also feels Beck’s religion should eliminate him from leading such a rally: “It’s nice that Beck wants to defend Israel before the United Nations attempts in September to create a Palestinian state. But this support comes with an asterisk. Beck’s descriptions of his event as a gathering and a restoration echo his Mormon faith’s theology: there will be a “Gathering of Scattered Israel” in which Jews return to the Holy Land and are converted to Christianity as part of ‘the restoration of all things’ and the Second Coming.” Jewish theology says something very similar; the tenth blessing of the Amidah prayer, which Jews recite every day is called, Kibbutz Galuyot, the ingathering of exiles. Is Milbank saying that all Christians in Israel should be banned from practicing their faith, or just Mormons? Maybe he believes Judaism should be banned also, because later in the article he criticizes Beck for quoting the Jewish prophet, Ezekiel. Beck is not Milbank’s only Israel-related target. Another target of the progressive WaPo writer is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. After Obama’s controversial Middle East speech earlier this month, Milbank criticized the President, not for what he said but because criticizing Israel will generate more

support for Netanyahu. “Obama bungled his Middle East speech. He unwittingly strengthened Israeli hawks such as Netanyahu and made the already remote prospect of peace that much more distant.” Milbank goes on to describe the reaction to Bibi’s Congressional speech, displayed by his Israeli au pair Inna, who he describes as a moderate who was suspicious of the uncompromising Netanyahu, the episode turned her into a supporter. Milbank is only upset that Inna has become a Bibi fan, he does not argue against the President’s plan, only Inna’s reaction. He wrote about the negative Palestinian reaction to Netanyahu’s speech but ignored that the Palestinians refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish State and Obama refuses to push them toward that acceptance. So what is a shanda? The fact that Senator Joe Liberman or any American (Jew or not) joins Glenn Beck in Jerusalem is not a shanda. A Washington Post columnist trying to establish his Jewish “street cred” by using Yiddish is a shanda. Jeff Dunetz is the Editor/Publisher of the political blog “The Lid” (www.jeffdunetz.com). Jeff contributes to some of the largest political sites on the internet including American Thinker, Big Government, Big Journalism, NewsReal and Pajamas Media. Jeff lives on Long Island.

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THE JEWISH STAR June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771

Opinion


Yale renews study of anti-Semitism Hebrew only please! A Jewish newspaper should have a Hebrew column. So here it is. We will try to maintain a level of vocabulary so that it will be easy enough for students to read and interesting enough for those more fluent to enjoy.

By Sergey Kadinsky After the sudden cancellation of the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA) earlier this month, the famed university reversed its decision by launching a revamped initiative on June 20, dubbed the Yale Program for the Study of Anti-Semitism (YPSA). Vowing to make the new program more scholarly in its research and discourse, it will examine the roots and history of anti-Semitism. Alongside the new name, the center will not include Dr. Charles Small, who directed the previous initiative. Small criticized the new program’s focus on the past at the expense of researching current anti-Semitic incidents. “To focus on its roots and history, glosses over issues scholars must address today, especially when it comes to the threat of contemporary radical Islamist anti-Semitism,� Small said in a statement. Abraham Foxman, chairman of the AntiDefamation League, welcomed Yale’s restoration on the study of the topic, but also disappointment that Small was not reinstated to lead it. “While we are disappointed that Professor Charles Small, the one who originally conceived the idea of an institute for the study of anti-Semitism, will not play a role in the new program, we are confident that the study program will continue to strengthen its status,� Foxman expressed in a statement. Professor Maurice Samuels, who has published works and taught classes on antiSemitism in French literature and culture, will head the new program. Last August’s YIISA conference “Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity,� focused heavily on Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism, and some critics

Two and a half years have passed...

By Rabbi Noam Himelstein

Yale’s Prof. Maurice Samuels of YPSA charged that Yale closed YIISA as a result of political pressure. Maen Rashid Areikat, the PLO representative to the United States sent a letter to Yale President Richard Levin criticizing the event. “It’s shocking that a respected institution like Yale would give a platform to these right-wing extremists and their odious views,� Areikat wrote. “A conference on anti-Semitism that is ostensibly intended to combat hatred and discrimination against Semites would demonize Arabs - who are Semites themselves.� Samuels expressed confidence that the program will cover a wide range of topics. “YPSA will discuss both contemporary antiSemitism and historical anti-Semitism,� Samuels said. “Like many, I am concerned by the recent upsurge in violence against Jews around the world and YPSA will address these concerns.�

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Rabbi Noam Himelstein studied in Yeshivat Har Etzion and served in the Tanks Corps of the IDF. He has taught in yeshiva high schools, post-high school women’s seminaries, and headed the Torah MiTzion Kollel in Melbourne, Australia. He currently teaches at Yeshivat Orayta in Jerusalem, and lives with his wife and six children in Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion.

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June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR

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THE JEWISH STAR June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771

Mensch on the street


Animated Avraham stars in hasidic-produced film By Sara Trappler Spielman One of the most ancient tales from the Torah has been created in the newest style of computer-generated animation, forming a three-dimensional world of characters and cities. It’s the combination of old text with modern animation that’s turning heads. “Young Avraham: From the Ancient Stories of the Israelites” is a high quality film that relates the story of Abraham and his quest to prove that G-d is not made of stone and can be discovered through the conscious mind. The film spans the first 75 years of Abraham’s life, revealing a little known story from Medrashic texts. Rabbis Yisroel Bernath and Zvi Hershcovich, two Chabad shluchim living in Montreal, who also happen to be screenwriters and Torah study partners, began extensive research to set up the plot of the movie based on a timeline, characters and tales found in the Medrash. “We felt we needed some creative liberty,” said Bernath, leader of the campus Chabad at NDG Concordia University, explains that the script is “A hundred percent true to the spirit of the text.” The film takes place in the ancient region of Mesopotamia and begins with King Nimrod commanding Terach to release his newborn son, Abraham, because stargazers saw that the boy would rebel in the future against the king. We see Abraham grow from baby to a young boy hiding in a cave to the great leader he became. A touching scene in the film is when Abraham experiences an epiphany that ultimately changes the course of the world. When he leaves the cave and meets Utz – a fictional character based on a name found in the Torah who helps blend the story

Photo courtesy of Bible Kids Club

Written by two Chabad shluchim, Young Avraham is now available on DVD. together – Abraham questions how a stone can be a great god if he can break it. When Abraham meditates on nature and realizes that the sun and moon must have something greater than them – a Creator of all life - he puts a piece of cloth on his head. “This is the idea of a yarmulke – a reminder that there is something greater than us,” Rabbi Bernath said. “The idea of love and appreciation of a higher power.” Depicted in the film is the discovery that Abraham learned in the land of Canaan with Noach, who also taught others about G-d. Since G-d had previously tried to destroy the world through the flood, Abraham’s job was

to now make the world a better place. That meant leaving Canaan and returning to Ur to face Nimrod and abolish idolatry. Rabbi Bernath says a tremendous amount of detail went into creating the finished story and the Mesopotamian city of Ur. Based on the minimal archaeology available from that period along with what’s described in the Medrash, the team painted a picture of what they believed the city looked like. The project took a huge – and diverse - team of innovators: From devout hasidic executive producers and screenwriters to at least 25 animators, artists, a secular Jewish director and a non-Jewish producer. J. Jacob Potashnik

helped polish the script and Haim Sherrf, an artist from Montreal, drew the initial characters that were later used by the animation team. “It was an amazing experience sitting in the studio and watching these guys bring the characters to work,” Rabbi Bernath said. “All of a sudden it all looks real.” Convincing the director, Todd Shaffer, an evangelical Christian, to stay true to the Jewish commentaries was not always an easy task but the Jewish team managed to prevail. The compromise – they allowed him to use language that would appeal to the Christian audience. Therefore, expect to hear words such as “wrath, upon, avenge” sprinkled throughout the film. The Jewish side of the biblical account has three hasidic executive producers who contributed half of the film’s funds. Eliyahu Cohen, Saadya El Haddad and Moshe Dayan, insisted the story be told right. They dreamed of a professional movie with a true message and now call their project “Bible Kids Club.” Already the DVD is selling fast in Jewish stores since Purim when it had its pre-market release. Rabbis Bernath and Hershcovich completed the script in 2007 and the film went into production for the following four years. Rabbi Hershcovich, who previously ran Chabad-Lubavitch of Stavropol in Russia, is now a full time screenwriter working on some Hollywood scripts. “People thought it was a Hollywood production with a Bible story,” Bernath said. “They couldn’t believe a project of this caliber was produced with hasidic guys behind it.” For more information visit www.youngavraham.com.

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June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR

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9 THE JEWISH STAR June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771

The Kosher Bookworm

Self-hatred: the Korach legacy today pecially, in recent times, from the political left. “There were many Jews who have turned against their own compatriots for ostensibly ‘noble’ reasons, like the Yevsektsiya or European and Russian Jews who joined the Bolsheviks and were instrumental in the formation of the Soviet Communist Party, until they were duly liquidated. “Today, these are the Jews who embark on flotillas to abet a terrorist regime in Gaza, validate the Palestinian narrative, practice outreach and dialogue with Islamic murderers, vote ‘liberal’ and pride themselves on their pacific and ecumenical ideology.� What Solway wrote this past week was foreseen by Mamet in his book six years ago. In his review back then, in The Jewish Journal, Tom Teicholz accurately states that “In ‘The Wicked Son’, Mamet identifies the many contemporary forms of anti-Semitism, unmasks those who support it or who, passively, refuse to stand up against it. ‘AntiSemitism is a sickness, and its playbook is extremely limited,’ he told me. In ‘The Wicked Son’, he exposes several canards used by anti-Semites of all stripes – double standards, faulty logic – demonstrating that the arguments used by today’s anti-Semites haven’t changed much throughout Jewish history.� The one thing that flows throughout the book is the rabid self-hatred, and self-loathing that has animated and motivated the actions of Jews since the time of Korach to this very day. Consider closely the following observation by Mamet:

“Here we may find the proud roud inheritor of millennial traditions, ons, happy to announce that he iss ignorant of all observance, happy appy to indict the State of Israel in n ignorance of its trials, and blind d to the fact that it is a country and, like any country will make mistakes. This ex-Jew, like the memember of any hermetic or oppressed sed group will unerringly and autoutomatically seek out his own, with ith whom he may share his fantasy asy of individuality. This person, who likely has never felt the warmth of Shababbos, the purity of Yom Kippur ur het afternoon, the beauty of ‘Eishet Chayil’, who will not marvel at the courage of his immigrant nt grandparents, or weep at the he death of his cousins in the he Shoah, and of his cousins on n the boardwalk in Tel Aviv, connfuses the ideal with the real.� From this rediscovery of thee reality of the Jewish destinyy evolved within David Mamet’ss soul his evolution to politi-cal conservatism, free markett capitalism and the virtues off freedom and limited govern-ment. This is an awesome experience to read about and behold. ehold. Read this little book, take to heart his message of both return and hope, “teshuvah and hatikvah� and then consider his new book,

“The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture� for your edification.

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he headlines are blaring and talk radio is shouting of the recent conversion of noted award winning playwright and author David Mamet from political liberal to activist conservative, a rare commodity among the Hollywood elite. Reams of print and hours of airtime were devoted to this and the Kosher Bookworm is no less fascinated, especially when there is a Jewish literary spin to this whole issue. Mamet’s political swing has been evolving for some years however, the spiritual component became apparent with the 2006 publication of his book, “The Wicked Son� [Schocken Books] subtitled, Anti-Semitism, SelfHatred, and the Jews. This little volume deals with the whole issue of Jewish selfhatred, and with this week’s Torah reading of Korach, I thought Alan Jay Gerber it most appropriate to give this book and the issues it so eloquently deals with its proper recognition. In a betrayal from within, as writer David Solway so accurately terms it, “The rebellion of Korach, Dathan and Abiram against Moses and his mission to create a unified and cohesive people set the tone for much of what followed in the history of the Jews.� This history includes an exhaustive sad and tragic litany of betrayal from within es-


June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR

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Yoni Olenick speaks on Kulanu’s impact He spent a decade growing at Kulanu, and as he graduates from its most senior program, Far Rockaway resident Yoni Olenick, 21, recounts the variety of Kulanu options that transformed him to an active and outspoken member of the local Jewish community, an advocate and role model. Yoni’s most recent experience with Kulanu was its Gesher program, where participants spend three months working at Kibbutz Shluchot in northern Israel. Closer to home, Yoni, who is autistic, completed a year at the Hewlett Trader Joe’s supermarket this week, and is facing interviews for his next position. Having worked all over the Five Towns, he has the entire community as his reference.

My Graduation Speech 2011 By Yoni Olenick When I was 11 years old, my mom and I met Dr. Beth Raskin and soon after I started attending Kulanu Talmud Torah twice a week at the HAFTR elementary school and the Kulanu Sunday program also at the elementary school. Back then, we didn’t have our own building like we do now. Those days were great because even though I was still in a special ed. public school, I really looked forward to my Talmud Torah afternoons. Those were the afternoons I’d put on my kippa and would learn with Rabbi Moskowitz, I was already reading Hebrew so it was really a little easier. The Sunday program was also really

it - it was so great! fantastic. We would make really Then it was onto Kulanu cool arts and crafts projects and Academy High School where the wood work projects, some I still learning got more challenging. I have and that’s when I got to especially liked Mrs. Shrybman’s meet Jonathan Cooper, a very math and science classes and special friend. Mrs. Stern’s english and social When I was 12, I started Kulastudies classes. nu Middle School, in the HAFTR I finally started some vocaMiddle School, which were great tional training. Mrs. Mittendorf, years for me too. It was great Mr. Trotta, Chaya Miller, and to be in a full time yeshiva proLauren Shiowitz all helped me gram. The Judaic studies and with my different placements. secular subjects started to make Yoni Olenick The vocational placements I more sense to me around this trained at were: Sunrise Assisttime - learning different subjects is complicated, but my teachers were all so ed Living, Woodmere Nursing Home, South helpful. Ms. Shiowitz and Ms.Rosenberg were Nassau Hospital, CVS, Best Buy, and Trader such good secular studies teachers. They Joe’s. I’ve learned so much about being in a both helped me out a lot and I really learned work environment and working with others. so much from Rabbi Moskowitz and Rabbi Sometimes I’d get to work with other Kulanu students. I learned about preparing for work, Friedman, my Rebbes. And I had the first Kulanu Bar Mitzvah at making sure to dress properly and of course, Beth Shalom - and that was special. My Kula- I also had to make sure to shave every day! nu class and the entire HAFTR 8th grade were What a pain! I’d like to say a very special invited to a breakfast on Rosh Chodesh Kislev. THANK YOU to Mr. Wallace and Dana SloI put on my tefillin and lead the davening and min, my coaches who really have been there Ilan [Kulanu student] did the Rosh Chodesh for me and helped me understand so much part of the davening, Jonathan Cooper spoke stuff about each job. After High School, it was onto Kulanu about me and Rabbi Moskowitz gave a beautiful d’var Torah. We all had a yummy break- Ba’Aretz! I had the great opportunity to fast together and danced a lot. My brother learn, work and tour in Israel for 3 months Alexander gave out all the candy bags and we with Kulanu staff and classmates on Kibbutz just had a blast. All my grandparents, aunt Shluchot. This was the most amazing expeand uncles, cousins, friends, and my Kulanu rience! Thanks a lot to Kenny and Devorah family celebrated together - I’ll never forget from Kibbutz Shluchot and Chavi Tepfer. The

Gesher Program [ages 18-21] has really been so great - no tests, no homework, no heavy knapsack! Just learning so many things that you use in your everyday life - life skills. Thank you so much Ms. Farkas and Rabbi Fried, Rabbi Zeidel and Rabbi Patrishkah. We just had the Kulanu carnival, which I’ve worked at every year since it started - helping Mr. Weber set up the toy, and prize station, where the younger kids can come and get the toys and stuff they like. It’s a time when the whole community comes out and has fun and Kulanu raises more of the money it needs. We’ve also had so many wonderful Shabbatons together, participating in all of them and spending time with my schoolmates outside of school - we did have great times together! We’ve been to each other’s bar and bat mitzvahs and shared the growing up times together too. Wow, time just flies by!! I don’t want to forget a big thank you to Cheryl Baruch, Mr. Hanson, Leiby Brill, Mindy, Dina Rosenberg, Ms. Zimmerman, Ms. Swedarski, Denise, Rachel, Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Goldblatt, Mr. R., Ms. Eisenberg, and Mrs. Wolfson. Thank you Mark and Deedee Honigsfeld and Dr. Raskin. So now you’ve heard my personal Kulanu history. It’s been 10 years of learning, friendships and growing - 10 years I will never forget as long as I live! I hope I didn’t leave anybody out. Oh, of course! A big mazal tov to EB and ZK, my Kulanu buddies [fellow graduates]!

Photos of the week... around town

Cantor Yitzchok Meir Helfgot performs U’vdivrei.

(Above, L-R) Andrew Frumkin of North Shore Hebrew Academy, J.J. Zackheim of Yavneh Academy, and Cameron Vilinsky of North Shore Hebrew Academy. (Left) Jacob Lustbader, goalie of the North Shore Hebrew Academy Lions, blocks a shot from Jordan Socloff, of the Yavneh Academy, to keep his shut out in tact at the Yeshiva Har Torah Hockey Tournament in Bellerose. Photos by Jon Premosch

Photos by Jon Premosch

(Above) Cantor Joel Kaplin perfoms Eilu Devorim. (Left) the crowd applauds Cantor Binyomin Muller at the 9th Annual Congregation Beth Sholom Concert in Lawrence.


11

My last column for now... but with lessons learned ciation. It may seem obvious, but I came to see that happiness is not the accumulation of precious items but rather the appreciation of them. And what was most striking to me was that I found the Jewish practice to be built around achieving this appreciation. My Judaism is not labored servitude to another will but rather the realization of my own. Before getting into examples, I’ll explain what I mean by appreciation. Quite simply, appreciation is valuing what you do have rather than coveting what you do not. Money is the obvious example. But this concept extends so far beyond money. Instead of wishing Yeshiva food was better, be thankful you look forward to three meals everyday. Instead of being sad when you are away from your family, just be happy that you have the close relationships in your life at all. Consider the cup half-full. The ultimate misunderstanding is that more possessions brings more appreciation. But this concept is absurd because appreciation is not in the external world but rather in the mind. In theory there is more potential to appreciate more possessions than there is to appreciate fewer possessions. But in practice, we are so far from fully appreciating that it makes no difference how much more we accumulate. When was the last time you fully appreciated your life? How can you truly appreciate a new car when you cannot even appreciate the infinitely dwarfing value of life? So appreciation is the goal. And after a year studying in yeshiva and living in the Old

City, I can say I have found a way I believe will allow me to succeed, and that is the observant Jewish lifestyle, whose halacha enforces appreciation. The Talmud in Shabbat 31a describes three questions that one faces after he dies. One of these is whether he enjoyed G-d’s world. Indeed appreciating the world is a deeply Jewish value, in fact a pillar of Jewish life. He is not asked whether he accumulated the most during his life but rather whether he enjoyed what he was given. To further illustrate this Jewish emphasis on appreciation I offer specific icons of Jewish practice. Shabbat is perhaps the most notable exercise in appreciation. For six days we work in what often feels like an endless chain of striving. And then for one day we stop and look around and, rather than think about where we have to go, appreciate where we already are. The specific halachot preclude plans for the future, forcing the observer to live in the moment and enjoy the moment. Daily davening is another element of Jewish practice that highlights appreciation. Three times a day, we turn our minds away from the stressful trivialities of daily life and remember the bigger picture in order to appreciate life’s gifts. This directs our minds away from the dissatisfactions that darken our days and refresh us as we turn back to work. Kashrut too captures a focus on appreciation. I do not mean an appreciation for the food itself—this is achieved by brachot on the

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food. But kashrut represents appreciation of humanity’s elevation over the animal kingdom. Choosing which food to eat and which not to eat on the basis of something entirely nonphysical reminds the observer that he himself is something beyond the physical as well. This appreciation of one’s unique humanity can be harnessed to overcome physical, animalistic strivings and replace them with contentment. These animal strivings may have helped the cavemen compete for survival but they bring misery in the modern age. So that is my take on my year’s experience and my new take on Judaism. I now see Jewish observance as my gateway to happiness. It is shocking the amount of discipline still required to remain observant even after acknowledging observances’ potential to enhance one’s life. This is because although Judaism brings happiness, it does not always bring instant gratification the same way sleeping late or eating nonkosher food can. But still I am convinced that the struggle is worthwhile for the stable and deep-rooted haven of joy that it promises. And so I leave Jerusalem for now, but not her heart.

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“H

ow was Israel, Sam?” I get that a lot. And I never really know what to say. But not because I don’t know how Israel was. Rather, I am at a loss for how I could possibly summarize my experience in a few words of small talk. “It was great” falls so short of the mark. “Wonderful?” “Really wonderful?” I’ve tried “life-changing,” but people just look at me FROM THE HEART funny for answering too OF JERUSALEM dramatically. Plus, as true as such a response may be, “life-changing” is still meaningless and vague. In this article I will describe what I wish I could say each time someone asks me how my year was. My year in Israel can essentially be captured in one change and that is a change of priorities. During the year, I reasSamuel Fisher sessed what brings the most to life and reached new conclusions. To say that Judaism is my new priority would be a copout. Rather it is through the lens of Judaism that I came to see a deeply revealing perspective of what is most important. I would venture to say that this new objective can be captured in one word: appre-

THE JEWISH STAR June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771

Opinion


June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR

12

June 26

perform. The event begins at 7 p.m. For more information, contact David Neuman at 516-6771866 or newmand@jcrcli.org

ON THE

Calendar

60 Minutes to Serenity

CHAZAQ is hosting Rabbi Yisroel Roll at Congregation Anshei Shalom, located at 80-15 Kent Street in Jamaica Estates. Rabbi Roll will is a Baltimore-based psychotherapist and a cofounder of LIFE Task Force. The free public event begins at 8 p.m. Sushi will be served. For more information, contact Yaniv at 917-617-3636 or Info@Chazaq.org

June 30

Submit your shul or organization’s events or shiurim to jscalendar@thejewishstar.com. Deadline is Wednesday of the week prior to publication.

Bone Marrow Drive for Ayelet Galena

YOUNG ISRAEL OF GREAT NECK, located at 236 Middle Neck Road in Great Neck, is holding a bone marrow drive for one-year-old Ayelet Galena, who is diagnosed with a rare bone marrow failure disorder. The event will be held from 9:15 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Adults ages 18 to 55 can participate. For more information, contact Racheli Brandsdorfer at goldfisher@gmail.com.

BBQ and wine tasting fundraiser

Collecting Matisse and other masters

Ask Aviva and Meir Rizel to speak in Queens

YESHIVA OHEL SIMCHAH, located at 141-41 72 Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills, is hosting a Neve Ohr lecture with The Jewish Star columnist Aviva Rizel and her husband Meir, who is the Director

Photo by

Running in their parents footsteps (L-R) Liat Brody of Great Neck, daugther of Dr Paul and Drora Brody, chairperson of the recent Israel Day Concert/Rally, and Stephanie Weprin of Holliswood, daughter of Assemblyman David and Ronni Weprin. Winning first place in their respective age divisions at the 11th Annual L’Chaim 5k Run/Walk for Israel, hosted by the Young Israel Of Jamaica Estates which raised substantial funds to assist Israelis who are victims of terror. of Men’s Education at Shalom Task Force and Deputy Director of The SHALOM Workshop. They will speak on the topic of “Marriage: The Act of Compromise.” The women-only lecture begins at 9 p.m. For more information, contact litehouseinfo@gmail.com.

Parshat Korach

Reality check I

t is hard to understand how the people of Metropolis can not see that the only difference between Clark Kent and Superman is a pair of glasses. Then again, Superman is a comic book superhero. It is similarly hard to understand how the people who participate in the test that “proves” that Aharon and the tribe of Levi were respectively chosen by God can not see that the entire sequence is a contrived setup! And here, it comes directly from God’s instruction. In 17:17-18, Moshe is instructed to tell leaders of twelve tribes, Rabbi Avi Billet each to place his name on his staff. Aharon’s name is to appear on the tribe of Levi’s staff. Is Levi’s staff in addition to twelve others, or is Levi one of the twelve? Yaakov had twelve sons, but usually Yosef’s progeny is

ECG RESOURCES, located at 148 Doughty Boulevard, suite 312 in Inwood, is hosting Rabbi Mordechai Sitorsky of Bayswater. Rabbi Sitorsky will be speaking on the occasion of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz. The event begins at 12:30 p.m. followed by minchah service after the lecture. For more information, contact 516 374 7070 ext. 16 or Hadassah@ECGResources.com

July 6

June 27

PENINSULA PUBLIC LIBRARY, located at 280 Central Avenue, is hosting art historian Mary Vahey, who will speak about the current Jewish Museum exhibit “Collecting Matisse & Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore.” The illustrated presentation is about two sisters who collected some of the most famous early works in modern art, including paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh, and Renoir. The free event begins at 1 p.m. For more information, contact 516-239-3262

Rabbi Sitorsky speaks on Tammuz

divided into two tribes, Efraim and Menashe, and Levi is out of the count. If the tribe of Levi, as represented by Aharon, are in addition to the twelve tribes, why doesn’t the Torah instruct there to be thirteen staffs? And if Levi is to be counted as part of the twelve, then Efraim and Menashe will not have specific representation. Will the person who represents Yosef be from Efraim or Menashe? How could this be a fair test if Levi participates and either Menashe or Efraim is left out? In the instructions to Moshe, Levi seems to be included as an afterthought. At the same time, Levi’s ultimate triumph looks like a foregone conclusion. “Take the twelve, and make sure Aharon’s staff is included in the bunch.” Apart from God’s instruction, it seems strange that anyone would participate in the rouse, unless we suggest no one really cared about the outcome. This is how the e end of the story plays out. After Aharon’s staff blossomed, “They saw and they took – each man his staff.” (17:24) Apparently, the results were not a surprise. Maybe the whole ar-

ONE ISRAEL FUND is holding its second annual Five Towns barbecue and wine tasting at the home of David & Malkie Neuberg, located at 7 Manor Lane in Lawrence. Funds raised at the event will be used to obtain medical and security equipment for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. The fund also continues to assist families displaced from Gush Katif. The cost per couple is $125. For more information and sponsorships, contact Ruthie at 516-239-9202 ext. 10.

Influence of Yiddish humor

Israeli-American night

JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL OF LONG ISLAND is holding an Israeli-American Night at the Chapin Lakeside Theater in Eisenhower Park. The groups Six13 and Metropolitan Klezmer will

FRIEDBERG JCC, located at 15 Neil Court in Oceanside, is hosting historian Kenneth Libo, who will be speaking on the influence of Yiddish humor on American culture, including Yiddish expressions and contributions to theater and film. Libo is a professor at Hunter College and a former editor at The Forward. The event begins at 2 p.m. Suggested donation is $6. For more information, contact 516-766-4341.

rangement was just a perfunctory motion to prove once and for all that Aharon and the Levites had been chosen. This is still problematic, however, because in the end the stick test proves something no one disagreed with. Korach and his followers, all of whom were of the tribe of Levi, claimed only that others of their tribe should be allowed to serve as kohanim as well (16:611). Datan and Aviram and their gang – all from different tribes - challenged Moshe’s leadership. They had no concerns about the role of the tribe of Levi and who should serve as kohanim. Ramban claims there are only twelve tribes included in the test because the Torah does not rise above a hard number twelve when counting the tribes. (See his commentary on Devarim 33:6.) I would argue the possibility that the Torah can be in a manner suggesting thirteen staffs were included in the test: twelve plus Aharon’s. In the verses quoted above, twelve staffs are mentioned followed by Aharon’s staff. 17:21 says, “Moshe told the Israelites to have their princes each give their staffs, one per tribe to make twelve staffs; and Aharon’s staff is among their staffs.” Perhaps, in addition to their staffs. When Moshe places the staffs in the tent of the testimony, it says “He placed the staffs there,” without specifying how many he carried in. It could be everyone knew Levi would

“win,” and it could also be that everyone knew the test was a rouse to satisfy those of little faith. But every tribe needed to have a representative to give an image of a fighting chance to be chosen. Human leadership does not exist in a vacuum. Yehoshua is clearly from Efraim, not from Yosef. Some of the kings in the book of Kings are clearly from Menashe, not from Yosef. Here too, while not diminishing from the magic number twelve, we ought to consider the possibility that each tribe – including Efraim and Menashe – were aptly represented. Aharon’s leadership – especially after the k’toret incident – may or may not have been contested once Korach and Co. were gone. Levi’s place in the nation may have also been quite clear. The roles we experience in our lives are either of the type we inherit, fall into, acquire or are appointed to. In some cases they are changeable, while in others they are not. The challenge is to make the best of our circumstances, and when possible, to advocate a change that is in the realm of the possible. There is always room for civil conversation and civil debate. And, when necessary, every side should have a representative. But like Aharon and the Levites, there are times when the conclusions are apparent even before the conversation begins. Somehow, we must learn to live with and grow to accept such realities.

June 29


13

On the day we gathered for the opening of the new Manischewitz headquarters, the weather was beating down in a rhythmic thrum that alternated between glorious sunshine and dismal rain. Reporters, distributors, politicians and various kosher foodies all struggled to stay huddled under the event registration tent. They told us all about the storied history of this 123-year-old company that is easily the most recognizable kosher THE KOSHER brand on the market. CRITIC Newark Mayor Cory Booker took to the dais to express his gratitude for Manischewitz having brought their 200,000 square foot business to the city of Newark and to lend his personal blessing and hopes for their continued success. With only mild effort, Booker quoted scripture in Hebrew and English, Zechariah Mehler talking about how food unites a culture. Following him was the Israeli Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger. His speech was similarly eloquent but with the added charm of his accent. But these affectations were just the beginning. We of the press were not just there because the largest and most influential kosher brand on the planet was opening up a new home. Marketing specialists deemed it necessary to give the press something to really sink their teeth into. And so once the

mezuzot were hung, we were given a tour of the new factory and the privilege of watching them make what has referred to as the Monster Matzoh. The Monster Matzoh was the world’s longest matzoh at an inch over 25 feet. I will admit that watching them make it was greatly amusing but unnecessary in my eyes since all I wanted to do was get a greater in-depth tour of the wondrously cavernous factory that they had walked us through to get to the matzoh baking portion. What I saw of the factory was amazing. I caught glimpses of gefilte fish being made and the machine that gives birth to soup in a tube. Corridors stretched as far as the eye could see, stacked with pallets from floor to the 100-foot high ceiling. They were populated by drums and bags filled with just some of the almost one hundred million pounds of flour that Manischewitz uses every year. I didn’t need a giant matzo. To me the story of Manischewitz was enough. The worlds largest kosher company fell on hard times. Their products increasingly became considered old and outdated, and so they revamped, introducing newer and more innovative products. Seamlessly, they folded their classic items like gefilte fish into new products like Moroccan Fish Meatballs. These items may take some getting used to taste-wise, but are nonetheless impressive because it demonstrates Manischewitz’s active drive to keep up with the growing demand for more specialized gourmet products. What makes this even more important is that Manischewitz is the face of American kosher food. This is because whether you’re

THE JEWISH STAR June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771

New Man-O HQ

Photo by Peter Morehand

Manischewitz’s Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz presents the world’s largest matzoh. in Fargo or San Jose, no matter how devoid an area is of kosher consumers, chances are the local grocery stores still carry a miniscule amount of kosher food, all of it made by Manischewitz. As a result, people throughout the country who have no concept of kosher still know that Manischewitz is our brand, our Coca Cola, our Kraft. Which is why the drive to stay relevant is so vital for Manischewitz. Not just for the good of their company, but for the good of kosher consumers everywhere. They contribute greatly to the reputation of kosher and whether they intend to or not,

they facilitate kosher education. This was the story that interested me. A new, modern headquarters for an old company that created the kosher landscape and is working diligently to compete in today’s kosher market. If the new building is to be a metaphor for the continued and future success of Manischewitz, then I am certain that we will be eating their quality products for many years to come in any number of obscure American cities. Zechariah Mehler is a widely published food writer and expert in social marketing. Follow him on Twitter @thekoshercritic

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June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR

14

Ask Aviva

Wigged out Dear Aviva,

I feel very silly writing about this and don’t know if you will even publish it, but I have a sheitel problem. I’ve had the same one since I got married 6 years ago. It’s outdated, stretched and not even my color anymore. Plus, I never liked the cut. But I can’t afford a new one, and I literally cry almost every morning when I put it on to leave for work. I think I’ve scared my husband. And then I feel guilty for being petty. Not to mention the guilt of starting to hate the mitzvah of covering my hair. -Weary from her Wig

Dear Weary from her Wig,

I will print this letter because I have seen totally normal, stable women have panic attacks over sheitels. Panic attacks more severe than the panic attacks that my therapy clients’ who are diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder have. Why? I think it’s for a variety of reasons, namely beauty, identity and physical comfort. And tie a price tag in the amount of one month’s mortgage on it. Plus, the risk that the stylist will totally kill your luxurious necessity without ever being held liable. It’s enough to put my limbic system in a state of diffuse physiological arousal, and I get my wigs straight from the manufacturer! (But

that has its own set of stressors…) Ok, so we’ve got to do a few things with you. First, let’s help facilitate your re-commitment to the mitzvah. Learn the halachos of ki’sui rosh for the first time, or review it with someone who is pumped about the mitzvah. Next, see if a recut or some dye would freshen things up. The way to find a good cutter is to stop any frum lady you see in Target who looks awesome. Then, frantically approach her so that she is aware of the urgency of the matter. Be careful not to be too frantic, otherwise she may think that you’re a bit off and will try to cut the conversation short before you get a chance to extract the master cutter’s number from the sheitel model’s Blackberry. (As a random aside, I know of a woman who intentionally acted “very socially off” when she had to converse with a philandering man. I guess Sefer Shmuel really is relevant for all generations…good work drooling into your beard, Dovid HaMelech.) Ok, back to the major issues. Identity. It’s a big one. Once upon a time, wigs were used as a disguise. In fact, female spies still pack a wig with them when they are on a juicy mission. The point that I’m trying to make here is that it’s possible that you are disappointed when you put on the wig because it masks you a bit. When I worked in the retail wig industry, almost every kallah’s mother would say, “Yeah, the color is perfect, the length is good, the cut is adorable, buuuut……….it still doesn’t look exactly like her hair.” That’s right! It’s because it is NOT her hair! Good for you, Madam! You’ve solved the mystery! Your prize is…..A NEW SON! Poor mothers had to get to know their daughters all over again. How much more so the daughters had to acquaint themselves with themselves. I guess the best way to be

happy with your wigself (that’s a technical Freudian term) is to have a sheitel that you really do like. I think you should do your best to either revamp your old one or start saving for a new one, I recommend a hand-tied cap. Also, play around with different hairstyles like bobbypinning back the heavier strands around your face, or put it half up or all back. One other thing: Without getting too emotional, explain to your husband that this is a bigger deal than it seems. It didn’t sound from your letter like he is keeping you from

getting a new one, so that’s good. But just so that you have his support in the morning, talk in the evening about how difficult this sheitel stuff is. So yes, you can flip your wig. Just as long as you like it flipped. -Aviva Aviva Rizel is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice who can be reached at AvivaRizel.MFT@gmail.com.

The Jerusalem Post Crossword Puzzle By David Benkof

Across

1. Take place 6. Poker champ Ungar 9. Prominent U.S. defense org. 12. Stops by 14. “48___” 15. Fountain treat 17. Building material 18. Glee 20. Co-creator of Superman 22. Sacrificial animal 25. 1007, to Josephus 26. Steakhouse order 27. Linda Lavin role 30. Choreographer Sokolow 32. Colony members 33. YouTube Chanukah sensation of 2010 36. Month after Adar 37. Very powerful D.C. lobby 41. MGM boss who was the richest American

Previous answers

in the 1940s 46. Q-V connector 50. Mt. Hermon sight 51. Pass over 52. Flip over 54. ___ HaChareidis 56. Kan. neighbor 57. Prominent Jacksonian Jew 61. Reform theologian Eugene 62. Devastated 66. “You’ve made me ___ for life!” 67. Simple top 68. Saudi ___ 69. 180° from NNW 70. Dash widths 71. Fancy tie

Down

1. “Black ___” 2. Place for a nap 3. PC brain 4. Middle-of-the-road movt. 5. Playwright Elmer 6. Torah portion about the laws of kashrut 7. Making level 8. E-mail alternative 9. Single-celled creature 10. Yiddish words, sometimes 11. Patron 13. Former Minnesota Sen. Coleman 16. Hasidic folklore, e.g. 19. Big success 21. Race place 22. Reform DC presence 23. Composer Menken (“The Little Mermaid”) 24. Kind of skirt 28. Cassette replacements 29. How many olim get to Israel 31. Jezebel’s husband 34. Genesis name 35. “Playing for ___” (1980 Holocaust TV movie) 38. Buddy

39. Hebrew letter after samech 40. Hand over, as Israel did with the Sinai in 1977 42. Leviticus 22:30 prohibits leaving animal sacrifices ___ until morning 43. Prepares salt, perhaps 44. Natalie Portman’s 2010 film “Black ___” 45. ___ Zalman 46. Cuban dance 47. Some SNL sketches 48. Mountainous lunar regions 49. Ruined

53. Passover prayer subject 55. “Let’s have a party, we’ll all dance the ___” 58. Quote a line of Talmud, perhaps 59. Torah ___ (textbook publishers) 60. Jewish absorption org. 63. “Seinfeld” network 64. “Old MacDonald had a farm, E I ___” 65. “Can’t help loving ___ man of mine” (Oscar Hammerstein II lyric) Answers will appear next week


15 THE JEWISH STAR June 24, 2011 22 SIVAN, 5771

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June 24, 2011 - The Jewish Star  

June 24, 2011 - The Jewish Star

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