Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 53 No. 7 | 9 Kislev 5775 | December 8, 2014
Facing growing global anti-Semitism
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upfront Yaalon, ADL laud Hagel as he announces resignation
srael’s defense minister and the Anti-Defamation League lavished praise on U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the day he announced his resignation. The tributes from Moshe Yaalon and the ADL were in sharp contrast with the intense scrutiny that Hagel received from pro-Israel groups when he was nominated for the post two years ago. “Chuck Hagel is a true friend of Israel,” Yaalon said in a tweet illustrated by photos of Hagel and Yaalon embracing. “His contributions to Israel’s defense infrastructure and to Israeli relations with the United States were great and very substantive,” said the tweet, written in Hebrew. Hagel said last month that he would resign as defense secretary. Reports suggested that the move was partly because of difficulties in his relations with President Obama’s White House security team. The ADL in a statement praised Hagel’s “energetic stewardship of America’s commitment to Israel’s security in a dangerous region,” saying it “has been vital as Israel has faced unprecedented threats.” “His hands-on engagement to ensure that our ally, Israel, can live in safety and security and maintain its rightful place in the community of nations will have a lasting impact,” the ADL said. The comments differed sharply from 2012, when Hagel was Obama’s nominee for the post and centrist pro-Israel groups such as the ADL and the American Jewish Committee joined Republicans and right-wing pro-Israel groups in saying that statements he made while he was a Republican senator from Nebraska could disqualify him. Hagel, during an abortive 2007 exploration of a presidential candidacy, suggested that pro-Israel groups had excessive influence, and also was skeptical of the utility of sanctions on Iran and of the U.S. refusal to engage with terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. As defense secretary, however, Hagel maintained his close and friendly ties with Yaalon throughout an otherwise turbulent relationship between the Obama administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government—even when Yaalon’s personal attacks on Hagel’s colleague, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, were the spur to tensions. Additionally, Hagel oversaw an expansion in missile defense cooperation with Israel. (JTA)
Iran nuclear talks extended until June 30
ran and the major powers extended their negotiations for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program until June 30, 2015. Officials in Vienna said Monday, Nov. 24, the deadline for the talks that were launched in January, that the two sides had agreed to extend the deadline, with the broad outlines of the deal to be in place by the end of March. Iran would not be granted any additional sanctions relief in this period, the sides said. It is not clear what is delaying a deal, although reported sticking points have been the period under which Iran must abide by restrictions on its nuclear activity that would keep it from manufacturing a bomb and the pace at which sanctions would be lifted in the event of a deal. Philip Hammond, the British foreign secretary, told the BBC that missing the deadline was “a disappointment, but rather than continue blindly we have to recognize the reality that we’re not going to make a deal tonight.” Israel has advocated for a deal that would completely dismantle Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium. The world powers in the negotiations— the United States, Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany— say that a minimal enrichment capacity is likely to be part of a final deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in remarks to the Knesset welcomed the delay, saying it provided more time to prevent what he called a “very bad and dangerous agreement.” “It is very important that this agreement has been prevented as of now, but a struggle is yet before us and we intend to continue this struggle in order to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state that would endanger us and others,” he said. “Israel will always act on this matter and reserves its right to defend itself by itself.” (JTA)
conte nts Up Front. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Israel moves to elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Israeli at George Mason. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Women’s Cabinet PLUS ONE. . . . . . . . . . . 9 Anti-Semitism in Europe. . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Is it anti-Semitic to criticize Israel?. . . . . 12 Surges of anti-Semitism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Red Tent on Lifetime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Super Sunday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Class on parenting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
quotable Happy Chanukah. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beneath the Helmet premier . . . . . . . . . . Why I chose HAT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tour De Mensch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beth El at ODU. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TJF honors Veterans. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Book Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What’s Happening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mazel Tov. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside: Chanukah 5775
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briefs Italian aliyah expected to double in ‘14 Italy is experiencing a sharp upsurge in Jews making aliyah. An estimated 300 Italian Jews are expected to move to Israel in 2014, the Italo-Israeli demographer Sergio Della Pergola told the Italian news agency ANSA. The Jewish Agency affirmed to JTA that the figure—more than double from a year ago—was accurate. Some 152 Jews made aliyah from Italy in 2013, according to the Jewish Agency. Several Italian Jewish leaders said the economic situation, including the difficulty for young people to find jobs, figured strongly in the aliyah increase, with Jews feeling that “they can lead a better life in Israel.” They said the economic crisis hit the Jewish community in Rome particularly hard—many of the city’s 12,000 or so Jews are shopkeepers or run small businesses. Italy’s overall jobless rate tops 12 percent; for young people the figure is more than 40 percent. The Italian Jewish community has about 24,000 registered members. (JTA) Grandson of Rudolf Hoess speaks at Budapest Holocaust commemoration Rainer Hoess, the grandson of Auschwitz death camp commander Rudolf Hoess, was among the speakers at a Holocaust commemoration event in Budapest. Hoess, an activist against European neo-Nazism, spoke at the Friday, Nov. 21 event marking the 70th anniversary of the start of the Holocaust in Hungary. He was invited by the March of the LivingHungary Foundation, which organized the commemoration. “It was strange to come to Hungary after what my grandfather did—especially here,” he told the crowd. His grandfather was responsible for the extermination of roughly 400,000 Hungarian Jews in the Auschwitz death camp in June 1944. Afterward, Hoess told JTA that he was “nervous being here on stage.” Although most of the speakers emphasized that “no descendant is to be blamed for the sins of his or her forefathers,” Hoess’ presence created a chilly atmosphere.
A few survivors in the audience told JTA that Hess’ five-minute speech was too short and not personal enough. “It is not easy to live with such a name,” one survivor said, adding, “It would be great to see the descendants of Hungarian Nazis do the same and to face the sins of their fathers.” Hoess spent four days in Budapest meeting face-to-face with Hungarian Holocaust survivors. At a high school in the Hungarian capital, he held a question-and-answer session with 200 students. Ilan Mor, Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, in a speech at the ceremony praised the March of the Living Foundation for its efforts to stop the rise of anti-Israel sentiment throughout Europe. (JTA)
Swiss art museum formally agrees to accept Gurlitt collection A Swiss museum formally agreed to accept the bequest of hundreds of artworks from the late German art collector Cornelius Gurlitt, which may include Nazi-looted art. In its announcement, the Kunstmuseum Bern said it would work with German officials to ensure that all looted art in the collection is returned to its owners or their heirs. Gurlitt named the museum his sole heir before his death in May. The collection reportedly is worth about $1.26 billion. The museum said it had no prior relationship with Gurlitt. “The ultimate aim was to clarify how the Kunstmuseum Bern could meet the responsibilities imposed upon it by the bequest,” Christoph Schaeublin, president of the museum’s board of trustees, said. A German task force will continue to investigate the provenance of the artworks to determine which pieces were looted and to discover their rightful owners. Pieces for which no owners can be identified will be displayed in Germany to try to find the owners or heirs, according to the museum. Some 1,400 works were confiscated from Gurlitt’s Munich home in 2012 in the course of an investigation for tax evasion. Other works were subsequently found in Gurlitt’s second home in Salzburg, Austria. Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand, was an art dealer on assignment to the Nazis. When Hildebrand Gurlitt died in 1956, his son inherited the collection, which includes
4 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org
works by Picasso, Durer, Renoir, ToulouseLautrec, Beckmann and Matisse. In April, Gurlitt signed an agreement with the state of Bavaria and the German federal government in which the provenance of all works would be researched, paving the way for the return of the paintings to the heirs of the rightful owners. Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference, applauded the museum’s announcement. “Today, Germany and Switzerland stood up and said this is what we believe are best practices,” he said. “And now the world is watching.” (JTA)
New Dutch app offers original writings of Anne Frank A publisher in Amsterdam released the first smartphone application to contain Anne Frank’s diary in its original language. Uitgeverij Prometheus unveiled the Dutch-language app last month at the Theater Amsterdam, a 1,100-seat auditorium that was built in the Dutch capital earlier this year for the show “Anne,” about the Jewish teenage diarist’s life. The app, which costs approximately $8.50 to download, contains the international bestseller, The Diary of a Young Girl —a version of Anne’s writings edited and brought to print by her father, Otto. It tells the story of the Frank family’s two years in hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam until their deportation to German concentration camps, where only Otto Frank survived. But the app also contains several unedited versions written by Anne Frank. The app also features two interactive timelines with photographs from World War II and the secret annex where the Franks hid. It also has video interviews with Miep Gies, who helped the Franks in hiding. It further contains the audio book of The Diary of a Young Girl read by Carice van Houten, the Dutch actress who portrays The Red Woman in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. The Dutch-language app is the second app containing the diary, which is the intellectual property of the Anne Frank Fonds in Basel, Switzerland—a nonprofit foundation founded by Otto Frank in 1963. The first Anne Frank app appeared in English last year. Kugelmann, a board member of the Anne Frank Fonds., said the app “aims to make the
Anne Frank story and its context accessible to a new generation of readers.” (JTA)
Presbyterians against divestment take out full-page NYT ad A Presbyterian group took out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling on fellow church members to oppose divestment from Israel. “Presbyterians: We can do better than divestment,” read the headline on the ad signed by scores of Presbyterian clergy and laypeople under the rubric of the group Presbyterians for a Just and Peaceful Future in the Middle East. Last June, after a contentious debate at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), members voted 310-303 to approve divestment from the stock of three U.S. companies that do business with Israeli security services in the West Bank: Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard. The authors of the ad wrote, “We are among the many Presbyterians all over the country who have worked against this action, believing that divestment would strengthen the extreme positions on both sides of this conflict without alleviating the suffering of Palestinians—and further divide and discourage the vast center of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) that longs for justice with love for both peoples.” The ad called on fellow Presbyterians to reclaim the church’s role as a “repairer of the breach” among Christians, Muslims and Jews; reaffirm the church’s commitment to a two-state solution; and seek opportunities to strengthen joint IsraeliPalestinian ventures. (JTA) Children can view ancient Jewish manuscripts with new free app The Israel Antiquities Authority has launched a free app to introduce archaeology to children using games and puzzles. The app Dig Quest: Israel is available through the App Store. The games were developed in collaboration with Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists and researchers. As they play, children get a feeling of what archaeologists do and their excitement when they discover something new. Fifteen 2,000-year-old manuscripts, including fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, are featured in the app. (JTA)
Welcome home to our Modern Maccabees
he story of the Maccabees has inspired generations of Jews for thousands of years. From the Jews of ancient Israel to the soldiers of the IDF, the incredible bravery and achievements of this small band of guerilla warriors has given hope to the down-trodden and inspired us to shine light (literally and metaphorically) in dark places. So, who are today’s Modern Maccabees? Who are the people on the frontlines of the cultural war of Judaism’s right to exist and the right of the Jewish people to the Jewish homeland? Of course, you could say the soldiers of the IDF, but I have a less-obvious group in mind. These days, if we ask where is the frontline in the battle against anti-Israel propaganda hiding anti-Semitic attacks, it might take you a moment to answer. You might think that it is in European parliaments or in some other international setting, but the truth is that even with this summer’s slew of anti-Semitic incidents around Europe and even in America, college campuses remain the flashpoint for the Israel debate in America. This is intentional. When Jimmy Carter wrote a book dragging the misleading “apartheid” attack on Israel back into use, he started touring college campuses to promote the book. When two college professors, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, wrote a misguided if not propagandist “academic” paper, which is now a book, trying to create a wedge between Israel and the United States, they started lecturing on their paper at college campuses. And of course, when the world’s leading Holocaust deniers and Israel condemners, look for a place in America to speak
their views, they choose college campuses. Israel’s detractors know that pretty much all of America’s future leaders pass through campus, and they are targeting them. Are our kids up for the challenge? It is up to us to make sure they are. A few years ago, I got to hear from an incredible college student, Jacob Shapiro. That school year, when then-Iranian President Ahmadinejad came to speak at Columbia University, many were concerned that his visit would lead to a more robust anti-Israel and anti-Semitic presence on campus in general, and it could have. Instead Jacob, along with his pro-Israel friends, used the visit and commotion as an opportunity to make something great happen. Jacob and his friends organized a counter-rally on the day of the speech. They had spent a lot of time creating relationships with other campus groups and now got them to come out to make statements at the rally. In the end, the show of support for Israel was overwhelming. They had more than 30 campus groups come and attend the rally and make speeches! They also took advantage of the added presence of the media to get their message out, making sure there were always pro-Israel voices present to counter the attacks. They took a bad situation and made it into an opportunity to do something good for Jewish students on campus, and also for all Jews and Israelis. Needless to say, I was very impressed. Jacob’s story reminded me in some ways of the Chanukah story. Listening to Jacob speak, I was proud to be a Jew—that’s what Chanukah is all about. A small group of Jews stood up against incredible odds and won a great victory for themselves and the Jewish people. All across the country, the youngest adult members of the Jewish community, the ones on campus, are witnessing the boldest attacks against Israel and are stepping up to defend her and the Jewish ideals she represents. These attacks have only intensified as the BDS movement begins to take hold in this country and after the weak and wishy-washy response of the world to this summer’s anti-Semitic attacks
should all be grateful to our Jewish (not to mention to the Gaza War itself). college communities and our own An organization called the Tidewater college students for Israel on Campus Coalition We weathering the storm and (www.IsraelCC.org), comshould all making sure the pro-Israprised of 31 different el, Jewish voice is heard. organizations such as be grateful to What better way to celHillel, AIPAC, AEPi and ebrate this beautiful CAMERA, is working to our Jewish college Festival of Lights than give students the supcommunities and by finding a way to show port they need. Be sure our support for students to direct any college-age our own Tidewater on campuses where students you know to these types of attacks are that website and check it college students for constant? They are our out yourself. Also, locally weathering the modern Maccabees and let our CRC does an excellent me be the first to say weljob of reaching out to our storm. come home and enjoy your college students when they break! are home, as well as of teaching —Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz, our high school students. Still, we can and must do more to Congregation Beth El support our students on campus. We
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Netanyahu fires Lapid and Livni, moving Israel closer to early elections by Ben Sales
TEL AVIV (JTA)—For the second time in about two years, Israel appears to be headed toward elections. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 2 that he will support a bill to dissolve the Knesset, leading to elections next spring. Ahead of the announcement, Netanyahu fired two key Cabinet ministers, Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni, after they publicly criticized his performance as prime minister. “In this government it’s much harder to do everything for the security and welfare of Israel’s citizens,” Netanyahu said. “This government, from the day it was born, was adversarial. That’s because my party, the Likud, didn’t get enough votes. So from the first moment, there was friction.” The collapse heralds an acrimonious end to a coalition of rivals ranging from the nationalist-right to the center-left. The
unlikely coalition agreed early on about the need to integrate the haredi Orthodox into Israel’s economy and society but disagreed on almost everything else—from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the relationship between religion and state. Should Netanyahu win another term, he has indicated that he will revert to a more stable coalition of right-wing parties—including the haredi Orthodox factions—that partnered with him before 2013 but were left out of the current fractious coalition. “The previous government, I believe, was one of the best, most stable governments in the history of Israel, a true unity government,” Netanyahu said. “We need to elect a new government, a stronger government, a more stable government.” As the coalition spats morphed into a full-blown crisis, Lapid, the finance minister and head of Yesh Atid, the largest party in Netanyahu’s coalition, castigated Netanyahu for playing politics instead of
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passing sensible legislation, including next year’s state budget. “These elections are not about a particular issue—not about security and not about society—but an election between those who came to work and those who came to block everything,” Lapid said in a speech Dec. 2. “We came to work. That’s all we wanted, that’s all we still want.” The Knesset is likely to approve new elections in the coming days, leading to a national vote in March or April. Opposition parties already have proposed bills to dissolve the Knesset. The last national elections were held in January 2013. Elections are scheduled now for November 2017. A poll conducted last month by the Dialog Institute suggested that early elections would hurt Yesh Atid and benefit Netanyahu’s Likud party. Yesh Atid would drop from 19 Knesset seats to 11, while Likud would rise from 18 to 24, the survey showed. The nationalist Jewish Home led by Naftali Bennett would grow from 12 to 16 seats, while two center-left parties—Labor and Hatnua—would drop, according to the poll. Labor, guided by Isaac Herzog, would fall from 15 seats to 13, and Hatnua, led by Livni, would slip from six seats to four. The survey also suggested general disaffection with Israel’s current leader: Only 35 percent of respondents said Netanyahu is fit to be prime minister. Israeli coalition crises sometimes have been averted at the last minute. In May 2012, a vote to dissolve the Knesset was rendered irrelevant after Likud joined with the centrist Kadima party in a short-lived unity government. Given the divisions in this coalition, however, such a deal is less likely. Since this government formed, coalition partners have fought over everything from peace talks to the economy to religious issues. Rifts began to widen after this summer’s war in Gaza, with Bennett blaming Netanyahu for not hitting Hamas harder
and Lapid accusing Netanyahu of bringing relations with the United States to crisis. Netanyahu said that he wants to avoid a repeat of such battles and would partner with Jewish Home and the haredi Orthodox parties, which helped provide him with a stable government between 2009 and 2012. Such a coalition would oppose making concessions to the Palestinians and likely would seek to roll back laws passed last year that included haredi men in Israel’s mandatory conscription and cut subsidies to haredi families. Yesh Atid, which was elected last year to pass those laws, likely will fade along with the promise it made to represent the Israeli political center. The history of the Knesset is littered with consensus-minded centrist parties that rose in one election only to fall in the next. Some of Yesh Atid’s losses would probably translate into gains for a new economically progressive centrist party led by former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon that is predicted to win 13 seats. The as-yet unnamed party probably would caucus with the right, further strengthening Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc. Before any national election campaign gets under way, Netanyahu and Bennett face primary contests in their own parties. Bennett must fend off conservative rivals within Jewish Home, a coalition of several religious Zionist factions. In Likud, which is slated to hold a primary in January, Netanyahu faces a challenge from Danny Danon, a former deputy defense minister to Netanyahu’s right who was fired after he publicly criticized the prime minister’s handling of the Gaza war. Though the fight in recent weeks between Netanyahu on one side and Lapid and Livni on the other over a proposed law that would enshrine Israel’s status as a Jewish state helped highlight the divisions within the coalition, the current coalition crisis seemed weeks, if not months, in the making. The question now is what comes next.
from the day it was born, was adversarial.
U.S. Jewish groups opposing Israel’s ‘Jewish state’ law worry about consequences by Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON (JTA)—It’s not unusual to hear U.S. Jewish groups speaking out against laws that discriminate and framing their protests as protecting Jewish interests. What’s unusual is that the target this time is the Israeli government and the proposed law emphasizes Jewish rights. At issue is Israel’s nation-state bill, which if passed by the Knesset would enshrine Israel’s status as a Jewish state into law. Proponents say the bill would reinforce the Jewish character of Israel, but opponents charge that it would jeopardize the state’s democratic character and undermine Israel’s Arab minority. Most major American Jewish groups weighing in on the debate are against it. “It is troubling that some have sought to use the political process to promote an extreme agenda which could be viewed as an attempt to subsume Israel’s democratic character in favor of its Jewish one,” the Anti-Defamation League, the first group to speak out against the bill, said in a statement Nov. 24, a day after the Israeli Cabinet approved a version of the bill. American Jewish groups against the measure outline two broad reasons for their opposition: the fear that it is ammunition for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish forces already feeding off the aftermath of Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip and recent tensions in Jerusalem; and the fear that Israel is drifting from its democratic character, particularly in laws and practices that target minorities and women. “The proposed Jewish state bill is ill-conceived and ill-timed,” Kenneth Bandler, the American Jewish Committee’s spokesman, says. Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, says the bill provides cover for Israel’s enemies. “It’s an unnecessary debate, it has spillover and provides fodder,” he says. “What comes out of this? Nothing.” Other major groups opposing or expressing reservations about the proposed law include the Reform and Conservative movements, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella body for Jewish pub-
lic policy groups. The Zionist Organization of America is among the few U.S. Jewish groups that have taken a stand in favor of the nationstate bill. “Non-Jewish citizens live and are welcome in Israel, but the Israeli state, its institutions, laws, flag, and anthem reflect the history and aspirations of the people who founded it with their labor, resources and blood,” ZOA President Morton Klein says. The U.S. State Department has said that it expects “final legislation to continue Israel’s commitment to democratic principles.” In Israel, the opposition to the bill is led by President Reuven Rivlin. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backs the law—although he has yet to settle on final language—and has pledged to bring it to the Knesset for a vote as early as this week. As a “basic law,” the law would have constitutional heft. Its backers say giving continued on page 8
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continued from page 7
Israel’s Jewishness a constitutional underpinning is increasingly necessary given attempts to delegitimize the state. “The State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said Nov. 23. “It has equal individual rights for every citizen and we insist on this. But only the Jewish people have national rights: a flag, anthem, the right of every Jew to immigrate to the country and other national symbols. These are granted only to our people, in its one and only state.” Such talk induces uneasiness in American Jews who over decades have been invested in an Israel in which Jewishness and democracy have successfully melded in equal parts, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, says. “Let us strengthen Israel’s democratic foundation,” Jacobs says, noting in an interview a recent proliferation of attacks on minorities in Israel as well as statements from Israeli politicians elevating the Jewish character of the state over its democratic values. “If anything needs strengthening, that’s what needs strengthening,” he says, referring to democratic values. U.S. Jewish groups generally confine their criticism of Israel’s government to issues of status that affect Israel’s Jewish citizens, like the treatment of the non-Orthodox religious streams and discrimination against women. They avoid criticism—at least in public—that would feed into attempts by Israel’s enemies to depict it as racist and exclusionary. This bill is an exception, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, says, because it has broader implications than a single decision involving the Palestinians that might draw controversy. “This law speaks fundamentally to the democratic nature of Israel,” she says. Schonfeld says Jewish-American sensitivities already were sharpened because of a series of legislative initiatives in Israel that would limit the rights of the non-Orthodox and practices that discriminate against
women, like segregation on some buses. Particularly galling, she says, was a law that a ministerial committee maintained this week that criminalizes marriage by non-Orthodox rabbis. “These laws that violate religious freedom are building blocks to anti-democratic legislation,” Schonfeld says. The nation-state law also has drawn criticism from liberal Jewish groups that in the past have not hesitated to target what they see as discriminatory Israeli policies. Among the groups are Americans for Peace Now, the New Israel Fund and J Street. Rachel Lerner, a J Street vice president, says American Jews have internalized democracy and equal rights for all as Jewish values in part because of the protections they have been afforded in the United States. “We’ve had equal rights because this country is so accommodating, so there’s a lot of sensitivity toward that,” Lerner says. Several major groups, including the Orthodox Union and the Jewish Federations of North America, have yet to weigh in. A source close to Jewish Federations says the umbrella body wants to see a final draft of the bill before pronouncing. Netanyahu reportedly is seeking ways to include in the bill an emphasis on Israel’s democratic nature and its commitment to equal rights. The JCPA in its statement called for postponing Knesset consideration of the bill and urged that the final draft make clear that Israel remains committed to equal rights. “If they’re going to do this bill, it should be incredibly clear that there is no intention to diminish the rights of citizens who are not Jewish,” JCPA’s president, Rabbi Steve Gutow, says. Schonfeld says the law is the wrong solution to whatever anxieties are driving its proponents. “This is a time of great anticipatory anxiety among Jews, and it calls for signal courage and not to give in to fears,” Schonfeld says. “This seems to be legislation motivated by fear and not by courage.”
Voices of the Generations creator visits Tidewater by Amy Zelenka, UJFT Women’s Campaign director
n a chilly Sunday morning, more than 60 women came to the Sandler Family Campus to hear from guest speaker Julie Kohner, creator of Voices of the Generations. As the second in a series of “Women’s Cabinet PLUS ONE” events, participants were welcomed by Cabinet Outreach and Engagement chair Janet Mercadante, who was followed by Holocaust Commission member Betsy Karotkin, who introduced the speaker. Co-hosted by the Women’s Cabinet and Holocaust Commission, the presentation centered around Kohner’s memories of Walter and Hanna—her mother and father. Walter Kohner came to the United States on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power and just as the situation in Europe was becoming untenable for Jews. He came with the intention of settling in Los Angeles (where his brother had been living for some time) and then sending for his young finance, Hanna. Their plans were foiled when Hanna’s family began moving from country to country in an effort to outrun Nazi persecution, which was sweeping across Europe. Eventually Hanna and her family were sent to work camps and then to extermination camps. Hanna survived four camps. When the war was over, through a series of inquiries, Walter managed to find her, and he traveled to Europe to finally bring her home. Their story is documented in their autobiography Hanna and Walter: A Love Story. Less than a decade after WWII and the fall of Hitler and the Nazis, Hanna Kohner, living in Los Angeles and married to Walter, a Hollywood Artists representative,
Guest speaker Julie Kohner signs copies of her parents’ biography.
appeared on what many would call the very first reality TV show ever—Ralph Edward’s This is Your Life. Kohner showed the video of the show. Hanna was a beautiful, slender and glamorous young American woman. Perfectly Shari Berman, Harriet Dickman and Shira Itzhak. Ellen Sacks, Sara Kruger, Elka Mednick and Annabel Sacks. coiffed and outfitted with white gloves and perfect makeup, one would have been shocked to learn that at the time of her liberation, Hannah (although still slender) was a frail, sick and emaciated girl. In his trademark Shelby Tudor with her mom, Jane Dobbins. talk-show host style Ralph Edwards asked Hanna many Vivian Turok, Babbi Bangel, Shelley Slone, Denise Goldwasser and Lynn Segal. questions about her life—before, during and after the them, but furthermore, they made her more determined than ever to share her Holocaust. For many viewers, this episode was the story with others, painful though it might first time that they had “met” a Holocaust be, in order to put a face to the story of so survivor and the first time that they learned many millions lost. During the Q & A session following about the horrors of the Holocaust. The highlight of the show was a dramatic her presentation, Kohner displayed a gold reunion with Hannah’s brother Freidl (who charm bracelet. That bracelet was given to was flown to the U.S. from Israel, where Hanna Kohner by the producers and adver- Lauren Barkan with Carin Simon. he’d emigrated after the war). Hanna had tisers of This is Your not seen her brother since before the war. Life, and the charms The emotional reunion made for far more it contained reprethan TV ratings. It was a moving moment sented the people, places and events for all in the room. Kohner’s presentation then “fast-for- which comprised warded” about 30 years to the mid-1980’s the story of her life. and a short video clip (this one in color, It was a hard-fought rather than black and white) where Walter and meaningful life, and Hanna are being interviewed about and a living lesson their book on a local morning talk show to future generain San Diego, Calif. The interviewer asked tions. how Hanna felt about the growing number of Holocaust deniers. Her response Jodi Klebanoff, UJFT Women’s Cabinet chair, Julie Kohner and was that she was, of course angry about Janet Mercadante, Cabinet Outreach and Engagement chair.
jewishnewsva.org | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 9
Inspired Israeli engages and educates students at George Mason University by Fred Cooper
akir Daniel’s dream, as a Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at George Mason University Hillel, is “to build a bridge between students and Israel” and not only enhance their connection with the Jewish state, “but also the connection between Jewish values and Jewish life.” Daniel, age 29, from a kibbutz near Haifa, arrived at Mason as the Fall semester began and will spend one to two years working with Ross Diamond, Mason Hillel executive director. “I feel at home already and appreciate the welcoming atmosphere created by the Northern Virginia Jewish community,” Daniel says. Since his arrival, students say, he seems to be everywhere at once: handing out humus and cooking Shakshuka for students, building the sukkah, becoming a fixture at Israel Student Association meetings. Aside from being everyone’s favorite Kiddush leader at Shabbat dinners, Yakir
brings a passion and experience to campus that has been instrumental in supporting a change of culture on our campus,” says Mason senior Nathan Smuckler from Yorktown, Va. Jewish Agency Fellows are young Israelis who have served in the Israel Defense Forces, who become a campus resource, sharing their experiences, and in doing so reflect Israel’s values and accomplishments. According to the Jewish Agency, “they often become the face of Israel for students, offering them a unique and authentic relationship with Israel and Israelis.” “I will try to engage with Jewish students, including those who sit on fence and don’t want to be involved,” says Daniel. “Our goal is to cause them to be more involved. I believe that I can touch every Jewish student and hope I can be an influence.“ While in the Israel Defense Forces, Daniel rose to the rank of Captain and served as an information technology project officer, including responsibility for IT
training. He holds a B.sc in Computer Science. “I just graduated myself; my Army service delayed my degree. So I have a lot in common with the Mason students, but I can also relate to them about my experience in Israel and in the army and not just about conflict, but about ordinary life in Israel. I can also be a resource, I want to share my knowledge of IT and innovation in Ross Diamond and Yakir Daniel. the computer field,” he says. Daniel’s mother, a retired teacher, was all students who want to talk about Israel born in Egypt. His father, a retired trans- and conflict,” he says, adding he looks forward to helping members of the portation manager, is from India. They Mason community know more immigrated with their parents to about Israel. “I appreciate the Israel as children. So it is not curiosity of students and surprising that when Daniel my goal is to reach out to reached beyond Hillel and as many as possible.” began to build bonds with Even prior to his other campus student arrival at George organizations, his first Mason, Daniel made stop was the Indian stua lasting impression dent club. His father is on Hillel director from Cuchin, in Kerala Diamond. “My cousin State in India, a place he was severely injured visited with his father in Gaza during last year. He says he Operation Protective believes it can be a good Edge. After sharing relationship. Daniel is this with Yakir he sent a also a Fellow of the public friend to visit him in the diplomacy program, “Stand hospital in Beer Sheva. With Us,” which is dedicatHe sent me a picture of my ed to informing the public entire mishpucha (family). about Israel and to combating It was incredibly moving to extremism and anti-Semitism. me. Yakir is the type of person Daniel says the biggest surprise to go above and beyond for a friend, he has had at George Mason came on the first day he walked into the Johnson because of his commitment to his Jewish Center, the university’s student union. He values. This is the type of leadership I see spotted a banner advertising the well-or- him imparting to our students.” The Israel Fellow at George Mason ganized anti-Israel group on campus, Students Against Israeli Apartheid. He says University is generously supported by the he welcomes dialogue about Israel with Tidewater Jewish community. non-Jewish students. “I want to be open to
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Global surges of anti-Semitism First Person
The alarming rise of anti-Semitism in Europe Joy Wolfe MBE, chairman of StandWithUs UK, shares her concerns about the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe, with a particular focus on the UK where she lives. by Joy Wolfe
hroughout history, we Jews have been targeted and faced difficult times. In 2014, it appears that this is a rising trend yet again, particularly here in Europe. But Jews have a history of survival and finding a way of finding positive outcomes out of evil. There can be little doubt that there is a growing trend of anti-Semitism, but one of the best outcomes of the current rise in the UK and other parts of Europe is that it has unified the Jewish community with our non-Jewish friends in a very positive and meaningful way. Speaking as both a community leader and a Zionist activist for the past 60 years, it has been heartening over the past few months to be joined by so many younger enthusiastic new activists who have taken on the mantle of defending our community. This is something we must nurture and encourage. The emergence out of adversity of groups like North West Friends of Israel and Sussex Friends of Israel and indeed many Friends of Israel groups in the most unlikely places, has been a breath of fresh air, and oddly enough, we have the boycotters to thank for that as they have awakened many people out of their apathy and complacency. Speaking at a rally against anti-Semitism in Manchester on Oct. 19 attended by more than 2,000 people, I said, “Today is about ANTI-SEMITISM, NOT ANTIZIONISM, but I doubt if there are many people here who do not see the strong link between the two. There are those who blame the rise of anti-Semitism on what is going on in Israel, and while to a degree that may be true, I want to say loud and clear that while our enemies and detractors will say that the recent conflicts in
Gaza are to blame for the growth of anti Jewish acts and marches and rallies with slogans of KILL THE JEWS and HITLER WAS RIGHT, which we have seen in recent times, blaming Israel is the excuse for rising anti-Semitism, not the cause.” The level of anti-Semitism that reared its head in parliament during the debate on Palestine in October was really alarming. However, we should not disregard the fact that over half the Members of Parliament (MPs) chose to stay away rather that support the call to recognize Palestine. When we have so many people damning both Israel and the Jews, it is easy to think everyone is against us. And believe it or not in October at an international conference on the rebuilding of Gaza, John Kerry blamed successful recruitment for ISIS and the Islamic State on the failure of the Israel/Palestinian conflict, citing humiliation and denial and absence of dignity. In other words, something else for America to blame on the Jews. Does he and the Obama administration seriously believe that all the ills in the Middle East will evaporate if only Israel and the Palestinians could miraculously sit round a table and abandon all their entrenched positions? MPs fell over each other to damn Israel with references to Apartheid Israel and one of them, MP David Ward, already notorious for his outrageous views and comments, recently resorted to the worn out viewpoint that it is the Jews who run America’s banks. We constantly have people telling us the Jews run the media, the Jews run the banks, indeed those pesky Jews run everything. All I can say is that if those allegations
were even half true, we would make a far better job of running things than those who are responsible do!!! Many people have tried to destroy us over the years and failed, not the least of them Hitler. Many Holocaust survivors made their home here in the UK and are loyal and supportive British citizens contributing in no small measure to the success of the UK. We came to the UK as a refugee community and through hard work and loyalty we have achieved so much and earned the respect of many. Would that the Palestinian refugees had been allowed the same freedom by their leaders to settle and enjoy a decent standard of life in the same way. We cannot paper over the fact that there is indeed a rise in anti-Semitism as shown by current Community Security Trust statistics and reports of incidents and often violence from many European countries. Nor can we hide the fact that many of us feel threatened and fear for the future of our children and grandchildren. A recent small sample poll published by the Jewish Chronicle suggests “almost two-thirds of British Jews have questioned their future in the UK. Forty percent of European Jewry suppress their Jewish identity, not wearing kippot or Magen Davids due to anti-Semitism; French Jewry are leaving for Israel in the thousands because of violent anti-Semitism; and Hungary is also experiencing high levels. And do not make the mistake of thinking the U.S. is immune. Incidents in New York have risen by over 35 percent, and anti-Israel activity on some U.S. campuses, often led by university staff, is unacceptable. Above all, we cannot afford to be complacent, and we need to deliver a positive
Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, with Joy Wolfe.
message and a strong plea for us to stand tall and proud and fight back against those who are peddling the anti-Semitic message. We cannot let them win and threaten our future. We have to go for the bottle’s half-full view on life and spread a positive message. We need to share the message that, far from everyone being against us, we have many good friends who will continue to stand by us. There was plenty of evidence of that at the recent Manchester rally where the Jewish community was joined by many of our Christian friends, a group or Kurds, speakers including one from the Hindu community, a young very active Muslim activist who speaks out on behalf of Israel, two non-Jewish MPs and a dynamic Christian minister who founded Christians for Zion. We need more people to stand up and be counted and to fight the good fight against both anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. That way we can defeat those who would destroy us and we can be true to our commitment to those who perished in the Holocaust, when we have vowed NEVER AGAIN.
jewishnewsva.org | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 11
Global surges of anti-Semitism
Is it anti-Semitic to criticize Israel? by Noam Gilboord
he Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a unique ability to inspire uniquely powerful emotions within members of the Jewish community. A collective national narrative of expulsion, persecution and extermination gives us good reason in our kishkas to advocate for the Jewish state and protect the right of Israel to exist in security. I doubt many Jews believe that anti-Semitism no longer exists in our world. It undoubtedly does, be it in political cartoons, hate-speech or physical attacks. For this reason, when certain individuals speak about the Israeli government in a less-than-flattering manner, some Israel advocates are quick to label this speech as anti-Semitism. The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is a partner of the Israel Action Network, a strategic initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs aimed at countering assaults on Israel’s legitimacy. We work with the field of Israel advocates, professional and lay, to train them on the most effective methods to organize community-based solutions to challenges posed to Israel by those who seek to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state. Over the course of my travels to Jewish communities around the United States, I’m often asked: “Is it anti-Semitic to criticize
Israel?” I answer, “No.” Criticism of government policies is an integral part of any democracy. It functions as a method of holding governments accountable for their actions. In fact, Israelis criticize their government’s policies all the time. It’s practically their national sport, whether they take issue with the prolonged immigration process, the high cost of living or handling of the conflict with the Palestinians. If it were anti-Semitic to criticize Israel, almost every Israeli would be labeled a Jew-hater. The American Jewish community must understand that this legitimate type of criticism which seeks to improve Israeli society is legitimate and welcome. What is illegitimate is the increasing call to demonize Israel and isolate her amongst the community of nations in an attempt to ultimately destroy her. A small, yet vocal group of activists known as the BDS Movement are attempting to do so through a global campaign to encourage boycotts of Israeli products, divestment from Israeli companies or companies doing business in Israel and punitive economic sanctions. The leaders of this movement subscribe to a one-state solution to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. In this solution, the borders between Israel, the West Bank and Gaza will dissolve and millions of Palestinian refugees will flood Israel, making Jews a
minority in their own state. Of course, this would effectively eliminate the Jewish state just 70 years after the Holocaust. Regardless of one’s opinions on Israeli policies toward Palestinians, the BDS Movement’s failure to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, even as part of a two-state solution, is not only anti-Zionism, but also a form of anti-Semitism. Criticism of Israel crosses over the line into delegitimization in many cases. Those who question the validity of Israel’s founding, demonize Israel and equate its policies with that of Apartheid South Africa or Nazi Germany, or hold Israel to unreasonable double standards are often engaged in delegitimizing the Jewish state. If you are unsure if an individual or an organization is questioning Israel’s legitimacy, ask yourself: Does the organization or person voicing the criticism or pursuing the policy, share a commitment to a two-state solution and support Israel’s right to exist as a democratic Jewish state living beside a democratic state of Palestine? While supporting Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is incredibly important to our community, we must learn to be smarter and more effective in terms of our advocacy. Sounding the “Anti-Semitism” alarm whenever someone says something remotely critical of Israel can make the Jewish community sound like the boy who
cried wolf. The Israel Action Network’s approach seeks to combat the delegitimization of Israel in an effective manner. Where Israel’s existence as a Jewish state is challenged—on college campuses, academic associations, church movements, pension funds, corporations, entertainment and other arenas—we will continue to mobilize our network of Jewish federations to create tailor-made strategies that directly address the specific threat with surgical precision. With this approach, we will keep the BDS Movement confined to the extreme left margin of the political spectrum and maintain bipartisan American support for Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. —Noam Gilboord is the director of Community Strategy for the Israel Action Network.
ADL slams Hagee for calling Obama ‘anti-Semitic’ NEW YORK (JTA)—The Anti-Defamation League slammed the founder of Christians United for Israel for calling President Obama “anti-Semitic.” Pastor John Hagee’s “remarks about President Obama were offensive and misplaced,” Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, said. “One can agree to disagree about the president and his administration’s record in dealing with Israel, but to apply the label
of ‘anti-Semitic’ is a serious denigration and distortion of the term.” Hagee made his remarks at the annual dinner in New York of the Zionist Organization of America. Citing recent tensions between the Obama administration and the Israeli government, Hagee called Obama “one of the most anti-Semitic presidents in the history of the United States of America.” He also said Obama was “trying to break” the U.S.-
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Israel relationship. Foxman countered in his statement: “The president continues to be a staunch ally and friend of Israel and friend of the Jewish community. And while we and members of the Jewish community have not always seen eye-to-eye with this administration on certain issues involving the Jewish State, the fact remains that this administration has continued the strong and unwavering alliance with Israel.”
Also appearing at the ZOA event was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is considering a run for the presidency in 2016. Cruz slammed the Obama administration’s handling of nuclear negotiations with Iran, warning that Tehran was on the path to acquiring a nuclear weapon. He predicted Congress would act soon to enhance Iran sanctions. The enthusiastic crowd then urged him, “Run, Ted, Run.”
Global surges of anti-Semitism
Make it Happen
Turkish official denies governor’s threat to turn synagogue into museum
Turkish official said that a historic synagogue under renovation will not be turned into a museum as another official had threatened. The 107-year-old Buyuk Synagogue (the Great Synagogue) in the northwestern province of Edirne will remain a “house of worship to serve all visitors,” Foundations Director General Adnan Ertem told the Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s official news agency. Edirne’s governor, Dursun Sahin, had threatened to turn the synagogue into a museum as punishment for Israel’s alleged actions against Jerusalem’s Al-Aksa Mosque. “When those bandits blow winds of war inside Al-Aksa and slain Muslims, we build in their synagogues. I say this with a huge hatred inside me,” Suhin said. “We clean their graveyards, send their projects to boards. The synagogue here will be registered only as a museum, and there will be no exhibition inside it.” Ertem told reporters that it was not within Suhin’s authority to change the function of the synagogue, which the Turkish government is paying to renovate.
“All decisions regarding the functions of the buildings owned by the Directorate General of Foundations are taken by the directorate,” Ertem said. “All visitors should be able easily pray there…. That is our intention.” Suhin’s comments stirred controversy in Turkey and abroad. An opposition lawmaker called for the governor’s resignation for his remarks, according to the Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s oldest English-language daily. The Anti-Defamation League also issued a statement denouncing Suhin’s comments, which the group called “offensive and threatening.” “He did not try to hide his hatred of Jews—it was clearly expressed in his public comments,” Abraham Foxman, ADL National director, said in the statement. Foxman went on to say that “[we] urge responsible leaders at the highest levels of the Turkish government to add their voices of rejection and condemnation of these offensive and threatening comments.” (JTA)
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jewishnewsva.org | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 13
Global surges of anti-Semitism Teen charged in anti-Semitic beating in NYC of Israeli rabbi
ew York Police arrested a 15-year-old boy who allegedly participated in an anti-Semitic attack at a Brooklyn subway station. The teenager, who was arrested on Tuesday, Nov. 18, is accused of being one of three assailants who beat an Orthodox Jewish man with his own umbrella the previous day and shouted anti-Semitic epithets, according to the New York Daily News. Police charged the teen with assault as a hate crime. The victim, who has identified himself to the media as Rabbi Haim, is an Israeli citizen who came to New York for treatment of Hodgkins lymphoma. “Maybe those people think the cancer I have, it’s not enough,” he told WCBS-TV.
According to the news website DNAinfo, police have said that the victim is Hasidic. Rabbi Haim was beaten with his own umbrella after he discovered the three suspects trying to take his wallet at the Marcy Avenue station in Williamsburg, a neighborhood with a large Hasidic community. The assailants called him a “dirty bloody Jew” and a “f—ing Jew” during the attack, according to the Daily News. A bystander who intervened in the attack also was attacked, the Daily News reported. The attackers fled on a Manhattan-bound train. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the incident. (JTA)
Argentine students paint over anti-Semitic graffiti in public park BUENOS AIRES, Argentina ( JTA)— Argentine students from four non-Jewish schools joined forces with the local Jewish community, the national political Jewish umbrella and the municipal government to paint over anti-Semitic graffiti. The students painted tolerance messages and art over neo-Nazi inscriptions at the Parque Urquiza public park in the city of Parana, in the Argentine province of Entre Rios. Entre Rios is the province that once housed agricultural settlements sponsored by Baron de Hirsch in the late 1880s. The public park was vandalized with Nazi symbols and also the inscription in German “Achtun juden,” or “Warning Jews.” “It is the first time that this type of response has occurred and it is a precedent; this establishes the position of the civil society and the government against Nazi symbols in public spaces,” Diego Dlugovitzky, the representative for Parana City to the DAIA national Jewish political umbrella, told JTA.
The action was proposed by the local Jewish community to Parana Mayor Blanca Osuna, who agreed immediately. Representatives of the local Jewish community, the DAIA, students, the mayor and local media attended the Nov. 14 event at the park. “I think these type of attacks are a shame for all of us, and today´s action is a contribution to the education of our youth,” Osuna said. “We do this with the Jewish community, but we are doing this because society needs to care for its members and honor their history. “We were invited to collaborate in the painting to cover the sins, the aggression on the Jewish community. We wanted to fix this, because we think that it is wrong, and we came to help. We are happy to have been called, and doing this is important despite the different religions that everyone comes from,” student Magdalena Tudor, from the Edupro School, told local media. Students from the Sarmiento and La Salle schools and Estudiantes Club also participated in the event.
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Ukraine rabbi: U.S. Jews helped us beat Russia’s anti-Semitism propaganda
ewish communities in Ukraine and the United States have conducted a coordinated and successful effort to refute Russian claims that Ukraine’s revolution unleashed a wave of anti-Semitic acts, one of Ukraine’s chief rabbis said. “We’ve been working very closely with the organized Jewish community to counter the propaganda that is coming out of Russia about anti-Semitism,” Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich said at a news conference in Kiev. “In many ways we feel we’ve won the battle, maybe not the war. There’s a lot less of that anti-Semitism propaganda coming out of Russia today.” Russia and Ukraine have exchanged accusations of anti-Semitism since the eruption last year of a revolution that in February led to the ousting of former president Viktor Yanukovych, whom critics described as a corrupt Kremlin puppet. Ukrainian Jewish groups, including Bleich’s Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, became very critical of the Kremlin after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March, in a move that triggered an ongoing armed conflict between pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s east and Ukrainian government troops. Bleich said the Jewish communities of
Ukraine acted in unison with American ones to counter Russian claims, including Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that the Crimean annexation was to protect minorities, including Jews. “Everybody was coordinated. This wasn’t done with everybody doing his own thing,” Bleich said. Bleich noted the work of the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE), an international nonprofit organization that promotes interethnic ties and was founded by the Canadian industrialist James Temerty. On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Bleich’s organization and UJE awarded the annual Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Award to Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian Jewish oligarch who is one of Ukraine’s richest people and most generous philanthropists. Last year, Temerty received the award. From his residence in Lviv, Sheptytsky helped hide more than 150 Jews during the Holocaust, and he protested the Nazi murder of Jews. But his Holocaust-era record remains controversial because he initially welcomed the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, thinking it preferable to Russian domination under the Communist regime, according to the University of Toronto’s Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine. (JTA)
Suspects arrested in slashing tires of 40 cars in London Jewish neighborhood Two suspects have been arrested in London in an attack on dozens of cars parked in a city Jewish neighborhood. Tires on some 40 cars parked in the streets of Stamford Hill were slashed last month, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported. The incident is being treated as a
racially motivated crime, according to the Chronicle. The cars were makes known to be driven by members of the Jewish community, according to the report. The Guardian newspaper reported that suspects were scheduled to appear in the Thames magistrates’ court. (JTA)
Global surges of anti-Semitism
Ira Forman to discuss Global Anti-Semitism Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, 7:30 pm
he disturbing regularity of incidents of anti-Semitism taking place across the globe has alerted Jewish leaders and government officials to a need to combat the growing trend. Ira N. Forman, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism for the U.S. State Department, will hold a briefing in Tidewater to discuss the current situation. His talk, The Rising Tide of Global Anti-Semitism, A Resurgence of Evil, will take place on the Sandler Family Campus.
Forman was sworn in as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism on May 20, 2013. Previously, Forman served as the Jewish Outreach director for the Obama for America campaign. He served for nearly 15 years as the executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council and spent four years with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, where he worked as political director and legislative liaison. He has also served on the boards of
Ambassador Power cautions that anti-Semitism is threat to Europe’s future Berlin—At a meeting last month of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power called anti-Semitism a rising global problem that threatens the human rights of Jews, as well as all individuals targeted with hatred and violence on account of their religion or ethnicity. Power’s keynote speech came as European leaders gathered to discuss the rising tide of anti-Semitism across the continent. “Ambassador Power made clear that anti-Semitism is a threat to the future of Europe,” says Human Rights First’s Tad Stahnke. “She rightfully highlighted the threat posed by the rise of extreme far-right political parties to the protection of human rights and the values of liberal democracy. The United States needs to be fully engaged to reverse these trends, as the strength of the trans-Atlantic alliance is more important than ever to confront a range of global crises.” In her remarks, Power expressed concerns about the success in European elections of the neo-Nazi Greek Golden Dawn party, as well as the growth of the anti-Semitic extreme nationalist
Jobbik party and Hungary’s rollback of democracy, government suppression of independent media and attacks on civil society. The rise of these far-right, neo-Nazi extremist parties in Hungary and Greece was recently examined in Human Rights First’s report “We’re not Nazis, but...The Rise of Hate Parties in Hungary and Greece and Why America Should Care.” Government representatives and civil society leaders met to review the OSCE’s commitments on combatting anti-Semitism and suggested a 10-point action plan. The recommendations call on OSCE members to: • Condemn unequivocally all manifestations of anti-Semitism; • Investigate and prosecute anti-Semitic and all violent hate crimes; • Work in partnership with civil society, including convening regular consultations with Jewish community organizations and non-Jewish civil and human rights organizations; and, • Implement effective education against anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. “High level political condemnation of anti-Semitism is extremely important, but it must be coupled with action,” Stahnke says.
numerous Jewish non-profits. Throughout his career, Foreman has spoken and written extensively on Jewish history and public policy. He co-edited and wrote for the reference book, Jews In American Politics, has written articles on these topics for the Encyclopedia Judaica and staffed and helped edit the volume, Democrats and the American Idea in his role as a Fellow in American Politics and the Economy at the Center for National Policy. Presented by the United Jewish
Federation of Tidewater, the event is open to the community. RSVP to Samantha Golden at sgolden@ ujft.org or 757 965-6124.
Student beaten outside yeshiva near Moscow
Paris Hilton threatened in belief that she’s Jewish
A student at the Torat Haim yeshiva near Moscow was badly beaten outside the yeshiva. Shlomo (Fyodor) Romanovsky of Belarus was in the hospital and unable to speak due to injuries suffered in the attack, the Russian Interfax news agency reported, citing the Russian Jewish Congress. Three men who spoke a language that was not Russian beat Romanovsky on the head, reportedly with brass knuckles. The assailants attacked immediately upon seeing the student and did not demand anything from him. Romanovsky crawled to the yeshiva and an ambulance was called for him. Police are investigating the incident. (JTA)
American actress and socialite Paris Hilton was threatened on social media by a man who believes she is Jewish. “I know ur Jew family gives nothing” and “KILL JEWS FOR FUN” are among the threats that have been left on the Instagram account of Hilton and her father, Rick, TMZ reported. The man also has threatened to kill and rape Paris Hilton. The family filed a report with the Los Angeles Police Department, which has obtained a search warrant to allow it to track down the Instagram and Facebook accounts of the man threatening them. (JTA)
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The Red Tent gets new life in gauzy Lifetime movie by Debra Nussbaum Cohen
(JTA)—Surely the Torah’s redactors never imagined that their Dinah—voiceless daughter of Jacob and Leah, rape victim avenged by her brothers—would one day be portrayed on the small screen as a lusty young midwife’s apprentice who takes her romantic fate into her own hands. Anita Diamant’s 1997 novel The Red Tent took the shards of Dinah’s story, told in a fairly short chapter of Genesis, and recast them as a layered tale of sisterhood, friendship and love. The book sold 3 million copies and has been translated into more than two dozen languages. Now it’s been adapted into a Lifetime miniseries. The two-part series, to be broadcast Dec. 7–8, stars the Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson as Dinah, Minnie Driver as Leah and Morena Baccarin (Jessica Brody from Homeland) as Rachel. The Scottish actor Iain Glen (Sir Richard Carlisle on Downton Abbey) plays Jacob, and the Israeli actress
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16 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org
Hiam Abbas bears a setting-appropriate accent in her portrayal of Queen Re-Nefer. Lifetime’s vehicle draws heavily from Diamant’s wildly successful novel, which would ultimately help pioneer a new literary genre based on Bible stories. The novel—named for the tent in which the book’s characters take refuge when they menstruate or after giving birth—“legitimized the kind of imaginative examination of women’s narratives that women had been writing and circulating [on a] small scale since the early 1970s,” says Susan Weidman Schneider, editor in chief of the feminist Jewish magazine Lilith. And Carolyn Starman Hessel, the director of the Jewish Book Council, says that Diamant “opened the door” for other writers of biblical fiction. Although The Red Tent may not have been the very first historical novel written in the voice of a biblical woman, “this was the first one that made national headlines, that made best seller lists.” Before hitting on the story of The Red Tent, and after writing four non-fiction books, Diamant, then working as a journalist, decided to try her hand at fiction. Inspired by what she was learning about midrash, or stories that flesh out and analyze biblical narratives, she turned to the story of Rachel and Leah, but didn’t find much to work with and kept reading. “Then I got to Dinah and it doesn’t say anything, but the prince doesn’t act like a rapist,” since he agrees to be circumcised in order to marry her. “I sort of meandered into it, but that was a great story,” says Diamant, a founder of Boston’s non-denominational mikvah, Mayyim Hayyim. When The Red Tent at first garnered few reviews and didn’t sell well, Diamant hit the book club and synagogue circuit, turning it into a New York Times bestseller. “From the response I get from readers, the book hit a whole lot of chords,” the author says, noting that she continues to hear from readers as varied as high school students and midwives—including one who set Diamant’s text to music and sings it to laboring clients. In the 17 years since The Red Tent
was published, many other novels based on biblical characters have hit the market. Most of them, such as Jill Eileen Smith’s series The Wives of the Patriarchs and The Wives of King David, are by Christian authors and geared toward Christian audiences. Notable exceptions include Maggie Anton’s Talmud-inspired Rashi’s Daughters trilogy and Rav Hisda’s Daughter books—the second was recently published. Diamant herself, however, hasn’t been tempted to delve back into the Bible for its fiction plot potential since The Red Tent. Once “it came out and became popular, I couldn’t think another way to do it that would be as fresh,” she says. But the Lifetime series indeed freshens the story, at times to the point of being overripe, while taking ample liberties with Diamant’s text, much as Diamant did with the Bible’s. For example, at the end of the miniseries Dinah returns with Joseph to reconcile with their dying father, Jacob, a scene for which there is no basis in either the novel or the Bible. And while The Red Tent novel speaks of the calloused hands of Dinah and Leah, in the Lifetime movie they and Rachel are all pale English roses speaking with British accents. The miniseries provides Lifetime’s heavily female audience with gauzy love scenes that verge on soft porn. In one scene, light plays across the chiseled abs of a virile young Jacob as he beds his surprise-wife Leah on their wedding night. Instead of Shechem taking Dinah “by force,” as Genesis 34 recounts, in the miniseries Dinah and the Shechem character (Lifetime calls him Shalem) meet—glimpsing one another through sheer fabrics hanging in the marketplace—flirt and fall in passionate love. Diamant, whose fifth and latest novel, The Boston Girl, is to be published Dec. 9, declines to say much about how she feels about the Lifetime adaptation of her book, in which she had no role after selling the rights to it. Her novel has just been reissued with the miniseries poster as its cover. “I was worried [the main characters] would be really blonde, and at least they weren’t,” Diamant says with a laugh.
Super Sunday Committee blends tradition and trends for 2015 Phone-a-thon Article and photos by Laine Mednick Rutherford
or the past several years, the volunteer committee in charge of planning the Tidewater Jewish community’s annual phone-a-thon has asked itself the same question: “Is calling people on their telephones, asking for donations to help their fellow Jews, still relevant?” The 13 members of the 2015 Super Sunday steering committee took less than two minutes to ponder the question at one of their first meetings. Their answer? A resounding, “Yes!” “Whether they’re sitting at home on Sunday, Jan. 25 waiting for a call on their home phones, or are out with their families and get a call or see a Tweet on their cellphone, or are the ones making the calls with 100 other people at the Sandler Campus that day—we’ve heard over and over that this community wants Super Sunday to continue,” says Jeremy Krupnick. Krupnick and Eliot Weinstein co-chair the group of young Jewish adults who were invited by the Young Adult Division of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater to hone their leadership skills through their involvement in Super Sunday. Those who accepted the invitation are ent hu s i a st ically tackling the planning, organizing and execution of the event on Sunday, Jan 25. The idea they chose as this year’s theme, Be Part of Our Next Chapter,
is designed to encompass the ideas of tradition, connection and commitment to a solid future for the Tidewater Jewish community. Jade Rouzeau is new to the area. She began participating in YAD events soon after moving here from Jacksonville, and is eager to help energize the community, and support its Jewish organizations. “This is how I find my connection to the Jewish community—I find out what’s going on, and I get involved.” says Rouzeau. “This is the first committee I’ve been involved in here, but I can already feel how Super Sunday creates a buzz about the community,” she says. “I think we always need a kind of push to reconnect, and what can be better than having a diverse group of people—not just on the committee but on the actual day of Super Sunday--joining together to do something positive and important that makes a difference.” The committee would like to see hundreds, if not thousands, of community members participate in Super Sunday this year—by sharing their Jewish stories on the UJFTidewater Facebook page (in words, images, and videos) beginning now, by volunteering to make calls or share messages on social media on that Sunday,
YAD Super Sunday 2015 Steering Committee Brandon Terkeltaub,Morgan Bober, Eliot Weinstein, Joash Shulman, Callah Davis, Eric Miller, Jeremy Krupnick, David Calliott, Jade Rouzeau, Samantha Golden, Benyamin Yaffe and Joshua Mallenbaum. Missing: Meryl Mulligan and Sean Mulligan.
Super Sunday Committee meets.
and by making donations before, during and after the event at JewishVA.org. “The money we raise during Super Sunday will add, we hope, at least $100,000 to the UJFT’s Annual Campaign to sup-
port our fellow Jews where we live and in communities all around the world,” says Weinstein. “ Volunteers are needed for Super Sunday. Two shifts are available, 9–11 am and 11 am–1 pm. Sign up at JewishVA.org/SuperSunday, or call 757-965-6111.
jewishnewsva.org | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 17
The Rising Tide of Global Anti-Semitism A Resurgence of Evil
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, U.S. State Department
Thursday, January 8, 2015, 7:30 pm Fleder Multi-Purpose Room Sandler Family Campus RSVP by December 31 to Samantha Golden at Sgolden@UJFT.org or 757-965-6124 Sponsored by The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
18 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org
Class brings taste of Breslev Chassidus to Hummus Express
ach Monday, at 6:30 pm, a group of people interested in learning to be better parents meet at the Hummus Express Kosher Mediterranean restaurant to review Rabbi Shalom Arush and discuss Rabbi Shalom Arush’s new book, The Garden of Education. The book is especially designed for parents who either had challenging upbringings and/or who struggle with raising their own children. The discussion is led by Commander Neal Brinn, captain of a U.S. Navy ship, and Joey Miller, a local attorney and current president of B’nai Israel Congregation. Both are members of B’nai Israel and have an interest in what
they feel are the very meaningful messages and teachings of Breslev Chassidus, particularly as explained by Rabbi Arush. Rabbi Arush, and his English translator, Rabbi Lazer Brody, are dynamic and extremely popular figures in Israel and worldwide, having sold millions of copies of their Garden series of books. Commander Brinn says, “While reading this book, I realize that every time I see my children doing something not right, that they are just simply acting as a reflection of me and my own behavior. Rabbi Arush teaches us how to look at your children and, to see a reflection of yourself in them. He then teaches us how to get to work on fixing yourself first. Once you fix the source, the mirror image automatically improves!” The class is held each Monday evening for 30 minutes, at Hummus Express, 727 21st Street in Norfolk. Free hummus and chips and a copy of the book are provided for all attendees. Of course, everyone is encouraged to stay longer and enjoy the full menu of the Israeli food. Hummus Express is supervised by the Vaad Hakashrus of Tidewater. For more information, contact Joey Miller at 757-618-1869.
a h n C u y k p a p h a H
Supplement to Jewish News December 8, 2014
May the Lights of Chanukah Shine Brightly on Your Home
Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
emember last year when we ate our latkes with cranberry sauce, as the first night of Chanukah landed on
Thanksgiving? This year’s holiday seems ‘more on time,’ starting on the evening of
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Tuesday, Dec. 16, just as schools are about to close for the winter break. For families,
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that translates to more celebration time each evening since the kids don’t have to rise and shine early the next morning. In fact, Chanukah offers an abundance of celebration options. Maybe that’s because the festivities continue to evolve as we seem to ‘bump it up’ each year as if we will heighten the holiday’s status to be closer to that other
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December holiday…Christmas. Whatever the reason, we have articles that
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reflect all the activity surrounding Chanukah, which, by the way, means “dedication” in Hebrew, and refers to the eight-day commemoration of the victory of the Maccabees over
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the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “rededication” of the Temple in Jerusalem. Along with new ideas for latke parties, we offer an overview of how some around the world observe the holiday, a look at decorating with Chanukah lights, some high-quality
Cover: Chanukah lights on Colley Avenue in Ghent, Norfolk. Photo by Steve Budman. QR code generated on http://qrcode.littleidiot.be
chocolate alternatives to traditional Chanukah
gelt (yum!), a preview of an exhibit about Chanukah and Christmas music at the National Museum of American Jewish History
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in Philadelphia and an essay about gift-giving,
Jan 12, 2015
their favorite Chanukah memories.
However you celebrate, the staff of Jewish Chanukah!
20 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | Chanukah | Jewishnewsva.org
among our other features. Plus, locals share
News wishes you a warm, tasty and Happy
Special Features Date Issue
Terri Denison Editor
Beyond latkes: Chanukah around the world by Ruth Abusch Magder
SAN FRANCISCO (MyJewishLearning.com)— Chanukah is observed with joy and celebration in Jewish communities around the world. There are eight nights of lights and blessings the world over, but there are also many ways that different communities make the holiday uniquely their own. Here are eight customs and ideas to help you make your celebration just a little more global. • I n Alsace, a region of France, double-decker Chanukah menorahs were common with space for 16 lights. The two levels, each with spots for eight lights, allowed fathers and sons to join together as they each lit their own lights in one single menorah. •O ne custom is to place menorahs in a place where people will be able to view the lights burning and appreciate the miracle of the holiday. In some Jerusalem neighborhoods, spaces are cut into the sides of buildings so people can display them outside. Historically in countries like Morroco and Algeria, and even some communities in India, it was customary to hang a menorah on a hook on a wall near the doorway on the side of the door across from the mezuzah. • I n Yemenite and North African Jewish communities, the seventh night of Chanukah is set aside as a particular women’s holiday commemorating Hannah, who sacrificed seven sons rather than give in to the Greek pressure to abandon Jewish practice, and in honor or Judith, whose seduction and assas-
sination of Holofernes, the Assyrian emperor Nebuchadnezzar’s top general, led to Jewish military victory. •G ift giving at Chanukah is primarily a North American custom, but it is easy to make it global by gifting Jewish items made around the world such as handmade necklaces from Uganda, challah covers from Ghana or kipot from China. • I n Santa Marta, Colombia, the new Jewish community Chavurah Shirat Hayyam, has started its own traditional Chanukah recipe. Instead of eating fried potato latkes, they eat Patacones, or fried plantains. •T he Jewish communities in Ethiopia and parts of India split off from the larger Jewish community in ancient time before Chanukah was established as a Jewish holiday. They only began celebrating the holiday in modern times, when their communities were reunited with other Jewish communities. • I n 1839, thousands of Jews fled Persia where the Muslim authorities began forcibly converting them, and settled in Afghanistan. While some lived openly as Jews, others hid their Jewish identity. When Chanukah time came around, they would not light a spe-
cial menorah for fear it would attract the notice of Muslim neighbors. Instead they filled little plates with oil and set them near each other. If neighbors stopped by, they could simply make the menorah disappear by spreading the plates around the house. •T he rich culinary traditions of the Moroccan Jewish community know not of potato latkes or jelly doughnuts. Rather they favor the citrusy flavors of the Sfenj doughnut, which was made with the juice and zest of an orange. Notably, from the early days of nation building in Israel, the orange came to be associated with the holiday of Chanukah as the famed Jaffa oranges came into season in time for the holiday celebrations. —Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder PhD. is the rabbi in residence at Be’chol Lashon and the editor of the blog Jewish&. A culinary historian and mother of two, she lives and meditates in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter @ rabbiruth.
Are ‘Chanukah lights’ Kosher?
hen did Christmas get the monopoly on lights? After all, Chanukah is the original Festival of Lights. That’s why the Chanukiah is placed in the window. A passerby is supposed to see the lights and remember “A Great Miracle Happened There.” In Hebrew, this is called this Pirsum HaNes or publicizing of the miracle. Many years ago, a candelabra in the window may have been enough to catch the eye, but in an age of strings of lights, blow-up Santas and singing reindeer, the Chanukiah may not get the job done. So why shouldn’t Jews hang additional lights that are uniquely Jewish in nature, to help fulfill the mitzvah of Pirsum HaNes? Sam Guthrie and his company, Holiday Lighting and Design, has been in the outdoor Christmas decorating business for seven years and for seven years he has been frustrated to see so much publicity for Christmas and so very little for Chanukah. This year, Guthrie’s company will offer a line of custom-designed Chanukah decorations, including light-dreidels that appear to spin, Stars-of-David and Chanukaih —all with lights that dance to pre-programmed Chanukah music. Why go through all of this effort and fight for Chanukah lights? “This is important to me,” Guthrie says. “I want my six-year-old son, who attends Hebrew Academy, and his friends to see Chanukah all around them during this season so that they can be as proud of their heritage as the Maccabees were of theirs.” To learn more about a Chanukah light display, email holidaylightinganddesign@ gmail.com or call 757-822-4640.
jewishnewsva.org | Chanukah | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 21
Chocolatiers raising the bar when it comes to Chanukah gelt by Deborah R. Prinz
NEW YORK (JTA)—Sharing their favorite Jewish chocolate experiences recently, a group of about 60 chocolate lovers didn’t even mention Chanukah gelt. That is, until one woman at the New Jersey get-together shared her thoughts on the subject. “It is sucky,” she said, meaning that the chocolate is waxy, flavorless and should remain wrapped in its foil on the holiday table. Francine Segan, an author and chocolate maven, echoes the feeling, saying that her children, who were accustomed to high-quality chocolate, suggested that the Chanukah gelt they sampled be recycled or given to younger children.
Several chocolate makers, however, are bringing finer, tastier and richer dark chocolate to gelt. Cookbook author Leah Koenig, who has done several gelt tastings, wrote in Saveur that artisan chocolatiers from all over the world have started creating top-notch chocolate coins. Segan explains that “good chocolate needs to contain 100 percent cocoa product, without cheap substitutes or additives, along with quality sugar and flavorings. Just as we want to be feeding our children real food, we should be giving them real chocolate.” Koenig also looks for a high ratio of cocoa solids to the other products. For her, that means, “more flavor than sweet.” Heather Johnston started making her
22 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | Chanukah | Jewishnewsva.org
“Kosher Gelt for Grown-Ups” just two years ago at her Chicagobased Veruca Chocolates when she and some friends bemoaned the horrible quality of gelt. She felt called to remedy that by using a great tasting chocolate made by the California-based Guittard, which sources and selects its own beans to create an artisanal, luxury chocolate. For sophisticated palates, she offers two dark chocolate versions: with sea salt or with cocoa nibs. Johnston also searched for the right design for her mold. “I wanted the coins to look old, so I explored ancient coinage,” she says. Johnston selected an ancient Maccabean coin embossed with the Jerusalem Temple menorah similar to that issued by Mattathias Antigonus, a descendant of the Maccabees. Her coins are elegantly airbrushed with gold or silver. Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington, Vt., packages its fine milk chocolate coins in festive Chanukah boxes. Rich and enticing squares of chocolate-covered toffee and almonds or almonds with sea salt nestle in its “Be Kind, Be Fair, Be Conscious, Be Well” A Gift of Goodness box. They are fair trade, organic and kosher. Divine Chocolate’s online store offers dark chocolate and milk chocolate coins produced through the farmer cooperative Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana. The phrase “Freedom and Justice” encircles the foil-embossed cocoa tree. A collaboration among Fair Trade Judaica, T’ruah and Divine offers easy ordering and supports the two nonprofits.
“The gelt we eat on Chanukah is a reminder of the freedom our people won many years ago,” Ilana Schatz wrote at the Fair Trade Judaica website. “Young children are trafficked and forced into working on cocoa farms with no pay and in unsafe conditions in the Ivory Coast.” Fair trade standards prohibit the use of child and slave labor, a problem particularly in West Africa. Several resources offer discussion prompts for Chanukah experiences. Lesson plans for adults and children (downloadable for free at Jews-onthechocolatetrail. org) assist educators in framing the issues of good Chanukah gelt through conversations about Jewish values. Hazon and partners have developed brief learning materials, titled “Spinning the Dreidel for Chocolate Gelt,” to encourage purchases of fair trade and kosher chocolate gelt. Selecting fair trade chocolate meshes with Chanukah’s spiritual messages about freedom and fairness. A prayer, “Eating [Fair Trade] Hanukkah Gelt,” by Rabbi Menachem Creditor, recognizes the potency of chocolate with Chanukah’s theme of enlightening the world’s dark places, an important spin on good gelt for Chanukah, especially for children. So say a prayer, then enjoy the improved chocolate gelt choices—they may not stay under wraps for long. —Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz is the author of On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao, which was published in 2013 by Jewish Lights and is in its second printing. She lectures about chocolate and Jews around the world.)
Memories Chanukah 5775 It’s all about family with the Siegels
e consider ourselves to be a very lucky family and there is not a day that goes by that we take that for granted. Living around the corner from one another, we only have to drive an extra few miles to be with grandparents, aunts, uncles and many cousins. We are truly blessed. So, it is easy to report on our favorite Chanukah memories, because it is memories of simply being together. My favorite memory was when all five of my grandchildren were born and old enough to experience the joy of celebrating together. I bought all of my grandchildren a menorah unique to their interests. And once my youngest grandchild was two, on the first night of Chanukah, surrounded by great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, we lined the menorahs up on the table, and each child lit their own with big glowing smiles on their faces. It was a moment that will live with me forever. —Leslie Siegel My favorite memory was bittersweet. My twins were born premature and were living in the neonatal unit in Baltimore. They were born in November, so my husband, oldest daughter, and parents came up to join my newborns and me for their first Chanukah. We set up our menorah in the room I kept at the hospital and lit the candles together with my baby girl and boy next to us in their incubators. It was wonderful to have my family bring the holiday to me. —Shaye Arluk My favorite memory was in Washington, D.C. two days after my first child was born. We were living there at the time and so my parents came to spend the week with us to help out with my new baby. He was born the end of December so we lit the candles together every night and recited the blessings, truly appreciating the blessing of being together at such a momentous time in our lives. —Megan Zuckerman
A Siegel family Chanukah.
F RIDAY, D ECEMBER 12
CHANUKAH LATKES SOUFGANIYOT
Made Easy By The Cardo Café at the Sandler Family Campus S O LATKE 4 POTAT NUTS) (JELLY DO T O IY AN LT 4 SOUFG UCE, GE P P A LE SA ) e v d, pare (par-bake $10 ir y) available am also Sour cre
8 POTAT O LATKE 8 SOUFG S ANIYOT (JELLY DO NUTS) APPLE SA UCE, GE LT (par-bake d, parev e) $18 Sou r cream also ava ilable
Order by Friday, Dec. 12 Pick up Tuesday, Dec. 16 - Friday, Dec. 19
Order forms available at the Cardo Café
email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 757-965-6123
Stop by our Bake Sale on Wednesday, Nov. 26
Megan Zuckerman, Leslie Siegel and Shaye Arluk.
jewishnewsva.org | Chanukah | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 23
JCC shares Tidewater Chanukah celebrations
he Simon Family JCC is kicking off a new initiative called Tidewater Celebrates Hannukah. The JCC will use social media to show a variety of area families and friends reciting the Chanukah blessings.
This project will involve young families, large families, Israeli families, friends, couples, singles, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and grandkids. Evan Levitt, development director of the Simon Family JCC, says, “We hope that Tidewater Celebrates Hannukah, will demonstrate that there are many different types of families, with many distinct backgrounds and experiences who are celebrating in the same way.” Starting the first night of Chanukah, share videos or pictures of family reciting the Chanukah blessings by visiting the JCC’s facebook page at www. facebook.com/simonfamilyj. Include names along with pictures and videos. For more information, contact Evan Levitt at 757-321-2337 or email@example.com.
‘Top your own’ party gives latkes a lift by Shannon Sarna
NEW YORK (JTA)—There’s nothing quite like that first night of Chanukah: a platter full of hot, crispy latkes and the accompanying applesauce and sour cream. It’s classic, delicious and a beloved comfort food for so many American Jews. But by the third or fourth night, I need a change of pace for my latkes. Or to be more specific, I crave some other toppings. While I love dipping my latkes into a healthy serving of rich sour cream, I also relish serving meat with latkes, specifically pulled brisket. You can use any beloved
recipe of choice. After the brisket has finished cooking and cooled, shred it with two forks. Throw a “top your own” latkes party and make an array of creative toppings —like the brisket or spicy cranberry applesauce recipes offered below—or tell your guests to bring their favorites. It’s fun to see how creative people can get. Some other potential latke toppings: grilled pastrami and mustard, sauerkraut, salsa, pickled jalapenos, beef chili and caramelized onions. The sky’s the limit. —Shannon Sarna is editor of The Nosher blog on MyJewishLearning.com.
CLASSIC POTATO LATKES Blessings be with you this festival of lights and always
Ingredients 12 medium-large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks 4 small onions, or 1 medium-large onion, cut into large chunks 4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole ¾ to 1 cup flour 4 eggs, lightly beaten 1½ tablespoons salt ½ tablespoon pepper Vegetable oil for frying Preparation Using the shredding attachment of a food processor or a hand grater, coarsely great potatoes, onions and garlic. Place in a large bowl. Add flour, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly until completely combined. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes. Drain excess liquid.
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24 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | Chanukah | Jewishnewsva.org
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Using your hands, make a small latke patty and squeeze out excess liquid again. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on wire cooling rack placed on a baking sheet, which you can place in a warm oven until ready to serve. Makes 4 dozen latkes.
SPICY CRANBERRY APPLESAUCE Like it really spicy? Add more chilies or 1 tablespoon of Sriracha hot sauce for more heat.
This pulled brisket also makes for an amazing sandwich on a challah roll. You can cut the proportions in half, too. Ingredients 2- to 3-pound brisket 1 tablespoon salt ½ tablespoon freshly grated black pepper 2 teaspoons garlic powder 2 teaspoons onion powder 1 teaspoon dried parsley 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 can beer 1 can ginger ale 1 bottle red wine 4 ounces tomato paste 4 medium carrots, cut into medium size pieces 2 onions, cut into quarters
Ingredients 6 apples, peeled and diced 12 ounces fresh cranberries 1 cup water 2 tablespoons orange juice 2 tablespoons orange zest 1 ⁄3 cup sugar 2–3 small dried chilies Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil and cook for 3–4 minutes, until cranberries have softened and released juices. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15–20 minutes covered. Allow to cool slightly. Place applesauce in a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Process until desired consistency. Serve chilled. Makes about 1½ quarts.
Preparation In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley. Spread dry rub on both sides of brisket evenly. Preheat the oven to 300F degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot on medium high heat. Sear the brisket on both sides “until the smoke detector goes off.” Remove meat and set aside. Using the remaining oil and “good bits” on the bottom of the pan, sauté carrots and onions, scraping the bottom until the veggies are soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir until thoroughly mixed. Put the brisket back in the pan, and cover with the bottle of red wine, beer and ginger ale. Place the entire pot with brisket into the oven, and cook for at least 3 to 4 hours, until meat is completely tender. When the meat is fork tender, remove the meat and set aside on a large cutting board. Let the sludge rise to the top of the pot liquid and skim it off. Strain out the carrots and onions and using a food processor, blend them with 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid, then return the blended mixture to the rest of the liquid and simmer to reduce slightly.
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On the cutting board using two forks, carefully shred the brisket into small strands. Add 1 to 2 cups of the pureed cooking liquid to the pulled brisket for additional moisture and flavor. Serve in a large bowl and allow guests to top latkes, or spoon small amounts of brisket on each latke for a more elegant presentation.
Ce l e br ate Your I nner SPi ri t Lynn Harrisberger.Com | 757-689-7698 jewishnewsva.org | Chanukah | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 25
Blessings be with you this festival of lights and always
Music hath charms to soothe December Dilemma by Hillel Kuttler
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26 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | Chanukah | Jewishnewsva.org
PHILADELPHIA (JTA)—In text accompanying a new exhibition at this city’s National Museum of American Jewish History, Sammy Davis Jr. is quoted on why he converted to Judaism. “I became a Jew because I was ready and willing to understand the plight of a people who fought for thousands of years for a homeland,” the late entertainer said. What immediately follows is a curator’s observation: “Davis knew that becoming a Jew also meant recording Christmas songs.” The comment, while somewhat face-
tious, has a ring of truth to it: Some of the most popular Christmas tunes were written and/or sung by American Jews— notably the children of immigrants, like Irving Berlin, who composed the iconic White Christmas, or in Davis’ case, new to Judaism. It also encapsulates the theme of the exhibition, which carries the provocative title of ’Twas the Night Before Hanukkah.’ The exhibition, which highlights the music of Chanukah and Christmas, and the people behind some of the holidays’ songs, is auditory rather than visual, homey rather than museumy. No docu-
Chanukah 5775 ments or objects are displayed. Words are mostly absent from the walls. Standing is implicitly discouraged. The atmosphere in the small exhibition area better resembles one’s family room: comfy couches, upholstered chairs, carpeting and floor-to-ceiling windows; shelves containing books about the holidays (such as how Jewish teenagers can cope with Christmas pressures); record players for adults and children along with holiday albums; Legos from a Chanuikah kit. “It’s more of an experience than a traditional museum exhibit that’s artifact-heavy,” co-curator Ivy Weingram says. “I like to think of the songs as the artifacts.” Indeed, the main attractions are the iPads resting on the blue plastic-block end tables. Visitors can get cozy on the sofas and select a song to lose themselves in through the provided earphones. Enjoying the music while watching snow fall on Independence Hall this winter, it seems that all a visitor would lack to complete the indoor Americana ideal is a mug of hot cocoa. The iPads offer the Jewishly numerically significant 18 Chanukah songs and 18 Christmas songs; nearly all the singers and songwriters featured were Jews. Debbie Friedman’s The Latke Song and Sol Zim’s Maoz Tsur are among the 36, but far more fascinating are the crossovers. Eddie Cantor (born Edward Israel Iskowitz) sings The Only Thing I Want for Christmas. Benny Goodman performs Santa Claus Came in the Spring. Opera great Richard Tucker, trained as a cantor at a Brooklyn synagogue, has O Little Town of Bethlehem. And the non-Jews doing Chanukah? Try Woody Guthrie (Hanukkah Dance), The Indigo Girls (Happy Joyous Hanukkah) and Don McLean (Dreidel). What in the name of assimilation is going on here?
“All holidays, in many ways, are cultural constructions,” explains Josh Kun, a University of Southern California professor and co-curator of the exhibition with Weingram. The exhibition grew out of the 2012 release by the Jewish organization Kun cofounded, the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, of a two-CD set from which the museum exhibition takes its name. The CD is subtitled “The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights.” As if to underscore the point, the society’s website describes the CD set as the first effort at presenting 20th-century American music that’s most closely identified with the two holidays’ dual role. The CD’s cover, also displayed on an exhibition wall, shows a circa-1940s photograph of a teenage girl lighting a chanukiah while her presumed sister and mother exchange wrapped gifts beside a Christmas tree topped by a star—a Star of David. The exhibition’s goal is “to raise the big questions of Jewish American pop culture: questions of identity and of assimilation,” Kun says. “Chanukah grew in power alongside the dominance of Christmas.” To Kun, the Jews putting their musical talents to work in this manner were neither surrendering to nor fighting America’s overwhelming Christmas tide but rather riding it. In so doing, he says, they were embracing their new American identities. To them, Christmas was a national holiday, not a Christian one. That’s why, Kun says, their songs tended to celebrate the seasonal nature of Christmas: the chestnuts, reindeer and snow, but not the manger. That approach echoed Hollywood’s Jewish moguls churning out films high on mainstream and not ethnic—and certainly not Jewish— America. “One of the great Jewish tactics in
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American life,” Kun says, “is that Jews do America better than anyone: ‘You want Christmas? We’ll give you Christmas.’ ” Along with the musical offerings and the CDs’ liner notes, from whence the Davis quotation comes, the iPads provide holiday-centric YouTube clips like Adam Sandler performing The Hanukkah Song, Joel Fleischman bringing home a Christmas tree in the television series Northern Exposure and the Ramones onstage belting out Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight). Not that the museum’s traditional offer-
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ings are ignored in the exhibition, which runs until March 1. Printed pamphlets and the iPads offer a guided tour of all Chanukah-related artifacts elsewhere in the building, like a chanukiah brought to America in 1881 by an immigrant from Lodz, Poland, a 1948 photograph showing Rabbi Chaim Lipschitz teaching Philadelphia children the Hanukkah blessings; a 1962 letter explaining Saks Fifth Avenue’s lack of Chanukah decorations. Visitors can also see Irving Berlin’s piano—and the sheet music for White Christmas.
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Chanukah 5775 First Person
A modest proposal
Let’s find another gift-giving holiday by Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill
t’s that happy, happy time of year when store windows call out “Happy Chanukah” in a blizzard of white, blue, silver and gold right next to the “Merry Christmas” and “Season’s Greetings” banners, when menorahs are strung across boulevards after every third Santa-in-his-sleigh. And what could be wrong with that? After all, Chanukah is Jewish Christmas, isn’t it? That’s what most Americans think, and more than a few American Jews. They think that not so much because Chanukah falls close to Christmas, but because its proximity to Christmas in a nation that has made Christmas a month-long obsession has inflated Chanukah into Christmas’s Jewish cousin, the kosher icing on the merchandising cake. I operate very happily in the dominant culture, but the way we celebrate Chanukah is such a massive cave-in that I think it is time to put it in its proper place among Jewish observances. Chanukah is a minor holiday that commemorates the victory in 165 b.c.e. of outnumbered Jewish forces over the army of the oppressive Greco-Syrian empire that ruled Palestine at that time. It’s important enough for Hallel, psalms of praise, to be recited at services during its eight days and for a passage summarizing the Jews’ victory and praising God’s role in it to be added to the prayer of thanks in the central section of the service, and it also merits special Torah and haftarah readings. Its rituals are lovely, its games fun, its songs delightful and its signature foods way too yummy. But in no way does its prominence as a holiday begin to approach that of Christmas for Christians. Chanukah gets in line behind the High Holy Days; the three pilgrimage festivals, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, which are mandated by Torah; and the other two observances associated with books of the Bible, Purim and Tisha b’Av. The
only thing Christmas and Chanukah have in common is their establishment near the winter solstice. Yet as far as most American Jews are concerned, Chanukah is a yearly focal point for Jewish identity. More American Jews light Chanukah candles than attend Yom Kippur services; only the Passover seder is a more popular Jewish observance. And that isn’t because the candles are pretty or the latkes are crisp or we’re proud of the Maccabees. Chanukah is a big hairy deal because it falls in December and we’re competing with Christmas. If the Jews had rededicated the Temple in Tammuz instead of Kislev, there wouldn’t be a single Jewish kid asking for a Chanukah bush or bragging to Gentile friends, “Yeah, well, I get presents for eight days!” While the giving of money at Chanukah has a long history, American Jews began Christmas-style gift giving only after the practice of giving presents at Christmas took hold in this country, and that happened pretty late, not until the large wave of immigration from Germany during the mid-19th century. But once Christmas became the merchants’ delight, there was no turning back. As Christmas emerged from homes and churches into the public arena and liberal American Jews wove themselves into mainstream American life, Jewish parents found it increasingly difficult to fight the holiday’s seductiveness. They felt they needed to show, and still need to show their kids that our holidays are just as colorful, just as tuneful, just as tasty, just as much fun and just as joyous as Christmas. But we don’t need to give gifts at Chanukah to make Chanukah special. The story, the songs, the food, the lights are special enough. If we were to quit giving gifts at
songs, the food, the lights are special.
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Chanukah, we’d no longer be telling our kids (and each other) that Chanukah is just as good as Christmas. We’d be saying that Chanukah is good, period and there’s a world of difference between those two statements. Now I certainly would be Scroogewitz, not to mention un-American, if I suggested that Jews do without a gift giving holiday altogether. My personal vote is for Rosh Hashanah, a much more important holiday, and joyous in its own right — not to mention the birthday of the world. Or if the first of the Days of Awe seems too solemn for giving presents, what about Sukkot, a highly decorative holiday that celebrates God’s gift of the fall harvest after we emerge from the relative somberness of Yom Kippur? Or Shavuot, when we mark the giving of the greatest gift the Jewish people ever received: the Torah? I offer these alternatives because, heck, I like giving and receiving presents as much as the next person. My husband and I have this little tradition: on the eighth night of Chanukah, after we light all the candles and sing the blessings and put the chanukiah in the window, we step outside and look at it for a minute. It’s a beautiful sight. It doesn’t need tinsel. —Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill lives in Virginia Beach. She is the editor of The Jewish Woman’s Book of Wisdom: Thoughts From Prominent Jewish Women on Spirituality, Identity, Sisterhood, Family, and Faith.
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Chanukah 5775 What the shmita year can teach us about Chanukah by Dasee Berkowitz
JERUSALEM ( JTA)—When the Maccabees climbed the stairs of the Temple in Jerusalem, they lit the menorah with the
knowledge that there was only enough oil to last for one day. Only a miracle could turn oil into a renewable resource. And the future of the planet urges us not to depend on miracles.
The faith and initiative shown by the Maccabees can inspire us this year to take greater action, especially during a Chanukah that falls during the shmita year. Shmita is the biblically ordained law that has roots in agriculture and building a just society. It’s a call for the land of Israel to rest every seventh year, for debts to be forgiven and for slaves to be released. Jewish environmental activists, communal leaders and educators (from Hazon, Siah, Teva Ivri among others) have created robust platforms (conferences, papers, websites and synagogue task forces) to help us consider what shmita can mean for us today living in a mainly non-agrarian society. They have confronted us to think about our mission as a people and how caring for God’s earth is central to that mission. They have developed practical ideas that range from the personal and communal to the national. On the personal and communal levels, they encourage us to create more energy-efficient homes and institutions, to place recycling centers at the entrance to our institutions that serve as eco-mezuzahs, and to get outside more (even in winter) to appreciate the majesty of the natural world. On a national level in Israel, Knesset member Ruth Calderon and the minister for social welfare have created a financial recovery program to help needy families settle their debts, and others have created online time banks that give volunteers an opportunity to contribute their time and skill to the needy in our community. All of these are a part of an initiative to infuse new life into an ancient (and sometimes seemingly antiquated) law. How can a shmita consciousness this Chanukah help open up another dimension of the holiday? Here are some ideas: 1. Use less electricity: Different from Shabbat candles, we are not meant to use the light of the Chanukah candles for practical purposes. Encouraged to “l’rotam b’lvad” (literally, “only see them”), we slow down and are fully present to remind ourselves of the miracle of the oil that lasted longer than it naturally should. While the
30 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | Chanukah | Jewishnewsva.org
Chanukah candles are burning, turn off all the lights in your home and think about renewable energy sources as you view the small flame. Save electricity for those 30 minutes, and when the candles burn down and you turn on the artificial lights, have a greater consciousness about the kinds of energy you use and think about switching to the miracle of solar power. 2. Consume less and celebrate more: Many analysts agree that one of the major problems with our ecological crisis is overconsumption. Americans comprise only 5 percent of the population of the world but consume 20 percent of its resources (food, water and energy.) In the Jewish community, our affluence contributes to this trend. Instead of placing our emphasis on the material -- presents and more presents -- let’s think about how we can celebrate in a more creative way. Songs, games, gestures of love and friendship are free. Make these things the center of your Chanukah celebration this year; it can be a model for moderation in consumption that we exercise for the rest of the year. 3. Forgive debts: Whether you have actually lent money to someone in the last three months, this is the year to forgive these debts. But on a more spiritual level, consider how you can be more forgiving this Chanukah. If there is anyone you hold a grudge against or think you are owed something from, forgive them. 4. Appreciate nature more: Especially in the winter, it is harder to appreciate nature when we are cooped up inside. This Chanukah, make a point to go for a walk (just dress warmly), breathe the air, take delight in a small part of your garden or a tree on the street. 5. Buy fair trade chocolate gelt: A shmita consciousness considers what “releasing slaves” can mean for us in our day-to-day lives. And while we might have a Pavlovian reaction to those golden coins in a mesh yellow bag, the chocolate industry is
Chanukah 5775 known to use child labor in their production of chocolate. This year, think about purchasing fair trade chocolate.
who really need it. Cut down on your gift budget by half and increase your tzedakah budget by the same.
6. Rest: The shmita year calls for the land to rest and can inspire us to think about what rest means for us on a personal level. Consider the difference between how we spend the holiday – rushing from party to party while balancing work/family/friends/ volunteer commitments. At the end of the day, all we want to do is “tune out” (with Facebook, email and TV). Think about “tuning in” to the kind of rest that will replenish you as shmita will replenish the earth. At candle-lighting, offer a short meditation that reflects on your day and sets an intention for the hours ahead, eat healthier food (bake your latkes, don’t fry them!), read and sleep.
8. Publicize: One of the Chanukah mitzvot is “persumei d’nisa,” to make the miracle of Chanukah public by placing your chanukiah in your window (or even outside your home.) This Chanukah, take your environmental awareness to the streets and share what you are doing with others to have a shmita consciousness.
7. Share: When land lies fallow during the shmita year, the fields are open for the needy to partake. This mitzvah is as countercultural as it gets for westerners living in a capitalist society as it confronts us with the notion that nothing really belongs to us. This Chanukah, share with others
So as the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, as we spend more time huddled indoors disconnected from the natural world that surrounds us, and as artificial light masks the darkness, let’s not forget about the majesty of the created world. When we strike the match to light our Chanukah candles this year, we are inspired by the spirit of the Maccabees to renew our energy to create positive change for our planet. —Dasee Berkowitz is a Jewish educational consultant and writer living in Jerusalem. She is a frequent contributor to JTA, the Forward and Kveller.com.
The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy presents
Delancey to Doughnuts: A Chanukah Walking Tour Sunday, Dec. 21, 10:45 am New York, N.Y.—The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy will celebrate the holiday season with Delancey to Doughnuts: A Lower East Side Chanukah Tour. The tour starts at Congregation Bnai Jacob Anshe Brzezan (Stanton Street Shul), an over 80-year-old tenement style building and site of old world warmth and tradition. Shul ‘elder’ and board member Elyssa Sampson will be on hand to share the dramatic history of this charming site. Next, the group will visit The Essex Street Market, built in 1938 by Fiorello LaGuardia in an effort to remove pushcarts from city streets. His administration wanted to de-emphasize the ethnic character of poor neighborhoods. The last stop on the tour is Kehila
Kedosha Janina, a synagogue which dates back to 1906. It is now the world’s only remaining active Romaniote tradition synagogue, and a museum dedicated to Greek-Jewish history. Delancey to Doughnuts wraps up with a coffee and soufganiot (old world-style jelly doughnuts). Admission is $23 for adults and $21 for seniors and students. Pre-registration is recommended at http://www.lesjc.org/ calendar.htm#122114 or by calling 212374-4100. An additional $2 will be charged for tickets purchased on the day of the tour. Tour meets at Congregation B’nai Anshe Brzezan, located at 180 Stanton Street (between Clinton and Attorney Streets).
jewishnewsva.org | Chanukah | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 31
Memories Chanukah 5775
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Coplon family Chanukah party. Front row: Sylvia Benas, “’Jimmie” Semel, Ruth Fine, Rose Coplon (party founder and my grandmother), Sadie Leibowitz and Marion Baydush. Back row: Sidney Coplon, Herschel Coplon, Oscar Coplon, Selma Coplon, Tilton Coplon, Julius Coplon. and Louis Coplon.
A big family party
fter World War II was over and her boys came home, my grandmother decided to have a big family party. Chanukah just
seemed to be a good time to do it. It’s a happy holiday and was well suited for her large family. My grandmother was a single mom with 12 children—six boys and six girls. A good time was had by all. So good, in fact, that the tradition is still going on as an annual affair, and we’re
Joan and Al Benas.
approaching our Diamond Jubilee. Our family has grown over the years and many have moved away, but the bulk of us have either remained in Tidewater or the DC area, so party headquarters alternates between the two locations. We have far flung members appear from L.A., Chicago, St. Louis, Boston and Florida. Of the original 12 children, two remain, “Jimmie” Semel of Norfolk and Sidney Coplon of Silver Spring, Md. We have lost many, but we have gained so many more. We are well into our fourth generation. We have in-laws and out-laws, and, just like America, the family is so much better for the additions. Besides, after 30 or 40 years, who can remember which is which? Every party starts with a maariv and Havdalah service, followed by a toast to those who are no longer with us, using a fine single malt scotch or bourbon (only the best for our ancestors), lighting the Chanukah candles (takes a few menorahs just to accommodate the small children), a real “groaning board” buffet, and a re-acquaintance with relatives (“whose kid is that?”—“they’re how old?”). We’re still having a good time. This year, in DC. —Al Benas (original little kid) and Joan Benas (out-law, circa 1960)
32 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | Chanukah | Jewishnewsva.org
Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill
serving Tidewater’s unaff iliated Jews and spiritual seekers as
What a Mensch! has produced a limited number of life-sized 5-foot Mensches and is hard at work on a Passover book titled, The AfikoMensch. The Mensch on a Bench is available at a variety of retailers, including Texture in Ghent.
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hat started as a small Kickstarter campaign based on the insight of a five-year-old Jewish child, is about to become one of the “must-have” gifts for Jewish and interfaith families this holiday season. Sold out last Chanukah in just 10 days, The Mensch on a Bench is the brainchild of former toy marketing executive turned entrepreneur, Neal Hoffman. The Mensch on a Bench doll and accompanying book introduce children to the story and traditions of Chanukah, while emphasizing the fine characteristics of a Mensch—a good and honorable person. “The success of The Mensch on a Bench is a dream come true for me and my family,” says Hoffman. “So many Jewish and interfaith children and families love the holiday season and appreciate all of the wonderful Christmas traditions. We also know that so many Jewish families like ours have been eager to bring home a fun and warm character and story that can become their very own family tradition for many years to come.” The Mensch on a Bench is a 12’’ plush doll with an accompanying hardcover storybook that explains Chanukah from the
X-Large Eggs - $1.49/dozen view of “Moshe” the Mensch. The book tells the story of Moshe the Mensch, who was in the temple when Judah and the Maccabees won an important war. With only enough oil for one night, Moshe volunteered to watch over the Menorah while everyone else was sleeping, what a Mensch! The Mensch on a Bench doll holds the Shammash (leader) candle and is “magically” moved during each of the eight nights of Chanukah to watch over the Menorah. For this Chanukah, Hoffman added new pages to the book to teach children the prayers and how to play dreidel. For those who can’t get enough of the Mensch, Hoffman
Gail Juren of Texture with a life-size Mensch.
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Have a Healthy and Happy Chanukah jewishnewsva.org | Chanukah | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 33
Memories Chanukah 5775
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Chanukah with cousins
have so many fond childhood memories of Chanukah. My favorite memories are not any gifts that I received, but rather the time that I spent with my family. I have vivid memories of lighting the menorah, singing the familiar tunes and being together with my cousins. We would play dreidel, open gifts, eat latkes and do all the things that most young, Jewish boys and girls do at Chanukah time. I think the one thing that made our experience different is that since all of us went to Jewish day school when we were young, we Rabbi Gershon Litt (far right) with his cousins. had a shared experience that helped to create our passion and solidify the importance of why we were doing what we were doing. My cousins and I did not play the normal games that most kids played. We played shul. I was the rabbi and my cousin, Greg, was the cantor, and my cousin Risa was the Gabbai. My older cousin would wrap shoestrings on my arms and put a towel around me and tell me what I needed to do. I believe that every Jewish child deserves the opportunity to go to a Jewish day school and I hope that more Jewish parents see the need to give their children the same opportunities that I had. There is no question that those precious childhood moments and the passion that I received from my Jewish day school education set the foundation for who I am today. —Rabbi Gershon Litt
Build your own beer menorah
et in the spirit of the holidays with the annual “Build Your Own Beer Menorah” national Facebook competition beginning with the release of the 5th Annual He’brew Gift Pack®, which is in stores now. The Gift Pack® includes eight He’brew® beers, a custom glass, Chanukah candles and a hand-painted “Build Your Own” Beer Menorah. Candles Won’t Be The Only Thing Getting Lit this holiday season! Images of masterpieces can be added to Shmaltz’s Facebook page for a chance to win one of four chosen prizes.
34 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | Chanukah | Jewishnewsva.org
Memories Chanukah 5775 Our “Chanukah House”
e live in Olde Towne, Portsmouth. Some of the houses in Olde Towne date back to before the Revolutionary War, making our neighborhood a popular visitor attraction. Every year there is a Holiday Open House Tour in December. One year, tired of being continually asked to decorate and open our house for the “Christmas” tour, we said yes, but it would be a “Chanukah House.” Members of our congregation helped to ‘decorate.’ Everyone contributed chanukiot and dreidels for our special displays. Temple Sinai members volunteered to cook and serve latkes to each tour group. Religious school children taught groups how to play dreidel and demonstrated how to light the menorah. Our house was filled with wonderful aromas and light, but most importantly we were able to really educate people—more than 400 visited our house—about the true meaning of this holiday of freedom and dedication. —Kitty Wolf
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Chanukah 5775 Chanukah on three continents While you and your family are at home lighting the menorah, the gelt you give to the 2015 United Jewish Federation of Tidewater Annual Campaign is also providing light. Brightening lives around the world.
Chanukah in Germany
Your gelt is bringing food and comfort to Jewish elderly in Eastern Europe, trauma counseling to families in Southern Israel, Jewish education for children from Minsk to Mumbai. Your gelt helps the vulnerable in your Tidewater community, as well as in hundreds of cities and towns in the U.S. and around the globe. So this Chanukah give what gelt you can. It will brighten your holiday to see how far it goes. Happy Chanukah & Thank You!
Books and driedel from Germany.
Growing up in Germany in the early 1930s, I have several fond memories of Chanukah as a child. One year my mother gave me two books, which I still have today: Blessings and Prayers for Children and the other one was a Jewish Trivia book. I also have the little wooden dreidle she gave me. My parents, brother and I would play the traditional dreidle game using nuts in the shells and enjoy potato latkes. —Hilde Deutsch
A South African Chaunkah Celebrating Chanukah during my youth in South Africa was a little different to the way we celebrate today in the U.S.A. I remember warm summer evenings, the aroma of freshly made Latkes filling our home. We sang the songs we had learned in Hebrew School, about the miracle of Chanukah, as we lit the Menorahs. Thereafter, we were very excited to receive Chanukah Gelt, real coins from our parents and grandparents. It was not our tradition for children to receive purchased gifts. —Joan Joffe
Sharing with neighbors It’s hard to choose one Chanukah memory, but it was always fun sharing the holiday traditions with our non-Jewish neighbors. We would invite them over to light Chanukah candles with us one night of the holiday and teach them how to play dreidle. —Carin Simon
Wii! My favorite Chanukah memory is when my parents surprised us and got us a Wii for Chanukah. It was the best gift ever! —Nate Simon (age 7)
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Nate Simon, Carin Simon, Joan Joffe and Hilde Deutsch.
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The Charles Bronfman Prize is now accepting nominations for its 11th annual prize recognizing dynamic young humanitarians, inspired by Jewish values, whose innovation and global impact serves as inspiration for the next generations. Every year, an internationally recognized panel of judges reviews nominations for an individual or team of individuals under 50 years of age, with a vision for positive global change and a vehicle to deliver measurable results. The panel identifies and honors humanitarian work that contributes significantly to the betterment of the world. Now entering its second decade, The Charles Bronfman Prize was established in 2004 by Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Stephen Bronfman, together with their spouses, Andrew Hauptman and Claudine Blondin Bronfman, to honor their father on his 70th birthday. The Prize celebrates his values and his commitment to young people and their potential as global change makers. In its first 10 years, The Charles Bronfman Prize recognized 12 outstanding individuals and teams having a dramatic impact on the world’s pressing challenges in the fields of education, health, the envi-
ronment, poverty and human rights. Prize laureates have improved the lives of more than 20 million people on six continents. The Charles Bronfman Prize accepts nominations in all areas of humanitarian endeavor across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Nominations will be evaluated against the following criteria: • Individuals or teams who created the vision upon which an organization is based; • Nominees who have not reached their 50th birthday by the close of the nomination period on January 15, 2015; • Next generation leaders who have a vision for change that will better the world in a meaningful way; • Nominees who have created a mechanism for acting on their vision in ways that deliver measurable results; • Nominees who exhibit innovation, leadership and impact in their chosen field; and • Nominees whose Jewish values and universal regard for humanity inspire and serve as a model for future generations. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 15, 2015. Guidelines and forms for nomination may be downloaded at www.TheCharlesBronfmanPrize.com.
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JDC Archives Fellowship programs Applications for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s 2015 JDC Archives Fellowship programs, including the Ruth and David Musher JDC Archives Fellowship and the Fred and Ellen Lewis JDC Archives Fellowship, are now being accepted. Two or three fellowships will be awarded to deserving scholars engaged in graduate level, post-doctoral or independent study to conduct research in the JDC Archives, either in New York or Jerusalem. Research
topics in the fields of 20th century Jewish history, general history and humanitarian assistance will be considered, as well as other areas of research covered in the JDC archival collections. The amount granted will range from $2,000 to $5,000 per fellow. Applications will be accepted until January 16, 2015. Applications are available at http://archives. jdc.org.
jewishnewsva.org | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 39
Tidewater premier of Beneath the Helmet brings pro-Israel communities together by Robin Mancoll
hose serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, Veterans of both the U.S. military and the Israel Defense Forces, teens, seniors, students, professors, Christians and Jews comprised the audience of about 600 for the premier of the new documentary, Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front. Taking place at the Regent University Theatre on Nov. 20, organizers and audience members agreed that this event was such a success due in large part to the great partnership between the Community Relations Council (CRC) of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, the Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent University. Kevin Lefcoe, chair of the CRC’s Outreach Committee, organizer of the event and host of Rabbi Raphael Shore’s day says, “What was so gratifying to me and really energizing for all, was virtually everyone said ‘yes.’ ‘Yes, I’ll go online and RSVP.’ ‘Yes, I’ll come to the event.’ ‘Yes, I’ll re-arrange my schedule.’ ‘Yes, I’ll help out.’ ‘Yes, I’ll support this effort.’ We really came together to support a common interest among us. So we know we can do it—Say ‘Yes’ when asked to support each other. That unifies us and keeps our community strong.” Jerusalem U founder and executive producer of Beneath the Helmet, Rabbi Shore introduced the film, offering a rare look into the IDF by highlighting the dramatic transformation of five young Israeli high school graduates who left the comfort of their homes and families to become the defenders of a nation and a people. Rabbi Shore shared with the audience how it came to be that Jerusalem U’s filmmakers were granted unprecedented access into the lives of these young people, which allowed them to create a unique and intimate documentary that brings to the screen the rarely seen human faces of the young men and women who are the soldiers of the IDF. Following the eightmonth basic training of the five teenagers,
the film pushes viewers to ask themselves, ‘To what lengths would you take to defend your homeland?’ Living in a tiny country surrounded by enemies, these young soldiers know that the outlook, attitudes and experiences that they share with audiences across the globe, will impact the rest of their lives and quite likely, also the lives of the viewers. Rabbi Shore was treated to a ‘red carpet’ welcome from the Tidewater community, booked with meetings and engagements from dawn until after dusk, making the most of every moment to reach the community with Jerusalem U’s films and programming. Starting the day with an interview on the 700 Club set with CBN’s CEO, Gordon Robertson, followed by meetings with community leaders, lunch with the 400 Club and their wives and guests, Rabbi Shore was greeted warmly, listened to intently and showered with questions and thanks at the end of each appearance. Rabbi Shore spent time in the afternoon with more than 80 students who stayed after school to hear from him on the subject of Israel engagement at Tallwood High School’s Global Studies and World Languages Academy. Then, what was supposed to be a quick half an hour with Regent University’s film students, became an hour with both graduate and undergraduate future filmmakers and producers, therefore cutting short the
Kevin Lefcoe, Rabbi Raphael Shore and Hadara Ishak.
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with youth groups are already rolling in. Groups that might be interested (civic leagues, high school and college classes, as well as organizations, military organizations, wives clubs, etc.) may request a screening by contacting Robin Mancoll, director, Community Relations Council “It was great to see such a packed house at the of the United Regent University Theatre for the Beneath the Jewish Federation Helmet Tidewater Premier and it reminded many of of Tidewater at us of how lucky we are that the Christian community RMancoll@ujft.org.
possibility of a quick rest and dinner before heading to the Regent University School of Communications Building for the Tidewater premier. With Beneath the Helmet being so well received at the premier, the Community
is so supportive of Israel. It is so important that we partner on events like this with the Christian community. I hope more people will see this amazing film as it is offered around the world.” —Sara Jo Rubin
Relations Council looks forward to the partnership with Jerusalem U and plans to share it with more audiences in Tidewater. The CRC purchased the licensing rights for the coming year and requests for screenings at churches, synagogues and
Photography by Laine Mednick Rutherford.
Renee Strelitz, John Strelitz, Neal Schulwolf, Brett Schulwolf and Gordon Robertson, CEO of CBN.
Mattie Lefcoe, Chava Appel, Ayelet Itzhak and Jenny Lefcoe.
“The viewing of the film was only one dimension of an incredible evening held in conjunction with our community partners at the Christian Broadcasting Network. We are truly fortunate in our community to have the ability to bring films like Beneath the Helmet and experience the brilliance of the message brought to life in this latest film by Jerusalem U. What made the evening even more unique and special was the opportunity to come together with our friends in the Evangelical community. We could not ask for stronger support for Israel and the right of the Jewish state to be secure and flourish, than that of our friends at CBN.” —David Brand
Sandra and Moshe Moallem. Rabbi Raphael Shore and the Rosenberg family.
Marcy and Paul Terkeltaub.
Jay Klebanoff, Michael Little, president and COO of CBN and Harry Graber.
Stephen Weinstein, Rick and Janet Mercadante and Ilana Benson.
Scott Kaplan, Jordan Slone and Annie Sandler. Ashley and Greg Zittrain. Jerry Meltzer and Nathan Benson.
Buzzy Schulwolf, Arnold Leon and Conoly Phillips.
Jerry and Kathy Kantor and Matt Sharpe.
“We loved the evening and all that you do to inform and enlighten. We brought another couple whom we hope will continue coming. Being at Regent University was a new beginning for us. We never thought we’d feel welcome or comfortable. Now we do!!! Thank you for that, too!!!” —Kay and Barry Kesser
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Why I halfheartedly sent my child to Jewish Day School for Kindergarten, and enthusiastically stayed for first grade by Alyssa Muhlendorf
Open House at Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and Strelitz Early Childhood Center Preschool Open Houses Feb. 13, 9 am Feb. 26, 7 pm RSVP: 757-424-4327 or CSimon@hebrewacademy.net Private tours available upon request.
Confession: My son did not go to Jewish preschool. In fact, when he turned 2½ we moved. Although our new home was close enough to the local Jewish preschool, my daughter was to be born during the High Holy Days, and I could not conceive having a newborn and wrangling my temperamental toddler by my lonesome while my husband worked long hours and the preschool was closed. Thus we found a secular preschool where he blossomed until kindergarten.
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Our search for the “right” kindergarten began by touring the premier private schools to find the fit that would lay the building blocks for a lifetime of academic success. Our top choice began at first grade, so we needed a stop-gap measure. Sending him to the Jewish day school, Hebrew Academy, was an easy enough option—he already knew many of the kids from JCC summer camp, so it would be the smoothest transition for all of us. But there was no doubt that, after kindergarElijah and Nyla Muhlendorf are all smiles at school. Elijah is in first ten, he would be heading to grade at Hebrew Academy and Nyla attends the Strelitz Preschool, the prestigious private school age four program. down the road. And then the kindergarten school year special relationships my son had built started. One day, my son’s Judaic teacher with his educators, many of whom would stopped me unexpectedly in the school continue to teach him if he stayed. I felt hallway. She told me how my son is fasci- in my spirit that his attendance at Jewish nated with Hebrew and the Torah, and that day school built his Jewish identity, and he is her first student ever to ask to bring that each year at a Jewish day school gave the classroom Torah home. She beamed him the opportunity to be in a cultural and with pride, and the way she saw into my religious majority. My family was living son’s Jewish soul and found the best in him more Jewishly because he was there. All brought tears to my eyes. Later that year signs indicated he was getting a great eduduring a long break, my son made paper cation. And the children and adults we met books for each letter of the alphabet and because of the school, comprising the full presented them proudly to the librarian spectrum of Judaism, are people who will he adored. She was so touched by his cre- be part of our lifelong Jewish community. So if you’re looking for a kindergarten, ation, she gave the gift to me as a treasure to save. His science teacher and I began maybe a Jewish day school is right for our own rapport over email, kvelling over you…and who knows, maybe you will cool creatures my son and I found on local surprise yourself with what a great fit it beaches. She encouraged my son’s excite- truly is. For information about admissions at ment in science, and indulged his need to bring something new to share each time he Hebrew Academy, contact Carin Simon, had class. These teachers all really knew admissions director, at 424-4327, or email my son, saw his strengths, challenged and email@example.com. —Alyssa Muhlendorf is a parent of two, nurtured him. When it was time to apply to the fancy wife of one, and a volunteer at many local secular private school for first grade, I Jewish organizations. couldn’t bring myself to do it. I saw the
Third annual Tour De Mensch bike ride and brunch honors Jewish War Veterans by Craig Schranz
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it’s a wrap
somethinG new in the air INtRoduCING tHE EtHAN AllEN HomE fRAGRANCE CollECtIoN
n Sunday, Nov. 9, Congregation Beth El’s Men’s Club had approximately 30 people attend a program to honor Jewish War Veterans and support its local chapter. Several bicycle enthusiasts ventured out on the traditional 15-mile round-trip route Craig Schranz, David Ashe, Steve Alperin, Joan Rose, Joanna Schranz, Lev Jancewicz and David Jancewicz. between Beth El and Ocean View along Granby Street to honor war veterans, relatives or close friends who have served in the military. Once the riders returned to Beth El, a light brunch took place in the atrium and Capt. Lee Mandel (ret.) spoke about his new book, Unlikely Warrior: A Pacifist Rabbi’s Journey from Pulpit to Iwo Jima. Mandel shared the story of Rabbi Gittelsohn, who was the first Jewish chaplain assigned to the Marine Corps and was known for the powerful eulogy he gave at Iwo Jima following that bloody battle. All proceeds from this event were contributed to the local Jewish War Veterans chapter. Joanna and Craig Schranz sponsored the brunch and Norman Soroko, Michael Efland, Joe and Diane Kaplan and Harold Zedd assisted with the brunch.
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oung Jewish singles and families gathered at the Chabad House of Tidewater to celebrate the 8th Annual YAD-Chabad Shabbat on Friday, Nov. 14. More than 80 people attended, making it one of the most successful YAD-Chabad Shabbats yet. Rabbi Levi Brashevitzky, a member of the YAD Cabinet and rabbi at the Chabad House of Tidewater, hosted this event. For information about upcoming YAD events, contact Benyamin Yaffe at byaffe@ ujft.org.
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it’s a wrap
My visit with Sy Brenner
Tidewater Jewish Foundation honors Veterans
Traumatic Stress n Tuesday, Disorder. The group Nov. 11, the also heard from Tidewater Jewish Lt. Col. Nathan Foundation honBrauner, who ored veterans at its recently retired annual Veterans after 27 years of Day ser v ice. service in the U.S. Approximately 70 Air Force. Brauner people attended— quoted from In including a local Flanders Fields and group of Ukrainian Rabbi Marc Kraus, Alicia Kraus and Lt. Col. Nathan Brauner. the meaning of the immigrants who attend every year. Although a rainy day red remembrance poppy. He spoke of the kept the entire service indoors, the senti- importance of Jewish participation in the military and the many sacrifices of those ment and honor were as strong as ever. Alicia Kraus spoke of her grandfather who came before. The Tidewater Jewish Foundation Sy Brenner’s experience during WWII, of his capture in France and tremendous life expresses appreciation to all of the people events that transpired. Brenner, who resides who made the service possible, and to in San Diego, still speaks with groups the staff of the Sandler Family Campus about his experiences and the importance who maintain the Jewish War Veterans of understanding and dealing with Post Monument year-round.
Beth El attends ODU Basketball for ninth straight season by Seth Fleishman, event chair
eth El Men’s Club held its 9th Annual Old Dominion Basketball outing on Saturday, Nov. 15. This year’s game was against UNC-Wilmington, a former conference rival whom ODU has had some history. For nine consecutive seasons, the Men’s Club has had ODU’s largest luxury suite at the Constant Center for one game. Although the suite can accommodate almost 60 people, the event always sells out weeks in advance, and this year was no exception. When asked about what makes the event special, Neil Rose says, “[it] provides a family event where Beth El families have a great evening at The Ted, where the adults get a chance to spend quality time with their own children, yet also enjoy the company of other Beth El members and their families.” Thanks to title sponsor Patricia and Avraham Ashkenazi, the Men’s Club is
Shira Fleishman and Patricia Ashkenazi.
able to obtain the suite for the game, enjoy some nosh and keep ticket prices low. The Ashkenazis have been the sponsor every year since the event’s inception. “Avraham and I are happy to sponsor this event every year. It provides a fun atmosphere outside of shul where Beth El members can enjoy real camaraderie,” Patricia Ashkenazi says. All of the fans of ODU particularly enjoyed the 76–56 victory.
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by Philip Rovner
ollowing Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s most engaging hosting of its 5th annual Veteran’s Day Program, I had the opportunity of visiting with Sy Brenner during my recent visit to San Diego. Sy’s granddaughter, Alicia Kraus, was one of two speakers. (See article on the left.) She shared a most compelling story of service, sacrifice and commitment to doing good. Her grandfather had received somewhat nominal training as an Army Medic and too soon thereafter became a POW during World War II. While there were many casualties and POWs, a unique Sy Brenner portion of Sy’s time in a prison camp was his fear of being discovered as a Jew because he believed that this disclosure would result in his immediate death. This was indeed a challenge as his medic’s training most often placed him in quite obvious circumstances as he cared for both Allied and enemy combatants while a prisoner. Upon returning from the war, Sy became an accomplished salesman, married and raised three children. Yet he realized that something was not right and feelings of depression frequently overcame him. Many years later he was finally diagnosed with PTSD. With this information and the courage to address his problem, Sy sought help for this newly disclosed and recognized illness. He began to talk about his issues with others and soon became an outspoken speaker on the topic with veterans from WWII through the current military engagements as well as school-aged children and anyone else or groups that desired to converse on the subject. As much as his book tells the longer version of his story, I was deeply honored at having been able to visit one-on-one with Sy. He is an energetic 92-year-old and quite conversant and up-to-date on today’s matters and issues. He enjoys the fact that his children live nearby and see to his care, but give him the space to live on his own in a beautiful Assisted Care Facility. He is an avid baseball fan and is most proud that the San Diego Padres have given him a lifetime free ticket to all their home games. I will be ever mindful of the time we shared. We should all be so very proud of Sy’s service, courage in the face of adversity and his commitment and willingness to make the world a better place. To learn more about Sy’s story, acquire his book, The Night I Got Killed, at www. Phillip Rovner and Sy Brenner SyBrenner.com/book.
Book ReviewS Revealing and personal Open Heart Elie Wiesel Translated from the French by Marion Wiesel New York, Knopf. 2012 79 pages, $20
r iginally published in France in 2011, prolific author Ellie Wiesel’s bestseller is light only in size. Open Heart Rabbi Zoberman is a generous gift from a truly loving heart of the most distinguished representative of the generation of Holocaust survivors. Wiesel has risen from Auschwitz’s hell, which he entered at age 15, to become the world’s witness to the human condition and humanity’s prophetic voice of both sacred remembrance and chastising warning. He even admits to making enemies because of his steadfast stance against trivializing Auschwitz, protectively defining the Holocaust as “the Event.” This 1986 Nobel Peace Laureate—he deserves the literature prize too—and founding chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, who has earned our nation’s greatest honors along with foreign honors, enjoys a special relationship with President Obama. This book (Wiesel’s perhaps most revealing personal one in which he opens his aching and grateful heart to his readers, shares and even shocks with his unique probing) scalpels the watershed impact of his open heart surgery on June 16, 2011 at age 82. Wiesel utilizes this trying medical and life-changing ordeal in his already eventful life to teach about life’s demanding trials and transitions, courageously facing his own mortality at his “greatest pain and darkest anguish.” After all, his first passion is teaching and when forced to cancel classes in Florida due to illness he was in a state of crisis. With his life’s experiences passing before him and compelled to engage in stock-taking, this master teacher,
the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, is asking challenging questions albeit as his own student: How well has he fulfilled his obligation as a survivor, he who suffered heavy family losses and miraculously surviving with the consecrated mission to tell a tale of woes without despairing of the Creator nor of a blemished creation? Wiesel attempts to justify his own survival, wrestling with a God who deprived him of so much, but also blessed him beyond measure. Isn’t it reminiscent of Biblical Job’s searing saga? Having contributed immeasurably toward a sane and sacred world, ever standing guard, Wiesel nonetheless doubts if he had done all he could and should have in his struggle against evil. He and fellow survivors believed that the world would change for the better, never allowing for genocides again, and how painful it must be for heart-broken Wiesel to conclude, “The fact is, the world has learned nothing.” Snatched from the jaws of the Nazi death machine and naturally carrying with him the survivor’s guilt, now that he has survived late in his life another scary experience, but under markedly different circumstances, he wonders what’s in store for him. While he would have liked to continue with his active and exhausting, yet fulfilling schedule that would have overwhelmed others, he laments being forced to reduce his commitments. Wiesel, with his indomitable will is still very involved, exhibiting great stamina and resolve. May he fulfill his heart’s fondest desire to live to witness the B’nai Mitzvah celebrations of his beloved grandchildren, Elijah and Shira, the children of son Elisha who is named for Wiesel’s father, Shlomo, who perished so close to liberation. May Wiesel do so along with his wife Marion, faithful soul mate and professional helpmate, herself a survivor from Vienna, Austria, who has endured her own health issues. Her brainchild, Beit Tzipora
in Israel, enriches Ethiopian children, named for Wiesel’s precious little sister whom he saw with their mother for the last time upon arriving in Auschwitz. This unusual book is sprinkled with culled rabbinic insights from Wiesel’s vast treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom, along with biting humor. How hard and heart wrenching it is to accept the following reflection, testimony to Wiesel’s profound humaneness and humility, “Yes, I have written much, and yet, at this stage of my life, at the very threshold of the great portal, I feel that I have not yet begun. Too late?” Reading this transforming account a few days following the multiple tragedies at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., this line resonates with so much painful relevance and prophetic meaning, “We must choose between the
violence of adults and the smiles of children, between the ugliness of hate and the will to oppose it.” We’ll do well to keep close to our hearts this delightfully instructive Open Heart, both chilling and heart-warming. Wiesel’s extraordinary photo on the book’s front jacket poignantly captures the inspiring essence of a towering and tormented spirit, piercing through reality’s darkness in quest for redeeming light. Contending with the human abyss without succumbing to it, he emerges from his latest encounter with death with renewed gratitude for the gift of life as his divine guide, looming ever larger in the face of adversity. —Rabbi Israel Zoberman is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Chaverim.
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jewishnewsva.org | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 45
Book ReviewS Structurally complex family saga Dissident Gardens Jonathan Lethem Doubleday, 2013 366 pages, $27.95 ISBN 978-0-385-53493-2
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s the American literary giants of the mid-20th century gradually leave the scene, the young literary lions who follow are now producing mature works. Hal Sacks Among them is Jonathan Lethem, born in the 1960s, raised in a commune and determined to color outside of the lines. An award-winning novelist while still in this 30s (do read Motherless Brooklyn), Lethem experimented, not always successfully, with mystery and science fiction, published several collections of short stories and in 2003 gave us The Fortress of Solitude, a wonderful coming-ofage novel. Lethem, now 50, threatens to give the late John Updike a run for his money as the most prolific and multi-faceted author of recent decades, having published nine novels, numerous non-fiction works and edited copious works of literary criticism. Dissident Gardens may be Lethem’s most important work to date, offering the reader a structurally complex, somewhat prolix three generational family saga. Rose Zimmer, née Angrush, a passionate Jewish “commie” facing excommunication from her communist cell for having an affair with a black policeman, resides in Sunnyside Gardens, a Brooklyn apartment project mainly occupied by members of the workers’ movement. Her ex-husband, Albert Zimmer, also a communist, has defected to East Germany leaving her to raise their daughter, Miriam. The novel opens in the mid-1950s, when the feckless American Communist Party, having survived the World War II Stalinist pact with Hitler, is pretty much torn apart by the rev-
elations of Stalin’s genocidal regime. Rose’s activism is rooted in disdain for capitalism, religion and bourgeois culture in general. Lethem, like his peers, Jonathan Franzen (whose greatly over-hyped “great American novel of the 21st century,” Freedom, was reviewed here in 2010) and Michael Chabon, seems determined to avoid anything resembling cheerfulness, in a world where only a moron can be happy. As we follow the lifelines of a family whose disfunctionality is displayed against a background of the McCarthy investigations, the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, the Sandinista scandals, the AIDS epidemic and the Occupy movement, it becomes clear that the proclivity for dissidence, l’dor v’dor, goes from generation to generation. From Rose’s parents to her bright and beautiful daughter, Miriam, and ultimately to Miriam’s commun-raised son, Sergius, there is a moth-to-the-f lame-like attraction to lost causes. Sergius’ mother, Miriam and his folk-singer-songwriter father, Tommy Gogan, fulfill their destinies following a tragically quixotic Nicaraguan episode. Rose’s 10-year affair with the black policeman, who dies not long after the passing of his chronically ill wife, results in her mentoring of Cicero Lookins, her lover’s brilliant son. Cicero, an immensely overweight, gay intellectual, alternates between shocking and disgusting students at his seminars at a Maine college and fleeting sexual encounters made killingly dangerous by the dread disease of the 1980’s. He alone takes on the task of caretaker as Rose becomes debilitated and demented. Readers looking to keep up with our 21st century literary stars should not miss Dissident Gardens—subject to an important caveat. (Spoiler: There is no happy ending here. There is no ending.) —Hal Sacks is a retired Jewish communal worker who has reviewed books for Jewish News for more than 30 years.
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Opening night film for JCC festival about Israeli Air Force of 1948 Produced by the “other” Spielberg Saturday, Jan. 17, 7:30 pm, Sandler Center for the Performing Arts by Leslie Shroyer
bove and Beyond is about bravery and courage of the “Top Guns” in the Israeli Air Force. When Producer Nancy Spielberg came across an obituary of the “Father” of this air force, she was startled to read he was an American, a flight engineer for TWA. He smuggled the first planes into Israel and recruited volunteer pilots to fly these planes in the 1948 war. Since this man, Al Schwimmer, died at 94, Spielberg knew that time was of the essence. The pilots all had to be in their 90s. “I needed to hire a team and film interviews before we lost any more of these men to the Grim Reaper,” she says. “I wanted the film not to be about machines, but rather about the human spirit, about those …guys who felt a responsibility to help a brother in need.” This film, Above and Beyond, has been chosen for the opening night of this year’s Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg. “My first task was to find a director,” says Spielberg. “Roberta Grossman’s name came from multiple sources.” Grossman, who directed the festival’s 2013 opening night movie, Hava Nagila, will be in Virginia Beach to field questions after the film. “We are honored to have such an acclaimed director as Roberta Grossman here in Virginia Beach,” says Mark Robbins, Film Festival chair. “She is sure to be a big draw for opening night.” An award-winning filmmaker with a passion for history and social justice,
Grossman has written and produced more than 40 hours of documentary television in addition to directing several films. She was the series producer and co-writer of 500 Nations, the eight-hour CBS mini-series on Native Americans hosted by Kevin Costner. Grossman’s feature documentary, Homeland: Leon in cockpit. Four Portraits of Native Action, premiered in February 2005, and has screened and won awards at more than 40 festivals worldwide. Says Spielberg, “The joke Roberta often tells is that whenever her phone would ring in the office, she would say, ‘If it’s Spielberg, tell him I’ll call him back.’ Next thing she knew, there was a voice message from the other Spielberg. She thought someone was pulling her leg and actually called a friend to check me out.” The two women clicked and the rest is, well, a wrap. “I am grateful that we were able to capture the pilots’ stories and share them with the world,” says Spielberg. “Their legacy will stay with us and be taught for generations to come. Their families are very proud, as are all the men and women who volunteered for Israel in 1948—some 3,500 individuals from every corner of the globe. We are honored to tell one part of this extraordinary story.” A reception will follow the film.
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CALL OR For tickets and other information, contact Michele Goldberg, director of Cultural Arts at 757-321-2341. The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. *of blessed memory
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hether it’s an intimate dinner for two, a business meeting for ten, or a celebration for fifty, join us and discover why we have been voted the Best of the Beach for 17 consecutive years.
Switch Day at Beth Sholom Thursday, Dec. 25, 7 am–3 pm
ach year on Christmas, Beth Sholom Village’s employees are able to spend the day with their families because of Switch Day. The day is always a “win-win.” Volunteers have a good time, employees
get to celebrate Christmas at home and the residents enjoy the change and activities. To volunteer, call Sarah Incheck at 757-961-3054 or e-mail her at sincheck@ bethsholomvillage.com.
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Your Table is Waiting! jewishnewsva.org | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 47
what’s happening Congregation Beth El presents From Bimah to Broadway Sunday, Dec. 14, 4 pm
concert of Jewish music will take place in Congregation Beth El’s sanctuary next month. During this special fund-raising event, three nationally renowned cantors will perform a wide variety of traditional and contemporary Jewish music. Alex Pomerantz, Beth El vice president, heard all of the cantors at last year’s Federation of Jewish Men’s Club National Convention and says, “This was the high point of the conference for me. The whole room came alive with the melodies of our rich Jewish spirit. I knew then that I had to bring these talented cantors to our community to inspire our local community, too.” The three cantors are: Cantor Alisa Pomerantz-Boro grew up on Mercer Island, Wash. in a rabbinic home. The assistant cantor at New York’s prestigious Park Avenue Synagogue while she was in the Cantors Institute of the Alisa Pomerantz-Boro Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Pomerantz-Boro has been featured in a nationally televised ABC special, At Evening I Seek You, on a Showtime documentary, An American Tapestry, and with the San Diego Symphony in a concert of Jewish Musical Heritage. Cantor Pomerantz-Boro is known for her moving renditions of liturgical music and enjoys concertizing throughout the country. Her recordings include Modim, We Give Thanks; an eclectic collection of songs of praise and thanksgiving, and Together As One; duets of praise and inspiration with her friend and colleague, Hazzan David Propis. She is currently the Hazzan at Congregation Beth El in Voorhees, N. J. Cantor Randy Herman is descended from performing vaudevillian grandparents on one side and Eastern European orthodox Jews on the other. After attending the University of Randy Herman
Michigan, working briefly as a musician in Paris and as an actor on the East Coast, Herman settled in Chicago. As a pianist, singer and songwriter, he has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad in nightclubs and festivals, at private events and on live radio. He has produced his own CDs, which have been heard on college and commercial radio and reviewed in major publications. Herman spent a year of study at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and he received cantorial investiture and a master’s of sacred music from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2008. He has been a guest cantor throughout the U.S., has led Shabbat services at the famed Chor Shul (Choral Synagogue) in Vilnius, Lithuania, and at the Great Synagogue of Stockholm. He currently serves as the cantor of Bet Torah in northern Westchester County (Mt. Kisco), N.Y. Cantor Zachary Matthew Mondrow is a native of West Boomfield, Mich. He is a graduate of the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Mondrow also received a bach- Zachary Matthew Mondrow elor of arts in music from Kalamazzoo College in Michigan. He has received many awards from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and has performed as a featured soloist with the Detroit Zamir Chorale. Mondrow has performed in many U.S. cities and has also appeared as a featured soloist at Berlin’s National Concert Hall and Munich’s Herkulessaal (Hercules Hall) during the 2012 Cantor’s Assembly Mission to Germany and on the 2009 Cantors Assembly Mission to Poland, the Yiddish Theatre Concert at the National Yiddish Theatre of Warsaw. Mondrow currently serves as cantor of Temple Torah of West Boynton Beach in Boynton Beach, Fla. Reserve tickets by calling the Beth El office at 757-625-7821. Tickets are: Seniors (60+)/ students, $18; Adults, $36. Babysitting will be available free of charge. Special sponsorships are also available.
48 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org
Tidewater delegation at 2014 Date With the State.
Date With the State—Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day Wednesday, Feb. 4 Wednesday, Jan. 7, noon—Informational meeting Wednesday, Jan. 28, 6:30pm—Briefing session
or years, members of Jewish communities from across the Commonwealth have come together at the State Capitol in Richmond to collaborate on Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day, also known as “Date with the State.” This annual event has proven to be a powerful forum to effectively communicate with General Assembly members about issues of importance to the Jewish community. In preparation for this year’s Date with the State, the Community Relations Council’s Legislative Action Committee will host a meeting on Jan. 7 at the Sandler Family Campus in Virginia Beach to discuss potential issues that the delegation will present to the General Assembly representatives. Past issues have included social service programs to care for Virginians, support for local agencies including Jewish Family Service and Beth Sholom Village, the Virginia-Israel Advisory Board, combating bias legislation and more. Then on Jan. 28, at the Sandler Family Campus, the Legislative Action Committee will host a briefing session for those attending the Date With the State to review the issues with presentations from experts to arm the citizen lobbyists with talking points for the
meetings with legislators. All members of the delegation are strongly encouraged to attend both of these meetings. On the day of the Date with the State, Feb. 4, the Tidewater delegation will travel together via bus to and from Richmond, leaving the Simon Family JCC at 8:45 am. At the State Capitol, lunch will take place with other Virginia Jewish communal lobbyists. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General have been invited, and they usually attend and address the issues important to this community. Following lunch, the delegations divide up to visit their respective regions’ State Senators and Delegates. Cost is $36, which includes a kosher lunch and helps defray the cost of transportation. Checks made out to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater (mail to UJFT 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, ATT: CRC DWTS) will reserve a space. For more information, e-mail Robin Mancoll, director, Community Relations Council of UJFT at email@example.com or call 965-6120. To RSVP (required) by Jan. 28, visit www.JewishVa.org/CRCDateWiththeState.
what’s happening Latke-Palooza Wednesday, Dec. 17, 5:30–7:30 pm
ant to do something special for Chanukah? The Second Annual Latke-Palooza is just the thing! Celebrate the second night of Chanukah at the Simon Family JCC. Eat latkes with friends and family, and enjoy a fun night at the start of Chanukah. Games, a special craft, dinner and the JCC’s world class latke bar are planned. Grilled cheese and a few other munchies
will also be available. Register by calling 321-2338. $7 per child, $10 per adult, $34 per family. $5 per child, $8 per adult, $26 per family for JCC members.
ChillZone in Tidewater Monday, Dec. 8, 7–8 pm Monday, Dec. 15, 7–8 pm by Jenny Lefcoe
s the holiday season approaches, ChillZone, the new program for area Jewish girls, will have a revised schedule. In order to try to accommodate those who are unable to attend on Thursday night, for the month of December, ChillZone will take place on Monday nights at Dominion Tower. At the Dec. 15 meeting, which is the night before Chanukah, a grand Chanukah celebration will take place that is open to girls of all ages. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for this event; otherwise no RSVP is ever needed.
Rebecca Auerbach, Naava Kempner, Skyel Sibony and Katie Auerbach.
Super Sunday Community Phone-a-thon Be Part of Our Next Chapter! Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, 9 am – 1 pm
nited Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Annual Super Sunday Community Phone-a-thon takes place at the Sandler Family Campus. See article on page 17. Volunteers are needed for two shifts: 9–11 am and 11 am–1 pm. Sign up at JewishVA.org/SuperSunday, or call 757-965-6111.
jewishnewsva.org | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 49
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December 25, Thursday Breakfast at the Simon Family JCC. Juice, eggs and fresh pancakes made by JCC chefs with special toppings. Eat, create crafts, play games, enjoy inflatables, and have fun with family and friends. 9:30 am–noon. $7 per child; $10 per adult; $34 per family. Members: $5 per child; $8 per adult; $26 per family. A free family friendly movie will be shown at noon. Open 9am–5 pm.
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Switch Day at Beth Sholom Village. 7 am–3 pm. Volunteers needed. Call 757-961-3054. See page 47. DECEMBER 28, SUNDAY Brith Sholom will have a Pre New Year’s Eve dinner at Beth Sholom Village. Entertainment provided by Christopher Jay. $10 for members; $20 for guests. Call Gail for reservations at 461-1150. Reservations and payment must be received by Dec 23.
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January 8, Thursday Ira N. Forman, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism for the U.S. State Department, will speak on The Rising Tide of Global Anti-Semitim, A Resurgence of Evil at the Sandler Family Campus. 7:30 pm. Call 965-6124. See page 15. January 25, Sunday Super Sunday, 9 am–1 pm. Save the date for Tidewater Jewish community’s annual phonea-thon.
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Eric Kline Business Development
February 4, Wednesday Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater travels to Richmond for the annual Jewish Advocacy Day. 8:45 am–6 pm; leaving from the Sandler Family Campus. $36 includes kosher lunch and helps defray transportation. For more information about how to join this year’s Date with the State delegation, or to RSVP (required) by Wednesday, Jan. 28 visit www.JewishVa.org/CRCDateWiththeState. An Insiders’ Briefing, providing all attendees with detailed talking points on the issues and lobbying tips, takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 pm at the Sandler Family Campus. See page 48. Send submissions for calendar to email@example.com. Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.
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Contact us today at 757-523-0605 or www.paydaypayroll.com 50 PD-ad-JewishNews-QtrColor-110614.indd | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 1 | jewishnewsva.org
11/6/14 7:39 PM
Give something that means something—Give blood or platelets The American Red Cross asks eligible donors to give something that means something this holiday season—a lifesaving blood donation. Blood donations often decline this time of year when donors get busy with holiday festivities and travel. Severe winter weather and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, can also have a serious impact on blood donations, but the need for blood remains steady. On average, the Red Cross must collect 15,000 blood products every day for patients across the country. Eligible donors with all types are needed, especially those with O negative, A negative and B negative. To learn more about donating blood and to schedule an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Simon Family Jewish Community Center positions available
Mazel Tov to
Marketing and Membership Director
Achievement Michael Goodove, a partner at Swartz, Taliaferro, Swartz & Goodove in Norfolk, has been selected for Virginia Business magazine’s “Virginia’s Legal Elite” for 2014 in the category of Civil Litigation. Goodove was selected by his peers and members of the Virginia Bar Association. Goodove specializes in personal injury law.
The Opportunity Excellent career opportunity for a Marketing/Membership professional that has experience working collaboratively with intricate organizational programs, staff and community partners; to develop and ensure the successful implementation of agency branding, marketing, advertising, promotion and membership strategies which support the vision, mission and goals of the Simon Family JCC
Birth Amy and Eliot Weinstein on the birth of their son, Avi Maxwell Weinstein, born on Nov. 4, 2014. Grandparents are Ellen and Bill Wagner of Chadds Ford, Pa. and Debbie and David Weinstein of Livingston, N.J. Great Grandmother is Lorraine Wagner of Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Wedding Rabbi Arthur Ruberg and Miriam Brunn Ruberg on the marriage of their son Rabbi Jeremy Ruberg to Rebecca Shapiro. The wedding took place on Nov. 23 in Stamford, Conn., where Rebecca grew up. The couple will reside in New City, N. Y. where Jeremy is the assistant rabbi at New City Jewish Center.
Qualifications Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, communications or related field from an accredited college or university plus a minimum of 7 years of progressive experience including overseeing marketing collateral creation, creative production, writing, and project management OR Master’s degree with 5 years of related experience; • Proven ability to manage/supervise employees and workflow; • Outstanding teambuilding and collaboration skills; • Strong knowledge of web-based marketing strategies and strong contacts with local media; • Knowledge of Jewish community with understanding, appreciation and passion for the mission and values of the JCC; • Strong knowledge of Jewish heritage, values, traditions and culture; • Willingness to work evenings, weekends and holidays as required; • Knowledge of or experience supporting fundraising preferred. The duties outlined in this job description are meant to be representative, but not all inclusive, assigned to this job. These duties may be amended at the discretion of the Executive Director. Submit resumes with salary requirements to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mazel Tov submissions should be emailed to email@example.com with Mazel Tov in the subject line. Achievements, B’nai Mitzvot, births, engagements and weddings are appropriate simchas to announce. Photos must be at least 300k. Include a daytime phone for questions. There is no fee.
Meeting Needs, Exceeding Expectations.
Personal,Creative, Renovations and Sound Repairs for Your Home.
Program Director The Simon Family JCC is seeking an energetic, organized, and articulate individual with excellent people skills to oversee and coordinate Children and Family Programming for the center. This is a management position which requires independent judgment, initiative, creativity planning programs and flexibility. This individual welcomes collaboration with the staff, enjoys interacting with children, is dedicated to promoting an appreciation for Jewish culture and values, and is passionate about building a nurturing dynamic environment to serve families and their children. The Program Director is responsible for design, development, business development, marketing, implementation, management and evaluation of all children, family and community programs and activities provided by the Simon Family JCC including summer camp. A BA/BS degree from an accredited college or university with 3-5 years of management/supervisory experience directing a summer camp and children and family programs is required. For more information, contact Human Resources at 757-965-6117. Submit resumes with salary requirements to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your full scope home renovation and repair specialist.
The Simon Family Jewish Community Center is firmly committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity for all qualified persons without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, non-disqualifying disability or veteran status.
jewishnewsva.org | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 51
obituaries Kathy Axelrod Norfolk—Kathy Axelrod, 67, longtime Norfolk, Va. resident, died Nov. 10, 2014 of complications from Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Daughter of the late Joseph H. and Selma Weinstein Axelrod of Newton, Mass., she graduated from Chamberlayne College in Boston where she met a group of lifetime friends, the ‘Pearl Street Gang.’ After working at Sheraton Hotels and in St. Thomas, Kathy cared for ‘Mum,’ who was dying of breast cancer. She then returned to the Carribbean and sailing life. Kathy moved to Portsmouth, Va., with her love, Eugene ‘Buz’ Barclay with whom she had an enduring friendship. Later, the big city and Bill Dye called. After several years in New York, Kathy returned to Virginia where, for more than 20 years she lived with dear friends Theodore Bonk and Richard Rivin. Determined to do something to honor the qualities she most admired in her gracious, elegant and artistic mother, and with encouragement of friends and family, Kathy created ‘Simply Selma’s’ a furniture and gift store for beautiful and unique items, first on Colley Ave. in Norfolk and later in Virginia Beach. Gifts were wrapped so distinctively that many customers came to buy because they knew the packaging would be as special as the contents. Kathy, who loved all things beautiful, had an amazing eye; for many years the store was selected ‘Best of The Beach.’ Hand selected store products were creatively displayed, always touches of purple; picture frames filled with snapshots of friends and family. There was something fun to make you
smile, or something outrageous that would astonish. Sales associates whom she mentored became ‘her girls;’ she created a sense of family and camaraderie that carried over to her customers. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Kathy decided to have the three of ‘her girls’ she knew would be capable of carrying on her vision and who would continue to make the store a great success, take over the business. In 2011 Meg Leeman, April Stutz and Marianne Winesett became the owners of Simply Selma’s. Kathy was very proud of these women and was comforted that the traditions she started were being carried on. Kathy’s loss has left a huge hole in the hearts of her dear friends, ‘Les Girls’ a group of women, who shared nearly 50 years together. Traveling the world in airplanes, cars and cruise ships, they shared countless adventures and many glorious experiences. Kathy made everyone smile with her enthusiasm for life. Her stories were animated and full of laughter (even snorting!) and joy. The bond of shared friendship was strong. Friends’ hearts are broken; she will live forever in their hearts and souls. Family and ‘Les Girls’ thank Ted and Rick for their devoted care of Kathy especially during her illness in a home full of friends, parties, many excursions and most of all loving care. Kathy is survived by her sister Dr. Penny Axelrod and brother-in-law Dr. Jerome Haller of Plymouth, Mass., brother Jeffrey Axelrod of Las Vegas, nieces Jill and Jamie Axelrod of Boston and many cousins and dear family friends. A memorial service was held at Ohef
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Sholom Temple, Norfolk. Donations to Norfolk Botanical Gardens, 6700 Azalea Garden Rd, Norfolk, VA 23518, for a bench in Kathy’s name, the Alzheimer’s Association or Cranberry Hospice, Plymouth, Mass. Melvin S. Barr Norfolk—Melvin Sanford Barr, 91, died Nov. 12, 2014 in Palm Beach Gardens Fla. Mr. Barr was born in Baltimore, Md., the son of the late Lewis Barr and Ruth Reisig Barr. He was a graduate of Maury High School and attended VPI. He was a lifelong member of Congregation Beth El in Norfolk and a member of Beth AM in Jupiter, Fla. Mr. Barr was also a member of the Masons and was the past president of Barr Brothers Jewelers. After his first year at Virginia Tech, Mr. Barr left and enlisted in the Army Air Corp. He served in the South Pacific during WWII as an aerial photographer stationed on the Island of Tinian. He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years Helen Jayne Barr. Survivors include his two sons; Burt Barr and his wife Patsy of Virginia Beach, Henry Barr and his wife Sioux of Silverthorne, Col. and a brother, Jack Barr and his wife Gail of Boynton Beach, Fla. Mr. Barr is also survived by four grandchildren; Neil Barr and his wife Kiva of Short Hills, N. J., Jodi Katzen and her husband Scott of Arnold, Md., Chamisa Logemann and her husband Bryce of Broomfield, Col., Keekan Broschart and her husband Kenny of Dexter, Mich., and nine great grandchildren. A funeral service was conducted at the Norfolk Chapel of H.D. Oliver Funeral Apartments by Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz. Burial was in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Norfolk. Contributions to the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America at www. ccfa.org or charity of one’s choice. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.hdoliver.com. Samuel Blum Virginia Beach—Samuel Blum, 100, died Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 in his residence. He was a native of Washington, D.C. and lived in Hampton Roads since 1965. He was the son of the late Barnett and Lena Blum and was preceded in death by his first
wife Miriam Ginsburg Blum. Mr. Blum was a member of Congregation Beth Chaverim. He was a Mason and a member of the Scotish Rite Bodies. He retired from Peanut City Iron and Metal Co., Suffolk, Va., as it’s office manager and part owner. Survivors include his beloved wife, Shirley Goodman Blum of Virginia Beach, his beloved son, Barry L. Blum of Beltsville, Md., two step-daughters; Ellen Willner of Virginia Beach and Cynthia McAndrew and her husband Thomas of Bluffton, S. C. and four grandchildren; Jennifer Head, Dana Willner, Allison Masinter and Daniel McAndrew and four great grandchildren. Graveside funeral services were held in Gomley Chesed Cemetery. Rabbi Israel Zoberman officiated. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Memorial donations to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences may be made to the family at hdoliver.com. Sidney P. Finkelstein Virginia Beach—Sidney P. Finkelstein, affectionately known to his grandchildren and many others as “Big Daddy,” passed away peacefully in his home early Saturday, Nov. 15. He was born in Norfolk, and was the son of the late William and Bessie Finkelstein and was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Patricia A. Finkelstein and by his son, Richard Finkelstein. He is survived by his daughters, Ruth Tavss and her husband Richard Tavss and Debra Glenn and her husband Nicholas Glenn; and his son, Bernard Flint and his wife Myra Flint. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Besianne Tavss Maiden; Barbara Tavss Schoolar and her husband Sanders T. Schoolar IV, Catherine Glenn, Victoria Glenn, Alexandra Glenn, Kimberly Finkelstein Wright, Ricky Finkelstein, William Flint, Edward Flint and 11 great-grandchildren. Sidney graduated from the University of Virginia and then at the immediate outset of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Upon completion of training as a navigator, he earned his officer’s commission and valiantly served his country in dozens of combat missions in the B-26 Martin Marauder. Sidney’s “ship” was known as the “Hell’s Angels.”
obituaries His fighter-bomber was assigned to the 19th Bomb Squadron, 22nd Bombardment Group, affectionately known as The Red Raiders. The men of the “Hells Angels” were credited with shooting down numerous enemy aircraft and striking key tactical and strategic targets at Timor, Lae and Rabaul from their bases in Townsville, Australia and Port Moresby, New Guinea, thus paving the way for the United States’ victory in the Pacific. At the end of the war, Sidney was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain. Sindey was also a proud member of the Masonic Atlantic Capitol Lounge for 74 years. A graveside service was held at Forest
Lawn Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Virginia Beach Rescue Squad, 740 Virginia Beach Blvd., 23451, or the Virginia Beach SPCA, 3040 Holland Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be sent at www.hdoliver.com. Anne Kaufman Friedman NORFOLK—Anne Kaufman, 86, died peacefully Nov. 22, 2014. She was predeceased by her parents George B. and Mabel Wasserman Kaufman, and her husband Louis H. Friedman. A native of Norfolk, she graduated from Maury High School and attended the
Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary. She enjoyed doing bookkeeping work, starting in the family business of Atlantic Produce Co. She continued her bookkeeping with clients and various charitable organizations throughout her life. She was a member of Ohef Sholom Temple. She is survived by her children, Garry and Carol Friedman of Houston, Texas, Jay and Celia Friedman of Virginia Beach, and Mark and Debbie Friedman of Chesapeake. Her grandchildren, Wendy and Jeremy Stoller of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Kari Friedman of Richmond, Lee Friedman and Alex Friedman of Houston, Texas and
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obituaries Bradley Friedman of Chesapeake were a great joy to her. A graveside service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery by Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg. Contributions to the Louis and Anne Friedman Treasurer’s Fund at Ohef Sholom Temple or to the charity of one’s choice. Online condolences may be offered to the family through hdoliver.com. Dr. Murray Halpern Virginia Beach—Dr. Murray Halpern, (Miechel ben Zvi Hersh v’ Chana), passed away on Monday, Nov. 17 knowing that he was greatly loved by his family. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 69 years, Rose Charass Halpern, his parents Anna and Harry Halpern, and his sister Sylvia Strompf. Left to cherish his memory are his daughters Zena Halpern Herod and Eilene Halpern Rosenblum and his son-in-law Jordan Rosenblum. He is also survived by his grandchildren Dr. Scott and Ellen Rosenblum, Ruthmarie and Adam Behlman, and Pamela and Mark Ograbisz, along with eight loving great-grandchildren Andrew, Julia and Jack Rosenblum, Cole, Logan and Mackenzie Behlman, and Hannah and Madelyn Rose Ograbisz, as well as his sister Zelda Brand. Born March 7, 1916, Murray grew up in Manhattan, N. Y., attended Stuyvesant High School, and graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1936 with a BS in Engineering. He fell in love with and married his sister Sylvia’s best friend, Rose Charass. Serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII, he was sent to Radar School in Monterey,
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Calif. and was then assigned to the Naval Research Laboratory in Anacosta, Md. Following the war, he attended the Chiropractic Institute of New York. He graduated as a member of Delta Chi Honor Society and was a recipient of the distinguished Milton Kronovet Histology Award. Moving his family out of New York, he practiced in Hewlett, Long Island. He was a founding member of The Bell Park Jewish Center, chairman of its education committee, and active in the Men’s Club. In 1976, Rose and Murray migrated to Florida and then came to Virginia in 2006 to be close to their children and grandchildren. Throughout his life, Murray Halpern’s fultime hobby was his devotion to his family. A funeral service officiated by Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz and Cantor Elihu Flax was held at Altmeyer Funeral Homes Chapel, followed by burial at Forrest Lawn Cemetery. Donations may be sent to Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, Temple Beth El or a charity of one’s choice. Patricia A. Kline Virginia Beach—Pat lost a two-year courageous battle against breast cancer on Dec. 1 at the age of 72. Throughout the illness, she remained optimistic and she continuously projected a positive attitude while fighting the devastating effects of a very aggressive disease. Family and friends will miss her outgoing personality. Many will remember Pat’s love of shopping, fine art, fashion, antiques and her inherent talent for interior decorating. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her. Pat was born in Norfolk on Sept. 1, 1942 to the Bessie (Zedd) Meyers and William Meyers who predeceased her. She was a graduate of Granby High School. Her husband of 51 years, Herb Kline, survives her. She was the devoted mother of Richard Kline, his wife Rebekkah, of Fairfax, Va. and the beloved grandmother to Sara and Ben. Her sister Raylyn O’Toole and her brother Jeffery Meyers, his wife Linda and son Ross, of Virginia Beach survive her. A brother, Bradford, predeceased her. A memorial service was conducted at the H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts with Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill presiding. A private graveside service followed. Donations in Pat’s honor can be made to the American Cancer Society or to a charity of choice. Online
54 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org
condolences may be sent to hdoliver.com. Leon Saunders NORFOLK—Leon Saunders, 90, passed away on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Beth Sholom Home in Virginia Beach, Va. He was retired after many years as part owner of the Be-Lo Supermarket chain. Born in Norfolk, he was the son of the late Rena and Joseph Saunders, and was predeceased by his wife Mary L. Saunders. Mr. Saunders was a graduate of Maury High School and served in the U. S. Army during W.W. II. He was a member of Temple Israel in Norfolk. He is survived by two daughters, Marsha E. Cohen and her husband, Jeffrey of Livingston, N.J. and Brenda A. Britton and her husband, Marshall of Roanoke Rapids, N.C.; son, Morris R. Saunders and his wife, Barbara of Palatine, Ill.; sister, Shirley Hurwitz of Virginia Beach; six grandchildren, Jamie Kirschner, Robyn Lozier, Lennis Sullivan, Shawn Britton, Matthew Saunders, and Stephanie Saunders; and six great grandchildren. A graveside funeral service was conducted in Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Michael E. Panitz officiating. H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be offered through hdoliver.com. • • •
Mervyn Smith, South African Jewish leader Mervyn Smith, president of the African Jewish Congress and a major anti-apartheid activist in the Jewish community, has died. Smith died Saturday, Nov. 13 after a long illness. He was 77. “If there was a Jewish organization, I belonged to it—with my heart and soul,” Smith said frequently, according to the African Jewish Congress. Smith also was a vice president of the World Jewish Congress and an honorary life vice president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. He served as the board’s national chairman. At the Board of Deputies’ national conference in 1985, Smith was the prime protagonist in the passing of the historic resolution condemning apartheid. Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, CEO of the African Jewish Congress, said in a
statement that the South African Jewish community “has suffered a grievous loss.” “Mervyn, an attorney by profession, was a leader of stature, not only in many spheres of Jewish communal life but also as a respected representative of the community in South African national affairs,” Silberhaft wrote. “His presence, his wisdom and his experience will be sorely missed not only by his family, but by all his friends and colleagues.” Smith, a practicing attorney, received the Lexus Lifetime Achiever Award at the Jewish Achiever Awards ceremony for his contributions to reconciliation, change and empowerment in South Africa in the fields of business and/or art, science, sport or philanthropy. He was an expert on anti-Semitism and advised the board on legal matters, particularly regarding anti-Semitism. Active in Holocaust studies, Smith served as board chairman of the South African Holocaust Foundation. He also served as president of the Law Societies of South Africa, chairman of the Performing Arts Council of South Africa and Cape Performing Arts Board, as well as chairman of the Cape Town City Ballet. A cricket player for 25 years, he was life president of the Bellville Cricket Club. (JTA)
Mike Nichols, director of The Graduate Mike Nichols, the Oscar-winning director of The Graduate who had escaped Nazi Germany as a boy, has died. Nichols died Wednesday, Nov. 19 at the age of 83, ABC News President James Goldston announced. Nichols was the husband of Diane Sawyer, the former anchor of ABC World News. Along with winning the Academy Award, he also won Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards—one of the few to win all four. Among his most well-known films were Working Girl, Silkwood, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Closer, Charlie Wilson’s War, Annie, Spamalot, The Birdcage and Angels in America. Goldston in a statement called Nichols “a true visionary,” adding, “No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike.” Nichols, born Michael Igor Peschkowsy, left Germany with his family in 1938 for the United States. (JTA)
jewishnewsva.org | December 8, 2014 | Jewish News | 55
wishing you a
Happy Hanukkah 1
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Kedem Sparkling Juice
25.4 oz, select varieties
Promised Land Chanukah Candles 44-ct
Manischewitz Fine Egg Noodles 12 oz
Fresh Baked Challah 16 oz
Prices effective Monday, December 8th through Wednesday, December 24th at Farm Fresh, 730 W. 21st Street, Norfolk only. 56 | Jewish News | December 8, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org