Jewish News Dec. 10

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LETTER Israel Shapiro, M.D. wrote his family (including Nancy Kanter of Tidewater) the following letter about the situation in Israel: Thank you for your concern. I guess life is quieter than in Israel now. You wrote that “the Jewish press is almost nill. Almost every article is written from a Palestinian view.” I guess that the Jewish and non-Jewish press would have a different opinion if missiles from Cuba would be launched on a daily basis, for 12 years, on a fancy neighborhood in Cincinnati. A simple everyday action like taking a shower becomes complicated. If a siren will start to yell while you are naked in the shower, how can you run to the shelter within 15 seconds? Fifteen seconds is what it takes for the missile to hit your house. And when you hear the BOOM some distance away from your house, you know that you are OK, but then you worry if the missile didn’t hit the kinder garden or school where your child is learning. There is no sense in trying to phone your child to check if he is alive. Everybody is trying to do it simultaneously so the cell phone network always falls in such situations. The journalists would have other opinions if not being able to do simple things like listening to music at home or in your car since you may not hear the siren and therefore risk your life. They would have other opinions if, like most people in Israel, they would live in a house without any shelter, so when hearing the siren, there is no place to run to. And with all due respect to technology, sometimes the missile hits first and then the siren is heard… If attacked by Cuba, there is no doubt in my mind that the USA will not take any action against Cuba and will let the missiles fall on Cincinnati for another 12 years…


Letter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Synagogue-Federation Partnership. . . . . . . 6 Matching Grants. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Grant for Special Needs at OST . . . . . . . . . 7 JFS launches Past President Society . . . . . . 8 U.N. vote on Palestinians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Israel Today Series. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Veterans Day Memorial Service . . . . . . . . 12 Fall Kallah at Ohef Sholom. . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Beth El’s Mitzvah of the Month. . . . . . . . . 14 Jewish Agency for Israel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 HAT holds mock election. . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

jewish news The basic facts are as follows: 1. There is no single Israeli soldier in Gaza Strip. 2. There is no single Israeli settler in Gaza Strip. 3. The Palestinian missiles are meant to hit civilians, just as bombs in busses. 4. The “siege” on Gaza has only one purpose: to try and stop import of arms (including missiles from Syria and Iran). 5. All other import, such as food, is allowed through Ashdod port in Israel, where it is checked to avoid arms smuggling. There is no “siege” also at the border between Islamic Egypt and Gaza (and this is how they bring in the missiles). 6. The last Israeli attack (as those before) was not aimed to hurt civilians. 7. If civilians are hurt it is mainly because the Hamas deliberately locate their plants or launchers in close proximity to civilians. 8. Sometimes, in a war, a civilian gets hurt by mistake. When it is a Palestinian civilian, it is not done on purpose. 9. The Palestinian missiles are meant to kill Israeli civilians. You know my views…. You know my “left” political views; you know that I am against Netanyahu, against settlements in the West Bank, and in favor of talking with the Arabs about peace. You also know that I speak Arabic fluently because when I was 17 years old (1967), I studied Arabic as I had felt that being able to talk to them in their own language is the first step for good neighborliness. You may not know that I have many Arab friends that work with me in the Hospital (friends I like because of their personality, no matter what is their race). However… 1. Israel is not USA.

BSV B’nai Mitzvah. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JFS food programs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Super Sunday committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . Happy Chanukah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Book Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jewish Book Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What’s Happening. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mazel Tov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Professional Directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appreciation: Debbie MacInnnes. . . . . . . Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Face to Face: Vergie McCall. . . . . . . . . . .

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2. Missiles from Gaza are not aimed to hit Cincinnati 3. Cuba is quiet and when JFK prevented stationing Russian missiles in Cuba the American press did not object. 4. Israel is not Great Britain whose capital, London, was the first city hit by missiles. The RAF, with help of U.S. Air Force totally destroyed German cities including civilian neighborhoods (on purpose) with thousands of civilian casualties. We don’t. 5. The time has come for Jews to defend themselves since history shows that nobody will do it for them, even when a high cultured nation slaughters them. You probably also remember the voyage of the ship St. Louis with 936 Jewish refugees from Germany who couldn’t get off the ship in Havana because the JOINT could not pay the Cubans fast enough the requested $500 per capita. After St. Louis was turned away from Cuba, America not only refused their entry but even fired a warning shot to keep them away from Florida’s shores. The ship returned to Europe and most of them were murdered later on by the Nazis. So…American Journalists can go on having a safe shower, go on listening to music and go on blaming Israel. In these unfortunate situations, I have no other choice than to recall Ben-Gurion’s phrase in 1955 about UN resolution. He said: “It doesn’t matter what the gentiles will say. What matters is what the Jews will do.” We overcame Pharaoh. We shall also overcome Arab terrorists and international press. You can send my letter to the Jewish press. It will probably be rejected. Israel Shapiro, M.D. Secretary of the Israel Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology


Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 200 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462-4370 voice 757.965.6100 • fax 757.965.6102 email Terri Denison, Editor Germaine Clair, Art Director Laine Mednick Rutherford, Associate Editor Hal Sacks, Book Review Editor Sandy Goldberg, Account Executive Sharon Freeman, Account Executive Mark Hecht, Account Executive Marilyn Cerase, Subscription Manager Reba Karp, Editor Emeritus Alvin Wall, President Stephanie Calliott, Secretary Harry Graber, Executive Vice-President The appearance of advertising in the Jewish News does not constitute a kashrut, political, product or service endorsement. The articles and letters appearing herein are not necessarily the opinion of this newspaper. © 2012 Jewish News all rights reserved Subscription: $18 year For subscription or change of address, call 757-965-6128 or email

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briefs K.C. synagogue donating Torah scroll to Sandy-ravaged N.Y. congregation Members of a Kansas City synagogue donated a Torah scroll to a suburban New York congregation that had its four scrolls badly damaged by superstorm Sandy. Kehilath Israel Synagogue, an Orthodox synagogue in Overland Park, with more than 15 Torah scrolls, gave one to Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, a small Orthodox synagogue in Cedarhurst on Long Island. Ahavas Yisroel was decimated by Sandy: Four feet of water washed away tables, chairs, prayer books and the scrolls, including one that was more than 90 years old, its rabbi, Yissachar Blinder, told JTA. “Our Torahs were soaked with enough damage that it will be months before we are able to use them,” Blinder said. “We are really grateful for everyone in Kansas City for making this gesture to help us.” A small ceremony honoring the Torah donation and dedication was held Dec. 4. The donation effort was spearheaded by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, Kehilath Israel’s senior rabbi, who noted that damage to synagogues could hurt the community. “Torahs aren’t like necklaces that should just be worn occasionally and then stored away, they should be used and shared with the community,” Yanklowitz said. “We obviously weren’t affected by the hurricane here in Kansas City and we were looking for different ways to contribute to those hurt.” Blinder’s synagogue does not own any Torah scrolls; the four scrolls damaged in the storm were on loan from synagogue members. Blinder said a Torah scroll is just what the community needed. “This is a silver lining for all that we’ve been through with this hurricane,” he said. (JTA) Hungarian lawmaker proposes ‘registering’ Jewish lawmakers A far-right Hungarian lawmaker suggested that members of the Hungarian Parliament who are Jewish or of Jewish origin be counted and registered. Marton Gyongyosi of the ultranationalist Jobbik party made the suggestion Monday, Nov. 26 in a Parliament session during a discussion of the recent conflict in Gaza “in order to avoid the national security risk caused by the Jews,” he said. Gyongyosi also proposed taking a census of Jews in the country. His suggestion received “gentle applause,” according to a statement issued by the European Jewish Congress. Opposition parties in Parliament on television interviews called for the dissolution of Jobbik in the wake of Gyongyosi’s

statement, though they offered no reaction during the Parliament meeting. Foreign State Undersecretary Zsolt Nemethsaid said during the session that he cannot support such “research,” adding that “there is no relationship between the number of Jewish origin members of the Hungarian government and the grave conflict in the Middle East.” European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said the remarks present “an important challenge” for the Hungarian and European Parliament. “Either they place boundaries on hate speech and incitement to violence within representative parties in their parliaments or it will lose its moral compass,” he said. “We demand outrage from senior Hungarian and European Union officials after these comments. Refraining from a wide-scale outrage will leave the Jewish community feeling there is acquiescence that this constitutes acceptable speech and parliamentary conduct. “The increase in physical attacks on Jews in Hungary, we believe, is directly related to not only the rise of Jobbik, but also the lack of condemnation for their statements and actions.” During the government’s session, Gyongyosi asked the prime minister why the Hungarian Foreign Ministry sided with Israel in the Gaza conflict instead of the Palestinians. (JTA)

Germany’s Merkel pledges support to Jewish community, Israel German Chancellor Angela Merkel has renewed her pledge to stand up for Jewish life in Germany and for Israel’s right to self-defense. Speaking Sunday, Nov. 25 at the annual assembly of the Central Council of Jews in Germany—the first time a German chancellor had visited the assembly—Merkel reiterated her longtime commitment to Israel’s security, which she had stated during the recent Gaza conflict. She said it was not only Israel’s right but its duty to protect its citizens from rocket attacks. “Germany also has that right,” she added. Merkel told a crowd of approximately 200, including the council’s 99 delegates, that she wanted the Jewish community to know that it is supported and cherished. Recent anti-Semitic attacks on individuals, plus months of debate over the right to ritual circumcision—a discussion often tinged with anti-Semitism—have put the Jewish community under stress, she acknowledged. “There are still major indications of antiSemitism here,” said Merkel, who shared

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the podium with Central Council President Dieter Graumann. Graumann, who is in his third year as head of the umbrella organization, praised Merkel’s courage in standing up for Israel and for religious freedom in Germany. He said the community had a difficult summer, including the brutal attack on a rabbi in Berlin, the debate on circumcision and “countless thousands of hateful Internet entries that shocked all of us.” “We experienced many fanatical finger waggers, people who express a profound lack of understanding,” he said, adding that “it really hurt us.” Merkel said she also noted the negative tone in the ritual circumcision discussion. “It reminds us to think again about the meaning of religious tolerance,” she said, adding that all basic rights have to be balanced so as not to infringe on each other. It is clear, she said, that the rights of children are just as important to Jews as to any other community in Germany. “But the respect for and practice of religious rituals are also a higher good because evidence of religious freedom is also the fact that it can be practiced.” (JTA)

Dutch TV airs fake Netanyahu speech about targeting Gaza civilians A Dutch news show stirred controversy with a fake video of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bragging to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about civilian deaths in Gaza. “We are trying to maximize the number of civilian casualties. We prefer that,” Netanyahu is seen telling Clinton in the video, which the broadcaster Vara aired on Nov. 21 as part of the satirical corner of the prime-time news show De Wereld Draait Door. Approximately 1.5 million viewers watch the show every evening. The video, made to appear genuine through seamless splicing of sound bites from previous speeches by Netanyahu, was spread by thousands of Twitter and Facebook users who advertised it under the headline “Netanyahu finally tells the truth.” “We are conducting these surgical operations against schools, mosques, hospitals, children,” Netanyahu is heard saying, adding, “This is something I don’t have to explain to Americans.” De Telegraaf, the Netherlands’ largestcirculation daily, reported that the video irked Israel’s supporters here. “The video is tasteless but the show’s satirical corner spares no one, so this isn’t about agenda,” said Esther Voet, deputy director of the pro-Israel Center for Information and Documentation on Israel. “The problem is

that the clip is humorless and technically a good forgery, so many people don’t understand its satirical nature.” (JTA)

Prague rally shows Israel support More than 300 people participated in a proIsrael demonstration in Prague. Rally participants in the Czech Republic’s capital held banners reading “Gaza murderers are killing, Israel has a right to defend itself,” “Free Gaza from Hamas,” “Israel you are not alone” and “Israel we love you.” “Israel has the right and duty to defend its citizens against attacks by the terrorist organization Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip for more than five years,” said Vera Tydlitatova of the League Against Anti-Semitism, which organized the demonstration. Petr Necase, a former adviser to the Czech Republic’s prime minister, said, “Israel gave part of its territory in exchange for peace. Gaza could be a real pearl of the Middle East. Instead, the Palestinians chose Hamas and lost their historic opportunity.” Jaromir Stetina, a senator, during his speech held a banner saying “Hamas are murderers, Israel must defend itself, don’t lie media!” (JTA) World War II-era archbishop of Florence recognized as righteous gentile Cardinal Elia Angelo Dalla Costa, the World War II-era Archbishop of Florence, has been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. In an announcement issued last month, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem said Dalla Costa was recognized as a righteous gentile earlier this year “for spearheading the rescue of hundreds of Jews in Florence during the Holocaust.” Dalla Costa died in 1961 at the age of 89. (JTA) Repair the World offering grants to encourage Sandy relief The Jewish service group Repair the World is offering micro-grants to encourage students to volunteer for Hurricane Sandy relief. The grants, which will range from $1,000 to $5,000, are intended to cover expenses for volunteers willing to spend at least 200 hours helping storm victims. “We want young Jews across North America to dedicate themselves to handson volunteerism where it is most needed on the ground, responding to short-, mediumand long-term needs,” said Will Berkovitz, Repair the World’s interim CEO. The grants are supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. (JTA)

torah thought

What is Chanukah?


hanukah stands out from all other Jewish festivals for many reasons. It is unique in its position as a dated festival; its origins clearly marked in history as the revolt against the Greek Syrian King Antiochus and the victory of the Hasmoneans. The events leading up to the revolt and the progress of the war are preserved in great detail in the Book of the Maccabbees. There was a prelude to the outbreak of war as the push to accentuate and be like the Greeks became more and more popular. Jewish athletes even went so far as to have surgery to make themselves “uncircumcised.” With so much known about the origins, timeline and development of Chanukah, it is surprising to some that the sages of the Talmud ask, “What is Chanukah?” The sages immediately answer as follows: “When the Greeks entered the Holy Temple they defiled all of the oils that they found there. But when the House of Hasmoneans grew strong and defeated them, they found one vial of pure undefiled oil that had the seal of the high priest. There was just enough oil in it for only one day, but it burnt for eight days. The following year, the eight days of Chanukah were fixed as days of rejoicing and thanksgiving together with the lighting of the candles.” This is the first time the story about the oil lasting eight days appears. It is absent in

other discussions about Chanukah in the Talmud and in Josephus, for that matter in all of the records from 164 B.C.E. until the story appears in the gemoro a span of 400 to 600 years. Nothing about this miracle is evident. By providing this story, the sages change the emphasis of what was to be celebrated on Chanukah, not just a miraculous victory over the Syrian Greeks, nor merely a second Sukkot, rededication of the Temple, but in this story of oil lasting eight days, we are presented with a celebration of God suspending the natural laws, so that the light of Judaism will shine in abundance once more. The sages were not adverse to using midrash (legend) to shape the purpose and meaning behind the ritual worship. In this case though, I think it is time to place the emphasis of Chanukah back on the historical events. The long drawn out war for independence from the Greek-Syrians was a war that should have been impossible for us to win, victory in the Maccabean struggle must be viewed as miracle, one created in man’s partnership with God. The courage, dedication and physical efforts needed the help of God to produce victory. The lesson of needing to do all we can, to strive against seemingly insurmountable odds assured that God will help is a healthier message than a reliance on God to suspend the natural order of creation that God has put in place. I believe that this interpretation of “What is Chanukah” will allow us to continue creating modern miracles in our response to manmade and natural catastrophes. In partnership with God, we can make this a better world. Happy Chanukah! Rabbi David L. Goldstein, Gomley Chesed Synagogue.


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message than a reliance on God to suspend the natural order of creation that God has put in place.

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Revitalized Synagogue-Federation Partnership strengthens community A community is too heavy to carry alone. Deuteronomy Rabbah by Laine M. Rutherford


ewish communities across the United States are grappling with the reality of dwindling synagogue memberships, struggling or shuttered JCCs, shrinking Day School enrollment and little opportunity for Jewish culture, education and interaction. This area is not immune to some of these trends, but the Synagogue-Federation Partnership of the Tidewater Jewish community has taken a proactive approach, and is working on building a thriving community for current and future generations. The partnership between local temples and the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater has been in place, in various incarnations, for some time, but in the past year and a half has taken on new life and energy. “We know that there have been significant challenges throughout our history and they have been met through the organized efforts of the community and its entities. However, we believe that we are facing challenges that have been exacerbated by the recent economic downturn and the old solutions offered by Federations and temples are simply inadequate,” says Alvin Wall, UJFT president. “The challenge now is to what extent our Federation and our community has the courage to face itself, change what is necessary, and end up more vital for undertaking the sometimes more difficult and painful effort. Our Federation and community decided as it always does; and that is to take the hard and inspiring road where the potential reward is huge, but nothing is guaranteed,” says Wall. The revitalization is a result of the examination of community building opportunities that exist for and require the efforts of the United Jewish Federation to fulfill and implement. The investigation and discussion were undertaken by the Federation-Synagogue sub-committee of UJFT’s “Strategic Planning” process and the subsequent recommendations were forwarded to, B Co Is ’nai approved r ng ae and funded re l ga by the UJFT tio board of n directors in 2011. The

substance and tone of the recommendations included the establishment of a partnership that was mutually beneficial, accepting and supporting both through word and deed of the goals and missions of UJFT and area temples and synagogues, ultimately resulting in the building of a strong Tidewater Jewish community. “This partnership is a tremendous move forward for our Jewish population,” says Edward Kramer, president of Ohef Sholom Temple, a Reform synagogue in Norfolk. “The Federation makes us feel what it’s like to be part of the larger community. “Without the Federation as an umbrella, what we have are disparate groups claiming some sense of Judaism without any real purpose other than in our own little spheres,” Kramer says. “Federation leaders took the initiative to reach out to synagogues and agencies that had been involved in the past, as well as those that hadn’t been involved, and to make us all become a part of what it means to be a Jewish community.” Some of the UJFT funded initiatives the Partnership has created include two community-wide Shabbaton learning weekends in 2012, hosted by various synagogues, and technical assistance and communication training sessions for all synagogue and agency administrative staff, held at the Sandler Family campus. In addition to those events, the Synagogue-Federation Partnership funded five innovative grants in 2012; funds will be available again for grants in 2013. (See adjacent article.) The Synagogue-Federation Partnership also led to the establishment of the area’s first Community Concierge. Hired as the concierge in 2011, Rebecca Bickford works closely with religious and lay leaders from t h e various synagogues and area religious schools. She gathers information about holiday and Go Shabbat sermle Con Ches y vices, cultural gre ed and edugat ion cational programs, and volu n t e e r opportunities. Bickford is available for faceto-face meetings, phone conversations, and as an online presence,

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posting the material she has amassed on the community’s Shalom Tidewater website (, in Shalom Tidewater blog posts, and on her Facebook page. “My role is to reach out to new Jewish singles and families who have relocated here or who are thinking of moving here, or who maybe already live here but aren’t involved, and to engage them and help them to become active within the community or find a congregation,” says Bickford. “I have to work closely with the temples in order to let others know all that Tidewater has to offer—and there’s a lot. “What I’ve discovered during this time is that our rabbis, synagogue leaders, educators and community planners are not only sharing their information with the comO

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political, pro-Israel speakers are coming in—which people around here really want—is something we can all get together on,” says Rabbi Sender Haber of B’nai Israel Congregation, an Orthodox shul in Norfolk. “The more events there are Tem like this, the better it is for everyone; it creEmanple ates a common ground.” uel Any doubts Rabbi Haber may have munity, but initially felt about B’nai Israel’s participathey’re sharing tion in the partnership are being appeased with each other, by the concern and commitment he says too—what they’re he has experienced in interactions with seeing and expeFederation staff. riencing—and they’re “The Synagoguegetting to know each other in F e d e r a t i o n a way that maybe some o f Partnership has made Congregation them never would have it easy for our Beth Chaverim before this partnersynagogue ship,” Bickford adds. to become Another program involved in several that the Synagoguecommunity wide Tem F e d e r a t i o n initiatives,” Haber Isra ple Partnership says. “By strengthel is actively ening our unity as a involved in is Jewish community while respecting our the Community autonomy as a synagogue, the Relations partnership has provided Council of the UJFT’s an excellent model for Keh speaker series, Israel open communication and Hamillat Kem idra Bet Today. All area synaeffective collusion.” Con ps sh gogues—along with other “There’s no compevi s S community partners—are ynaervat lle tition in this,” Haber gog ive partners in promoting and adds. “The idea is, ‘Let’s ue supporting the series. (See all work together to article, page 10) strengthen Tidewater.’ It’s a “Being involved in a beautiful thing.” program like this—where three

Grant allows Special Needs children to get religious education


by Laine M. Rutherford

n January, Ohef Sholom Temple will launch an innovative program designed specifically to make Jewish education accessible and tailored to children with special needs. “We believe that v’shinantam l’vanecha, you shall teach your children, refers to all children,” says Kitty Wolf, religious educator at OST, a Reform synagogue in Norfolk. “We want everyone who feels like they have a child who needs some kind of special accommodation to be able to learn about their Jewish heritage. “In the past, that has proven at times to be a challenge,” says Wolf, a former regional educator for the Union for Reform Judaism. “We saw kids that were in our Sunday School classrooms who were disruptive because they weren’t learning or were frustrated, and our teachers—who are great but don’t necessarily have an educational or special needs background—really didn’t know how to accommodate them. And we didn’t want to have to say to these children or their families, ‘We can’t have you in our school.’” When Wolf and Debbie Haring, OST Religious School director, found out about a grant offered by the Synagogue-Federation Partnership of the Tidewater Jewish Community, they developed a proposal and subsequently were awarded funding. “The Temple Grants program that grew out of the UJFT Strategic Planning process and initially funded by the UJFT and Simon Family Foundation of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation was intended to fund programs that strengthen temples and their ability to attract and retain members. When Eddie Kramer, Ohef Sholom Temple president, and I spoke about the grant program, I

urged him to push for innovation. I even extended the deadline so that Ohef Sholom could participate and when Eddie told me about the idea that was incubating I was thrilled and urged him to pursue it. It has so many wonderful elements, such as Jewish education for hard to reach populations and its availability to members of other congregations that I was pleased to approve the funding,” says Harry Graber, UJFT executive vice-president. Wolf and Haring immediately hired Heather Keller, an experienced special education teacher with Suffolk Public Schools who is Jewish and whose son attends OST Religious School. “When Kitty and Debbie asked if I would help, I liked the idea of starting something new, and being able to help give these children the accommodations they need to get a Jewish education,” Keller says. “Our goal is to help the children be more comfortable in a classroom—whether that’s with an aide in their regular class or in a smaller setting in my room. And we’re not taking the children away from the other kids, even if they are in class with me for part of the time,” she says. “They’re still going to participate in art, in music, for snacks, and maybe more, it just depends on the child.” With all of their expertise (Haring has taught in public schools for 24 years and also has a background with special needs children), the team developed an outline for the pilot program and established criteria for enrolment. This first year, eight children ages three through 10th grade will be admitted. To ensure that children receive an education tailored for their specific needs, the administrators made three requirements

mandatory for enrolment: parents must request participation for their child, the child must already have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in place, and communication with the child’s regular school teacher must be established. Once accepted, students will receive an IJEP (OST’s individualized Jewish education program), which Keller will create with parents’ input. Students will work one-onone with Keller or with an aide who has received specialized training. Teacher training is also planned. Amanda Mewhinney is a second grader who attends OST’s religious school. Because of her special needs, her mother, Jane, or father, Jason, go to class with her each Sunday. When Jason found out about the program, he submitted an application. “Amanda loves to learn,” he says. “And she’s so smart when she’s allowed to focus. “This program will offer Amanda and other Jewish children whose needs vary, the chance to explore their roots at their own pace, and it will allow teachers to adapt to each students’ learning style,” Mewhinney says. “It will make it easier for everyone to have someone in place who is familiar with these children and trained to deal with the types of problems that can come up. We’re looking forward to it.” All Jewish families with children who fit the criteria are encouraged to apply. Priority will go to current OST Religious School students and families, then to children whose families are members of other are synagogues, and then to unaffiliated Jewish families. Tuition fees for those not already enrolled in the religious school are required, and OST non-members pay an additional fee. Temple membership is not required.

Kitty Wolf, Heather Keller, and Debbie Haring—are using funding provided by a Synagogue-Federation Partnership grant to implement an inclusive religious school education program for local Jewish youth with special needs.

“We’re starting out small with a goal of eight, but we hope that the community will embrace this, that other temples will embrace this, and that this will be something we need to find more room for in the future,” Haring says. “These children need a Jewish education as much as the—for lack of another word—regular kids do, and we’re excited about all of the possibilities and potential of this program.” Call 757-625-4295, email debbie@ or for more information. A gift to the United Jewish Federation helps enable the Synagogue-Federation Partnership of the Tidewater Jewish Community to fund grants such as this one. Visit www.jewishva. org to find out more about ways to personally make a difference.

Matching Gift Programs ensure donations matter even more


wo matching gift programs are currently in place that give new or increased donations to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater a higher mon-

etary value. The programs translate into the community having a greater impact on improving the lives of Jews in Tidewater, in the United States, in Israel and around the globe. The first of these programs is for synagogue members. The philosophy behind the program, funded by the Simon Family Foundation of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, is that if synagogues are stronger, the Federation is stronger, and if the

Federation is stronger, than synagogues will be stronger. For a member of a synagogue who has never before made a gift to the UJFT Annual Campaign, or who hasn’t donated in two years or more, for every two dollar gift, one dollar will be matched, half of which goes directly to support the Synagogue-Federation grants program. The grant funding to eligible temples is a Simon Family Foundation initiative of the Synagogue-Federation Partnership of the Tidewater Jewish Community. Example: Abraham who fits the new or returning donor category gives $360. The matching program adds $180 to the

value of his gift. $90 of that added value goes directly back to his synagogue when it receives its grant funding in 2013. The second program is a Matching Gift program for current donors, funded by the Tidewater Jewish Foundation and two anonymous donors. In this program, if a donor’s gift increases by 10 percent or more, the percentage amount will be matched. Example: Sarah gives $360. She increases her gift by 10 percent to $396. Her additional $36 generosity becomes $72. If she had increased by even more, say by $54, then that additional $54 becomes a $108 donation.

“We owe a great deal to Jerry Miller and Karen Jaffe, co-chairs of the UJFT Strategic Planning process whose visionary leadership along with that of the UJFT board of directors who put these ideas in motion to build a strong Tidewater Jewish Community,” says Alvin Wall, UJFT president. “We also owe a great deal to Amy Levy, 2013 Annual Campaign chair and her team for bringing these initiatives to fruition and implementing them.” To make a gift, or to find out how to personally make a difference, visit www. | December 10, 2012 | Jewish News | 7

Jewish Family Service launches Past Presidents Society Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care of Tidewater. Nathan Jaffe, event co-chair, says, “It’s amazing to see how JFS has grown as our community’s needs have grown. We have Jewish Family Service expanded from a two-person agency with a budget in 1971 $29,000 budget in 1971 to an agency with a $7-million budget boasting a wide array of programs, health care and social services in 2012.” As baby boomers age, statistics indicate that in 25 years the demand for JFS services Book created by JFS staff put into perspeccould double. And, since changes in health tive how far the agency has come and how care could drastically affect the agency’s much our past presidents can enrich our primary revenue source, it is important to agency through their experiences and their carefully plan for the future. “Growing the understanding of our mission. It is our hope agency’s endowment today is key in build- that the past presidents will provide support ing a stable and secure JFS that offers the for our agency’s programs, guidance to our breadth and quality of services our com- board leadership, and help in ensuring the munity deserves,” Jaffe says. financial security of JFS so that we can conJaffe and Bootsie Goldmeier, event co- tinue to meet the needs of our community chairs, Marcia Samuels, JFS president, Betty well into the future,” says Samuels. Ann Levin, JFS executive director, Elena Jewish Family Service is a constituent agency of Barr Baum, Jay Klebanoff, Amy Levy, Linda United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Spindel, Elinore Porter, Martin Mendelsohn, Stan Samuels, Dolores Bartel, Miriam Seeherman, and JFS executive committee members Lawrence Steingold, Beth Jaffe and Jeff Cooper and JFS development staff Jennifer Karotkin Adut and Sue Graves attended. “Reading the remembrances of the past presidents in the beautiful Memory Jay Klebanoff, Linda Spindel and Jeff Cooper.


Front row: Nathan Jaffe, Bootsie Goldmeier, Dolores Bartel, Miriam Seeherman Back row: Stan Samuels, Elinore Porter, Linda Spindel, Amy Levy, Jay Klebanoff, Martin Mendelsohn, Elena Barr Baum.


leven former Jewish Family Service presidents convened at the home of Beth and Nathan Jaffe last month to show their support for JFS and to reconnect with like-minded agency leaders. The first annual Past Presidents Lunch launched this new society of leadership dedicated to supporting the work of JFS through advocacy and philanthropy. “The input and engagement of our former leadership is essential as we build a vibrant and strong agency for future generations,” says Betty Ann Levin, JFS executive director. “Our presidents have been instrumental in building and growing this remarkable agency and thus their

leadership is essential in the agency’s future success.” Jewish Family Service of Tidewater has been caring for the aged, sick, and vulnerable for more than 65 years. In the early 20th century, a group of nine women from Hebrew Ladies Charity Society went door to door for donations to help the community’s needy. Hebrew Ladies Charity Society eventually formed Jewish Family Service of Tidewater to formally take care of the community’s human service needs. Today, JFS’ programs and services include counseling, home health care for those recovering from sickness or injury, services for those with special needs, services for the aging and a partnership with Beth Sholom Village, the

Bootsie Goldmeier and Nathan Jaffe.

Lawrence Steingold, Delores Bartel and Philip Rovner.

8 | Jewish News | December 10, 2012 |

Betty Ann Levin, Beth Jaffe and Marcia Samuels.

News Analysis After U.N. vote, question is whether Palestinians will use it as a stick or an olive leaf by Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA)—How the United States treats the Palestinians’ new status as a non-member state at the United Nations depends on how Palestinians plan to use it —as cudgel or outstretched hand. Beneath the outcries of disappointment at the lopsided U.N. vote, both the United States and Israel showed signs of acquiescence to its inevitability. There were the grim warnings of financial consequence for both the Palestinians and the United Nations, but there was also a willingness to take at face value Palestinian claims that the vote is an avenue to return to talks—something Israel and the United States have been demanding for two years. The public statements by U.S. and Israeli officials, however, focused on the negative. “It places further obstacles in the path to peace,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a Foreign Policy Group address after the vote on Thursday, Nov. 29. “We have been clear that only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve: two states for two peoples, with a sovereign, viable, independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the vote that the Palestinian initiative “violated the agreements with Israel” and that he would “act accordingly.” That apparently presaged leaks to media outlets that he planned to build 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including in the corridor separating Maaleh Adumim, a large Jewish settlement in the West Bank, from Jerusalem. A broad array of Jewish groups condemned the vote, which passed by a margin of 138-9, with 41 abstentions. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in one of its rare public statements, predicted blunt and dire consequences for the Palestinians and the organization representing them in Washington and New York, the Palestine Liberation Organization. “Congress has frequently warned the PLO that there would be consequences for its relationship with the United States if the PLO refuses to demonstrate its commitment to peace with Israel,” AIPAC said. “Congress has specifically linked continued aid and the operation of the PLO office in

Washington to the Palestinians not seeking statehood status at the United Nations. AIPAC applauds this congressional leadership and urges a full review of America’s relations with the PLO, including closure of the PLO’s office in Washington.” Yet the sequence of congressional amendments introduced that would penalize the Palestinians for seeking statehood seemed, if anything, to retreat from punitive to wait-and-see. Last month, a slate of Republican senators led by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) introduced amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act that would cut assistance to the Palestinians immediately and shut down the PLO office in Washington. The NDAA does not otherwise address the Palestinians, but the act is the most immediate vehicle for passage of legislation, as both Houses of Congress are frantically trying to pass major budget bills to head off the so-called fiscal cliff. Just hours before the U.N. vote, however, Barrasso had joined a separate Palestinian spending initiative, and one likelier to pass, spearheaded by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). That amendment to the NDAA would cut assistance to the Palestinians only if they use their new U.N. status to bring charges against Israel. The new amendment would shut down the PLO office in Washington only in the case that the Palestinians have not entered into “meaningful negotiations” with Israel. A lawmaker on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee told JTA that the House was likely to initiate a similar wait-and-see bill. The lawmaker characterized it as a bid to see if the Palestinians would make good on suggestions that they were not in a hurry to bring charges at the International Criminal Court, and that a successful show at the United Nations could create the conditions necessary to bring the Palestinians back to talks. In an interview earlier last month, Maen Areikat, the PLO envoy to Washington, told JTA that the U.N. vote would mitigate the factor that has kept the Palestinians from talks until now: Israel’s continued settlement expansion. The vote, recognizing “Palestine” as within the pre-1967 lines, would grant the Palestinians assurances that lands they claim have international recognition, even if Israel continues to build Jewish settlements there.

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12214.1_AUDI_A6_4.875X8.125_BW.indd 1 “After we get recognition within 1967 borders, we are willing to engage Israelis,” Areikat said. Areikat, like other Palestinian officials, would not count out using U.N. bodies like the International Criminal Court to seek redress for what they say are illegal Israeli actions. But he also noted that even with the enhanced status of non-member state, the road to such actions was fraught with bureaucracy and unlikely to happen anytime soon. Two influential think-tankers otherwise known for their hawkish views testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the state of Israeli-Palestinian relations in the wake of November’s mini-war with

3:51 PM Hamas in the Gaza Strip and 11/28/12 the vote. The two men—Robert Satloff, who heads the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Elliott Abrams, the deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush who is now at the Council on Foreign Relations—answered questions from lawmakers on whether the U.N. vote should trigger U.S. penalties on the Palestinians. Satloff said that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president and PLO leader, needed to show the Palestinian people that there was an alternative to Hamas’ preferred course: terrorism. “We have to encourage him to choose the diplomatic path,” Satloff said. | December 10, 2012 | Jewish News | 9

Israel Today Series begins with speaker and community solidarity event


by Laine M. Rutherford

n front of a standing room audience at the Sandler Family Campus on Tuesday, Nov. 27, Amos Guiora repeated a question often posed in discussions among military leaders: “Can we teach 19-year-old alpha males this thing called ‘morality in armed conflict?’” The Israeli-American had asked himself the same question often in his 19 years serving in the Israel Defense Forces. During his tenure in the IDF’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps (Lt. Col. Ret.), Guiora held a number of positions, including Commander of the IDF School of Military Law, Judge Advocate for the Navy and Home Front Command, and, from 1994-99, was the legal advisor to the Gaza Strip, charged with implementing the Oslo Peace Process. “The answer I came up with then, and that I firmly believe now is, ‘Yes. We can,’” Guiora said. The realization, and his subsequent development of an IDF program teaching morality in warfare, came as Guiora listened to ongoing complaints and condemnations filed against the conduct of Israeli soldiers in his role as legal advisor. “We came to the conclusion that we were having difficulties in the context of teaching soldiers how to act, and how to—most importantly of all—respect with dignity the innocent Palestinians who are caught in the middle between terrorists and the state’s right to defend itself,” Guiora said. While in Tidewater, Amos Guiora spoke to: • Old Dominion University International Graduate Studies Program (24 people) • Old Dominion University Institute for Jewish Studies (9 people) • UJFT Business & Legal Society (19 people) • Appearance on Christian Broadcasting Network—Newswatch (viewership=20,000–30,000 people) • Virginia Beach Public High School Global Studies students (45 people) • World Affairs Council students (5 people) • Federation Men’s Campaign group (35 people) • Community Event (300+ people) • Local/State/Federation Law Enforcement seven-hour workshop (100 people) • Editorial board of The Virginian-Pilot (2 people) • Old Dominion University Hillel (21 people)

“If we as Israelis are going to conduct ourselves differently than how others conduct themselves, we have to walk the walk, it is not enough to just talk the talk,” he added, “I want to emphasize over and over again that the whole point of teaching morality is, yes, we must conduct aggressive counterterrorism against those who conduct terror, but we also must make every possible effort to minimize loss of innocent life on the other side.” Guiora was in Tidewater as the first speaker in the ongoing Israel Today series, presented by the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, in partnership with all area synagogues, agencies, and many community organizations and members. In recognition of the recent barrage of missiles fired on Israelis by Hamas terrorists in Gaza and the conflict that arose from those actions, Guiora’s scheduled Israel Today appearance grew into a larger event. The evening became an opportunity for the community to gather and show their solidarity and support for Israel. Local religious leaders, including Cantors Gordon Piltch and Wally Shachet-Briskin, and Rabbis Israel Zoberman and Sender Haber, led the crowd of about 300 in songs and prayers for Israel and for peace. Sam Schwartz, from Senator Mark Warner’s office, read a proclamation and Senate resolution submitted by the Senator in support of Israel, and Steve Leon, CRC Israel committee vice-chair read a leader of support from Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms before welcoming Professor Guiora to the stage. Other legislators sent proclamations of support. (see page 11) UJFT president Alvin Wall and CRC chair Miriam Seeherman also extended gratitude for the widespread support shown by the community, local military personnel and their families, and the government. “The support of the United States, and that of Americans, and friends of Israel— Jews and Christians alike— is essential to her survival,” Seeherman said. “We have the power, as individuals and as a community, to help Israelis in small and large ways, but always in essential ways. By touching hearts, by changing minds, by raising funds and raising hope, by lending our names and faces and voices to our far away family who are all too often portrayed in the media as a nameless, faceless and ruthless people.” In his presentation, Guiora imparted anecdotes, opinions and insight, and

10 | Jewish News | December 10, 2012 |

Amos Guiora speaks to a standing room only audience.

enlarged his original topic of morality to include an assessment of the current situation in the Middle East. “As to the recent conflict in Gaza, here’s what you need to know,” he said. “Hamas is comprised of seriously smart, seriously savvy and seriously dedicated, motivated individuals… Are they in this for the long run? Absolutely. Do they feel that they won last week? Absolutely. But I have no idea what winning and losing is in this situation. There are no winners and there are no losers here. This is the new 100 year war.” Before answering audience questions, Guiora shared some final thoughts. “Will it be possible to extract ourselves from this?” he asked. “Yes, but its going to require flexible, creative leadership. Right

now, we are stuck. “The fact that were stuck in this paradigm, defined as mission impossible—under no circumstances, no matter how complex the dilemma and no matter how complex the questions—allows us to for a second lose our morality and for a second to lose our moral compass. If there’s one thing, what ultimately separates us from them, it is indeed a powerful sense of morality, a powerful sense of values and the understanding that human life is indeed sacred.” A law professor at the University of Utah, Guiora teaches, writes and speaks extensively on national and security issues. He is a widely cited expert in areas such as counterterrorism, religious extremism, international law, drones and targeted killing.

The community gathered en masse to show their support for Israel. The diverse crowd included Jews and non-Jews, clergy, seniors and young adults. Prayers and song were included in the show of solidarity.

Elected and community leaders demonstrate Israel support The UJFT Business & Legal Society hosted a lunch at Vandeventer Black law firm. Lisa Sands, Charles Hecht-Levitt, Adam White, Carolyn Amacher, Amos Guiora, Steve Goad, Sondra Goad, Anat Mor, Eitan Mor.

With Guiora’s credentials and reputation in mind, and fulfilling the CRC’s mission to educate, motivate and advocate, Robin Mancoll, CRC director contacted groups and organizations she thought might like to hear him speak. Subsequently, during his four-day stay, Guiora was left with very little free time. He spoke to the UJFT’s Business & Legal Society at the Vandeventer Black law firm in Norfolk, to students at Tallwood High School’s Global Studies Program in Virginia Beach, the Graduate Program for International Studies and the Institute for Jewish Studies at Old Dominion University, to the ODU Hillel, to the editorial board of The Virginian-Pilot and was interviewed on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Newswatch program, among others. One full day of Guiora’s visit was devoted to a symposium hosted by the Virginia Beach Police Department. Among the 100

attendees at the VBPD Law Enforcement Training Academy were federal, state and local law enforcement professionals, and other first responders and public safety personnel. Guiora shared his expertise and experiences of interactions with terrorists, as well as data and perceptions on topics such as national security versus religious freedoms. He prompted discussion by questioning whether America was taking the growing threat of terrorism seriously enough, and suggested that additional strategies for counterterrorism should be adopted proactively, rather than reactively. “We understand the model, the threat environment that Israel faces...and in the context of that environment they operate in, the approach they have to threats is different than what we do here,” said Willie Session, the FBI's Assistant Special Agent in charge in Norfolk. “I think our policies and laws have dealt well with the threats we've faced, but we continue to evolve. We are always mindful that there could be more threats in this country, and, as part of the integration of law enforcement agencies into counterterrorism task forces, we look for different techniques VBPD Sgt. D.C. Sorenson, Amos Guiora, NPD Public Information Officer Chris Amos. that help us identify, address and mitigate any threats as they relate to terrorism.”

Amos Guiora meets with members of ODU’s Hillel.

The Israel Today Series continues on Wednesday, Feb. 13 with Neil Lazarus, who will speak on the topic of Diplomacy. For more information on the series and other CRC events or resources, visit www., or call 757-965-6100.

“As air raid sirens sound in Tel Aviv and, for the first time in decades, Jerusalem, we stand with Israel as they take the necessary actions to protect their citizens from continued and escalating rocket fire from terrorist Hamas networks. We join with them in prayer for a swift and peaceful resolution to what is quickly becoming a grave international concern.” —Representative Randy Forbes “In recent days, the citizens of Israel have come under attack by Hamas. Rockets fired from Gaza into Israel have struck civilian centers, and terrorized the nation. And today a terrorist attack struck a city bus in Tel Aviv, the first such event in the city since 2006. Israel has rightly responded to these attacks with appropriate force. Now, a cease fire has been called to these hostilities. America stands with Israel as it continues to move through this dangerous period. Hamas must cease all attacks on Israel, and it is my hope that the unwarranted and random violence the group has unleashed on our friends in Israel will now come to a permanent end.” —Governor Bob McDonnell “The United States and Israel have long enjoyed a strong—and critically important— relationship based on common values, interests, and goals. Israel remains the only true democracy in the Middle East, and my support for Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, its claim to its current geographic boundaries, and its right to defend herself against the unrelenting threat posed by neighboring hostile regimes is unequivocal. The United States must stand with our friend and ally as she exercises her inherent right and moral obligation to do this. Our thoughts and prayers are with Israel during this troubling and turbulent time.” —Representative Scott Rigell “I continue to support Israel, our democratic ally in the Middle East, and its right to self defense. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the current escalation of hostilities in the region, and I hope that stability and peace will soon prevail.” —Representative Bobby Scott “During this challenging period, I want to reiterate my strong commitment to the security of Israel. I continue to urge the President and the United Nations to work diplomatically to support Israel’s right to self-defense while also working to limit the risk of civilian casualties in Israel and Gaza.” —Senator Mark Warner “The Christian Broadcasting Network wishes to confirm that we stand with the nation of Israel in defense of her rights to a peaceful nation and a people not living under threat of war. We support the Jewish community, both in the United States and in Israel during this most stressful time. The CBN staff and TV audience is in fervent prayer asking God to provide wisdom, discernment and protection for those in authority in the Israeli government. We encourage Christians worldwide to beseech God to bring a solution in this quest for Israel’s destruction. We ask for an end to the violence as we “pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” —Michael D. Little, President, The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc. “Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Israel as they endure deadly rocket attacks. No nation on earth would sit still under such an assault from a neighbor. I fully support Israel’s right to defend itself and its people from these cowardly attacks. I also want to thank our local military personnel who were diverted to the region. We are all grateful for your sacrifice.” —Mayor Will Sessoms, Virginia Beach The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater thanks these community leaders for their support of Israel and her right to defend herself. Visit for more resources. | December 10, 2012 | Jewish News | 11

Veterans Day Memorial Service at Sandler Campus

Captain James Eilberg (Retired) leads the service.


pproximately 60 people attended Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s third annual Veterans Day Memorial Service on Monday, Nov. 12. The Jewish War Veterans Monument, located on the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

of the Tidewater Jewish Community, was unveiled in 2010. The monument was made possible by the diligence and integrity of a group of local veterans. Randy Parrish, chief financial officer of TJF delivered opening remarks and Captain

James Eilberg (Retired) conducted the service. Rear Admiral Janet R. Donovan was the guest speaker. Rear Admiral Donovan’s career has consisted of numerous commands both nationally and internationally. She has also merited several awards throughout her career including the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (gold star) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two gold stars). Rear Admiral Donovan was nominated to flag rank in 2012 and will serve as Deputy Judge Advocate General (Reserve Affairs and Operations). Rear Admiral Donovan, along with her husband Daniel and daughter Bridget, reside in Chesapeake. Their middle daughter Jacqueline is a student at the University of Virginia and their eldest daughter, Katharine, is an Elon College graduate and a 2nd lieutenant in the Air Force. They are members of Congregation Beth Chaverim. Cantor Elihu Flax of Beth Sholom Village, Rabbi Arthur Steinberg of Ohef Sholom Temple, and Rabbi Israel Zoberman of Congregation Beth Chaverim, all partici-

Rear Admiral Janet R. Donovan and Rabbi Israel Zoberman.

pated in the service. TJF extends its profound gratitude to veterans and active duty military personnel for their tireless service in protecting this great nation. It is still possible to honor a veteran by purchasing a paver at the Jewish War Veterans Monument. For information on pavers, contact Benita Watts at 757-965-6123 or ops@ujft. org. Funds collected from the sale of pavers are used to maintain the monument.


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Fall Kallah at Ohef Sholom by Madeline Budman


he floor was shaking. The air was humming with energy and the room’s temperature steadily rose as the 200 teenagers danced and jumped around. One or two kids even climbed on each other’s shoulders, gaining a better view as 200 voices joined in song. No less than 10 guitars could be found strumming wildly at the front of the room. One may think that this was your average concert at the NorVa. Nope—this was Shabbat Shira, Friday night song session at NFTY-MAR Fall Kallah 2012. On Friday, Nov. 16, Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk welcomed more than 220 teens and advisors from Delaware to North Carolina to stay with OSTY for the weekend. Fall Kallah is one of the North American Federation of Temple Youth— Mid-Atlantic Region’s five events held each year. With the help of the elected regional board, the OSTY Quadchairs—Skylar Arias, Madeline Budman, Franklin Kramer, and Ben Laderberg—planned the highly anticipated weekend of programming, Jewish learning, and lots of fun. The four teens, along with their devoted advisors Amy and Eliot Weinstein, began meeting weekly in August. And, more than 15 OSTY members served on various committees to help ensure a successful event. The energy and excitement was apparent as soon as NFTY-MAR participants leapt off of the buses, hugging friends they had been separated from for months. The teens joined OST’s congregation for a beautiful and innovative Shabbat evening service led by Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin. After an

Song session after Friday night Shabbat services.

oneg, song session, reading of the Code of Conduct, and singing the traditional NFTY Bedtime Sh’mah, the teens met their host parents and went home for the evening. They arrived at OST bright and early Saturday morning to celebrate Shabbat as a community and learn about the weekend’s theme, “Everyone Needs an Original Moment.” After more dancing and singing during Shabbat services, NFTY-MAR moved into a day of programming, each written by the Quadchairs. In the first program, participants were prompted to draw something without any further instructions, and then had a discussion about the limitations normally put on their creativity. After lunch, the teens learned how to balance being original and being part of a group by engaging in a fun movement activity. They then learned about the disastrous effects of Hurricane Sandy and what they can do to help, a program based off of “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” the NFTY’s selected study theme for the year. Finally, to end the afternoon, each member of NFTY-MAR had their own “original moments” and decorated their blank white t-shirts. The teens left the temple at 3 pm for a few hours of bonding with their host families and to rest up before the evening excitement. NFTY-MAR returned to OST at 7 pm, dressed in their 1920s finest for the surprise dance later on in the evening. They said goodbye to Shabbat and hello to the week ahead with a spiritual Havdallah led by the Quadchairs and the regional song leaders. The teens then split into three groups to learn about original moments in history. The three rotations of the evening program included a slam poem about origi-

Ohef Sholom Temple Youth Group members at Fall Kallah.

nality in the Torah, Jewish Jeopardy about modern Jews in the region, and even a delicious demonstration by Doumar’s, the creators of the original waffle cone! Finally, the big dance was revealed—NFTYMAR was going to be taught how to swing dance by Swing Virginia, Fall Kallah Quadchairs Skylar Arias, Madeline Budman, Franklin Kramer and then test out and Ben Laderberg get the first aliyah Shabbat morning. their moves while the Rhythm Kings played big band music. NFTY-MAR was songs, and lots of hugs, members of OSTY transported to a 1920s dance hall and waved goodbye to the buses and even danced the night away. It was a night that chased them down the street as NFTY-MAR will live on in memory for years to come! teens headed home. The fun-filled busy day ended with the The Quadchairs and OSTY Advisors NFTY cheer, complete with confetti can- thank everyone at Ohef Sholom Temple nons, and the Bedtime Sh’mah. who helped make the weekend such a On Sunday morning, no one wanted smashing success—it couldn’t have been to leave. After friendship circle, a few last done without them.

Fall Kallah 2012. | December 10, 2012 | Jewish News | 13

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Mitzvah of the Month at Beth El by Sharon Wasserburg, director of congregational Learning

Congregation Beth El is kicking-up its level of tikkun olam projects. In September, Rabbi Jeff Arnowitz initiated a “Mitzvah of the Month” program with the synagogue focusing attention on and supporting a particular cause each month. Congregants and especially BERS (Beth El Religious School) students have responded enthusiastically to these mitzvot. September featured a non-perishable food drive to benefit the kosher food pantry and other community food pantries. The response was overwhelming as people brought in more donations than in any previous food drives. In October, in honor of Sukkot and the idea of temporary dwellings, congregants brought in blankets and gently used coats to be distributed through The Dwelling Place in Norfolk to those without these essential cold weather items. The collection barrel for blankets and coats was filled and emptied numerous times. November was dedicated to honoring

those who have served in the armed forces as BERS students wrote letters to be distributed to members of the military. The two December mitzvot are: a blood drive and fulfilling some of the Chanukah wishes of children served by the JFS. Fulfilling the wishes of children and teens who would otherwise do without any gift at Chanukah has been a big hit; the two chanukiyot which had been covered with cards indicating wish-list items are almost barren. The congregation is excited to continue with the “Mitzvah of the Month” projects, helping members of all ages take part in social action projects.

Beth El’s family Havdalah event


Happy Hanukkah 2012

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14 | Jewish News | December 10, 2012 |


ongregation Beth El’s “Growing Together” held a festive family Havdalah event at the Simon Family JCC on Saturday, Nov. 10. “Growing Together” is a programming series for young families of the synagogue. In a service led by Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz, everyone gathered in a circle with glow sticks, sang and celebrated the beginning of a sweet new week. After the

service, Sharon Wasserberg, Beth El’s director of congregational learning, read the children a story. The children also made their own Havdalah candles to take home.

Bright futures for disadvantaged kids in Israel ATID is the Hebrew word for future. And Atidim (futures) is the name of a breakthrough project designed to build a better, stronger Israel by enabling capable and talented young people from underprivileged communities to acquire higher education in order to share in Israel’s growth. Created by the Israel Defense Forces more than a decade ago, Atidim has since become one of Israel’s most valuable educational and social initiatives. The Israel Defense Forces Academic Reserves is a longtime source of highly educated and motivated IDF officers. Prior to being inducted as officers in the IDF, Academic Reserve candidates are permitted to defer military service to study specific majors in the exact sciences at universities. This enables graduates to enter the IDF with degrees in law, medicine or scientific research, grooming them for a lifetime of personal and professional success. In addition to giving Israel’s military an essential edge, former IDF officers hold prominent leadership positions in the public and private sectors. Eitan Wertheimer, Israeli businessman and philanthropist, assesses the need for the program: “There are many new roads to higher education in Israel today, but not everyone—especially kids from Israel’s periphery and disadvantaged communities—can make it in the classroom. Higher education requires considerable talent and money. Motivated, talented kids without financial resources have almost no chance of making it. A tragic waste of potential that none of us can afford!” When Atidim started, just one percent of the Academic Reserves came from Israel’s disadvantaged communities; since its inception, Atidim students representing Israel’s most disadvantaged areas have come to comprise nearly 40 percent of the IDF Academic Reserves—a spectacular achievement. The Atidim program overcomes the three primary obstacles to achievement plaguing disadvantaged students: marginalization resulting in low self-confidence; unequal science education opportunities compared with more affluent peers; and lack of funds for educational enrichment. With his dark wavy hair and natural good looks, Yossi Lahiany, 16, epitomizes the cool, native-born Israeli teenager. But beneath this façade, is a teenager, fast approaching adulthood, wanting to succeed. Yossi attends Lod’s High School for Science, where he excels in biology and chemistry. Prior to becoming involved in the Atidim program, he had no one to turn

Yossi Lahiany

to for help when he encountered difficulties with his studies. When his guidance counselor told Yossi that the Atidim program was coming to his school, Yossi was eager to sign up. “Atidim is helping me to advance,” says Yossi. “I am receiving help in math and English, and this has given me more confidence. I know that if I don’t understand something, I can go to my Atidim teachers and they will explain things to me.” Yossi wants to graduate from high school with honors, serve in the army and then continue his studies at university. He is very self-motivated and plans to be a doctor. The Atidim program gives extra assistance to students like Yossi. Each student receives individualized assistance to help them achieve an advanced high-school diploma. Additional enrichment activities such as university lectures, volunteer work, summer camps, and challenge activities, provide further opportunities for social and personal development. Atidim offers today’s disadvantaged youth a more positive and enriching future. By bolstering traditionally disenfranchised bright young people, including new immigrants, Atidim truly transforms the landscape of Israeli society. It invests resources in young people over their total growth trajectory: from junior high through high school, to university, to distinguished military service, and ultimately to their emergence as leaders in industry and public service. The program enables participants to obtain bachelor’s degrees from Israel’s most esteemed institutions of higher learning and attain their full potential. Programs of the Jewish Agency for Israel, such as Atidim, are funded in part by the generosity of the Tidewater Jewish community through gifts to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s annual campaign. Every dollar raised makes a significant difference to real people like Yossi—at home, in Israel, and in 70 countries around the world. To make a taxdeductible gift, visit

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Hebrew Academy holds mock presidential debate, rally and election

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n an effort to engage students in learning about the presidential election, Hebrew Academy held its own mock presidential debate and rally on Monday, Nov. 5. Organized by Lorna Legum, Hebrew Academy librarian and media specialist, the debate featured HAT’s fifth graders in various roles including presidential and vice presidential candidates, campaign managers, moderator and news reporters. “It was truly impressive,” says Legum, “to see how well prepared the students were as a result of all their advance research and planning. The debate touched upon a comprehensive range of topics including Emily Myers as Joe Biden, and Sarah Blais healthcare, education, and the economy— as Barack Obama a great learning opportunity for all the students about the election process, democracy, and the importance of voting. It was a success in large part because of the enormous support from our entire faculty who worked with the students to learn the cheers, sell hats, hand out stickers and join the exhilaration of the debate.” “All the students displayed a remarkable knowledge of many of the major issues of the presidential campaign,” says Rabbi Mordechai Rachael Stromberg, moderator, is interviewed Wecker, head of school. “They by newscaster Josh Schwarz clearly did the necessary research and became educated voters. We concluded and Elizabeth Hughes as Paul Ryan. Obama the event with a mock election on Nov. 6. campaign managers were Daniel Krell and The results? President Obama won.” Jonathan Peck, and Romney campaign Playing the parts of presidential and vice managers were Micah Schachet-Brisken presidential candidates were Sarah Blais as and Shoshanah Zysman. Election moderaPresident Barak Obama, Emily Myers as tor was played by Rachael Stromberg and Joe Biden, Sanni Wagenaar as Mitt Romney newscasters were played by Tia Einhorn, Josh Schwarz and Aidan Rosenblum. Leora Friedman served as election technical assistant, and the election poster committee members included Jordan Familant, Audrey Peck, Rose Lefcoe, and Sam Lederman. Hebrew Academy of Tidewater is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

The voting begins! 16 | Jewish News | December 10, 2012 |

by Dee Dee Becker


Beth Sholom Village holds B’nai Mitzvah ceremony

n adult B’nai Mitzvah class led parts of the Shabbat Service at Beth Sholom Village on Saturday, Nov.10. Under the leadership of Cantor Elihu Flax, director of religious services, the participants received diplomas that acknowledge their significant achievement. The class, which began more than two years ago, was comprised of 11 residents and three Beth Sholom volunteers, and incorporated two tracks: those becoming B’nai Mitzvah and those receiving

Graduation Diplomas. Everyone studied together and enjoyed the class immensely. This is Beth Sholom’s second B’nai Mitzvah class graduation. The first ceremony was one of the first for a Jewish senior facility in the country. This year’s class members are: Marti Azimi, Susan Emerson, Ira Ginzburg, Arline Jarashow, Gwen Johnson, Jim Johnson, Virginia Mann, Vergie McCall, Margaret Russell, Bob Schabel, Shirley Weichselbaum, Ruby White, Lolly Wigand, and Marlene Wilks.

Community supports Jewish Family Service food programs during Hunger Action Month


his past September, Jewish Family Service joined forces with the National Feeding America Network of more than 200 food banks to speak out against hunger. Nearly 49 million Americans—or one out of six people—face hunger. Of this, one out of every five is a child facing hunger. JFS asked local congregations, religious schools, Sunday schools, and individuals to re-stock their two community food closets during Hunger Action Month. JFS operates a community food closet for the general community and the Milk and Honey Food Assistance program for the Jewish community. Throughout the year, hundreds of indigent families come to JFS for food assistance from both of these food closets. The response from the local Jewish community was overwhelming. JFS received several hundred bags filled with non-perish-

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able food items, as well as cash donations to purchase food. The following organizations participated in this year’s Hunger Action Month program: United Hebrew School students, Temple Israel, Congregation Beth El, Temple Emanuel, B’nai Israel Synagogue, Kempsville Conservative Synagogue (KBH), and Ohef SholomTemple Sisterhood. JFS is always in need of non-perishable and perishable food items to help local families. To sponsor a food drive or make a tax-deductible donation to this program, contact Emily Bettendorf, special needs case manager, at 757-459-4640 or, or Patty Shelanski, volunteer coordinator, at 757‑321-2222 or Jewish Family Service is a constituent agency of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

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Visit WWW.VAOPERA.ORG for more information 18 | Jewish News | December 10, 2012 |

2013 Super Sunday Committee Members: Eric Shapiro, vice-chair Jen Groves, Jennie Hurwitz, Andrew Nusbaum, chair Aaron Goldmeier, Fred Rose, Leah Katz. (Not pictured: Wes Sandler, Aaron Shames, Jeff Kline, Jonathan Rathsam, Natasha Basley and Shawn Lemke.)

by Laine M. Rutherford


genda items that should be listed (in no particular order) for scheduled meetings of the 2013 Super Sunday steering committee: excitement, inspiration, motivation, and innovation. Gone is the order of previous years’ meetings, when the committee would visit various agencies affiliated with the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, spend a few hours listening to administrators speak, take a tour of the facilities, and end up educated, but with no more leadership skills than when the meeting began. “We’re definitely doing things differently this year, and for a good reason,” says Amy Weinstein, director of the Young Adult Division of the UJFT. “This committee is made up of young energetic members of our Jewish community who want to get involved, and we want them to stay involved for a long time. “We realized that we could condense the amount of time they spend learning about the agencies from five or six meetings into a single mini-mission tour, and spend the rest of the time teaching and learning leadership skills that will lay a good foundation for the future.” Aaron Goldmeier, chair, and Jen Groves, vice-chair, are leading this year’s committee of 10. In the past, the Super Sunday

committee was responsible for planning a one-day phone-a-thon that involved about 100 volunteers from a cross-section of the community, who would share the Federation’s message and ask for pledges of financial support. This year, aware of evolving communication habits, the committee is trying to make Super Sunday more accessible to everyone by considering the use of social media, texting, or web-based personal fundraising pages, in addition to the phone-a-thon. Members are focusing on how they can best share the message of how the Federation makes a difference in Jewish lives, and how community gifts enable that to happen. “My generation doesn’t typically pick up the phone,” Groves, 28, says. “So just as we’re changing the way we function as a committee, we’re investigating other ways of reaching out and engaging people in a socially comfortable way, so that they don’t think we’re just coming to them for money. This event is a way we can help the community see the value in what the Federation does, and why we do it. It’s a way to realize we’re all in this together.” Super Sunday is scheduled for Jan. 27; look for news of additional ways to participate, interact and make a gift count in the coming month and a half. Visit yad to find out more about the Young Adult Division of the UJFT.

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Shining a new light on the Jewish response to Christmas by Penny Schwartz

BOSTON (JTA)—From Kung Pao kosher comedy to a swinging Mardi Gras version of the Dreidel song, two new Chanukah season releases explore the intriguing, delightful and sometimes perplexing ways in which American Jews have responded to Christmas. In a book and an audio CD compilation, the holiday season known as the “December dilemma” is seen and heard in a new light. An added bonus: the covers of both are enticing and entertaining. In the book A Kosher Christmas (Rutgers University Press, $22.95) subtitled Tis the Season to be Jewish, Joshua Eli Plaut offers a richly detailed, page-turning read that draws on historical documents and ethnographic research sprinkled with often humorous images and photos. In his introduction Plaut, a rabbi and scholar, admits to a lifelong fascination with Christmas. The son of a rabbi, he recalls as a young child growing up on Long Island in the 1960s that his mother dutifully took him to sit on Santa’s lap every December. “She was never worried about any influence on me as a child because my family was secure in its Jewish identity,” he writes. Plaut paints a historical portrait of the shifts in American Jewish attitudes toward Christmas—the only American holiday founded on religion, he notes. Jews have employed “a multitude of strategies to face the particular challenges of Christmas and to overcome feelings of exclusion and isolation,” he writes, adding that Jews actually have played a crucial role in popularizing Christmas by composing many of the country’s most beloved holiday songs. Plaut treats readers to a chapter on the popular Jewish custom of eating Chinese

food on Christmas, a tradition that surprisingly dates back more than a century to Eastern European immigrants on the Lower East Side of New York. One photo shows a sign in a Chinese restaurant window that thanks the Jewish people for their patronage during Christmas. In the 1990s, comedian Lisa Geduldig hosted the first Kung Pao Kosher Comedy evening of Jewish stand-up comedy in a San Francisco Chinese restaurant on Christmas. Two decades later the event is still going strong and being replicated in cities across America. On a more serious note, Plaut reveals a long history of Jewish volunteerism on Christmas, serving the needy and working shifts for non-Jewish co-workers, allowing them to spend the day with family and friends. Plaut also covers the challenges faced by intermarried families at Chanukah and Christmas. He addresses as well the subject of public displays of religious symbols, with Jews on both sides of the issue. Jonathan Sarna, the American Jewish historian who wrote the foreword, cautions that the book should not be read merely as a story of assimilation. In a phone conversation with JTA, the prominent Brandeis University professor argues that if that were the case, the book would be about how Jews observe Christmas. Rather, Plaut chronicles how Jews demonstrate their Jewish identity through alternative ways of acting on Christmas that show them to be Jewish and American. Most significant, Sarna asserts, A Kosher Christmas is important because it portrays how two religions are transformed by the knowledge of the other.

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Happy Chanukah 5773 | December 10, 2012 | Jewish News | 19

Jeweler David Nygaard Returns to Hilltop

David Nygaard recently opened his second store at Hilltop in Virginia Beach. The store features a new “high tech” concept in jewelry retailing which blends open, self-serve showcases and CAD dynamic design with just-in-time manufacturing. One of a kind fine jewelry designed exactly to customers’ desires is delivered in three weeks or less. In a speech in Las Vegas at the JCK Jewelry Trade show, David introduced the concept of staging digital based experiences and branding. The store includes a fire place, a full service bar with iPads and three large flat screens to view designs in CAD. Both stores specialize in perfectly cut Passion Fire DiamondsTM (, a premium cut diamond brand developed by David Nygaard. Hilltop location: 754 First Colonial Road, next to Nawab. Greenbrier location: 1412 Greenbrier Parkway, in Chesapeake.

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continued from page 19

The CD, Twas the Night Before Hanukkah ($15.99) is a lively and inspiring music collection gathered by the Idelsohn Society, a nonprofit volunteer organization that aims to celebrate a Jewish musical heritage that may be lost to history. The two-CD set includes 17 tracks for Chanukah and Christmas—some familiar and others that are lesser known. Performers on the Chanukah disc include Woody Guthrie, Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, Flory Jagoda, Mickey Katz, the Klezmatics and Debbie Friedman. Among the voices that croon and swing on the Christmas disc are The Ramones, Theo Bikel, Dinah Shore, Sammy Davis Jr. and Benny Goodman. A 31-page booklet of liner notes is a fascinating read of short essays, notes on the songs and colorful reproductions of old Chanukah recordings. The project started as an effort to present a historical survey of Chanukah music, according to David Katznelson, a veteran record producer who is one of the four principals of the Idelsohn Society. Other members of the core group include Roger Bennett, Courtney Holt and Josh Kun. As their search deepened, they found noteworthy Chanukah recordings, Katznelson recalls, some by well-known performers, others by little-known singers and educators. But the group was most struck by the abundance of Christmas music by Jewish composers and performers. “The biggest Jewish names in music have at least one Christmas recording in their catalog,” they write in the liner notes. The group shifted the lens of their project to tell the full story “of how American Jews used music to negotiate their place in American national culture,” according to the liner notes. “This was an amazing way to look at Jewish identity in the 20th century, through a combination of the history of Chanukah recordings side by side with Jews performing Christmas songs,” Katznelson affirms. Some of the earliest Chanukah recordings appear in the 1920s and 1930s. By then, what had been a minor Jewish holiday through the later years of the 19th century had been transformed into a major celebration that was promoted by Jewish religious leaders and embraced by American Jewry. The emergence of Chanukah recordings parallels that transformation, Katznelson suggests. In the postwar 1950s, in addition

to traditional songs, livelier recordings targeted children. On the Chanukah recording, Katznelson points to Yevonim (The Greeks) by Rosenblatt as the showstopper. Rosenblatt, a Ukraine native who immigrated to New York in 1912 at the age of 30, became known in the U.S. as the greatest cantor of his time. A Yiddish song about the Chanukah oil that burned for eight days, Yevonim opens with a chorus of women followed by Rosenblatt’s huge, haunting rich tenor full of color and warmth. Many will be surprised by Guthrie’s upbeat version of Hanukkah Dance, part of his 1940s collection of Jewish songs made for Moses Asch, founder of Folkways Records. “He can take anything and make it American,” Katznelson says of the late folk legend, whose centennial birthday this year is being marked by performances of his music across the country. Sure to be a party favorite is the version of Dreidel performed live by Jeremiah Lockwood, Ethan Miller and Luther Dickinson. The song was recorded live at a pop-up Chanukah record store concert hosted last year in San Francisco by the Idelsohn Society. At the end of the song, the trio takes off into the New Orleans classic Iko Iko, sung to the tune of Dreidel. The tune no doubt will get listeners off the couch, singing and dancing. On the Christmas CD, Katznelson is most drawn to Bikel’s little-known 1967 recording of Sweetest Dreams Be Thine. Bikel, the beloved Jewish folk singer and actor, performs the Christmas song moving between Hebrew and English. “It’s the quintessential track of the whole compilation,” Katznelson says. “It’s just Chanukah and Christmas, side by side, a perfect mishmosh.” Katznelson says the society hopes the music conveys a deeper sense of Jewish history while raising questions that provoke conversation about the meaning of the holiday music. Some may hear familiar songs in a new perspective, he says. “This is music that is usually in the background,” Katznelson says. “We’re bringing it to the foreground.”

Happy Chanukah 5773

Linking to Lincoln on Chanukah by Edmon J. Rodman

LOS ANGELES (JTA)—We need to celebrate a Lincoln Chanukah this year. It’s not because of the new Spielberg movie—that gives us something to do on Christmas Day—but because of the 150th anniversary of a little-known event in American history that threatened to expel a portion of the Civil War-era Jewish population from their homes on the Festival of Lights. On Dec. 17, 1862, during the height of the war, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders 11 expelling “Jews as a class” from a war zone that included areas of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky within a 24-hour period. It was the first day of Chanukah. At the time, Chanukah was not the major holiday it is now. But Grant’s order, if carried out, meant that entire families would be uprooted during the holiday and beyond, and exiled from their communities. Today, relaxing at home with family on Chanukah, retelling the Maccabee story that takes place in a far-off time and land, it’s uncomfortable to imagine a different story about freedom that hits much closer to home. On that day, Grant was attempting to cut off the black market sale of southern cotton, in which some Jewish and other traders were engaged. As researched in the engaging new book When General Grant Expelled the Jews by the prominent historian Jonathan D. Sarna, Grant’s order was enforced in several towns in Union hands, including Paducah, Ky.; Holly Springs, Miss.; and Trenton, Tenn., among others. “Only a few Jews were seriously affected by General Orders 11,” perhaps fewer than 100, according to Sarna, but news of the order and the resulting outrage was quickly spread by The Associated Press. The B’nai B’rith sent a petition to Washington calling upon President Lincoln to “annul” the order. Other Jewish leaders moved to organize delegations to meet with Lincoln. A Jewish merchant from Paducah named Cesar Kaskel traveled to Washington on a mission to have the order overturned. Upon arrival he was able to arrange through an Ohio congressman a meeting with the president. According to an account of the meeting

The American Theatre

that Sarna says is often quoted but most likely embellished, Lincoln, using biblical imagery, asked Kaskel, “And so the children of Israel were driven from the happy land of Canaan?” In response, Kaskel asks for “Father Abraham’s” protection, to which Lincoln replies, “And this protection they shall have at once.” The reality seems to have been that when Lincoln finally heard of Grant’s order, he ordered the general in chief of the Army to countermand it. An account by the prominent Cincinnati Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, who also had met with President Abraham Lincoln, 1864 Brady Portrait. the president about the Library of Congress / Public Domain issue, provides Lincoln’s rationale: “I do not like to hear a class or Another film, Saving Lincoln by director nationality condemned on account of a few Salvador Litvak, approaches the Lincoln sinners.” story through the eyes of his bodyguard. This Chanukah, then, with Lincoln in It might prove another way to light up a the air, how should his action to rescind Chanukah night. what Sarna cites as “the most sweepSarna’s book would be good for any night ing anti-Jewish regulation in all American of the holiday, which many see as a struggle History” be commemorated? for freedom. And, it is a reminder that the How about devise a stovepipe hat meno- dreidel’s message—“a great miracle happened rah? Fry up four score latkes or change the here”—can apply to the U.S. as well. lyrics of the modern classic Peter Paul & “In the end, General Orders 11 greatly Mary Chanukah song to “Light one candle strengthened America’s Jewish community,” for the Tennessee Children?” Sarna writes. “The successful campaign Not necessary. to overturn the order made Jews more Jews going back to Lincoln’s presidency confident.” And Grant, to “repent” and to have found ways to connect before. After “rehabilitate himself with the Jewish comhis assassination, expressing their sorrow, munity” during his two terms as president many rabbis delivered sermons that were “appointed more Jews to office than had collected in a book by Emanuel Hertz any of his predecessors.” titled Abraham Lincoln: The Tribute of the This Chanukah, when standing before Synagogue. The basis for the Library of lit chanukiyot reciting Hanerot Halalu, Congress’ Alfred Whital Stern Collection of “These lights which we kindle recall the Lincolniana was donated by Alfred Stern, wondrous triumphs and the miraculous a Chicago businessman. There’s even a victories,” perhaps it is good to also recall Lincoln Street in Jerusalem. the victories here of Cesar Kaskel, Rabbi Continuing the connection is this year’s Wise and ultimately Abraham Lincoln, who Steven Spielberg film about Lincoln’s role protected Jewish freedom. in the passage of the 13th Amendment to So maybe they weren’t exactly American the U.S. Constitution that abolished slavery. Maccabees—but Maccabee style for sure. Watching the film is an excellent way at —Edmon J. Rodman is a JTA columnist Chanukah time to rededicate an interest in who writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles. Lincoln’s heart, humor and wisdom. Contact him at

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book review A timely read Jews and the Civil War (A Reader) Edited by Jonathan D. Sarna and Adam Mendelsohn New York University Press, 2010 435 pages April 12, 2011 marked the 150th year anniversary of the Civil War, with the attack on Ft. Sumter triggering the bloodiest internal conflict ever to confront Rabbi Zoberman the American nation. Along with the not too far off Sesquicentennial Anniversary due on April 9, 2015, recalling Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, we are presented here with an eclectic and eloquent collection of essays exploring the Jewish connection with a monumental challenge to a young nation, threatening to tear it apart. This fruitful collaboration of the two editors, Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna, and Dr. Adam Mendelsohn, has produced both a readable and academic volume. Sarna, the senior partner, is professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, as well as chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History. He is the foremost living authority in his field. Mendelsohn is assistant professor of Jewish studies and director of the Center for Southern Jewish Culture at the College of Charleston. This authoritative book is divided into seven parts: Jews and Slavery; Jews and Abolition; Rabbis and the March to War; Jewish Soldiers during the Civil War; The Home Front; Jews as a Class; An Aftermath. Each part is accompanied by an illuminating introduction. Some salient facts and factors: In the midst of the U.S. population in 1860 of about 31 million, 150,000 Jews resided, whereas in 1850 there were less than 50,000. Most of the newcomers were from Germany. Jews participated in the fighting on both sides and in that patriotic effort and sacrifice their identity as Americans was shaped. Between 2,000 and 3,000 Jews served in the Confederacy and 6,000 in the Unions ranks, with six Jews earning the Congressional Medal of Honor. More Jewish officers, however, served in the Confederacy. While there were Jewish companies on both sides, Jews preferred to be part of mixed units. Jewish families were split not only along the North and South divide, but in the very same household

as with the Ochs in Chattanooga, Tenn. Julius Ochs, the father of Adolf Ochs of New York Times fame, was with the Union Army, while his wife, Bertha, helped the Confederacy. A highly controversial and embarrassing topic was General Order No. 11 issued by General Ulysses S. Grant on December 17, 1862, ordering all Jews to depart from The Department of Tennessee within 24 hours for breaking trade regulations. This overarching and shocking order held an entire group of people responsible for the acts of some, while there were gentiles as well, including many soldiers, who participated in the illegal and profitable speculation in cotton which became a scarce commodity. Grant was characterized by historian Bertram Korn as “the most sweeping antiJewish regulation in all American History.” The New York Times described it as “one of the deepest sensations of the war.” The quick response of Jewish leaders and others led President Lincoln to immediately intervene, instructing that Order No. 11 be rescinded. The controversy followed Grant into his presidential campaign, and even his wife Julia Dent Grant referred to that order as “the obnoxious order,” though Grant himself never apologized, but did intimate that it was issued in haste without review. Concerning the explosive theme of slavery, the Jews reflected by-and-large the particular environment in which they lived. However, the point is made that were it not for the enslavement of the blacks the Jews would not have fared as well as they did in the South, which overall was better than in the North. The reason given is that in the South they were considered as part of the white community. Even a wealthy merchant Jew such as Aaron Lopez who was engaged in heavy trade had only very limited participation in the slave trade, as reflected in the William and Mary Quarterly of 1975. In the matter of accepting Jewish chaplains into military service, the South was kinder and presented no legal impediments as was the case in the North untill July 1862, where chaplains had to be only of the Christian faith and one already serving Jewish chaplain from Philadelphia was forced to resign. The enlightening volume of Jews and the Civil War brings together invaluable and credible source material under one cover, enriching those who seek full account of the multi-faceted Civil War whose ramifications and lessons are still with us today. —Dr. Israel Zoberman is founding rabbi of Congregation Beth Chaverim.

Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival

Sidney and Logan Simon with Peninnah Schram, author of The Apple Tree’s Discovery.

Linda Peck, Dorothy Zimmerman, Betsy Karotkin, and Ronnie Friedman at Ben Frank’s presentation.

Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival Sponsors Rose Goodman, Lynn Garson Goodman, author, and Daniel Goodman at the Southern Vapors presentation.

Peninnah Schram and Carin and Nate Simon.

The Simon Family JCC thanks all the Book Festival sponsors for making another successful season possible: Beth and Nathan Jaffe Karen Jaffe Monarch Bank Altmeyer Funeral Homes Barnes and Noble Beth Sholom Village Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Suzanne and Jack Jacobson Heritage Bank Lynn and Hugh Cohen Kim and Michael Gross Laura and Fred Gross Sandra and Miles Leon Terri and Lonny Sarfan No Frill Bar and Grill

Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater Jewish Family Service of Tidewater Shannon and Gary Bartel Marilyn and Stuart Buxbaum Julia and Alan Dail Connie and Marc Jacobson Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

Business and Legal Society of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater Marcia Samuels and David Kamer Rebecca and Jeff Tall Simon Family Jewish Community Center is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. *of blessed memory

Bill’s will said a lot about him. What does your will say about you? Norfolk businessman Bill Goldback valued good health and good music.

Before he died in 2007, Bill arranged for a bequest to the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to provide grants for arts and medicine in Hampton Roads. Goldback grants have helped expand Eastern Virginia Medical School and support 33 area music and arts groups. Thanks to Bill’s generosity he will forever bring music and health to his home region. Connect your passions to the future by ordering a free bequest guide. Learn how easy it is to leave a gift for charity. Call 757-622-7951 or visit

Tammy, Micha and Channa Schachet-Briskin with Larry Smith, author of Six Word Memoir. (757) 622-7951 | December 10, 2012 | Jewish News | 23

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what’s happening Gala fete planned for Festival’s opening night

Date With the State—Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day

Saturday, January 19

Tuesday, Jan. 22 by Jeff Cooper

by Leslie Shroyer


he Simon Family JCC’s 20th anniversary of the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg will begin with a movie and gala opening night party to commemorate the festival’s longevity and success. The Film Festival, Opening Night committee members: Standing: Leslie Siegel, Barbara slated for Sunday, Jan. 20– Rosenblatt, Linda Spindel, Ilana Benson, Gloria Siegel; Sitting: Joan Joffe, Cohen, and Ronnie Friedman. (Not pictured, Leslie Legum and Sunday, Jan. 27 at the Roper Charlene Patricia Ashkenazi.) Performing Arts Center in downtown Norfolk, will hold a special opening night on Saturday, the world, from its origins to its presence Jan. 19 at the Sandler Center for the as a current party song. Its producers say Performing Arts. The Sandler venue brings it is “high on fun and entertainment, it is an evening of film to Virginia Beach. also surprisingly profound, tapping into “For many years the Virginia Festival universal themes about the importance of of Jewish Film presented by Alma* and joy, the power of music and the resilient Howard Laderberg has been trying to spirit of a people.” expand by using a second venue,” says Hava Nagila was the opening night film William Laderberg, screening committee in San Francisco and Nashville’s Jewish co-chair. “In our 20th year, we have been Film Festivals and closing night film at fortunate enough to be able to have our five more festivals in the U.S. and Australia Opening Night event at the Sandler Center- this year. a perfect place for our audience to watch a “This will be a sophisticated, elegant festive and fun movie, and enjoy a celebra- celebration to celebrate 20 years of Jewish tory party all under one roof.” Film in this area,” says Gloria Siegel, Film “Steve and I are delighted and thankful Festival co-chair. The opening night comthat the Film Festival chose to want to have mittee has been planning the after-film its opening night film shown at the Sandler gala party for months. Catering will be Center for its anniversary celebration,” says provided by the Village Caterers at Beth Art Sandler. “We are happy that the venue Sholom Home. was available and glad to have brought our “It all started on Newport Avenue,” says arts communities together.” Siegel, reflecting on the growth and popuThe use of the Sandler facility is made larity of the festival. “And here we are at the possible through the generosity of Global Sandler Center, celebrating the vision that Spectrum, locally run by David Simone, our community leaders had.” and The Virginia Arts Festival. Both institu*of blessed memory tions share the responsibility of managing the Performing Arts Center. “The board and staff of the Virginia Arts Festival want to Opening Night Event is $50 and congratulate the JCC as they celebrate the includes movie and party at the Sandler 20th anniversary of the Virginia Festival of Center for the Performing Arts. Jewish Film,” says Rob Cross, director of the Virginia Arts Festival. “We are so proud Early Bird Special Film Pass $100 of our continued partnership, and look forthrough Dec. 16 only. Film Festival Pass ward to many more seasons of collaborative $125 after Dec. 16. world class arts events.” Tickets $10/movie (Jan. 20–27 at the The opening night movie is Hava Roper Performing Arts Center) Nagila, a journey through the “history, Enjoy a free pre-festival film at the JCC mystery and meaning of the great Jewish Sunday, Jan. 13 at 2 pm (Life in Stills). standard,” featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Leonard Nimoy, Connie Francis, Call 321-2338 or purchase online at Glen Campbell and Regina Spektor. The film follows the song on its journey around 24 | Jewish News | December 10, 2012 |


or years, members of Jewish communities across the Commonwealth have converged at the State Capitol in Richmond to collaborate on Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day, also known as “Date with the State.” This annual Date with the State has proven to be a powerful forum to effectively communicate with local General Assembly members about issues of importance to the Jewish community. The event is spearheaded locally by the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. In preparation for this year’s Date with the State, the CRC Legislative Action Committee will host a meeting on Monday, Dec. 10 at noon at the Sandler Family Campus to select the issues that Tidewater’s delegation will present to General Assembly representatives. Among past issues have been social service programs to care for Virginians, support for the Virginia-Israel Advisory Board, and anti-bias legislation. On Monday, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m., the

Legislative Action Committee will host a briefing session for those attending the Date With the State, reviewing the issues, including presentations from the executive directors of local Jewish community-affiliated agencies that receive funding from the Commonwealth. All members of the delegation are encouraged to attend both of these meetings. On the actual day of Date with the State, Tuesday, Jan. 22, the Tidewater delegation will travel together via bus to and from Richmond, leaving the Simon Family JCC at 8:45 am. Once at the State Capitol, lunch will take place with fellow Virginia Jewish communal lobbyists and heads of social service agencies for the state. The governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general have been invited, and they usually attend. Following lunch, the delegations visit their respective regions’ state senators and delegates. For more information about how to join this year’s Date with the State delegation, e-mail Robin Mancoll, director, CRC at or call her at 965-6120.

Jewish architecture class at the Sandler Family Campus Monday, Dec. 17, 6:30-8 pm


ocal architects Paul Turok and Rob Berz will lead a discussion of the history of their trade in Jewish communities around the world, as well as a careful study of the Sandler Family Campus, and how its construction was influenced by Jewish values. “Paul Turok and I put the session together because Miriam Brunn Ruberg, director of Jewish Life and Learning, had the idea to introduce this added dimension to JCC curricula,” says Berz. “Is there a Jewish architectural aesthetic?” asks Turok. “This is what we asked ourselves when designing the Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community. Our answer was ‘not exactly,’

but the campus does have a Jewish story, as it is an abstraction of themes from Judaism and from Israel.” “Paul will start with a tour of the JCC,” says Berz. “Then I will walk folks through a brief sampling of what Jewish prayer spaces have looked like over time. The group will then discuss how spaces in which we gather today influence our Judaism. “ This free event takes place at the JCC. For more information, contact Brunn Ruberg at 321-2328 or mbrunnruberg@ The Simon Family Jewish Community Center is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

YAD + Hands on Tidewater community service


Tuesday, Dec. 25

he Young Adult Division of UJFT is putting together a group of volunteers to participate in “Switch Day” at Beth Sholom Village on Christmas Day. Four two-hour shifts are available starting at 7 am. YAD spots are limited. Contact Amy Weinstein at 757-965-6127 or

what’s happening Switch Day at Beth Sholom Village

JCC starts first LEGO© League team in January Sundays, beginning Jan. 6 by Leslie Shroyer


n informal robotics team that may compete regionally in 2013-2014 will form at the Simon Family JCC. BrickHeadZ classes introduce younger students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO® based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. LEGO® League teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting skills and future career possibilities. Elementary and middle school students will design, build, test and program robots using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology, applying real world math and science

concepts, learning critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills. BrickHeadZ engineering classes for ages three to five and engineering classes for K-5, meet regularly at the JCC during the week utilizing LEGO® bricks. In a joint partnership, the JCC and BrickHeadZ is forming a mock JrFLL team (K-nine-year-olds) and FLL team (ages nine and up) with hopes to spark interest to compete next year at the regional competition at James Madison University. Call 690-3738 for more information or register for a class by calling 321-2338.

Jewish Women’s Outreach to host Girls’ Afternoon at the Movies Sunday, Jan. 13, 2:30 pm


hat’s more fun than getting together with 40 or 50 of your closest gal pals to go to the movies? Quite possibly nothing! The Women’s Outreach committee of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater will host its second annual Girls’ Afternoon at the Movies at the Cinema Café –Pembroke, in Virginia Beach featuring Avalon. Movie-goers are encouraged to bring their moms, aunts, sisters, and even their adult daughters. This is a perfect multi-

generational event. Event co-chairs Robin Mancoll and Sara Jo Rubin say they are excited to welcome old friends and new ones to a relaxing, fun-filled communitybuilding event. $5 per person includes a movie ticket, kosher snacks, and soft drinks. So grab those BFF’s and plan on a warm and cozy cinematic afternoon. RSVP to Patty Malone at 965-6115 or


Tuesday, Dec. 25, 7 am–3 pm

witch Day is going Retro. Volunteer at Beth Sholom Village on Dec. 25 and dress up like a “greaser” or pull out a “Poodle Skirt,” “grease your hair,” or put it in a “beehive.” Shifts: • 7–9 am • 9–11 am • 11 am–1 pm •1–3 pm

Volunteer opportunities include games, a dance off, sing-along, ice cream and more. Sign up for a shift by Dec. 20. E-mail or call Marcia Brodie or 757-420-2512 Ext 204; Allison Whiteman awhiteman@bethsholomvillage. com or 757-961-3054.

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Federation plans Summer 2013 Mission to Budapest and Prague


pplications for a Summer 2013 mission to the Jewish communities of Budapest, Hungary and Prague, Czech Republic are now being accepted by the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. The mission, scheduled to depart on Sunday, July 14 and return on Monday, July 22, will include three and one half days (and three nights in Hungary) and three and one half days (and four nights) in the Czech Republic. The cost is $4,800* per person (based on double occupancy). An optional threeday extension to Israel can be added on to the mission for an additional fee. Space on this mission is limited to 46 participants. *Price subject to change based on fluctuating exchange rates, until trip is finalized.

MISSION Information meeting Thursday, Dec. 13, 5 pm Sasha Friedman from JDC Hungary will headline the Federation’s first mission information meeting. All interested in learning more about the mission are welcome to come, meet Sasha, ask questions, and learn about the itinerary and travel plans. Call Amy Zelenka, missions director, at 965-6139 to RSVP attendance at the meeting or to request information.

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calendar D e c emb er 16, S und ay Brith Sholom Gala dinner and dancing . 1 p m. $15 p e r p e r s o n. T h e g r o u p w ill b e s a y i n g f a r e w e ll t o P i c k e t t R o a d. M e n u c o n sis t s o f a p p e t i z e r s, s a la d, b r is k e t , la t k e s, v e g e t a b l e s a n d d e s s e r t . E n t e r t a i n m e n t b y R o b e r t o, D r e s s : a f t e r n o o n c h i c.

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D ECEMBER 19, WED NES D AY The JCC Seniors club w ill m e e t a t t h e S i m o n F a m il y J C C. B o a r d m e e t i n g a t 10 : 3 0 a m. C a t e r e d l u n c h a t 12 p m. G e n e r a l m e e t i n g a t 12 : 3 0 p m. I n s t a lla t i o n o f o f f i c e r s o f f i c ia t e d b y M i r ia m B r u n n R u b e r g, w h o w ill a ls o e x p la i n t h e m e a n i n g o f C h a n u k a h. J a nua ry 6, S und ay Encore presentation of local Holocaust documentary, Wha t We Ca r ry. 3 p m. C o n g r e g a t i o n B e t h C h a v e r i m. F r e e. ( A p p r o p r ia t e f o r si x t h g r a d e r s t h r o u g h a d u l t s. ) T h e U J F T ’s H o l o c a u s t C o m m is si o n’s d o c u m e n t a r y h ig h lig h t s t h e s t o r i e s o f f o u r l o c a l H o l o c a u s t s u r v i v o r s. T h e s c r e e n i n g h o n o r s t h e m e m o r i e s o f H a n n s L o e w e n b a c h a n d D a v i d K a t z, t w o o f t h e s u r v i v o r s f e a t u r e d i n t h e f il m, w h o p a s s e d a w a y i n J a n u a r y 2 012. T h e f il m a ls o f e a t u r e s l o c a l r e si d e n t s D a n a C o h e n a n d K i t t y S a k s. J o i n t h e H o l o c a u s t C o m m is si o n f o r a r e c e p t i o n i m m e d ia t e l y f o ll o w i n g t h e s c r e e n i n g. F o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n, o r t o R S V P b y D e c. 3 0, c o n t a c t J a n J o h n s o n, 7 5 7- 3 21- 2 3 2 3, o r e m a il i n f o @ h o l o c a u s t c o m m is si o n.o r g.

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J a nua ry 13, S und ay Pre-Film Festival e v e n t a t t h e S i m o n F a m il y J C C a t 2 p m. Life in S tills . Ta m a r Ta l ’s p o ig n a n t , p r i z e - w i n n i n g d o c u m e n t a r y t e lls t h e s t o r y o f 9 6 - y e a r - o l d M i r ia m, t h e r e m a r k a b l e w i d o w o f C z e c h - b o r n, Is r a e li p h o t o g r a p h e r R u di We is s e n s t e i n, a s s h e a n d h e r g r a n d s o n B e n d e f e n d t h e i r f a m il y ’s Te l Av i v p h o t o s t u d i o f r o m d e m o li t i o n. F r e e. 3 21- 2 3 3 8.

Eric Kline Business Development Danny Kline Vice President

D e c emb er 17, M o nd ay Jewish Architecture—What is That? L o c a l a r c h i t e c t s P a u l Tu r o k a n d Rob B er z lead a disc ussio n o f t h e his t o r y o f t h eir t r ade in Je w ish c o m m u ni t ies a r o u nd t h e w o r ld, as w ell as a c a r e f ul s t u d y o f t h e S a ndler F a mil y C a mp us, a nd h o w i t s c o ns t r u c t io n w as in f lu en c ed b y Je w ish v alu es. 6 :3 0 – 8 p m. F r ee. 3 21- 23 28 o r mb r u n n r ub er g @ sim o n f a mil y j.o r g f o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n.

Andy Kline President

Congregation Beth El, Ohef Sholom Temple, the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy p r e s e n t : To p i c s t o C h e w o n : A c o n versation about Faith and Advocacy with Marco Grimaldo — executive di r e c t o r, V i r g i n ia I n t e r f a i t h C e n t e r f o r P u b li c P o li c y — a l e a d i n g e x p e r t o n r e g i o n a l a d v o c a c y is s u e s a n d R a b b i A r n o w i t z, C o n g r e g a t i o n B e t h E l. 10 : 3 0 a m b r u n c h ( d o n a t i o n s a c c e p t e d t h a t m o r n i n g ) ; 11 a m p r o g r a m a t B e t h E l. O p e n t o t h e c o m m u n i t y w i t h R S V P n o la t e r t h a n J a n. 9. R S V P t o N o e ll e @ b e t h e l n o r f o l k .c o m o r 6 2 5 -7 8 21. F o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n, c o n t a c t R o b i n M a n c o ll, d i r e c t o r, C o m m u n i t y R e la t i o n s C o u n c il a t R M a n c o ll @ u j f t .o r g.

J a nua r y 19 – 27, S at urd ay t hr o u g h S und ay The 20th Anniversary year of the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film , p r e s e n t e d b y A l m a* a n d H o w a r d L a d e r b e r g. O p e n i n g n ig h t a t t h e S a n dl e r C e n t e r i n V i r g i n ia B e a c h ; a ll o t h e r m o v i e s a t t h e R o p e r T h e a t e r i n d o w n t o w n N o r f o l k . S i m o n f a m il y j.o r g f o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n, i n c l u d i n g p a s s e s a n d t i c k e t s. S e e p a g e 24. Payroll, Taxes and W-2s • Web Based Time and Attendance NCS Background Checks • Employee Loans • Pay As You Go Workers Comp Insurance HR Answerlink H.R. Legal Resources • Employee Self Service Online Cobra Administration • VISA Debit Payday Cards Call us today to see how we can help, 757-523-0605 or visit us at

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26 | Jewish News | December 10, 2012 |

J a nua ry 22, T ue s d ay Date With the State , V i r g i n ia J e w is h A d v o c a c y D a y. J o i n J e w is h c o m m u n i t y m e m b e r s f r o m a ll o v e r t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h i n Ri c h m o n d t o t a l k w i t h l o c a l l e g isla t o r s a b o u t is s u e s i m p o r t a n t t o t h e c o m m u n i t y. M i n i m a l c o s t t o c o v e r l u n c h. C o n t a c t R o b i n M a n c o ll, d i r e c t o r, C R C a t R M a n c o ll @ u j f t.o r g. S p a c e is li m i t e d. S e e p a g e 24. Send submissions for calendar to news @ ujf Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.

7/6/11 11:54 AM

mazel tov to Achievement Adam Foleck, DMD, for being recognized as a Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry at the American Academy of Implant Dentistry’s 2012 Annual Meeting, which was held in Washington, DC, Oct. 3 – 6. As one of 322 dentists who hold this distinguished membership, Dr. Foleck is one of the nation’s leading experts in implant care. Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, P.C. (WEC) on being named as one of the “Best Places to Work” in Virginia for the second consecutive year. The annual list of “Best Places to Work” was created by Virginia Business magazine and Best Companies Group. Alvin Wall, Martin Einhorn and Jeff Chernitzer started the firm in 1989. Today, it is the largest public accounting firm

headquartered in Norfolk, and the second largest in Hampton Roads. Birth Harper Lee Williamson, age two, on the birth of her brother, Adler, on Nov. 10. Adler arrived at 10 lbs, 6 oz. Parents are Rebecca and Charles Williamson of Brooklyn, N. Y. The very proud grandparents are Lynn and Solomon Zimmerman of Virginia Beach and Donna and Roger Williamson of Chesapeake.

Mazel Tov submissions should be emailed to 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.

Reverend Jim Sell and Rabbi Israel Zoberman at the 14th anniversary of the joint Thanksgiving service of Congregation Beth Chaverim and Eastern Shore Chapel Episcopal Church.


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Debbie MacInnes by Elena Barr Baum


he year 2012 has been one of highs and lows for the Holocaust Commission. The highs include the integration of our new What We Carry program into our educational offerings, and the lows last January as we lost two of our Speakers’ Bureau survivors, David Katz and Hanns Loewenbach, of blessed memory. Without exception, every one of the Holocaust Commission’s programs is geared toward students and their teachers—even Yom Hashoah, where we award exceptional educators and student writers and artists for their work. The educators we work with are our direct link to the students who need to heed the lessons of the Holocaust. Every once in a while there are teachers who stand out even among their dedicated and talented peers in making our mission their own. The Commission recently lost one such ally on the forefront of Holocaust education in our area, when long time Lakeland High School English teacher Debbie MacInnes lost her two-year battle with cancer last month. Debbie had been a dedicated participant in Holocaust Commission programming. In 2004 she encouraged her colleague, India Meissel, a social studies teacher at Lakeland, to apply for the Esther Goldman Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education (from the Holocaust Commission), as India had begun to work on an innovative interdisciplinary program for Holocaust studies. They attended their first Yom Hashoah commemoration that spring as India received the award. The Commission sent India to the Facing History in Ourselves conference in Boston as part of her prize, and Debbie, intrigued by the idea of the interdisciplinary program, decided to go with India and take the course “on her own dime.” That week of coursework inspired Debbie to change her English class assignments to teach 11th grade, so she could work with India developing the interdisciplinary program. In 2006, thanks to their collaboration, India was named the National Council of Social Studies’ Teacher of the Year. Several Holocaust Commission members proudly went to Washington, D.C. to see the two of them lead a seminar for teachers from across the United States on the program they had

fashioned. Teachers like Stephanie Middleton of Orlando, have changed the way they teach the Holocaust thanks to that honor, and the ensuing presentations the two made for their peers. Middleton ran into India at a conference in 2010, when Debbie was undergoing her first round of chethe National Conference for Social Studies in 2006: Gail Flax, Mickey Held, Elena motherapy, and At Baum, Ronnie Cohen, India Meissel, and Debbie MacInnes. emailed her to share with her colleague, “It was nice to see you and get to tell you during that experience is still part of their in person what an impact you [two] have marketing materials today. made on my teaching from your presentaShortly thereafter, the Commission tion (as I know often times we as teachers leadership, including Cohen, arranged a never really know what impact we have). community Shabbat dinner at Congregation Thank you so much for that presentation, Beth El honoring Debbie and India, for all as it made a HUGE impact on my teaching they had done for Holocaust education in of the Holocaust.” TIdewater and beyond. India now recalls After that national recognition, Debbie that night as, “admittedly, one of the top and India then brought their passion to life five experiences in both of our lifetimes. To by embarking on a summer trip that year have 13 survivors and more than 100 other to several noted Holocaust sites, includ- people honor us for our work was absoluteing Auschwitz, Dachau, and the Holocaust ly incredible. That evening we felt that we Memorial in Berlin. shouldn’t be the recipients of such honors, “We felt and lived that journey, and it but the survivors themselves should have helped incredibly shape how we taught, been the focus.” and with what passion that we taught our Encouraged by Holocaust commission yearly spring Holocaust unit,” recalls India. programs like the Elie Wiesel Writing and From that trip, the two prepared a pre- Visual Arts Competitions, Debbie MacInnes sentation that India delivered aboard the and India Meissel instilled curiosity and USS Harry S. Truman in conjunction with dedication into the Holocaust study of their a talk to that aircraft carrier’s personnel by students. As India mourns her friend and survivor Hanns Loewenbach in the spring colleague, she notes, “Several of the young of 2007. people that Debbie taught have gone on At Yom Hashoah that year, Debbie was to become teachers themselves, and they awarded the Goldman Award herself, after are teaching the lessons of the Holocaust finally being persuaded to apply for it. thanks to her work.” “She really didn’t want to win an award In fact, Debbie and India are the only or even be recognized—she avoided any Holocaust Commission Educator Award form of attention to herself. I recall having winners ever to have had one of their own to really beg her to enter at all,” remem- students become an educator, and subsebers Ronnie Jacobs Cohen, Holocaust quently win the same award, which Paula Commission director at the time. Debbie Neri Wagner, their former pupil and now then went to the Belfer National Conference a 10th grade English teacher at Lakeland for Teachers and Educators at the U. S. High School, did in 2009. Holocaust Memorial Museum as part of her Debbie MacInnes leaves behind a legacy prize. A picture of her engaged in learning that will not soon be duplicated.

28 | Jewish News | December 10, 2012 |

Stephen David Baer Virginia Beach—Stephen David Baer, publisher, lawyer, entrepreneur, and pianist extraordinaire, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. He was born to Eli and Sadie Glasser Baer in Washington, D.C. where he lived until age 10, before moving to Baltimore, Md. Mr. Baer graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in economics and from the University of Maryland Law School. He was a member of the Maryland State Bar. He is survived by his wife Joan London Baer, his two sons and their wives, David Bryan Baer (Jeannie) and Justin Michael Baer (Marissa), stepchildren Robert and Alicia London Friedman, Stephanie and Scott London, Jonathan and Betsy London Rubenstein and 10 step grandchildren who adored him. Stephen had 20 first cousins on his mother’s side of the family and five first cousins on his father’s side. Family was the most important thing to him. He originated and organized two family reunions a year for the cousins and their children. It was so important to him for his sons to be close to his family. An only child, Stephen embraced his cousins as siblings, and they embraced him in turn. During his years in Baltimore, Mr. Baer was active in the Jewish community and the Baltimore community at large. He was interested in scouting as his father had been, and he began the Cub Scout Troop that his sons belonged to and was their Scout Master. He was very active in his synagogue, Beth Tfilloh where he chaired numerous committees and was the president of the Brotherhood. Professionally he began his career as Assistant Baltimore Solicitor and then developed and published The Forwarder’s List, a national publication for attorneys. His business was purchased by K-111, the media division of Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts of New York. Subsequently, he moved to New York City as a consultant where he lived for eight years. It was here that he made the time to renew his love for jazz. Originally trained as a classical pianist at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, as a young boy he played on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour on national network TV. In subsequent years he played all over the world, Blue Beards Castle in the Virgin Islands, Excelsior in Rome, Bristol in Paris, Little Nell in Aspen, Maxime’s in New York and The World, a condominium ship that traveled the world. His talent and ability to entertain made him a magnet for

obituaries all who heard him play. Stephen had a natural curiosity about the world. His wife and he traveled widely but he always came home to Norfolk/Virginia Beach where his mother’s family was rooted. Several years ago he organized a weekend reunion for more than 300 people living all across the U.S. whose families had settled in the Berkley section of Norfolk when they immigrated from Europe in the 1880’s. His extensive research and organization gave the attendees the background and understanding of their personal histories. Mr. Baer was a historian and avid reader. He rarely read fiction believing that his time was best spent on reading about the history of countries and the biographies of people who had led interesting lives. He placed an emphasis on fitness of his mind and body. And he began each day with the New York Times and a good work-out at his gym. He was adventurous, whether skiing black slopes, sky diving or white water rafting. Gregarious, with a wonderful sense of humor, he befriended individuals from all walks of life. His friendships spanned the U.S, Europe, Australia, Asia, South America and South Africa. As a cousin of his once said, “Stephen, you are the hero of your life story.” Funeral services were held at Congregation Beth El with Rabbi Jeffery Arnowitz and Cantor Gordon Piltch officiating. Burial was in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Jewish Family Service, Congregation Beth El, or a charity of choice. Online condolences may be offered through Rosemarie S. Blais Virginia Beach—Rosemarie Simone Blais (nee Verboncoeur) died Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, at her home in Virginia Beach after battling cancer for many years. She was 72. Born in Windecken, Germany Jan. 18, 1940 and moved to the United States in 1948. In her adult life, Rosemarie worked at Sentara Healthcare for 26 years before retiring in 2006. She was known as a hard and dedicated worker, as well as a team player, eager to help a patient or co-worker in need. In 2003, Rosemarie was diagnosed with Primary Peritoneal Cancer. In the face of a devastating illness, she fought with fortitude and grace, refusing to let the cancer define her. She was admired by all for her perseverance and tenacity. Rosemarie nurtured many friendships lasting several decades. Rosemarie was preceded in death by her father Gerard Verboncoeur and her husband of 38 years, Paul Blais.

She is survived by her mother Anna Verboncoeur and her children, David Blais and his wife Pam, and Linda Rosenwald and her husband Jason; her sister, Elfride Peterson and her husband John and their five children; her bother Carl Verboncoeur, his wife Lynn, and his two children. She also leaves behind six grandchildren; and two great grandchildren, Gilly and Sarah Blais, Laura Hawkins, Taylor Sanchez, Kylie and Carter Rosenwald, and her great grandchildren, Justin and Alexia Hawkins. Her grandchildren were the light of her life, she loved them dearly and they knew it. She was known as “Schatzi” (sweetheart in German), Mom, Auntie Rosie, and Oma. She will be missed dearly and will live on in the hearts of all those who knew and loved her, forever. Condolences may offered to the family at Dr. Harvey Allen Glick Virginia Beach—Dr. Harvey A. Glick passed on Thursday Nov. 22, 2012 surrounded by his loving family in a local hospital. He practiced family dentistry and served many patients and their families in the Great Bridge area for 45 years. He was a proud member of the Ohef Sholom Temple. Harvey will be greatly missed by his beloved family, friends, patients and staff. He is survived by his loving wife Mickey; daughter Cindy Krell and husband Bill, son Ryan Glick and wife Laurie, his loving grandchildren Zack, Daniel and Maya, all of Virginia Beach; and his brother Artie Glick and wife Eileen of Norfolk. A graveside service took place in Forest Lawn Cemetery officiated by Rabbi Lawrence A. Forman. Memorial donations may be made in his name to the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater or the American Cancer Society. Altmeyer Funeral Home. Condolences may be made to the family at Edward S. Levine Virginia Beach—Edward S. Levine, 67, passed away Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012 at his home surrounded by his family. He was born Nov. 26, 1944 in Brooklyn, N. Y. to the late Albert and Miriam Levine. He spent his life in the paper industry, starting his own company, Arkansas Paper Group. He was an avid sports fan; he loved his Florida Gators and New York Jets. He is survived by his loving wife, Karen; his two sons, Marc and wife Julie and Jared; his grandchildren, Madison and Wiley; his sis-

ter, Gail and husband Michael Nebenzahl; and two sisters-in-law, Donna and husband David English and JoAnn and husband Carl Trinkle; uncle, Herbert and aunt Florence Matuson and aunt Myrna Weinman; and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service was held at HollomonBrown Funeral Home. Burial followed in Princess Anne Memorial Park. Donations to American Association for Study of Liver disease, Alexandria, VA 22314 or Hospice. Condolences to the family at Alan Jay Tucker Norfolk—Alan Jay Tucker, 69, passed away Saturday, Nov, 24, 2012. Alan was born April 8, 1943 and retired as a professional bridge player. He is survived by his wife JoAnn; his sister Barbra; step-daughter Maria and her husband; grandchildren Alexander, Michael, Zoe; nephew Matthew and his wife; and nieces Jenna and Alycia. A graveside service was held in Beth Israel Cemetery, Woodbride, N.J. Condolences can be made at

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Approved by all area Rabbis and Chevrah Kadisha | December 10, 2012 | Jewish News | 29

Face to face

Vergie Veronica McCall: A Star of David


by Karen Lombart

n her soothing voice, Vergie McCall recites Psalms 23 and 91 to her hospice patients. “Prayers are powerful,” she confirms. “When you leave this world, you are going to the presence of God,” her grandmother used to say. “In the spirit of the Divine, you are no longer in a body that grows old. There are no ups and downs in a place with angels. How easy death is!” As a volunteer for Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care of Tidewater, a joint hospice program between Beth Sholom Village and Jewish Family Service, McCall is privileged to spend final moments with patients and offer support and assistance to their families. “I know that a stranger might be the last person to hand me a glass of water,” she says. Recently, McCall suffered the loss of three loved ones. In December, 2011, her mother was buried within seven months of discovering her illness. Her brother died just nine months later in September and in November, her confidant, a resident at Beth Sholom, Morris London, passed away. McCall considered London, 90, a best friend. She visited him almost every evening at 6 pm, spending hours in conversation, sometimes working through her Hebrew homework or Megillah lessons. McCall remembers London asking her, “Vergie, as an African American, why would you want to convert to Judaism? Why make life harder?” McCall smiles when she recalls his question because she believes the Jewish community has been a gift from God. At three weeks old, McCall’s grandparents brought her to Norfolk from Philadelphia. Her grandfather worked at the Monticello Hotel. Her grandmother worked at Atlantic Leather in Ghent, owned by the Bernsteins. In fourth grade, McCall moved to 124 Poplar Ave. in Berkley. She recalls the huge house with large living room, dining room, two kitchens, a full basement and seven bedrooms. She lived with her grandparents, aunt, uncle and two cousins. At 3 pm each day, her grandmother would be waiting at the front door for her arrival from school. She and her friends loved their walk home. They took the short cut, walking through the Jewish cemetery, respectfully looking at the Stars of David on the tombstones and the dates engraved. McCall says, “We used our imaginations

when we talked about the people whose names we read.” Her family belonged to the New Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church. McCall loved the fellowship and gospel singing and sang in the choir. “For my high school graduation, the Bernsteins gave me a set of blue and red luggage that I packed to relocate to Philadelphia,” she recalls. Her father worked for the Cutlers, a Jewish family who owned a furniture store on Walnut Street. Her mother was a hospital nurse. McCall took a job at Temple University working in the radiology office, billing and filing. She took a class on medical terminology. In her early 20s, McCall was convinced by Pastor Harold Davis to acquire a license in Evangelical Light work. Together, they went door to door as a missionary team. On March 7, 1970, McCall got married at age 21. She had two boys and raised them in Philadelphia until 1989. Returning to Norfolk, she enrolled in the Alpha Omega College of Real Estate and became a licensed saleswoman. She worked for Bay Area Realty until she began to look for full time employment due to the recession. After two interviews at CBN, McCall was hired as a trainer and counselor. Working for the 700 Club, she received calls from around the world. To properly answer the phone, she was taught to say, “This is Vergie, how may I pray with you?” and then she would listen. In her free time, McCall continued to study at the New Mt. Zion A. M. E. Church. Her pastor, Reverend James Smith, encouraged her to interview in front of a board of 22 examiners to enroll in a ministry program. Accepted immediately, McCall began her training of ministration, homiletics, administration, pastor care, sermonizing, finance and operations, including pulpit duty twice a week. In May 1996, after five years of study, she was ordained Reverend Vergie McCall. Taking ill soon after, McCall was unable to continue working at CBN. Misdiagnosed at first, she later learned that she had lupus. In 1996, she sold her home and moved to the Sands at Beth Sholom Village in College Park. Her health began to return after 15 months of chemotherapy and the proper medication. In 2002, her beloved aunt also moved to the Sands. They kept each other company in their respective apartments. Within six months, her aunt was trans-

30 | Jewish News | December 10, 2012 |

ferred to the Home, and McCall became a daily visitor. Having never crossed the parking lot to enter BSV’s Berger-Goldrich Home, she was thrilled to discover the kind, loving, patient nurses and staff. By 2003, McCall was ready to start anew. Serendipitously that March, she received a phone call from a social worker at the Home. She had heard that McCall was an ordained minister and she hoped that McCall would offer Christian Bible Study weekly to the nonJewish residents. Under the direction of the Home’s activity director, McCall held a study group on Monday mornings from 2004 through 2012. One day, Dr. Vergie McCall Angela Board, a guest minister at the prayer breakfast sensed that McCall had much more promise and asked, “Vergie, what is it that you really want to do?” McCall had dreamed of having an office that offered outreach services. She wanted to help people solve their problems. McCall registered with the state and received a 501(c)3 by mail authorizing her own ministry which she later named YAHWEH Center Incorporated. During her visits to BSV’s Home, McCall noticed that Cantor Elihu Flax had begun a Hebrew class. Becoming a student, she learned the language of the “Old Testament” and discovered its layers of meaning. She loved reading the words of God from the “author of the book” and hearing about the Jewish religion. Intrigued, McCall began attending Saturday morning Torah study classes at Ohef Sholom Temple. The sessions, led by alternating congregants, offered profound insights into text. She attended for five years. Three times asked to lead the Shabbat conversation, McCall finally relented. “I was intimated, but I prepared, ready with handouts.” “Vergie, you are so Jewish,” Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg would often say to her. At Ohef Sholom, there was always a lot of love according to McCall. “A couple of years later, Cantor Wally asked me to participate in the annual Megilla play,” she remembers. McCall agreed, never realizing that her part would

be in Hebrew. When she protested, the cantor reminded her, “It doesn’t matter how you chant it. It is still the megillah.” For three years, she was happy to have a part. In 2009, one of her temple friends suggested that they attend “Judaism 101” at Beth El. Ever thirsty for knowledge, McCall was curious to learn more about the traditional aspects of religious practice while she continued to go to services at Ohef Sholom. Her aspiration to embrace Judaism took on new meaning when she officially converted on June 21, 2012. Because Ohef Sholom had been her first home, Rabbi Mandelberg was the first to know of McCall’s initial decision. McCall had 20 people witness her conversion; five were clergy. She remembers every “magnificent” detail, even the inspirational sound of her departed grandmother’s hum as a symbol of God’s presence. The mikvah dunking was officiated by Rabbis Mandelberg and Tendler. On Beth El’s bima afterwards, she was blessed by Rabbis Arnowitz and Tendler and Cantor Flax. Today, McCall keeps a kosher kitchen, and she just celebrated her B’nai Mitzvah at Beth Sholom Village with 13 other participants. She reveals with tenderness, “Life has come full circle. I have always felt a part of the Jewish community.” She reflects, “One never knows the fullness of God.” With her ability to love and her unwavering sense of tranquility, McCall has certainly found some of the answers.

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