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16 Back to School at HAT and Strelitz
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From Gondar to Jerusalem
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A new inductee in the Israeli Navy
Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
by Alan Bartel
he Bartel Family (Alan, Dolores, Gary, Shannon and their children: Haley, Carly and Jody) made a trip to Jerusalem in March 2011 to attend the Bar Mitzvah of our cousin. Their family consists of our cousin, who made aliyah to Israel at age 18, married a Sephardic rabbi’s son with a large extended family, settled in Jerusalem and raised three terrific children, the youngest was the Bar Mitzvah—a wonderful way for our family to rekindle relationships with their family. Our cousin was educated in the U.S. and Israel. She is a social worker, writer, and editor. She wrote this poignant letter about the effect on her family of her eldest son’s induction into the Israeli Defense Forces for his mandatory three years. Since the service to his country requires staying in Israel for the next three years, the family recently took a trip with him to Europe and to visit relatives in the U.S. For his “last fling,” they visited us in Virginia Beach to help celebrate our 50th Anniversary. He is quite an impressive young man, and went through an extensive screening process to achieve a position in the Navy. His name is being withheld due to security reasons. “X” began his service in the military two weeks ago. He got lucky and was home for his first Shabbat! He’s apparently doing great so far. I’m forwarding below an email his mother (our cousin) sent to a few people about this life transition, with her permission, of course.
bout “X”, thanks for all the advice and support. He seems to be doing well and taking everything in stride so far, which of course makes it much easier for me as his mother. I feel good in the sense that I think he was as psychologically ready as he could possibly be for the military, and it also helps us to know that from the first minute till right now he’s had someone with him who he knows—a friend who went with him to Greece this summer. I think his going abroad twice this summer also helped prepare us all for being apart, helped get us ready for missing him and being unable to reach him. So, all in all, it really hasn’t been traumatic for us yet. But it’s still the very beginning…let’s see what he actually looks like and what he says tomorrow when he comes home! And I’m sure we all have lots of hurdles ahead of us. Beyond that, though, the significance of this event in all our lives is starting to hit home. Your first child’s draft into the IDF is a momentous occasion, a sense of joining the enormous family of Israelis who send their children off to the military, who raise their children to sacrifice personal freedom for the good of the country. I remember way back when, when I was deliberating if I really wanted to make aliyah, that this was one of the major dilemmas I grappled with. Even before I met my future husband, I had to decide if I would be willing, as a future mother, to imbue all the years of childrearing with those values of selflessness and giving to the greater community. And thus, too, to compel my children to face the difficult moral challenges that are part of serving in the Israeli military in our complex geopolitical situation. I remember deciding that I really believed in Israel as the land and safe haven of the Jewish people, that I felt a sense of belonging to that greater global Jewish destiny, and I realized that I did want to be part of protecting our collective future. I know I was very idealistic but like most young people, at some level I also hoped that by the time I married, had kids, and they grew up to age 18, there would be no more dangers in serving in the Israeli military. Obviously that hope was naïve, considering the neighborhood in which our country is situated and the world’s anti-Semitism that constantly rears its ugly head. In any case, here we are, over 30 years after that dilemma, and I have to say that along with feeling a bit whimsical and nostalgic about this rite of passage—when my son’s childhood formally ends—I am also overwhelmed with a sense of deep pride and anticipation to see him tomorrow wearing his navy uniform. Naïve and idealistic, yes, I still am. But also now more fully Israeli. Lots of love.
contents First Person. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Hurricane Isaac. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 UJFT Annual Campaign. . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Ethiopian Rescue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Election 2012 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Cuba Mission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Tips on Jewish Trips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Hebrew Ladies Charity: 110 years . . . 14 Back to school at HAT and Strelitz. . . 16 Friends of Melton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Big Ticket Raffle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Tennis at JCC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Create a Jewish Legacy: Leslie and Larry Siegel . . . . . . . . . . 20 Back to Shul Shopping . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Book Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 What’s Happening. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Mazel Tov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Oy! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Face to Face: Jake Levy. . . . . . . . . . . . 30 High Holidays. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 200 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462-4370 voice 757.965.6100 fax 757.965.6102 email email@example.com www.jewishVA.org Terri Denison, Editor Germaine Clair, Art Director Hal Sacks, Book Review Editor Sandy Goldberg, Account Executive Sharon Freeman, Account Executive Mark Hecht, Account Executive Marilyn Cerase, Subscription Manager Reba Karp, Editor Emeritus Alvin Wall, President Stephanie Calliott, Secretary Harry Graber, Executive Vice-President The appearance of advertising in the Jewish News does not constitute a kashrut endorsement. The articles and letters appearing herein are not necessarily the opinion of this newspaper. © 2012 Jewish News all rights reserved Subscription: $18 year For subscription or change of address, call 757-965-6128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Deadlines for Editorial and Advertising October 8 Mazel Tov September 21 October 22 October 5 November 12 Home October 26 November 26 Chanukah November 9 December 10 November 23 January 14, 2013 Super Sunday December 28 January 28 Mazel Tov January 4/11 February 11 Camp January 18/25
“Every person I called upon to help support Israel’s efforts to bring the Ethiopian jews ‘home,’ immediately accepted and proffered help.” —page 9
Friday, Sept 21/Tishrei 5 Light candles at 6:44 pm Friday, Sept 28/Tishrei 12 Light candles at 6:33 pm Friday, Oct 5/Tishrei 19 Light candles at 6:23 pm Friday, Oct 12/Tishrei 26 Light candles at 6:13 pm Friday, Oct 19/Cheshvan 3 Light candles at 6:04 pm Friday, Oct 26/Cheshvan 10 Light candles at 5:55 pm
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briefs Tennis player Noam Gershony nets Israel’s first Paralympics gold since ‘04 Israeli tennis player Noam Gershony won a gold medal in men’s singles at the London Paralympics games. Gershony, a former Israeli Air Force pilot who was injured in a crash during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, defeated American David Wagner to win Israel’s first gold medal at the Games and the first for the country since 2004. It was Israel’s seventh medal at the 2012 Games. Gershony began playing tennis less than two years ago, Ynet reported. “I was very excited about your victory,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Gershony in a phone call. “The State of Israel embraces you for your great achievement. You symbolize the victory of the human spirit over the difficulties created by the reality in which we live. This is gold for you and the country.” Gershony and Shraga Weinberg took the bronze medal in doubles tennis. The two played each other in the medal’s matches in men’s singles. Also, Israeli swimmer Inbal Pezaro took the bronze medal in the 100-meter freestyle, her third bronze at the Games. (JTA) Israeli gay couple seeking divorce from rabbinical court The first Jewish Israeli male couple to marry has filed for divorce in a Tel Aviv rabbinical court that never recognized the marriage. It is unknown if the rabbinical court will provide a divorce for Uzi Even, the first openly gay Knesset member, and Dr. Amit Kama, Ynet reported. They were married in Canada in 2004 after living together for more than a decade. Even, a professor of physical chemistry at Tel Aviv University, and Kama—the first same-sex male couple in Israel to have their legal right of adoption recognized—split three years ago. Even now wants to marry another man abroad, but cannot until he is divorced from Kama, according to Ynet. Under Israeli law, the rabbinical court is the only body authorized to annul the marriage of Jewish citizens in Israel. The Interior Ministry will not dissolve the marriage without an order from the rabbinical court. Only Canadian citizens can be divorced in Canada, Ynet reported. A separation agreement has been approved by the Ramat Gan Family Court. Even and Kama filed a lawsuit with Israel’s Supreme Court that forced the Interior Ministry to register their marriage in 2006 recognizing the marriage abroad.
In 2009, a Tel Aviv court gave them the right to adopt their 30-year-old foster son, whom they took in 15 years earlier after he was kicked out of his home for revealing his homosexuality. (JTA)
Edon, ‘America’s Got Talent’ semifinalist, getting free kipahs A New Jersey store reportedly is sending free yarmulkes to Edon Pinchot, the kipahwearing former contestant on “America’s Got Talent.” Cool Kippahs in Teaneck, N.J., is sending Edon several free yarmulkes in honor of the fact that the teenager wore them during all of his performances on the NBC reality show, the TMZ website reported. Edon, a singer and pianist, was eliminated last month in the semifinals. Edon, a student at the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago, is Sabbath observant and keeps kosher. His kipah made him a focal point for viewers. (JTA) Israel’s Hadas Yaron named best actress at Venice Film Festival Israel’s Hadas Yaron won the Best Actress award at the 69th Venice Film Festival. Yaron received the award for her role in “Fill the Void,” which is set in Tel Aviv’s Chasidic community. Yaron plays Shira, an 18-year-old set to enter into an arranged marriage who must decide whether to marry her brother-in-law after her sister dies in childbirth. Rama Burshtein, who is haredi Orthodox, directed the film. “The Orthodox world is so interesting it does not need to cope with the secular,” Burshtein told a festival news conference. “It can be very interesting and the drama can be very strong inside.” (JTA) Israeli named to U.N. Human Rights Committee Yuval Shany, an Israeli professor, was named to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. Shany, an international law expert who is the dean of the law faculty at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was approved with the support of 112 countries and will serve a four-year term. He is the second Israeli to serve on the committee. Dan Kretzmer, also a professor, served from 1995 to 2002. The Human Rights Committee is a body of 18 independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its 162 member states. It is separate from the more high-profile
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U.N. Human Rights Council, a political body made up of 47 states that is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the globe. Members of the council, which has been accused of unfairly singling out Israel for attention, are elected by the U.N. General Assembly. (JTA)
Chabad buys Manhattan building for $42 million Chabad-Lubavitch purchased a building in midtown Manhattan for $42 million. In its announcement, Chabad said it had been renting the 12-story, 60,000-squarefoot building at 509 Fifth Ave. for the past 16 years before it bought it on Sep. 6. The building has a synagogue, offers programming and oversees the activities of seven Chabad centers in Manhattan. It also includes vacant space. “We are extraordinarily grateful to God for this enormous blessing,” Rabbi Joshua Metzger, executive director of Chabad of Midtown Manhattan, said in a statement. In April 2010, the New York Post reported, Metzger filed a $30 million lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court against real estate investors David Werner and Amram Kass. Metzger alleged that he discussed with them his desire to buy the building but was subsequently cut out from its purchase. The suit also was filed against the building’s then-owner, 509 Fifth Avenue Associates Owner, which includes Norman Sturner of Murray Hill Properties, the Post reported. Last January, Sturner’s ownership group filed a $9 million suit against several groups, including the Chai Foundation—a Chabad operation—and Metzger. It alleged that Metzger had not paid rent and was in the process of being evicted when another company had signed the contract to buy the building for $39 million—a deal that fell through last December, according to the Post. (JTA) Study: Venezuelan anti-Semitism at new heights in race between Chavez and Capriles Anti-Semitism in Venezuela has spiked during the electoral race for president between a Catholic man of Jewish descent and President Hugo Chavez, according to a new report. State media and supporters of Chavez, who has ruled the country for the past 14 years, regularly “vilify” his opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski, derisively referring to his Jewish roots, a study by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism found. “This is done in a variety of methods,
such as defamation, intimidation and conspiracy theories, many of which portray Capriles as a Zionist agent, and by mixing classic and neo-anti-Semitism,” said the report, authored by Lidia Lerner, an expert on Latin America. “A Capriles victory, it is claimed, will inevitably lead to Zionist infiltration.” The election is scheduled for Oct. 7. Capriles’ father was a Catholic of Sephardic Jewish descent. His mother’s family was comprised of Eastern European Holocaust survivors. He does not hide his Jewish roots, but considers himself a devout Catholic. (JTA)
Hebrew printing of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ sells out The first Hebrew printing of the popular novel Fifty Shades of Grey sold out in a day. The 50,000 copies of the book by British author E.L. James, which went on sale Sunday, Sept. 9 were sold out by the following morning, the Israeli business daily Globes reported. The book, the first of a trilogy and initially published in English in June 2011, has sold 40 million copies in the United States and 10 million in Britain, according to Globes. Fifty Shades of Grey deals with a sadomasochistic relationship between a female college student and an older businessman. (JTA) Investment firm offers ‘terrorfree’ mutual fund An Arizona investment firm created a “terror-free” mutual fund. The Patriot Fund, created by Empower Financial in Scottsdale in partnership with Houston-based Ascendant Advisors, does not invest in any company doing business with nations identified by the U.S. State Department as state sponsors of terror, such as Iran, Syria and North Korea. “Even today, 11 percent of the S&P 500 does business with state sponsors of terror—that equals $1.4 trillion in market cap,” said Mark Langerman, CEO of Empowerment and managing director of the Patriot Fund. “The significance of that fact to me is that despite sanctions and all the rhetoric, Iran’s still getting what they need to build a nuclear program and sponsor terrorism.” The Patriot Fund consists of large-cap U.S. equities. The firm previously had offered its terror-free concept through a separately managed account that applied a screen to an existing fund. (JTA)
y teacher, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, of blessed memory, addressed the issue of Moses’s reticence to accept the mission God wished to entrust to him. It took many days of persuasion at the episode of the burning bush, our sages say, before Moses could be induced to accept his assignment as the leader of his people. Rabbi Feinstein noted that the Talmud relates that Rabbi Zeira undertook 100 fasts in prayer to God to spare the life of his colleague Rabbi Elazar. Rabbi Zeira sought to ensure that Rabbi Elazar would be able to continue in his role of communal leadership, and that that burden would not fall to Rabbi Zeira. My teacher posited that we see clearly demonstrated in these situations a tension between one’s personal spiritual development and the pressing needs of the community. Moses was in effect inviting God to find someone else to take the mantle of leadership and leave him free to pursue his own spiritual quests. Only where no other suitable candidate can be found is one duty-bound to put aside his own needs for those of the community at large. Once Moses was apprised that this was indeed the case, he willingly cast himself into the public arena with complete and heartfelt dedication to his sacred tasks. Rabbi Feinstein conducted his affairs with modesty and humility. The Talmud relates in the name of Rabbi Pinchas ben Chama that someone whose family member is seriously ill should ask a rabbinic sage to pray for the welfare of the infirm relative. Thus, my teacher was often asked to pray for the infirm. In one of his responsa, written just a few years before his passing, he records the following: I quote: “And the only reason I receive these requests to pray for the infirm is due to the fact that the petitioners regard me as a rabbinic sage. I am, however, certainly far from being the rabbinic sage that Rabbi Pinchas
ben Chama spoke about, and am indeed far from being a Torah leader of the many generations thereafter. “Even though I do not regard myself as having reached even the threshold of wisdom, since the patient does regard me as such I will follow in the path directed by Rabbi Pinchas ben Chama. In the merit of his belief in the words of our sages, may God accept my prayers and blessings.” Rabbi Dr. Isadore Yitzchak Twersky, of blessed memory, also addressed these issues. He cited the comment of the Talmud that the sage Shmuel Ha-Kattan would have merited a personal, ongoing relationship with God, but was not granted it because his contemporaries were not deserving of this degree of spirituality. He then noted that a commentator explains that Shmuel Ha-Kattan was not denied this privilege because others were unworthy; rather, he, himself, never rose to the heights of which he had been capable because he sacrificed his own potential in order to be an effective leader. This, concluded Rabbi Twersky, is one aspect of the dialectic of the mitzvah (command) of loving Jewry: sometimes it entails putting one’s own quest for spiritual growth on hold in order to reach out to others. I would like to suggest that both factors and motivations were critical to the success of Moses in his role as leader of our people. Moses realized that Jewish communal leadership is another form of service to the Almighty. This sense naturally leads one to a feeling of humility. Moshe realized that it was his privilege to fill a position thrust upon him by God. If he was deemed to be the best qualified for this position at that time, this was due to the opportunities God had presented him with throughout his life. Another person provided with similar opportunities could perform the assigned tasks exactly as well as he. It is both an honor and deeply humbling to serve as head of school at the Strelitz Early Childhood Center and the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. I am inspired by the devotion to the school on the part of the teachers, parents, administrators, board members, and other friends. The students are a delight and are well-positioned to serve as the next vital chain in the sacred link of Jewish continuity. —Rabbi Mordechai Wecker, head of school, Strelitz Early Childhood Center and the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater.
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Jewish Federations respond to Hurricane Isaac
he Jewish Federations of North America has opened the JFNA Disaster Relief Fund to contribute to local recovery and rebuilding in the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. Options for Donors • Online at www.jewishfederations.org/ hurricaneisaac.aspx • Via a mobile device by texting RELIEF to 51818 • Send checks to The Jewish Federations of North America, Wall Street Station, PO Box 148, New York, NY 10268 Indicate “JFNA Disaster Relief Fund” on all checks or in the designation box online. Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans and the surrounding area late last month with torrential rains and winds up to 80 miles per hour. Though it was downgraded to a tropical storm, Isaac deluged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, whipping 12-foot surges, flooding streets, downing trees and leaving more than three-quarters of the city without electricity. In some areas, water levels rose even higher, filling homes and trapping people inside. There were three
reported deaths, and tens of thousands our support and prayers to those affected were evacuated to shelters. by Hurricane Isaac, and will stand beside “The Jewish commuthem as they recover and nity of New Orleans has rebuild.” been tested again,” says Although the damage Michael Weil, executive to Jewish institutions in director of the Jewish the Gulf region appears Federation of Greater New to be relatively minor in million Orleans. “Through resilcomparison to Hurricane raised by Federations ience, creativity and the Katrina, JFNA will work after the Southern Asia support of Jews around the with the New Orleans tsunami world, the Jewish commuFederation to assess nity of the Crescent City impacted areas and deterwill thrive and grow.” mine where dollars can Isaac arrived exactly make a difference in both seven years after the devasthe Jewish and greater tating Hurricane Katrina, community. which destroyed much of New Orleans JFNA and Jewish Federations are comwhen storm surges overflowed levees. mitted to care for victims of global natural Following Katrina, Jewish Federations disasters, and have emergency relief plans raised more than $28 million to help in place to aid people in need. Last year, the city—and the local Jewish community Jewish Federations raised funds for those rebuild and revitalize. affected by widespread storms around the “In an area that has been so hard U.S., and more than $1 million for victims hit by natural disasters, we are awed by of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear the strength of the people of the Gulf crisis in Japan. Federations also raised $10 region,” says Cheryl Fishbein, chair of million in the aftermath of the southern JFNA’s Emergency Committee. “We send Asia tsunami in 2004.
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Lieberman says attack on Iran would get bipartisan support ARLINGTON, Va. (JTA)—U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman said an American-led coalition to attack at least some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would get bipartisan support. Speaking Monday, Sept. 10 at B’nai B’rith International’s policy conference, Lieberman (I-Conn.) said, “There will be overwhelming bipartisan support of that action in the Congress of the United States,” regardless of whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is president. Criticizing politicians who are more loyal to their party than to their country, Lieberman said the Iranian threat is “one of the rare exceptions” of bipartisanship. “Together, we have passed the toughest sanctions ever,” he noted. However, those sanctions have not affected Iran “one iota” and the Islamic Republic is “still speeding along” in its attempt to amass a nuclear arsenal, said Lieberman, who is not running for reelection in November. “It’s about the stability of the Middle East and ultimately about the stability of the entire world,” he told the some 150 conference participants. (JTA)
UJFT Annual Campaign
A Modern-day Exodus
by Tracie Guy-Decker
early 30 years ago, the world was forced to reconsider what it means to “look Jewish” when, through Operation Moses and, six years later, Operation Solomon, more than 22,000 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to their new home in Israel. The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel, will present a photographic retrospective documenting the process of Ethiopian Jews taking the final steps along their journey home. It Takes a Village: From Gondar to Jerusalem The Remarkable Journey of Ethiopia’s Jews: A Photographic Retrospective consists of 34 large-scale photographs. Presentation for Religious School students Sunday, Oct. 7 9:30 –11 am Bagel brunch follows
The photographs give viewers a peek inside the gritty conditions in Ethiopia and capture the arresting moments of joy and rescue as Ethiopian Jews first set foot in Israel and kiss Israeli soil. This high-impact exhibit will be on display in the Leon Family Art Gallery on the second floor of the Sandler Family Campus, Thursday, Sept. 27 through Wednesday, Oct. 10. This is the only stop this travelling exhibit is scheduled to make in the region. On Sunday, Oct. 7, students from area synagogues’ Sunday school classes will visit the exhibit and hear first-hand accounts of this modern-day Exodus which is still going on. As a child, Maly Gaday Jackson was among the thousands who escaped Ethiopia. Her family arrived in Israel when she was seven years old. Today, she lives with her family in Tidewater and serves as assistant teacher at the Strelitz Early Childhood Center. Students will hear Jackson recount how she left everything she’d known to walk for days, fight severe sickness, and lose family and friends on the journey. She will also address some of the challenges she faced after arriving in Israel. “In Israel, as a child, I couldn’t understand why the other kids in class would not say, ‘She’s Jewish,’ but would point at me and say, ‘she’s black.’ It was very difficult for me,” Jackson says. “I want the children to know, just like G-d created animals of all different kinds, he created people the same—in all different shapes and colors. And it’s the same way in Judaism—it doesn’t matter if we have different colored skin, or speak different languages, or come from other places—we are all Jews.” Jackson’s story will be supplemented with the recollections of Carolyn Amacher and Mark Lipton, two community members
who were living in Israel in December 1984 when the Ethiopian Jews arrived. They were participants in the year-long WUJS Institute in Arad, where post-college Jews from around the world converged for a gap Thursday, Sept. 27– year of intensive Hebrew and Judaic learning Wednesday, Oct. 10 and were placed in jobs in their professional Open during the Sandler Family fields. Their dormitory was partially converted to an absorption center literally in the Campus’ regular business hours middle of the night to host the newly arrived Ethiopian refugees of Operation Moses. Lipton says the Sunday School stuParents of Sunday School students are dents will come away with a greater sense invited to view the exhibit and hear the firstof the importance of the State of Israel. hand accounts along with their children. “The Ethiopian Jews had no place to The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater go, but the State of Israel rescued them funds and supports a broad network of orgafrom a land that had always called them nizations that care for people in need and Outsiders (Falasha),” he says. “Without nurture and sustain the Jewish community. Zionism, the belief in the return of Jews Donors to UJFT help fund, among other things, to Israel as a place of refuge from dis- the rescue and renewal of Jews all over the crimination and persecution, there would world, including the 3,000 Jews remaining in be no place to go for Jews like the Jews Ethiopia and the more than 120,000 Israelis of of Ethiopia (or the former Soviet Union, Ethiopian descent. Romania, Argentina, etc.).” Amacher, UJFT’s community development specialist, recalls being awakened in the middle of the night to help the newly-arrived Ethiopian families into their new dwelling, apartments where they quickly discovered modern utilities like refrigeration, gas stoves, electrical lamps, and batteryoperated radios. She notes that for American Jewish children, being Jewish is easy. She contrasts that to what Jackson and her family went through “Maly and her family were forced to do things they didn’t think possible so that they could remain Jewish. I want students to see just how compelling that faith is that got them through Maly Gaday Jackson with a photograph of herself during Operation Soloman. that journey.”
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UJFT Annual Campaign
Event celebrates and honors Tidewater’s commitment to Jewish rescue and renewal Thursday, Sept. 27, 6–8 pm by Laine M. Rutherford
n conjunction with the Jewish New Year, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is beginning its 2013 Annual Campaign to raise awareness and much needed funds to strengthen and perpetuate Jewish life in Hampton Roads, in Israel and throughout the world. To celebrate the start of the Campaign, the UJFT will host a special event at the Sandler Family Campus. Although the event is a fundraiser, the entire community is welcome, and there is no charge to attend. The event marks the opening of the compelling photography exhibit From Gondar to Jerusalem: The Remarkable Rescue of Ethiopia’s Jews. Showing on the second floor of the Campus in the Leon Gallery, the exhibit captures final moments in the journey of Ethiopian Jews as they leave their country and enter their new home in Israel. Two special guests will share their stories of rescue and renewal during the evening. Travelling from his home in Israel to speak directly to the community is Micha Feldman, an architect of the remarkable airlifts Operation Moses and Operation Solomon. The daring, secret airlifts in 1984 and 1991 rescued more than 22,000 Ethiopian Jews living in constant danger and persecution out of a war-torn country and into Israel. Some people in the community have met Feldman before; in past years, “Abba Micha,” as he is known, has spoken with Tidewater residents when they visited Israel. Feldman made a strong impact on David Cardon when the two met during a 2009 trip. Upon returning from the Tom Hofheimer Young Leadership Mission to Israel, following the completion of the UJFT Hineni Leadership Program, Cardon felt compelled to share his experience. “Micha Feldman’s story was so inspiring,” Cardon wrote. “It made me really understand the current struggles Jews have all over the world and how important the Jewish organizations we support have been to help those Jews in need.” In addition to his continued work as an advocate for Ethiopian Jews through the Israeli organization Selah, Feldman is the author of On Wings of Eagles: The Secret Operation of the Ethiopian Exodus. Recently released in an English translation, the book
combines over a decade of Feldman’s diary entries with stories of Ethiopian Jews, providing insight into the dramatic, dangerous and politically entangled history of rescuing thousands of Jews and bringing them “home.” Guests can buy Feldman’s book at the event and he will sign copies. (The book was reviewed in the Sept. 3 issue of Jewish News.) The second special guest speaker of the evening is Maly Gaday Jackson. 1n 1983, at seven-years-old, Maly, her mother, and her two-year-old sister left Bajenah, their small Ethiopian village of Jewish farmers located near Gondar, on a treacherous journey to freedom. They walked in the dark of night across the desert, enduring snakes, robbers, scorpions, illness and uncertainty until finally making it into camps set up for Ethiopian refugees in Sudan. They waited for months in the camps, still hiding their Judaism, until they were airlifted to Israel in January, 1984. Jackson, whose primary language is Hebrew (but also remembers Amharic and speaks English fluently), lived in Israel until her mid-20s, when she met and married a member of the United States Navy, William Jackson. The couple has two children, Ariella, four, who attends Strelitz Early Childhood Center, and Joshua, eight, a second grader at Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. Jackson is a teacher’s assistant at Strelitz. This is only the third time she has shared her story with the public. In honor of the photo exhibit—which will have a limited showing through Oct. 9—and the special guest speakers, some of the food served at the event will have an Ethiopian-kosher flair. “This years Campaign Kick-off is a “Can’t miss” event,” says Amy Levy, 2013 UJFT Campaign chair. “The story of Operation Moses and Operation Solomon, through the words of one of the principal figures, Micha (“Abba Micha”) Feldman and of Maly Jackson, an Ethiopian Jew who was among thousands rescued, will inspire you. This unbelievable, but true story, demonstrates the “can-do” spirit of the Jewish people. “Just as our Jewish community provided funds for Operations Moses and Solomon, we continue to provide vital financial assistance for the Ethiopian Jews both within Israel and Ethiopia,” Levy says. “Just as we did then, Federation is making a difference.
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“While thousands of miles separate us from our fellow Jews in Israel, Ethiopia and numerous parts of the world, we are one. We are part of the same Jewish community. With the support of our generous community, Federation can continue to foster our Jewish community, here and overseas.” The evening also recognizes heroes. The winner of the 2012 Hampton Roads Jewish Community Hero will be announced, the
result of an online contest where the public nominated and voted—from an outstanding panel of finalists—to choose their Hero. All nominees will be recognized; the grand Hero will receive a $500 grant toward his or her non-profit of choice. —For more information, visit www.jewishva.org. To RSVP, call Patty, 757-965-6115 or email@example.com.
UJFT Annual Campaign
Ethiopian rescue effort has longstanding ties in community
Karen, Nathan and Bernard* Jaffe
by Laine M. Rutherford
n 1991, a call for help went out to the worldwide Jewish community. As a civil war raged in Ethiopia and the ruling government was about to be toppled, more than 14,000 Jews had been secretly gathered and were waiting to be transported to Israel, their biblical, promised land of “milk and honey.” As Israel and a number of Jewish and human rights organizations were finalizing negotiations for the rescue, called Operation Solomon, a last-minute demand came from the Ethiopian rulers: Israel must pay $35 million for the release of the Jews, or they would not be permitted to leave. So Israel and the organizations spread the word quickly and quietly—the mission must still be kept secret; immediately the Tidewater Jewish community responded. Bernard Jaffe* agreed to chair the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Operation Solomon emergency campaign. Within hours, the local philanthropist, lay leader and businessman had raised $94,000 from area donors. These funds, along with contributions raised in other communities, allowed Operation Solomon to proceed. In 36 hours, non-stop flights of 34 Israeli aircraft transported 14,325 Ethiopian Jews to Israel. “I was there to see those planes land, and to see the new Israeli citizens walk down those steps into their new homeland,”
Jaffe told those gathered at a 2004 event commemorating the community’s efforts. “Every person I called upon to help support Israel’s efforts to bring the Ethiopian Jews ‘home,’ immediately accepted and proffered help.” Jaffe’s legacy of involvement with Operation Solomon and many other endeavors highlight an essential part of the UJFT’s mission: We care for those in need, rescue Jews in danger, enhance Jewish security and champion the State of Israel. By accepting responsibility for one another, we improve the world with acts of righteous giving and social justice. With his wife Lee* by Bernard’s side, encouraging involvement and participating in community events, the Jaffes became role models for their children Nathan, Melissa, Karen, and their granddaughter Abbie, as well as the greater community. Karen Jaffe has followed her parents’ example. As well as being a driving force behind the creation and growth of the Jaffe Jewish Family Service in Budapest, Hungary, she is an executive committee
member of the board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. She also remains closely involved with the UJFT, helping lead the formulation of a strategic plan that brings more inclusivity and outreach to the Federation’s mission. Nathan Jaffe, too, has been a constant presence in many aspects of the Tidewater Jewish Community. “My parents always impressed upon me and my sisters the notion of giving back. It was an idea, an example, that we grew up with, and I feel very fortunate that I had these role models who showed us how people can be involved in their community, ” he says. “Their legacy, I think, is to let people know that it’s important to give money, but it’s also important to give your time, and to become involved in your community. If we want to have a strong Jewish community, it’s very important for us to support all of the agencies—whether it’s the Jewish Family Service, Beth Sholom Village, the Jewish Community Center, all of which receive Federation gifts—because the stronger they are, the stronger we are,” says Nathan Jaffe. The Jaffes, along with other community members who generously donate to the UJFT, are continuing to help Jews locally, in Israel, and in countries like Ethiopia. Since 1991, most Ethiopian Jews have made Aliyah to Israel, but some are
2013 UJFT Annual Capaign Kick-off Thursday, Sept, 27 6–8 pm Sandler Family Campus 965-6115 still waiting departure. The UJFT remains committed to ensuring that Ethiopian Jews become integrated into Israeli society through a variety of educational and support programs. Through the generous gifts of the Tidewater community, funds have been allocated to a World ORT program that provides pre-Aliyah training to Ethiopian Jews, as well as to programs that will help them in Israel. To find out more about how gifts make a difference, visit www.jewishva.org. To hear more about the story of Ethiopian Jews, rescue and renewal, attend the 2013 Annual Campaign Kick-offs. *of blessed memory
A Tidewater Mission to Israel in 1991 visited the first town developed for olim rescued from Ethiopia during Operation Solomon. Clockwise from top: The children are excited to see themselves in Polaroids brought by Brad Stanton with Steve Sandler behind the group; wearing backpacks, the kids were ready to smile for the camera; surrounding David Brand and Brad Stanton.
jewishnewsva.org | September 17, 2012 | Jewish News | 9
Democrats return to the economy after Jerusalem detour by Ron Kampeas
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (JTA)—It was the nutsand-bolts convention that nearly broke down over the most ethereal of issues: Jerusalem and God. But by its third and final night, the Democratic National Convention had gotten back on message: jobs, jobs, staying on course with getting the economy back on track, and—oh, yes—jobs. It was a course correction after two days in which convention organizers—and, in particular, the campaign’s Jewish surrogates—scrambled first to explain how recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and mentioning God got left out of the party platform, and then hustled to get them back in over the objections of some noisy and unhappy delegates. The convention in Charlotte, N.C.— like its Republican counterpart, which nominated Mitt Romney in Tampa, Fla. —was mostly about the economy. Foreign policy barely surfaced at either convention, and social issues—while prevalent on the streets outside the Charlotte convention, where protesters on both sides of the abortion debate competed for sidewalk space—were addressed, but not paramount. Vice President Joe Biden, whose foreign policy experience over decades in the U.S. Senate was made a centerpiece of President Obama’s choice of VP four years ago, barely mentioned foreign policy in his speech. America’s posture overseas was left to two convention speakers: Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the 2004 nominee who is now a widely touted possibility as secretary of state if Obama wins a second term, and Obama himself.
“Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace,” Obama said to applause during a short foreign policy aside in a speech that was otherwise dedicated to staying the course on his plans for economic recovery. “The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions.” Democrats had scrambled to contain an embarrassing breakout after Republicans had seized on the removal of Jerusalem and God from the platform, grabbing headline space Democrats had hoped would contrast the enthusiasm in Charlotte with the relatively subdued Tampa convention. The language was returned in a quickie session, but that also was not without its awkwardness: the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, had to call for three voice votes before declaring a two-thirds majority. But those on the floor said the vote actually was much closer—and there were boos. Those who objected ranged from Arab Americans who had praised the removal of the Jerusalem language as an acknowledgment of the claims both Palestinians and Israelis have on the city, to religionstate separatists who objected to the God language, to delegates who were outraged at what they saw as a rushed amendment process. Jewish Democrats, who helped drive the return of the language, depicted the change as Obama’s initiative and a sign of his control over the party. “The difference between our platform and the Republican platform is that President Obama knows that this is his platform and he wants it to reflect his personal view,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman
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Schultz (D-Fla.), the Rep. Mike Rogers Democratic National (R-Mich.), the chairCommittee chairwoman, man of the U.S. House of told CNN after Robert Representatives Intelligence Wexler, a member of the Committee, described for platform draft commita Michigan radio station, Voice votes tee and a chief Jewish WJR, an encounter he witwere required surrogate for the Obama nessed last month when before returning campaign, told JTA that he was visiting Israel. The Jerusalem and God Obama directly interinterview was picked up by to the vened to make sure the the Atlantic magazine. Democratic platform was changed. “It was very, very clear platform “President Obama the Israelis had lost their personally believes patience with the [Obama] that Jerusalem is and administration,” Rogers will remain the capital said. of Israel,” Wasserman Rogers described Israeli Schultz said. frustration at what he depicted as the But that claim was at odds with repeat- administration’s failure to make clear to ed statements by Obama administration Israel or Iran whether and when it will use figures in recent months that Jerusalem military force to keep Iran from obtaining a remains an issue for final-status negotia- nuclear weapon. tions—itself the position of a succession of By the last day, the convention’s message Republican and Democratic presidencies about the economy and the role of governfor decades. ment in guaranteeing a social safety net was Jewish Democrats acknowledged at the once again front and center—and among outset of the convention that they needed Jewish delegates, who crowded the floor to address perceptions that Obama was sporting Hebrew Barack Obama buttons. distant from Israel before pivoting to the Cheers erupted when Carol Berman, a area where they feel Obama far outpaces retiree from Ohio now living in West Palm Romney among Jewish voters—domestic Beach, Fla., lauded the president’s health policy. care initiative. Kerry, in his speech, cited Prime Minister “I’m one of the seniors who retired to Benjamin Netanyahu in making the case for this piece of heaven on Earth and I’m as Obama’s Israel bona fides. happy as a clam,” Berman said. “It’s not just “Barack Obama promised always to the sunshine; it’s Obamacare. I’m getting stand with Israel to tighten sanctions on preventive care for free and my prescription Iran—and take nothing off the table,” Kerry drugs for less.” said. “Again and again, the other side has Berman’s was the kind of “personal lied about where this president stands and story” that Democrats had urged Jewish what this president has done. But Prime advocates to use when they made the case Minister Netanyahu set the record straight: for Obama to the 5–10 percent of Jewish He said our two countries have ‘exactly the voters they estimate voted for Obama in same policy…. Our security cooperation is 2008 and might be reconsidering this year. unprecedented....’ When it comes to Israel, Wasserman Schultz also shared her perI’ll take the word of Israel’s prime minister sonal experience with breast cancer in over Mitt Romney any day.” making the pitch for Obama’s health care Yet while the convention was under legislation. way, a story broke that underscored the The convention’s most sustained standongoing tensions between the Netanyahu ing ovation was for Gabrielle Giffords, the and Obama administrations over how best former Arizona congresswoman recovering to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear from being shot in the head in January weapon. 2011. Giffords came to recite the Pledge of Netanyahu, a top U.S. lawmaker said, Allegiance, walking on her own with a cane erupted in anger at the U.S. ambassador to and accompanied by a watchful Wasserman Israel over what Israel’s government regards Schultz. The two women are close, having as unclear signals from the United States bonded as being the first Jewish women electon Iran. ed to Congress from their respective states.
Meir Soloveichik vs. David Wolpe: Two rabbis, two parties, two political philosophies by Daniel Treiman
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (JTA)—Republicans and Democrats may not have much common ground this election year, yet their national conventions shared one feature: Both gatherings were blessed from the podium by prominent American rabbis. The Democrats had Rabbi David Wolpe, a best-selling author and leader of a prominent (capital-c) Conservative synagogue in Los Angeles. The Republicans had Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, a rising star within Modern Orthodoxy and a regular contributor to (small-c) conservative publications. But beyond the kipot that they both wore and the Hebrew sprinkled through their addresses, the rabbis used their remarks to highlight very different themes. Indeed, each of their blessings spoke powerfully to the contrasting political ideologies of the parties that they were addressing. Soloveichik, in his invocation to open the first full day of the hurricane-delayed Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., invoked themes that resonate deeply with Republicans—freedom, liberty, faith. “We Americans unite faith and freedom in asserting that our liberties are Your gift, God, not that of government, and that we are endowed with these rights by You, our Creator, not by mortal man,” said Soloveichik, who has made common cause with religious conservatives on issues such as abortion. His reference to the primacy of God over government, and the notion that our rights are derived from the former rather than the latter, garnered applause from the delegates at the convention, where many speakers went on to assail what they see as President Obama’s trespasses against religious liberty. Among the main sources of ire is the administration’s application of the health care reform law’s birth control coverage mandate to employees of religious-affiliated institutions—a policy that Soloveichik had testified against before Congress. More broadly, the finitude of government’s rightful purview is an animating theme of conservative politics and a notion that Republicans think Democrats do not get. (Though when it comes to civil liberties and abortion rights, many Democrats would say the same about their GOP opponents.) Republicans lambasted a video shown at the Demoratic convention assert-
ing that “Government is the only thing that we all belong to. We have different churches, different clubs, but we’re together as a part of our city or our county or our state.” Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney responded on Twitter: “We don’t belong to government, the government belongs to us.” In his closing exhortation, Soloveichik hinted at the notion popular among conservatives that we are in danger of losing, and must recover, a proper understanding of liberty. Wolpe—in addition to working in a sly reference to Jerusalem, the Democratic convention’s topic du jour—had a different focus in his benediction. Speaking to a largely empty convention hall after the roll call vote to renominate Obama, Wolpe acknowledged that America is “founded on the highest principles of freedom and resourcefulness and creativity and ever-renewed strength.” But individual
freedom, for him, is not the sum total of America’s mission. Indeed, Wolpe immediately added, “And we understand that those worthy ideals stand alongside the commitment to compassion, to goodness, our sacred covenant to care for those who are bereaved and bereft, who are frightened, who are hungry, who are bewildered and lost, who seek shelter from the cold.” Our responsibilities are not only to ourselves, he suggested, and similarly our nation has obligations to the world as both a refuge and an example. “As your prophet Isaiah has taught us, ‘Shiftu yatom, rivuh almanah,’ defend the orphan and fight on behalf of the widow,” he said. Former President Bill Clinton in his Democratic convention address painted this election as a choice between “a winnertake-all, you’re-on-your-own society” and
“a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility.” While eschewing any overt partisanship, Wolpe in his benediction made a similar distinction, noting the importance of community and hinting at the vulnerability of the lonely individual. “You have taught us that we must count on one another, that our country is strong through community, and that the children of Israel, on the way to that sanctified and cherished land, and ultimately to that golden and capital city of Jerusalem, that those children of Israel did not walk through the wilderness alone.” Liberty and community—the tensions between these values have long animated American politics and become pitched battle lines in the current elections. And they provided two rabbis with very different themes for their addresses to two very different parties.
jewishnewsva.org | September 17, 2012 | Jewish News | 11
Mission participants get a taste of Havana Nights! by Amy Zelenka, UJFT missions director
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his October, 27 Tidewater women will travel together to the Jewish community of Havana, Cuba on the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s first-ever all women’s mission to Cuba. Mission co-chairs Laura Gross and Jodi Klebanoff are excited to lead the group and are looking forward to visiting the community’s synagogues, memorials, pharmacy, and other Jewish agencies. Cuba’s is among the world’s most isolated Jewish communities. Among the goals of the Tidewater mission is to make the Jews of Cuba feel connected to the greater Jewish world. The group is fortunate to have with it a professional from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Sandy Katz is Tidewater’s regional JDC liaison, and she will serve as a “scholar in residence” during the mission—linking the work of JDC Cuba to the work of JDC around the globe —pointing out the similarities of services delivered and assistance offered, but also those which are unique to the Jewish community of Cuba. The mission to Cuba (as well as other Federation sponsored missions) is designed to enable participants to “follow their campaign dollars.” They will have the opportunity to witness first-hand the life-saving and life-improving programs in place in at-risk communities like this— made possible as a result of Federation Campaign donations. And, they will have the chance to meet the recipients whose lives they are impacting. In late August, 21 members of the group met at Havana Nights Jazz and Cigar Club at Town Center in Virginia Beach. The restaurant proved to be a great venue—with its Cuban-themed fish and vegetarian tasting menu (deliciously designed especially for the group) and wonderful service—getting participants energized for the Havana nights they’ll experience in just a few short weeks. Photos and stories will follow the Mission onto the pages of the Jewish News in the November issues, so for now, “Hasta la vista!”
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In Poland and Slovakia, restoring awareness of a forgotten Jewish past by Ruth Ellen Gruber
KRAKOW (JTA)—Thanks to a new iTunes app, new tourist routes and a towering replica of a destroyed synagogue, two “lost” Jewish cities in Europe are back on the map. One is the historic Jewish quarter of Bratislava, the Slovak capital, which survived World War II only to be demolished by communist authorities in the late 1960s. The other is Oshpitzin—the prewar Yiddish name for Oswiecim, the once mainly Jewish town in southern Poland where the Auschwitz death camp was built. The two projects differ in scope and structure, but their goals are the same: to restore awareness of the forgotten Jewish past in an effort to foster a better understanding of the present—for tourists and the locals. Oshpitzin uses a new iPad/iPhone application to augment a website, map and book, while the Lost City project in Bratislava focuses on a tourist itinerary and the temporary reconstruction of an ornate, Moorish-style synagogue in the city’s picturesque Old Town. The Oshpitzin app “pioneers the use of the most advanced technology for the commemoration of a destroyed Jewish community in east-central Europe,” says Tomasz Kuncewicz, the director of the Auschwitz Jewish Center, a prayer and study center founded in Oswiecim in 2000 that produced the Oshpitzin project. The app is free from iTunes and soon will be available for Android. It is the latest part of a three-pronged Oshpitzin project that already includes a website and book published last year. Centered on an interactive map that can guide visitors through the anonymous spaces of today’s city, the app includes videos, testimonies of survivors, audiodescription and 3-D models of the destroyed Great Synagogue. The aim is to hammer home the fact that while Auschwitz, built on Oswiecim’s outskirts, was a mass death factory for more than a million individuals, the Shoah also annihilated a deeply rooted Jewish lifestyle and culture in Europe that was exemplified by Oswiecim itself. Before the Holocaust, Oswiecim— Oshpitzin—was a bustling, majority Jewish town with synagogues, study houses, clubs, schools, shops and other businesses. Jews had lived there for centuries and were active in all spheres of life; in the 1930s there was even a Jewish deputy mayor.
Only a few physical traces remain, including the Jewish cemetery and one small synagogue, now part of the Auschwitz Jewish Center complex. “The Oshpitzin project puts everything on the Oswiecim map,” Kuncewicz told JTA. “And the app opens a totally new way of educating about Jewish history and the destruction caused by the Holocaust. It’s a way that today is the most appealing to the new generations.” In Bratislava, the Lost City project uses somewhat different methods to tell a similar story. “We want to bring back historical memory,” says Slovak Jewish businessman Milos Ziak, who spearheaded the project. Sponsored by the Slovak-Israel Chamber of Commerce, the Lost City project entails a tourist route, complete with guidebook, to Bratislava’s crowded Jewish quarter, which stood for centuries beneath the city’s hilltop castle until communist authorities razed it in 1968–69 to build a highway and bridge across the Danube. “It’s an itinerary through a nonexistent
city,” Ziak says. “And people sometimes forget it was the communists who tore down the Jewish quarter.” For the launch in late June, Ziak led a group of Slovak officials, diplomats, businesspeople and Jewish representatives on a walking tour of the places where Jewish sites had once stood—synagogues, schools, a prominent yeshiva, houses. The tour followed Ziak’s guidebook, called “Demolished Jewish Bratislava,” which includes pictures of both the vanished sites and the demolition. (Footage of the Jewish quarter before and during its destruction can be seen on YouTube <http://www.jta.org/?URL=http%3A%2F% 2FYouTube>). The tour wound up at the plaza where a grand, twin-towered synagogue once stood next to the city’s cathedral and at the very edge of the new highway. Here a ceremony inaugurated the centerpiece of the Lost City project—a towering, two-thirds scale replica of the ornate, Moorish-style synagogue. Constructed of scaffolding and canvas, the orange-striped
mock-up will stand on the spot for three months. Built in 1894, the synagogue, which served the Neologue, or moderate, Reform congregation was a proud symbol of the Bratislava Jewish community. Its destruction little more than two decades after most of Bratislava’s 15,000 Jews were murdered in the Shoah symbolized communist-era suppression of Jewish life. Indeed, right after the fall of communism in 1989, activists painted a big picture of it on the pavement where it had stood, with an angry scrawl alongside: “Here there was once a synagogue!” About 600 Jews live in Bratislava today, and a few days before the Lost City launch, the city’s Jewish community unveiled an important project of its own—a Jewish community museum in the women’s gallery of the Heydukova Street Synagogue, the only synagogue in the city to have survived the Holocaust and communism. It is a striking, cubist-style building from the 1920s that is still used by the congregation.
jewishnewsva.org | September 17, 2012 | Jewish News | 13
Hebrew Ladies Charity Society: 110 years
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This is the third in a series about the 110th anniversary of the Hebrew Ladies Charity Society.
single Jewish mom with two teenage children is just getting by financially until she hurts her back and can’t work. Her children get jobs after school, but the family still comes up short. For this family, $200 is the difference between paying the electric bill and living in the dark. Fortunately for this family, the mother visits a social worker at Jewish Family Service of Tidewater and receives financial assistance. The social worker knows she can depend on Hebrew Ladies Charity Society for funding because the organization has been making small grants for these situations for 110 years. For the first 50 or 60 years after the establishment of HLCS in 1902, the founders and their successors located the beneficiaries of their largesse through word-of-mouth and personal contacts. They contributed funding for dental care, utilities, car insurance, funeral expenses, medical needs and other unexpected living expenses until after World War II when Jewish Family Service was formed. JFS knew about Jewish individuals who fell through the cracks in government assistance. Knowing that the funding was to be used only for daily living expenses, each time they saw a need, social workers from JFS would call a discreet and confidential committee who received and
evaluated these requests. About four years ago, the HLCS board agreed with JFS clinical director Debbie Mayer, LCSW, and other administration that, instead of the phone calls, HLCS would make a large annual contribution, as long as an accounting was given for each expense. “Having the funding readily available, instead of having to call about each case, makes JFS more efficient in processing time-sensitive financial assistance requests,” Mayer says. JFS makes payments directly to the third party—such as the gas company or the pharmacist—on behalf of the client. JFS provides financial assistance to more than 400 local Jewish people each year.
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Past Presidents of Hebrew Ladies Charity Society: Seated: Ada Salsbury, Carole Bernstein and Roz Landres. Standing: Freida Goldstein, Frances Levy Birshtein, Joyce Salzberg, Harriet Dickman and Carol Levitin.
Dorothy Spitalney, financial secretary; Carol Levitin, treasurer; Joyce Salzberg, recording secretary; and Frances Levy Birshtein, president. Not pictured: Financial secretaries Kay Kesser, Freida Goldstein, and Joan Lederman.
Many of these people are from middle class families who face unexpected crises. Mayer describes an elderly couple that lost their home because of physical and emotional problems, and then had to live in their car. “The couple received services from a local homeless shelter,” says Mayer. “And JFS provided the couple with financial assistance for food, utility bills and prescriptions.” This year, because of increased needs of clients, JFS faced the possibility of having to limit financial assistance from the HLCS matching funds. HLCS readily agreed to give a large additional amount to alleviate the problem. HLCS contributes $500 per month to JFS for the food closet, relief and home nursing care. HLCS also provides a scholarship each year for a child to attend the Jewish Community Center summer camp. The Hebrew Ladies Charity Society’s giving is paid out of the organization’s endowment fund, which is comprised of contributions from wills, bequests and life memberships. HLCS members pay yearly dues of $15 and life memberships are $150. Most recently, HLCS gave $10,000 to the Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care of Tidewater. HLCS plans to raise additional funds for the Hospice with a gala luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at Beth Sholom Village. They have also created the “110th Anniversary Society” to celebrate the HLCS’s 110th anniversary. Donors are asked to give a one-time gift of $110 to HLCS to be used to help needy clients of this new Hospice and Palliative Care program. Hebrew Ladies Charity Society welcomes new members to help carry on their mission. Perhaps those dues will pay for a ride to medical appointments, for
Chanukah gifts for children who have none, or to aid a nursing home rehab patient who is finally going home. Whatever the reason, HLCS and JFS have always been there to help the Tidewater Jewish community who need financial assistance for unexpected emergencies. Times change, but the vision of the Hebrew Ladies Charity Society remains the same.
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Back to school time at Hebrew Academy and the Strelitz Early Childhood Center
by Dee Dee Becker
t’s been an exhilarating few weeks since the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater Konikoff Center of Learning and Strelitz Early Childhood Center preschool students returned to school on Aug. 27.
Jonah and Chloe Zuckerman are ready for a new year.
Hallways and classrooms are bright and inviting, and students are now comfortably learning back in the school zone. Rabbi Mordechai Wecker, headmaster, is also now fully engaged in his position since joining everyone on campus in July. As is typical for the season, preparation activities occurred prior to opening day - from preschool and kindergarten orientations, to fifth grade
Hobbs (2’s) and Michal Nadata (Kindergarten) with their dad Shmuel at orientation.
technology training and professional development days—all aimed at staging a setting of community, connection and positivity. Activities began on campus with a back to school ice cream party on the Sunday before school, where more than 50 families attended from preschool to fifth grade. “Parents and students enjoyed seeing each other, some for the first time since last school year,” says Carin Simon, admissions director. “It was also a great initiation for new families entering into our close school community.” Preschool and kindergarten orientations gently transitioned the youngest of students back into the classroom after a long summer hiatus. “We have 45 new preschool students this year,” says Simon, “so it is important to help ensure that they are all at ease in their new surroundings. Children arrived with their parents and were able to meet teachers, explore the classroom and see or meet new friends. Kindergarten parents were also able to learn the new procedures and expectations for their children in addition to what they will be learning
Fifth grader Emily Myers readies for the school day.
this year. It’s a big year for kindergarteners as they are now immersed in our dual curriculum, learning Hebrew language in addition to general studies classes. Research continues to show that students of dual language programs tend to perform higher academically and have better success rates with job opportunities in the future. But for now,” says Simon, “these kids are just
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tion at Gratz College of Pennsylvania and The College of New Jersey. He facilitated an outstanding professional development program for HAT and Strelitz faculty in the areas of motivation, using movement to enhance the learning process, brain based instruction, differentiated instruction, enhancing student thinking, multiple intelligences, and topics in wellness and stress management. During Kuczala’s program, faculty learned about Affective Teaching: The way the student feels about the subject and the teacher’s impact on the student’s ability to learn. Kuczala teaches that students
Fifth Graders Rachel Stromberg, Audrey Peck, Sanni Wagenaar and 2012 Graduate Shelby Brown enjoy their sundaes.
excited about the fact that they get to learn violin this year!” Just as excited as the younger students were the fifth graders—Hebrew Academy’s Class of 2013—who came early to receive technology training on brand new Dell laptops which they were given by Linda Fulcher, general studies teacher. Fulcher laid out the rules of use. “Make no mistake,” she says, “these laptops are designed to be excel-
lent learning tools, not game stations.” Last, but certainly not least, was the professional development program for faculty. Many topics were covered over a two-day period. Of particular note was this year’s award winning presenter, Mike Kuczala, director of instruction for the Regional Training Center, an educational consulting firm based in Randolph, N. J. Kuczala is an adjunct professor of graduate educa-
are influenced by what they believe their teacher believes they will achieve. Student motivation is also impacted by the level of enthusiasm the teacher shows for the subject. The school is committed to the best professional development for the teachers. Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and the Strelitz Early Childhood Center are constituent agencies of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. To arrange a tour or learn more about the program, visit www.hebrewacademy. net or contact Carin Simon, admissions director, at 424-4327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The American Theatre
Friends of Melton Alumni Association kick-off
The 25th Anniversary Season
Colin Carr, Cellist with Thomas Sauer, Piano Friday October 19, 8pm
Program: Works by Schubert, Britten, Harold Meltzer and Rachmaninov
Rabbi Efrat Zarren-Zohar. by Leslie Shroyer
T L.A. Theatre Works in
Pride & Prejudice
he launching of the Friends of Melton/Alumni Association sets into place a plan for the future of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School at the Simon Family JCC. Graduates, who have completed the first two years of the Mini-School, recently met
to share ideas, experiences, and plans for the school’s future. Approximately 30 former students representing the past 11 years of graduating classes met at the home of Linda Spindel on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Rabbi Efrat Zarren-Zohar, regional consultant for FMAMS and director of the Mini-School in Miami, Fla. was the guest speaker. Zarren-Zohar taught a text about the value of Jewish study. This text focused on how education fits into the clash between the pressing needs of the present and the investment in the future. The group agreed that Melton classes bring back the ancient adult paradigm of learning, where adults perpetuate the learning cycle reinforced in the family. She also shared experiences of other communities who launched an alumni association, including one in her own community. Zarren-Zohar congratulated the group for its enthusiasm and dedication. She asked the graduates to share their best memories of the two-year Melton classes. Responses ranged from the quality of the instruction to the camaraderie and friendships, from the wonderful director Miriam Brunn Ruberg, to the recent Melton graduating class with three physicians, which initiated lively moral discussions on the subject of medical ethics.
A new First Year Melton class begins Wednesday, Oct. 17 6:30–8:45 pm The rabbi summed up the comments saying that what really becomes evident is that Melton graduates are empowered to grasp and understand Jewish topics ranging from historical to current; that they have gained the background from which to better interpret and reflect upon the world through a Jewish lens. Noting that Melton has added so much depth and knowledge to her life, Judi Snyder, one of the co-chairs of the Melton Advisory Committee, encouraged the new Friends/ Alumni group to support the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School with a personal gift to ensure its continued success. For more information about the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, contact Miriam Brunn Ruberg at 321-2338 or email@example.com. The Simon Family Jewish Community Center is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
Tuesday October 23, 7:30pm
School matinée (abbreviated version) at 11am. Q and A after the performance.
Simon Family JCC and the Big Ticket Raffle
Tell Me Something Good
Ethel with Todd Rundgren Tuesday October 30, 7:30pm
long with the Jewish communities of Tucson, Ariz. and Youngstown, Ohio, the Simon Family JCC is participating in the Big Ticket Raffle. Ticket sales help support JCC programs for children, older adults and people with special needs. Last year, the Grand Prize winner was Chris Sisler, a member of the Tidewater Jewish community. Sisler chose a trip to
Wednesday October 31, 7:30pm Program: Works by Handel, dall’Abaco, Vivaldi and Telemann
757-722-2787 www.HamptonArts.net 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton 18 | Jewish News | September 17, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org JN_Due9-3_Run9-17_Carr_Pride_Ethel_Koln_Bellydance.indd 8/24/12 1 11:21 AM
New York, $4,000 cash and the cash value of $3,500 for his prize. Five other members of this community won smaller prizes last year (ranging from a Nintendo Wii to an Apple iPad). Prizes are awarded to a Grand Prize winner, a Runner Up winner, and 10 additional winners. This year’s prizes include trips from four to seven days to exotic places such as Buenos Aires, the Grand Tetons,
Aruba, Hawaii, and more, with all expenses paid. A 2013 All-Star NBA Package, NCAA Final Four Package, and a World Series Package are also up for grabs. Along with the grand prize trips, prizes also include a $500 cash prize, two $250 cash prizes, and selected electronics such as Apple iPod Touches and Apple iPads. With a total of about 700 tickets sold last year, odds of winning are good. The JCC’s goal is to sell 200 tickets between now and the end of October, when raffle ticket sales end. This is a great way to give to the JCC, and it could lead to an exotic vacation. The grand prize drawing will take place in Tucson on Nov. 1. One ticket costs $100 and three tickets are $250. Call Rebecca Bickford at 757-452-3180 to purchase tickets.
Darryl Cummings to launch new tennis program at JCC by Leslie Shroyer
erhaps the area’s best-known tennis coach, Darryl Cummings, is joining the Simon Family JCC to plan a host of leagues, lessons and events, as the JCC launches a new and improved tennis program. The owner of Cape Henry Racquet Club and the Cummings Tennis Club at Great Bridge Swim & Racquet Club, Cummings, retired in 2011 from ODU as the head tennis coach for men and women for two decades. As the ODU coach, he recruited players from around the world to play collegiate tennis in the United States. He demonstrated national success for 20 years with men’s and women’s teams in the national NCAA Division 1 rankings and individuals earning high NCAA Division rankings in singles and doubles. Cummings’ former players have represented their countries in Davis Cup, Federation Cup, and the Olympics, along with playing on World Team Tennis. Cummings was instrumental in the design and funding of the $7.5 million Folkes-Stevens Indoor Tennis Center at ODU, and has served as a consultant for other area tennis facilities. Cummings was also involved in the marketing and logistics for Anthem Live! The Fight against
Cancer exhibition featuring James Blake and Andy Roddick (2006), James Black, Andre Agassi, Bryan Brothers, (2007), and James Blake, Mardy Fish, Serena Williams and Tatiana Golvin (2008). He says he has big plans for the JCC, with an array of lessons, classes, leagues and events. Programming will include private coaching for individuals and groups, as well as camps and other activities for junior tennis players. “Our goal is to provide an efficient path for people of all levels and ages to be involved in the lifetime sport of tennis,” he says. Programs are slated to begin in the next few months, including a Pro-Am event hosted on the Sandler Campus. “I believe the JCC is the best recreational facility is Hampton Roads,” he says. “The fitness area and indoor workout areas, along with the indoor and outdoor pools, are top class. In addition, the staff and administration is top notch. The JCC has a long tradition that goes back to its Norfolk roots and I am very excited to offer my brand of tennis to such a long standing organization within our community.” For additional information, call Tom Edwards at 321-2308 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
Chapel Hill, N.C., to revisit bus ad policy over anti-Israel ad
North Carolina town council will review its policy regarding political advertising on public buses as a debate rages over an anti-Israel ad. The Chapel Hill Town Council meeting came as ads have been placed on nearly 100 city buses calling for the end of U.S. military aid to Israel. The ads were placed by the Chapel Hill Church of Reconciliation, a Presbyterian church, as part of a national campaign by an organization called Two People, One Future. The Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill sent an email Sept. 7 to members of the Jewish community encouraging them to attend the meeting but has not taken a specific stance, according to Steven Schauder, the federation’s executive director. “We recognize that there are diverse perspectives in the community,” says. “The town should review its policy.” Schauder also said that he and other Jewish community leaders met with Chapel
Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt on Aug. 30, and that “The mayor was pretty clear that he’s against having political ads.” In the meeting, according to Schauder’s email, “We informed the mayor that other townships have chosen to either refuse these ads or take them down once they are posted on the grounds that they impose upon the commuters who are in legal terms ‘a captive audience.’ We also expressed our displeasure of how these ads single out Israel as the sole deterrent to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” The ads ran for about 10 days in August. They were pulled Aug. 24 because they did not adhere to town policy requiring that political ads carry sponsor names, according to news reports. The ads were placed again last week, this time listing the Chapel of Reconciliation as the sponsor. Several other organizations co-sponsored the ad, according to news reports.(JTA)
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lthough very proud of their family and the roles they have played in Tidewater’s Jewish community for the past 38 years, Leslie and Larry Siegel were not anxious to have their names in this profile. The foundation they created, a donor-advised fund, is designed to do what they believe is what they are fortunate to be able to do—leave things a little better than the way they found them. When they are gone, their children will be involved in decision-making about where gifts will be most beneficial. The couple has held various leadership roles in the community for many years, with both being active with Temple Emanuel. Larry has served on the boards of Temple Emanuel, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Beth Sholom Village over the past 30 years. He currently serves as vice president of Beth Sholom Village. Leslie’s contribution to the Jewish community has been in using her decorating talents to enhance countless Jewish events at the temple, the Simon Family JCC, UJFT and BSV. Born and raised in Norfolk and Asheville, N.C., respectively, Larry and Leslie, who met in college at University of Virginia, know the importance of community. Leslie says that everything she did growing up in Asheville happened at the JCC. “That’s where I went to camp, took piano lessons, took part in BBYO in high school, socialized, and created a foundation for my feelings regarding the Jewish community.” They began their involvement in the
Tidewater Jewish community when their oldest daughter, Shaye, started school. Now, the entire family invests its time at the Marilyn and Marvin Simon Family JCC and their five grandchildren attended Strelitz Early Childhood Center and the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. Larry talks about his father, who as a member of B’nai Israel, and with a brother who was a past president, helped to build Temple Israel in Norfolk. “People wondered why he, a member of B’nai, would do that,” Larry says, “but I learned from him how important it is to support Jewish growth and community, to assist when possible in improving the lives of future generations.” His father taught him that “educating and encouraging others to give to community”—not just monetarily—was a way to show love for the community. As Larry says, “When I go to synagogue, I know it wasn’t built by one person; I know a community came together to do it, and that is what we are trying to do.” It is important, he explains, to remember “someone came before you, so you have the opportunity to build on what they and your parents gave you in the community.” The Siegels see the JCC, their Temple and all of their Jewish organizations, as lively, vibrant places they hope will continue to be “a magnet for positive things for future generations.” Clearly, it is a family affair. —For more information about how to Create a Jewish Legacy, call or email Philip Rovner (757-965-6109, email@example.com).
Back to Shul Shopping a success for synagogues by Rebecca Bickford, Community Concierge
he Simon Family JCC came alive on Sunday, Sept. 9 as local Jewish agencies hosted various community events. The JCC welcomed potential new members to tour the facility and learn about the programming opportunities, Jewish Family Service brought their staff and lay leaders together for a retreat, and, for the first time in community history, the local Synagogues, in a collaborative gesture with the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, came together to host “Back to Shul Shopping: Synagogue Open House.” Representatives from B’nai Israel, Beth Chaverim, Beth El, Commodore Levy Chapel, Gomley Chesed, Kempsville Conservative Synagogue, Ohef Sholom, Temple Emanuel, and Temple Israel lined the tables in the Cardo, ready to meet-andgreet with community members who were in search of a new synagogue family. “It was great to see the JCC, the Federation, and all the synagogues in one place, at one time, working together to try to improve our Jewish community,” says Harvey Eluto, co-president of Kempsville Conservative Synagogue in Virginia Beach. “It’s wonderful to see how the Federation is supporting the local synagogues.” The synagogue representatives talked to families and individuals, discussing programming for all ages, the High Holidays services, and general Shul information. Representatives say they were pleased with the response. “The Open House was very successful; particularly for a first time,” says Eluto. Other community members remarked at how wonderful it was to see local synagogues hosting events together and look forward to future collaborations.
Carla Grune and Marty Marin from Temple Emanuel.
Ted Kaufman, Linda Peck, and Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin from Ohef Sholom Temple.
Cantor Aaron Sachnoff, Andy Lask, Cmdr. Glen Wood, Carrie Wood, and Rochelle Lask from Commodore Uriah P. Levy Chapel.
Shul Shopping at Sandler Family Campus. Lisa Rosenbach, Alicia Friedman, and Pam Gladstone from Congregation Beth El.
Michael Mostofsky, Helen Epner Lapping, and Avi Zysman from B’nai Israel Congregation.
jewishnewsva.org | September 17, 2012 | Jewish News | 21
book reviews A brilliant author Prague Winter (A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937–1948) by Madeleine Albright HarperCollins 2012 467pages, $29.99
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Madeleine Albright, who distinguished herself with service to our nation including as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (19931997) and the first woman Rabbi Zoberman Secretary of State (19972001) under President Bill Clinton, makes history come alive concerning 1937–1948, the first 12 years of her eventful life. She skillfully interweaves the personal with the public and political in a revealing and riveting tome with the potential to become a classic. It was the painful discovery of how little she knew of her family’s past that prompted Albright to further look for it while exploring the larger framework of those times that so profoundly impacted humanity. Though rumors about her Jewish roots surfaced earlier, it was not until Michael Dobbs reported in January 1997 in The Washington Post of her Holocaust connection and the losses of three grandparents and more than 20 relatives, that she was “stunned,” “shocked,” and “embarrassed,” of her glaring ignorance of such basic and important information. Her chapter on Terezin, the “model” camp to which many of her close family were taken, is deeply moving. Albright was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1937 to secular Jewish parents, Dr. Joseph Mandula Korbel, who converted to the Roman Catholic faith in 1941 while in England following their escape from their native land with the Nazi takeover. Uncertain about the motivation behind her parents’ conversion, she surmises that they came under the influence of close Czech friends, wanting to affirm their national Czech identity and perhaps also sought to protect their progeny at a time when being Jewish was risky. In light of the ensuing Holocaust and its moral lessons, Albright senses that her shaken parents were reluctant to discuss their conversion and family history with her and her younger siblings, Kathy and John. Albright earned a doctorate at Columbia University and taught at Georgetown University, following in the footsteps of her father in both kinds of pursuits. Korbel, a
Czech Foreign Ministry official, joined in London the Czech Government in exile and the BBC program to counteract Nazi propaganda. At the war’s end, he was appointed Czech Ambassador to Yugoslavia and later represented his country as chairman of the U.N. Kashmere commission. Threatened by his Communist government, the Korbels were granted political asylum in the United States in 1949. Korbel, who died in 1977, taught at the University of Denver and its School of International Affairs is named after him. Always offering a lucid analysis of all options, the brilliant author does not mince words in criticizing the capitulation and loss of nerve of both West and East to Hitler’s bullying, beginning with his 1935 military build-up, the 1936 reentry into the Rhineland and 1938 annexation of Austria, dooming Czechoslovakia in the shameful Munich Conference, as well as most of Europe, making possible the unfathomable Holocaust. She rightly bemoans the dilemma of small nations, such as Czechoslovakia, that are eyed by larger powers for their own self-interest. Albright’s family’s high drama along with vignettes of note, render the historical events in a humane light, realizing that plain human beings ultimately pay the price in pain for their leaders’ decisions, whether democratic or totalitarian. She disagrees with Tolstoy’s grand theory charging Providence in determining history’s course. Rather affirming leaders’ role and responsibility for better or worse, in shaping outcome of consequence. The year of Albright’s birth, 1937, also marked the death of legendary Thomas Masaryk, the founding president of the democratic Czech republic in 1918. Masaryk’s son, John Masaryk, the beloved foreign minister, was murdered by Stalin’s agents in 1948 as Czechoslovakia and the rest of Eastern Europe sank deeper into the Soviet clutches. Nonetheless, this remarkable soul-searching author chooses to conclude on a reassuring message of hope, “in the world where I choose to live, even the coldest winter must yield to agents of Spring and the darkest view of human nature must eventually find room for shafts of light.” —Rabbi Israel Zoberman, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Chaverim, is the son of Polish Holocaust survivors. He spent his early childhood in the Displaced Persons Camp of Wetzlar, Germany.
book reviews Filled with melancholy The Arrogant Years One Girl’s Search for Her Lost Youth From Cairo to Brooklyn Lucette Lagnado Harper Collins, 2011 402pages, $25.99 ISBN 978-0-06-180367-3 By the end of Lucette Lagnado’s 2007 award-winning bestseller memoir, The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, it was apparent that her family would not realHal Sacks ize the American immigrant dream. Her father, Leon, successful, imperious and elegant in Egypt, had been “the man in the white sharkskin suit.” But suffering from a badly healed broken hip and unable to find meaningful jobs in America, he never permitted his wife, Edith, to work, thus sentencing the family to a penurious existence. In his vain attempts to force his older three children to remain fully observant of Jewish law, he drove them out of their home—eventually to find success on their own. By the time Lucette (little Loulou) was of an age to understand her father’s decline, he had come to the point where he seemed disinterested in life, causing the reader to wonder whether the earlier portrait she painted wasn’t partly fantasy. In any event, The Arrogant Years (not to this reviewer’s mind an appropriate title— but explained in the memoir) is Lagnado’s reconstruction of her mother’s life, a life of glowing expectation. Combining beauty with intellectual achievement and charisma, Edith at 20 gave up a promising career to marry Leon, age 42. She entered an advantaged life in which women were not permitted to work outside the home—their function limited to running the household. When events stripped the family of its privileges and servants, Edith became shopper, cook, and home cleaner. We see the Lagnado household through the eyes of the pre-teen Lucette, and therein lies a weakness in this sequel. In an attempt to define herself, the author devotes too much time to her childhood struggles in what has clearly become a dysfunctional family. Her mother invests herself entirely in Lucette as the last hope of “repairing the
hearth,” maintaining the family life in the absence of her three older children. Lucette becomes Edith’s project, as she is pushed toward rapid advancement, from public to prestigious private schools, despite the family’s impoverishment. Her teen years become dominated by a nearly terminal illness and lengthy treatment for Hodgkin’s disease, leaving her unable to bear children. Lucette is convinced that she is “damaged merchandise”—never to expect romance and a “normal” life. For those readers who yearn to learn what happened to the Lagnado family, The Arrogant Years fills the bill. Lagnado travels to Israel and Cairo to search for evidence of her mother’s past, and derives solace from touching the very books handled by her mother as a young librarian. Further, Lagnado seeks out and reveals what happened in the lives of an assortment of childhood friends. Well-written and nicely embellished with literary references attributable mainly to her well-read mother, The Arrogant Years lacks the drama of the author’s first memoir. In fairness, it is likely that the tribulations of an immigrant family struggling to survive and faced with issues of assimilation and “moving out” is an old story previously well told by authors of the early and mid-20th century. The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit fascinated us with its portrait of Levantine Jewish society, at once exotic and intoxicating. Filled with sadness and Lagnado’s lifelong history of protesting and failing to accept weakness in herself or in others, the reader will be disappointed if seeking uplift. Her mother, in her good days, would fall back on the preferred French of her Egyptian upbringing and, if asked to summarize the feeling evoked by this memoir, might use the term “tristess”—melancholy. Perhaps the title should have been, The Melancholy Years. Lucette Lagnado received the 2008 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and has co-authored Children of the Flames: Dr .Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz. She is currently a senior special writer and investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal and is married to Douglas Feiden, a veteran journalist. —Hal Sacks is a retired Jewish communal worker who has reviewed books for Jewish News for more than 27 years.
Duke to acquire papers of Rabbi Heschel, influential religious leader DURHAM, N.C.—Duke University will acquire the papers of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a scholar, writer and theologian who is widely recognized as one of the most influential religious leaders of the 20th century. Heschel was a highly visible and charismatic leader in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. He cofounded Clergy Concerned About Vietnam and served as a Jewish liaison with the Vatican during the Second Vatican Council, also known as Vatican II. The collection, which has never before been available to scholars, consists of manuscripts, correspondence, publications, documents and photographs spanning five decades and at least four languages. Included among the papers are notes and drafts for nearly all of Heschel’s published works, as well as intimate and extensive correspondence with some of the leading religious figures of his time, including Martin Buber, Thomas Merton, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy and Reinhold Niebuhr. The papers also contain extensive documentation on Heschel’s life-long commitment to social justice, including planning documents, correspondence with organizers, speeches and even hate mail. “The presence of the Heschel archive is a significant opportunity to draw together Duke’s traditional strengths in Jewish studies, American history and human rights,” says Laurie Patton, dean of Duke’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. “One of Duke’s paramount values is ‘knowledge in the service of society,’ and Heschel embodied that value in every sphere of life. We are thrilled to be able to house his papers at our university, and hope to create numerous opportunities for ethical and historical reflection on this extraordinary man’s work and life.” The archive will open for research after conservation review and archival processing are complete. The opening will be announced on the websites of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library (library.duke.edu/rubenstein) and the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke (jewishstudies.duke.edu), which are partnering
to acquire the papers. “The acquisition of the Heschel papers assures scholars that the legacy of social activism, human rights and the highest standards of Judaic scholarship will be central to the pursuit of Jewish studies at Duke and many other places,” says Eric Meyers, the Bernice & Morton Lerner professor of religion and director of the Duke Center for Jewish Studies. “I am delighted that my father’s papers have found a good home at Duke, which has long had an important research program in the fields of Jewish studies and religious studies,” says Susannah Heschel, daughter of Abraham Heschel and the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College. “Duke’s strong commitment to archival holdings related to Judaica and to human rights places my father’s papers together with those of his beloved student, Rabbi Marshall Meyer, and I know that Duke’s magnificent Rubenstein Library will make the material easily accessible to scholars from around the world.” Rabbi Meyer, whose papers are already placed at the archive, was a student of Heschel’s and credited him with profoundly influencing his human rights work in Argentina. “Together, these two collections represent almost a century of social justice thought and action and provide an important connection between the civil rights and human rights movements,” says Patrick Stawski, human rights archivist at the Rubenstein Library. Born in 1907 in Poland, Heschel was descended from a long line of distinguished rabbis. Heschel believed that prayer and study could not be separated from public action. He famously marched side-by-side with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala., and is credited with coining the civil rights slogan, “We pray with our legs.” Heschel’s theological works include “The Sabbath” (1951), “Man is Not Alone” (1951) and “God in Search of Man” (1955). His writings continue to influence contemporary discussions of religion and social justice.
jewishnewsva.org | September 17, 2012 | Jewish News | 23
Federation Shabbaton to feature NYU professor
Comedian Dan Ahdoot performs at the Simon Family JCC
Friday, Oct. 26—Sunday, Oct. 28
Saturday, Oct. 20, 8 pm
avid Elcott, a professor at New York University, will speak on Rebuilding Community: The Search for new models of leadership, during the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Shabbaton next month. As Scholar in Residence at Beth Chaverim, Beth El, B’nai Israel, Gomley Chesed, Kempsville Conservative, Ohef Sholom Temple, Temple Emanuel, and Temple Israel congregations, he will explore how the phenomenon of disconnect is playing itself out within the Jewish community and how to create ways to rebuild eroded social capital. Elcott is the executive director of Israel Policy Forum (IPF), an advocacy thinktank dedicated to promoting solutions for the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He is author of A Sacred Journey: The Jewish Quest for a Perfect World, the former national director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, and the former vice president of CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. Regarding the theme of the Shabbaton —Rebuilding Community—Elcott cites Harvard professor Dr. Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, the groundbreaking book on contemporary America, in how Americans have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors and social structures, whether the PTA, religious institutions, clubs, political parties, or bowling leagues. “We know this only too well: fewer North American Jews are involved in communal service and organizations,” Elcott says. “And those who are involved give fewer volunteer hours. But the Jewish community depends specifically on Jewish affiliations as a way of expressing the unique Jewish role that sets us apart.” This decline in voluntary association and civic involvement in Jewish communal affairs has serious implications for those who will lead the Jewish community as policy and decision-makers. With a Ph.D. in Political Psychology and Middle East Studies, Elcott has lectured on the Middle East, Arab politics and Muslim-Western cultural conflict to corporate leaders, Congressional Representatives,
Christian and Muslim religious leaders and heads of major Jewish organizations. He helped to resolve the divestment controversy against Israel with the Protestant churches and represented the Jewish community in interfaith settings in Rome, Germany, Argentina and Israel. As the executive director of IPF, Elcott oversees pro-Israel political advocacy in Washington, works with key policy analysts and former diplomats to develop Jewish policy on Middle East affairs, represents the Jewish community to political leaders around the world, and convenes symposia and conferences across North America and in Israel to find solutions to the violence and suffering in Israel and the region. Two years ago, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater undertook a strategic planning process regarding its own role and purpose. Intersecting with this role was the engagement and collaboration with temples and synagogues to build a strong and vibrant Tidewater Jewish community. It was in this spirit that new initiatives such as the Community Concierge and the Federation Shabbaton were created. Plans for 2012–13 in this renewed effort to connect and collaborate include a continuation of the Community Concierge, grant allocations to synagogues, Community and Leadership Development, and events such as the Federation Shabbaton. “A commitment to this community building process will result in more creative opportunities for constructive collaboration,” says Harry Graber, UJFT executive vice president. “We believe that these kinds of collaborations are worth pursuing, particularly in a period of shrinking affiliation and reduced resources. “Through our community collaboration, we seek to reinforce the dynamic of the Federation as one of community builder. This change will not be easy, but it is vital to our efforts to move forward together,” says Graber. For information on the Federation Shabbaton and other Federation-Synagogue partnership projects, contact Carolyn Amacher, community development specialist, at 757-452-3181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Active Aging Week, at Simon Family JCC September 23–September 29 Seniors over age 60 receive a special gift of recognition on Thursday, Sept. 27, 9 am–2 pm by stopping by the Simon Family JCC lobby. Call 757-321-2338 for more information.
24 | Jewish News | September 17, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org
by Leslie Shroyer
e graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University and planned to apply to medical school. Sound like a future doctor? Not so for Dan Ahdoot, whose New York City charm, likeability, and wit have earned him a reputation as one of the hottest young comics on the scene. He has performed regularly at comedy clubs in Manhattan, and is one of the most booked college acts in America. This Iranian born Jew is the first of three Performing Arts at the J events this season. Ahdoot has been featured on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, was a guest at the Comedy Central South Beach Comedy Festival, and was a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. He has written for MTV’s Short Circuits, Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers, and A&E’s Gene Simmons Roast. He has opened for Lewis Black, Jay Mohr, and Patton Oswalt, and has been featured on ABC’s 20/20. In 2011 he was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and was a guest on Disney’s Kickin’ It. “Comedy is something I always wanted to do when I was a kid,” Ahdoot says on his website, which apparently convinced his parents to approve of his decision to entertain rather than become a physician. Ahdoot performed last December at the Milton Katz JCC in N.J. “He was marvelous,” says Marcy Lahav, director of adult culture. “Ahdoot had an intergenerational audience of 50 teens from all over New
Jersey and Israel, plus seniors up to 90. He appealed to all of the different groups in the audience. He is improvisational, insightful, easygoing, and I highly recommend anyone see him while he’s in Virginia Beach.” As the only Iranian Jewish comedian in the world, his wit reflects the new, young diversity and energy that has emerged on the comedy circuit. Tickets $35 ($30 JCC members). Doors open at 7 pm. Cash bar available before the show. Visit simonfamilyj.org or call 321-2338 for more information. Interested in all three Performing Arts at the J events this season? Buy The Season Pass for just $90 ($75 JCC members). The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
Jewish Museum & Cultural Center 2012–2013 Lecture Series Jim Schuyler speaks on: Phoebe Yates Levy Pember: A Woman of Valor Sunday, Sept. 30, 4 pm
name not often recognized, Phoebe Pember was a Jewish woman whose portrait is featured on a U.S. postage stamp. Why such a distinguished honor? Why has she been referred to as a Jewish Clara Barton? This leture will focus on her extraordinary life and her contributions and achievements during the Civil War. Jim Schuyler is executive director of
Virginia Community Action Partnership in Richmond. He served for two years as executive director of the Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives and is a graduate of New York University and Harvard Law School. This is the first in the 2012–2013 Jewish Museum & Cultural Center Lecture Series. $15; $50 for series of four. For information, call 391-9266 or go to jewishmuseumportsmouth.org.
Politicians to make community appearances by Laine M. Rutherford
he national 2012 political races are in full swing. Pundits, media analysts and observers from all parties are paying close attention to campaigns in Virginia, considered a swing state. Particular scrutiny is being applied to the race for the open Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Jim Webb, and the contest to see who will represent Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, an area that covers all of Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore of Virginia, as well as parts of Norfolk and Hampton. The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is bringing all of the politicians vying for the seats to the Sandler Family Campus during October, and is inviting the community to hear from the candidates personally. Joel Rubin, of Rubin Communications Group, will appear as the moderator at each appearance. Rubin will guide the discussion and ask questions he receives from the audience. Topics may include the candidates’ position on Israel, Middle East
Policy, the military, and issues relevant to the nation, the Jewish community, and the greater Hampton Roads community. The men running for the Senate seat, Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine, will appear individually, while the candidates competing for the 2nd District Congressional seat, incumbent Scott Rigell (R) and challenger Paul Hirschbiel (D) will be featured together, in a forum. All events are free and open to the community and take place at the Sandler Family Campus. “The price of liberty and freedom is vigilance,” says Art Sandler, member of the host committee for the CRC’s political appearances. “We must know the people we elect to represent us—we must know their points on matters important to our community. On the other hand, it’s also very important that we demonstrate to the elected officials that our community matters and that we care. We need to show up at these events and demonstrate that.” For more information, visit www.jewishva.org/CRC. To RSVP, call 757-965-2323 or email email@example.com.
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n 2006, the diocese of richmond and Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia joined together to recognize local individuals for their good works and good hearts. this S e p t emb er 19, W ed ne s d ay led to the establishment of the Bishop’s Humanitarian Award The JCC Seniors Club will meet at the Simon Family JCC. Board meeting which honors individuals in Hampton roads for their 10:30 am. Catered lunch at 12 pm. General meeting at 12:30 pm with guest service to the efforts speaker Jason Capossere. Hecommunity, will show a charitable short film support and thenand speak on Campus for the less fortunate. Security procedures in the event of a life threatening situation. 321-2338. named in honor of our Bishop, the award is presented to individuals whose service inspires others to the ideal S e p t emb er 23, S und ay that society is worth improving, and that sharing and Field Hockey b e g i n s a t t h e S i m o n F a m il y J C C f o r a g e s 7–11. B o y s a n d of oa fwell-lived g i r ls l e a r n t h ecaring f u n d aare m epart n t a ls t h e s p o rlife. t , sin p orecognition n s o r e d b y of t htheir e USA Field accomplishments, a distinctive H o c k e y A s s o c ia t i o n. S i x- w e e k awardees c la s s, 11receive a m –12 : 3 0 p m. 3medal 21- 2 3at0 8. a ceremony hosted by the Bishop and attended by family, Sam Glaser a tfriends C o n gand r e g colleagues. a t i o n B e t h E l. 2 : 3 0 p m. 4 2 8 - 2 5 91. Past ReciPients of the BishoP’s S e p t humanitaRian emb er 24, M oawaRd nd ay Senior Book Club a t S i m o n F a m il y J C C. Dis cus s ion of Falling Leaves: V. McPhillips 2011 The Memoi r of an UnwanCharles ted Chines e Daugh te r .• C hinese luncheon from C a d o C a f e. C a ll S h e r r y L i e b e r m a n a t 3 21- 2 3 0 9 f o r d e t a ils.
Jacqueline and Frederick J. Napolitano, Sr. • 2010
S e p t emb er 27, T hur s d ay UJFT Annual CampaignHarvey begins .L.6 Lindsay, p m. S e e Jr. p a g• e2008 s 7 a n d 8 f o r d e t a ils.
The Honorable Paul D. Fraim • 2007
Oc t o b er 25, T hur s d ay 2nd District Congressional Debate f e a t u r i nStenke g i n c u m b•e2006 nt Representative Josephine and George S c o t t Rig e ll a n d c h a ll e n g e r, P a u l H i r s c h b i e l. D e b a t e m o d e r a t o r J o e l R u b i n o f R u b i n C o m m u n i c a t i o n s w ill t a k e w r i t t e n q u e s t i o n s f r o m t h e a u d i e n c e. S p o n s o r e d b y t h e C o m m u n i t y R e la t i o n s C o u n c il o f t h e U n i t e d J e w is h F e d e r a t i o n o f T i d e w a t e r o n t h e S a n dl e r F a m il y C a m p u s. 7 p m. To R S V P o r s u b m i t q u e s t i o n s p r i o r t o t h e d e b a t e, c o n t a c t J J o h n s o n @ u j f t .o r g b y F r i d a y, O c t. 19 t h. S e e p a g e 2 5.
Oc t o b er 26, F rid ay— Oc t o b er 28, S und ay Federation Shabbaton . S e e p a g e 24 f o r d e t a ils. Oc t o b er 3, W ed ne s d ay Senatorial Candidate, Governor George Allen addr esses issues a n d c o n c e r n s i m p o r t a n t t o t h e J e w is h c o m m u n i t y. 12 p m. S a n dl e r F a m il y C a m p u s. S p o n s o r e d b y t h e C o m m u n i t y R e la t i o n s C o u n c il o f t h e U n i t e d J e w is h F e d e r a t i o n o f T i d e w a t e r. R S V P s t r o n g l y e n c o u r a g e d t o J J o h n s o n @ u j f t.o r g b y F r i d a y, S e p t. 2 8. S e e p a g e 2 5.
Oc t o b er 12, F rid ay Senatorial Candidate, Governor Tim Kaine a d d r e s s e s is s u e s a n d c o n c e r n s i m p o r t a n t t o t h e J e w is h c o m m u n i t y. 12 p m. S a n dl e r F a m il y C a m p u s. S p o n s o r e d b y t h e C o m m u n i t y R e l a t i o n s C o u n c i l o f t h e U n i t e d J e w is h F e d e r a t i o n o f T i d e w a t e r R S V P s t r o n g l y e n c o u r a g e d t o J J o h n s o n @ u j f t.o r g. S e e p a g e 2 5.
Oc t o b er 20, S at urd ay Performing Arts at the J k icks of f t he season wit h comedian Dan A hdoot at t he Simon Family JCC at 8 pm. A f r equent guest on T he Tonight Show wit h Jay Leno, A hdoot has per f or med all over t he count r y. For ticket s and inf or mation cont ac t t he JCC at 321-2338 or simonf amilyj.or g. Send submissions for calendar to news @ ujf t.org. Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.
Humanitarian award Named in honor of our Bishop, the award is presented to individuals whose service inspires others to the ideal that society is worth improving, and that sharing and caring are part of a well-lived life. In recognition of their accomplishments, awardees receive a distinctive medal at a ceremony hosted by the Bishop and attended by family, friends and colleagues.
The Most Reverend Francis X. DiLorenzo, Bishop of Richmond and the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia cordially invite you to attend the
BisHop’s Humanitarian award LunCHEon honoring
meyera e. oberndorf Wednesday, October 17, 2012 11:30 a.m. Virginia Beach Convention Center 1000 19th Street Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451 Proceeds benefit Catholic Charities’ programs and services in Hampton Roads
For ticket information visit www.cceva.org. Limited seating. jewishnewsva.org | September 17, 2012 | Jewish News | 27
obituaries Dr. Arthur A. Gilbert Norfolk—Dr. Arthur A. Gilbert, 90 passed away peacefully on Sept. 5, 2012. Born in New York City on May 5, 1922, he is survived by his wife of 67 years Adele Okyle Gilbert, his children Mark and Karen Gilbert, of Virginia Beach, Susan and Gerry Maggiora of Tucson, Az., Janet Gilbert and Seth and Gwen Gilbert of Virginia Beach. He also is survived by his grandchildren David and Deena Gilbert, Rachel and Jeremy Krupnick, Max and Leah Weisel, Grace and Sarah Mezzy, and Ethan Gilbert. In addition to three great grandsons, Perrin and Noah Gilbert and Henry Krupnick. Prior to his retirement in 1987, Dr. Gilbert operated a veterinary clinic in Portsmouth for 40 years. He was a Life member of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, Honor Roll Life Member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, former president of the Tidewater Veterinary Medical Association, member of the board of directors of the Portsmouth Humane Society from 1948–1987. Dr. Gilbert was also a member of Gomley Chesed Congregation and charter member of Gomley Chesed Men’s Club. A graveside service was held at the Gomley Chesed Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Gomley Chesed Congregation or a charity of choice. Sturtevant Funeral Home. Muriel M. Green Norfolk—Muriel “Mimi” Green (Markoff), a lifelong area resident, passed away peacefully on Sept. 2, 2012. She was the daughter of the late Harry and Faye Markoff and sister of the late Shirley Green (Eugene Green). Devoted wife of the late Norman W. Green, beloved mother of Hope (Clifford Hinkes), Jack and Richard and loving grandmother to David (Wendy), Brian and Michelle Hinkes and Meredith and Steven Green. She was active in various family businesses throughout her life, starting in childhood at her parents’ shop in downtown Norfolk, The Markoff Cigar and Confectionary Store. Her loving son, Richard Green, took care of her for more than three years. Services were held at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts., Norfolk Chapel. Burial followed in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Donations to the American Cancer Society. Trudy Nordlinger Hoffer Norfolk—Trudy Nordlinger Hoffer, Norfolk musician and piano teacher died on Sept. 7, 2012.
Mrs. Hoffer was born in Norfolk, the daughter of the late Maurice Nordlinger and Minna Schloss Nordlinger. She attended Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Md. and Parsons School of Design in New York City. For many years she was a ballet accompanist at Academy of the Tidewater Ballet and was a Sunday School pianist at Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk. She is survived by a daughter, Melissa Ann Miller and her husband Jerry Miller, two grandchildren, Jennifer and Jacquelyn Miller. She was predeceased by her loving husband Elliott E. Hoffer. A graveside service was conducted at Forest Lawn Cemetery by Cantor Elihu Flax. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.hdoliver.com. Hanna Lu Klebanoff Philadelphia, Pa.—Hanna Lu Klebanoff (nee Unterberger), passed away on August 29, 2012. Adored wife of the late William “Bill” for 56 years. Devoted daughter of the late Sam and Tillie Unterberger (nee Sivitz). Beloved mother of Debra (James T. Smith) Klebanoff, Dr. David (Amy) Klebanoff, Jay (Jodi) Klebanoff, Robert (Kiersten) Klebanoff and Larry (Eva) Klebanoff; and loving grandmother of Matthew, Jordan, Dylan, Samantha, Arielle, Janie, Noah, Jesse, Benjamin, Zackary, Caroline, Jack, Ava Jane, and Olivia. Funeral Services were held at Roosevelt Memorial Park Community Mausoleum, in Trevose, Pa. Contributions in her memory to a charity of the donor’s choice. www. goldsteinsfuneral.com. Patrick Vastino Lansdowne, Ontario—Patrick Vastino, 68, beloved husband and best friend of Janice Vastino for 44 years, passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. Patrick is survived by his two daughters Kimberlee Vastino and her husband Matthew Pilote of Lansdowne and Denise Vastino Hoffman and her husband Jason, and their two children, Summer and Logan of Virginia Beach. He will be lovingly remembered by his mother Eleanor Vastino and his two brothers Joseph (Marlene) and Nicholas (Andrea). He is predeceased by his father Patrick Vastino. There will be no service as per Patrick’s request. Donations to the St. Vincent de Paul Hospital Palliative Care Association.
28 | Jewish News | September 17, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org
Harry Weisberg Norfolk—Harry Weisberg, 92, of 1 Colley Ave in Norfolk passed away peacefully in his home on Sept. 7, 2012. A native of Norfolk, he was the son of the late Nathan and Annie Fleder Weisberg. He was a Navy Veteran of WWII. He was a founding member of Temple Israel and a former active member of their Men’s Club. Mr. Weisberg was retired from the furniture business. His businesses included A.J. Legum, Quality Furniture, Home Furniture and Furniture World. At the height of his career, he and his brothers operated 10 stores throughout Tidewater. In his restless retirement he proudly created a successful catalogue/internet business: Menshats.com, shipping hats all over the world. “Mr. Harry” as he was fondly called, endeared himself to people with a joke or a kind smile and was willing and able to find solutions to those with problems. His passion was golf. While striving to perfect the game, he formed cherished friendships both on and off the links. Mr. Weisberg is survived by his loving wife of 69 years Miriam Cohen Weisberg; his devoted children: three daughters Linda W. Drucker and her husband Dr. Jack Drucker of Virginia Beach, Carol W. Burgess and her husband Webb of Raleigh, N.C., and Sandra Kay W. Taub and her husband Lawrence of Silver Spring, Md.; two sons, Dr. Edward J. Weisberg and his wife Janis of Norfolk, Steven G. Weisberg and his wife Sherril Schlesinger of Los Angeles, Ca.; two sisters Sylvia W. Bush and Rosalie W. Bain, both of West Palm Beach, Fla.; one brother Herman Weisberg and his wife Faye of Templeton, California; seven grandchildren: Lisa W. Cohn (Joel), Amie W. Blaschke (Barrett), Kevin M. Drucker (Lynn), Michael Burgess (Hadas), Marsha B. Thomas (Scott), Hannah E. Taub, and Alexander R. Taub; seven great-grandchildren; as well as numerous nieces and nephews whom he adored. Mr. Weisberg was predeceased by his brother Samuel Weisberg. Funeral services were held at Temple Israel in Norfolk with Rabbi Michael Panitz officiating. Memorial donations may be made to Temple Israel, EVMS Strelitz Diabetes Center and Freda H. Gordon Hospice & Palliative Care of Tidewater. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Norfolk Chapel. Online condolences may be offered to the family at hdoliver.com.
Art Modell, ex-owner of NFL’s Browns and Ravens BALTIMORE (JTA)—Art Modell, former owner of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns, has died. The 87-year-old Modell, a pioneer of the National Football League’s partnership with television networks, died Thursday, Sept. 6 of natural causes at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Modell was well-known for his philanthropic activities and had been a supporter of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. He also chaired a $100 million drive to build a cardiovascular tower for the Johns Hopkins Heart Institute. He and his wife, Patricia, donated $3.5 million to renovate the city’s Lyric Opera House, which is now named for its benefactors. “He really cared and cared deeply whether for Jews, Catholics or the plight of cities,” Marc Terrill, president of the Associated, told JTA. “He simply cared about people, and his actions revealed his admirable character and he’ll be missed.” Modell grew up in an Orthodox neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., in the 1920s and 1930s as the son of an electronics dealer who lost everything in the 1929 stock market crash. With his family destitute, Modell dropped out of high school to work as an electrician’s helper at a New York shipyard, making 45 cents an hour. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, he returned to New York and rightly identified the nascent television industry as a strong growth market. He eventually moved from TV production to advertising In 1960, while working at a Madison Avenue advertising agency, the avid sports fan learned that the Cleveland Browns were for sale. Modell, then 35, jumped at the opportunity. He put down $3.93 million for the team and moved to Cleveland. He was soon negotiating contracts for the NFL with television networks— serving as head of the NFL’s television committee for 31 years—and pushed for the creation of “Monday Night Football.” In 1996, Modell broke the heart of Browns fans by moving his team to Baltimore and changing its name to the Ravens. The city of Cleveland went to court to block the move. The case ended with a $12 million settlement from Modell, including the promise that Modell would allow a new team to play in Cleveland with the Browns name and records. Patricia Modell died last October at 80.
obituaries Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, leader of key haredi community by Mati Wagner
JERUSALEM (JTA)—In an age of sound bites and celebrity seekers, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, who died in July at age 102, represented a world apart. The head of the Lithuanian haredi Orthodox community in Israel, Elyashiv was a Torah sage who shunned the limelight, dedicating himself single-mindedly to the pursuit of Torah study. The Lithuania-born Elyashiv, a reluctant leader largely lacking in charisma, was elevated to his preeminent position in the years before the 2001 death of Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach when Shach was no longer able to function. In the haredi community, which is split between Chasidim and misnagdim, Elyashiv occupied the top spot for misnagdim—head of the Ashkenazi, non-Chasidic community known as Litvaks (or Lithuanians). Unlike Shach—a fiery speaker and an innovative leader who was instrumental in establishing the daily haredi newspaper Yated Neeman and Degel Hatorah, a political party that represents the interests of misnagdim in the Knesset—Elyashiv shunned social contact and communal endeavors. He spent nearly every waking minute sitting alone reviewing the vast body of rabbinical literature and safeguarding haredi Orthodox parochialism through his rulings in the field of Jewish law. Until February, when Elyashiv was hospitalized in critical condition for congestive heart failure, he was still lucid and authoritative. The non-Chasidic haredi commuity went to Elyashiv as the final arbiter for any dilemma, not just in the field of religious practice, but also in matters of politics, business and even matchmaking. For the believers who turned to him, Elyashiv’s rulings carried the weight of someone privy to God’s will. Unlike nationalist, Zionist rabbis who regularly issue rulings in matters concerning the ceding of parts of the West Bank or the proper balance between religion and state, Elyashiv did his best to skirt such matters. In rare cases, when he was forced to issue a ruling in order to direct haredi politicians on how to vote on a particular issue, Elyashiv seemed concerned primarily with safeguarding haredi Orthodoxy’s parochialism even if it meant taking a dovish position on the West Bank and Jewish settlements. In 2005, Elyashiv ruled in favor of
joining Ariel Sharon’s government, providing it with essential backing ahead of the withdrawal from Gaza Strip and the evacuation of some 9,000 Jewish settlers living there. In exchange, Elyashiv demanded an immediate halt to all attempts to limit the complete the autonomy of haredi educational institutions, including those partially funded by the state. Secular subjects such as math, history and languages are not taught in haredi high schools, something that has hampered the ability of community members to join the job market and perpetuated haredi poverty and reliance on welfare. Elyashiv also strongly opposed military service for haredi young men—including service tailored to haredi needs—fearing that time spent in a secular environment presented unacceptable spiritual dangers and took away time from Torah scholarship. For similar reasons, he also opposed the growth of institutions providing occupational training for haredi men. He also said women should not work outside the home. Many Orthodox Jews believe that God ensures that in every generation there is a man of great stature whose decisions reflect God’s will, known as da’at Torah— literally, the opinion of the Torah. Haim Cohen, a haredi political functionary and close aide to Elyashiv, says that “the entire generation” chose Elyashiv as the unrivaled representative of da’at Torah in this generation. “There are no primary elections for a position like this,” Cohen says. “The rabbi’s strength did not come from any office that he held or from being in a position of power because he did not have any official position. He was simply a man that dedicated himself completely to Torah study, and people recognized and honored this. They simply understood that he was the one.” But Benjamin Brown, a professor at Hebrew University’s Department of Jewish Thought and a researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, says that the crowning of Elyashiv—a relatively obscure figure before Shach’s death—was a product of a concerted effort on the part of highranking figures in the haredi community. “Rabbi Shach showed a preference for Rabbi Elyashiv because of his conservatism, and senior journalists at Yated Neeman helped promote him,” Brown says. “Haredi functionaries and politicians started turning to him for advice. A dynamic was created according to which he became gadol hador”—the greatest of his generation.
Whether it was providence or insider politics that brought Elyashiv to preeminence, his rulings in Jewish law reflect a deeply conservative, stringent approach. In large part due to Elyashiv’s opposition, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate has not instituted the use of prenuptial agreements that could help reduce the agunah problem —women who are “chained” to husbands who refuse to grant them a religious writ of divorce, or “get”—by imposing hefty monthly fines on uncooperative husbands. In a Passover Haggadah printed with some of Elyashiv’s rulings as heard by his students, parents were warned not to allow daughters older than three to sing the Ma Nishtanah in front of men other than their father or brothers because strict interpretations of halachah forbid men to hear women sing. “I have difficulty explaining to the general public Rabbi Elyashiv’s appeal,” says Kobi Arieli, a haredi writer, commentator and entertainer. “For people unfamiliar with the world of Torah scholarship, it is nearly impossible to convey the reverence and respect a man like Rabbi Elyashiv commands.”
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face to face
Jacob Moses Levy: Finding the “cool” in Jewish by Karen Lombart
ake Levy is prepared for his freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. Beyond his clothing, his academic supplies and his dorm necessities, he is very clear about his Jewish identity. He declares without hesitation, “I love all things Jewish.” When he reflects back over his years, he realizes that his strong convictions are born from personal experiences. “For most children, their community connection ends at the conclusion of their Bar or Bat Mitzvah year. Ironically, that is exactly when Jewish engagement should begin,” he says. “From ages 13 through 18,” Levy continues, “it is natural for a teenager to test parental opinions while developing a sense of self-worth. If Judaism is to remain a part of one’s identity, it has to be present in the student’s schedule. After years of Sunday School and Hebrew school lectures, a creative connection becomes paramount,” he insists. Levy says, “If you love sports, play in the Maccabee games; if you want social activities and leadership training, become a member of a youth group like BBYO, NFTY, USY or NCSY; if you want a summer adventure, go to a Jewish overnight camp; in college, be a member of Hillel or Chabad; if your hobby is reading, read Jewish books; AIPAC for students who love politics, and definitely, definitely, definitely go to Israel either on Birthright or some other organized tour for your age group.” Of course, as a toddler and young child, he followed the path that his parents set out for him. Amy and Kirk Levy enrolled their son in the Newport Avenue Jewish Community Center’s preschool and then kindergarten at Hebrew Academy of Tidewater on Thompson Lane. As a member of the JCC basketball team, Levy played ball from first through eighth grade. He continued his JCC connection through the summers, attending the JCC’s camp until he went to the Capital Camps in Waynesboro, Pa. In 2002, after his December Bar Mitzvah at Temple Israel, Levy’s maternal grandparents, Marcia and Burt Moss celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by taking the entire family of 25 to Israel. Levy became sensitive to the disparity between the secular and the religious Israeli populations and the Arabs and the Israelis. After that summer, he became an avid reader of newspapers. To this day, he watches no
television and plays no computer games. His free time is spent reading the city paper, the Wall Street Journal, Politico and the New York Times. When asked to join BBYO in ninth grade by his friend, Josh Jason, Levy thought, “Why not?” His schedule was full, yet there was no Jewish activity. He had just started his four-year involvement with Norfolk Academy’s Model UN program; he had begun his training for the four years of running for the school’s cross country track team; he was in his first year of four, participating in Operation Smile, and he was serving as president of N.A.’s Middle School. Levy coasted through his first two BBYO years with limited involvement. He became reacquainted with childhood friends from HAT, the United Hebrew School and the JCC. He had not seen Sean Frazier and Ryan Klavin for years. The three rediscovered one another and were by each other’s side through the entire BBYO experience. “I love BBYO’s pluralism because it fosters dialogue between the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and secular movements. All members work together towards a shared vision regardless of their denomination,” Levy says. BBYO’s diverse membership and activity portfolio also include an international component. The umbrella organization has joined forces with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee on several endeavors. Developing leadership is one of BBYO’s top priorities. Ellie Bernstein, area BBYO director, encourages her members to grapple with decision-making. “To help us in the process, we had the coolest counselor. Older than us, Sam Brodsky was a fabulous role model. ‘Cool’ was really important to me,” affirms Levy. By January of his sophomore year, Levy showed an interest in leadership. He registered for the CLTC-Chapter Leadership Training Conference in North Carolina. “My two weeks inspired me to start “giving back,” Levy admits. With great clarity, he recognized that his BBYO commitment greatly enriched his life beyond any other present or past involvement. By the end of his junior year, Levy’s curiosity expanded to the international Jewish community and politics. During his summer, he attended the ILTC-International Leadership Training camp in Pennsylvania and then went straight to Washington, D.C. for BBYO’s program “Impact DC,” focusing
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on service and social justice. Twice he was selected to participate in AIPAC’s Saban Institute: first, as one of 25 high schoolers in a program for 400 college students and the second time as a senior in a high school group. His excitement grew as he understood the “big” picture. Beyond the creative programming and the short, fun services, Levy developed a passion for the survival of the Jewish people and his place as an advocate in the community. Many were transformed. Robert Abramov, the son of secular immigrants, joined the BBYO program “Kallah,” designed to bring 200 teenagers from Jewish communities around the world to learn about their religion. With great joy, Abramav celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at age 16 in front of his BBYO friends. While rooming with a boy at an international event, Levy learned that his roommate was the only Jewish teen in Albania. Through his BBYO participation, this young man was able to orchestrate the first Seder in decades in his home country. Levy watched friends from interfaith homes discover their Jewish roots and become advocates for their Jewish community. During his senior year, Levy became co-president of BBYO’s Virginia Council, along with Jessica Kocen, a senior from Richmond. Presiding over the southern and central regions of the state, they had eight chapters with 230 paid members and 140 active members. He was president of AZA, and she was president of BBG. Together they ran the board meetings, using video chatting to span the geographical distance. Against all odds, the two founded a new coed BBYO chapter of 20 members in Williamsburg. In February, 2012, Levy was handpicked to join a 12-person international steering committee to plan BBYO’s International Convention in Atlanta—one of the largest gatherings of Jewish youth in the world. Nine hundred members attended from 14 countries. The creativity was astounding. This past summer, Levy went back to Israel for the first time since seventh grade. Attending Israel’s Alexander Moss High School, he participated in a program with 119 BBYO members from around the world: Turkey, Bulgaria, America, France, Canada and Israel. “Everything we learned was applicable to our lives. Our philosophical conversations included no judgment. ‘Do you believe in God?’ was one of them. Everyone’s answer was right,” says Levy.
Jacob Moses Levy.
This past summer, Levy and Kocen were given the perfect closure to their BBYO experience. They were asked to coordinate the two-week CLTC in Wisconsin, an honor that is given to only 12 students in the world. Levy believes that he acquired his leadership skills from watching others and working hard. As a leader himself, he inspired others by advising them: “Don’t settle for the status quo. Think outside the box. And push, to make it better.” He believes that his perseverance comes from years on the N.A. cross country track team. “You can actually feel your brain kick into overdrive in order to push yourself beyond your limitations,” he says. He credits his sense of honor and public speaking skills to BBYO and Norfolk Academy. His ease in the world arena comes from AIPAC and his time spent with Operation Smile in India. Levy feels grateful for the freedom to express his Jewish identity. Having studied Penn’s website, he knows there are unlimited opportunities for his involvement. He has already found a home at Hillel. Levy proudly wears a silver circle necklace that he recently bought in Jerusalem. The Hebrew words of the Shema are engraved on its surface, and he wears it knowing exactly what it means. He has taken his passion for Jewish continuity, his embodiment of Jewish values, his love for the diversity of his people and his networking skills to build a future for himself. And if that wasn’t enough, he did one more thing—Levy chose his roommate before he left fore Penn, a fellow alumnus from BBYO.
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