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Jewish religious, lay leaders join call to ban assault weapons
n interfaith alliance including Jewish religious and lay leaders is seeking a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence held a news conference on Jan. 15 calling for the bans, as well as improved background screening of gun buyers. On what would have been civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.’s 84th birthday, the group also urged Americans to work together to help curb gun violence and spoke of the need to improve how the mentally ill are helped. At the news conference, Rachel Laser, deputy director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said that there has been “enough pain, enough despair, enough injustice. Let us learn from our grief and the errors of the past, and resolve in this very moment to do better.” Laser said that religious leaders throughout the country will mobilize their congregants to join in an Interfaith Call to Prevent Gun Violence on Feb. 4. On that day, Americans will call their Congress member and ask that they be “held accountable for the safety of our communities.” Alliance members also sent a two-page letter to Congress that urged the lawmakers to lead the way toward a safer society that not only protects children in schools against a mass shooter—a reference to the massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school—but also stops individual inner-city gun murders as well. Forty-seven religious leaders from numerous faiths signed on to the letter. The
Up Front. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Israel Votes 2013. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Jewish Democrats. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Obama and Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Temple Emanuel and UJFT grant. . . . . . . . 9 Temple Israel’s hero. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Baby Help in Argentina. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Jews of Boynton Beach, Virginia. . . . . . . . 11 Two programs at Beth El. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 CRC film. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
signers included the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and Women of Reform Judaism. On Jan. 14, a similar letter was sent to President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden with an urgent plea to address the subject of gun violence. The letter was spearheaded by the Rabbinical Assembly’s Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, and organized by Susan Stern of the Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center. “As religious and nonprofit leaders, we commit to building consensus and support in our communities for steps that will turn our collective grief into shared hope. We acknowledge that the privilege of American freedom also carries a moral responsibility,” the letter read in part.
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Another letter sent to Biden’s gun control task force came from Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox organization in New York. “Violent incidents that have occurred in school settings during the past numberof years have demonstrated that the need for securiy hardware—cameras, metal detectors, barricades, etc.—is particularly compelling,” Agudah’s Rabbi Abba Cohen wrote. “ U n f o r u t n a t e l y, despite the need for increased school safely—whether in the realm of disaster preparedness or crisis management—budgets put forward by the Bush and Obama administrations—and passed by various Congresses— have significantly and steadily slashed funding for these purposes—to the point where meaningful federal school safety assistance is virtually nonexistent.” Cohen also pointed out the unique threat facing Jewish schools from terrorism and extremism. (JTA)
Let us learn from our
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grief and the errors
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briefs Key Jewish lawmakers back Hagel, clearing path to defense post Chuck Hagel added three major Jewish Democrats to his list of endorsers, clearing his way to likely confirmation as secretary of defense. U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) each said they were satisfied that Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, would advance the U.S.-Israel security relationship and make a priority of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. “I know some will question whether Sen. Hagel’s assurances are merely attempts to quiet critics as he seeks confirmation to this critical post,” Schumer said. “But I don’t think so. Sen. Hagel realizes the situation in the Middle East has changed, with Israel in a dramatically more endangered position than it was even five years ago.” Lawmakers generally take their lead on sensitive issues from colleagues who are affiliated with the interest group in question, and the endorsement of Jewish senators has been seen as critical to Hagel being confirmed. Also endorsing Hagel was U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Hagel had drawn fire for his past criticisms of Israeli policy, skepticism about the efficacy of unilateral Iran sanctions, wariness of the repercussions of a military strike on Iran and willingness to engage with Iran and some terrorist groups while also maintaining degrees of isolation. In conversations with Schumer, Boxer and Wasserman Schultz, Hagel also apologized for having said the “Jewish lobby” is “intimidating” in a 2006 interview. (JTA) White House condemns 2010 Morsi slurs on Jews Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s past slurs against Jews are “deeply troubling” the White House said, and he should make clear his tolerance for non-Muslims. “We strongly condemn the remarks that then Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi made in 2010,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in the daily reporters’ briefing on Tuesday, Jan. 15. “The language that we have seen is deeply offensive.” In 2010, Morsi, then a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and before the upheaval that would unseat the Hosni Mubarak regime, called Jews “bloodsuckers” and “descendants of apes and pigs.” The remarks surfaced earlier this month in video aired by an Egyptian satirist who has targeted Morsi’s Islamism and in a release
by the Middle East Media Research Institute. Morsi was elected president last June. Carney said the Obama administration has raised its concerns with the Morsi government. “President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt,” he said, while noting that Morsi was abiding by the 1979 peace treaty with Israel and had helped bring about the cease-fire ending last month’s war between Israel and Hamas. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum called on Morsi to repudiate his past remarks. “Anti-Semitic remarks are inappropriate for any religious or political leader at any time,” the congressionally mandated museum said. “As a world leader, President Morsi has a particular responsibility to renounce anti-Semitism.” (JTA)
Terror tunnel from Gaza to Israel discovered Israeli soldiers found the opening of a large tunnel in Israeli territory dug from the Gaza Strip that officials believe is intended for use in terror activity. The tunnel, which was discovered near Kibbutz Nir Oz during a regular patrol near the border with Gaza, was built to execute terror attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, the Israel Defense Forces said. “The tunnel, large enough to carry people, is the same kind of tunnel used in 2006 to ambush IDF soldiers and kidnap Gilad Shalit,” the IDF said on its Twitter account. Shalit, an Israeli soldier, was released by Hamas in October 2011 after more than five years in captivity in exchange for some 1,100 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom reportedly returned to participating in terror activities. The tunnel was uncovered due to heavy rains throughout the region. Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas, have called for the kidnapping of more Israeli soldiers in order to exchange them for Palestinians in Israeli jails. (JTA) Youngest person on Schindler’s list dies The youngest person saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler has died. Leon Leyson, who Schindler called “Little Leyson,” died of lymphoma on Jan. 12 in Whittier, Calif., at 83, the Los Angeles Times reported. Leyson was 13 when he went to work at Schindler’s factory in Krakow, Poland, where he had to stand on a box to operate the machinery.
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He was a high school educator for nearly four decades and rarely spoke about his Holocaust experiences until the 1993 release of the Academy Award-winning film Schindler’s List. Following the interest generated by the Steven Spielberg movie, Leyson traveled throughout the United States telling his story. Two of Leyson’s brothers were killed in the Holocaust, including one that Schindler added to his list but who refused to get off the train to Auschwitz because his girlfriend was not on the list, according to the Los Angeles Times. Schindler placed Leyson’s mother and two other siblings on the list of 1,100 Jews along with his father, making it one of the few families that he protected. Leyson’s siblings later immigrated to Israel. Leyson criticized the film for emphasizing Schindler’s womanizing and profiteering as opposed to his decency and compassion. In 1949, Leyson immigrated to America and later fought in the Vietnam War. He taught machine shop and was a guidance counselor at Huntington Park High School, retiring in 1997. He was the father of two and grandfather of four. (JTA)
Hadassah wires $10 million to hospital in Israel to help cover deficit Hadassah transferred $10 million to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem to help cover its subsidiary’s $50 million deficit. The New York Jewish Week reported that the Zionist women’s group took the unusual measure after learning of the deficit run up by the hospital. Meanwhile, the medical center’s director general, Ehud Kokia, has submitted his resignation. The medical center’s board chair, Esti Dominissin, will fill the position until a replacement is found. Hadassah National Director Marcie Natan said the organization would hire the services of PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consultancy firm, to help reduce the hospital’s debts. “The firm will analyze finances, accounting policies, administration and cost centers and will explore strategies for reducing expenses and increasing revenue,” Natan said. “Based on its review, it will make recommendations on how our medical center can maintain its record of excellence while achieving greater efficiency.” (JTA) Florida’s Deutch snags top Dems spot on Middle East subcommittee U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch was named the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Middle East subcommittee— one of five Jewish Democrats among the 10
Democrats on the subcommittee. The Florida lawmaker’s selection by Democrats on the Foreign Affairs Committee was a surprise, as he has been in Congress less than three years and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), the second most senior Democrat on the committee, had expected the spot. Deutch told JTA that he was “humbled” by his selection. “This is a time of great challenges in the Middle East—the Iranian threat, Israel’s security, tough issues throughout the region,” he said. Deutch said he had already spoken with the committee’s chairwoman, fellow South Floridian Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, about working together. Working in Deutch’s favor was his success at passing legislation both in the Florida Legislature, where he led the effort to divest the state’s pension funds from Iran, and in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he has been a leader on passing recent Iran sanctions. Along with Deutch, the other Jewish Democrats on the subcommittee are Alan Grayson and Lois Frankel, both of Florida; David Cicilline of Rhode Island; and Bradley Schneider of Illinois. Also on the Middle East subcommittee is Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), who was elected when its last ranking Democrat, Gary Ackerman, retired at the end of the last Congress. Overall, eight of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Democrats are Jewish, including its top Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), a strong representation typical of the last several decades. (JTA)
Bears bring in Jewish head coach, Marc Trestman The Chicago Bears hired a Jewish head coach, Marc Trestman, to improve their pigskin prowess. Trestman, 57, a longtime NFL assistant, was named last week to his first head coaching post in the league. The 57-yearold Minneapolis native will be the only Jewish head coach in the National Football League. Over the past five seasons he served as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League, leading them to two championships. Trestman, who has been an offensive assistant with several NFL clubs, has gained a reputation for improving the play of his quarterbacks. The Bears were seeking improvement on offense. The Bears reportedly interviewed at least 13 candidates for the position. (JTA)
torah thought Moses and the United States presidency
hese weeks, we are reading the Torah portions that narrate the story of the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh, leading up to the Exodus from Egypt. We are also approaching the annual “Presidents’ Day” celebration. Let’s allow these two realities to speak to each other: When we read about Moses, do any of our U.S. presidents come to mind? Of course, there is more than one possible answer. Moses and George Washington share some key resonances. Moses was the first executive leader of the Israelites, and in that sense, the “George Washington” of his people. Moses, both by deed and by his death in the wilderness, just outside the Promised Land that he so much longed to enter, established the principle that even the greatest leader lives under the law. Moses and Abraham Lincoln—an obvious connection. Each one was the great liberator. “Let my people go!” will forever by associated with Moses. And Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation reads as a resounding “Amen” to the Mosaic call: “Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-inChief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States...by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.... And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.” While these two presidential parallels are true and obvious, I would argue for one more: I hear echoes of Moses in the lifework of Theodore Roosevelt. Moses and T.R. were both raised in the
lap of privilege, Moses in the very palace of Pharaoh, T.R. enjoying what “old money” could purchase in post-Civil War America. But both leaders turned away from the mind-set of the selfish “haves” of their societies, and opened their hearts to the “have-nots.” The first action by Moses himself that the Bible records in its memories of the great leader was his leaving the palace, to see to his brothers, the Israelites. He took an interest in their conditions, and sought to relieve their distress. When any other Egyptian aristocrat would have viewed the Israelites as nothing more than the “calloused skin on the hands and feet of Egypt,” feeling no common humanity with the slaves, Moses knew that he was a brother to the most wretched of them. Roosevelt, too, became a champion of the impoverished, the sweat-shop worker, the immigrant “greenhorn” at the mercy of an unregulated and cut-throat economic order. His friend, Jacob Riis, the maverick and pioneer photojournalist, and author of How the Other Half Lives, took T.R. to see the squalor that existed so close to the fashionable uptown mansions of New York’s plutocracy. Riis opened Roosevelt’s eyes to an ugly reality: “Be a little careful, please! The hall is dark and you might stumble over the children.... Close? Yes! What would you have? All the fresh air that ever enters these stairs comes from the hall-door that is forever slamming, and from the windows of dark bedrooms that in turn receive from the stairs their sole supply of the elements God meant to be free, but man deals out with such niggardly hand.” (How the Other Half Lives, excerpt). Throughout this presidency, Roosevelt called for bills to protect the worker, the socially and economically disadvantaged; and again and again, the Congress rejected his initiatives as too costly for business interests to bear. Roosevelt surely understood the revolutionary power of the constitution that Moses implemented, a constitution in which the poor could look forward to a sabbatical release, and a jubilee return to economic equality with the (temporarily) wealthy; a constitution whose principal mandate is “Love your neighbor as yourself” and which insists that the lowest Israelite is and remains achikha, “your brother.” And so, a tip of the kippah to Moses, as we approach February and Presidents’ Day. May the lifework of Moses ever be an inspiration for our own Chief Executives! —Rabbi Michael Panitz, Temple Israel
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The consequences of Israel’s vote
Israel Votes 2013 Likud leads, but rise of Yesh Atid, Jewish Home bode bumpy road ahead for Netanyahu by Ben Sales
TEL AVIV (JTA)—His party shrunk, his opponents grew and his challengers multiplied. But with the results in, it seems Benjamin Netanyahu survived the Knesset elections on Jan. 22 to serve another term as prime minister. Netanyahu faces a bumpy road ahead. His Likud party, together with the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu, fell to 31 seats in the voting from its current representation of 42. The biggest surprise of the election was the ascendance of former TV personality Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party. Founded just a year ago, Yesh Atid won 19 seats on a platform of national service and pro-middle class economic reform. Likud’s traditional rival, the center-left Labor, grew to 15 from eight seats promoting progressive economic policy. And another political newcomer, Naftali Bennett, is likely to push Netanyahu to the right on security issues. His Jewish Home party, a successor to the National Religious Party, increased its representation from three to 11 seats. Together with the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party and the haredi Orthodox United Torah Judaism, the right-wing Knesset bloc will hold 60 of the Knesset’s 120 seats— exactly half. That’s anything but a mandate for Netanyahu, who campaigned on the slogan
ELECTION RESULTS Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu: 31 Yesh Atid: 19 Labor: 15 Shas: 11 Jewish Home: 11 United Torah Judaism: 7 Meretz: 6 Hatnua: 6 Raam-Taal: 5 Hadash: 4 Balad: 3 Kadima: 2
“A strong prime minister, a strong Israel.” Instead of being able to lead a new coalition with a large party behind him, Netanyahu will have to negotiate with rivals and forge compromises with opposing camps. Judging from the successes of Yesh Atid, Labor and Jewish Home, Israelis cast a resounding vote for progressive economic reform and new leaders in their parliament. The biggest thorn in the prime minister’s side looks to be Lapid. Unlike the fiscally conservative Netanyahu, Lapid won support by calling for housing reform, opposing tax increases for the middle class and including haredi yeshiva students in Israel’s mandatory military conscription. But Netanyahu’s biggest concern may be a rival in his own right-wing camp, Bennett, who appears to have picked up most of the seats lost by Likud-Beiteinu. While Netanyahu remains ambiguous on the question of a Palestinian state—he formally endorsed the idea in a 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University but has hardly mentioned it since or done much to promote it—Bennett passionately opposes the idea. Instead, Bennett, a former high-tech entrepreneur, calls for annexing much of the West Bank. Even within Netanyahu’s party, nationalists on the Likud list who never before made it into the Knesset will now occupy seats. Among them is Moshe Feiglin, leader of the Jewish Leadership faction of Likud, who favors West Bank annexation and encouraging Arabs who hold Israeli citizenship to leave Israel. The rise of Yesh Atid and Jewish Home do offer Netanyahu some new opportunities, too. Rather than rely on the haredi Orthodox parties such as Shas and United Torah Judaism for the coalition, Netanyahu could make common cause with Yesh Atid and Jewish Home, both of which want to draft haredi Israelis into the army or some form of national service—even though they may significantly disagree on security matters. Lapid talked during the campaign of his willingness to join a Netanyahu coalition, influencing the government from within rather than from the opposition. So even though the haredi parties grew by two seats—Shas stayed at 11 seats and United Torah Judaism went from five to
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by Uriel Heilman
seven, according to exit polls—Lapid’s willingness to provide Netanyahu with a larger chunk of seats to build his coalition means that the haredi parties may have lost their political leverage to keep yeshiva students out of Israel’s military draft. For its part, Labor looks destined to lead the Knesset’s opposition; its chairwoman, Shelly Yachimovich, has vowed not to join a Netanyahu coalition. Tzipi Livni’s new Hatnua party, which won just six seats, is likely to stay in the opposition, too. The election represented a major defeat for Livni, who in the last election led the Kadima party to 28 seats—more than any other party. This time, the eviscerated Kadima scraped by with the minimum two seats. Hatnua’s poor showing also suggested how little of the election was about negotiations with the Palestinians. Livni made much of the issue during the campaign, but it clearly failed to resonate with voters. Hatnua’s six seats equaled the showing of Meretz, the solidly left-wing party. By contrast, Labor, traditionally a promoter of peace talks, barely raised the issue in the campaign. Instead it focused on socioeconomic issues and made significant Knesset gains. With Election Day over, the coalition building begins: To win another term as prime minister, Netanyahu now must cobble together an alliance of at least 61 Knesset members to form Israel’s next government. Who he chooses—and who agrees to join him—will determine a great deal about the course charted in the years to come by the Israeli government.
(JTA)—A few observations about the Israeli election results: Right-left split changes, but not much: From an outsider’s perspective, Israel would seem a very politically unstable place. The biggest party in the previous Knesset, Kadima, crashed from 28 seats to a grand total of zero. The No. 3 party, Yisrael Beiteinu, hitched its wagon to the ruling party, Likud, but their combined list lost about a quarter of its seats, down to 31 from 42. Meanwhile, a party that didn’t exist until a few months ago, Yesh Atid, emerged as the 120-seat Knesset’s second-biggest party, with 18 or 19 seats, according to exit polls. Yet despite the swapping of party labels, not too much changed in the right-left split. The right wing appears to have lost a little ground—from 65 seats in the last Knesset to 62 seats in the new one. The center and left gained some adherents, but remains a minority with fewer than 50 seats (the balance goes to the Arab parties).
significant number of
voters went for
parties that made
socioeconomic issues, not security, the centerpiece of their
New priorities: With Israelis deeply pessimistic about the chances for imminent peace, a significant number of voters went for parties that made socioeconomic issues, not security, the centerpiece of their campaigns. Yesh Atid ran a campaign about social and economic issues, and Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich, who led the party to 17 seats, up from eight in the last Knesset, virtually ignored security issues in her campaign. This is a sea change from the old days, when campaigns were all about security. Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua bucked that trend, emphasizing peace with the Palestinians. The result: six seats. continued on page 7
Jewish Democrats low key, grateful at second inauguration by Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON (JTA)—The inaugural poem included a “shalom,” and three rabbis and a cantor attended the traditional next-day inaugural blessing. But the message that Jewish Democrats were most eager to convey during President Obama’s second inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21 was that the long romance between the community and the party was nowhere near over. There was no big Jewish Obama inaugural ball this year—overall, celebrations were fewer and less ambitious than in 2009—but in small discreet parties across Washington this week, Jewish Democrats breathed with relief that their candidate was reelected and had a substantial majority among Jewish voters. “It’s easy to forget, as it already seems a long time ago, but despite a profoundly negative campaign aimed at the president in our community, he overwhelmingly won the Jewish vote,” David Harris, the president of the National Jewish Democratic Council, says. Obama scored 68 percent to 70 percent of the Jewish vote in November’s presidential contest, according to exit polls, a slight decline from the 74 to 78 percent he won in ’08. Republicans throughout the Obama presidency have made claims of a drift between the Democrats and what for decades has been a core and generous constituency. They have cited in particular Obama’s tense relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; according to
continued from page 6
New faces: The 19th Knesset will see a plethora of new members, with more than a quarter of the Knesset occupied by firsttimers, most of them from Jewish Home and Yesh Atid. Jewish Home is led by a son of American immigrants to Israel, businessman-turned-politician Naftali Bennett, and Yesh Atid is headed by former TV personality Yair Lapid (also son of the late politician Tommy Lapid). Women: The new Knesset will see the number of women rise, with the biggest representation from Yesh Atid, eight of whose new representatives are women. The Likud-Beiteinu list has seven, Labor has
a recent report, Obama has said repeatedly that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.” Yet Obama’s Jewish ties seem as deep as ever. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, emceed the inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who has made a mantra of saying that the Democratic Party is the “natural political home for the Jews,” reassumed her position as Democratic National Committee chair on Jan. 22 at the committee’s winter meeting. Rabbi Amy Schwartzman of Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Va., delivered an invocation at the event. A few blocks away, at the National Cathedral, four Jewish clergy participated in the presidential inaugural prayer service: Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly; Rabbi Sharon Brous, the founder of the IKAR Jewish community in Los Angeles; and Cantor Mikhail Manevich of the Washington Hebrew Congregation, a Reform synagogue just blocks from the cathedral. There were some hiccups: Muslim and Jewish clerics joined their Christian colleagues in a procession headed by ministers bearing aloft a crucifix. Brous substantially changed her prayer reading, which had been drafted by the cathedral, to make it more forthright. A genteel rebuffing of “favoritism”
in her prepared text became a rebuke against ly fewer Jewish visitors to Washington this “biases” in her delivered remarks. year, which likely drove the decision by the “I wanted to make it a little Jewier,” she major Jewish groups not to repeat the ball told another rabbi after the service. at the Capital Hilton. In 2009, hundreds The day before, when Obama ful- of Jewish Chicagoans were in Washington; filled another time-honored inaugural this year there was not as much interest. tradition with a visit to Instead, many celhistoric St. John’s Church ebrants dedicated across the street from themselves to service, in the White House, Rabbi line with a call from the David Saperstein, who White House for such directs the Reform moveprojects to be timed with Jewish Obama ment’s Religious Action Martin Luther King Jr. Day. inaugural balls Center, and Rabbi Jack The District of Columbia in 2013 Moline, who helms the Jewish Community Center Conservative Adas Achim drew 25 volunteers to help synagogue in Alexandria, refurbish two apartments Va., delivered readings. for people transitioning Sixth and I, the hisfrom homelessness. toric synagogue in the city’s downtown, “J Street brought in 75 activists from drew several hundred to a Shabbat service across the country to distribute leaflets to for government and campaign workers. passers-by asking them to urge Obama to Wasserman Schultz delivered a sermon, make Middle East peacemaking a priority. and although she avoided blatant parti“Without strong U.S. leadership it won’t sanship, she described Democratic policy be resolved,” says Talia Ben Amy, a 26-yearobjectives—among them, access to health old assistant editor from New York who care and a reinforced safety net for the handed out literature near the National Mall. poor—as Jewish values. Eran Sharon, a law graduate from the Otherwise, the Jewish profile was low University of Texas at Austin who is on a key. NJDC, along with J Street, the liberal fellowship with Jews United for Justice, Jewish group that had made its hallmark helped at a homeless kitchen after the Sixth the backing of Obama’s Middle East poli- and I service. The second inauguration, he cies, hosted private parties, reflecting the said, had brought on more of a sense of overall subdued festivities. There were only relief than exultation. two “official” balls this year instead of 10 “It’s a new opportunity to finish the poliand 800,000 people poured into the capi- cies Obama has started,” says Sharon, 29. tal, a million less than four years ago. “Hopefully with less bickering with Congress.” A Jewish official says there were similar-
four, and Jewish Home and Meretz each have three. Hatnua and Hadash each have one. Among the new women in the Knesset will be the body’s first Ethiopian-Israeli woman, Penina Tamnu-Shata of Yesh Atid, an attorney who immigrated to Israel at age three during Operation Moses.
voters; Livni’s failure to gain adherents for Kadima and subsequent defection to her new party, Hatnua; and Shaul Mofaz’s decision to join, albeit briefly, the Likud-led ruling coalition. It’s not the end of centrist politics in Israel, but it is the end of the road for the party started by Ariel Sharon as a breakaway from Likud.
The end of Kadima: Twice in its short history, the Kadima party leader occupied the prime minister’s office. But in just one election cycle, the party went from Israel’s largest faction all the way down to zero: Kadima failed to win a single seat in the 19th Knesset. The party was doomed by a variety of factors: The rise of Yesh Atid, whose socioeconomic-focused platform and charismatic leader peeled away centrist
Bibi’s reign: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters used to herald him as Bibi, King of Israel. So did Time magazine just a few months ago. But with the combined Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu list falling by a quarter after what was widely panned as a lackluster campaign, it’s difficult to make the case that Netanyahu’s star is burning brighter. He’s almost sure to capture the
premiership again (now comes the horse trading that is Israeli coalition building), but it seems it will be more for lack of an alternative than enthusiasm for Netanyahu. Hello, Naftali Bennett: If there was any enthusiasm on the right wing this time around, it appeared to be for Naftali Bennett, leader of the newly constituted Jewish Home party (itself a successor to the National Religious Party). The party captured 12 seats, up from just three (as the NRP) in the last Knesset. Bennett, who supports annexation of parts of the West Bank, is likely to apply pressure on Netanyahu to shift farther right on security issues.
jewishnewsva.org | January 28, 2013 | Jewish News | 7
Ruth’s will said a lot about her. What does your will say about you? As a “pink lady” Ruth Goodman accumulated more hours than any other volunteer at the Norfolk hospital where she greeted visitors. Before she died in 1995, Ruth
arranged for a bequest to the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to give good health to the community she and her husband Victor loved. This year 21 students are studying to become physicians, pharmacists and other medical professionals thanks to scholarships generated by Ruth’s generosity. Many more Goodman Scholars will follow every year forever. Write your prescription for a better 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.
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Obama’s likely takeaway from Israeli election: More two-state advocates by Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON (JTA)—With the Israeli election results split evenly between the right-wing bloc and everyone else, no one in Washington is ready to stake their reputation on what the outcome means for the U.S.Israel relationship and the Middle East. Except for this: The next Israeli government likely will include more than two lawmakers committed to a two-state solution with the Palestinians. In mid-December, resigned to what then seemed to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s certain reelection at the helm of a hard-right government, staff at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv drew up what they believed would be the most likely new governing coalition. Then they researched each member and counted the lawmakers who had expressly committed themselves to a two-state solution. They came up with a grand total of two: Netanyahu and Carmel Shama HaCohen, a real estate agent from Ramat Gan and a political up-and-comer. HaCohen is unlikely to claim a seat in the next Knesset. He’s No. 32 on the Likud Beitenu list, which is projected to take 31 seats, though some ballots have yet to be counted. But the prospect of more than two two-staters on the governing side has risen dramatically with the split Knesset, while apprehension within the Obama administration about a Netanyahu driven into recalcitrance by hard-line partners has likely diminished. White House spokesman Jay Carney eagerly took a question on Jan. 22 on what the elections meant for peace prospects, even before official results were in and when exit polls projected Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc emerging with a razorthin majority. “The United States remains committed, as it has been for a long time, to working with the parties to press for the goal of a two-state solution,” Carney said. “That has not changed and it will not change. We will continue to make clear that only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis address all the permanent status issues that need to be addressed and achieve the peace that they both deserve: two states for two peoples with a sovereign, viable and independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel.” The language was boilerplate, but the context was not: Just a week ago, the narrative was that President Obama had all
but given up on advancing peace while Netanyahu was prime minister, believing that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are,” according to a report by Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic. David Makovsky, an analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank with close ties to the major Israeli parties and the White House, says the Obama administration was likely to proceed with cautious optimism. “We’re entering into a period of uncertainty where Israeli politics will look like a Rubik’s cube,” Makovsky says. “But from Washington’s perspective, there might be more cards than a couple of weeks ago.” The Obama-Netanyahu drama of recent years, arising from tensions over Israel’s settlement building and how aggresively to confront Iran, may not soon disappear. In his post-election speech, Netanyahu said preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon remains his No. 1 priority. Obama also wants to keep Iran from having a nuclear bomb, which the Islamic Republic has denied it is seeking. But the two leaders have disagreed on the efficacy of sanctions and the timing of a possible military option. The upside for Obama, however, is that Netanyahu will likely first court the centrist parties in coalition talks. According to news reports, he called Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, shortly after the polls closed on Jan. 22 and told him they had great things to do together. In his own speech, Netanyahu said he could see “many partners” in the next government. Lapid, the telegenic former journalist whose new party snagged an unexpected 19 seats, was the surprise winner in the balloting. He backs negotiations with the Palestinians and withdrawal from much of the West Bank, although he also aggressively courted some settlers. More piquantly, his chief adviser is Mark Mellman, a pollster ensconced in Washington’s Democratic establishment who has close White House ties. Much of the election was fought on the widening income gaps in Israel, as well as on the role of the haredi Orthodox in Israeli affairs. Those issues likely will predominate in coalition negotiations, says Peter Medding, a political science professor at Hebrew University whose specialties include U.S.-Israel relations. Medding says the negotiations could take weeks, particularly because of Lapid’s emphasis on drafting haredi Orthodox students and removing Orthodox influence from the public sphere.
Temple Emanuel uses grant to enrich the entire community ested in what he had to say,” Gross says. “Ron Wolfson is a Jewish educator who is ith its frayed cover and sticky note very knowledgeable…he really can make tabs sticking out from a number your life better after he talks, because you of pages, Gary Takakin’s copy of take away things you did not know before The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform you came to hear him speak, and put them Your Congregation into a Sacred Community by into practice.” Dr. Ron Wolfson is testimony to the number With Gross’ solid endorsement of Wolfson of times the book has been read. as someone who could positively impact the “Ron Wolfson is my guru, and while community, Tabakin contacted the ISJL to I have all of his books, I come back to book an appearance. When he shared the this one—a lot, as you can tell by the news with leaders at Congregation Beth El in dog-eared copy,” says Tabakin, a vice-presi- Norfolk (where Tabakin is also a member), dent of Temple Emanuel in Virginia Beach. and Harry Graber, executive vice-presi“He is a big believer in dent of the United Jewish the community—not just Federation of Tidewater, the Conservative branch, they asked to be included but Orthodox, Reform, in the plans. They, along Reconstructionist—and with Ohef Sholom Temple, his message is that we’re which is hosting a private all Jews and we need to workshop with Wolfson for work together.” temple boards, added finanThe community can cial and logistical support, learn from Wolfson in perand more events, to ensure son when he appears at as many people as possible four public community could have the opportunity events February 7-9. (See to hear Wolfson. What’s Happening on page “We’re fortunate to 19 for the schedule.) A be able to assist in bringprofessor, author, and Gary Tabakin, Temple Emanuel board ing Ron to the area, along member, with his much-read copy of popular Jewish lecturer, Ron Wolfson’s book. with Temple Emanuel, Wolfson will discuss and Congregation Beth El explore topics such as creating authentically and Ohef Sholom Temple,” says Graber. welcoming community centers and houses “Temple Emanuel took the lead in booking of worship and the steps a sacred commu- him, through their Synagogue-Federation nity can do together to further tikkun olam grant and this terrific speaker is an example (creation and repair of the world). of the kinds of things we hoped would hapThe idea to invite Wolfson to Tidewater pen when we provided the grants, along came to Tabakin when he was tasked with with the Tidewater Jewish Foundation and determining how Temple Emanuel could the Simon Family Foundation. The grants use grant funding available through the revi- have created an atmosphere of collaboratalized Synagogue-Federation Partnership tion that contribute to making sure our of the Tidewater Jewish Community. Jewish community, its agencies, and its “I found out about the grant around the houses of worship can thrive and grow.” same time we were planning our annual “I hail from the Jewish community of Rabbi Pincus Forum,” Tabakin says. “All Omaha, Nebraska, where 5,000 Jews live, of the sudden a light bulb went off, and I so I understand the challenges and opporthought, ‘Why don’t we bring someone in tunities of a community your size,” says who is greatly admired by many people, Wolfson. “As we will learn, the single greatwho could be a scholar-in-residence here est task facing us is the engagement of our and who could also speak to the communi- people with the Jewish experience in ways ty?’ I checked with our education director, that provide them meaning and purpose, Beth Gross, to see who our partner, the ISJL belonging and blessing. This depends on (Institute of Southern Jewish Life) had on our ability to build relationships with each the speakers bureau roster this year.” and every individual. How to do that is the Beth Gross attended an ISJL conference topic of our time together!” during the summer where Wolfson spoke Ann Zivitz Kimball, marketing direcand told Tabakin she thought he would be tor at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute a great fit. of Southern Jewish Life, says Wolfson’s “Everyone was glued on him. There was messages are educational, highly enrichno side-talking going on. He kept you inter- ing and, to her and others, brilliantly by Laine Mednick Rutherford
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inspirational. “In my opinion, what makes him so brilliant is his ability to touch everyone and leave them with a renewed awareness of what it means to be made in the image of God, as well as what we can do to honor that in everyday life at home, in our synagogues and in our communities, keeping that awareness in mind,” Kimball says. “He is joyful with everyone and I dare you not to break into a smile just listening! You won’t hear heavy handed preaching. You won’t hear one definition of God. Christians, Jews, and even those without a particular faith learn from him. You will simply feel renewed and refreshed and so glad to have
been there and thirsty for more!” Tabakin says he is grateful for the directive of the grant that not only should it benefit Temple Emanuel members, but that greater Jewish community would benefit from the program as well. “If this has not become a community project, than what is?” Tabakin asks. “The grant is just a win-win for everyone in the community and is a way of demonstrating that the Federation and the synagogues don’t have to be in competition. The grant has enabled Temple Emanuel and its members to lead by example, and show that we are invested in becoming involved in all components of the community.”
jewishnewsva.org | January 28, 2013 | Jewish News | 9
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by Jodie Rafalowitz
his past fall, Nancy Tucker was named the Hampton Roads Jewish Community Hero. As winner, Tucker was awarded funds to be donated to her charity of choice. She chose the rabbi’s discretionary fund at Temple Israel, where she has worked since 1998 as Temple secretary. In addition to all of the giving and heartfelt ways that she already helps the members of Temple Israel and the entire community, those funds are helping even more people, quietly and with dignity, in precisely the same way that Tucker lives her life and gives of herself to others, especially when they can’t possibly give back to her. On Dec. 15, 2012, Temple Israel honored Tucker during Shabbat morning services. So many people in the sanctuary that day had firsthand experience of her help. In addition to being the smiling face and warm heart that people encounter when they enter Temple Israel, Tucker helps anyone who needs an extra hand. A cadre of people spoke about her that morning, all extolling her virtues, one after another. With each new example, heads nodded in agreement. Leslie Bradner, executive director of Temple Israel, said that, “with Nancy, it’s the extra bag of food donated to help the less fortunate, while forgoing splurges for herself. It’s a gift for a friend just because it made her think of them, and they might like being thought of. It’s remembering, and asking about a test, a concert, or a game that a bar mitzvah student mentioned in passing. It’s knowing that someone cares about you, thought about you, notices you. That’s what so many people are missing in their lives and it’s what Nancy tries to give in the way she lives her own. Let’s not forget that she does all of these things for others, even at times when she herself is faced with painful life situations that would lay most of us low and make us completely inward-facing. Even when given the biggest of challenges, she still manages to see the good that exists and she tries to nurture it.” Tucker’s son, Brandon Metheny, said that he feels “like being a Jewish Hero means
being a mensch. Not just observation and performance of traditions, but going above and beyond and helping others. Truly, loving your neighbor as yourself.” He went on to say that, “she might be the community’s Jewish hero this year, but she’s been my Jewish hero for the past 27.” Rabbi Michael Panitz pointed out, “We have just read in the weekly Torah portion the phrase, “chesed shel emet,” meaning “a true act of lovingkindness.” The Rabbis note that the adjective “true” applies because in the specific context of that verse, the act of loving-kindness was wholly altruistic, without possibility of bilateral reciprocity. In that sense, Nancy Tucker, Tidewater Jewish Heroine of the year for 5773, is a paragon of chesed shel emet. Her deeds of kindness extend from family, friendship circle and congregation to the entire Jewish community and beyond. She has compassion upon all of God’s creatures, and treats all that is either alive now or that has once lived as a vessel of Divine blessing.” Although Tucker later said she hopes that she “can live up to their words of kindness, love and support,” anyone who knows her knows that all of the words spoken of her merely touched the surface and that she has not only lived up to those words—she has far exceeded them.
DID YOU KNOW? ...Our community enriches Jewish lives and provides essential services in Budapest? Money raised here in Tidewater makes a real difference to real people every day.
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10 | Jewish News | January 28, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
kindness extend from family,
and congregation to the entire Jewish community and beyond.
A return on investment:
Baby Help in Argentina goes intergenerational
osana Jacofsky, a long-time teacher at the Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) Baby Help day care program in Buenos Aires, Argentina dedicates the majority of her time to children with physical and psychological difficulties. “We are constantly reminded that love can break through any barrier,” she says. Watching her students interacting with the elderly residents of the LeDor VaDor senior complex, Jacofsky revels in the value, for all ages, of this intergenerational exchange. “I wish that every child would have a chance to experience something like this.” JDC established the Baby Help program in Argentina in 2003 to provide vital services and Jewish connection for impoverished pregnant women and children (birth to five years) following the country’s devastating economic collapse. In addition to ensuring basic necessities such as food, milk, vitamins, vaccinations, and diapers, the Buenos Aires center offers day care so parents can find and maintain jobs, and welcomes dozens of young families for spirited celebrations of Shabbat and Jewish holidays throughout the year. Many of the families are single-parent households and many are troubled homes with serious social issues that take a toll on the children. Through these social services and gatherings, Baby Help is instilling Jewish tradition and a sense of belonging among families who may otherwise feel estranged
from the Jewish community. “The teachers and volunteers constantly transmit Jewish traditions and culture. Over 200 people regularly come to celebrate major holidays together,” adds Viviana Bendersky, Baby Help program director. Attendance has soared since Baby Help recently began to organize joint activities for the kids with residents of the LeDor VaDor senior complex, where Baby Help is housed. For the elderly who share in activities such as arts and crafts, gardening, and Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday afternoons, these programs often improve their outlook on living in an old age home, making the space seem more like a family atmosphere. Lucrecia, 89, has been a permanent resident of LeDor VaDor for three years. Despite her physical difficulties and needing to use a walker to get around, she comes to Baby Help every Friday to visit “her kids” (as she affectionately calls them). “I look forward to lighting the candles, singing together, and cutting the challah bread. It reminds me of when I was a child!” Lucrecia’s caretakers observe how uplifting these intergenerational visits are for her. “We see her laugh out loud with the children, enjoy their company, flower them with kisses and hugs while singing songs.” The children share in Lucrecia’s joy, benefitting from the extra love and attention while also learning about aging and people’s physical and other limitations. Over time they form loving bonds and rein-
force one another’s emotional well-being. Take 18-month-old Ezequiel S.: Born with a severe congenital spine malformation, Ezequiel has permanently impaired mobility and extreme urinary tract complications. His parents, who struggle to make ends meet on their meager earnings as school teachers, feared they would need to quit working in order to meet his special needs. Desperate to find a loving and healthy environment for their son, Ezequiel’s parents brought him to Baby Help last year. The caretakers were able to provide him with the specialized medical and educational attention he needed, enabling his parents to keep their jobs and support the family. Today, Ezequiel is a happy baby boy, curious to learn about his surroundings and excited to engage with the elderly visitors who add warmth to his environment. Ezequiel’s “Mora” (teacher) Rosana Jacofsky, treasures these intergenerational programs as much as he and Lucrecia do. “Every time I see an elderly resident’s face light up, I’m filled with emotion and pride. The seniors thank us profusely; they want to know about the kids that they play with and are filled with love and life when they
share time together,” says Jacofsky. “The intergenerational bonds are really something special: hugs, smiles, and unspoken gestures are a common language here.” The programs of the Joint Distribution Committee, like the Argentine Baby Help, are funded in part by the generosity of the Tidewater Jewish community through gifts to the UJFT’s annual campaign. Every dollar raised makes a significant difference to real people like Ezequiel—at home, in Israel, and in 70 countries around the world. To make a gift, visit Jewishva.org.
The Jews of “Boynton Beach, Virginia” by Abba Bar-Adon
very Autumn, congregants from area synagogues leave Tidewater for a different kind of “Promised Land”—the land flowing with orange juice and sun-tan lotion. The minyanim are a little bit smaller, and cherished neighbors are absent for a season. This past summer at the Temple Israel daily minyan, Rabbi Michael Panitz was speaking with some of the regular worshipers about their Jewish lives during their Florida sojourns. The conversation lead to the idea of having a Temple Israel reunion in South Florida. And so it came to pass. With Celeste Fine, Sarita Sachs and Ilene Swartz chairing the event, the rabbi visited a dozen congregants in the Broward and Palm Beach area, and all the participants passed a delightful afternoon reminiscing about the Jewish community of Tidewater. There was an immediate consensus that this ought to become an annual event, and open to more of Tidewater’s Jewish community. All of these snowbirds will be back in town before too long, and this reunion allowed them to stay that much more closely connected. Allan and Celeste Fine, Daniel and Frances Higger, Dr. Ira and Joan Lederman, Chuck and Nancy Rosenblatt, the Honorable Bert and Sarita Sachs, Lyn and Eileen Swartz, with Rabbi Michael Panitz.
jewishnewsva.org | January 28, 2013 | Jewish News | 11
Beth El’s Growing Together and The Collaborative celebrate first year and gain national recognition
n January 2012, Congregation Beth El created The Collaborative and Growing Together, beginning their programming with a joint volunteer event. These groups were designed to appeal to distinct segments of Beth El’s community. The Collaborative provides programming for young professionals, those in the working world for under a dozen years (or so), including singles and those married without children. Events combine interests of the group, often social or volunteer-oriented, but with a defined connection to Judaism. Growing Together is for young families. Most of the programming is designed for parents and children together, while an occasional event is just for parents. Seth Fleishman and Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz discussed the idea in December of 2011. With additional Beth El members, the groups were launched the next month. Jason Rosenberg is co-chair of The Collaborative, and Joanna Schranz, cochair of Growing Together. Leah Flax has organized volunteer events. With a small, yet effective leadership team in place, The
Collaborative and Growing Together moved forward with success. “We knew from the beginning that we wanted to do fun and social programming, but it was important that we kept a connection to Judaism, so we started off just trying different event ideas. We keep experimenting and talking with participants to find what kinds of events will be most appealing,” says Fleishman. The groups aim for three or four events per month, some separate and some together, including some events that occur every month. The most successful regular event for The Collaborative is the monthly Chavurah Shabbat Dinner, which is similar to those in larger Jewish communities. It’s a get-together at one of the member’s homes for Kabbalah Shabbat and a pot-luck Shabbat dinner. Another monthly event is “Beth El Bar Night,” where the group meets at a local bar for a little Torah study and a few drinks. The Collaborative has also hosted seasonal programming, such as a kosher wine tasting in spring for Passover, pool party in the summer, and a Sukkot
12 | Jewish News | January 28, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
program in the fall. The most popular Growing Together monthly event is “Shabbat with a Story” which includes a family-friendly Kabbalat Shabbat, a story, and on alternating months, either a full Shabbat dinner or a snack. Schranz has focused her efforts on having a themed program each month, often highlighting a holiday or taking advantage of a season. Some successful events were Havdalah candle-making at the JCC, a Sunday School picnic in Lafayette Park, and a summer day at the Beach. Some of the joint programming includes the monthly Second Shabbat Show-up, where members of both groups are encouraged to come on the same Shabbat morning to socialize and enjoy synagogue together. For social action activities, Leah Flax formed the Mitzvah Corps where members of both groups work on a volunteer project every six or eight weeks. Past events included support for NEST, the Food Bank, and Jewish Family Service. “Our hope is that these initiatives will develop long-term relationships amongst
the participants and our Congregation. The goal is to get people engaged and keep them engaged with our community and Judaism,” says Fleishman. In December 2012, The Collaborative gained national recognition when it became one of a select few recipients for a grant from the Young Adult Department of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Lisa Krule, USCJ outreach director, says, “We were overwhelmed by the response to our request for proposals, [but The Collaborative’s] application stood out.” The co-chairs are no longer going at it alone. Others have stepped up to help, including, but not limited to Sharon Blumenthal, Scott Flax, Jennifer Groves, Leah Katz, Betty Ann and Scott Levin, Shana Prohofsky, Fred Rose, Rachel and Aaron Shames, Ali and Ben Simon, Sharon Wasserberg, and Laura Wingett. For more information, contact Beth El’s office at 757-625-7821 or one of the co-chairs, Leah Flax, Seth Fleishman, Jason Rosenberg, or Joanna Schranz.
First film in CRC series attracts diverse audience by Laine Mednick Rutherford
gation, with the host temple’s rabbi leading the post-viewing discussion. The lively discussion guided by Rabbi Panitz at Temple Israel included statements of support from student members of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) chapters on area campuses, and a brief explanation of the effort to start a Jewish studies program at Old Dominion University, from Farideh Goldin, academic director for ODU’s Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding. Goldin also shared some advice for parents who are concerned about their children’s exposure to anti-Semitic academicians. Let the schools know you are dissatisfied with the educators they have hired, have your children seek out Jewish professors who are pro-Israel—some are not, Goldin warned—and students should join Hillel. “It was encouraging to see a number of people from CUFI and students and faculty from ODU,” Panitz says. “I feel that people who are passionate about Israel can become discouraged when they see how many people and nations are against us, and that by gathering together, we strengthen each other. “At the end of each book of the Torah, we say ‘Hazak, hazak, v’nithazek, be strong, be strong and let us be strengthened. We could say that about this film series. It’s very good.” The next film in the series will be held on Monday, Feb. 18, 7 pm at B’nai Israel with Rabbi Sender Haber moderating. For more details about the Step Up for Israel film series or to RSVP, contact JJohnson@ujft.org. To find out about other CRC initiatives and community resources, visit www.jewishva.org/CRC. (Photo by Laine Rutherford)
nly 40 people were expected to attend the first movie in the five-part, film-based education program, Step Up for Israel, on Jan. 10 at Norfolk’s Temple Israel. But at 7:15 pm, members of the congregation began counting the number of folks coming into the downstairs multipurpose room 15 minutes before the movie’s scheduled start, and realized more chairs were going to be necessary. Working quickly, they moved tables from the center of the room toward the edges, and lined up dozens of more chairs in front of a large television set. By the time Crossing the Line: the Intifada Comes to Campus was started, the audience numbered at least 100. Among the attendees were a considerable number of high school and college students, and members of diverse faith groups were represented. “As you can see, support for Israel is a strong and binding force among all of our different synagogues and all denominations, no matter who is hosting this series,” Temple Israel’s Rabbi Michael Panitz said during his introduction. A presentation of the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and JerusalemOnlineU.com, Step Up for Israel was originally developed to educate and inspire Jewish college students about Judaism and Israel in order to create a stronger identity and appreciation of heritage. As Tidewater witnessed, though, the program is also appealing to a broader audience of curious, supportive, and passionate citizens. Each movie in the film series tackles a different focus, from Crossing the Line, which explored anti-Zionism on campuses, to the upcoming Israel Inside that looks at Israel’s dynamic and innovative society, to Creation of a State, the fourth movie that examines the events leading up to the establishment of the State of Israel. Just as the films change, so do the settings for area screenings. Each Phil Walzer, Temple Israel president, Rabbi Michael Panitz of Temple Israel and the movie will be held evening’s moderator, Rabbi David Barnett of Temple Emanuel. at a different congre-
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Local student’s art posted on pro-Israel web site
illy Blais, a ninth grader at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, N. C., submitted a piece of art work that would change the way people think about Israel. Gilly was finishing her eighth grade year at Norfolk Academy before starting boarding school in June of 2012. After hearing dozens of antiIsrael remarks a few kids were making at school, Gilly decided it was time for it to stop. “I was tired of hearing things about Israel which I knew weren’t true. I also knew that the people who were making the remarks weren’t necessarily anti-Israel or anti-Semitic; they were simply uneducated.” She began to wonder what she could do that would positively impact her peers. After hearing a false rumor a friend made about Israel she came
home, picked up a pen and a piece of paper, and began to draw. “At first I was just venting, but when I was done, I read it over and realized it was exactly what I needed.” Now that she had the tools to make a difference, and a message to spread, she needed to find a way to spread the message. Gilly sought Gilly Blais advice from a Pro-Israel organization run though Facebook, known as Hatikvah. She sent them the art work and asked what she could do to promote it. A member of the organization was quick to respond, saying, “Bravo, Gilly! I’ve published it!” The founder of the organization contacted her not too long after it was published on their page, saying it was something he wanted to pursue; perhaps print it on posters or stationary to sell to the public. “I was lost for words. Something that started off so small was going to be seen
by people all around the world. I spoke with my parents about his idea and they were thrilled as well,” says Gilly. “The feedback I got from the post was flattering. Hundreds of people from all over the world liked, commented, and shared the picture. It felt really good to be heard, and to do Israel justice.” “If there is one thing I hope people can take away from this, it is that, as Jews, we take pride in Israel when strides and advancements are made, but it is also our responsibility to stand by Israel when no one else will. The bottom line is, we all have the power to make a difference, but not all of us have the courage. I hope that people will see from my art, that something small can have a huge impact. I encourage you to get motivated and get educated. There is no place like Israel, there is no place like home,” she says.
From the same group that brought you “Jewlicious” last Passover...
In Every Generation A Women’s Seder using the JDC* Haggadah
Open to all Jewish women and their daughters, age 16+ Respectful of all perspectives and all faiths and followings, this seder will bring participants on the Exodus journey, making connections between the Tanakh, modern-day rescues and personal experiences. This Women’s Seder is a program of the UJFT Women’s Outreach Committee. Sunday, March 17 | Noon – 2 PM | $10 couvert (No solicitation)
Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community 5000 Corporate Woods Drive | Virginia Beach *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
RSVP to Patty Malone 757.965.6115 or email@example.com
THE STRENGTH OF A PEOPLE. THE POWER OF COMMUNITY.
14 | Jewish News | January 28, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
Conversation explores link between religious values and political advocacy by Laine M. Rutherford (Photo by Laine M. Rutherford)
that impact our core Jewish values.” The audience listened intently as Grimaldo highlighted some of the bills and policies of interest to the Jewish and broader religious communities that are being voted on during the 2013 Virginia General Assembly—which began on Jan. 9 and ends 45 days later at the end of February. Issues he noted included funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and the implications of lifting the uranium mining ban in Virginia. All of these topics brought thoughtful questions, comments and opinions from attendees in the final 15 minutes of the event. “It gives you pause to realize that everything that happens in the Commonwealth is dependent on just 45 days, that are taking place right now in Richmond,” said Arnowitz. For more information about the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, visit www.virginiainterfaithcenter. org. For more on the 2013 legislative session, visit http://virginiageneralassembly.gov. To learn more about the Community Relations Council, RSVP for upcoming events, and find out how to contact local legislators, visit www. jewishva.org/CRC.
n the sunlit social hall of Congregation Beth El on Jan. 13, a Sunday morning local talk show—of sorts—was presented before an audience of about 40 community members. While no filming was involved, the hour-long conversation that took place mirrored popular public affairs programs, with the host and his guest addressing issues such as religion, social welfare, the environment and politics. Beth El’s Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz guided the discussion with Marco Grimaldo, CEO and president of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. The VICPP is a nonpartisan group that works to create progressive public policy by engaging people of faith, educating the public about social issues, the legislative process and the call to advocacy. The program, “Topics to Chew on: A Conversation about Faith and Advocacy,” was a collaborative effort between Beth El, Ohef Sholom Temple, the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and the VICPP. Beth El provided breakfast at the event, which was free and open to the community. “We so often look at our faiths and see the differences we have with others,” said Arnowitz, a VICPP board member. “This organization lets us see all that we have in common, and it’s building coalitions for when things come down the road that effect all of our faith communities. “As Jews, when we think of advocating as a community, we almost always think of Israel. The Center is a good reminder Marco Grimaldo, CEO and president, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy—a that there are issues leading expert on regional advocacy issues, with Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz, Beth El rabbi here, too, in Virginia, and board member of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.
There are issues here, too, in Virginia, that impact our core Jewish values.
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jewishnewsva.org | January 28, 2013 | Jewish News | 15
Elie Wiesel Writing Competition open
he Feb. 1 deadline for entries in the 16th Annual Elie Wiesel Writing Competition sponsored by the Simon Family Foundation is quickly approaching. So, too, is the Feb. 25 due date for the 11th Annual Elie Wiesel Visual Arts Competition, sponsored by Towne Bank. Many Hampton Roads public and private school teachers make these contests a yearly assignment for their students. Esther Diskin, an English and Social Studies teacher at Norfolk Academy and a winner of a 2011 Holocaust Commission Educator Award, wants her students to learn about the Holocaust. “The topics offered in this competition each year focus on the powerful ethical lessons of the Holocaust, which reverberate today, and students’ hearts are open to learning those lessons. The writing assignment,” she adds, “is not so much about the competition, but about the power of compassionate reflection to shape them as moral people.” A 2012 award recipient, Marianne
McMillin of Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, puts it this way. “I believe education needs to have a higher purpose than just teaching facts. We can only improve our world if our students, our children, learn empathy. I encourage my students to participate in the Elie Wiesel Competition so they learn about the struggles of those who have been marginalized by society, and stand for social justice for all people, for all time.” This year’s competition prompts students to focus their own consciences on just that. In an ideal world of social justice for all people, how could average Germans have “let the Holocaust happen?” It urges them to think about how and when they would have become involved, had they lived during that era. And whether or not students win cash prizes or recognition, the competition gets them thinking. Deb Segaloff, Writing Competition co-chair, says, “If we get over 1,500 students to consider their own humanity and involvement in their community through the lens of Holocaust education each year, the world will defi-
nitely be a much better place.” All middle and high school students in Southside Hampton Roads are encouraged to submit their written, multimedia, and visual interpretations to this prestigious competition. Some students will be awarded monetary prizes, and others will have their work displayed or read publicly. For more information about Elie Wiesel and these annual contests, to read competition guidelines, and to see winning entries from years past, visit www.jewishva.org/ holocaust-elie-wiesel, call 757-321-2323, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fleishmans endow gifts by Shana Tokarski
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a t a l y and Seth Fleishman hold many things dear to their heart, but none more so than the Jewish community. “The Jewish community is most important to us. We want to not only do our part, but exceed our responsibility to do the best for our Jewish community.” says Seth. Seth, a Tennessee native, and Nataly, originally from Israel, are very involved in the community. The Fleishmans give much of their time and energy to a variety of area Jewish organizations. They are devoted shul-goers, volunteers, and participants at Congregation Beth El and Chabad of Tidewater. Seth is first vice-president at Beth El. Both are involved with the proIsrael community with AIPAC and the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Nataly is co-chair of the Community Relations Council’s Israel committee. They are also enthusiastic volunteers and proponents of Jewish Family Service, NEST,
16 | Jewish News | January 28, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
and several Ghent-based organizations. The couple teaches the importance of Judaism to their two children: daughter Shira, six, attends the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and son, Matan, four, will soon follow. With assistance from Philip Rovner, president of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, the Fleishmans were able to Create a Jewish Legacy by endowing their gift to the Jewish community. They chose a life insurance policy as their means to ensure the community will be strong for future generations. Seth says Rovner sold him on the idea of endowing their gifts after he went with the Sandler Men’s Mission to Israel July. “It was with men in the community that each of us knew, but probably wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to spend an entire day with and get to know better. The trip had that special something that makes you want to do more.” Seth is thankful to the Sandlers for sponsoring such an event and choosing him to participate. He says he feels an obligation to educate others on endowments, especially his peers.
Seth and Nataly Fleishman
“I feel like I need to inform people my age to look into life insurance policies as a way to give back to the community. While my peers and I may not have the resources of more senior people in the community, we have a clear advantage when it comes to getting life insurance.” Nataly agrees. “You don’t have to give a lot at once to make a difference. We give a little money at a time, and it can make a big impact in the end, which is just as important.” For more information on how to Create a Jewish Legacy, contact Philip Rovner at PSRovner@ujft.org or 757-965-6109.
Film Festivalâ€™s opening night
he opening night of the 20th Anniversary of the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg, took place at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Jan. 19. Several speakers introduced the festival, including Scott Katz, Simon Family JCC director, who welcomed the crowd of nearly 400 to the celebration. He thanked The Sandler Center, Tidewater Community College for the use of the Roper Performing
Arts Center for the remainder of the films, the Ashkenazi family for sponsoring Opening Night, and the Film Festival sponsors and supporters. Gloria Siegel, vice president of cultural arts at the JCC, introduced the film Hava Nagila, before which a short clip and documentary about the areaâ€™s film festival was shown. Tom Lee of TCC produced the piece. Guests enjoyed a reception catered by The Village Caterers after the movie. *of blessed memory Photographs by Sharon Schloss Photography. Avraham and Patricia Ashkenazi, opening night sponsors.
Scott Katz, Terri and Lonny Sarfan and Delores Bartel. Joel and Emily Nied, Marcia Samuels and David Kamer.
Leslie and Jay Legum, Linda and Ron Spindel. Page Laws and Mal Vincent.
Gloria and Mel Siegel.
BBYO girls at coat check in: Ellie Gordon, Julia Havel, Shelley Smith, Sydney Bernstein, Jillian White, Eliana Specht, and Dana Cohen. jewishnewsva.org | January 28, 2013 | Jewish News | 17
Survivors remembered at encore screening of Holocaust documentary by Laine M. Rutherford
he Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater partnered with Congregation Beth Chaverim in Virginia Beach to host an encore presentation of the 63-minute documentary, What We Carry (in its entirety), on Jan. 6. Featuring the stories of local Holocaust survivors Dana Cohen, Kitty Saks, David Katz* and Hanns Loewenbach,* the documentary was produced by the Holocaust Commission as part of a larger educational program of the same name. An audience of nearly 250 people gathered at the synagogue to watch the film, meet Cohen and Saks, and hear remembrances from Katz’s son, Sam, and Loewenbach’s granddaughter, Rachel Becker. Both Katz and Loewenbach passed away in January 2012, and the Holocaust Commission held the screening as a way to honor the lasting legacies of their bravery and dedication to sharing their stories of survival with others. The film is rarely shown in this 63-minute version; usually, it is broken up into four mini-documentaries, with only one story featured as part of a docent-led presentation designed to educate students, civic groups and military audiences. The full-length What We Carry documentary premiered locally in March 2012 to a standing room only crowd of more than 850 at TCC’s Roper theater in Norfolk. It will be featured on DIRECTV’s Jewish Life Television channel 366 beginning on Feb. 6. *of blessed memory
Lynnhaven Middle School students Brianna Arluk and Jordan Amuial attended the film and reception.
Holocaust Commission chair, Alicia London Friedman, director Elena Barr Baum, Commission member and event chair Vivian Margulies. Dana Cohen and Kitty Saks, Holocaust survivors featured in the documentary, What We Carry.
Alicia Friedman explains the meaning behind the reproductions in the survivors’ suitcases to Marta Rollins.
Alicia Friedman welcomes the audience of more than 200 people.
18 | Jewish News | January 28, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
Kitty Saks looks at the contents of her suitcase display, a component of the educational What We Carry program.
Gregg Vaughan shows Abbott Saks photos of family members who were WWII veterans and concentration camp liberators.
Jewish community expert to visit Tidewater
Women’s Seder explores old and new Passover traditions
Thursday, Feb. 7–Sunday, Feb. 9
Sunday, March 17, noon–2 pm
r. Ron Wolfson, an expert “What on earth am I here for?” in the field of synagogue What is my task as a memand Jewish community transber of a sacred community? formation, will appear on four The Jewish answer begins separate occasions in Norfolk with an understanding that and Virginia Beach to speak, every human being is “made teach and interact with the in the image of God” and we community. are called to be God’s partner A professor of educaon earth. How? Wolfson will tion at the American Jewish explore 10 ways we can create University in Los Angeles, our own “God’s To-Do list,” Wolfson is the co-founder of an Dr. Ron Wolfson, the things we can do in sacred organization called Synagogue community together to fur3000, and the author of The ther the ongoing creation and Seven Questions You’re Asked In Heaven, The repair of the world. Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform 7:30 pm dinner—There will be a charge Your Congregation Into a Sacred Community for the dinner. and God’s To-Do List: 103 Ways to Be an Angel and Do God’s Work on Earth, among Saturday, Feb. 9, 9:30 am other books. Temple Emanuel Wolfson’s free, community appearances 9:30 am—Shabbat services are presented by the Synagogue-Federation 11 am (approximate)—Lecture open to the Partnership of the Tidewater Jewish com- community—“The Seven Questions You’re munity, the United Jewish Federation, the Asked in Heaven” Temple Emanuel Rabbi Pincus Forum, Synagogues are the place to review and Congregation Beth El’s Milton Kramer renew your life on earth. Over the centuScholar in Residence program, and the ries, rabbis have imagined what might be Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern asked in heaven about how we lived our Jewish Life. lives. With funny and poignant stories, Wolfson will share seven of these questions Thursday, Feb. 7, 7 pm from his newly published book, questions Community event, Sandler Family Campus that lead us to a cheshbon ha-nefesh, an “Building Good Tents: Envisioning the “accounting of the soul.” Synagogue of the future” 12:30 pm—Kiddish lunch open to the How do we create a culture of “welcoming” community in our congregations and communities? For more information, call What are the components of a vibrant, 757‑428‑2591. Part of the annual Temple exciting spiritual community? What can we Emanuel Rabbi Pincus Forum. Free, except do to shape sacred communities of mean- for dinner on Friday. ing, purpose and relationship? Free and open to the community. Saturday, Feb. 9 RSVP to 757-965-6115 or pmalone@ Congregation Beth El, ujft.org. Visit JewishVa.org for more infor- 422 Shirley Ave., Norfolk mation. 8 pm—Lecture—Open to the public. “Blessings and Kisses: The Power of Family as Jewish Friday, Feb. 8, 6 pm Educator.” Temple Emanuel, 425 25th St., With humorous and poignant stories, Virginia Beach Wolfson will share ideas and strategies for 6 pm Shabbat Service creating a joyous, warm and meaningful 6:30 pm (approximate) Lecture open to the Jewish life in the family. community‚ “God’s To-Do List” 9 pm—Dessert reception The synagogue of the future will be a Free and open to the community as part place where we explore the great question: of the Milton Kramer Scholar-In-Residence Program.
by Laine Mednick Rutherford
ake three of the most enthusiastic, creative, involved, Jewish women in Tidewater. Ask them to plan a Passover Seder, open to all women in the community. Tell them they have two hours to share the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt, and challenge them with the task to plan it in a way that will resonate with women of all denominations, both affiliated and unaffiliated. Kim Fink, Amy Lefcoe, and Janet Mercadante agreed to work together to create what they hope will be one of the most memorable events of the year for the Jewish Women’s Outreach arm of the Women’s Cabinet of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Open to all Jewish women and their daughters 16 and older, the 2013 Jewish Women’s Outreach Seder will be held at the Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community and costs $10 to help offset the cost of the kosher lunch. “Our goal is to reach out to women in the community and share an experiential, enlightened retelling of the Passover story together,” says Fink. “There are a lot advantages to having a community seder, because just as each one of us comes to the Passover table each year with different ‘ears,’ because of our experiences and growth, here we’ll be looking at what we can share. And for those who will celebrate Passover again with their families or friends, maybe they’ll learn or hear something they can take back and share at their own Seders,” she says. Fink, Lefcoe and Mercadante reflect the makeup of the women who will attend the Seder. They are all affiliated with different synagogues and practices: Fink is Reform, Lefcoe is Orthodox, and Mercadante is Conservative. “We are very aware that we have to be respectful of all perspectives, and all faiths and followings,” says Fink. “It is a balancing act that is our challenge and also our pleasure, and our plan is to combine both sacred things and interpretive things that
women can savor, and take to create their own traditions.” The women have chosen In Every Generation: the JDC Haggadah as the book they will follow in retelling the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. “This Haggadah is both old and new,” writes Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in the book’s foreword. “Old in the sense that it contains every word of the traditional text that has guided and inspired Jewish life for generations. And it is new in the sense that it demonstrates, through vivid photographs and delightful commentary, how the Seder and its themes continue to be lived and relived in our contemporary world.” Fink says this particular Haggadah was chosen because just as the story of Egypt was about freeing people from slavery, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is committed to helping people, wherever they may be, and lift them out of danger, out of slavery, out of misery, and into freedom. “One of the hallmarks of Jewish education is that it is done best in group settings,” says Fink. “And I know that is what we will all do at this Passover Seder—we’ll learn from each other.” For more information or to RSVP for the Jewish Women’s Outreach Seder, call Patty Malone at 757-965-6115, or email pmalone@ ujft.org. For other Women’s Cabinet outreach events, visit www.jewishva.org.
jewishnewsva.org | January 28, 2013 | Jewish News | 19
what’s happening AIPAC brunch at Ohef Sholom Temple explores the Changing Face of Pro-Israel Activism in America
Farideh Goldin to help you find your Esther Sunday, Feb. 17, 10–11:30 am
Sunday, Feb. 10, 11 am
approaching on Feb. 24, thoughts turn to the great heroine of the Tanakh, Queen Esther. Esther had the courage to use her position to save the Jewish people. Few people have the opportunity for such dramatic heroism today, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t modernday heroines. Jewish Women’s Salon Live invites all women in the Jewish community to Who’s Your Esther?, a facilitated discussion about the women who’ve inspired, moved, and helped make us the people we are today. Dr. Farideh Goldin, director of Jewish Studies at Old Dominion University, will lead an
interactive presentation at the Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community, 5000 Corporate Woods Dr., Virginia Beach. This is not a solicitation event. To learn more about Goldin, the day’s events, and to RSVP, visit jewishva. org/esther.
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hat does an African American, an evangelical Christian and a Jewish college student have in common? They are the featured speakers at this year’s AIPAC brunch at Ohef Sholom Temple. As in years past, the Ohef Sholom Temple Men’s Club, Sisterhood, Young Adult Community (YAC) and adult education committee will provide a delicious, free brunch and a learning opportunity for the community to enjoy. The theme of this year’s brunch and briefing is the Changing Face of Pro-Israel Activism in America. Brought to Tidewater by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), special guests will give personal insight into the role of the African American, Evangelical and next generation pro-Israel activists. Participating in the program will be Ashley Bell, Pastor Isaac Mooneyham and local Staci Eichelbaum. For attendees of the AIPAC Policy Conference last March in Washington, D.C., it didn’t take much to notice the changing face of the pro-Israel activist community. A walk through the packed convention hall revealed a crowd of more than 13,000 people that was more diverse than the normal stereotype of the Jewish lobby. AIPAC is still the prime location for proIsrael Jewish activism, but a effort has made it home for many non-Jewish supporters of Israel, as well: Christian evangelicals, African Americans, Latinos and student leaders from many top colleges.
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20 | Jewish News | January 28, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
Pastor Isaac Mooneyham
This incredible shift did not happen in a vacuum or by chance. It comes not just because the United States is different, but because the Jewish community is different—because the Jewish community is Staci Eichelbaum more involved politically and because it is stretching its arms to anyone who wants to join in support of Israel. Jews cannot support Israel alone or enough. Israel needs all of the friends she can get. Attend the brunch to hear the stories of these great pro-Israel activists. To RSVP (required) by Feb. 6, visit www.aipac.org/OSTBrunch2013 or email or call Josh Karsh at JKarsh@aipac.org or 770-541-7610.
Purim “Fun” raiser at Beth El Saturday, Feb. 23, 6:30 pm
DESIGNS BY DESIGNS FRANCINE BY
e Happy! It’s Adar! Purim is coming with a busy night at Beth El. The Megillah reading and costume parade begins at 6:30 pm. A children’s program will take pace in Barr Hal with refreshments, a balloon artist and a magician after their costume contest,7–8 pm. At this time, there will be a special treat for the adults. Linda Belkov’s idea of a brief musical show became a reality when she and Linda Drucker collaborated, creating the first ever Purim Parody. The evening is hosted by MC Rabbi Arnowitz. The cast includes among others, David Cardon as Good King Ahashverus, Deb Segaloff as the Lovely Queen Esther, Paul Peck as her kind cousin Mordechai, and don’t forget Haman, the guy you don’t want to invite
to the party, who is portrayed by Adam Foleck. There will also be Sunday Religious School singers, as well as many other actors from the Beth El family. Adults will be seated “cabaret style” in Myers Hall with wine, spirits and noshes during the performance. The Adult Megillah reading takes place at 8 pm. The entire evening is family-friendly. Call the office at 625-7821 to RSVP.
what’s happening Mike Kantor: Giving back to the JCC through art
Israel Today Forum focuses on diplomacy
Opening reception: Sunday, Feb. 10, 3–6 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7 pm
by Leslie Shroyer
by Laine M. Rutherford
he Mike Kantor who worked in Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan after he graduated from college could hardly have pictured himself as an aspiring artist in his 60s. But that is how Kantor identifies himself these days, producing 40 pieces in the past 18 months, the proceeds of which he is donating to the Simon Family JCC. A showing of Kantor’s work, entitled “Absence of the Conscious,” will be exhibited at the Leon Art Gallery during February and March, with an opening reception on Sunday, Feb. 10. After his retail stint in New York, Kantor received his masters in counseling and worked in North Carolina before returning to Tidewater to work for his family’s business, Broudy-Kantor. Along the way, he spent any free time he could in art museums, and added to his growing collection of art books, now estimated at a total of 600. But he couldn’t even draw a stick figure. “I knew art, but I simply couldn’t implement it,” he says. After he retired, Kantor took some drawing and painting lessons from local artist Norman Goodman. Two
years ago, he traveled to Italy, Spain and France, taking in every art museum he possibly could. When he returned, Kantor began taking lessons with Suzanne Stevens, who simply told him to “pour it all out.” The result is a plethora of vibrant colors and images within images, a free flow of vivid exploration and imagination. As a member of the JCC for 13 years, Kantor wants to donate the proceeds of his artwork to the JCC. His father, Buddy, was one of the founding members of the Norfolk JCC, and taught his son to give back generously. “This is my contribution. My way of giving back is through my art.”
Save the Date
2nd Annual Tikkun Tidewater Community Recycling Event Sunday, April 14, 1–4 pm • Simon Family JCC parking lot No need to get out of the car. Drive through and your car will be unloaded! www.jewishva.org/recycle tems accepted for recycling: Cell phones, VCRs, PC towers/ desktops, circuit boards, keyboards, iPods/MP3 players, digital cameras, electronic notebooks/laptops, computer mice, cables/cords, eye glasses (No sunglasses), hearing aids, plastic grocery bags, prescription & non-prescription medications, including pet medications, household batteries (No car batteries). More items may be added later. Sponsored by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Community Relations Council and Young Adult Division, Jewish Family Service, and BBYO in a project of J-SERVE to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Fifth Annual Latke-Hamantashn Invitational Debate Thursday, Feb. 21, 7:30 pm Moderated by Eric Michael Mazur, Gloria & David Furman Professor of Judaic Studies Hosted by Virginia Wesleyan College See leaders from the Tidewater Jewish community fight to settle this age-old question: “Which is better, the latke or the hamantashn?” Admission is free (but a canned good or donation for JFS or the Tidewater Foodbank would be nice!) For more information, contact Eric Mazur at 455-3250, or email@example.com.
he Oxford English Dictionary defines diplomacy as: the profession, activity or skill of managing international relations, typically by a country’s representatives abroad. Wherever, whenNeil Lazarus ever, and however he can, Neil Lazarus epitomizes the definition. Lazarus’ goal is to have others join him in effectively and proactively putting Israel in a positive light and he offers a variety of methods to teach people how to do that. Lazarus is coming to the Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community as the second speaker in the popular Israel Today Forum. The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and a number of partners have arranged for Lazarus to speak to high school and college students at a private, free (RSVP required to JJohnson@ujft.org) dinner at 5:30 pm. The community is invited to a free discussion with Lazarus at 7 pm. This marks the second year Lazarus has been a featured speaker in the CRC’s Israel Today Forum. Last year, approximately 500 students and community members learned a variety of advocacy methods; many felt they came away from these discussions better able to relay a positive message about Israel and had the tools to garner agreement with those having opposing views. “We are bringing Neil back for several reasons,” says Robin Mancoll, CRC director. “His messages on diplomacy and how to advocate for Israel are important for our community to hear, he is incredibly wellinformed, and the community is hungry to hear what he has to say. “So even if you already feel like you’re the best advocate you can be for Israel, you’ll learn something new from Neil, and you’ll laugh, too—not something that often happens when you speak about Israel,” says Mancoll. “Israel needs all of the help she can get these days and Neil will help us with wording to do that.” Considered an expert in the fields of Middle East politics, public diplomacy and effective communication training, Lazarus is adept at getting his message out through any and all available mediums. He was an advisor on an Israeli reality TV show, provides commentary for public affairs
TV and radio programs, posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter and on his own website—awesomeseminars.com. Lazarus contributes opinion pieces to newspapers, is a guest blogger on multiple sites, hosts free webinars teaching digital diplomacy, and recently launched his own Neil Lazarus app on the iTunes and Android stores. Additionally, he has clients that include Israeli Ministry of Tourism, Harvard Extension Courses in Israel and Birthright Israel, and travels frequently to communities large and small, speaking to an estimated 30,000 people a year. In addition to speaking about diplomacy during his Israel Today appearances, Lazarus will update the community on challenges currently confronting Israel; will assist in deciphering Israel’s portrayal in the media, and he will talk about the power of the news. “We saw in this last Operation how Israel has become much more savvy on the internet and in social media,” Lazarus says. “I think we did a much better job. Right now, though, the war in Gaza has become more challenging for Israel—Hamas has gotten stronger, and Syria’s collapse has meant more Syrian weapons are falling into the hands of terrorists. It is important that we get even more support for Israel internationally, and that we learn how to get Israel’s message across.” CRC member Mark Solberg heard Lazarus speak at last year’s forum. Solberg is passionate in his support for Israel and is a strong proponent for people to learn as much as they can in order to be good advocates. “…What would you say if your son or daughter came home from college and told you, “Guess what I learned this semester? Israel doesn’t have a right to exist,” Solberg says. “If you want to be able to advocate effectively on Israel’s behalf in situations like these, you have to educate yourself. You have to learn a little history. You have to learn a little current affairs. How are you going to do that? Where are you going to start?” A good place, says Solberg, is at the Israel Today Forum on Feb. 13. To RSVP for the student dinner or the Neil Lazarus’ community appearance, call 757321-2323, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Israel Today Forum, other CRC events, or to find advocacy resources, visit www.jewishva.org/CRC.
jewishnewsva.org | January 28, 2013 | Jewish News | 21
Virginia Chorale presents “Let My People Go!”
Friday, Feb. 1—Sunday, Feb. 3
ocusing on themes of freedom, “Let My People Go!” is Virginia Chorale’s third concert program this season. For “Let My People Go!” Charles Woodward, artistic director and conductor, selected songs associated with freedom movements from around the world. “Freedom is a universal theme that has touched so many people throughout the history of civilization. The intimate association that vocal music has with freedom movements is intriguing and inspiring.” For the first half of the concert, Woodward programmed representative songs from England, Israel, South Africa, Estonia, and the United States. The second half of the concert is comprised entirely of spirituals arranged by some of the world’s most beloved composers including African American arranger, conductor, and clinician Moses
Hogan. The Virginia Chorale is a fully professional performing and educating ensemble. Under the artistic direction of Woodward, who is also the music director for Ohef Sholom Temple, the 24 singers perform a series of four concerts each season with programs that feature the world’s greatest choral music. Tickets for “Let My People Go!” are $25 for adults and $10 for students. For tickets or further information, call 757-627-8375 or visit www. vachorale.org. Friday, Feb. 1, 8 pm | Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, 215 Richmond Road, Williamsburg Saturday, Feb. 2, 8 pm | First Presbyterian Church, 300 36th Street, Virginia Beach Sunday, Feb. 3, 3 pm | Christ & St. Luke’s Church, 560 West Olney Road, Norfolk. Chuck Woodward
Eric Kline Business Development Danny Kline Vice President
Andy Kline President
F EB RUA RY 3, SUND AY Brith Sholom’s meeting w ill t a k e pla c e a t t h e B e t h S h olo m H o m e. B o a r d m ee t ing b egins a t 10 a m. G en er al M ee t ing a t 11 a m f ollo w ed b y b r u n c h. Brith Sholom’s Super Bowl Party b egins a t 5 p m in B e t h S h olo m H o m e’s a u di t o r iu m. T h e f o o t b all ga m e s t a r t s a t 6 p m. F o o d is ser v ed b egin ning a t 5 p m. $ 5 p er p er so n. Tw o k inds o f c hili, k osh er h o t dogs, k osh er deli sa nd w ic h es, c hips, dip a nd r elish t r a y s. C all 4 61-115 0 f o r r eser v a t io ns.
F EB RUA RY 10, SUND AY Ohef Sholom Temple and AIPAC i n v i t e t h e c o m m u n i t y t o a F R E E S u n d a y b r u n c h b r i e f i n g, a t O h e f S h o l o m Te m p l e a t 11 a m. F o c u si n g o n t h e C h a n g i n g F a c e o f P r o - Is r a e l A c t i v is m i n A m e r i c a, s p e c ia l g u e s t s w ill g i v e p e r s o n a l i n sig h t i n t o t h e r o l e o f t h e A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n, E v a n g e li c a l a n d n e x t g e n e r a t i o n p r o - Is r a e l a c t i v is t s. To R S V P ( r e q u i r e d ) b y F e b. 6, v isi t w w w.a ip a c.o r g / O S T B r u n c h 2 013, o r e m a il o r c a ll J o s h K a r s h a t J K a r s h @ a ip a c.o r g o r 7 7 0 - 5 41-7 610. F eb rua ry 13, W edne s day Israel Today series s p o n s o r e d b y C o m m u n i t y R e la t i o n s C o u n c il a n d c o m m u n i t y p a r t n e r s c o n t i n u e s w i t h N e il L a z a r u s f o c u si n g o n D ip l o m a c y f r o m Is r a e l To d a y. H e w ill s p e a k w i t h h ig h s c h o o l a n d c o ll e g e s t u d e n t s o v e r a f r e e di n n e r a t 5 : 3 0 p m ( R S V P r e q u i r e d t o J J o h n s o n @ u j f t .o r g ) a n d a t 7 p m t o t h e c o m m u n i t y ( R S V P r e q u e s t e d J J o h n s o n @ u j f t .o r g ). B o t h e v e n t s t a k e p la c e o n t h e S a n d l e r F a m il y C a m p u s. S e e p a g e 24. F eb rua ry 18, M o nday Film and discussion a s p a r t o f t h e C o m m u n i t y R e la t i o n s C o u n c il ’s S t e p U p f o r Is r a e l s e r i e s. Wa t c h t h e f il m, Mode rn Is rael a n d e n j o y d is c u s si o n f o ll o w i n g w i t h R a b b i S e n d e r H a b e r. L e a r n a b o u t Is r a e l ’s d y n a m i c, i n n o v a t i v e a n d h u m a n i t a r ia n s o c i e t y. T h is c la s s s h o w s h o w Is r a e l h a s b e c o m e a n i n v a l u a b l e a s s e t a n d m a k e s t h e w o r l d a b e t t e r p la c e. 7p m. A t B ’n a i Is r a e l C o n g r e g a t i o n, 4 2 0 S p o t s w o o d Av e n u e, N o r f o l k . R S V P t o J J o h n s o n @ u j f t.o r g b y F e b. 14. F EB RUA RY 20, WED NES D AY The JCC Seniors Club . B o a r d m e e t i n g a t 10 : 3 0 a m, c a t e r e d l u n c h a t 12 p m, g e n e r a l m e e t i n g a t 12 : 3 0 p m, a t t h e S i m o n F a m il y J C C. G u e s t s p e a k e r f o ll o w i n g t h e m e e t i n g is J a s o n C a p o s s e r e, s a f e t y a n d s e c u r i t y di r e c t o r o f t h e S a n d l e r F a m il y C a m p u s, w h o w ill s p e a k a b o u t D is a s t e r P r e p a r e d n e s s : w h a t t o d o a f t e r a h u r r i c a n e o r n a t u r a l d is a s t e r, w h a t t o d o b e f o r e, d u r i n g a n a f t e r a n e m e r g e n c y, a n d w h a t k i n d o f h e lp y o u can expect f rom the government. F eb rua ry 24, S unday The Bully Project w i t h g u e s t s p e a k e r K i r k S m a ll e y. T h is y e a r, 13 m il li o n A m e r i c a n k i d s w ill b e b u lli e d. T h r e e m illi o n s t u d e n t s w ill b e a b s e n t b e c a u s e t h e y f e e l u n s a f e a t s c h o o l. Ta k e a s t a n d a g a i n s t b u ll y i n g b y s e e i n g t h is i m p o r t a n t f il m. S t i c k a r o u n d a f t e r t h e f il m t o h e a r f r o m K i r k S m a ll e y, f a t h e r o f Ty F i e l d - S m a ll e y. A t 11- y e a r s - o l d, Ty t o o k h is o w n li f e a f t e r b e i n g s u s p e n d e d f r o m s c h o o l f o r r e t a lia t i n g a g a i n s t a b u ll y t h a t h a d b e e n b u ll y i n g h i m f o r o v e r t w o y e a r s. 4 p m. F r e e. S i m o n F a m il y J C C. M A R C H 3, SUND AY Brith Sholom’s meeting w ill t a k e p la c e a t B e t h S h o l o m H o m e. B o a r d M e e t i n g b e g i n s a t 10 a m. G e n e r a l M e e t i n g a t 11 a m f o ll o w e d b y b r u n c h a t 12 p m.
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22 | Jewish News | January 28, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
M A R C H 17, SUND AY Brith Sholom w ill h o l d a n I t a lia n D i n n e r P a r t y a t C h e f ’s Ta b l e R e s t a u r a n t o n I n d e p e n d e n c e B l v d. i n V i r g i n ia B e a c h. D i n n e r s t a r t s a t 5 : 3 0 p m. M u si c b y B ill y M i t c h e ll. F o r f u r t h e r i n f o r m a t i o n, c a ll D a l e a t 4 61-115 0. Send submissions for calendar to news @ ujf t.org. Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.
7/6/11 11:54 AM
Blue Yarmulke Man of the Year
mazel tov to Bar Mitzvah Jason Young on his Bar Mitzvah, Feb. 2 at Ohef Sholom Temple. He is the son of Jack and Norma Young and the brother of Melissa. His grand- Jason Young parents are Murray and Annette Sokoloff and Miriam Young.
A seventh grade student at Lynnhaven Middle School, for his Mitzvah Project, Jason is collecting toiletries for women/ families in distress for the Samaritan House. Mazel Tov submissions should be emailed to email@example.com with Mazel Tov in the subject line. Achievements, B’nai Mitzvot, births, engagements and weddings are appropriate simchas to announce. Photos must be at least 300k. Include a daytime phone for questions. There is no fee.
who knew? Shira rocks ‘Idol’
ove over, Edon! The next great Jewish singer is Shira Gavrielov, who made it through the audition stages of the first episode of this year’s “American Idol” and will next try her luck in the Hollywood training camp later in the season. Gavrielov, daughter of the famed Israeli singer Miki Gavrielov, moved from Israel to Brooklyn recently “because of the American dream” and to “have a bite of the Big Apple.” In Israel, a cover version she made
of the song “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley rose to the top of the Israeli charts. When Gavrielov stood before the judges at the New York auditions, Mariah Carey told her “shalom” and “Shanah Tovah,” as expected. Gavrielov receved high praise from the panel for her rendition of the Amy Winehouse song “Valery.” Nicki Minaj called her a “superstar,” adding that she loved the song choice and that it worked great with her tone. (JTA)
Bill Abrams from Gomley Chesed Congregation; Joel Rubin from Temple Israel; Rabbi Arthur Ruberg, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Beth El; and Rick Goldblatt of Rodef Sholom in Hampton.
he Seaboard Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Club held its 23rd annual Blue yarmulke Man of the Year event at Congregation Beth El on Sunday, Jan. 20. This was a combined community event involving the Men’s Clubs of Congregation Beth El, Rodef Sholom, Temple Israel and Gomley Chesed. More than 220 people, including officers from the Seaboard Region and Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs attended.
The breakfast was catered by Alex Pomerantz and members of the board of the Men’s Club and many volunteers. Those honored were Rabbi Arthur Ruberg, rabbi emeritus of Beth El, Joel Rubin of Temple Israel, Bill Abrams of Gomely Chesed and Rick Goldblatt of Rodef Sholom. Norman Soroko, chairman of the event, introduced the speakers and Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz gave a most interesting D’Var Torah.
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jewishnewsva.org | January 28, 2013 | Jewish News | 23
Ahead of March deadline, Jewish groups bracing for sequester cuts by Gil Shefler
NEW YORK (JTA)—A pregnant Darfuri woman at a refugee camp in Chad, a Latino senior citizen living below the poverty line in the Bronx and an elderly Jewish immigrant from the former Soviet Union living in Boston. They may not know it, but these individuals are all beneficiaries of programs run by Jewish organizations with public money. And if Congress can’t reach a deal to avoid the so-called sequester by March 1, many of these programs could be severely scaled back—if not terminated. “Both our international and national work can be impacted,” says Mark Hetfield, the interim president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which provides medical kits to mothers of newborn children in Chad, among other services. “It could cause some really serious cuts to the programs, but we have still no idea what they might be.” HIAS is among the dozens of Jewish organizations grappling with the potential loss of federal funds from the so-called sequester, a measure adopted by the U.S. Congress last year to force itself to confront a hemorrhaging national debt and return the country to sound fiscal footing. Unless a budget compromise could be found, draconian across-the-board cutbacks of 8.5 percent were to have automatically taken effect on Jan. 1. The impact of those cuts was designed to be so devastatingly painful that Congress would in effect force its own hand. Despite the self-imposed deadline, however, intense negotiations failed to produce the desired outcome. In late December, Congress agreed to raise new revenue by increasing taxes on affluent Americans but put off decisions on spending cuts. The lawmakers also pushed the sequester deadline back to March 1. As the new deadline nears, some Jewish organizations are preparing for the worst, identifying non-essential services to be axed while lobbying federal officials to protect vital programs. Hetfield says HIAS’s most vulnerable operations are in Ecuador, where the agency helps refugees who fled fighting between government and rebel forces in Colombia, and Chad, where it provides aid to fugitives from Sudan’s neighboring war-torn Darfur province. “These are programs I think will be targeted more deeply because they are not emergency refugee maintenance programs,” Hetfield says. “But cutting a program might
create an emergency.” Other HIAS operations, such as the agency’s refugee resettlement program, also are in limbo. Robert Marmor, executive director of HIAS’s Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, says his staff recently helped an Iraqi mother and her three daughters file a request for reunification with the family’s father. The successful completion of that process would depend on continued funding from the federal government. “The worst-case scenario would mean no new refugees,” Marmor says, “and that would be the worst, especially for families that are waiting for relatives.” Budget cuts have forced Valeriya Beloshkurenko, the director of the Met Council’s Home Services department in New York, to let more than half her staff go in the past two years. Approximately 50 percent of her remaining budget comes directly from the federal government, and the other 50 percent that comes from city and state sources is at risk, too. Beloshkurenko manages a team of three handymen who help low-income seniors with everyday home maintenance tasks throughout New York City—things such as installing door knobs and locks, changing light bulbs, putting grab bars in bathrooms and opening clogged drains. “When our team shows up the people we help, whether they are Latinos in the South Bronx or Russian Jews in Brighton Beach, are so grateful,” Beloshkurenko says. Susan Rack, the director of Covenant House, a B’nai B’rith-run home in Boston for the elderly, has a staff of 10 nurses and maintenance workers caring for more than 300 tenants, mostly Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Although the home is in relatively good financial standing thanks to a recently awarded $3 million grant, the current cutbacks might force Rack to reduce salary costs. B’nai B’rith runs 38 such homes across the United States, and their directors are likely to face similar dilemmas if federal spending on the elderly is cut. “If the sequester were to go into effect in two months from now, that could affect our ability to serve residents we already have as well as bring new residents,” says Rachel Goldberg, B’nai B’rith’s director of aging policy. When approaching politicians, Goldberg says, the most important thing to stress is that “spending cuts do not fall disproportionately on low-income citizens and elderly-spending programs.”
24 | Jewish News | January 28, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
book review From a prolific writer The Pope’s Jews The Vatican’s Secret Plan to Save Jews from the Nazis Gordon Thomas St. Martin’s Press, 2012 314 pages, $27.99 ISBN 978-0-318-60421-9 The late Pope, John Paul II, despite his significant efforts to reach out to world Jewry, was roundly criticized for promoting the canonization of Pope Pius XII whose repHal Sacks utation as “Hitler’s Pope” has been undergoing semi-successful exoneration. ‘Semi-successful’ seems appropriate because, despite decades-long efforts to dispel that argument, Pius XII is still believed by many to have failed to speak out strongly against Hitler. In 2005 this column reported on Rabbi David G. Dalin’s research, which resulted in his book, The Myth of Hitler’s Pope. Rabbi Dalin set out to refute the thesis of John Cornwell’s book, Hitler’s Pope, that Pius XII was in fact a collaborator with the Nazis. At the time we concluded that Popes have for centuries issued proclamations of love for Jews while they have done little to save Jews from degradation, torture and death. Now comes Gordon Thomas’ The Pope’s Jews, which purports to take advantage of more recently released archival material. In particular, secondary sources such as the diaries of Pius XII’s housekeeper and unofficial chief of staff, Sister Pascalina, have become available. These secondary sources attest to the repeated efforts on the part of the Pope and some of his bishops to hide, feed and protect Jews from the Roman Jewish quarter, formerly the ghetto. Jews were apparently hidden as hospital patients, seminary students, and in convents around Rome. In point of fact, over three-fourths of the Jews of Rome survived WW II, largely through the efforts of Pius XII. Also documented was the Vatican’s successful effort in hiding several thousand escaped allied prisoners of war. Primary Vatican sources will not be released for another decade or so as Vatican archives are not normally made public until 75 years after the events occurred. Prior to Christmas of 1942, President Roosevelt asked Pius XII to condemn the mass killing of Jews in the Nazi death camps. The Pope’s Christmas message that year contained vague pleas on behalf of
“the hundreds of thousands who, through no fault of their own, and solely because of their nation or race, have been condemned to death or are progressively wasting away.” In 1961 however, at his retirement ceremony, Harold Tittman, the wartime American Charge d’Affaire to the Holy See, quoted Pius XII as saying to him: “If I should denounce the Nazis by name as you desire and Germany should lose the war, Germans everywhere would feel that I had contributed to the defeat, not only of the Nazis, but of Germany itself…I cannot afford to alienate so many of the faithful. Second, if I did denounce the Nazis by name, I must in all justice do the same as regards the Bolsheviks, whose principles are strikingly similar. You would not wish me to say such things about an ally of yours at whose side you are engaged today in a death struggle.” This inability to denounce the Nazis continues to taint the legacy of Pius XII. It was the fear of Communism in Germany which led the Church to place its hope in National Socialism as the lesser of two evils. That decision set the stage for Hitler’s ascent to power in the same manner as the Church abetted Generalissimo Franco’s alliance with Germany to defeat the republican forces in Spain. There appears to be no doubt that Pius XII placed his resources at the disposal of Rome’s Jewish population and instructed his bishops in Europe to do what they could to save Jews. But in the larger matter of speaking out forcefully from his pulpit against the Nazis he apparently rationalized his way out of a more political and public action. Gordon Thomas is a fairly prolific and interesting writer and we have reported on two of his earlier works, Gideon’s Spies and Operation Exodus. We did learn, however, that some of his research was a bit sketchy and The Pope’s Jews does lack detailed notes of any kind although his principal researchers are listed. Most helpful in sorting out the dramatis personae is a listing of the various official and unofficial players. In due course Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, will join the panoply of Catholic saints. Holocaust scholars may ameliorate somewhat their view of his complicity in the death of millions, but despite his efforts on behalf of European Jewry history will probably fail to award him a totally clean bill of health. —Hal Sacks is a retired Jewish communal worker who has reviewed books for Jewish News for more than 30 years.
obituaries Roger Duberstein Virginia Beach—Roger Duberstein, 59, of Open Greens Dr., died Jan. 14, 2013. He was born in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. and is the son of Ruth Duberstein and the late Mel L. Duberstein. Besides his mother, Roger is survived by his children, Adam Duberstein and Fiancé Katy Dyer, and Melissa Duberstein; his exwife, Lee Duberstein; brother, Paul and wife Gail Duberstein; and niece, Jennifer Lexell and husband Jason. A memorial service was held at HollomonBrown Funeral Home, Bayside Chapel by Rabbi Israel Zoberman. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomonbrown.com. Memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice. Edgar Herbert Rossheim, M.D. Williamsburg, Va.—Dr. Edgar Herbert Rossheim, 80, died on January 18, 2013 of respiratory failure after years of declining health. A native of Portsmouth, Va., Dr. Rossheim practiced internal medicine and cardiology for 32 years in Norfolk and Williamsburg, Va. The historic renovated house at 841 Redgate Ave., where he worked as a solo practitioner, currently anchors a sprawling medical campus. Born on Nov. 15, 1932, Dr. Rossheim was the grandson of the late Hannah and Robert Scher, son of the late Kate S. and Benjamin F. Rossheim, and brother to the late Ruth Caplan. Dr. Rossheim’s medical career began in the three-year, pre-medical program at The College of William and Mary. Success came quickly. He was the John Winston Price Scholar his freshman year, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his third year. At the age of 20, he entered the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond as an inaugural member of the Florence Smith Scholars. He graduated in 1957, and entered a residency program at Boston City Hospital in internal medicine. In Boston, Dr. Rossheim met his future wife, Beth Joan Novitch, a college student at Jackson College for Women (Tufts University). Their courtship in Boston was a highlight of their lives together, from the free rehearsals of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall to the splurges on $1 plates of spaghetti at Simione’s Restaurant. Throughout their married lives, the couple returned often to Boston. Dr. Rossheim continued his residency in cardiology at Emory University in Atlanta, followed by an NIH fellowship at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. He then returned to his home in Virginia.
From 1961 to 1963, Dr. Rossheim served as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Naval Medical Corps, Naval Station Dispensary at Norfolk. Upon discharge he opened a private medical practice, the touchstone of his professional life. He derived significant pleasure by supporting the fledgling Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he served as assistant professor of medicine for five years. Over his career he held staff membership at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Leigh Hospital, De Paul Hospital and Williamsburg Community Hospital. Professionally he was a member of the Norfolk Academy of Medicine, Virginia Medical Society, and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Rossheim had four children: Andrew, who died in infancy in 1960; Anne Melissa born April 13, 1962; Brooke Weinger born Feb. 18, 1966; and Jane Blair born May 23, 1969. As a father, Dr. Rossheim enjoyed sharing his interests in medicine, tennis, and classical music with his three children. He introduced each child to the sights of New York City and especially Broadway, as his aunt Fanny Scher had done for him. Dr. Rossheim’s family will greatly miss his vast store of medical knowledge, sharp wit, and entertaining stories. He loved to regale his family with stories of his adolescent life. Only days before he died, he remembered the capacity crowd gathered for his own Bar Mitzvah at Gomley Chesed Synagogue in Portsmouth, including his proud grandmother. He appreciated his grandson Joel Friedman wearing the same tallit for his Bar Mitzvah a week earlier. Dr. Rossheim is also survived by his sons-in-law, Robert Rubinovitz and Frank Friedman; four grandchildren, Charles and Michael Rubinovitz and Joel and Emily Rose Friedman; and three nieces, Barbara Murovitz, Laurey Borowsky, and Shelley Kahle. A private service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Donations to the Florence L. Smith Medical Fund of the Hampton Raoads Community Foundation. Israel Salber Virginia Beach—Israel Salber of Beth Sholom Terrace passed away Jan. 8, 2013. A native of Capetown, South Africa, he was born April 17, 1921. He was the son of the late Charles and Minnie Goldberg Salber. He was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Bernice Epstein Salber. Mr. Salber was a partner for over 48 years in Katz and Salber and Co., an accounting firm in Capetown until his retirement in 1993. He was a member of
B’nai Israel Congregation in Norfolk. He was a former president of Highlands House Aged Home, past chairman of King David Country Club and founding member of Camps Bay Hebrew Congregation. He was a man of integrity, honor and dignity. He was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather and a true gentleman, and was highly respected by all who knew him for his philanthropic and community involvements. After his retirement, he immigrated with Bernice to Virginia Beach to join his two daughters. Survivors include his daughters Charlene Cohen and husband David of Virginia Beach; Ilana Benson and husband Nathan of Virginia Beach; son Michael Salber and wife Suzanne of Israel, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Graveside services were held at Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Sender Haber officiating. Memorial donations may be made to a charity of donor’s choice. H.D. Oliver. Online condolences may be offered to the family at hdoliver.com.
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Face to face
Jacob Jerry Kantor: Bringing compassion to leadership
by Karen Lombart
s he backs out of his driveway, Jerry Kantor stops to help a neighbor with a flat tire and asks, “Is there anything that I can do to help you?” and he really means it. With a sense of compassion, Kantor’s volunteerism focuses on the health and welfare of the elderly and children. He has always had great respect for the generations that came before him. And today, he enjoys those younger than himself through the eyes of his children, Jill and Brian Wainger, their three kids and Ross and Robin Kantor. He describes his priorities similar to his mother who put “family first” and his father who was committed to community. His mother, Hannah Schreiber, was the granddaughter of Moses and Gussie Fleder who had six children. The first generation of Fleder offspring grew to include the Weisberg, Stein, Pearlman, Coleman, Schreiber, and Krug clans. There have been three generations born since then. When one hears, “Everyone in Tidewater is related,’ Kantor’s family is the perfect example. His father, Joseph “Buddy” Kantor, ran Broudy-Kantor Co., Inc., a tobacco, candy and confections distribution business founded by his father Jacob Jesse Kantor and his cousin in 1895. In the early 1930’s when prohibition was repealed, the enterprise expanded to include wines. A practicing lawyer, Buddy taught himself the business when his father passed away in 1941. Eventually, he became its sole owner by purchasing his cousin’s share of the partnership. Named after his paternal grandfather, “J.J.” Kantor was born June 23, 1941. He is the oldest of three children. As a young boy, Jerry Kantor lived on Omohundro Avenue in Norfolk near the city park and attended JEB Stuart Elementary School. He lived with his parents and two siblings in an apartment building owned by his maternal grandparents who also resided there. His paternal grandmother, Dora Caplan Kantor, practiced Orthodox Judaism, yet attended services at Beth El where the family belonged. Kantor remembers walking her to synagogue for Shabbat and holiday services. Both he and his cousin Warren Aleck think of their grandmother as one of the most influential figures in their Jewish upbringing. Moving to Talbot Park at age 10,
Kantor’s life still revolved around the Jewish Community Center in Ghent and Beth El. “In the 1950’s, Jews and non-Jews did not socialize with one another,” Kantor says. “The JCC was the center of our activities, dances and holiday get-togethers.” On June 12, 1954, he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah with Rabbi Paul Reich officiating. Often assuming leadership positions even in high school, Kantor became president of his AZA chapter, as well as a regional officer. Never wanting to be a member in name only, he took an active role in any club, committee or board in which he participated. In college, he served as vice president of his fraternity, ZBT, became the first Jewish president of the inter-fraternity council and held varying positions with many other organizations. “I loved my Penn experience. I am still close to many of my fraternity buddies and classmates,” he mentions. During his undergraduate years at Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, Kantor joined the ROTC much to his parents’ dismay. “I figured that I was going to have to go into the army and I wanted to serve as an officer,” he adds. As it happened, his service was deferred because he decided to go to Law School at the University of Richmond. Upon graduation, he did his basic training at the procurement school at Fort Lee and then drove out to California to be posted at Fort Irwin in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Kantor was in the army for two years as a lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps. Packed for Vietnam, having taken his necessary vaccines, he was ordered to get one last physical at Walter Reed Hospital in D.C. before he was sent abroad with a bad back. The army was desperate for soldiers and they did not want to release him unless it was absolutely necessary. At 26 years old, Kantor was immediately sent home for disc surgery. For four years, he was employed by Broudy-Kantor until the candy, confections and tobacco lines were sold, leaving only the wine distribution business. Accepted to NYU in 1971, Kantor left Norfolk for a master’s degree in tax law. Stopping overnight in Washington, D.C. to see friends, he made the decision to seek employment instead of pursuing another academic degree. He worked for the Civil Rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice doing research for cases defending Mexican-American migrant farm workers in southwestern
26 | Jewish News | January 28, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
Michigan and African Americans seeking equal benefits in Alabama. In March, 1972, Kantor married Kathy Lombart. Moving back to Norfolk, he worked, again, for the family business. Members of Ohef Sholom Temple for 16 years, they joined Beth El when Kantor’s father passed away and he wanted to say kaddish on a daily basis at a regularly scheduled minyan. His son, Ross, was also confirmed there with many of his friends. In the late 70’s, Kantor became involved with the Azalea Festival, the first of many long-term volunteer commitments, ultimately becoming its chair, earning him a seat in the parade. Having participated in the United Way Campaign for 17 years, Kantor spearheaded the effort in May, 1982 and then went on to become the chairman of the regional campaign. In 1980, Kantor assumed the presidency of Broudy Kantor Company and subsequently served as president of the Virginia Wine Wholesalers Association, as well as a board member of the national organization, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. He also served as a member of the regional board of SunTrust Bank. His passion for helping others continued with his roles as chair of the EVMS fundraising campaign and his membership on the board of CHKD for nine years, ultimately becoming its chair. He admits, “CHKD has a special place in my heart because its medical team saved one of my granddaughters.” His support for Norfolk institutions is extensive and includes membership on the Norfolk Public Library board, the presidency of the Norfolk Planning Council-dealing with health and welfare issues, and as a board member of the Greater Norfolk Corporation. Kantor’s first Jewish volunteer experience took place when he was invited to serve on the board of Beth Sholom Village in 1990. Ten of his 19 years on the board were spent in key positions leading to its presidency. It was during his two-year term as president that BSV’s assisted living facility, the Terrace, was built and opened. He says, “Today, David Abraham, the executive director, is leading us into a new age of expanded services. It is very exciting to see the innovations that have been brought to the Village.” He has also spent time on the boards of the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Family Service and was honored by ADL.
Always generous, he has remained a member of the Jewish Community Center since his first days in Norfolk after college. In 2011, Kantor was honored with a humanitarian award by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, the same award given to his father in 1982. Today, he is chair of the Care Committee for Congregation Beth El and second vice president to assume the presidency in five years. With pulpit duty, his regular attendance at Shabbat services has added to his appreciation of synagogue life. For UJFT’s Community Relations Council, he is chairman of the outreach committee and is working on a Passover Seder for an interfaith audience. Following in his father’s footsteps, he is a proud member of the 400 Club, a group of seasoned Jewish community leaders. With a wonderful sense of humor, Kantor tells stories about his grandchildren’s Jewish experiences at the Strelitz Early Childhood Center. Recently, one of the twins burst into the Hebrew version of “Happy Birthday” when she discovered Israelis stationed at a mall kiosk. Kantor admits that most of his prayers are of gratitude. He feels blessed that he has a “terrific” family; he has been able to look back at a rewarding career; and has spent a lifetime volunteering to help others less fortunate. He believes, “Judaism has taught me compassion, honesty, respect and justice.” For Kantor, the Jewish community feels like extended family. And then again, the truth is, many of its members are his relatives.
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