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Marc Boone Fitzerman.................................................Rabbi Daniel Shalom Kaiman..................................................Rabbi Sally A. Donaldson................................................ President Dr. Elana Newman........................................ Vice-President Ross Heyman........... Vice-President for Finance/Treasurer Nancy Cohen.......................................................... Secretary Jeremy Rabinowitz......... Synagogue Foundation President Janis Finer, M.D.................................. Sisterhood President Sara Levitt..................Director of Jewish Life and Learning Betty Lehman.............................. Synagogue Administrator Shelli Wright........................................... Preschool Director Didi Ralph........................................................... Bookkeeper Valerie Henderson.........................................Rabbis’ Offices Gwenn RedCorn......................................... Co-Receptionist Nicki Johnson............................................. Co-Receptionist Nancy Cohen............................ Sisterhood Gift Shop Chair

Tsula Lew Perry-McKee, born to Kara Joy McKee and Gene Perry. Mazal tov to the McKee and Perry families. WEDDINGS Dr. Andres and Caitlin Contreras celebrated their wedding on Saturday evening, March 2 at Agoura Center overlooking downtown Tulsa. Caitlin is the daughter of Dr. Jamie and Sharon Cash. Andres is the son of Manuel Contreras and Lucia Vega of Irmo, South Carolina. The couple resides in Nashville, Tennessee where the groom is in medical residence and the bride works in corporate event planning. Rabbis Kaiman and Fitzerman officiated the ceremony. IN MEMORIAM


Fran Bulmash Wife of the late Paul Bulmash Mother of Jodi, Mindy, and Gene Bulmash

Steven Aberson Brian Brouse Randee Charney Mark Goldman Ross Heyman Matt Katz Jeremy Rabinowitz David Sandler, M.D. John Schumann, M.D. Eva Unterman

Irving Fenster Husband of Irene Fenster Dr. Miles Schuman Son of Charlotte Schuman Robert L. Fife Father of Adria Sanditen

Emily Melton Bolusky Sharon Cash Nancy Cohen Sally Donaldson Barbara Eisen Terry Marcum Dr. Elana Newman Debby Raskin Angela Taubman Ricki Wimmer

Janis Finer, M.D.

Betty Vigran Grandmother of Rabbi Michael Weinstein

THE MESSENGER April 2019 - Published Monthly | Bimonthly

Ladislav Urban Brother of Susan Surchev

CONGREGATION B’NAI EMUNAH 1719 South Owasso Tulsa, Oklahoma 74120 Office: (918) 583‑7121 School: (918) 585‑KIDS Fax: (918) 747-9696 Website:

ON THE COVER Eva Unterman, the public face of the Jewish community in Holocaust education, will be honored on May 19, 2019 at our annual Touro Celebration. Please call the Synagogue at (918) 883-7121 to purchace seats and to make donations in Eva’s honor. You may also do this by going to the Synagogue website at See the article on page XX for further details.



death-row inmates during their state and federal appeals. He is also the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network. This free event is presented in partnership with Magic City Books. The program begins at 7:00 p.m. at 7:00 p.m. But please call or visit our website to make your meal reservations. Dinner begins at 6:15 p.m. Please note that David is the brother of B’nai Emunah member Steven Dow.


A morning of celebration and community, Sisterhood Shabbat brings together women of the congregation in learning and leadership. Nancy Wolov will address the congregation on the subject of Community Service. Jackie Lasky and Jennifer Joels are coordinating preparations with assistance from Jodi Finer. Services led by members of Sisterhood begin at 9:00 a.m. All are invited to an at the conclusion of the morning chaired by Alin Avitan. .



The Synagogue’s annual Second Seder is open to the entire community, with a special welcome to Tulsa newcomers and those whose families are far away. Join Synagogue members and friends for a joyful celebration of the most important event in Jewish history. The seder will feature spirited and moving music from members of the Synagogue’s instrumental ensemble, Klay Kodesh, and participants will enjoy a festive mixture of Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions. For more details, see page XX. To make your reservation, please call our office or visit our website. Seder begins at 6:00 p.m.


Need Passover supplies? Betty’s Fine Foods will be open in the weeks prior to Passover to help you secure all your holiday needs. According to early reports, local supermarkets are working hard to accommodate Passover consumers. Contact Betty Lehman by calling the Office at (918) 5837121 for questions and more details.




It’s the greatest bread ever. Each month we gather on a Wednesday to mix dough so that you’ll have enough for two challahs the following Friday afternoon. Novice baker? Not to worry, we’ll walk you through it step-by-step. Please call Valerie at the Synagogue at (918) 583-7121 to reserve your space at the kneading table. Space is limited, so please call early. No cost to anyone. Workshop begins at 6:00 p.m.



An evening to honor the elders of our community, Milestone Dinner recognizes members of the congregation in their seventies, eighties and nineties. Guest speaker for the evening will be New York Times Columnist and author Anna Quindlen who will speak about her most recent book, Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting. Call or visit our website to make dinner reservations. The Booksmart portion of this evening is presented in partnership with Magic City Books. See page XX for more information.


Very young children and their parents are invited to join us for another soft and cuddly Shabbat experience. It all gets started at 6:00 p.m. Parachutes, rattles, and toys sit at the center of our circle while parents and kids share in the blessings of peaceful Shabbat. A delicious, kid-friendly Shabbat dinner accompanies this program. Please visit our website or call our offices by Thursday, April 11, to reserve space for the meal. No reservations necessary for the participatory service experience.serve your spot.





In his new novel, Confessions of an Innocent Man, David R. Dow explores our complex, uneasy relationships with punishment and reparation in an unjust world. A professor of law and history, David has dedicated his life to the fight against capital punishment—to righting the horrific injustices of the death penalty. He has represented more than one hundred 3





















FROM RABBI FITZERMAN DIFFERENT AND THE SAME Seder at our house will be different this year. After a couple of decades of maximalist experiences—singing, commentary, politics, and poetry—we’re going to concentrate on storytelling, and keep the language simple and straightforward. The important thing for all of us is to keep the granddaughters engaged. One will ask the four questions and the other will operate the finger puppets (sort of). After that the rest will take care of itself. Just like Jewish ritual, seder is an evolving experience. At our house, that means going forward with everyone at the table in mind. I hope that you’ll do the same. Every year new haggadot are written ad released. You’ll see a beautiful one featured elsewhere in this issue that Rabbi Kaiman strongly recommends. Many people are writing their own, supported by our ability to create beautiful texts on a dozen different platforms suitable for the purpose. That, too, has been going on for decades. The different is that it’s getting easier and easier. But what never changes is the radical morality of Passover. None of us is free until all our free. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need come and celebrate. Next year in the Jerusalem of Jewish dreams and imagination. If I wish you anything—and I do— it is to experience the lasting power of these crucial ideas. From my family to yours, a sweet and beautifu Pesach 2019.





So much of the work of our Synagogue rests in the capable hands of volunteer leaders from across our community. Many thanks to all of who step forward to participate in many different aspects of our communal live.

Congregation B’nai Emunah’s annual “Second Seder at the Synagogue” is scheduled for Saturday evening, April 20, in Kaiser-Miller Auditorium beginning at 6:00 p.m. The event is open to the entire community, with a special welcome to Tulsa newcomers and those whose families are far away. Join Synagogue members and friends for a joyful celebration of the most important event in Jewish history.

Todah rabah to Dr. Jill Wenger and Brian Brouse for restocking our Bikkur Cholim pantry with delicious foods. We are always looking for folks to deliver and cook for those in our congregation who are in need. Please be in touch with Sara Levitt if you have any questions or would like to be added to our Bikkur Cholim list for future deliveries.

The Seder will feature spirited and moving music from members of the Synagogue’s instrumental ensemble, Klay Kodesh, and participants will enjoy a festive mix of Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions.

Thank you to Jeff Bonem who has recently spearheaded our Book Hospital project. Over the past several weeks, Jeff has painstakingly begun to repair siddurim and chumashim that were no longer usable due to broken bindings and ripped pages. Wear and tear a real thing, and Jeff’s attention will ensure we get maximum use out of these sacred books.

The Synagogue can seat 200 people for this event; reservations need to be confirmed by check or charge. Cost for adults, age 13 and up, is $36; for children ages 4-12, $18. Children ages 1-3 are $6. If you would like to reserve an entire table for up to 8 guests, please let us know, and we would be glad to oblige. To reserve such a table paid reservations of all guests sitting with you must be received no later than Monday, April 15. Please call our office to discuss your preferences and make your reservations.

Thank you to Shahnaz Khalil for spending hours in our kitchen carefully mixing, filling, and folding hundreds of hamantashen for our Purim celebrations. These treats bring such joy and delight to all. Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that originally hamantashen were made from a yeasted dough? It’s only been within the past century that Jewish cooks began to employ an easier to manipulate cookie dough for these sweet treats!

Please note that the first part of the Seder will unfold between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. The meal following will last until approximately 8:00 p.m., and we will close the evening by 9:00 p.m.

On the subject of Purim, many thanks to the many folks who stepped forward to help make sure our festivities reached their highest heights. Confetti! Delicious foods! Arts and crafts! Nothing beats Purim at the Synagogue.

Thanks to the generosity of B’nai Brith, along with the Sam Marks Helping Hand Fund of the Synagogue, we would be glad to accommodate those for whom the price of attending poses a challenge. Please speak with Rabbi Kaiman or Betty Lehman at the Synagogue Office, if you would be benefited by financial assistance.


Are you selling your chamaytz this year? Visit tulsagogue. com/chamaytz to complete this ritual task digitally. Call the Synagogue office if you’d like an analog form for this purpose. We’d be glad to help you with this ritual transaction. Need Passover supplies? Betty’s Fine Foods will be open in the weeks before Passover to help you secure all your holiday needs. Contact Betty Lehman by calling the office for questions and more details.


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Congregation B’nai Emunah proudly announces that its annual Touro Celebration this spring will honor Eva K. Unterman, Holocaust educator and activist. The event will take place on Sunday, May 19, beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Synagogue. Eva will be joined by her family and many friends for an evening of celebration and tribute. The entire community is invited to attend. The event is named for Judah Touro, an early American Jewish community leader and activist who gave himself fully to the enrichment of Jewish life and the welfare of every community he lived in.

Vibrant communities are the result of many different generations coming together to bring the idea of community to life. Milestone Dinner marks an annual moment to bring together the energetic members of our congregation in their seventies, eighties and nineties for a night of celebration and stimulating ideas. Joining us for this celebratory dinner will be noted author and New York Times columnist, Anna Quindlen speaking about her new book, NANAVILLE: Adventures in Grandparenting. Before blogs even existed, Anna Quindlen became a go-to writer on the joys and challenges of family, motherhood, and modern life, in her nationally syndicated column. Now she’s taking the next step and going full nana in the pages of this lively, beautiful, and moving book about being a grandmother. Quindlen offers thoughtful and telling observations about her new role, no longer mother and decision-maker but secondary character and support to the parents of her grandson.

Eva’s own story reflects that focus. In the summer of 1939, Eva’s family, the Wolmans, were on vacation in Zakowice, Poland, and Eva herself was on the cusp of first grade. What happened instead was the German invasion of Poland and the rapid confinement of Polish Jews. Eva was living in Lodz at the time, a city which became a mass internment zone for local Jews and deportees. For four years she struggled through increasing deprivation, disease, forced labor, and the confiscation of her belongings.

A celebratory, Passover-friendly, dinner will begin the evening at 5:30 p.m., At that time we will offer a special blessing to the generations that form the foundation of the congregation and offer a special presentation to members in their nineties. Following dinner, at 7:00 p.m., a public book talk will invite us all to consider some of the important ideas of Quindlen’s most recent work. Local writer and literary activist, Teresa Miller, will join our invited guest for this public conversation.

All of this grew still more grim in 1944, when she was transported first to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and then moved to Stutthof and a labor camp in Dresden. On May 8, 1945, Eva was liberated after a forced march to Terezin, capping her experience of suffering and enslavement. Like many survivors in the years following the war, Eva worked to contain her experience. But prompted by an influential local educator, Eva gradually set her guardedness aside and since 1978 has become our foremost Holocaust educator, institutionalizing her work with unique force and skill. The results are Tulsa’s annual Interfaith Holocaust Commemoration and the Council for Holocaust Education. Eva leads a community of passionate communicators who have endeavored to deepen our understanding of the Sho’ah and raise the awareness and moral commitment of Tulsa’s students and adults. Side by side with this, she is a powerful political voice, fearlessly committed to the cause of refugees and migrants, along with environmental activism and multicultural awareness.

Reservations for the celebratory meal may be made by visiting the Synagogue website or calling the Synagogue offices. This program is presented in partnership with Magic City Books.

Eva brings all of this to her career as a longtime board member of the Synagogue, challenging her peers to take their moral responsibilities seriously and place the congregation on the front line of social justice. Eva is never afraid to stir things up, and she remains a vanguard spirit deep into her career as a volunteer leader. As a person with rounded and wide-ranging interests, she is devoted to her family, along with reading, gardening, and craft. The Synagogue is deeply proud to bestow its highest honor on Eva Unterman as the Touro Award recipient for 2019. Eva will be formally introduced by Ken Levit, Executive Director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, and Janet K. Levit, Pro-

Eva Unterman, 2019 Touro Honoree. See article to the right. 6

IN OUR SCHOOLS—MORAH SARA LEVITT Or maybe our sages wanted to remind us not of the children but to think thoroughly about what our children are really asking us and what they need. Could this be Judaism’s reminder to educators and parents that children, even in one family are unique individuals with their own ideas and concerns.

FOUR CHILDREN, MANY QUESTIONS Our tradition is rich with “how to’s” and “don’t do’s,” with guidelines for everything from what we put in our mouth and the types of clothes we wear. Around this time of year, one of our most elaborate tools for learning makes an appearance—the Haggadah. I love how many things we draw from in this jam-packed book of story, tradition, and metaphor.

I think the answer is somewhere in between. May this be our challenge and our blessing during this season of renewal; to look at our tradition and our children each Passover through new eyes and with an open heart.

Each year however I am struck by the story of the four children. While as I child my family and I would laugh over who got stuck with reading about the wicked child or the simple one, as an adult who works closely with children, I am frustrated with our tradition’s encouragement to label children “wicked” or “simple.” Can you imagine if when we introduced children to others we said, "Here is our child who challenges everything I say," or "That is the child who is a smart-aleck. This our child who struggles to comprehend basic content. And this is the one who is non-verbal?" It is problematic to me that the Haggadah, a resource so rich with opportunity to teach and learn, labels children so quickly based on the questions they have for their parents. What lesson do our children learn from the Haggadah labeling a child as “wicked” or “simple” because they admitted that they don’t understand what this whole thing was about?

FEATURED EVENTS [CONT.] vost and Executive Vice President of The University of Tulsa. For reservations at the Touro dinner, please call (918) 583-7121 or visit the Synagogue website at Seat prices are listed, with many opportunities to honor Eva with an additional contribution. The Synagogue is located at the corner of Peoria and 17th Street, and complimentary valet parking will be available on the night of the event.

MAZAL TOVS KUDOS Congratulations to Dan Wilk, Son of Nancy Wilk and Dr. Larry Wilk, who was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his work as an Adobe scientist on After Effects, a widely used software tool for motion grpahics. It’s the preeminent tool of its kind for film production. Kudos to Dan and his team for a significant achievement.

There must be an explanation hidden, perhaps deeply, in the story of the four children for both parents and educators. Perhaps the story of the four children exaggerates these qualities on purpose, forcing us to think about how we generalize children and make assumptions about their character based on their questions. Is this our traditions warning to avoid such generalizations?







Please join Sisterhood for the Shabbat morning service on Saturday, April 6, followed by a Kiddush. Services begin at 9:00 a.m., with Sisterhood members leading the service. Special guest Nancy Wolov will be giving the D’var Torah on the subject of Community Service. Alin Avitan will be preparing the kiddush, chaired by Hillary Roubein.

Spring is a beautiful time of year. The days are getting longer. The crisp air is softening, and we are all eager for the renewal of this new season. In the coming weeks, we will spend more time outside. We will be able to put away our winter coats. And we will engage in that time-honored tradition of “spring cleaning.” Of course, for many Jews, this practice can be connected to the cleaning and home renewal we will undertake as part of our preparations for Passover. But regardless of the reasoning, something is refreshing and compelling about the practice of digging through our closets and sorting through the basement as we evaluate our relationships with the material objects in our lives.

Sisterhood appreciation goes to Jackie Lasky, Jennifer Joels and Jodi Finer for preparing the Sisterhood members for their part in the service. KNOTS FOR LOVE KNITTING PROJECT Sisterhood has undertaken to knit 50 caps for oncology patients in Tulsa and is seeking congregants who want to join this project. Knots of Love has as its mission warming the hearts and heads of children, women, men and veterans undergoing chemotherapy.

When Moses received the two tablets for the second time (after having smashed the first set upon seeing the sin of the Golden Calf), he was given the specific command to “carve for himself” the two tablets. And then, God would inscribe them with the law. It’s a peculiar moment, because the first time Moses received the two tablets, it would seem that God had also done the carving work. Why, the second time around, does Moses have to undertake the carving responsibility?

Each Sunday morning there will be an experienced knitter available at the Synagogue Board Room at 10:00 a.m. to assist those interested in participating in this project. Sisterhood has available a generous amount of yarn for those who are knitting the caps. Help Sisterhood meet its goal of 50 caps and show your love for those in our community who are undergoing cancer treatment.

I think the message here is a lesson about how we understand the material objects in our lives. When we are given something that we have not had to earn, we can sometimes be cavalier and unappreciative. That item can end up smashed into bits and pieces and lying on the floor. Or it can just be tossed in the trash and forgotten. But when we have had to play a role in the creation of the material objects we use, our relationship with those things shifts. We feel a more acute responsibility to tend and care for those possessions. Moses is told to carve the tablets himself. This is a reminder that we have to see ourselves as part of the creative process of the material objects in our lives.

SISTERHOOD ANNUAL MEETING ON JUNE 2 Randee Charney, Carol Mandlebaum and Sharon Cash, all Past Presidents of Sisterhood, will be chairing this year’s Annual Meeting, honoring Nancy Cohen as Sisterhood’s Woman of Valor. The meeting and brunch is open to the congregation and will be held on the morning of Sunday June 2. In addition to honoring Nancy Cohen, Sisterhood will elect Board members and Officers. The slate of Officers and Board will be printed in the May Messenger. Watch for further information on this event.

As we sort through our closets and basements, we may be tempted to fill trash bags and have our things hauled off and out of sight. But I think there is another way to approach this moment of renewal. Like Marie Kondo, we should consider each item in our life with thoughtful seriousness; we should see ourselves as part of the creative process which brought that item into our lives; and then, should we choose to discard it, we should do so in a way that does the most good for the largest number of people. May spring cleaning bring about a renewed connection to the material objects in our lives. Indeed, spring is a wonderful time of year.

SPRING BOOK CLUB ON APRIL 14 April’s edition of the Sisterhood’s Book Club will meet at 1:00 p.m. April 14 in the Synagogue Library to discuss the historical novel The Tattoist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. Based on a real-life story, the novel follows a Slovakian Jew, Lale Sokolov, who is forced to tattoo numbers on his fellow prisoners. Meeting one of those prisoners, Gita, as he (continued on the following page)




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is tattooing her arm, Lale vows to survive the war and marry Gita when they are liberated. Carla Weston will lead the discussion; all are invited.

Packaging is a crucial front in the sustainability battle. Please take time to write or call the companies you deal with to say that you’d be


happier to see a minimum of waste and material

Community service at Iron Gate continues the last Sunday of each month. Volunteers serve breakfast to Iron Gate guests and have the opportunity to meet and greet the guests. Many thanks to Sarah-Anne Schuman who has organized a group each month. Those who want to join in the Iron Gate project need to be at least 13 years old and be available from 8:30-10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning April 28. Women and men are encouraged to volunteer.

that can be easily recycled or compoted.

THIS IS THE RIGHT MONTH FOR Thoughtful preparations for passover.

Contact Sarah-Anne at And thank you for participating in this mitzvah!

read through your haggadah, decide your ritual practice, and focus on meaning!

PASSOVER IN THE GIFT SHOP Rabbi Kaiman gives a High Five to the Haggadah pictured in the next column. It is family-friendly, colorful, and perfect for your seder. In Every Generation is a user-friendly guide for adults and early reader children. It will serve nicely for those preparing their first seder. This Haggadah presents all the essential parts of the seder. The Gift Shop has stocked up on this Haggadah, so hurry in to get the number of copies you need for your seder.

MILESTONE DINNER Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m.

Available now in the Sisterhood Gift Shop. Call ahead to reserve copies for you and your family.


Profile for The Synagogue | Congregation B'nai Emunah

Messenger - April 2019  

Messenger - April 2019