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Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 54 No. 10 | 15 Shevat 5776 | January 25, 2016

Tidewater Together

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Film Festival’s opening night has record crowd

28 Super Sunday Sunday, Jan. 31

31 “The Jewish Jordan” Tamir Goodman Sunday, Feb. 14

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upfront EU foreign ministers: Agreements with Israel must note no ties to settlements BRUSSELS (JTA)—In a move that entrenches the European Union’s disapproval of Israeli settlements, its 28 foreign ministers said all agreements with Israel must state they do not apply to these disputed areas. The statement Monday, Jan. 18 by the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which is made up of the foreign ministers of the member states, says the European Union has a “commitment to ensure” that “all agreements between the state of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.” The final wording is a softened version of a draft that read: “The EU will continue to unequivocally and explicitly make the distinction between Israel and all territories occupied by Israel in 1967,” the news site Euobserver.com reported. Also, the final version softens criticism of Israeli plans to crack down on foreign-funded organizations by forcing them to disclose funding. The published text also speaks of “the importance of unhindered work of civil society” in Israel. The earlier version spoke of “attempts to stifle civil society.” In the statement, Hamas is accused of perpetrating rocket attacks against civilians. EU countries “will consider further action in order to protect the viability of the two-state solution,” it also said. Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, accused the European Union of being one-sided. The statement, she said, will have “the opposite effect that they aimed to achieve.” Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog said the European Union had “enlisted to help the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.” “They don’t distinguish between legitimate settlement blocs and isolated outposts, and that’s a gross injustice,” Herzog said.

Brazilian publisher backs off new printing of Hitler’s Mein Kampf

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Brazilian publisher canceled the release of a new printing of Hitler’s Mein Kampf after strong pressure from the Jewish community and scholars. Edipro reportedly decided on Jan. 14 to call off a first printing run of 1,000 copies, saying it was an old translation to Portuguese from the 1930s with no commentary. The release was slated for late January. The vice president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, Paulo Maltz, said legal procedures are under discussion to prevent the national distribution of the book authored by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Osias Wurman, Israel’s honorary consul in Rio de Janeiro, said: “The book is Nazi propaganda and, under Brazilian law, selling it is a non-bailable crime.” However, Wurman joined some major publishers in Brazil in giving a thumbs-up to an annotated edition, saying: “People need to understand what happened.” Laura Gasparian, owner of Argumento bookstore, said she will sell Mein Kampf because “it’s a historic document and some people have already been looking for it. But it will go straight to the shelves, it won’t be on display.” A 1,000-page edition—with the 650 pages from the original manifesto—is being designed along with 305 notes from an American edition, plus other commentary from prominent Brazilian historians. The 70-year copyright in Germany of the anti-Semitic tract, whose title means “My Struggle,” expired on Jan. 1, allowing it to be published in the country for the first time since World War II. (JTA)

Contents Up Front. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Joshua Bell’s violin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Election 2016 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Tidewater Together. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Women’s PLUS ONE speaker on Israel’s high-tech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Mazel Tov. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Film Festival opens to record crowd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Super Sunday make social media moves. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 HAT students and Hanukkah . . . . . . . . . 30 Many help with JFS holiday outreach. . . 30 What’s Happening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 David Bowie’s Jewish connections. . . . . . 38 Special Section: Mazel Tov

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Quotable

Candle lighting

“When I perform in Israel I always think how many of the orchestra and audience members are direct descendants of the musicians Huberman saved from the Holocaust”

Friday, January 29/19 Shevet Light candles at 5:08 pm

—page 8

Friday, February 5/26 Shevet Light candles at 5:15 pm Friday, February 12/3 Adar I Light candles at 5:23 pm Friday, February 19/10 Adar I Light candles at 5:30 pm Friday, February 26/17 Adar I Light candles at 5:37 pm Friday, March 4/24 Adar I Light candles at 5:44 pm

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Briefs Most French oppose call for Jews to remove yarmulkes Seventy percent of French citizens said it would be giving in to terrorists if Jews were forced to remove their yarmulkes for security reasons, according to a survey. The survey commissioned by the Paris Match weekly news magazine was conducted Jan. 14–15 following one community leader’s call to Jews in Marseille not to wear their kippahs. The statement came in the aftermath of the stabbing of a Jewish man there earlier in the week—the third stabbing of a kippah-clad Jew in the southern port city since October. In the survey of 1,011 adults conducted by the Odoxa polling company, 36 percent of respondents said they “absolutely agreed” with the assertion by French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, who called on French Jews to keep wearing yarmulkes “to not give in to the terrorists.” Another 34 percent indicated they “pretty much agree.” Ten percent of respondents, who were pre-selected to represent French society’s voting pattern distribution, said they “totally disagree” and another 19 percent said they “rather disagree.” Left-wing and right-wing respondents answered similarly in the poll, with 71 percent supporting the assertion on the right—including 66 percent within the farright National Front party—and 76 percent approving on the left. Tzvi Amar, president of the Marseille office of the Consistoire—the communal organization responsible for providing religious services—had called on his city’s Jews to hide traditional head coverings following the Jan. 11 stabbing. Other community representatives joined Korsia in rejecting the suggestion. (JTA) Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg donates $31M of company stock Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has donated 290,000 shares of company stock, worth about $31 million, to various charities. The majority of the money will go to women’s empowerment groups and Lean In, Sandberg’s nonprofit supporting women in the workplace, according to CNBC, citing an unnamed source. The donations were made public in a document filed Jan. 14 with the Securities

and Exchange Commission, CNBC reported. The stock was sold on Nov. 20 and transferred to the Sheryl Sandberg Philanthropy Fund. In 2014, Sandberg signed The Giving Pledge, an effort started in 2010 by philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage more of the world’s affluent to give away at least half of their wealth to charitable causes. Facebook CEO Marc Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who also signed the Giving Pledge, last month announced that they will give away 99 percent of their shares in the company “during our lives” to charity. Those shares currently are worth approximately $45 billion. In 2012, Sandberg gave more than 400,000 shares of Facebook to an unknown recipient. Sandberg’s husband Dave Goldberg died in May at the age of 47 after sustaining a head injury when he fell off of a treadmill while on vacation in Mexico. (JTA)

Obama says Iran has pledged to help find Robert Levinson Iran will “deepen its coordination” with the United States to locate a Jewish-American man missing since 2007, President Barack Obama said. “Iran has agreed to deepen our coordination as we work to locate Robert Levinson, missing from Iran for more than eight years,” Obama said Sunday, Jan. 17 at the White House. Levinson, 68, of Coral Springs, Fla., has been missing since disappearing from Iran’s Kish Island during what has since been revealed as a rogue CIA operation. His family told the media they were “devastated” that he was not among the five Americans released as part of a U.S.-Iran prisoner exchange that marked the launch of the nuclear deal. “Even as we rejoice in the safe return of others we will never forget about Bob,” Obama said. “Each and every day but especially today our hearts are with the Levinson family and we will never rest until their family is whole again.” The Iran nuclear deal was launched formally Saturday, Jan. 16 as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, confirmed that Iran had met its nuclear restriction requirements. The

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United States and the European Union responded by suspending an array of nuclear-related sanctions on the country. “Engaging directly with the Iranian government on a sustained basis, for the first time in decades, has created a unique opportunity, a window, to resolve important issues,” Obama said. “We’ve now closed off every single path Iran had to building a bomb,” he said. “We’ll know if Iran ever tries to break out.” The White House website posted abundant material defending the deal, along with a video animation depicting all paths to a nuclear weapon as being choked off, accompanied by triumphant swells of a string orchestra. Obama insisted that the United States remains vigilant in confronting Iranian mischief in the region, addressing a key anxiety expressed by Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. “Even as we implement the nuclear deal and welcome our Americans home we recognize that there remain profound differences between the United States and Iran,” Obama said. “We remain steadfast in opposing Iran’s destabilizing behavior elsewhere, including its threats against Israel and our Gulf partners and its support for violent proxies in Syria and Yemen.” Netanyahu simultaneously reiterated his skepticism of Obama’s ability to make good on that pledge while promising to vigilantly monitor Iran’s compliance. “Israel’s policy is exactly as it has been – not to allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons,” he said. “What is clear is that Iran will now have more resources to divert to terrorism and its aggression in the region and around the world, and Israel is prepared to deal with any threat.” Obama also said that the he would sanction Iran for its recent ballistic missile tests. Congress and pro-Israel groups had urged him to do so, but Obama initially slowed down such sanctions. Subsequent to the release of the prisoners, it was revealed that the delay was in part not to scuttle the exchange. (JTA)

Rather than nix High Holidays, Maryland schools add Muslim, other holidays School authorities in a Maryland county that straddles the Washington, D.C., and

Baltimore suburbs decided against removing Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah from the academic calendar. The Howard County Board of Education has given staff and pupils the two major Jewish holidays off since 1979. In recent years, the board has come under pressure to include major Muslim, Hindu and Asian holidays. On Jan. 14, the board considered two options: adding the requested holidays or removing the Jewish holidays. Easter and Christmas are on the calendar because of state law. It opted unanimously to add the Hindu holiday Diwali, the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha and the Lunar New Year Eve, a holiday observed across Asia. Officials said they could not add holidays simply to assuage religious and cultural sensibilities; the Jewish holidays were added in 1979 because absenteeism then was around 12 percent on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. The suburbs retain a substantial number of Jewish families with employment in both major cities. Montgomery County in Maryland which also boasts a substantial Jewish population and closes schools on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, recently added Eid al-Adha to the academic calendar. (JTA)

Shimon Peres, discharged from hospital after heart attack, feels ‘rejuvenated’ Former Israeli President Shimon Peres was discharged from the hospital after suffering a mild heart attack. “I feel rejuvenated and I am ready to return to serving our wonderful country that I love so much,” Peres, 92, said Tuesday, Jan. 19 as he left the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. “I want to thank you all, across the country, from the bottom of my heart for the concern and encouragement—I am moved by your love.” Peres was taken to the hospital after feeling chest pains. He underwent a cardiac angioplasty at Sheba’s Heart Institute to open a blocked artery. He called the five days “an interesting experience,” and said he was happy to be able to leave the hospital and finish recovering at home. (JTA)


Torah Thought

Bill’s will said a lot about him.

What slaves know best

H

ow do Jews fit into God’s plan to civilize the world? If we were chauvinistic, the question would not even arise in our minds. But since we are not, the question “Why did God give the Ten Commandments to the Children of Israel, of all people?” gains its force. The Bible itself gives a hint at the answer. In Exodus 19, the scene describing the people’s encounter with the Word of God at Mt. Sinai, the Bible reports an astounding promise made by God: If the people will obey God’s commandments, then they “shall be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). To understand this phrase properly, we should keep in mind two salient facts: 1) the words were spoken to recently-freed slaves, and 2) the society from which they had just escaped was Egypt. Slaves, better than others, understand the bitterness of servitude and the sweetness of freedom, the injustice of unmerited hierarchies, the propensity of the powerful to oppress the weak. Slaves have not just thought about cruelty in the abstract; they have tasted it in the salt and sand clogging their mouths as they toiled in the brick pits, and felt it in the lacerations of the lash across their backs. God is telling recently freed slaves, people still bearing their scars, that there is a radically better

By

way to fashion society, and that the way to achieve it is to follow God’s commandments. Having experienced the worst, they are ready to hope for the best. How does “the kingdom of priests” relate to this? Here, we should recall what it meant to be a priest in ancient Egypt. The Joseph story in Genesis narrated that all of the Egyptians, except the priests, lost their freedom during the seven years of famine. Every Egyptian, except for priests, was in some measure not free, and the Israelites were therefore slaves to slaves. (According to the rabbinic commentary, that is why the First of the Ten Commandments says “I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of slaves—not the house of “slavery,” as you would expect, but the house of slaves, because the Egyptians themselves were slaves to Pharaoh, and you were slaves to them.) The priests remained free during the famine years because they received corporate welfare from Pharaoh, and got their daily grain allotment without having to sell their animals, their land, and ultimately their free status. Therefore, God is promising the Israelites that, by keeping God’s laws, they would achieve a society where everyone was free—something that had not happened within living memory. Nor has it happened yet, in our troubled times. Dictatorship and repression is still the norm in much of the world. To this day, the promise of the Sinai Covenant has been only partially realized. That’s how revolutionary it was and remains. As slaves, the Children of Israel knew the limitations of trusting in power politics, and were ready to trust in God. That’s our importance in the spiritual history of the human family. —Rabbi Michael Panitz, Temple Israel

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 the Virginia Symphony and The Free Foundation, which provides wheelchairs for lowincome citizens. 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 leaveabequest.org.

www.leaveabequest.org. (757) 622-7951

keeping God’s

laws, they would

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achieve a society where everyone was free.

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first person

The Huberman Violin by Joshua Bell

M

y violin is more than 300 years old. Known as the Gibson ex Huberman, the revered instrument came into my life one fateful day during the summer of 2001. I was in London, getting ready to play a ‘Proms’ concert at the Royal Albert Hall and decided to stop by the famous violin shop, J & A Beare to pick up some strings. As I entered the shop, Charles Beare was just coming out of the back room with a stunning violin in hand. He told me that it was the famous Huberman Strad, and of course I was instantly intrigued. I soon learned all of the known details of the violin’s remarkable history, which is complete with twists and turns to rival the film that I had only recently finished working on—The Red Violin. Believed to be one of only five or six instruments made in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari in Cremona, Italy, the violin has belonged to many, including the English violinist George Alfred Gibson. But it was its connection to Bronislaw Huberman that I found particularly fascinating and somewhat personal. Huberman was a Jewish Polish violinist who lived from 1882 until 1947. He was a child prodigy who was revered for his remarkable virtuosity and daring interpretations. Huberman studied under Joseph Joachim in Berlin, and by the age of 11 he was already touring Europe as a virtuoso. It was during one of those early tours that he met the pianist Arthur Rubinstein, who was only six at the time, and had not yet achieved the legendary status that he came to hold. The two musicians remained lifelong friends. At 13, Huberman had the honor of performing the violin concerto of Johannes Brahms in the presence of the composer himself, who was stunned by his interpretation. According to biographer Max Kalbeck, “As soon as Brahms heard the sound of the violin, he pricked up his ears, during the Andante he wiped his eyes, and after the Finale he went into the green room, embraced the young fellow, and stroked his cheeks. When Huberman complained

that the public applauded after the cadenza, breaking into the lovely cantilena, Brahms replied, ‘You should not have played the cadenza so beautifully.’” Huberman became one of the most celebrated musicians of his time, but it was in 1929 that his contribution to humanity took on an added dimension. During that year he visited Palestine and came up with the idea to establish a classical music presence there. During Hitler’s rise to power, Huberman had the foresight to realize he could save many Jewish artists while fulfilling his desire to start a Palestinian Orchestra. Huberman auditioned musicians from all over Europe. Those selected for the orchestra would receive contracts and, most importantly, otherwise impossible-to-get exit visas from their homeland to Palestine. Huberman raised the money for the musicians and then their families, even partnering with Albert Einstein to set up an exhaustive U.S. fundraising trip in 1936. By the end of that tour, the money for the orchestra was secured and 60 top-rate players were chosen from Germany and Central Europe. All in all, it was a fantastically successful tour, barring one particular performance at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 28. That night, Huberman chose to play the second half of his concert on his ‘other violin,’ a Guarneri del Gesu. During the applause following his performance of the Franck Sonata, Huberman’s valet walked on stage to inform him that his Stradivarius had been stolen from his dressing room. The police were called while Huberman tried not to panic, continuing optimistically with his encores. The instrument had previously been stolen in 1919 from a hotel room in Vienna, but was recovered days later when the thief tried to sell it. This time, Huberman was not so lucky. There are several versions as to exactly how and why the violin was stolen, but what we know for sure is that the instrument ended up in the hands of a young freelance violinist by the name of Julian Altman. Some say Altman’s mother convinced him to steal it; others report that Altman bought if off the actual thief for $100. Regardless, Altman took great pains to conceal the

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violin’s true identity, covering its lovely varnish with shoe polish and performing on it throughout the rest of his career, which included a stint as first chair with the National Symphony Orchestra during World War II. Heartbroken, Huberman never saw his Stradivarius again. However, his great dream was fulfilled Joshua Bell when the new Palestine Orchestra made its debut in December of 1936 with the great Toscanini on the podium. I like to imagine that my own relatives might have been in the audience on that opening night, as my grandfather was born there and my great grandfather was part of the first “Aliyah” of Russian Jewish immigrants to Palestine in 1882. As for his violin, it was played by its suspected thief for more than 50 years, and in 1985, Julian Altman made a deathbed confession to his wife, Marcelle Hall, about the true identity of the instrument. She eventually returned the violin to Lloyd’s of London and received a finder’s fee; and the instrument underwent a nine month restoration by J & A Beare Ltd, which noted it was like “taking dirt off the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.” The instrument was then sold to the late British violinist Norbert Brainin of the Amadeus String Quartet. Previous to my fortuitous encounter with the violin at J & A Beare, Brainin had once let me play it after a rehearsal of the Mozart G Minor String Quintet, which I had the pleasure of playing with him one evening in the 1990s. “One day you might be lucky enough to have such a violin,” he had said prophetically. And so here I was in 2001, buying some strings at the violin shop and I was introduced to the 1713 Stradivarius again. As it was handed to me, I was told it was being sold to a wealthy German industrialist for his private collection. However, after playing only a few notes on it I vowed that this would not happen. This was an instrument

meant to be played, not just admired. I fell in love with the instrument right away, and even performed that very night on it at the Royal Albert Hall. I simply did not want it to leave my hands. This violin is special in so many ways. It is overwhelming to think of how many amazing people have held it and heard it. When I perform in Israel with the Israel Philharmonic, I am always touched to think how many of the orchestra and audience members are direct descendants of the musicians Huberman saved from the Holocaust—with funds raised by concerts performed on the very same instrument I play every day. Who knows what other adventures will come to my precious violin in the years to come? While it certainly will be enjoyed and admired long after I am not around anymore, for the time being I count myself incredibly lucky to be its caretaker on its 300th birthday.

Virginia Arts Festival Presents Joshua Bell, violin Sam Haywood, piano Thursday, Jan. 28, 7:30 pm TCC Roper Performing Arts Center, Norfolk

Joshua Bell will perform works by Vitali, Beethoven and Fauré Tickets available online at vafest.org, by phone at 757-282-2822, or at the Virginia Arts Festival box office, 440 Bank St., Norfolk.


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Election 2016

Bernie Sanders surging in the polls, but are Jews feeling ‘the Bern’? by Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Talk of a Bernie Sanders presidency has suddenly become a lot more serious. Recent polling shows the independent Vermont senator and Democratic presidential hopeful dramatically improving his prospects in the first two primary states against front-runner Hillary Clinton. Two polls out this month—by the Des Moines Register and Quinnipiac University —showed Clinton’s 9-point lead in Iowa dwindling from the past month, with Sanders pulling ahead in the latter survey. The Register poll showed Clinton now holding a 42 to 40 percent lead over Sanders before the Iowa caucuses, well within the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error. And the Quinnipiac poll had Sanders ahead of the former secretary of state, 49–44. The poll, which has a margin of error of 4 percentage points, is a dramatic shift from December, when the university found Clinton leading Sanders in Iowa, 50–41. In New Hampshire, a Monmouth University poll released this month had Sanders with a 53–39 advantage, up from the 48–45 edge he owned in a November poll. The poll has a margin of error of 5 percentage points. Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist polls also showed tighter races in both states, with Clinton leading 48–45 percent

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in Iowa—an effective dead heat with the 4.8 percentage point margin of error—and Sanders leading 50–46 percent in New Hampshire, also within the 4.8 percent margin of error. It’s unclear if the Sanders surge in the polls is paralleled by a rise in his standing among Jews. The only poll available, conducted in September by the American Jewish Committee, suggests Clinton has strong Jewish support. The poll showed Clinton preferred by 40 percent of Jewish voters, with just 18 percent opting for Sanders. Steve Rabinowitz, who runs a Washington communications firm and helped launch Jewish Americans Ready for Hillary, a pro-Clinton fundraising group, says an early Sanders win could capture younger Jewish voters, but that the important community of Jewish donors remains committed to Clinton. “God love him, but our community is not feeling ‘the Bern,’” says Rabinowitz. “He does not deny [his Judaism], he does not shrink from it, when asked about it he says the right thing—but we’d like it on his sleeve. We got it from [Lieberman]. Blacks got it from Obama. Hispanics would expect it. It’s not a litmus test, but we kind of want more from him.” The improvement in Sanders’ fortunes has prompted Clinton to take a sharper turn toward her principal Democratic

Michael Bloomberg commissioned poll to test presidential run

ormer New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg commissioned a poll to test how he would perform in the 2016 presidential election against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The poll was commissioned by the media CEO last month, The New York Times reported in an article about a possible split in the Republican Party. It is not the first time the billionaire media executive and erstwhile politician has flirted with a possible run for the presidency, the Times noted.

CNN reported that a source close to the mayor confirmed the poll, but neither CNN nor the Times discussed the poll’s findings. In August, media mogul Rupert Murdoch called on Bloomberg to throw his hat in the ring for the election. Bloomberg, who is Jewish, served as mayor of New York City from 2001 to the end of 2013. In 2014, he returned as CEO to Bloomberg L.P., the multibillion-dollar firm he co-founded. (JTA)

8 | Jewish News | January 25, 2016| jewishnewsva.org

challenger. Rabinowitz says that while a Sanders victory in both states would complicate Clinton’s run, it would not derail it. “The momentum certainly turns his way, and it becomes much more of a campaign,” says Rabinowitz, who also consults for a number of liberal and Jewish groups. “But the national numbers are changing very little, and you can’t read too much into Iowa and New Hampshire.” Mik Moore, a political strategist who in 2008 helped create The Great Shlep, a campaign encouraging young Jews to lobby their Florida grandparents to support Barack Obama, agrees that Iowa and New Hampshire are sui generis: Iowa’s Democrats trend to the liberal end of the party and New Hampshire tends to favor candidates from neighboring states. But Moore says early wins for Sanders in those states, combined with national polls showing Sanders outperforming Clinton against Republicans, could bring out voters who favor Sanders but doubt he can ultimately beat Clinton. “Those two factors could shift the viability factor for voters,” says Moore. “There’s a subset of Democrats who would prefer Bernie but who have decided he can’t win and decided they will support Clinton.” One such voter is Allen Linden, 84, a Jewish New Hampshire voter who says he favors Sanders but worries about his electability.

“What’s keeping me on the fence a little bit is that I don’t know if he’s the nominee how likely he is to win the elections,” Linden says. “I like what he stands for, but I’m not sure he has the strength to carry the extremely conservative states.” Even if Sanders does squeak out a win in Iowa or New Hampshire, polls show he still faces an uphill climb. Clinton remains strong in Nevada. She also consistently outperforms Sanders in many of the 11 states that go to the polls on March 1. Moore says Sanders is not as much of a game changer for Jews as Obama was for blacks because Joe Lieberman already broke that ground in 2000, when he became the first Jew to run for vice president on a major party ticket. Moore says Sanders’ Jewishness could emerge in a discomfiting way should he become a true national contender. The fringe groups stirred by the nativism peddled by Republican front-runner Donald Trump would likely include elements who would be hostile to a Jewish candidate, he says. “His persona is very Jewish,” Moore says, noting Sanders’ Brooklyn working-class origins. “If he was the nominee, it would become an issue among a subset of the electorate. But it would not be the focal point.” —JTA senior writer Uriel Heilman contributed reporting from New Hampshire.

Trump pledges to move US Embassy to Jerusalem WASHINGTON ( JTA)—Donald Trump said he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. “They want it in Jerusalem,” the front-runner among Republican presidential candidates said in an interview posted Tuesday, Jan. 19 by The Brody File, a Christian Broadcasting Network show. “Well I am for that 100 percent. We are for that 100 percent.” David Brody, the CBN journalist, had asked Trump whether he agreed with GOP rivals, including Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who have pledged to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem once elected.

Trump’s agreement seemed to be an about-face from remarks in December at the Republican Jewish Coalition, when the real estate magnate refused to commit to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital. Speaking over boos at that event, Trump said it was foolish to harden positions ahead of talks. “You can’t go in with the attitude ‘we’re gonna shove it down your,’ you’ve got to go in and get it and do and do it it nicely, so that everybody’s happy,” he said there. Calling President Barack Obama “the worst thing that has ever happened to Israel” for negotiating the recent Iran-nuclear deal, Trump pledged loyalty to Israel. (JTA)


Election 2016

Democratic debate: Bernie Sanders calls for normalizing ties with Iran Bernie Sanders, the Jewish senator vying for the Democratic presidential nod, called for normalizing relations with Iran. “I think what we’ve got to do is move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran,” Sanders, I-Vt., said Sunday, Jan. 17 during a debate with party rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Martin O’Malley in Charleston, S. C. The NBC debate moderators launched the foreign policy section of the debate in its second hour with a request for responses to the formal implementation of the sanctions relief for nuclear restrictions deal reached last year between Iran and six major powers. On Saturday, Jan. 16, U.N. inspectors certified Iran had rolled back its nuclear program, and the United States and Europe lifted some sanctions. Sanders’ call for normalization goes beyond President Barack Obama’s stated

agenda, which is to neutralize the nuclear threat of Iran while continuing to confront its disruptions in the region through separate sanctions and diplomatic pressure. “Understanding that Iran’s behavior in so many ways is something that we disagree with, their support for terrorism, the anti-American rhetoric that we’re hearing from of their leadership is something that is not acceptable,” Sanders said. “On the other hand, the fact that we’ve managed to reach an agreement, something that I’ve very strongly supported, that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and we did that without going to war,” he said. Sanders said he hoped the relationship would become more positive but would stop short of exchanging ambassadors. “I think the goal has got to be as we’ve done with Cuba, to move in warm relations

with a very powerful and important country in this world,” he said. Clinton, the former secretary of state who helped shape the deal, praised it, but like Obama, said she still regarded Iran as a rival not meriting normalization. “They have been so far, following their requirements under the agreement,” she said. “But I think we still have to carefully watch them. “We’ve had one good day over 36 years, and I think we need more good days before we move more rapidly toward any kind of normalization. And we have to be sure that they are truly going to implement the agreement. And then, we have to go after them on a lot of their other bad behavior in the region, which is causing enormous problems in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere.” Republicans, joined by Israel’s

government, still regard the deal as a bad one, leaving Iran on the verge of becoming a nuclear weapons state. The debate, the fourth among Democrats seeking the 2016 nomination, was the most contentious, a result of Sanders catching up to Clinton in polling in Iowa and New Hampshire just ahead of voting in those states. Clinton focused on Sanders’ record on gun control, depicting him as inconsistent, as well as on his plans to overhaul health care, which she said risked the reforms enacted by Obama. Sanders shot back with criticisms of Clinton’s ties to financiers, including her acceptance of speaking fees from Wall Street firms. O’Malley, a former governor of Maryland, has yet to score more than single digits in polling and was often overlooked during the debate. (JTA)

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jewishnewsva.org | January 25, 2016 | Jewish News | 9


Tidewater Together Scholar packs a one, two, three punch of experience, wisdom, and passion Thursday, Feb. 4–Sunday, Feb. 7 by Laine Mednick Rutherford

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or more than four decades, Rabbi Eric Yoffie has embraced his role as teacher, leader, thought-provoker, and change-maker. He’s spoken in front of small congregations and large. He’s met with presidents, prime ministers and leaders of other faith groups. He’s addressed conferences of Reform Jews, evangelical Christians, and Muslims, among others. But speaking to and teaching an audience of hundreds of Jews, of different affiliations, backgrounds and practices— over four days this February? A new experience, says Yoffie, yet one he’s looking forward to, complete with its built-in challenges (“We can be contentious”), and its promises of inspiration and growth. Yoffie will lead the Milton “Mickey” Kramer Scholar-in-Residence Fund’s 3rd Annual Tidewater Together next month. The free event will be held at six area locations and is open to all in the community. Presented by the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and the Tidewater Synagogue Leadership Council, Tidewater Together is designed to stimulate conversations, spark an interest in Jewish learning and living, and strengthen the community. Yoffie is an internationally respected educator, speaker, author, and social activist. His leadership roles in North American Jewry, and outreach into the global Jewish community, began early with his involvement in synagogue youth groups. He was ordained as a Reform rabbi in 1974, and led several congregations before he began working in Jewish communal organizations. In 1996, Yoffie assumed the presidency of the Union for Reform Judaism. He served as the head of that group, with its 900 synagogues and 1.5 million members, until his retirement in 2012. Today, he continues as URJ’s president emeritus. A pioneer in interfaith relations, Yoffie is considered an expert on modern Israel,

and is a frequent contributor to publications such as the Huffington Post and Ha’aretz. He is in-demand as a scholar-in-residence throughout North America, and continues to devote himself to creating positive change through the sharing and teaching of Torah, Talmud, and Jewish values. Yoffie recently discussed his choice of topics for Tidewater Together, and expressed enthusiasm about his upcoming scholar-in-residency. Jewish News: How familiar are you with the South? I was in Durham for four years as a rabbi, my father was born in North Carolina, my daughter was born in North Carolina, my son went to Duke. I have Southern ties of which I am very proud. JN: Have you ever led a weekend of Jewish learning such as this, where you’ve had to consider embracing all of our similarities and all of our differences? Jewishly, I’ve spoken to every imaginable kind of audience. Having said that, this kind of program is very unique and virtually unprecedented in the North American community. I’ve spoken to many University audiences, and, of course, Reform audiences my whole career, and from time to time to a variety of communal settings and Conservative and Orthodox congregations, as well. Nonetheless, putting them all together in this way is really a wonderful thing and I’m very excited by it. JN: How do you plan to build that Jewish “tent” that welcomes us all? On the one hand, reaching out to the broader American community and the broader religious community, in particular, is something that has been a major focus of my rabbinate. I was the first major Jewish leader to speak to ISNM [Islamic Society of North America], which is the largest mainstream Muslim organization in North America. I

10 | Jewish News | January 25, 2016| jewishnewsva.org

was the first rabbi to address a convocation at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, which is an evangelical university. I was also the first rabbi to address the convocation of the Evangelical Lutherans of North America, which despite the name is a mainstream Lutheran group. I’ve done a great deal of that, and that’s been important to me. Of course, here [Tidewater Together] we’re talking about a different kind of phenomenon, one where we’re talking to Jews. We’re contentious, we’re pluralistic, we have our differences, and at the same time, we’re wise enough to come together in those areas where it’s important. So this event, I think is a perfect example of how that works out. What will be reflected here is the diversity of the community, the beliefs I have—that some people will agree with and others won’t—and the emphasis of those overall themes that need to unite us as Jews. It’s a great way to give expression to this balance that we’re always striking in the Jewish community. JN: Do people need to have a certain level of education, or comprehension or understanding of Judaism to understand what you’ll be teaching? I make a point of giving different kinds of talks—some text oriented, some less text oriented, some on broader community theme, some dealing with more political matters—not partisan political, but the political positioning of the Jewish community, Every lecture is geared toward a general audience, while at the same time; those who bring political sophistication or textual sophistication or sociological sophistication will have an advantage that will enrich their experience. JN: Can you briefly describe the topics you chose? Thursday night we will begin with the central premise of my religious thinking: that the major institution of Jewish life is

Rabbi Eric Yoffie

the synagogue. We have all kinds of Jewish institutions—we have Federations, we have advocacy groups, we have communal groups and they’re all important. But the institution that reaches the greatest number, by far, of American Jews, and provides the connection to Torah and to Judaism and to Jewish belief and practices, is the synagogue. I will begin by looking at the American synagogue, really focusing on the last 150 years. We’ll talk about how the institution of the synagogue has developed and how it’s changed and, without giving away too much, my premise is the synagogue has been successful. It faces challenges, and I’m going to talk about those challenges very honestly and very openly, but it’s also fast changing, adaptive, and, on balance, a successful institution that has done its job in connecting Jews to Jewish tradition. In a sense, everything builds on this discussion, because the Jewish community is built on the synagogue. On Friday afternoon, we’ll look at the importance of leadership. In Judaism, we talk about leadership endlessly, sometimes falling into the trap of using the language of organization consultants or organizational behavior. My premise is the text of Torah has a great deal to say about leadership, that’s both very practically-oriented and at the same time with a clear spiritual dimension. I’m going to take one or two texts—a Talmud text and a Torah text—and we’ll do a very careful reading to see what we learn from them about what it means to be a leader, what it means to be a Jewish leader, and how this applies to the real life world we find ourselves in as Jews. Friday night, I’ll talk about Reform


Judaism. Can we say, with some measure of specificity, what it is that Reform Jews believe, defining their worldview and how it differs from other religious Jews, or non-religious Jews for that matter? Yes, there are some distinctive things that characterize Reform Judaism, and I’m going to answer it personally and rather specifically—talking about those aspects of belief and practice that are involved in being a Reform Jew. On Shabbat morning—I’ll reflect on the Torah reading and some of the integral themes of the portion, which is Mishpatim. I’m going to do some comparative analysis with how those themes are dealt with elsewhere in the Torah, and then I’m going to throw out their implications for Jews today. We’ll focus on ethical matters and talk about how it relates to our Jewish experiences in today’s world. On Saturday night—I will tell some personal stories, as somebody who has been in leadership positions in the American Jewish community for a long time. I will share some stories that I feel to be of interest, and then deal with the broader question of what application might these stories have for the American

Jewish community as a whole. What are we learning from these experiences? This discussion will be more informal. Finally, on Sunday morning, we will discuss what young Jews on campus are struggling with. What are those questions they hear repeatedly, and how can we contend with those who are asking them? I speak quite often on campuses now, and know this is an important topic, and a major concern. JN: If we could only come to one of your discussions, which would you say is the not-to-be-missed choice? They are all going to be very different, and I think, very interesting. The central thesis gets laid out on Thursday night when we look at the question: How do we create vibrant synagogues? Because, on that, everything else rests; I see that as central. JN: Why is it important that our community and others have conversations like this? I’m someone who believes that the passionate pluralism of our community is a source of strength, and that it’s important

that we have all kinds of differences of opinion. At the same time, there are moments when we need to come together, and in which we have to act together. On balance, my deal is that we’re stronger because of it. It sometimes seems like we’ve forgotten how to have civil conversations in the Jewish world. There are a lot of important issues and we feel strongly about things, but we can share both common beliefs and our differences and talk about them and act on them in a civil way. There are some communities who can do this, and some communities who can’t. I feel it’s very important to strengthen those that can, and, for others, provide models of how it can be done so they can learn from it. I see Tidewater Together as a way to show them how it can be done, very successfully. Registration is encouraged for Tidewater Together discussions. Visit www. TidewaterTogether.org, or email apomerantz@ ujft.org for more information, details about the individual discussions and to register. See ad on page 39 for complete schedule.

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Women’s PLUS ONE event packs the house for Israel speaker Viva Sara Press by Amy Zelenka, UJFT women’s campaign director

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n early December, the Women’s Cabinet of the UJFT invited the women of the community to a PLUS ONE engagement event featuring Israeli journalist and blogger Viva Sara Press, who presented to a standing room only crowd at the Sandler Family Campus. To quote an overheard remark made by a few of the participants: “She was a ROCK STAR!” Press wowed the audience with her presentation on hightech medical advances coming out of Israel today. She couldn’t over-stress the fact that what she was bringing the group was just a very small fraction of a growing industry which seeks to create the products and services that improve the quality and length of life for all humans—not just Israelis—not just Jews. And this was the message which truly resonated. These are Israel’s “gifts to the world.” Press talked about newly developed apps which will allow individuals to do early self-diagnosis of various medical issues, from cancer to diabetes. She talked about micro-cameras connected to ear-pieces which “talk” to their wearers, enabling the blind and visually impaired to “see” through the camera’s lens. The camera relays a message to a computer chip which verbalizes it through the earpiece alerting the wearer to encroaching obstacles and providing a heretofore unmatched level of

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independence. She talked about the “old technology” of the camera pill, which continues to allow physicians all over the world to diagnose gastrointestinal problems that can then be treated. The list goes on and on. And the new start-ups continue to popup. Many are then purchased by larger companies and the Jodi Klebanoff with Leah Genossar and speaker Viva Press. cycle perpetuates. ‘What is it?’ Press is often asked, “that makes Israel disproportionately successful in the area of high-tech medicine (as well as other areas of high-technology).” In her response, Press sites a number of factors, not least of which is the small size of the country. “If you are a small start-up and you want to collaborate with the research department of a large and respected university,” she says, “here in Israel, you can get in your car and drive for an hour from Netanya to Tel Aviv.” In other places it’s not as easy. In the States you might have Dorothy Zimmerman with Nancy Jacobson. to book a flight from Silicon Valley to Boston, then stay a few days, because it’s a long schlep. Distance to travel might not completely removed. seem like much of an obstacle…until it’s Another characteristic that sets Israeli start-ups apart from others, is their willingness to risk failure. Add to that an incredible resiliency that encourages those who’ve failed to try something new, right away. And it’s a recipe for great success. It’s getting back on the horse before one has time to become fearful of horses. Still another characteristic Press mentioned as unique to the Israeli workforce is the willingness of workers at every level to step up and suggest better ways of doing things. Hand in hand with this is the willingness of management to listen. From the lowliest new hire to the CEO, all suggestions for improved processes are valued and considered. This kind of openness is cultivated, surprisingly enough, in the IDF—Israel Defense Forces—within which nearly all Israel are required to serve, and from which come many of Israel’s best and

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brightest ideas and inventions. Finally, Press stressed the importance of constantly bringing new ideas from varied backgrounds to the fore. And here, she stressed, is where the work of the Federations and their value to Israel is unparalleled. “You provide the funds,” she says, “that enable the Jewish Agency to bring new Olim [immigrants] from the furthest corners of the earth to meet, to exchange ideas, to collaborate, create and produce in the heart of the Start-Up Nation. How can we ever say thank you enough?” By any measure, this Women’s Cabinet PLUS ONE event was successful. Women came away from the room full of pride in Israel and the Jewish people. They came away with a sense of satisfaction in even the small part that each of them played and continue to play through their support of the UJFT and its Annual Campaign each year. While Israel may be the incubator, many here in Tidewater can feel a part of this amazing phenomenon called the Start Up Nation.

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Mazel Tov

Supplement to Jewish News January 25, 2016 jewishnewsva.org | January 25, 2016 | Mazel Tov | Jewish News | 15


M A Z EL TOV

Sip a chardonnay and mingle with your peers.

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Dear Readers, Probably 95% (I made up the number, it could be more) of us celebrate our simchas

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events. One popular place, especially for b’nai mitzvot, is Israel. As such, we feature In early November I received a message through the Jewish News website from

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M A Z EL T O V

With all the planning for my son’s Bar Mitzvah, I never expected this by Michelle Tauber

(Kveller via JTA)—I ran into a mom the other day whose son is having his bar mitzvah in a few weeks, just before my son. Our boys were in the same preschool class together at the JCC, back when they smelled like finger paint and graham crackers. “How’s the planning going?” we chirped. Good, you know, busy, still waiting on all those late RSVPs. Then we looked at each other and cried. This is the part of bar mitzvah planning I did not anticipate. I had been so worried about the details, the cost, the time. How are we going to fit in cantor lessons along with everything else? Do people prefer kugel or knishes, or both, at the kiddish? How will our indifferent almost 13-year-old, who procrastinates months-long projects until hours before, possibly buckle down to learn an entire haftarah? While I fretted, the earth moved. I

didn’t feel it at first. Then when I started to notice—my son’s eyes a good two inches above mine, his voice deepening, his angles sharpening—it seemed novel and fun, like when he’d first rolled over as a baby. Look how he’s grown! Isn’t it something? He was changing, but I was still operating under the old rules because those were the only ones I knew. I volunteered to chaperone the middle-school field trip to the environmental center after we’d had fun on the same trip last year. When he learned I’d signed up again, he begged me to pull out, exasperatedly insisting that there was “no reason” for me to go. I still ask him to tag along with me on Sunday afternoon errands, but the answer is always no—he’s in his room on Instagram. And why would he care about that free sprinkle cookie at the grocery store, anyway? When I bought tickets last month for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party at Walt Disney World—an event our family

looks forward to every fall—he refused to come because there was a high school football game that night and he’d already made plans to attend with his friends. “Sorry Mom,” he said, and he meant it. “But I’ve got somewhere to be.” All along, Judaism knew what I didn’t. Judaism knew that my son—my first baby, my oldest child—wasn’t simply “becoming a man,” he was becoming his own man. That in stepping up to the Torah, he was stepping away from me. That I needed to let go, just a little, before I need to let go a lot. And so I cry. I cry at every b’nai mitzvah I attend. Because I remember when the young man in the new suit leading the Shema was blowing bubbles in a stroller. Because I know his mom and dad remember, too, and that we all feel the swell of pride and the loss of time. Because I remember standing on the bimah myself in a polka-dot dress, and how can that possibly be so long ago when I can still feel the slender weight of the yad in my

hand from that day? “I cry just to cry,” confessed the mom I bumped into recently. I told her my son had surprised me by diligently learning his haftarah, no nagging required, but that he had started pulling away, and that was hardest of all for me. “Thank God mine’s not doing that yet,” she said. “I’m not ready.” I’m not ready either. But my son is. On Passover, we dip in saltwater to remember the pain of the past. There is holiness in our tears, in tasting them. We are all salt and water, the tides ever changing. So when my son is called to the Torah, I will taste love and loss and the insistent pull forward. And when I see other parents with tears in their eyes, I’ll know they taste it, too. —Michelle Tauber is the head writer for People magazine. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and four kids aged 6 to [nearly] 13.

ShalomLearning now includes Bar/Bat Mitzvah training programs and one-on-one tutoring WASHINGTON, DC—Believing every Jewish family, however isolated, over-scheduled, unaffiliated or disengaged, deserves to engage their children in fun and accessible Jewish education, ShalomLearning, Inc., expanded its curriculum to include bar/bat mitzvah preparation for seventh and eighth grade students, as well as oneon-one online tutoring for Jewish learners of all ages and abilities. ShalomLearning, a non-profit, offers tutoring in Hebrew reading and conversational Hebrew, as well as a track of courses designed specifically for b’nai mitzvah preparation.

“Personalized, one-on-one tutoring allows us to better serve students across the learning spectrum, from those who want a little bit of extra help to advanced students wishing to delve deeper into the many inspiring aspects of Judaism,” says Joshua Troderman, ShalomLearning executive director. The new programs are made possible through ShalomLearning’s recently established strategic alliance with OnlineJewishLearning.com in order to share resources and provide personalized instruction to students and their families across the globe.

“By sharing resources with ShalomLearning, a like-minded organization with complementary competencies, we are able to better serve a larger base of Jewish learners,” says Rabbi Danielle Eskow, CEO of OnlineJewishLearning.com. For many living abroad, especially military and corporate expatriate families, staying connected to their Jewish faith, and keeping up with their children’s Jewish learning, can be a struggle.  With few options to build and maintain long-term connections with other members of the Jewish community, programs like ShalomLearning help to foster Jewish identity in children.

“We are a military family living overseas and have struggled to provide Jewish education to our two children,” says Alison Levy, who with her husband Jason and their two children Isaiah (age 13) and Shoshana (age 9) are living in Naples, Italy where Jason is stationed as a Commander in the U.S. Navy. “ShalomLearning has been a fabulous asset in our quest to keep our children’s Jewish identity intact in a non-Jewish environment and to strengthen their understanding of Jewish values and history.” For more information, including costs per session or to enroll, visit www.shalomlearning. org/enroll.

jewishnewsva.org | January 25, 2016 | Mazel Tov | Jewish News | 17


M A Z EL T O V

Sharing hope through baskets

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or the past 14 years, the Jewish Family Service of Tidewater Baskets of Hope program has received overwhelming support from local families. The baskets have been used for many different occasions including Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, luncheons, birthdays, and holidays. Proceeds from the Baskets of Hope program go directly toward helping local Jewish families in need. Often, many of these families are forced to choose between purchasing life sustaining food or medication. Last year, the JFS Food and Financial Assistance program served 400 Jewish individuals in the community. Debbie Mayer, JFS director of clinical services, says, “Many of these individuals struggle with living expenses, and JFS is able to help fill that gap.”

Benita Watts, director of campus operations for the Sandler Family Campus, recently ordered baskets for her son Daniel’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah. “I always have a hard time spending a lot of money on flowers that last just a few days. It seems so wasteful, so when I was thinking about decorations for my son’s Bar Mitzvah, Baskets of Hope seemed a great option. I had seen the baskets at other events and not only do they look great, but the money spent on them goes to a good cause and supports JFS food programs,” says Watts. Each basket is tailored to fit the event, taking into account the event’s theme and color scheme. A portion of the cost of each centerpiece is tax-deductible. For more information about the Baskets of Hope program, contact Sue Graves at 321-2238.

18 | Jewish News | January 25, 2016 | Mazel Tov | jewishnewsva.org


M A Z EL T O V The Medieval Jewish wedding ring tradition you probably never knew about by Leah Falk

( Jewniverse via JTA)—You may have recently learned that diamonds are only a girl’s best friend because De Beers made it so. Sigh—how’s a girl to have a betrothal symbol with a little more meaning? Look no further than a nearly forgotten Jewish tradition: the house ring. Originating in Europe and dating back to the 14th century, about 400 years after rings began to be used in Jewish wedding ceremonies, the house ring is an opulent object adorned with a miniature model of a house or temple instead of a gemstone. The house, like the huppah, is thought to have symbolized a couple’s new home together.

Because of their ornateness, these rings were probably not used for every day (imagine getting bread dough in your ring attic—yuck), but it’s not clear when exactly during the betrothal period or ceremony they were worn. Due to European rulers’ nasty habits of collecting Jewish ritual objects after they’d expelled Jews, only a few real examples of the ring survive. Can we get a house ring movement going, De Beers? Maybe it’s our post-recession practicality, but even on our fingers, we’d rather have a tiny house than a big rock. —Leah Falk earned an MFA from the University of Michigan, and her poems can be found in FIELD, Kenyon Review, Smartish Pace and other journals.

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jewishnewsva.org | January 25, 2016 | Mazel Tov | Jewish News | 19


M A Z EL T O V

Thinking of a destination wedding/ event in Israel? Here’s a useful guide plus some tips

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by Natalie Abraham

onsidered one of the most significant places on earth for the Jewish people since biblical times— Israel is a land that carries momentous meaning; where East meets West; where the sun shines nine months of the year. Israel! Where weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are a fun, exotic, and spiritual experience all at the same time. Where people from all over the world come to enjoy a unique celebration, reuniting with friends and family, and have an extraordinary vacation. So small on the world map, Israel offers an abundant selection of special venues for hosting all types of events as no other country can offer—naturally intertwining the richness of Jewish history, traditions and culture. Popular choices for wedding and event venues in Israel range from traditional synagogues, ancient ruins, by/on the beach, in trendy Tel Aviv, at a choice of coastlines (Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Dead Sea), farms, vineyards, forests, and of course, the old city of Jerusalem. The sky is the limit. Weather-wise, you can be 99% sure that you will not have a rainy day from May through September. During the winter months, Eilat serves as a great getaway to benefit from as much sun as possible. Still, winter weddings and B’nai Mitzvot in the heart of Israel, certainly have their own charm. When thinking about having a destination wedding/event in Israel, it is important to help your family and guests have an easy and smooth welcome to the country. To do so, set up a private webpage for your event including recommendations and advice such as: • Group accommodation for different budgets; 20 | Jewish News | January 25, 2016 | Mazel Tov | jewishnewsva.org

• Transportation information; • Car rental options; • Recommended things to do and places to see; • Hair and make-up artists for the event; • Local weather forecast; • Schedule of events (Henna, Shabbat Chatan etc); • Organized tours for families/groups (Some popular choices include the old city of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Masada, the Galilee or Golan Heights and much more).

Top Tips • Book your venue as much in advance as possible, and other vendors at least six months prior to the event. • Book your flights and accommodations once venue has been closed. • Send ‘save the dates’ immediately. • All agreements with any vendor (to the smallest detail) should be in writing. • Ask about hidden fees. • Check international holidays and Jewish holidays when choosing your dates. • Use English-speaking vendors for accurate communication. • Save yourself a lot of time and money— Hire a wedding planner in Israel. Hire a bar/bat mitzvah planner in Israel. Leave yourself time for fun. Weddings Only Couples must to register with the Rabbinate up to 90 days before the wedding. This can be done this online (if you read Hebrew), or the planner can help the couple do this. Or, it can simply be done when arriving in Israel, but it is recommended to make sure everything is in order before couples leave


M A Z EL T O V their home country. It is also necessary to have a letter from your hometown (Orthodox) rabbi confirming that you are both Jewish and single, as well as a Ketuba (marriage certificate) from the bride’s and groom’s parents and passport photos. —Natalie Abraham Natalie Abraham is a UK-born wedding and event planner in Israel with Dreamcatcher events. Her British background gives her a precise understanding of what is needed in the events industry: Someone who can provide a bridge between the values and expectations

of the Anglo personality, with the local customs and mentality. Her trademark is in the detail that makes every event unique and unforgettable. See Natalie in action at https:// youtu.be/d6MkSbOZ0Uc.

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DJs charge 32% more for bar/bat mitzvah events than for other parties

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n analysis by the consumer service website Thumbtack found that DJs charge 32 percent more on average for bar and bat mitzvah parties than for other events. The average price for a bar/bat mitzvah DJ is $812, according to the San Francisco-based company, which helps match consumers with professionals offering a variety of services throughout the United States. Thumbtack explained the price difference by noting that DJs are required to do more at bar/bat mitzvah parties than most

other events. “The job is to be the life of the party,” it said. “Thirteen-year-olds don’t have much practice on the dance floor and the DJ has to help them lose their inhibitions. They need a guide to show them how to limbo, hora, and electric slide.” Bar/bat mitzvah DJs also often lead games and contests. DJ Mike Burchard of B_Entertained DJs told Thumbtack that working a bar/bat mitzvah requires a “different set of skills” than working other events. (JTA)

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M A Z EL T O V First Person

Bar Mitzvah in Israel is spiritual and meaningful for Virginia Beach family

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by Benita Watts

even years ago as my son Danial finished Kindergarten at Hebrew Academy, he was sad because his best friend was leaving and returning to Israel. I casually threw out the idea that if Danial had his Bar Mitzvah in Israel, then Amit would be able to come. Last month, on December 24, 2015 Danial became a Bar Mitzvah at Robinson’s Arch at the Western Wall. Over the years, the more we talked about having Danial’s Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem, the more sense it made. For one thing, most of my family lives in England and it is easier for them to make a trip to Israel than come to Virginia Beach. But more importantly, I believed this would be a far more spiritual experience for us as a family. My husband, Joe, is not Jewish and although he has always been very supportive of Danial’s Jewish education, I felt it would be hard for him to have an emotional or spiritual connection if we had Danial’s Bar Mitzvah in our synagogue. I also had the added benefit of having my cousin and her family living in Jerusalem.

Danial, Joe, and Benita Watts at the Kotel.

In fact, it was 31 years ago exactly that I made my first trip, surrounded by my family, to her wedding shortly after she made Aliyah. Although I have made several return visits to other parts of Israel over the years, I had not been back to Jerusalem since 1984 and my last visit to friends near Netanya was 18 years ago. So I knew this was an amazing opportunity for all of us. From the apartment we rented in Jerusalem, to the private tour of Jerusalem with my family, to the charming hotel in Tel Aviv; everything was perfect and beyond our expectations. Seeing Jerusalem through the eyes of my husband and son, it was completely different from my memories of long ago. Our apartment was a block from Ben Yeduda St., in the town center area. Little shops line the streets selling Judaica, jewelry, clothing, and artwork, as well as amazing bakeries, coffee shops and restaurants. I could spend hours just walking around the area, soaking up the atmosphere. A 10 minute walk took us to Jaffa Gate to the Old City. Of course, it goes without saying that the highlight of the trip was Danial’s Bar Mitzvah. I first made contact with Rabbi David Ebstein at the beginning of 2014. I already knew the date I wanted for the Bar Mitzvah, although the rabbi pointed out that by Israel standards, “this was way, way too early!” But I am a planner and was determined to ensure that I had the date and time of my choosing.

22 | Jewish News | January 25, 2016 | Mazel Tov | jewishnewsva.org

Danial Watts with his grandfather Terry Wolfe.

I chose to plan this trip and event myself. I actually found Rabbi Ebstein on Trip Advisor when, one day, I googled “Bar Mitzvah in Israel.” He put me in touch with three or four families who had him officiate at their simchas and not only did they give me plenty of information and advice, but they couldn’t compliment the rabbi enough. One Skype call later and the rabbi was booked! Fast forward to this time last year and it was becoming real. We had the venue and the rabbi. Next came the flights and a restaurant for lunch afterwards. Thanks again to the internet, I found a couple of restaurants that were within walking distance of the Kotel, one of which had the perfect menu for us. I also arranged a private tour of Jerusalem for my family and friends which we did the day after the Bar Mitzvah. My only concern was the weather, which even I can’t control. The day arrived with clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine. Although it was cool first thing; by 10:30 am, which was our allotted time at Robinson’s Arch, it was perfect. Robinson’s Arch is part of

Danial and Joe Watts.

the excavation of the walls of the Temple Mount. In 2004, the site was inaugurated to provide a place for women to pray at the Western Wall. In 2013, a prayer platform was completed at the foot of Robinsons Arch and now hosts services by the Conservative and Reform Movements. Not only were Bar and Bat Mitvahs taking place before and after ours, but there were two or three going on around us at the same


M A Z EL T O V

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Danial and his family.

time. There is no bima and no formal ark. Everyone stands around a large table, on which a Torah lays covered by a cloth (this is the ark). Yes, it is noisy, but somehow this added to the atmosphere. So there we were, 32 of us surrounding the table. We sang and we danced. “Aren’t you nervous?” Rabbi Ebstein asked Danial more than once. “No,” was Danial’s response and he wasn’t at all. He was so well prepared, confident and, above all, comfortable, thanks to his Hebrew Academy of Tidewater education and the tutoring from Cantor David Proser. We could see he was enjoying this incredible experience. Here we were with our purple, personalized kippot and just a short distance

away was another group with their blue kippot. Danial led the daily service, then did the three Torah readings. He was truly inspiring. We talked and shared what this experience meant to us and tried to absorb every minute detail. I didn’t want this to end. So, did we make the right decision in having Danial’s Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem? 100% yes and we would do it again in a heartbeat. Danial can’t wait to return in the future and for us; we have our video of the service, loads of pictures and most importantly, amazing memories of this incredible, spiritual and meaningful experience.

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Danial after his Bar Mitzvah.

Follow us on Facebook JewishNewsVA jewishnewsva.org | January 25, 2016 | Mazel Tov | Jewish News | 23


M A Z EL T O V

A Memorable Mazel Tov

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n recent years, many communities have taken a fresh look at their b’nai mitzvah ceremonies. How can it be more relevant? More inspiring? And more likely to be a vehicle for continued engagement in Jewish life? After all, as we always tell our 13 year-olds, “It marks the beginning, not the ending!” As a rabbi and former congregational and family educator, I welcome this examination. The process of becoming a bar or bat mitzvah should—and can—be incredibly meaningful for the child, the family, and, really, the entire congregation. This is also why I’m happy to share the model that we’ve used for 20 years at Beth Israel— The West Temple in Cleveland. Already, with the help of Shinui: The Network for Innovation in Part-Time Jewish Education, educators around the country have learned how our b’nai mitzvah experience engages the whole congregation. Ironically, it is a model that started out of necessity and blossomed into a defining and connecting element of our congregational life. Twenty years ago, we found ourselves in a bind. We had just lost our rabbi and would be without another for the foreseeable future. Like most congregations, our rabbi handled the b’nai mitzvah preparation. I was tasked with filling this void; the mantra “it takes a village” would be my guiding principle. I first met individually with each family at their home. We sat around the dining room or kitchen table, reading through the child’s Torah portion, discussing questions as they arose, and asking the child to choose a section that would be his/hers to read and reflect upon for a d’var Torah

24 | Jewish News | January 25, 2016 | Mazel Tov | jewishnewsva.org

Photography: Edwin A. Davis Photography.

The ties that bind: marking 20 years of a reimagined b’nai mitzvah process

Rabbi Enid C. Lader.

(Torah-focused remarks). In the subsequent months leading up to the bar or bat mitzvah, our Hebrew coordinator (the lead teacher in our Hebrew program) took on the role of Torah tutor. Another congregant prepared the student to lead the service. But what about additional help with the d’var Torah? Reading a section during that initial meeting was lovely. But certainly it did not suffice to prepare a 13-year-old to deliver words of wisdom. This need, to empower the child to learn more and to share more, was the catalyst for Beth Israel— The West Temple’s I n t erge n er at ion a l Program. Our congregation thankfully has some very learned and special older members. We asked them if they might work with a student to help prepare their d’var Torah. Six said yes, and as the years went by, they were paired with students. Together, they study the Torah portion. The older mentors provide background information and help the students research commentaries and create meaning for themselves. Through this chevrutah (studying with a partner) process, each student comes to learn more about the mentor and his/her connection with our congregation. As this intergenerational friendship

blossoms, we’ve seen time and again how the student’s parents come to know the older members of our congregation and, of course, how our mentors meet and develop friendships with our younger congregational families. The program has tangible benefits for our older members, many of whom have children in their college or post-college years and are searching for additional ways to be actively engaged in the life of our congregation. In fact, mentors say that the program deepens their own Jewish learning, as they learn Torah from new perspectives and seek to bring these perspectives to their mentees. There is something very special about that first meeting with the family, sitting around the dining room or kitchen table and reading the Torah portion together. The family formally sets off on their bar/bat mitzvah journey with the child and his/ her parents reading aloud from the Torah. Quickly, the conversation intensifies as they ask questions of each other, all within the framework of a rabbi sitting and learning with them in their home. Congregation members Evan and Jill Fleisher reflected on how this bat mitzvah process influenced their two daughters, saying, “The knowledge our daughters

The

older

mentors provide background

information and help

the students research commentaries and

create meaning for themselves.


M A Z EL T O V gained and the unique experience preparing for their bat mitzvahs were invaluable. Having another adult other than us for our girls to confide in, to speak with, and to take guidance from, was an integral and special part of this. And as a family, we are closer now to the Temple and especially to the individuals who mentored the girls throughout their journeys.” Twenty years since the program first started, our congregation happily continues it. Though the rabbinical position was filled many years ago, this intergenerational program adds so much to our community by personally touching the lives of so many members. One of the original mentors still works with students. Many other mentors have joined the ranks to help shape their mentee’s d’var Torah. The Hebrew coordinator still helps with the Torah reading. And over the years, some parents have even served as mentors to their children—with wonderful outcomes. The program links our members more deeply and, frankly,

connects people who otherwise might never meet. This process also helped bring to them the concept that becoming a bar or bat mitzvah is the beginning. Students, parents, and mentors enjoy friendships that extend beyond the bar/bat mitzvah experience. Often, on those meaningful Shabbat mornings, a mentor is called for an aliyah during his or her student’s Torah reading. What a heartfelt and deep gesture it is. It connects one generation to another through one of our most ancient and sacred traditions—the study of Torah. Is it rocket science? No. But sometimes, the best way to reimagine a ritual is to hone in on what

made it special in the first place. Enid C. Lader is the former director of congregational and family education, and current rabbi, of Beth Israel—The West Temple in Cleveland, Ohio. She shared this intergenerational program model through Shinui: The Network for Innovation in PartTime Jewish Education, whose partner agencies are The Jewish Education Project (New York), the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the Jewish Learning Venture (Philadelphia), and Jewish LearningWorks (San Francisco Bay Area). Shinui is funded by the Covenant Foundation.

This

process also

helped bring to

them the concept

that becoming a bar or bat mitzvah is the beginning.

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Mazel Tov! May all your celebrations be joyous!

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Scott Rigell

jewishnewsva.org | January 25, 2016 | Mazel Tov | Jewish News | 25


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it’s a wrap Film Festival opens to record crowd

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he 23rd annual Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg, opened to a record crowd of 450 at the Sandler Center on Saturday, Jan. 16. After viewing the comedy Dough, a reception catered by Village Caterers was heartily enjoyed. Opening Night and major film festival sponsors were Patricia and Avraham Ashkenazi. Leslie Siegel created the outstanding opening night décor. The 2016 Film Festival sponsors include Old Point National Bank (the other major sponsor of the festival), the Alan & Esther* Fleder Foundation, Spectra by Comcast Spectacor and Virginia Arts Festival. This year’s Festival’s venues and other partners were Beach Movie Bistro, Naro Expanded Cinema, Beth Sholom Village, Tidewater Community College, Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, and UJFT’s

Linda Baltuch and her father, Howard Laderberg.

The Laderbergs: William, Harry, Linda, Lee and Romney.

Holocaust Commission. Mark Robbins, chair of the Film Festival, William Laderberg, co-chair of the Film Festival screening committee, the entire screening committee, along with the Simon Family JCC staff worked diligently to assure the festival’s success.

The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. * of blessed memory.

Leslie Siegel with her opening night décor. Elena Baum with Dr. Peter Black, Holocaust historian.

Nathan Drory with Avraham and Patricia Ashkenazi.

Growing together on ice with Beth El families by Jennifer Adut

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Gloria Siegel and Normie Sher.

Ellie and Peter Lipkin.

he 75 degree weather didn’t stop Growing Together families from having a blast at theMacArthur Center ice skating rink on Sunday, Dec. 27. The families skated together, fell many times and laughed a lot. After skating, some also enjoyed the amusement park. Instead of hot chocolate this year, participants instead went home with a tan. “Skating was such a good idea and we all had such a good time. And that’s what Growing Together at Beth El is all about,” says Leslie Auerbach.

Gabe Adut, Nadav Fried and Cantor Wendi Fried.

jewishnewsva.org | January 25, 2016 | Jewish News | 27


Super Sunday

It’s Your Move online, in person and over the phone Sunday, Jan. 31, 9 am–1 pm by Leah Abrams

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nited Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s annual phone-a-thon, Super Sunday, perpetuates the mitzvah of Tzedakah and is a grassroots, community-driven, community-building effort. This year, a social media aspect is included with the Monopoly themed event, appropriately tagged “It’s Your Move.” Everyone is challenged to get in the game. Community members are being asked to post a video, photo or words of a person, place or thing that have made an impact on who they

are as Jewish individuals. Community members then tag the post with #ItsYourMove757 and #SuperSunday757 so the collection may be viewed as a whole. These stories, shared across Facebook, have inspired and connected the Jewish community. On Super Sunday, the community will come together in spirit and action to raise funds, ensuring Jews here in Tidewater, in Israel and around the globe receive quality programming, have a variety of resources to enrich their lives, and get help when it is desperately needed. If you or someone you know exercises at the JCC, attends synagogue, receives financial assistance, has been on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip and cares about Jews and non-Jews in need all over the world, Super Sunday is your day, and it’s your move. How to participate: • Volunteer: sign ups are available at JewishVA.org/SuperSunday • A nswer the call on January 31 • Donate in advance at JewishVA.org/ SuperSunday • A ll of the above

Super Sunday contributions ensure that the programs and institutions that enrich Jewish life locally, in Israel and globally remain vibrant and strong. This year, everyone is urged to make a pledge and impact lives. Coastal Home Mortgage Co., LLC has generously sponsored 2016’s Super Sunday.

Rabbi Yitzchak Menda— When a child goes through a day school, a Jewish day school, when you learn about Judaism, you give kids ideas and ideals they can’t get anywhere else. When you choose a Jewish day school you impart a Jewish identity. Getting a Jewish identity, choosing a day school—I can’t think of a better way than here. We are here to make sure we have a love for Israel, Judaism, plurality—what our people stand for.

Scott, Eden and Liora Kaplan.

Scott, Eden and Liora Kaplan—I support my Jewish community through the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater: UJFT and YAD UJFT to strengthen and ensure the future of our community. My kids learn every day at Hebrew Academy of Tidewater the values of caring for others and being good global citizens. They are our future and we need to invest in our future. It is important to support the Annual Campaign and I urge others to answer the call, too! 28 | Jewish News | January 25, 2016| jewishnewsva.org

Super Sunday Committee with Rabbi Yitzchak Menda of HAT.

Gail Gogan at Temple Emanuel.

Gail Gogan at Temple Emanuel—the kindness, giving, wanting to succeed, us being small, you can go anywhere and get lost, whereas here, there’s no clique. It’s great to see the families. We have a lot of older people, but with Rabbi Marc, we’re getting a lot of younger couples and families. It’s wonderful. Seeing the friendships, it’s just wonderful. The support here and the friendships here are like none other. I come to work and am loved.


Catherine and Ethan Heben.

Eric Miller—while living in Israel a few years ago, I visited the Center for Independent Living in Tel Aviv. I was pleased and honored to be present when they hung a plaque on their wall that recognized the support of my family through the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater: UJFT. I love being part of a community that has so many people who help affect the lives of others in positive ways.

Songs & Arias Inspired by The Great Bard Nicole Smith and Nina Kruger.

Eric Miller.

Pam Gladstone—For many years, I was very involved in World ORT, which is a great organization I know it provides needed educational services all over the world. A lot of the women who are leaders in this community were, and still are, involved in ORT.

If Music be the Food of Love, Play on

Catherine and Ethan Heben—Being involved in YAD UJFT has inspired us to be active in the community. The members of YAD truly embrace the motto of “live, give, lead.” We love giving to the community knowing that we are impacting the lives of thousands of people locally and globally and encourage others to make their move.

Nina Kruger and Nicole Smith—I decided to Make My Move and join United Jewish Federation of Tidewater: UJFT’s Super Sunday Steering Committee because of my involvement in NFTY as a teen and my current involvement as Tidewater BBYO’s City Director! To me, it is important to educate our teens on the importance of community involvement so that they are able to understand how much our community does for them and how we can give back to our community.

Free performance featuring nationally acclaimed baritone & Norfolk Collegiate alumnus David Krohn ’02.

• Valentine’s Day • 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. • Norfolk Collegiate Meredith Center for the Arts NorfolkCollegiate.org/ JonesSpeakerSeries

Rabbi Panitz, Temple Israel.

Rabbi Panitz, Temple Israel—I became a rabbi to make the world better, in a specifically Jewish way.

NCS-019 JewishNews 2.375x11 25, 1-16.indd 1/15/16| 29 9:10 AM jewishnewsva.org | January 2016 1| Jewish News


it’s a wrap HAT students amaze with Chanukah De-Lights

Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s holiday outreach takes many forms

A few members of the OST Tzedakah Quilt group display the four quilts they made and donated to JFS: Susan Scholson, Marsha Moody, Paula Russel, Jeanette Friedman, Celia Friedman, and Dorianne Villani.

Hebrew Academy students perform during their annual Chanukah De-Lights program.

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ebrew Academy students put on its annual Hanukkah performance last month, with a show chock full of talent, including singing, dancing, acting and artwork. The production is a cherished school tradition that brings together students, faculty, family and friends year after year. Zohar Ben Moshe, HAT music teacher, practiced for weeks with students, preparing them for the big event. Kindergarten students performed their own rendition of Craig Taubman’s Big Trip, a song about going on a trip to Israel and the places to visit. First graders sang and danced to Ush’avtem Mayim B’sosot, a traditional Israeli folk song. Second and third graders sang Rick Recht’s version of Hatikva, the hope. Rounding out the Israel experience was the fourth and fifth graders performance of Bo’ee, a song in Amharic by the Idan Reichel. All songs were learned in both English and Hebrew, and before each one, students explained their meaning and connection to Israel. HAT Drama Club members also performed, under the direction of teacher Tanya W. Conley. Students created sets, props and costumes for two short plays written by Conley. The Rabbi’s Wife Solves the Problem was a take-off on the familiar feather story theme. Students humorously conveyed how gossip and repeating rumors

can result in an unhappy situation. The second play, Not Enough Room! was based on the folk tale about the long-suffering father who asks the rabbi to help him with his little house and very noisy children. The rabbi’s advice generated laughter as chickens, a goat and, finally, a cow were brought inside to join the family. The HAT Drama Club is an after school program open to fourth and fifth graders each year. The evening concluded with the lighting of the Hanukkah candles by SGA co-presidents Shalom Brashevitzky and Cooper Poorman and the finale song Al Ha’Nisim. Families and guests enjoyed a reception after the show that was organized by parents Elyse Cardon and Erica Kaplan. Everyone also viewed art work directed by Michele Barnes, HAT art teacher for kindergarten through fifth grade. Strelitz Early Childhood Center preschool students’ artwork was also displayed. Hebrew Academy is a constituent Agency of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. The Jewish community day school is now enrolling for the 2016-2017 academic year. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact admissions director Carin Simon at 424-4327 or csimon@hebrewacademy.net.

30 | Jewish News | January 25, 2016| jewishnewsva.org

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ach year during the holidays, Jewish Family Service of Tidewater reaches out to those in the community who need a little help. Whether it is meals, gift baskets, hand-knitted items, or bags of goodies, the gifts serve as a reminder to the recipients that they are thought of and loved. During Hanukkah, JFS distributed 85 bags filled with gelt and freshly baked Hanukkah cookies to Jewish adults living in local non-Jewish nursing homes. The bags and cookies were made and beautifully decorated by the Ohef Sholom Temple Religious School. For the annual Helping Hearts project, JFS had the help of two special young volunteers, eight-year-old Meghan and 10-year-old Matthew Helman. This past fall, they organized a drive and collected enough candy canes, socks, and snacks to help JFS fill 1,000 bags, which were delivered to six area nursing homes in December. The Helman children, along with members of Beach Ambassadors and JFS staff, also helped stuff the bags to distribute. Members of the JFS Knitting for Others group lovingly made hundreds of scarves, hats, and blankets for the JFS Helping Hearts project, as well as those that were distributed to JFS clients. This past year JFS also gave something new to a few clients: handmade quilts. Thanks to the Ohef Sholom Quilting for Tzedakah group, JFS received four

beautiful and unique quilts. The group was the brainchild of Marsha Moody and includes beginner and experienced quilters who work side by side to create their masterpieces. Each quilt is carefully sewn to create a colorful patchwork of fabrics. The group’s goal is to share the gift of warmth and comfort during the holidays and throughout the year. Members of the group include Marsha Moody, Susan Scholson, Paula Russel, Celia Friedman, Jeanette Friedman, Dalia Hermes, Gabriele Jiannas, Marilynn Mendelson, Margaret Sawyer, Nichole Kushner, Ruth Schepper, and Dorianne Villani. One quilt recipient was a young mother and her daughter who are JFS clients. The mother says, “We adore the colors, detail, and love that went into making the quilt! Most of all, we can see all the hard work, time, energy, skills, and dedication everyone put into this beautiful quilt. When we use the quilt we will feel blessed. We’ll recall all the time, love, and energy everyone spent to make us feel special, loved and cared for. Handmade gifts are incredible!” The daughter made a handmade card that said, “Thank you Tzedakah Quilt Group for this beautiful quilt! It is going to keep our family warm. I love all the pretty colors! Chag Sameach! Yours truly, a happy girl.” JFS thanks everyone who donated their time, talents, and money to help with these very worthy projects.


what’s happening CRC’s 5th Annual Israel Today series

Olga Meshoe, attorney, consultant, human rights activist Challenging those calling for Israel’s destructions— in South Africa and around the globe Wednesday, March 2, 7:30 pm, Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of numerous companies and trusts and is focused on community work and youth development. She is also the leader of Vessels of Honour, a youth arts organization that is designed to give young people who are gifted in the areas of music, drama and dance a platform to showcase their talents and opportunities be trained and mentored. When asked why she does what she does, Meshoe says, “We know what Apartheid was because we still suffer from the scars of it and my parents were directly impacted. “How in the world, seeing what we see, knowing what we know and being educated as to truth, can we say Israel is an apartheid state?” Don’t miss hearing from this young powerhouse. For more information or to RSVP for this free and open to the community event, visit www.JewishVa.org/ CRCIsraelToday or call 965-6107. The 5th annual Israel Today season finale takes place on May 11 at 7:30 pm with Matti Friedman, journalist, former Jerusalem Bureau reports and editor for the Associated Press as he talks about exposing bias in the media coverage of Israel.

Olga Meshoe.

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he second event in the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s annual Israel Today series features Olga Meshoe. A South African, Meshoe will discuss her work throughout the world with her non-profit organization, DEISI (Defend, Embrace, Invest, Support Israel), a South African-based, Christian organization which speaks out in Israel’s defense, advocates for fair treatment by governments and the media, educates and empowers youth, and dispels the fallacy that Israel is an apartheid state. Through this non-profit organization, Meshoe promotes the benefits of a strong South African-Israeli economic relationship and urges support for Israel through activism in her country and globally. Effecting change is a Meshoe family trait. Meshoe’s father and DEISI co-founder, Rev. Kenneth Meshoe, is president and founder of the African Christian Democratic Party and a former member of Parliament. Meshoe sits on the boards as a director and trustee

Sports Illustrated’s “The Jewish Jordan” coming to the Simon Family JCC Israeli basketball player is first Celebrate Israel event Sunday, Feb. 14, 1:30 pm

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ould a few injuries and an end to a basketball career in Israel bring a man down? Not Tamir Goodman, who sees the positive in everything, and lives to inspire others. Goodman, dubbed the “Jewish Jordan” by Sports Illustrated in high school, made history as the first Jewish athlete to play D-I and profes- Tamir Goodman. sional basketball while wearing a kippah and without playing on Shabbat. Goodman is the first speaker/performer in the 2016 Simon Family JCC’s Celebrate Israel series, presented by Charles Barker Automotive. His motivational talk to community members includes a basketball clinic. This free event is open to the community, and is presented in partnership with Tidewater Jewish Journeys and BBYO. Goodman’s positive spin on overcoming adversity on the court and finding the positive in life’s challenges is contagious. “My presentation is all about inspiring others to live their lives with warmth and goodness and kindness off and on the court,” he says. In 2002, Goodman fulfilled his dream of aliyah, signing a three-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv and serving in the IDF. But there were setbacks overseas, as Goodman’s five seasons of playing pro ball (between

volunteering for the Israeli Army) were marred by constant injuries. By the time he stopped playing in 2009, his left knee was a mess and both hands were so badly damaged that he could barely catch a basketball. Since injuries forced Goodman to retire in 2009, he has become a sought-after speaker, coach, and educator. He is author of The Jewish Jordan’s Triple Threat: Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Lessons from the Court, which ESPN’s Mark Stein called “captivating.” He’s also the inventor of the Zone190 basketball training device—a basketball training tool that combines trampoline-like material with a 190-degree, professional-grade carbon steel frame allowing players to practice a wide range of skills without the presence of a partner. SportStrings, another product (patent-pending) by Goodman, are compression-fit, moisture-wicking tzitzit, providing high-performance sportswear with certified kosher design. This talk for parents, teens and the entire community will be followed by a Q and A and book signing of The Jewish Jordan’s Triple Threat. Children and teens can then participate in a drill and skills workshop in the JCC gym run by Goodman.

BSV’s kosher Bar-b-que — Sunday, Jan. 31, 4–7 pm Join Beth Sholom Village for its second kosher family dinner. Beth Sholom Village’s second kosher family dinner features Chef Dan Hahn’s BBQ chicken with apricot glaze, BBQ beef ribs, potato salad, coleslaw, steamed broccoli, chicken strips (fried), baked beans, and apple crumb cobbler. Food preparation is supervised by Rabbi Sholom Mostofsky. RSVP is a must. Call Beth Sholom Village at 757-420-2512 or e-mail mbrodie@bethsholomvillage.com. $16.50 for adults 12 years and older; $14 for children 11 years and younger.

jewishnewsva.org | January 25, 2016 | Jewish News | 31


what’s happening Calling all 1st–12th graders

What more can you do?

Join the CRC in Richmond for Jewish Advocacy Day

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CRC’s 4th annual Israel Poster Contest underway

Tuesday, Feb. 2

he annual Community Relations Council’s delegation to Richmond for Jewish Advocacy Day is always a great event, and this year will be no exception. One of the strengths of Tidewater’s community is that so many people reading this article speak up when it comes to issues Aaron Goldmeier, Jason Hoffman, Virginia Senator Frank Wagner, Beth impacting Israel or Jews Gerstein, and Betty Ann Levin at Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day, 2011. locally and abroad. As such, all members of Tidewater’s Jewish of bringing Israeli businesses to Virginia, community should consider joining the therefore creating jobs and tax revenue for CRC to meet with local senators and del- the state. The CRC’s goal is to see the biggest egates in Richmond for Virginia Jewish Tidewater delegation ever, as it unites with Advocacy Day. While part of the discussion might more than 150 members of the statewide concern legislation that could be negative Jewish community to meet with elected offifor the community, Date With the State is cials and speak out on important issues. an opportunity to be pro-active and build Help show Tidewater’s representatives that the relationships with legislators today to help Jewish community cares and need their help in protecting key Jewish community issues. counter negative issues in the future. $36 helps defray the cost of bus transAlthough the particular legislation that will be discussed on Jewish Advocacy Day portation, kosher lunch and materials. A is still being determined, some past issues check mailed to UJFT, 5000 Corporate will certainly be worth revisiting, such as Woods Drive, Virginia Beach, VA, 23462, Jewish Americans being vocal about the att: CRC—Date With the State, confirms constitutional right to have public schools a seat on the bus. For more information, free from unnecessary laws that blur the or to reserve a seat by Jan. 28, visit www. separation of church and state. Support JewishVA.org/CRCDateWithTheState. The CRC’s Insiders’ Briefing on Thursday, for local agencies is always on the agenda as well as a thank you to legislators for Jan. 28, will provide all registered attendees their continued budgetary support for the with detailed talking points and lobbying tips for their “Date with the State.” It takes place at Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB). Given the events unfolding each day in the Sandler Family Campus at 6:30 pm. This Israel and certain negative international/ pre-meeting is strongly suggested for anyone media responses, it is important to ensure planning to attend Date With the State. To that VIAB does not lose funding in the RSVP for this dinner meeting, email CRC@ future and continues to do the great work ujft.org.

Tidewater Chavurah’s Shabbat Service Friday, Feb. 12, 7 pm Tidewater Chavurah will hold a Shabbat service, led by Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill at the home of Hal and Elaine in the Great Neck Meadows area of Virginia Beach. An Oneg will follow the service. A “congregation without walls,” events are generally held in members’ homes. The community is

invited. Tidewater Chavurah usually holds Shabbat services on the second Friday of the month. For more information and location address, contact dlqt@cox.net or 468-2675 or carita@verizon.net or 499-3660.

32 | Jewish News | January 25, 2016| jewishnewsva.org

Contest Rules

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tudents and teachers can find a list of cool facts about Israel at www.

JewishVA.org/CRCIsraelPosterContest. Each student should choose one fact from the list to serve as the theme of his or her poster. The fact should be clearly stated on the front of the 2014 CRC Israel Poster Contest winning poster by Leo Kamer.

poster. Posters are to be submitted on

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drawn (not computer generated) only

he Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater invites 1st through 12th graders of Tidewater to participate in their fourth annual Israel Poster Contest. Posters will be on display in the Simon Family JCC Cardo during the month of March and the community will be asked again to vote in person, choosing their favorite. Finalists will then be posted online and the community will be asked to vote electronically during the month of April choosing their favorite again. During viewing and voting, the artists’ names will be hidden. The winning poster with the most votes will be announced in early May 2016. The winner will have his/her poster professionally framed and it will hang permanently on the Sandler Family Campus. In addition, attendees of the community Israel Festival on Sunday, June 5 will receive a

8.5" by 11" paper and are to be hand using pencil, crayon, marker, or 2-D art. Names should not be visible on the front of the poster, but must be included along with age, grade, school, email address and phone number on the back. The deadline for submissions is Monday, Feb. 29 at 4:30 pm. Submissions may be dropped off in person at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater office located on the second floor of the Sandler Family Campus, 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Virginia Beach.

copy of the winning poster. For more information, visit www.JewishVA. org/CRCIsraelPosterContest or email CRC@ ujft.org.

The Jewish Museum and Cultural center

From Here to Eternity: The evolution of burial practices in American-Jewish culture Sunday, Jan. 31, 2 pm

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abbi Michael Panitz of Temple Israel will discuss Jewish burial practices at the Jewish Museum and Cultural Center. Like all other Jewish rituals, those surrounding death represent an accumulation of authoritative biblical and rabbinic precedents. Jewish practices have always provided an

Rabbi Michael Panitz.

avenue for community support from sickness to death, from funeral to burial, from grieving to comforting. The Jewish practices of burial are traced back to Abraham. Tickets for the lecture are $15. For more information, call 757-391-9266 or visit jewishmuseumportsmouth.org.


what’s happening

presents

Why do Jews say Mazel Tov and L’Chaim? The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) presents The Jewish Course of Why, beginning during the week of February 7

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abbis Aron Margolin and Levi Brashevitzky of Chabad of Tidewater will conduct The Jewish Course of Why, The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) 2016 winter course. The six-course sessions will take placeat the Chabad House on Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings and at the Sandler Family Campus on Wednesday mornings. “No religion is known for its rational basis and welcoming of questions and intellectual debate quite like Judaism,” says Rabbi Zalman Abraham of JLI. “In preparing for the course, we turned to over 30,000 people who each submitted their biggest questions about Judaism. We then selected the most popular among them and addressed each one with resonant insights from the greatest minds in Jewish history,” says Abraham. The Jewish Course of Why spans a diverse range of topics, from fun, light, and off-the-beaten-track questions, to more complex and controversial issues. Some of the course’s 50 questions include: Why are there so many Jews in Hollywood? Why do Jews eat gefilte fish and cholent and wish each other mazal tov and l’chaim? Why does the Bible sanction slavery and animal sacrifices? What is the cause of antisemitism? What does Judaism say about Christianity and about the role of women

in Jewish life? In addition to the above, the course offers insight into mysterious Jewish practices, strange biblical narratives, and enigmas of Jewish identity. “We’re excited to be offering this fun and dynamic learning experience here in Hampton Roads,” says Brashevitzky, the local JLI instructor in Norfolk. “The Jewish Course of Why gives our participants the opportunity to expand their Jewish knowledge and intellectualize their Judaism by exploring rational insights into the most intriguing questions that Jews have today.” Like all previous JLI programs, The Jewish Course of Why is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship. Interested students may call 757‑6160770 or visit www.myJLI.com for registration and other course-related information. JLI, the adult education branch of Chabad Lubavitch, offers programs in more than 960 U.S. cities and in numerous foreign locations. More than 330,000 students have attended JLI classes since the organization was founded in 1998.

RENÉE FLEMING, soprano OLGA KERN, piano “She came. She sang. She conquered.” — NY Daily News

American Israel Public Affairs Committee presents a Tidewater community briefing Wednesday, Feb. 10, 7 pm

FEBRUARY 17 7:30 PM HARRISON OPERA HOUSE NORFOLK TICKETS START AT $35

SPRING 2015

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Haaretz. He also lectures on vi Issacharoff, Middle modern Palestinian history at East Analyst, The Times of Tel Aviv University. Israel and creator and scriptThe event takes place at writer of the Israeli hit-TV the Reba and Sam Sandler show, Fauda, will speak to Family Campus. the community at a briefing To register (which is sponsored by American Israel required), visit www.aipac. Public Affairs Committee. org/Tidewater2016. For addiIssacharoff is a guest com- Avi Issacharoff. tional information, contact mentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs Kate Samuels at 678-254-2624 or ksamuon television. Until 2012, he was a reporter els@aipac.org. and commentator on Arab affairs for

Media Sponsor M-F 10AM-5PM

jewishnewsva.org | January 25, 2016 | Jewish News | 33


what’s happening Temple Israel invites community to “Sing” along to hits by Jewish pop stars at Gala fundraiser

The Hampton Years Discussion follows performance

Sunday, April 10, 6 pm

Sunday, Jan. 31, 2 pm, Virginia Stage Company, Wells Theater

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arbra, Billy, Barry, Neil, Carole, Carly, Paul, Bob and Bette. Or if you will, Streisand, Joel, Manilow, Diamond, King, Simon, Dylan and Midler. All are on a first name basis with the world, which may not know they are all Jewish. We do, and Temple Israel is hosting a gala fundraiser that will feature sing alongs to some of their most iconic pop hits. “Let’s Sing,” a rousing karaoke-style program, will be led by Hampton Roads’ top raconteur and banker, funny and fun-loving Morgan Davis, president of TowneBank. “When Morgan sits down at a piano, he makes you want to gather around and belt out the tunes with him,” says Sara Jo Rubin, Temple Israel vice president for fund raising. “For April 10, he is picking classics from these great Jewish artists and will lead us in the singing. And if you want to dance on the floor of Brody Auditorium,

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Morgan Davis, TowneBank president, right, was with Joel and Sara Jo Rubin. Davis will be behind the piano and microphone on April 10 at Temple Israel, leading the audience in a rousing sing along to hits by Jewish born pop artists of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

you can feel free to do that too.” Tickets are $60 each and include beer and wine, hors d’oeuvres and dinner prepared by chef Deanna Freridge and her culinary students at Tidewater Community College. Call Temple Israel at 489‑4550 during business hours to make a reservation.

Operation Understanding Hampton Roads accepting applications Applications due Monday, Feb. 1

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year-long leadership development program for 40 African American and Jewish high school students in Tidewater, Operation Understanding Hampton Roads (OUHR) is now accepting applications for the relaunch of the program by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities. Over the course of the OUHR year, high school student participants build understanding, respect, and friendship through monthly workshops and a fourday summer Civil Rights trip to sites in the Farmville and Richmond areas. OUHR participants develop their personal strengths, share one another’s cultures and religions, and enhance their leadership abilities. Sophomores and juniors are invited to submit applications to participate in this prestigious program. “Operation Understanding Hampton Roads will play a critical role in preparing students to be inclusive leaders in their schools and community,” says Jonathan Zur, president and CEO of the Virginia

Center for Inclusive Communities. “At a time when hurtful rhetoric, bullying, and prejudice create divisions and barriers in our society, OUHR invests in students who will develop life-long skills in communication and leadership across lines of difference.” OUHR was originally conducted from 1998 through 2006, and is being led in 2016 by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, along with coalition partners the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Urban League of Hampton Roads, and the YWCA of South Hampton Roads. For more information about Operation Understanding Hampton Roads or to obtain an application form, visit www. inclusiveva.org/ouhr or email RMancoll@ ujft.org. Applications from high school sophomores and juniors will be accepted through Monday, Feb. 1, 2016.

34 | Jewish News | January 25, 2016| jewishnewsva.org

any periods of history have brought African Americans and Jewish Americans together. The two communities share common bonds of often feeling like strangers in their homelands, and sadly, also feeling discriminated against and sometimes oppressed or even enslaved. Most people know how the Jewish community worked hard to support John Biggers, seated, with Mother and Child painting on easel, 1944. Art the Civil Rights move- Instructor Viktor Lowenfeld (second from left) encouraged the students to express their frustration with poverty and other conditions of oppression in the ment in the 1960s, but South. (Standing far right are Frank Steward and Ada Ferguson Vann.) Photo: few are aware of what Hampton University Archives happened just a few a renowned artist, as well as chair of the art decades earlier. In the 1930s, with Nazi persecution department at Texas State University. Focusing on the pivotal years at of Jews in high gear in Germany and later Austria, many Jewish scholars sought Hampton Institute during WWII, this refuge in the United States. While quotas richly researched tapestry of African and antisemitic and anti-immigrant sen- American luminaries such as Biggers, timent kept Jewish professors off of the Lewis, and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett, faculty at many major universities, they reveals the dreams and travails of young often found acceptance and support at artists in a still segregated society, while historically black colleges and universi- examining the impact of World War II ties. Jacqueline Lawton’s play, The Hampton on a Jewish immigrant and his wife findYears, now at the Virginia Stage Company, ing shelter in the U.S., and his profound explores the influence of one such scholar, influence in shaping the careers of African Austrian Jewish refugee painter and educa- American students. Sponsored in part by the United Jewish tor Viktor Lowenfeld, on the development of great African American artists such as Federation of Tidewater’s Community Relations Council and Holocaust John Biggers and Samella Lewis. Lowenfeld left Vienna in 1939 and was Commission, in partnership with hired as a psychology professor at Hampton Congregation Beth El’s HAZAK, the Urban Institute (now Hampton University), where League Guild, and the Virginia Center for he also offered art classes. These classes Inclusive Communities (VCIC), the perforelicited such enthusiastic responses that mance on Sunday, Jan. 31 will be followed Lowenfeld eventually founded the college’s by a discussion led by Jonathan Zur, presart department and educated a generation ident and CEO of the Virginia Center for of artists, including Biggers and Lewis, at Inclusive Communities. For more information about the play or to Hampton and later, at Penn State University. Perhaps Lowenfeld’s most famous reserve tickets (use code SAVE20 to save 20% protégé, John Biggers, intended to become off tickets) for this performance and discussion, a plumber. But when he took Lowenfeld’s visit www.VirginiaStage.org or contact Gaby drawing class in 1941 at Hampton Institute, Grune, CRC program associate at 965-6107 or Biggers’ life changed. He went on to become GGrune@ujft.org.


Calendar January 31, Sunday Super Sunday, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s largest fundraising day of the year. 9:30 am–1 pm. Sandler Family Campus. Visit www.JewishVA.org/SuperSunday, email labrams@ujft.org. or call 757-965-6127. See page 28.

Danny Kline President

Andy Kline CEO

The Hampton Years presented by Virginia Stage Company, followed by discussion led by VCIC. The Community Relations Council of the UJFT, in partnership with Congregation Beth El’s Hazak, the Holocaust Commission of the UJFT, the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, and the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC) invite community to join for this performance. To reserve tickets (use code SAVE20 for a 20% discount) 2 pm show and discussion, visit www.VAStage.com or call 627-1234. See page 34. February 1, Monday Operation Understanding Hampton Roads, a transformational experience for African American and Jewish teenagers is now accepting applications. The year-long leadership development program that will commence in 2016 for 40 African American and Jewish high school sophomores and juniors in Tidewater. Participants will build understanding, respect, and friendship through monthly workshops and a four-day summer Civil Rights trip to sites in the Farmville and Richmond areas. Applications will be accepted through February 1. For more information about Operation Understanding Hampton Roads or to obtain an application form, visit www.inclusiveva.org/ouhr. See page 34. February 2, Tuesday The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater travels to Richmond for the annual Jewish Advocacy Day. 7 am–4 pm; leaving from the Sandler Family Campus. $36 includes kosher lunch and helps defray the cost of transportation. For more information about how to join this year’s Date with the State delegation, or to RSVP (REQUIRED) by Jan. 28, visit www.JewishVa.org/CRCDateWiththeState. An Insiders’ Briefing, providing participants with detailed talking points on the issues and lobbying tips, takes place on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 pm at the Sandler Family Campus. To RSVP or for more details, contact Gaby Grune, CRC program associate at 965-6107 or GGrune@ujft.org. See page 32. February 4, Thursday–February 7, Sunday Milton “Mickey” Kramer Scholar-in-Residence Fund’s 3rd Annual Tidewater Together featuring Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie. See page 10.

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Camp JCC is a wonde rf ul place to wor k! SUMMER 2016

Staff Orientation: June 13 - 17 Camp JCC: June 20 - August 12 Post Camp: August 15 - September 2

FEBRUARY 7, SUNDAY Brith Sholom board meeting at 10 am, general meeting at 11 am, followed by brunch at 12 noon. Virginian-Pilot columnist Kerry Dougherty is the guest speaker. RSVP by Feb. 2. February 21, Sunday Wines from around the World presented by UJFT’s Maimonides Society and Business & Legal Society. An exquisite wine tasting experience, Kosher hors d’oeuvres will be served. Open to Society members, significant others, and prospective members only. 4–7 pm. Holiday Inn North Beach. March 2, Wednesday The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and community partners present the 5th Annual Israel Today series with Olga Meshoe, South African Attorney and Human Rights Activist as she discusses the false claims that Israel is an apartheid state. 7:30 pm. Free and open to the community. Sandler Family Campus. For more information or to RSVP, visit www.JewishVa.org/CRCIsraelToday or call 965-6107. See page 31.

10/28/15 2:56 PM

,

NOW HIRING….. Fun and Creative Staff for:

• Counselors (HS grads, min.) • Junior Counselors (Rising HS junior, min.) • Specialists (full & part-time): Sports, Music, and Arts • Special Needs Counselors • Lead Counselors • Camp Nurse

Summer camp JCC offers a rich and unique day camp experience, allowing every child to explore their own interests and try new activities within a safe camp atmosphere. Engaging and supportive staff encourages campers to have fun, develop skills and form meaningful relationships. Staff members are hired for their ability to facilitate memorable experiences for our campers. Positions available for experienced counselors, unit head lead counselors, part time and first time counselors. All camp personnel have a background check and participate in an extensive mandatory orientation program. EOE For more information, contact:

*of blessed memory

Erika Eskanazi, Children, Family and Camp Assistant Director (757) 321-2342 Taffy Hunter, Human Resource Director (757) 965-6117

Send submissions for calendar to news@ujft.org. Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.

Submit completed application to: Applications available at: www.simonfamilyjcc.org

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obituaries Ryvela June Berk Virginia Beach—Ryvela June Berk passed away January 9, 2016. She was the daughter of Oscar and Sonya Levy (of blessed memory), the wife of Kenneth Berk (of blessed memory). She is survived by her daughters Ronna Adler (Larry) of Virginia Beach and Joyce Jones (Bob) of Reston, Va. She also leaves to cherish her memory grandchildren Joshua Adler (Ashley), Lindsey Aftel (Todd), Hayden Jones (Cheryl) and Cameron Jones, as well as great-grandchildren Sonya, Eleanor, Abraham and Minnie Adler, Lena Aftel, and Eli and Olivia Jones. Special thanks to the staff of Beth Sholom and Hospice and Palliative Care of Tidewater. Funeral services were held in Woodlawn Cemetery. Donations to Beth Sholom Village Activities Fund or Jewish Family Service. Robert Jay Soble Norfolk—Robert Jay Soble, 67, died Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 in his residence. He was a native of Baltimore, Md. and was the son of the late Jonah and Hilda Goodman Soble. Robert graduated from Granby High School in 1966 and attended Old Dominion University, where he was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity. He was the owner and operator of the family business, Pottery Art Studio in Norfolk, and a member of Ohef Sholom Temple. Survivors include Sheila Borlase Soble, several cousins and numerous friends. Robert had a tremendous passion for the

City of Norfolk, its politics and its citizens, which led to his willingness to serve on numerous boards, including the Virginia Symphony, Harbor Club, Virginia Zoo, Norfolk Economic Development Authority, Norfolk Festevents LTD, where he was a founding member, and most recently, the NRHA Board of Commissioners. But Robert didn’t just “serve” on a board. He was a doer who brought his larger than life personality and did whatever was needed to make things happen. Robert was a driving force behind the highly successful Zoo-to-Do, and one of the early organizers of Harborfest, where he worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help make it one of the premier events on the East Coast. Robert was a big man with an even bigger heart who was always willing to lend a helping hand, whether it was for his city or his many friends. He had a rich sense of humor, a gift for gab and a love for Beach music. He had a zest for life and was known to dance the night away at the Hunt Club at the old Cavalier. Robert loved good food, was a talented chef himself and a frequent patron at many restaurants across the region, as well as an ardent supporter and patron of the arts. Those who knew Robert will remember him for his deep love for his city, his ever expanding circle of friends and the many community causes that he dedicated his life to. You can’t look at Norfolk and not see his impact. He was a force that can’t be replaced and will be greatly missed. Graveside funeral services were held in Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Lawrence A. Forman officiating. Memorial donations to Eastern Virginia

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Medical School or the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk. Online condolences may be sent to the family at hdoliver.com. Bob Wolfson Norfolk—Bob Earl Wolfson passed away on December 30, 2015 at his home in San Diego, California surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren. Born on September 23, 1947, he was a native of Jacksonville, Fla. where he attended Landon High School, the University of Florida, and married his childhood friend, Vicki Anderson. In 1970, he was stationed in Norfolk with the US Navy. Bob and Vicki remained in Norfolk for more than 30 years, raising their two daughters, Amy and Amanda. After 16 years as executive director of the ODU Research Foundation, Bob and Vicki relocated to California in 2000 where Bob continued his career as an executive in research administration. Bob served as a board member for numerous professional and community organizations, and he is a founding member of the Virginia chapter of the Society of Research Administrators. Of all his community service endeavors—including decades of volunteer work at homeless shelters—he was most proud of his involvement with the Jewish community. He was an active member of Ohef Sholom Temple, serving as a board member, Men’s Club president, and religious school teacher. In 1992 he received the Henry B. Kaufmann Award in honor of his participation and commitment to the Ohef Sholom community. Bob was a man of great integrity, held in the highest esteem by those who knew him, but always humble in his kindness and generosity. His compassion was selfless and genuine, and always carried out with dignity and grace. His spirit lives on in the many people he influenced throughout his life. He will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved him. Bob is survived by his wife of 45 years, Vicki Anderson Wolfson, his daughters Amy B. Wolfson and Amanda Firoved (Ross), his four grandchildren Cecilia, Jayden, Levi and William, four brothers Gary, David, Richard and Bud Wolfson, many nieces and nephews, and a large extended family in Jacksonville. He is predeceased by his

parents Murry and Renee Wolfson. A memorial service was held at Ohef Sholom Temple. Donations in Bob’s name to the Ohef Sholom Temple Men’s Club.

Arthur Obermayer, US philanthropist who preserved German-Jewish history

A

rthur Obermayer, a Boston-based Jewish philanthropist who honored Germans for preserving local Jewish history, has died. Obermayer died Sunday, Jan. 10 in Dedham, Mass., at 84. The cause of death was cancer, the family confirmed. A longtime activist in political and Jewish genealogical causes, Obermayer was a co-founder of Meretz USA (now Partners for Progressive Israel) and a leader in the Germany section of the JewishGen research platform. Professionally, he was an entrepreneur in the fields of chemistry and biotechnology. In 2000, he co-founded the Obermayer German-Jewish History Awards with JewishGen and the New York-based Leo Baeck Institute. The award recognizes non-Jewish Germans who have often struggled against bureaucratic or societal impediments in order to document their town’s Jewish past. This year’s honorees included Peter Franz, a Protestant pastor who faced aggressive resistance from local neo-Nazis, who in 2010 left two pig heads outside a remembrance site he created in Apolda, in the former East Germany. Franz and six others will be honored at the Berlin parliament on Jan. 25, ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Members of the Obermayer family will be present. Especially important to Obermayer, according to a spokesman for his foundation, was that his honorees reach out to Jews anywhere in the world with roots in their towns. The majority of nominators— from the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, Australia and elsewhere—had lost family in the Holocaust and never thought they would have a connection with Germany again. At the 2004 award ceremony in Berlin, Obermayer explained what had moved him to create the prize. “These people are doing this with a great


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obituaries deal of dedication, and not for an honorarium,” he said. “They do their work because they feel they ought to, because they want to.” In 2007, Obermayer received Germany’s highest honor, the Cross of the Order of Merit, for creating his award. A Philadelphia native, Obermayer had roots in Creglingen, a small town in southern Germany. He developed contacts with local historians, ultimately co-founding a museum of Jewish history there. He and his wife of 52 years, Judith, were involved in numerous political, scientific, Jewish and entrepreneurial causes. In June, they were inducted into the White House’s Small Business Innovation Research Hall of Fame. In addition to his wife, Obermayer is survived by three children and five grandchildren. (JTA)

Lord George Weidenfeld, philanthropist who rescued Iraqi and Syrian refugees Lord George Weidenfeld, a British Jewish philanthropist who recently helped rescue Christian Iraqi and Syrian refugees has died at 96. Weidenfeld died in his sleep Wednesday, Jan. 20 following a brief illness and is expected to be buried in Israel, the London Jewish Chronicle reported. British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis described Weidenfeld as “a towering figure in the Jewish community whose legacy will be one of great compassion.” Born in Vienna in 1919, Weidenfeld was, according to the New York Times, raised in a “cultured and cosmopolitan household.” Citing British author-journalist Nigel Farndale, the Times said that as a young adult Weidenfeld earned “a reputation as a womanizer and a duelist, in one instance fighting a Nazi sympathizer for the honor of his Jewish fraternity.” Weidenfeld immigrated penniless to London in the aftermath of the Anschluss, or Nazi annexation of Austria. In 1948, he co-founded the publishing company, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, which the Jewish Chronicle said published Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, as well as memoirs by Israeli Prime Ministers Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. In 1949, Weidenfeld spent a year as

chief of staff to Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann, according to the World Jewish Congress, where he served as honorary vice president. He was knighted in 1969. Last year Weidenfeld funded a rescue mission for Syrian and Iraqi Christians that flew 150 people to Warsaw. “I can’t save the world … but I had a debt to repay,” he said at the time. “It was Quakers and Christians who brought those [Kindertransport] children to England. It was a very high-minded operation, and we Jews should also be thankful and do something for the endangered Christians.” Weidenfeld had honorary doctorates from several British universities, including Oxford. In a statement, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said Weidenfeld was “one of the most inspiring figures of the 20th century.”

Lauder described Weidenfeld as “a committed philanthropist, an advocate of the Jewish people and a life-long Zionist who always defended Israel against attacks and unfair criticism.” Former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said: “George Weidenfeld was so much larger than life, and so inexhaustible in energy, that it is hard to believe he is no longer with us.” “He was always thinking of new ways to fight prejudice, heal ancient wounds and bring peace to troubled regions of the world,” Sacks added. Weidenfeld is survived by his wife Annabelle, a daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Lord Weidenfeld leaves a widow, Lady Weidenfeld, a daughter, Laura, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. (JTA)

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David Bowie was into kabbalah and other Jewish facts about the late icon by Gabe Friedman

(JTA)—It was clear long before the Internet swelled with heartfelt tributes to David Bowie that the late musician was an artistic legend. The 69-year-old Englishman, who died Sunday, Jan. 10 after an 18-month battle with cancer, reinvented himself countless times in a music career that spanned more than five decades. There were stints, too, as a Broadway and Hollywood actor. From his Ziggy Stardust alter ego to his latest album—a jazzy, avant-garde rock release called Blackstar released just two days before his death—Bowie racked up some interesting Jewish connections. Below, we give you five of them. 1. He was into kabbalah, and sang about it. “Here are we, one magical movement from kether to malkuth,” Bowie sang in his 1976 song Station to Station. “Kether” and “malkuth” are two of the 10 elements of the kabbalistic tree of life—the highest and lowest parts, respectively. Despite being high on cocaine for most of the Station to Station album’s recording process and describing it years later as the work of “an entirely different person,” Bowie was fascinated with kabbalah during this period (decades before Madonna made it cool). The back cover of the Station to Station album features Bowie drawing the kabbalistic tree of life in chalk. 2. His first manager was Jewish. Les Conn, born to a Jewish family in Stamford Hill, a traditionally Jewish part of London, failed to make much headway in the music business before connecting with the 17-year-old Bowie—then still going by his birth name, David Robert Jones— in 1964 through a mutual acquaintance, washing machine magnate John Bloom. Conn managed to get Jones’ first band some gigs, but he couldn’t sell his talent to The Beatles’ publisher, Dick James. When Conn’s contract with Jones expired, the rocker left for a new band and changed his name to Bowie—and the rest is history. 3. He was close to Jewish rockers Lou Reed and Marc Bolan (in different ways). Bowie connected with Lou Reed, of the Velvet Underground, and pop artist Andy

Warhol on a trip to the United States in 1971. He later produced Reed’s breakthrough solo album Transformer in 1972. When Reed died in 2013, Bowie called him “a master.” Marc Bolan, lead singer of the glam rock band T-Rex, had a more complicated and competitive relationship with Bowie. The two teenagers became close friends early on in their careers when they were both managed by Conn. Tension ensued when Bolan (who was born Mark Feld and ate Jewish soul food after concerts) found success years before Bowie did. But Bolan’s producer, Tony Visconti, eventually began devoting more of his time and energy to Bowie’s albums, which began climbing the charts as Bolan went downhill into alcohol and drug addiction. Nevertheless, according to the Daily Mail, after Bolan died in a 1977 car crash at 29, Bowie quietly gave financial support to Bolan’s wife and son. 4. He went through a bit of a Nazi phase. In a drug-induced state leading up to the release of Station to Station, Bowie was criticized for saying in an interview that Adolf Hitler was “one of the first rock stars.” In the same month, he said Britain could “benefit from a fascist leader.” Bowie later assumed a persona called the “Thin White Duke,” which has been described as an “emotionless Aryan superman.” In 1976, he drove up to London’s Victoria Station in a Mercedes convertible and gave what was reported to be a Nazi salute. Bowie denied the reports and later attributed his behavior to the copious amounts of drugs he was taking at the time. 5. He performed in Israel during one of the happiest stages of his life. “I think I would have to be squeezed real hard to be happier,” Bowie said in 1996, fresh off a performance at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv. In a series of videos, Bowie said he and his band were in the midst of one of the best tours of his life. He had recently released the experimental album Outside and had several other creative projects in the works. “I’ve been trying to go here for years,” he said in one of the videos with a smile shortly after getting off his plane.


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