Jewish News - April 22, 2024 Edition

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INSIDE Yom Hashoah Sunday, May 5 Temple Emanuel 22 Celebrating moms 33 Passover begins at sundown, Monday, April 22 40 Beth El celebrates Pam Gladstone 11 Non-Profit Org. US POSTAGE PAID Suburban MD Permit 6543 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 200 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462-4370 Address Service Requested Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 63 No. 13 | 14 Nissan 5784 | April 22, 2024 Iran launches attack on Israel What’s next? – Page 6, 8, 10
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Knowledge is the answer

Jewish News is gathering and presenting some basic facts for this space to equip readers during this difficult time with the confidence needed to engage in conversation about Israel. This information is from Jewish Federations of North America, as of April 8.

Six months of Israel-Hamas War

Israel Defense Forces

• Approximately 300,000 IDF reserve soldiers were called up, of whom 8% are over 50 years old and 17% are women.

• 10,500 IDF soldiers have been exposed to traumatic events and developed symptoms of PTSD; 1,890 of these were unable to return to the field.

• IDF rescue helicopters have airlifted more than 1,300 wounded soldiers from the battlefield.


• 2,235 rockets and missiles crossed Israel’s borders in the south and north:

• 9,100 from Gaza

• 3,100 from Lebanon

• 35 from Syria

• An undisclosed number from Yemen and Iraq

Note: These numbers do not include the rockets, drones, and missiles launched from Iran on April 13.

• According to estimates, Iran-backed Hezbollah has some 150,000 rockets and precision-guided missiles that could penetrate deep into Israel.

Terrorists and targets

• Some 12,000 terrorists (Hamas and Islamic Jihad) have been eliminated in Gaza.

• 32,000 terror targets have been hit in Gaza and 3,300 in Lebanon.


• 252,585 tons of food have been distributed in Gaza, according to the IDF.

• 19,805 tons of medical supplies were distributed in Gaza.

• According to the IDF, 3,200 Gazans were evacuated from the Gaza Strip to receive urgent medical treatment.


• Current cost of the war: approximately $68 million per day. 6

To Jewish News readers and friends: We wish you all Chag Pesach Sameach! Happy Passover Holiday! Passover begins on the 15th of Nisan, which this year starts at sunset on


Since October 7th, I’ve been walking through the world with sadness in my heart and the desire to yell – ‘I want to go home.’

– page 9 | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 3 “ ” Published 20 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 200 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462-4370 voice 757-965-6100 • fax 757-965-6102 email Terri Denison, Editor Stephanie Peck, Assistant Editor Michael McMahon, Art Director Sandy Goldberg, Account Executive Patty Malone, Circulation Teresa Knecht, Digital Manager Reba Karp, Editor Emeritus United Jewish Federation of Tidewater David Leon, President Mona Flax, President-elect Alvin Wall, Treasurer Jason Hoffman, Secretary Betty Ann Levin, Executive Vice President The appearance of advertising in the Jewish News does not constitute a kashrut, political, product or service endorsement. The articles and letters appearing herein are not necessarily the opinion of this newspaper. ©2024 Jewish News. All rights reserved. Subscription: $18 per year For subscription or change of address, call 757-965-6128 or email Issue Deadline May 13 20th Anniversary of April 26 Sandler Family Campus June 3 Dad/Men/Grads May 17 June 17 Health Care May 31 Up Front 3 Briefs 4 Blinken briefs Jewish leaders 5 Iran attack draws Israel and U.S. closer 6 Why Iran attacked Israel and what happens next 8 First person: Liz Dovrat on Iran’s attack on Israel 9 Forward features stories from Tidewater’s To Life 10 Yom Hashoah 11 ADL: antisemitic incidents more than doubled 12 Indiana court rules Jews have a religious liberty right to abortion 14 Congress’ bipartisan support for coordinator to fight antisemitism 16 Congresswoman Kiggans and Sen. Tim Kaine visit Sandler Family Campus 18 Special Section: Women and Moms 19 A rugelach baking lesson with Betsy Karotkin 31 New haggadahs for 2024 32 Why both maror and chazeret? 33 Jewish American Heritage Month 34 Jewish camps prepare to welcome Israeli counselors 37 Summer camp 38 Cookbook maven Joan Nathan visits Tidewater 39 Beth El’s Pam Gladstone retires 40 Spring fun at Camp JCC 40 What’s Happening 41 Calendar 43 Obituaries 44 Testament: The Story of Moses on Netflix 46 JewishNewsVA
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Broadway Cares donates to Israeli groups after criticism over Gaza aid

The theater charity group Broadway Cares donated $400,000 to four Israeli aid organizations after coming under fire for its contributions to Gaza relief.

The donations follow a pledge Broadway Cares made in February to fund aid in Israel. The philanthropic organization — known for its appeals at the end of Broadway shows — was criticized by pro-Israel voices over its donations to humanitarian aid groups working in Gaza.

The critics — Zionist Organization of America and a New York rabbi, Erica Gerson — said the donations were outside the scope of Broadway Cares’ central mission of fighting AIDS and funding health care, that the group did not properly disclose the contributions, and that donations to Gaza were compromised by Hamas’ control of the territory.

In response, in addition to pledging aid to Israelis, Broadway Cares acknowledged that it had “created confusion among our valued supporters” and said it would update its communications with theater audiences.

The group said that it was donating $100,000 each to NATAL, a trauma care group; the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, the organization formed by relatives of Israeli hostages held in Gaza, advocating for their release; the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel; and ERAN, a mental health hotline. The groups are all apolitical and based in Israel.

“These organizations are doing critical work supporting civilians in Israel suffering from trauma, both mentally and physically,” Tom Viola, head of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, said.

“In conjunction with our recent grants helping civilians facing devastation and inconceivable loss in Gaza, we’re proud to offer humanitarian aid that doesn’t follow a political agenda, but rather provides vital resources and support to innocent civilians in the midst of devastating conflict,” Viola said.

Broadway Cares is the flagship charity of the theater world and is often introduced at Broadway shows following the curtain call, when stars appeal to their audiences to donate into a trademark red bucket as they exit the theater. Those fundraising pitches typically focus on the organization’s core mission: funding HIV/AIDS treatment as well as health care for underemployed actors. But the group has sent contributions to international relief efforts in the past. (JTA).

The exodus story you know ‘All Too Well’ gets retold in new Taylor Swift Haggadah

Taylor Swift has (unofficially) entered her Exodus era.

Swifties can now express their love for the pop icon while celebrating Passover, thanks to the Unofficial Taylor Swift Haggadah, written by author Na’ama Ben-David.

Ben-David says the idea came from her teenage daughter, a big Swift fan.

“She loves talking about Taylor Swift,” Ben-David said. “Her music, her lyrics, and the inspirational messages she gets from listening to the albums. When we started talking about Pesach, she remarked that there are a lot of parallels between the story and themes of Pesach, and Taylor Swift’s music — and the idea was born!”

Illustrated by Shelley Atlas Serber, this edition of the haggadah, or text that guides participants through the Passover seder, joins a crowd of creative Passover haggadahs published in 2024.

It begins by calling the seder, a word that literally means “order” or “sequence,” a “setlist,” and is steeped in Tay-Tay esoterica, including: page numbers hidden in friendship bracelets (a reference to a lyric in the song You’re on Your Own, Kid from her 2022 album Midnights and a trend adopted by Swiftie concertgoers in recent years); hot pink cowgirl hats from the singer-songwriter’s early days as a teenage country artist; and trivia about Swift’s life and discography.

Printed in Hebrew and English, the haggadah is available in paperback for $19.89 — Taylor Swift’s birth year, and the name of her fifth studio album, released in 2014.

First up on the list of the 10 plagues? Blood — or should we say, “Bad Blood.” (JTA).

Germany to give Holocaust survivors in Israel an extra $238 because of the war Holocaust survivors in Israel relived their trauma on Oct. 7 when Hamas’ attack on their country was the deadliest day for Jews since the Nazis were defeated. Some were injured, hid for their lives, and were displaced from their homes, in echoes of their experiences as children.

Now, they will get a lump-sum payment from the organization that negotiates reparations from Germany as a show of solidarity in the wake of the attack.

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany announced it is allocating 25 million Euros in a one-time payment for survivors in Israel. The “Solidarity Fund for Israel” will yield about 220 Euros ($238) for each of the roughly 120,000 survivors in the country.

The payment follows a one-time stipend given in December to Israeli survivors who were evacuated from their homes following the Oct. 7 attack. It also comes on top of the total amount that Germany agreed to pay survivors and related organizations this year — more than $1.4 billion, the most ever — in a reflection of the high costs of caring for elderly survivors.

“Supporting Holocaust survivors is always our number one concern. Immediately following the horrific attacks of October 7, we began working to ensure every survivor was first safe, then secure in a location where they could be comfortable, and to ensure that they have financial support while the conflict continues,” Gideon Taylor, Claims Conference president, said.

“This additional symbolic acknowledgment payment by Germany to Holocaust survivors in Israel is a message of solidarity.”

The Claims Conference said it announced the payment only in Israel to avoid creating confusion for survivors who live elsewhere. According to an analysis the organization released in January, half of all remaining survivors live in Israel, followed by 18% each in North America and Western Europe and 12% in the former Soviet Union. (JTA).

Donations to Israel since Oct. 7 top $1.4 billion

Organizations and individuals around the world have donated at least $1.4 billion toward Israel’s recovery from the attack of Oct. 7, according to a report published by Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.

The donations, coupled with widespread pro-Israel activism in the Diaspora and the arrival in Israel of tens of thousands of volunteers, represent “an unprecedented effort by Jewish communities around the world to support Israel,” the ministry said. (When accounting for inflation, the total donated is more than what American Jews gave to Israel in response to the Six-Day War in 1967 but less than they gave six years later in the Yom Kippur War.)

The report represents the most complete published tally of wartime donations so far and includes fundraising by Jewish federations, crowdsourced campaigns, and “Friends Of” charities benefiting the Israel Defense Forces and Magen David Adom, the national emergency service.

About half of the sum was raised by the Jewish Federations of North America and its 146-member organization.

At least 350 Israeli nonprofits along with several government agencies have received donations from abroad to help with medical and emergency services, mental health support, aid for victims of terrorism, economic needs, and other areas.

Separately from the donations, the Israeli government has managed to borrow $1.7 billion through the sale of Israel bonds. About $300 million of the sum came from American state and local governments. The bonds sold faster than in a typical period, with many investors publicly citing their desire to support Israel. The report said investors were opting for Israel bonds even though returns on the bonds are relatively modest compared to other investments currently available on the market.

The total raised on crowdsourcing platforms reached at least $91.5 million with more than half raised for United Hatzalah, Israel’s volunteer emergency medical corps.

Commissioned by the ministry to carry out research for the report, DNAidea, an Israeli consulting company, examined some 800 online sources. The research could not account for additional donations delivered on a private, grassroots basis. (JTA)

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Blinken tells Jewish leaders the United States does not want Israel to ‘escalate’ after Iran attack

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Biden administration does not want tensions between Iran and Israel to “escalate” after Iran’s massive attack on Israel, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told American Jewish leaders.

Blinken called the meeting at the State Department on Tuesday, April 16 as Israel contemplates how and when to retaliate against Iran. Blinken underscored how eager the Biden Administration is for the IsraelHamas war not to spread across the region.

“We understand and appreciate why the Israelis feel like they must respond,” Blinken said according to the notes of one participant, confirmed by three others. “In our estimation, it is not in Israel’s interests or in America’s interest for this to escalate. However, that is a decision for Israel to make. We would never tell Israel what to do — we just give the best advice we can.”

That message came after reports that President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States would not participate in or support an Israeli attack on Iran. The United States did help defend Israel from the Iranian attack, shooting down missiles and drones fired by Iran.

The meeting was off the record, but a number of participants agreed to describe it on condition they not be identified. Groups represented included the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, J Street, the Orthodox Union, the Reform movement, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Israel Policy Forum, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the American Jewish Committee, the Conservative movement, Hadassah, and the Anti-Defamation League.

Deborah Lipstadt, the State Department’s envoy to combat antisemitism, moderated the gathering. The State Department did not return a request for comment.

There was some pushback from the centrist and right-wing Jewish officials present, who called on the United States to support whatever decision Israel makes. “If and when and how Israel responds, we said it’s very important for that to be backed up by the United States, so that Iran and others see that the coalition [that repelled Iran’s attack] will stay together and remain a deterrent to Iran,” one of the participants said.

Overall, the Jewish leaders evinced gratitude, with the word “miracle” used multiple times to describe the relief that Israel and its allies downed most of the missiles and that no one was killed by the attack. There was relief, too, the U.S.-Israel tensions over the Gaza war, intensifying in recent weeks, appeared to dissipate for the time being. “The alllyship solidified this weekend,” a participant said.

The centrist and center-right officials also decried the tensions between Israel and the United States prior to the Iran attack over Israel’s prosecution of the war against Hamas. They said that divisions between Israel and the United States should remain private, and that creating public “daylight” between the countries encourages their enemies and spurs antisemitism.

Blinken said he too preferred to keep disagreements private, and noted that most leaks regarding U.S.-Israel disagreements come from the Israeli side. No one in the room argued with that.

Others in the room, representing the more liberal groups, were sympathetic to the Biden administration’s pressing Israel to facilitate the entry of more aid into the Gaza Strip, which is experiencing a humanitarian crisis.

The atmosphere was warm despite the pushback on Israel’s potential retaliation against Iran, all participants said; the hour-long meeting opened and closed with the Jewish groups lavishing praise on the Biden Administration for rapidly coming to Israel’s assistance to repel the attacks.

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Iran’s attack draws Israel and US closer together after weeks of growing tension ISRAEL

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Unqualified public expressions of support for Israel from President Joe Biden. The United States and other nations scrambling to protect Israel from rockets. Congress accelerating defense assistance to Israel.

When Iran attacked Israel on Saturday, April 13, it pulled Israel out of the isolation it was sinking into due to its war with Hamas. But if Israel chooses to strike Iran, it could renew tensions. According to multiple sources, Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States would not support or participate in any retaliatory attack against Iran.

Still, when it became clear that Iran was set to launch hundreds of drones at Israel, Biden scrambled from his Delaware beach house to the White House. The statement from the White House National Security Council spokeswoman, Adrienne Watson, was unequivocal:

“President Biden has been clear: our support for Israel’s security is ironclad,” Watson said. “The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran.”

Most of the missiles and drones fired by Iran were shot down. A young girl was seriously wounded but no one was reported killed in the attack.

Biden met and consulted through the afternoon and the evening with his top national security staff. Toward the end of the evening, he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone.

They have spoken throughout the Israel-Hamas war, but in recent months, Biden has only spoken to Netanyahu to berate him on Israel’s conduct in Gaza. Previously, Biden reportedly raised the possibility of conditioning aid to Israel — a step he had once ruled out.

This time, however, Biden was ready to shift into diplomatic overdrive to isolate Iran, according to the president’s statement summarizing his call with Netanyahu, which emphasized how close the relationship remains.

will engage with their counterparts across the region. And we will stay in close touch with Israel’s leaders.”

Netanyahu, who has lashed out at Democrats and at the Biden administration for their criticism, expressed gratitude.

We appreciate the U.S. standing alongside Israel, as well as the support of Britain, France, and many other countries.

“Tomorrow, I will convene my fellow G7 leaders to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack,” Biden said, referring to a group of seven major industrial powers. “My team

“We appreciate the U.S. standing alongside Israel, as well as the support of Britain, France, and many other countries,” he said in a video address.

Joining the U.S. military in assisting Israel in repelling the drones were the militaries of Britain, France, and Jordan — all countries that have in recent months excoriated Israel to varying degrees for its military campaign in Gaza and the humanitarian crisis there.

Jordan’s role in shooting down what, according to reports, was dozens of drones headed to Israel stood out because of the chill in relations between the countries, which signed a peace treaty in 1994. The kingdom has taken a leading role in seeking to bring relief to Gaza Palestinians and has lacerated Israel for obstructing the aid’s entry. Jordan also is partially

responsible for administering the Muslim presence on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, a site that is holy to Jews and Muslims, who revere it as the Noble Sanctuary. The site has attracted controversy as figures in Israel have sought to expand Jewish prayer on the mount. It is frequently cited as a pretext for terror attacks on Israel, including Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

But Jordan and other Sunni Arab nations see Iran, and its backing for regional violence and unrest, as the greater threat. Iran helped the Assad regime survive the Syrian civil war, a long conflict that created a massive refugee crisis for Jordan. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which signed normalization agreements with Israel in 2020, also seek to counter Iran.

Avi Melamed, a former Israeli intelligence official who specializes in Arab affairs, said the attacks were a wake-up call to the dangers posed by Iran.

“Where previously the Gaza war was creating tensions across the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors, and even created friction between Jerusalem and Washington, Iran’s attack has already increased coordination and warmed relations between Biden and Netanyahu,” he said in an email, “and even has reminded Arab nations of the constant threat that Iran continues to pose both to Israel and the stability of the region as a whole.”

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Republicans and some Democrats pledged to accelerate a long delayed $14 billion emergency aid package Biden asked for after the war launched.

“In light of Iran’s unjustified attack on Israel, the House will move from its previously announced legislative schedule next week to instead consider legislation that supports our ally Israel and holds Iran and its terrorist proxies accountable,” Rep. Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican who is majority leader, said in a press release.

The Iranian attack came after Israel faced growing backlash from Democrats. Calls among Democrats to condition aid to Israel have intensified since what the Israeli military says was a mistaken strike that killed seven aid workers with the World Central Kitchen two weeks ago.

Fifty-six Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives this month signed a letter spearheaded by Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan proposing a U.S.-led investigation into the World Central Kitchen killings and to withhold major arms transfers until it is completed. Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen has been outspoken in his calls to limit aid.

formerly Twitter, supported Israel’s right to self-defense.

“I condemn the Iranian attack on Israel and support Israel’s right to defend itself against this aggression,” he said. “I also stand with [Biden] in seeking to prevent an even wider conflict that engulfs the people of the entire region.”

Pocan, posting on X, said his concerns about Gaza had not abated. “Fortunately, the retaliatory strike by Iran on Israel was mostly intercepted. But these actions following the Israeli attack in Syria is what worried me—a broader conflict bringing in the U.S.,” he said. “Everyone must stop aggressions, including in Gaza,

Israel appeared ready to leverage the reinvigorated diplomatic support it was accruing.

A coalition of liberal groups called this month for the Biden administration to condition the transfer of arms on Israel allowing in humanitarian assistance. The dozen signatories included the Center for American Progress, a think tank long seen as among the most supportive, among left-leaning institutions, of the U.S.-Israel relationship. The New York Times on April 13 called on the Biden administration to use aid as leverage to bring Netanyahu into line.

Some of those voices spoke up for Israel on April 13. Van Hollen, on X,

American media quoted anonymous U.S. officials as saying that Biden was wary of the breadth of any Israeli retaliation. CNN and NBC both reported that Biden was telling associates that he did not want Netanyahu to draw the United States into a broader conflict.

David Makovsky, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank that is regularly briefed by top U.S. and Israeli officials, said Israel would do well to preserve the renewed spirit of cooperation and support.


“Israel will have to carefully weigh [the] utility of retaliation against Biden’s urging for [a] diplomatic approach going forward,” Makovksy said on X. The “crisis should end with Iran remaining isolated.” | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 7
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Iran attacks Israel: How we got here and what might happen next ISRAEL

Ben Sales

(JTA) — On Saturday night, April 13, Iran fired more than 200 missiles and drones at Israel.

The unprecedented attack — from Iranian soil to Israeli territory — is the most direct confrontation ever between the two longtime adversaries. It threatens to spiral into a broader regional war whose consequences could also likewise be without precedent.

In the meantime, it has led to fear and injury — a 10-year-old was wounded — as well as surreal scenes, such as weapons fired by the Islamic Republic flying past the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, a Muslim holy site.

The attack is the culmination of long-running trends and explosive recent events. It comes following a decades-long “shadow war” between Israel and Iran. It is also occurring more than six months after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which launched the ongoing war in Gaza as well as intensifying clashes between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group and Iranian proxy.

And the strike was no surprise. After Israel killed three senior Iranian military commanders in Damascus nearly two weeks ago, Iran vowed revenge. On April 12, U.S. intelligence reports predicted an Iranian attack within 24 to 48 hours. They were correct.

Because this has never happened before, what happens next is unclear. Israeli leaders told citizens just before 4 am local time that they no longer needed to remain near their safe rooms, indicating that the immediate attack appears to be over. But it has sparked fears of a wider conflagration across an already combusting Middle East.

Here’s an explanation of the road to the attack, and where it may go from here.

How did we get here?

nuclear program by trying to isolate the country diplomatically as well as by allegedly killing a series of Iranian nuclear scientists. For years, experts and politicians were consumed by debate over whether Israel would — or should — bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. It has not yet done so.

Combating Iran has especially been a focus of

operations in Syria and Lebanon, which both border Israel.

This is not the first time Israel has allegedly taken aim at Iranian officials in Syria since Oct. 7 — it reportedly killed another in a December strike in Damascus. But the strike several weeks ago was more extensive and at an Iranian diplomatic compound.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said shortly before he returned to office, in late 2022, that Israel faced “three challenges: Iran, Iran, Iran. Because all the other challenges pale in comparison if we are threatened by a regime that calls for our destruction, that is armed with the weapons of mass death.”

Despite divisions over the war in Gaza, U.S. officials vowed to stand by Israel if it were attacked.

Iran and Israel have been fighting indirectly for decades. Iranian leaders have vowed repeatedly to wipe out Israel and have funded and armed terror groups on Israel’s borders — including Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israel has responded in a variety of ways. It has fought Iranian proxies. It has bombed or otherwise halted hundreds of weapons shipments to those groups. It is believed to have previously killed Iranian military officials.

And more than anything, it has opposed Iran’s

Hamas, the terror group that governs Gaza and is a proxy of Iran, invaded Israel on Oct. 7 — launching a bloody, ongoing war in Gaza. The extent to which Iran knew about or was responsible for that attack has been up for debate, but Iran praised the attack and in the half-year since, its proxies have stepped up their strikes on Israel and its allies.

The heaviest fire has come from Hezbollah, a large terror group on Israel’s northern border in Lebanon that has been exchanging fire with Israel constantly since Oct. 7. Hundreds have been killed in those clashes, and most Israelis believe the conflict will escalate to an all-out war, the first on that border since 2006.

Why did Iran attack now?

Earlier this month, Israel is believed to have killed three senior Iranian military officials at the Iranian embassy complex in Damascus. The officials, from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, helped oversee Iranian

Iran vowed to retaliate. “The evil regime made a mistake and it should be punished and will be punished,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

Israeli and American officials took that threat seriously. Despite divisions over the war in Gaza, U.S. officials vowed to stand by Israel if it were attacked. The United States warned its diplomatic staff in Israel to remain in population centers out of fear of an Iranian attack.

A day before the attack, following a meeting with a senior U.S. military official who flew to Israel to address the situation, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, “We are prepared to defend ourselves on the ground and in the air, in close cooperation with our partners, and we will know how to respond.”

What happened during the attack?

Intelligence reports indicated that Iran might, for the first time, attack Israel directly. They were correct. Late on Saturday night, Iran shot hundreds of drones and missiles at sites across Israel.

The scope of the attack was unusual. Attacks by Iranian proxies usually focus on one area of the country — such as the northern border or the area near Gaza — but Iranian projectiles appeared to fly towards all parts of Israel. They were even cited in places Islamist militants tend to avoid targeting, such as Jerusalem, which is a holy city to Muslims, and Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

Damage from the strike appeared to be minimal. A young girl in Israel’s south was seriously wounded. A military base sustained some damage.

But the Israel Defense Forces says most of the incoming fire was intercepted. Several hours after the attack began, Israelis were told they no longer needed to remain close to their home bomb shelters.

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The attack was stemmed with help from Israel’s allies. The United States and United Kingdom helped shoot down missiles, as did Jordan, which neighbors Israel and the West Bank to the east, and shot down projectiles over its airspace.

“In recent years, and especially in recent weeks, Israel has been preparing for a direct attack by Iran,” Netanyahu said early Sunday morning, April 14. “Our defensive systems are deployed; we are ready for any scenario, both defensively and offensively.”

What happens next?

This may be the end of this round of conflict or the beginning of a wider war.

A statement from Iran’s mission to the United Nations seemed to presage both possibilities. On one hand, it said, “Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus. The matter can be deemed concluded.”

But it then added, “However, should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe. It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the U.S. MUST STAY AWAY!”

Israeli officials have also been noncommittal. “We have determined a clear principle: Whoever harms us, we will harm them. We will defend ourselves against any threat and will do so level-headedly and with determination,” Netanyahu said. Gallant said, “We are prepared for any further threats, and are determined to defend our citizens.”

Ever since the Oct. 7 attack, fears of a wider regional war have escalated. Shortly after the Hamas attack, President Joe Biden warned adversaries of Israel not to broaden the conflict.

But since then, there has been fighting on multiple fronts: in Gaza, Lebanon, the West Bank, Yemen, and beyond.

“This is an incredibly volatile time in the Middle East,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in February. “I would argue that we’ve not seen a situation as dangerous as the one we’re facing now across the region since at least 1973, and arguably even before that.”

Some voices in Israel are calling on it to strike back. Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar, a Netanyahu ally, said Iran’s strike gave Israel “broad international legitimacy to strike Iran with unprecedented force.”

Following the strike, an unnamed Israeli official said Israel’s response would be coordinated with allies. Now, the Israeli decision about what to do next belongs to the country’s war cabinet — made up of Netanyahu, Gallant, and former Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

Whether they decide to strike back may determine whether this round of conflict is over, or whether it could lead to an even larger war.


Motzi Shabbat

t was Saturday night.

One of my lecturers and I were on a Zoom call with a bubbly and cheerful English lecturer from Mexico planning a collaboration between our students. My phone rang and I saw it was my administrative coordinator, calling at 9 pm – which only means something serious happened. I calmly explained to our Mexican colleague that I needed to return the phone call. As I called my coordinator back, I also noticed that all my WhatsApp groups connected to the school system had blown up. My coordinator called to tell me that she would stay at home tomorrow instead of going to our only operational campus in the Golan Heights (our other two campuses are closed because they are in the evacuated area of the North), but our exam would still happen online as planned.

my children the next day. My husband, and probably most other adults, stayed up glued to the news and communicating with each other.

The next morning my husband and I called our kids into a bedroom and explained that they wouldn’t be going to their day camps because the IDF wanted to keep us safe from some missiles. My eight-year-old twins asked if Hamas sent the missiles. We explained that it was Iran, the country funding and encouraging Hamas and Hezbollah. All of them asked right away if there were going to be sirens. We said there might be.

A quick scan of my WhatsApp groups revealed that the Homeland Defense had canceled all educational activities because of the Iranian threat. I went back to my Zoom call and continued planning the collaboration, with only a quick explanation to our smiling Mexican counterpart of what was happening. At the same time, my stomach went into knots, and I swore inside my mind because my kids would be home yet again because of this war and now I needed to explain, again, why another country was attacking us. I saw that my Israeli colleague also went pale on Zoom as the same thoughts raced through her head. For some reason, even when my husband informed me that 100 missiles were already on the way over (and would take several hours to arrive), my reaction wasn’t worry but anger and sadness for what my children and all other children in Israel would face in the morning. That is disruption to their lives and plans yet again. I went to sleep – I didn’t see any reason to wait up and I knew I would need energy to be with

For some reason, my reaction wasn't worry, but anger and sadness.

The rest of the day, they got to be kids. We made pancakes. They built a chair out of cardboard. We went to the playground. One daughter invited a friend over, the other one went to a friend’s. My son watched a movie. All of them visited with their grandfather (Saba).

For my husband and I, we were balancing creating a fun day for the kids with work calls, emails, and reading the news. Since October 7th, I’ve been walking through the world with sadness in my heart and the desire to yell – “I want to go home” (to Kibbutz Yiftah in northern Israel). The events of the last 24 hours have only amplified these feelings.

Having my kids and my work are the main reason I’m able to prevent myself (mostly) from falling into a void of complete despair and sadness. I know I need to model for them how to move through these times and focus on the meaningful, beautiful parts of life – the generous and supportive communities surrounding us, our friends, and our family. I told my children this message last night (before the news about Iran’s attack broke), and it is a message I have been continually repeating to myself.

Liz Dovrat is the daughter of Barbara Dudley, Jewish Community Relations Council chair. She occasionally writes for Jewish News on life in Israel with her family. | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 9
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Barbara Dudley & Liz Dovrat.


Forward features To Life: The Past is Present

Earlier this year, the Forward wrote about the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s book, To Life: The Past is Present, including six of the publication’s stories. The article, with two of the stories, is reprinted here with permission.

They survived harrowing Holocaust ordeals — and found extraordinary new lives in the U.S.

Stories highlight the lasting trauma of the Shoah — and the ways survivors came to thrive, afterward.

Camillo Barone

Jewish children hidden in Catholic

orphanages in Belgium; parents and grandparents forced to choose which of their children to save in Polish ghettos; entire families hidden for months in underground tunnels in Ukrainian cities.

To Life: The Past is Present, a revamped edition of a book first published 21 years ago, features over 90 stories from Holocaust survivors, liberators and rescuers, all united by one detail: They all ended up in Coastal Virginia. The Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater in Virginia recently reissued the book.

In 1944, Frank Shatz was deported to Romania by the Nazis, and sent to perform forced labor to build a railroad line over the rugged Carpathian Mountains.

“We were treated just like animals. If we dropped a rail and crushed another worker’s leg, the Nazis would shoot him,” he said. “He no longer had value to them.”

One day, as the Allies were bombing Romania, Shatz managed to escape to Budapest, Hungary, where he was hidden in one of the “safe houses” established by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. Some days later, he joined the Zionist underground and was provided with false identity papers.

and her large, Orthodox family into a world of fear and secrecy. After their house was burned down on Erev Rosh Hashanah in 1941, they went into hiding in a cemetery, before eventually being caught and sent to concentration camps like Birkenau and Auschwitz.

Frank Shatz. Courtesy of The College of William & Mary.

“We didn’t know what they were going to do to us, but then they spoke and told us to forget our names, that we no longer had names and, from this day forward … we ceased to exist, other than as a number. I became 34838,” she said.

The memories of the atrocities she witnessed, including the burning of children, haunted her throughout her life. After surviving a death march to Ravensbrück, she returned to Poland.

He eventually fled communist Czechoslovakia with his wife Jarka in 1954; both were active members of the anti-Communist underground. They eventually settled in Lake Placid, N.Y., where Shatz founded a successful leather company, before moving to Williamsburg, Virginia.

The Virginia General Assembly has twice honored Shatz for sharing his story of survival and his commitment to Holocaust education in Virginia.

Esther Wondolowicz Goldman. Courtesy of The Goldman Family.

There, she crossed paths with her older brother, Iser, who had survived the war as a partisan fighter. Seeking refuge, she relocated to Bialystock to reside with him and his newlywed wife. They then moved to Lódz´, where Esther encountered Chil Goldman (later known as Charles), her future husband and fellow concentration camp survivor. They married in November, 1945.

Esther Wondolowicz Goldman Goldman’s childhood in Sokoly, Poland was a happy one. But the invasion of Poland by Germany in 1939 thrust Esther

Eventually, Esther immigrated to the U.S. in 1957, where she worked as a tailor and seamstress and built a new life with Charles. She was an active educator about the horrors of the Holocaust throughout her life, and died on December 14, 2001.

10 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
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Frank Shatz
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Tidewater’s Jewish community will gather at Temple Emanuel for its poignant Yom Hashoah commemoration next month. Organized by the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, the annual event is an outgrowth of the work of the former survivors club, which started as a social outlet for area Holocaust survivors and has grown into the Holocaust Commission of today.

The community will remember those who perished in the Holocaust and honor the resilience of the survivors.

The program will also recognize student winners of the Elie Wiesel Competition and teachers who have gone above and beyond to impart the lessons of the Holocaust to their students.

This Yom Hashoah commemoration is a testament to the Tidewater Jewish community’s commitment to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and passing on its vital lessons to future generations.

By coming together as a community to commemorate Yom Hashoah, the Tidewater Jewish community follows in the footsteps of survivors who vowed never to forget the horrors of the past and to share their experiences with the world.

Temple Emanuel is located at 424 25th Street in Virginia Beach. Attendees can access the event via street parking or free parking in the 25th Street parking garage (336 25th Street), with golf carts available to ferry people between the garage and the synagogue. Security will be provided along the short walk from the garage and in the building to ensure the safety of all attendees.

To learn more about the Holocaust Commission and Yom Hashoah, visit or contact Elka Mednick at To make a contribution to the Holocaust Commission, visit | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 11
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ADL says antisemitic incidents more than doubled last year, driven by surge after Oct. 7

(JTA) — The number of antisemitic incidents more than doubled last year, shooting up particularly following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, according to the AntiDefamation League’s annual audit.

The ADL and other Jewish organizations, in addition to law enforcement agencies, have reported a spike in antisemitism after Oct. 7, as protests against Israel have taken place across the country.

But the ADL report found that antisemitic incidents were rising prior to Oct. 7, and that even after the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, nearly half of the reported incidents did not directly involve Israel.

The report, published April 16, tabulated a total of 8,873 incidents over the course of 2023. Of those, more than half — 5,204 — occurred after Oct. 7.

By contrast, the group tallied 3,697 incidents over all of 2022. At the time, that was a record in the more than 40 years since the ADL began issuing the reports. It has since been shattered.

Last year’s tally includes increases in the number of antisemitic assaults (161), acts of vandalism (2,177) and harassment (6,535). The number of swastikas reported, 1,117, represents a 41% increase from 2022. Ten percent of all anti-Jewish incidents, or 922, happened on college campuses.

Americans are being targeted for who they are at school, at work, on the street, in Jewish institutions, and even at home. This crisis demands immediate action from every sector of society and every state in the union.”

To combat the rise in hate, the ADL is calling on

incidents grew much higher, an ADL spokesperson said, because law enforcement agencies and other groups that track hate take time to compile their own tallies.

The ADL altered its methodology after Oct. 7 to include in the tally “certain expressions of opposition to Zionism, as well as support for resistance against Israel or Zionists that could be perceived as supporting terrorism or attacks on Jews, Israelis or Zionists.”

Report an antisemitic incident at

In an emergency, always call 9-1-1 first.

If online reporting is not practical, contact local law enforcement and/or the relevant suspicious activity reporting authority. Also contact

Mike Goldsmith, Tidewater’s SCN Regional Security Advisor, at or by calling 844-SCN-DESK.

Part of the increase in recent years is due to more robust reporting methods, such as including incidents reported by partner organizations, which started in 2021. The report also includes an update in the ADL’s methodology that classifies certain anti-Israel activities as antisemitic, which accounts for 15% of the annual total.

The ADL has come under fire from left-wing activists for portraying pro-Palestinian activism as antisemitism, a charge the group denies. But even without its methodology update, according to the report, 2023 still would have seen more than 7,000 acts of antisemitism, far more than any previous year. And the report says that even if all Israel-related incidents were removed, antisemitism still would have risen 65%.

“Antisemitism is nothing short of a national emergency, a five-alarm fire that is still raging across the country and in our local communities and campuses,” the CEO of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, says. “Jewish

governors to implement strategies to counter antisemitism in state-level programs analogous to the White House’s National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism released last year.

The report shows that even before Oct. 7, antisemitism was on the rise. From January to the beginning of October, there were 3,669 antisemitic incidents — close to the total for the entire previous year.

But the pace of incidents accelerated rapidly after Oct. 7. Just over half of them — 52% — directly concerned Israel. And the pace did not die down as the weeks passed following Oct. 7. The ADL found that there were 1,813 incidents in October, 1,575 in November and 1,938 in December.

The total number of post-Oct. 7 incidents, more than 5,200, is far higher than the 3,283 incidents tabulated during nearly the same period in a preliminary ADL report that was released in mid-January. The number of

One example of that, the group says, were images of hang gliders — which Hamas terrorists used to infiltrate Israel during the Oct. 7 massacre. Another was the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a common chant at pro-Palestinian rallies that many Jewish groups see as a call for the destruction of Israel.

The updated methodology accounted for 1,350 incidents, around a quarter of the post-Oct. 7 total, including 1,180 rallies.

Over the course of the entire year, 3,162 incidents, or 36% of the total, involved references to Israel or Zionism. That was a steep increase over 2022, when 241 incidents, or 6.5%, included antiIsrael sentiment.

At anti-Israel protests, the researchers cited antisemitic tropes, including accusations that Jews control the media or U.S. government, that Jews were involved in the 9/11 attacks, and accusations that Israel “harvests” Palestinian organs or imagery showing Israelis drinking blood, which the researchers linked to historical blood libels. Other speakers at protests called Israelis and Zionists “bloodsuckers” or “parasites,” the report says.

At least one high-profile incident of harm to a Jew did not make the report. While the report tallied 161 incidents of antisemitic assault, it did not include the death of pro-Israel protester Paul Kessler because the circumstances are still under investigation.

Orthodox Jews, who tend to be more readily identifiable as Jewish, were targeted in 34% of assaults, despite, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, making up around 9% of the Jewish population. Previous ADL reports have also found that Orthodox Jews are disproportionately victims of assault.

Nearly 2,000 incidents targeted Jewish institutions, including synagogues, Jewish community centers and

12 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |

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schools, a spike of 237% over 2022. The increase was partly due to a surge in bomb threats, mostly targeting synagogues. There were 1,009 bomb threats, up from only 91 in 2022.

On campuses, antisemitic incidents skyrocketed from 219 in 2022 to 922 last year — most of which occurred post-Oct. 7. The updated methodology accounted for more than a third of that total. In non-Jewish K-12 schools, antisemitic incidents also more than doubled.

White supremacist propaganda also surged, with 1,160 instances last year, compared to 852 in 2022. Most of those incidents were distributing fliers with antisemitic messaging. White supremacist groups also latched onto the Oct. 7 attack with propaganda that said, “Death to

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An Indiana court ruled that Jews have a religious liberty right to abortion. Here’s why that matters.
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Michael A. Helfand (JTA) — Since the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the right to abortion is no longer protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. But that seismic constitutional change has triggered a new legal debate: In the absence of federal constitutional protection, does state law provide Jews with a religious liberty right to abortion? Earlier this month, an Indiana state appellate court answered yes to the question — invoking variations on the word “Jew” more than 70 times in the process.

As the first state appellate court answer to the question, the ruling presents a persuasive case for other state courts to follow, potentially opening the door for Jews — and others with similar religious commitments — to secure abortions that are motivated by religious values even

where such abortions are otherwise prohibited by state law.

Now, with Arizona’s decision barring abortion after six weeks, and with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump saying that he would leave abortion decisions up to states rather than sign the federal ban that some on the right want, the significance of the ruling appears to have grown even since it was issued.

The idea of a Jewish right to abortion being enshrined in U.S. law could, at first, sound strange. But in the wake of Dobbs, as states have adopted new abortion restrictions, Jews and Jewish organizations have filed suit arguing that these restrictions put them in a bind. Jewish laws approach to abortion is generally understood — as much as anything within Jewish law is “generally understood” — to place the well-being of the

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mother, including physical and emotional well-being, at the center of its analysis. As a result, where an abortion is necessary to protect the well-being of a mother, broadly construed, Jewish law sanctions — and often requires — the termination of the pregnancy. If a mother, motivated by these underlying Jewish values, were to seek an abortion in a state that imposed significant restrictions on such procedures, her religious commitments could run afoul of state law.

Advocacy addressing this tension between Jewish commitments and abortion restrictions is not new. Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Agudath Israel of America filed friend-of-the-court briefs encouraging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. But prefiguring much of the contemporary debate, it also argued that those religiously motivated to seek abortions — such as American Jews — ought to have religious liberty protections for such decisions even in the absence of a more general right to abortion. Until recently, though, such arguments received less attention precisely because Roe — and the right to abortion — was the law of the land. Now, in the absence of those protections, Jewish plaintiffs have taken up those arguments and filed suits in a variety of jurisdictions, such as Florida, Kentucky and — most relevant for recent developments — Indiana.

have held off becoming pregnant.

An Indiana Court of Appeals found that under such circumstances, the state’s religious liberty protections are likely to require providing women in such circumstances with a religious exemption from the state’s abortion restriction. The logic of the court’s decision is pretty straightforward.

Indiana, like over half of the states, has broad religious liberty protections captured in the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. RFRA, as an initial matter, prohibits the state from substantially burdening religion. Applying this rule, the Indiana court found that the state’s abortion restriction, by prohibiting abortions motivated by Jewish law —and thereby discouraging the plaintiffs from becoming pregnant — imposed a prohibited burden on the religious exercise of the plaintiffs.

...litigation over a Jewish right to abortion will be fought in state courts around the country.

The state, however, argued that this burden on religion was justified. Indeed, RFRA allows the state to justify imposing a burden if doing so is the only way to achieve some sort of essential government objective (or, in legal terms, if the burden is narrowly tailored to achieve a “compelling government interest”). To make this argument, the state contended that protecting fetal life is a vital government objective, vital enough to overcome the religious liberty rights of the plaintiff.

The plaintiffs in the Indiana lawsuit, which include both individuals as well as the organization Hoosier Jews for Choice, are not themselves pregnant. But a number of the individual plaintiffs allege that they would like to become pregnant, through assisted reproductive technologies or otherwise. But they fear, given past histories or the realities of using assisted reproductive technologies, that their Jewish commitments may require them to undergo an abortion. And given that Indiana’s restrictions might prohibit such abortions, they

But the court ultimately rejected this argument. Indiana’s abortion restriction, it turns out, has lots of other exceptions. For example, it has exceptions — like many other abortions restrictions across the country — for rape, incest, in vitro fertilization, and even a narrow exception to protect the physical health of the mother. Where a state grants all these exceptions that weaken the objective of a law — in this case promoting fetal life — then it cannot turn around and claim that its interest is so important that it can’t grant exceptions for religion. After all, how important can the government’s interest be if it already provided all these

other exceptions?

So where does this leave us? The decision will presumably be appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court. And it is no doubt possible, either for procedural reasons or otherwise, that the Indiana Supreme Court will reverse the decision. But for now, the fact remains that the first state appellate court to analyze the issue interpreted state religious liberty law to protect the right of Jewish plaintiffs to religiously motivated abortions.

The decision may well have broad impact. Because these cases focus on state law — as opposed to federal law — they

won’t be heard by the United States Supreme Court. That means litigation over a Jewish right to abortion will be fought in state courts around the country. Other state courts are likely to take notice of this judicial foray into the issue, especially given that over half the states around the country have identical or nearly identical religious liberty laws.

With an easy-to-follow blueprint now available, this month’s decision may signal that a Jewish right to abortion is no longer merely a theoretical argument. It may, in a world without Roe, be the way of the future. | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 15
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A bill to create a national coordinator to fight antisemitism is drawing a rare bipartisan support in Congress

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Republicans and Democrats in Congress are uniting to pass a bill that would create a national coordinator of the fight against antisemitism — though it faces competition from another Republican-backed bill that seeks to define antisemitism.

The bipartisan Countering Antisemitism Act, introduced this month, is meant to advance President Joe Biden’s national strategy to fight antisemitism, rolled out nearly a year ago. The plan focused on action across the executive branch, demanding reforms in federal

agencies from the Education Department to the Department of Agriculture.

The national coordinator would help see through those reforms. The coordinator would also receive an annual assessment of violent antisemitism nationwide from law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The position would be a counterpart to the State Department’s antisemitism envoy, who focuses on antiJewish bigotry abroad.

Rep. Kathy Manning says that the bill was in the works before the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7, but that the ensuing rise in antisemitic incidents

and rhetoric made it more urgent.

“We have seen it spread on social media, the protests on college campuses are beyond what anyone expected,” she says. Manning, a North Carolina Democrat, is one of three lead sponsors of the bill, along with Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, Sen. Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Democrat, and Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican. Manning and Rosen are Jewish.

But that is not the only legislation seeking to fight antisemitism. One day after the bipartisan bill was introduced, Republican Rep. Anthony D’Esposito of New York introduced legislation on how to define antisemitism.

That bill wades into a long-running debate over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition has been endorsed by hundreds of countries, local governments, universities, and corporations, but has drawn criticism because it includes certain forms of criticism of Israel, such as calling it a “racist endeavor.”

any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic,’ and that none of the examples, even the ones about Israel are automatically antisemitic; just that they ‘could, taking into account the overall context,’ be antisemitic,” the talking points said.

The D’Esposito bill, while endorsed only by Republicans, expands on a separate bipartisan bill that was introduced shortly after Oct. 7 but has yet to be advanced. That bill would codify the IHRA definition when enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which denies federal funding to institutions that discriminate against several protected classes and has emerged as a preferred tool of activists fighting antisemitism and anti-Zionism on college campuses.

The language we have in the bill was very carefully negotiated.

Following Biden’s rollout of the plan to counter antisemitism last May, a number of right-leaning Jewish advocacy groups criticized it for citing both the IHRA definition as well as another one, called the Nexus definition. Nexus places a greater focus on parsing when anti-Israel criticism verges into antisemitism.

D’Esposito’s bill would codify the IHRA definition across U.S. law, including in jury instructions and applications of civil rights laws. Talking points from D’Esposito’s office, circulated by the National Jewish Advocacy Center, which backs the bill, said it does not target legitimate Israel criticism.

“The definition makes clear that ‘criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against

Manning’s bipartisan bill seeks to avoid that debate. A press release from her office included endorsements from an array of organizations that prefer the IHRA definition. But it also has the backing of the group of scholars who wrote the Nexus definition.

The American Jewish Committee, which supports the IHRA definition, will be launching a campaign called Voices Against Antisemitism in which it calls on

16 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |

constituents to ask their representatives to support the bill. The groups endorsing the bill focused on what they said was the importance of creating the coordinator position at a time of rising antisemitism.

“Given the unprecedented surge of antisemitism in the U.S. following the Oct. 7th terrorist attacks on Israel, this legislation is a significant step in protecting American Jewry and combating the oldest of hatreds,” says William Daroff, the CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

That message is echoed by Jonathan Jacoby, the director of the Nexus Leadership Project, “The disturbing rise in antisemitic incidents nationwide urgently demands the comprehensive, multi-pronged effort laid out in the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.”

Kevin Rachlin, Nexus’ Washington director, says the need for a domestic antisemitism coordinator made the bill an easy sell for the group. But he notes other positives, including that the bill says that the IHRA definition is non-binding.

Rachlin says the bill also would please liberals because it focuses as much on rightwing antisemitism as it does on the left, at a time when he says many Republicans are ignoring the threat from the right.

Those “looking for actions to actually counter antisemitism, the tachles of it,” should be satisfied by the bill, Rachlin says, using a Yiddish word roughly meaning “bottom line.” He says the bill is “pushing back on this rising tide from the right and what’s happening on the left as well.”

Manning says she realized early on that she needed language in the bill to address how both Republicans and Democrats see the threat of antisemitism.

“The language we have in the bill was very carefully negotiated,” she says. “The interesting thing about the composition of

the Congress right now is if you actually want to get something passed, you have to have something that you can get Republicans in the House willing to lead, and Democrats in the Senate willing to lead. So that calls for a truly bipartisan approach.”

In that vein, D’Esposito’s bill, backed only by Republicans, has no chance on its own of becoming law. But parts of it may be wrapped into Manning’s legislation as an amendment, an occasional outcome when multiple bills address the same topic.

The Manning-Rosen bill may still face controversy: A substantial portion is devoted to combating antisemitism on American campuses, and activists on the left worry that the fight against campus antisemitism is sometimes used as a way to shut down criticism of Israel.

Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, noted on X, formerly Twitter, that the bill’s section on higher education cites a 2019 executive order on antisemitism by

President Donald Trump.

“That EO, as a reminder, centers on enforcing the IHRA definition, including its examples as part of Title VI, as a means of repressing/punishing/chilling criticism and activism targeting Israel and/or Zionism on U.S. campuses,” she says.

Emma Saltzberg, the U.S. strategic director for the Diaspora Alliance, a progressive Jewish organization that seeks to combat antisemitism and opposes the IHRA definition, says the Manning-Rosen bill is better than D’Esposito’s. But she says her group could not endorse it, in part because the coordinator position would not be subject to congressional confirmation.

“This coordinator position, unlike the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, would just be a presidential appointment, which means that there are no formal mechanisms for Democratic [Party] input into that decision,” she says. “And we can only imagine what a Trump administration might do with that kind of appointment.”

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Senator Tim Kaine visits Sandler Family Campus

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine spent a couple of hours at the Sandler Family Campus last month chatting with members of Tidewater’s Jewish community about a host of issues, including Israel’s war with Hamas.

Congresswoman Jen Kiggans visits Sandler Family Campus after first trip to Israel

Terri Denison

Most first trips to Israel don’t begin with a tour of carnage, but Congresswoman Jen Kiggans’ did. In addition to meeting with families of hostages from the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, Kiggans and the other 14 members of Congress on the AIPAC trip spent time at Kibbutz Nir Oz where the group saw first-hand the destruction caused by the terrorists. She also visited the site of the Nova Music Festival where a memorial to the lives lost is now in place.

Jerusalem’s Old City, Yad Vashem, Mt. Herzel where new graves of young soldiers are still fresh, a view from the Golan Heights to understand its strategic importance, stops at kibbutzim in the northern part of Israel to grasp their proximity to Lebanon and Hezbollah, a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Shabbat dinner with President Isaac Herzog, were all part of the fast-paced introduction to Israel.

Back in the United States, Kiggans spoke on the House Floor to “recognize the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, call on Congress to support Israel now more than ever, and stress the need to defeat Hamas and all Iranian proxies.”

At the Sandler Family Campus, Kiggans discussed the impactful trip, replied to questions, and expressed her commitment to voting to secure funds to assist Israel in protecting itself.

The Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community is celebrating 20 years!

To commemorate this milestone 20th anniversary, Jewish News is planning a special section in the May 13 issue.

We invite you to share your personal stories, memories, and photos of being on the Sandler Family Campus since 2004.

Think about all the reasons that brought you and your family to the Sandler Family Campus. . . Camp JCC, Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, community events, speakers, athletic leagues, swim team, bar and bat mitzvah parties, Yom Ha’Atzmaut. . . and share them with Jewish News readers!

Send memories and photographs with a contact name and phone number to with ‘20th Anniversary’ in the subject line. Deadline for submission is April 22, 2024.

18 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
VADM (ret.) Herman Shelanski and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine. Kirk Levy, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans, and Todd Copeland.

Dear Readers,

Every single person on this massive planet has them. Beyond politics, teams, and everything else that divides us, this is something we all have in common. We all have mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers. Even if they’re no longer living, they’ll always be who our thoughts turn to the moment we hear “mom” or “grandma.”

Mother’s Day will be celebrated in America on Sunday, May 12, but why wait until then to applaud these women who have given so much of themselves to their children, from infancy through adulthood? Starting on page 22, six area mothers are praised by their appreciative children. All are beautiful homages to beautiful women.

As those tributes convey, most women tackle multiple roles today, offering topics for other articles in this special section.

Consider Barbara Dudley, for example. Barbara devotes many hours to volunteer work, spurring her to establish a couple of endowment funds to assure her favorite causes have future dollars. Page 28.

Myrna Teck is an example of someone who constantly takes on new projects. . . all in a big way. Now, Myrna’s working on a cemetery in Poland near where her grandmother lived, and she’s organizing a 10-day trip to explore the country. The article is on page 29.

It didn’t matter that Lisa and Wayne Richmon didn’t know a thing about roasting coffee beans or running a shop of any kind when they opened Roast Rider in Virginia Beach 10 years ago. Like Lisa, the coffee shop is constantly evolving. Page 30.

Of course there’s more, including an article on Beth Sholom Village’s Auxiliary, a thriving group of volunteers whose dedication to area seniors is highlighted in the piece on page 27.

To all the special women in our lives – moms, grandmoms, daughters, aunts, cousins, friends – all of us at Jewish News wish you a happy Mother’s Day! And a happy every other day, too! You deserve it. | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 21 WOMEN & MOMS RISTORANTE INSPIRED BY ITALY LA PROMENADE SHOPPES 1860 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach | 757.491.1111 | Aldos SUN, MON, WED, THU 4–9 pm | FRI, SAT 4–10 pm (closed Tuesday) CELEBRATE WITH US — RESERVE TODAY! MAY 12 OPEN AT 11am FOR LUNCH AND DINNER Mother’s Day


CELEb*ating MomS

Stephanie Peck

Nothing prepares a woman for motherhood, a role which requires on-the-job training. Parenting books and podcasts abound, if she has the time and energy to read and listen; after all, she has just spent the day…cooking, driving, bathing, feeding, hugging, entertaining, planning, scheduling, sympathizing, tutoring, praising, explaining, rushing, encouraging, spoiling, cheering, understanding, exploring, playing, disciplining, volunteering, cleaning, coordinating, worrying, celebrating, loving…

These six women are appreciated and celebrated by their children for myriad reasons. . . big and small.

M arilyn Bux Bau M

Shari Friedman and Renee Strelitz

Growing up, birthdays were always big in our family; the birthday girl would be showered with love and affection by those celebrating her. However, Mom always made the “unbirthday girl” feel equally special and included by giving her a gift, too. She still does it to this very day!

This story exemplifies how Marilyn Buxbaum is the most thoughtful and kind woman we know. Without fail, she sends meaningful notes and gifts to all of her family and friends on special occasions. She is known for making her chicken soup for those under the weather and preparing her mother’s honey cake recipe for Rosh Hashanah –even mailing it to her out-of-town grandchildren.

Our mother taught us the value of music from a young age. She is a talented pianist, having played the piano since the age of five. Her passion for the arts inspired her to start the Frailache Klezmer band and create the ODU “Opera for Everyone” course that she taught for more than 40 years.

Family always comes first to our mom. She proudly adds charms to her Gramie bracelet for each grandchild and great-grandchild who enters her rapidly expanding family. We are blessed to have the most loving, supporting, and caring mother in our lives!

Gail Flax

Amy Murphy and Scott Flax

Our mother is the matriarch of our family. She is loving and kind and has always been there for us. The strength, devotion, and adoration she shows our family is pure gold.

Our mother never hesitates to help her children, grandchildren, husband, and community. She strives to make this world a better place. She looks for the best in others and her glass is always half full. She is a problem solver and always has the best advice. Her patience and understanding make her a pillar of strength in our family and community. Our mother is the most thoughtful, caring, loving person we know. She has taught us to be upstanders and work hard to help our families as well as those in need.

We are grateful she is ours.

22 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
Renee Strelitz, Marilyn Buxbaum, and Shari Friedman. Amy Murphy, Gail Flax, and Scott Flax.


Betsy K arotK in

Jesse Karotkin, Hallie Segerman, and Jennifer Adut

Our Mother is the Golda Meir of Tidewater.

It is one thing to know from first-hand experience that your mother is special. But, if you are Betsy Karotkin’s child, people are constantly reminding you of this fact. “Ohhhhh, you’re Betsy’s daughter/son!”

Our mother is beloved by family, friends and members of her community. Exemplifying “Eishet Chayil,” a Woman of Valor, she is intelligent, artistic, strong, and righteous, and dedicates her life to Tikkun Olam. Our mother lives her Jewish values, looking at each day as an opportunity to bring more light and goodness into the world.

As long as we can remember, our mother has lovingly cared for everyone around her, including strangers, just as she has taken care of us. From shuttling people in need to synagogue to visiting with the elderly and infirm, she is an empathetic and unstoppable force. Even today, at nearly 80 years old, she is busy cooking and delivering meals to the sick and the elderly. Over the past 45 years, Betsy Karotin has probably shuttled enough platters of brisket and trays of her famous rugelach across Tidewater to fill a small stadium.

Following the example of Abraham, her table is always surrounded by an array of family, friends, and newcomers to the community. When we were children, you were as likely to find an elderly Holocaust survivor seated across our Shabbat table, as a non-Jewish friend, or as a person in need of a surrogate mother. With seemingly boundless energy, she never seems burdened by caring for so many, so often. Whenever we ask if she might be pushing herself a bit too much, she responds matter-of-factly, “I’m grateful that I am in a position to deliver assistance rather than being on the receiving end.”

In addition to her routine acts of gemilut chasadim, our mother has dedicated much of her time, energy, and professional skills to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, the Holocaust Commission, Congregation Beth El, and Be a Reader Program.

As children, we remember our mother spending hours each night after dinner, reading books on Jewish ethics or the Holocaust, in preparation for her weekly Sunday school or Confirmation classes.

Like every “job” she took on, nothing could be done half-heartedly. With so much of her time invested in the Jewish community, our father would jokingly refer to her as Tidewater’s “Golda Meir.”

As a mother, she has constantly nurtured her family with love, outstanding food, and intellectual stimulation. Nothing for her family was too involved or too mundane. How many mothers hand sew miniature outfits for Barbie dolls for their daughters or create elaborate Halloween costumes?

When we had just moved to New Orleans in the 1970s, she agreed to be ‘room mother’ at our new school. Around Easter, she wowed our elementary school class with homemade cupcakes, topped with green-dyed coconut “grass” and mini jelly beans as Easter eggs. Who knew that our Jewish mother, master of the Passover Seder, could also create perfect Easter cupcakes?!

Rather than speak from a soapbox, our mother chooses to lead by example, always believing that there are many paths towards righteousness. Her refrigerator remains dotted with an array of quotes and life lessons from the likes of Elie Wiesel. In particular, she emphasized that we must never remain silent in the face of injustice and that tzedakah is an obligation, not a choice.

In addition to these many commitments, our mother is deeply engaged with her eight grandchildren, sharing her boundless love with each of them. She has a way of making each one of us feel safe and deeply loved. She has frequently said that she is fortunate to have such a wonderful husband, children, and grandchildren, but it is we who are so uniquely blessed. | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 23
Betsy Karotkin, Jen Adut, Jesse Karotkin, Hallie Segerman, and Ed Karotkin. Betsy and Ed Karotkin.


Cathi l ader Ber G

Rochelle Aviv, Nicole Bowers, and David Laderberg

Our mom, now referred to as Mimi, has always been a strong presence in our lives. Not only does she continue to be an amazing and supportive mother to her three children, but she has become a source of love, comfort, and fun to her seven grandchildren.

When we became parents and quickly learned how hard it can be to juggle the demands of life, we asked our mom, “How did you do it?!” Her answer, “I don’t know.” However, reflecting back on our childhood, tumultuous adolescence, and stumbles into adulthood with her by our sides, we can see how she did it. She did it all, because that’s who she is; it is in her nature to care and to take care of others.

She is a true example of Jewish values, through her work as a dedicated speech pathologist, the countless hours volunteering for local and international communities, and always showing up to the family events and milestones. Though every Jewish mother has her quirks, we can all say without a doubt that we would not be the successful people we are today if it was not for her.

Thank you, Mom, for showing us the how.

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Cathi Laderberg and her seven grandchildren. Cathi Laderberg and family.


linda sa M uels

Marcia Samuels, Suzanne Samuels, and Karen Samuels

There are many lessons and values that our mother passed down to us over the years. One of the main ones is responsibility. She (and our father) instilled the importance of responsibility for ourselves, our families, our community, and the greater world. Mom showed us in words and actions that we are responsible for participating in and building the community we want. If we would not be willing to do something, why should we expect anyone else to be willing to do it?

Time and again she has stepped into leadership positions in the Jewish community in order to build and maintain strong Jewish institutions. She has supported many community arts organizations in the area, not just with donations but by annual memberships and attendance at performances throughout Hampton Roads. She volunteers her time in support of community institutions.

Mom also stressed the importance of personal responsibility. We are responsible for our actions, and all three of us are in tune with how our actions and words may affect others. She helped us learn that taking responsibility for mistakes and apologizing is not that difficult and can make such a big difference in relationships with others. We cannot recall mom saying a negative word about others, although she may call out negative behavior, which is an important distinction.

What the three of us have been unable to replicate is the energy level at which our mother operates. You would think that raising three daughters and working full-time would be a lot, but not for Mom!

She also volunteered in organizations throughout the area and decided it would be fun to pursue a master’s degree at the same time. In her “retirement,” she started another career, teaching students at ODU to become medical technologists like her. Add in more volunteer work, leadership positions in the community, book club, stock club, canasta, Lunch and Learn, and more – she has been busier than when she was working.

Mom also values her family and friends and makes time for the important people in her life. None of us would be the people we are today without her love and support – and a large dose of her stubbornness. We have aspired to instill her values in our own children.

*yChel M arG olin

Rashi Brashevitzky and Yossi, Mendy, Levi, Shmulie, Yisroel, Zalmy Margolin

If we had to describe our mom in three words, GIVING, CARING, and LAUGHTER come to mind. As young children, and still today as adults, we see our mom as a pillar of the local Jewish community and watch in awe as she helps people in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes lending someone a listening ear as they go through a tough time, sometimes ensuring a family in need has food for Shabbat.

As young children, our Shabbat table was always filled with a host of different types of guests, each one welcomed with a huge smile and a kind word.

Our mom cares about everyone; most of all, she cares about her family. Always ready to listen to our worries and applaud our accomplishments. Always at the ready with words of encouragement or gentile advice. Our mom truly embodies kindness and giving, and this is something we have each implemented in our own lives.

A super fun side of our mom is listening to – and watching – her laugh! When our mom finds something funny, her laugh is contagious; she laughs to the point of tears, encouraging all around her to join in! This reminds us all to laugh easily and laugh often in life. | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 25
Linda and Stanley Samuels and family in 2016. Rychel and Aron Margolin and family. Linda and Stanley Samuels and their daughters in 1972.

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Helen Murphy Addington’s four children gave her a forever gift: a “mom fund ” Long after her death, the scholarship in her name has helped to support dozens of female graduates of Maury High School go to college

To honor a special person in your life with a gift that gives forever, visit us at

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26 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
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The Auxiliary of Beth Sholom Village: A beacon of support for Jewish seniors

Lauren Krajesky, LNHA, CDP

Standing as a shining example of community service and support for Jewish seniors in Tidewater, The Auxiliary of Beth Sholom Village’s membership exceeds 600 dedicated women. The Auxiliary is a non-profit organization that takes great pride in backing Beth Sholom Village’s mission to enhance the lives of area seniors.

For decades, the Auxiliary has been a pillar of strength, providing essential resources, funding, and volunteer support to Beth Sholom Village. Their unwavering commitment has enabled Beth Sholom Village to offer exceptional care and services to seniors, ensuring they live with dignity and comfort.

“At the core of our mission is the desire to serve our community, especially its seniors,” says Edie Schlain, Auxiliary president. “As we look to the future, we see endless opportunities to expand our impact and give back even more.”

One such opportunity lies in the support of Aviva Pembroke, the new senior living community set to open this fall. The Auxiliary is excited about the possibilities this new venture will bring, as it aligns with their goal of providing top-notch care and support to seniors in need.

Through their dedication, compassion, and tireless efforts, The Auxiliary of Beth Sholom Village continues to be a beacon of hope and support for seniors, enriching lives and spreading joy wherever they go. Membership in The Auxiliary is open to all who share their passion for serving seniors. For information on joining this remarkable group of women, call 757-282-2384.

When you envisioned your golden years, you likely dreamt of living your best life - days filled doing exactly what you want to do, with little worry of what you have to do. In order for your vision to become a reality, it requires you to plan ahead.

Whether it’s for yourself or a loved one, we invite you to attend one of our educational events and learn why it’s best not to wait for life to happen to you. Start making the most of your golden years today. | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 27 Commonwealth SENIOR LIVING at THE BALLENTINE Welcome Home Assisted Living and Memory Care How to Make the Most of Your Golden Years
“Retirement is a journey, not a destination”
Join us May 14th OR June 11th at 1:00 p.m. at The Mary D. Pretlow Anchor Branch Library 111 West Ocean View Ave., Norfolk, VA Seating is limited. Call or scan to RSVP! 757-347-1732 SPECIAL EVENT Less Have To, More Want To
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Lauren Krajesky, LNHA, CDP is vice president of administration for Beth Sholom Village. A scene from the Auxiliary’s Janet Gordon Mah Jongg Day and Luncheon.
Edie Schlain, Auxiliary president.


Barbara Dudley’s story of love, loss, and a path to legacy

TJF staff

“I found her under a rock!” This tongue-incheek remark by the late Noel Dudley about his first encounter with his wife, Barbara, set the foundation for a lifelong partnership filled with love, laughter, and an enduring legacy. Sitting on a mountainside rock with her college friend, Barbara couldn't have anticipated how this chance encounter with Noel would evolve into a deep connection, leading to marriage, a loving family with two daughters, Amelia and Elizabeth,

and a journey of shared challenges, values, dreams, and goals.

This bond, notably tested and strengthened through Noel’s battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s, became part of the impetus for Barbara’s philanthropic aspirations. While Barbara faced Noel’s illness with determination, this period of adversity prompted a reassessment of their finances to meet Noel’s care needs and ensure financial stability.

Barbara credits much of this success to

the guidance of her financial planner, Scott Saal of Virginia Wealth Management. “The partnership with my financial advisor empowered me to navigate the complex waters of healthcare costs and long-term planning, ensuring our financial security,” she says. “Their expertise and guidance allowed me to concentrate on what truly mattered: our family and our future.” Strategic financial management gave Noel the quality end-of-life care he deserved and laid the groundwork for Barbara’s future philanthropic endeavors.

For Barbara, serving as Noel’s caregiver was an arduous and, at times, lonely journey, marked by the overwhelming responsibility of making crucial care decisions. The Jewish community served as Barbara’s refuge and pillar of support, providing emotional encouragement and practical assistance. “Walking into Noel’s memorial service and seeing it was ‘standing room only’ left me completely overwhelmed. In that moment, I truly understood the depth and strength of our community. It was a profound reminder of how our community comes together in times of sorrow, offering support and solace. I was deeply moved by their outpouring of love — it was a comfort I will never forget.”

her community bond. This connection, forged in the face of personal tragedy and the loss of the love of her life, invigorated Barbara’s resolve to give back, leading to her decision to establish two funds through Tidewater Jewish Foundation.

Inspired by her father's charitable legacy and fueled by her own experiences, Barbara wanted to make a meaningful

impact. With TJF's guidance, she established the Barbara Dudley Lion of Judah Endowment Fund and the Barbara Dudley Unrestricted Fund. “Working with Naomi and the TJF team was the best decision,” Barbara says. “Their seamless collaboration with my financial advisor turned my vision into reality, showcasing the power of collective effort and commitment.”

Volunteer work, including serving in chair positions for United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Women’s Cabinet – now Women’s Philanthropy, Israel & Overseas Committee, and currently Jewish Community Relations Council, as well as serving on committees at Ohef Sholom Temple, including the Executive Committee, offered Barbara a muchneeded sense of normalcy and deepened

Through her fund housed at TJF, Barbara was the first contributor to the UJFT Israel & Overseas Endowment Fund, a testament to her commitment to fostering a strong, educated, and resilient Jewish community worldwide and in Israel. TJF's role in facilitating Barbara's legacy planning mirrors her love and passion for community engagement and philanthropic giving. Through her established funds, Barabara is ensuring that her vision for a caring, compassionate, and connected Jewish community ¬– much of what she experienced during life's toughest challenges – will be available to provide for future generations.

28 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
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Noel and Barbara Dudley in the Naftali Mountains of northern Israel in Feb 2016. Bomb shelter at the Children’s Wish Garden, Sedrot, Israel.



During a trip to Poland in 2018 to attend a meeting of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Myrna Teck and her sister visited the shtetl where their grandmother lived in Goniadz. As part of this guided tour, they also visited the abandoned and overgrown Jewish cemetery. Realizing that no Jews are left in Goniadz to care for this cemetery, Teck asked herself, “What can I do?”

For Teck, posing that question in preparation for another life chapter, is what she does. . . what she’s always done.

Teck was three years old when her family moved from Malone, N.Y., to Blackstone, Va., where her father opened a bowling alley and ice cream parlor for the soldiers at Camp Pickett. Teck remembers running through fields of daffodils, a fortuitous experience considering her current involvement with The Daffodil project.

Teck’s family moved to Norfolk in 1945. After graduating from Syracuse University, she returned to Norfolk and taught at her alma mater, Granby High School, for 13 years, before joining the staff of The Chrysler

Museum. In 1999, she finished her PhD in visual arts education with a research focus in Jewish art at University of Kansas. In June 2021, Teck returned to Tidewater to be closer to her daughter, Meril Amdursky.

Teck founded Jewish Art Education in 2007. She continues to serve as its president, whose mission is “dedicated to educating the wider world on the contributions of the Jewish visual arts to Jewish civilization.”

In 2019, still pondering the question about what she could do with the cemetery, she returned to Poland, and with a group of 50 Polish Catholics from this same village, cleaned up the cemetery. Absent Neighbors, a 48-minute documentary on YouTube, was filmed to capture this event, including interviews with 12 people who still live in Goniadz. One elderly man remembers his

"Recently my mother required 12 hour per day personal care assistance. On short notice, Changing Tides Home Care provided the necessary assistance. They have been responsive to my mother's needs and have kept the family informed by telephone, text and portal. I am very pleased with their services.”

mother forbidding him from playing with Jewish children. His mother believed that Jews killed Catholic children and used their blood to make matzah, an antisemitic accusation referred to as blood libel.

This fall, Teck will return to Poland to dedicate an information signboard at the cemetery’s entrance. The dedication will be preceded by a 10-day trip, August 22 – Sept. 2, to include stops in Warsaw, Krakow, Auschwitz, Tykocin, and Bialystok. This trip is open to the public. Including airfare, hotel, meals, and venue tickets, Teck expects the trip to cost $2,000 - $2,500, depending on the number of travelers and group rates.

For more information about the trip and dedication, contact Myrna Teck at or 757-515-9359.

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Myrna Teck at the tombstone of Chaim Tykocki in 2019 in Goniadz.


Lisa Richmon adds a new kind of flavor at Roast Rider with its Cocktail Lab and jazz nights

Stephanie Peck

“Coffee shop owners are Gen X; we are their grandparents age!” says Lisa Richmon, as she tells the tale of opening Roast Rider at Hilltop with her husband, Wayne, 10 years ago. With no retail experience between them, they had every reason to fail – they don’t roast their own beans, nor does Roast Rider have a dedicated kitchen for meal prep.

How, then, do they explain their success? “I think there are two foundational reasons, and the credit is split right down the middle. Wayne and I are both native curators, but he knows coffee and numbers while I know people and words,” Richmon explains. He has a reputation for his wine palette which translated to coffee. She is a storyteller, which translated to

branding. Together, they discovered unknown culinary talent and brought their goods in-house.

“We are not bakers or roasters. We don’t want to run a kitchen. So, Wayne’s ability to build relationships with three of the top roasters in the country is a foundational win for Roast Rider,” says Richmon.

Besides their extensive coffee menu, Roast Rider serves a full menu of coffee-infused cocktails daily and jazz every third Thursday. Breakfast and lunch are served, including a partnership with Azar’s to create meze plates and other fresh, from-scratch Mediterranean dishes. “Prosperity Kitchen & Pantry and My Vegan Sweet Tooth are also partners who bake for us and make us look and smell good,” says Richmon.

“One of the interesting things about our evenings is that we always introduce talent from Governor’s School and nearby schools and rarely hire established, adult talent,” says Richmon. “We really enjoy giving these rising stars a platform to launch from.”

Besides tasting the coffee (some options come from their award-winning, ethically farmed green beans), two additional reasons should encourage a visit. Not only are dogs welcomed in the outdoor café, but the Visitor’s Booth at the bar showcases 10 years of personalized handwritten post-it notes, including doodles, poems, rants, and raves. And, according to Richmon, “Wayne has saved every single one them.”

When Richmon’s not supporting Wayne’s coffee dreams, she is a healthcare and thought leadership writer who recently helped develop and market a riddle app for teens called WhoRiddle

To see the menu and jazz schedule, go to

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30 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
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Celebrating Women’s History Month

Rugelach baking evening unites Jewish women in Tidewater

Last month, 25 Jewish women met one evening at the home of Betsy Karotkin, UJFT Women’s Philanthropy chair, to meet and greet one another and to discuss the significant impact of Jewish women – all while learning to bake “Betsy’s Famous Rugelach.” The event was filled with laughter, connection, and celebration.

Women of all ages, backgrounds, and community involvement engaged in heartfelt conversations, sharing personal stories about their unique Jewish “journeys.” A walk around the room revealed snippets of conversations which could only have been heard at a gathering of Jewish women. Stories about Jewish geography, old BBYO and sorority connections, adventures in being a day school parent, Jewish camping, kosher food options in Tidewater, and other commonalities connected the women throughout the evening.

From seasoned community leaders to young women just beginning to get involved in the Jewish community, each participant brought a unique perspective and a

shared sense of responsibility for the Jewish people.

“We, each of us, is responsible for one another, for our people, and for keeping the Jewish community alive,” said Karotkin. “And each of us can play a role in supporting the Tidewater Jewish Community. We can lead a mission to visit Jewish communities overseas; we can be youth group advisors or Jewish educators; we can serve on the boards and committees that steer the programs we need and love; we can be donors, and we can ask others to join us. In the end, we can all be proud of our individual and collective contributions to the community.”

chopped nuts (or not!), then slice and roll from the wide side. As the kitchen filled with the unmistakable aroma of baking dough and caramelizing butter, the group learned the secrets behind “Betsy’s Famous Rugelach” – it’s best when made with friends.

At the evening’s end, everyone braved the chilly wind coming off the Lynnhaven River to head home with fresh rugelach, a bevy of new friends and connections, and the promise of future combined events with YAD and Women’s Philanthropy members. These opportunities to connect across generations and work together to take care of one another and all Jewish people will continue.

The women gathered around Karotkin’s kitchen to watch her carefully roll out the dough – “just about this thick,” she said – sprinkle the cinnamon, spread the | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 31
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Elana McGovern is the director of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Young Adult Division. Betsy Karotkin prepares rugelach.


Inside 7 new haggadahs for 2024: America and Israel take their places at the seder table


Schwartz (JTA) — The creators of new Passover haggadahs focused on Zionism and American patriotism were working on their projects long before Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked Israel and triggered a war in Gaza and a broad reckoning over both Israel and the place of Jews in the United States. Now, the haggadahs arrive at a time when the current crisis is certain to be a looming presence at seder tables across the Jewish world when Passover begins the evening of April 22.

A range of haggadah supplements focused squarely on Oct. 7 have also become available in recent weeks, as Jewish leaders aim to help families talk about the attack and its aftermath during their seders.

But the haggadah marketplace goes far beyond the current moment, and not all of the new entrants to the seder scene this year are so serious: There are also parody haggadahs inspired by Star Wars and the Jewish filmmaker and comedian Mel Brooks, as well as two new books designed for families with young children and new efforts from longtime suppliers of Jewish ritual texts.

Here are 7 haggadahs to freshen up your seder this year or in the future.

For American patriots

Exactly when the traditional haggadah text was finalized isn’t known, but it was at least 1,400 years before anyone featured in The Promise of Liberty: A Passover Haggada was even born. The book — by two history buffs, Yeshiva University official Rabbi Stuart Halpern and healthcare executive Jacob Kupietzky — draws parallels between the Exodus story and the founding of the United States. It also includes examples of Americans over time who have taken inspiration from Moses, including Harriet Tubman, who led enslaved Black people to freedom through the Underground Railroad.

For fans of a ‘Darth Seder’

From the author of haggadahs about emojis, Seinfeld, Shakespeare, and COVID-19 comes a new one for anyone with a passion for Star Wars, the sci-fi franchise that has populated film, television, gaming, and merch for nearly 50 years. Martin Bodek is a historian of the haggadah, and his new This Haggadah is The Way: A Star Wars Unofficial Passover Parody preserves the traditional text but has fun

with the English translation, referring to matzah as “polystarch puffbread” and asking, “Why is this galaxy different from all other galaxies?” Bodek omitted any footnotes to help readers understand the allusions, writing, “Either you’ll catch my blitz of references because of your extreme nerdery, or you’ll look it up because of your excessive dorkery. If you can’t or won’t do either, then this isn’t the book you’re looking for, now is it?”

For the Zionist — or the doubter

Marvin Chinitz, a physician in suburban New York City, first envisioned a haggadah focused on the modern state of Israel because he was dissatisfied with the Israel education at his children’s Jewish day school. The Chinitz Zion Haggadah arrives at a time when Zionism is perhaps more hotly contested than ever before, with the Israel-Hamas war triggering both vociferous pro-Israel and anti-Israel activity. The book contains both the traditional text and commentaries that aim to “transform the connection of our seder from the story of God and the Israelites to the story of God and modern Israel.” Chinitz says he sought to keep the book apolitical, opting for questions over didacticism, and believes the book could be especially helpful for brokering a peaceful seder for families — like his own, he says — where not everyone identifies as a Zionist.

For families seeking contemporary resonance

Two rabbis who penned An Invitation to Passover have teamed up again for an inspiring family haggadah that brings the seder into contemporary times. Sprinkled throughout the traditional narrative, Kerry Olitzky and Deborah Bodin Cohen’s The Heroes Haggadah: Lead the Way to Freedom showcases dozens of Jewish heroes from all walks of life — Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Anat Hoffman, the Israeli gender-equality activist; Volodymyr Zelensky; Julian Edelman, Jewish NFL star; Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, the first Asian American rabbi; and Gershom Sizomu, the chief rabbi of Uganda’s Jewish community. Global Jewish recipes include several

from Michael Twitty, author of Kosher Soul, and Groucho Marx’s matzo balls.

For those who want to incorporate Oct. 7 into their seder

This year’s Passover will be the first since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel reshaped the Jewish world. A range of supplements aim to shape and ease the way the trauma is reflected at the seder table. One, in Hebrew, was produced by Israeli rabbis, some with a connection to the crisis. Another came from rabbis at the nondenominational Academy for Jewish Religion in the United States, while the Reform movement has released its own. And anyone who has picked up the Kveller Haggadah from our families-focused sister site over the last four years since it was published will want to sign up to get the Oct. 7 supplement with seven ways to address the crisis at their seders.

For a fresh spin on a classic for kids

More than two decades after its first publication, Rahel Musleah’s richly illustrated Why On This Night: A Passover Haggadah for Family Celebration has been reissued. It now boasts a colorful new cover by Louise August and updated sections to keep it fresh and full of customs from across the globe. The lyrically written abbreviated haggadah includes Hebrew and English translation and transliteration. There’s fun to be had with a short play, songs and recipes, including a new one for Turkish tishpishti, a Sephardic nutcake.

For Mel Brooks fans

Another spoof haggadah comes from Dave Cowen, who has pilloried Seinfeld, Kanye West, and the last two U.S. presidents in his previous outings. This year’s Mel Brooksinspired version doesn’t aim to stand alone at the seder table, but it does include parts for Brooks — who speaks as Moses, whom he played in History of the World Part I — and his frequent comedy collaborators, including Carl Reiner and Gene Wilder. The zany text also grapples with current events, sketching out a debate among comics about the propriety of a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and alluding to declining support for Israel among younger demographics.

“Can we at least try to come up with something, a parody song ‘Karpas for…’ based on Springtime for Hitler, that would satisfy both sides of this political and generational divide?” the Wilder character asks.

32 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |


Maror and Chazeret: What is the deal?!

There is a phrase from Isaiah that I find particularly relevant these days… “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who present darkness as light and light darkness, who present bitter as sweet and sweet bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)

On Passover, we eat maror and chazeret (bitter herbs) to remind us of the bitterness of slavery, but why do we have two different items for this? And why do we use romaine lettuce or endives, which are completely bland, as bitter herbs?

I did a deep dive to find answers to these questions online, but the closer I got to the bottom, the murkier the waters became. I remember a moment in my time in Israel, when a young woman plucked out of the cliff what looked like a weed and said, “Eitan, you know what this is? This is the real chazaret, the real maror.”

I had thought that horseradish had been used as maror since the beginning of time. Well, actually, I had never really thought about it. I learned that as

Ashkenazi Jews were moving further north into Europe, it became more difficult to get fresh greens at this time of year while horseradish root was accessible. In fact, its use faced some rabbinic opposition because the roots were eaten and not the leafy stems.

In our modern grocery stores, we are certainly no longer limited to the growing climate of Northern Europe. However, it would be very hard to find Israeli wild lettuce in any grocery store in America. Rashi believed that any bitter herb can be called for maror, so I go with that because I always liked him.

I could go deeper and deeper into this subject, which I find so fascinating. What I love about the idea of wild,

bitter lettuce is that it grows in harsh, unexpected conditions… kind of like the Jewish people. For me, it’s the taste of resilience.

You know they say that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Well, when Passover gives you maror, you make… yogurt.

This recipe is supposed to be made with Israeli chazeret (wild lettuce). However, I used mustard greens instead. First thing you want to do is salt your greens. After a day in the fridge, this will draw some of the water and bitter flavor out. Give it a good squeeze and mix it with Greek yogurt. I recommend also adding lemon juice. For a thicker consistency, first strain the Greek yogurt for a day in the fridge.

Over time, the flavors of the herb and yogurt will marry, and it will pair well with any umami flavor. You can even use a vegan yogurt as a sauce for Israeli ketzitzot (meatballs) or smear some onto a cheese sandwich. On one recent morning, I ate my eggs with it.

Chag Sameach everyone, and may you know the difference between sweet and bitter.

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10 ways to recognize and celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month in May

Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) celebrates the contributions and experiences of Jewish Americans. Here are 10 ways to discover, explore, and celebrate the vibrant and varied American Jewish experience from the dawn of our nation to today.

1. Spread the word Help raise awareness by sharing information about JAHM on social media platforms. Access downloadable resources, including sample posts, posters, and a comprehensive guide, at

2. Express gratitude Write a letter of appreciation to Governor Glenn Youngkin and the general assembly for

officially recognizing JAHM in May 2023. Encourage other elected officials to join in recognizing and supporting Jewish American heritage.

3. Educate through guest lessons Volunteer to teach a guest lesson about a notable Jewish American figure at your child or grandchild’s school. Access educational resources from organizations such as the American Jewish Committee, the AntiDefamation League, Facing History and Ourselves, and ICS Resources for engaging lesson plans and materials.

4. Read a Jewish book Explore the richness of Jewish American heritage and culture through literature. Recommended reads are available from libraries and organizations such as the

New York Public Library, University of Virginia Library, the ADL, and the Jewish Book Council.

5. Advocate for library displays

Encourage your local library to create a display honoring Jewish American Heritage Month.

6. Visit cultural institutions

Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Jewish Americans by visiting places such as the Jewish Museum and Cultural Center in Portsmouth, which showcases artifacts and exhibits reflecting the history of Jewish Tidewater.

7. Take a JAHM Tour at the Chrysler Museum of Art Join a guided JAHM Tour at the Chrysler Museum of Art on May 15. Explore artworks with Judaic themes created by Jewish artists. Visit JAHMtour to RSVP.

8. Speak out against antisemitism Take a stand against antisemitism by educating

yourself about its historical roots and contemporary manifestations. Speak out against antisemitic language and behaviors, and report incidents and websites promoting antisemitism. Find resources and links at the Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s resource page at

9. Eat Jewish foods Enjoy a variety of Jewish dishes throughout May. Discover recipes from Ashkenazi to Sephardic cuisine, Israeli specialties, challah, appetizers, and desserts on such sites websites as My Jewish Learning or The Nosher. Register for the Israeli Chef’s Table Experience with Chef Yaniv Cohen on May 16 at the Sandler Family Campus. Visit to register.

10.Discover Jewish Americans

Take the AJC Jewish American Heritage Month Quiz to see how much you know. Then, expand your knowledge of remarkable Jewish Americans beyond familiar names such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Albert Einstein. Through resources on AJC’s website, learn about Gertrude Elion, Julius Rosenwald, and Irving Berlin.

Access all mentioned resources at JewishVA. org/JAHM, including resources from the Library of Congress. Encourage others to spend just 10 minutes in May exploring these resources and finding meaningful ways to recognize Jewish American Heritage Month.

34 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
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MAY 19 12-3 PM

Yom Hashoah Community Holocaust Commemoration

An Israeli Chef’s Table

Experience with Yaniv Cohen

Presented by Avraham & Karen Ashkenazi

Yom Ha’atzmaut

Commemorating Israel at 76

Presented by Avraham & Karen Ashkenazi

Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Yom HaZikaron, and Yom Hashoah are deeply interconnected days in Israel's collective memory. Together, they underscore the significance of remembrance, resilience, and the continual pursuit of strong and flourishing Jewish communities, both in Israel and the Diaspora.

The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater cordially invites you to participate with us our commemoration of these significant occasions. Please visit the webpage below or scan the QR code for more information.



Discover the opportunity of a lifetime and join the legacy of Dr. William and Mrs. Mary Feldman by pursuing your dreams in healthcare. Offered through the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, the Feldman Family Medical and Health Professions Student Scholarship supports Virginia-based Jewish students entering an Appropriate Health Care Degree Program.


This is YOUR chance for financial aid and community recognition. Seize this golden opportunity at!

36 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
Your Tomorrow with Up to $10,000 Towards Your Health Care Degree!

How US Jewish summer camps are preparing to welcome Israeli staff — many fresh from war

Jacob Gurvis (JTA) — After spending three summers as an Israeli emissary at Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake in upstate New York, Shahar Vaknin made a decision. “I was 100% sure I’m done with camp,” he says.

Then came Oct. 7, when one of Vaknin’s cousins was killed in the Nova music festival massacre. He returned home immediately, stepping away from his job as a long-term emissary at the Richmond, Virginia, Jewish federation to be with his family.

After he landed in Israel, he began hearing from his campers — around 20 of whom called, emailed, or sent videos to check in. They said, “We love you and we miss you,” he recalls. “We hope to see you this summer,” some wrote.

“First of all, it made me cry,” Vaknin says. “Because I realized that — pardon my French — but it made me realize that, ‘F—, I love those kids so much. So much. I miss them so much.’”

Now, Vaknin plans to return to Sprout Lake. He’s looking forward to being in a “known familiar place.” But he also realizes that his time at camp will not be an escape from the war.

“Coming and talking about it as if it’s something that’s in the past because now we’re at summer camp — no,” Vaknin says. “And telling us, ‘Put it aside, you’re in a summer camp’ — no. I don’t want to, and I will not, put it aside.”

That mix of feelings is common to the estimated 1,500 Israelis — most ages 20 to 23 — who will work at Jewish camps across North America this year, according to those tasked with placing and training the emissaries, known in Hebrew as shlichim. While the number of roles has remained steady, the Jewish Agency for Israel, which runs emissary placement, says more Israelis applied to work at camps this summer than in any previous year.

Those who are hired will arrive at camp after months of living under fire

— and in some cases after fighting in Gaza. Once there, they will contend not only with their own mental and emotional burdens, but also with the challenge of explaining the war to campers and American staff. That’s in addition to the linguistic and cultural barriers emissaries face every year.

staff and the camps themselves. And the training isn’t only for Americans. One key component, Atia says, is helping the Israelis understand what American Jews have experienced since Oct. 7.

“We saw the importance of them understanding more about the current life of Jews in North America, especially,

“The conversations I’m having with camps are mostly about, how are we going to take care of the shlichim? What do we need to know and how can we be more sensitive?” Gal Atia, who runs the shlichim program for the Jewish Agency, says.

“A lot of them are coming right out of the army and from an intense experience, for everyone in Israel, but especially for that age group,” Atia adds. “They aren’t experienced educators, or experienced people, that they can handle, necessarily, to hear everything.”

Atia is in the midst of a series of seminars for American camp directors, many of whom visit Israel during the spring to meet prospective staff. Alongside his typical recruitment and training processes, Atia is also offering a webinar on how to welcome Israeli staff who may need extra support.

The Jewish Agency is working with a number of other Jewish groups — including the Foundation for Jewish Camp, the Anti-Defamation League, and M², The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education — to offer resources for both the Israeli

and in the rest of the world when it comes to exposure to antisemitism,” Atia says. “Because in the last six months, we were really busy with what’s going on in Israel. But not a lot of them are understanding of the importance of meeting their brothers and sisters from the other side of the ocean, and meeting them where they are.”

Jamie Simon, the chief program officer at the Foundation for Jewish Camp, says the trainings will help camps understand “how to welcome Israelis in this moment — what does it mean to be helping them heal and grieve and feel supported while in a diverse community?”

Simon says FJC has guided camps on Israel programming in the past, but calls this year’s offerings “a new approach” — both due to the war and the spike in reports of antisemitism that has come alongside it.

“In light of the rise of antisemitism and rise of the war in Israel and Gaza, the tragedies of 10/7, we’re really trying to think about, okay, what does this mean?” Simon says. “What is the current landscape? And how are we going to really relook at Israel curriculum in camps and

ensure that camps have the tools they need to be successful with this summer?”

The Israeli staff’s objective, Atia says, should be to connect with campers, not to act as representatives of their government or military. For Vaknin, it’s crucial that camps understand what Israelis are going through — starting with the fact that the war is ongoing.

“You want to be able to put your voice out there,” Vaknin says. “To come and say, firsthand, ‘You guys, I don’t know what you saw on social media, but I’m there.’”

He adds that tending to Israelis’ needs may also mean not mentioning the war at all. “Sometimes it’s a topic that we don’t want to talk about,” he says. “Some people go to summer camp as an escape. They don’t want to be in Israel experiencing everything right now.”

As criticism of Israel has grown in the months leading up to the summer, some camps have faced pressure from parents or staff to scrap activities focused on Israel or its food and culture. While Young Judaea is a Zionist organization, Vaknin says he, as well as shlichim at other camps, are encountering what he deems to be anti-Israel sentiments from fellow counselors.

But even if those conversations are uncomfortable, he says, they can still be meaningful.

“A lot of people are going to hear opinions that they are not going to like,” he says. “I can only hope that both sides will learn a bit from those kind of harsh conversations.”

Atia also anticipates moments of tension once the Israelis arrive at camp. But while no one can say what will happen in the war between now and June, he hopes to prepare Israelis for tough conversations — even in a place where they feel at home.

“It’s tools we’re trying to give them before they come,” he says. “We’re trying to have them listen to things that are challenging here before they hear them there.” | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 37


Summer Camp is the place to work: Don’t Miss Out: Part 2

Dave Flagler

In a similar article of a previous edition of Jewish News, Part 1 of why “Summer Camp is The Place to Work: Don’t Miss Out” was shared. In this piece, it was discussed how camp counselors have the opportunity to refine and practice interpersonal and leadership skills, gain professional experience, and connect to a network for future career opportunities. Quotes from counselors about their experience working at Camp JCC were shared in the article. After its publication, warm sentiments continued to flow in.

Beyond the meaningful impact to area youth, counselors are able to develop communication skills, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and experience collaboration, as well as utilize and foster creativity. All of this happens in an environment that supports the practice and development of these skills.

If these reasons and the sentiments of the previous article were not enough, take it from the words of even more of these returning Camp JCC staff members.

“One of the best parts about being a camp counselor at Camp JCC is the friendships that are shaped with fellow counselors. We can all relate to each other in our enjoyment in working with the kids. We are given a space to collaborate, learn from each other, and gain diverse friend groups through our work together. Not only is every day a special day at Camp JCC, but

the counselors are also special. Kyra, 4th year working at Camp JCC.

“Definitely the connections that I made with the kids. I love how they light up when they see the counselors. And I like the connections with the staff too!”

Silver, 2nd year working at Camp JCC.

“The best part of being a camp counselor, especially a Camp JCC camp counselor, is getting to make many fun memories with the campers and counselors and getting to laugh about them later. Watching the campers learn and grow up and become amazing people is an incredible experience that I am extremely grateful for. Camp JCC has helped push me out of my comfort zone and continues to give me opportunities to grow as a person.”

Grace, 4th year working at Camp JCC.

Don’t miss out on a summer filled with fun, friends, meaningful connections, professional skills, and the chance to shape lives and the future of the community.

To learn more about Camp JCC, or to hear about year-round opportunities for area teens, contact Dave Flagler, director of Camp and Teen Engagement, at or 757-452-3182.

Chrysler Museum of Art: Camp with an art focus

Does your child’s summer include Fantastic Creatures or 3D Illusions? How about painting, sculpting, or mosaics? For campers who attend Camp Art Stars at the Chrysler Museum of Art, the answer will be “Yes!”

At Camp Art Stars, campers will find inspiration behind the scenes of the Museum’s world-renowned art collection and venture to the Perry Glass Studio for more intrigue. There’s no limit to what these young artists can create.

Designed for ages 6-17, space is limited. Discounts are available for Chrysler Museum members. Register campers for a summer of exploration, experimentation, and hands-on skill-building, while making a wide array of art. Go to

The Chrysler Museum of Art brings art and people together through experiences that delight, inform, and inspire. Internationally recognized for its collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the largest glass collections in America, the Museum is free and features the state-of-the-art Perry Glass Studio.

38 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
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Beth El Sisterhood stepped up to “Serve” Joan Nathan

Joel Rubin

Call them a well “oyled” machine.

I am speaking of the quartet of Carol Smith, DeAnne Lindsey, Gina Rose, and Marlene Rossen who (along with Patty Shelanski) lead the unofficial culinary committee of the Congregation Beth El Sisterhood that plans, purchases, cooks, and bakes the meals for all special occasions at the synagogue – some 30 a year.

Two recent ones were within two weeks of each other, a retirement brunch on April 7 for longtime administrator Pam Gladstone, which was meaningful and lovely, preceded by the annual Mickey Kramer Scholar in Residence Program March 15-17, which was both beautiful and vexing at times. “We actually had three events for Kramer – a Friday night dinner, a Shabbat lunch and a Sunday morning breakfast,” says Rose. But it was the identity of the scholar, best-selling cookbook author, journalist, and TV documentarian Joan Nathan, that made that assignment one the women won’t soon forget.

Dubbed the “matriarch of Jewish cooking by the Jerusalem Post,” Nathan shared her wisdom with several hundred congregants and guests and promoted her latest publication, My Life in Recipes: Food, Family & Memories, which chronicles her personal discovery of Jewish cuisine from around the world. But it was the Sisterhood ladies who really brought the goods, i.e. a half dozen or so dishes from one or more of the 81-year-old

Nathan’s 10 cookbooks.

“We spent some three weeks preparing for the weekend, and I personally devoted 60 hours the final week to make sure it went off without a hitch,” says Smith, the leader of this pack. “Carol is amazing,” says Lindsey, “so organized, so creative, and so dependable.” One reason is Smith’s math skills. “A former teacher, she can look at ingredients for five and convert it in her head to what’s needed for a 100.”

Smith generally chooses the menus. “For instance I decided we would have Baked Salmon in Herb Sauce with Moroccan Matbucha on Friday evening,” two of the thousands of recipes that Nathan has collected and published over her career. As always, Smith’s buddies helped with the shopping. “I always find most of what we need at Restaurant Depot,” she says. “What they don‘t have, DeAnne (a former speech pathologist), Gina (once a rec therapist and volunteer puppy raiser) and Marlene (a retired fund raising professional) find at BJ’s, Costco, or other stores that sell OU items,” says Rossen. “Thank goodness we all love each other

because we’re calling, texting, or emailing constantly.”

I was at Beth El that Saturday and was blown away by the spread that included Sacred Species Salad and Veggie Lasagna plus Crustless Apple Crumb Cake. Most of the women’s angst, however, came not from hoping to impress me, but Nathan herself who was leisurely enjoying the meal and making new friends. “We taste tested everything first to be sure Joan would approve,” recalls Rose. “It was great for (my husband) Neil who loved the desserts I brought home.”

After kiddush, we attacked the buffet, but all eyes were also on Joan Nathan. Would she savor what the Sisterhood served? “It’s all excellent,” she told me. So good that the food scholar took a tray of lasagna home to DC where she hopefully shared some kind words about the catering talent at a conservative shul on Shirley Avenue in Norfolk.

Oh, one other thing. On the Friday of the Kramer Scholar’s Weekend, while the women were knocking themselves out in the Myers Hall kitchen, the Health Department showed up to conduct a surprise inspection. “We passed with flying colors,” says Smith, “thanks mostly to our terrific synagogue staff.” Crisis averted. On to the next simcha.


Some events simply cannot be missed. Apparently, that was the thought when young students at Strelitz International Academy were covered up with proper fashionable paper plates, in addition to the special protective sunglasses, to view the Solar Eclipse on April 8 at the Sandler Family Campus. They were all out-of-this-world stunning!

The next total Solar Eclipse is August 23, 2044. What will these future young adults wear for eye protection then? | May 1, 2023 | Israel @ 75 | JEWISH NEWS | 39 | April 22, 2024
DeAnne Lindsey, Marlene Rossen, Carol Smith, and Gina Rose. Joan Nathan and Carol Smith.


Beth El bids farewell to Pam Gladstone after 34 years

Bittersweet tears flowed from many eyes on Sunday, April 7 as community members gathered for brunch at Congregational Beth El to celebrate the retirement of Pam Gladstone, Beth El’s executive director for the past 34 years.

Gladstone’s tenure at the synagogue saw four rabbis, three cantors, and 16 board presidents. Many farewell speeches mentioned her steadfast work ethic and common refrain, “Do me a favor.” Her staff, both old and new, praised her role as their boss, highlighting Gladstone’s attention to detail while entrusting them to work independently. Everyone finished their remarks by calling her a friend.

Videos from Beth El’s previous clergy, including Rabbi Jeff Arnowitz, Rabbi Susie Tendler, and Cantor Jacob

Tessler, played for the crowd of 165 guests. “Pam was a guide for me during my time in Norfolk. She’s synonymous with Beth El. No one is more beloved nor cared more,” said Rabbi Arnowitz. “Generations of conservative Jews of Norfolk, of Beth El, are so grateful to you.”

Linda Samuels, a member of Beth El’s Sisterhood and a past temple president, read a message from Rabbi Emeritus Archie Ruberg.

“In May of 1990…we needed a strong guiding hand to take charge. Pam was that and much, much more. She loved Beth El, she cared deeply for its people and she was fully committed to Judaism, to its values and traditions.”

Outfitted in a navy top and white pants, Gladstone seemed ready to set sail; her daughter, Anne, in her remarks, even suggested that her mother take that cruise

from 15 years ago. While Gladstone admits that her plans are uncertain at this early stage, she will join a canasta game. A mahjongg card has already been purchased on her behalf.

In her final remarks, Gladstone said, “Beth El has been a huge part of my life for such a long time. This brunch in honor of my retirement is SO SPECIAL. So many volunteers worked tirelessly, along with the synagogue’s amazing staff, to bring it all together. Beth El is my extended family. I will always treasure the close relationships I have with so many congregants and their families. I also have heartwarming memories of so many special people who are unfortunately no longer with us. It has been a great privilege to serve as Beth El’s executive director for 34 wonderful years.”


As the weather gets warmer and summer gets closer, Camp JCC wrapped up another successful spring break camp. Covering one week for mostly public school closures, campers enjoyed spring themed crafts, indoor and outdoor games, STEM projects, a mini color war, and free swim with new and

old friends. Daily themes included April showers, May flowers, nature exploration, and Earth Day.

Now as a part of the Camp JCC School Days Out program, families were able to choose any individual days or a package for the entire week. As many school calendars are not aligned with each other, having the flexibility to customize schedules enabled campers to

enjoy time with family and friends, spring travel plans, and all the fun of Camp JCC.

To learn more about Camp JCC, or to hear about year-round opportunities for teens in the community, contact Dave Flagler, director of Camp and Teen Engagement, at DFlagler@UJFT. org or 757-452-3182.

40 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
Dave Flagler
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Deb Segaloff and Pam Gladstone. Guests at Pam Gladstone’s retirement brunch. Ron Gladstone, Pam Gladstone, and Ann Marcus. The Blue Team shows its team spirit and sportsmanship. 1st row: Lucas Carothers, Thomas Riley, Emilia Kenney, Emerson Branham, and Juniper Sheldon. 2nd row: Keller Gustafson, Kate-Lynn Cipolla, and Alexander Walker. Camp Friends are Best Friends. Alexandar Walker and Keller Gustafson. Kate-Lynn Cipolla demonstrates her catapulting expertise with the help of the young engineers. The Red Team is dynamite, and no one messes with dynamite. Julian Distin, Robbie Branham, Cara Duncan, Isabella Ford, Savannah Riley, Noah Upton, Alister Connor, Lily Self, Darina Malova, and Hope Akins.


Community Shabbat Dinner for families

Friday, June 7, 5 pm

Sandler Family Campus

After a year of learning how to make Friday night Shabbat dinners memorable in the Shabbat@Home series, it’s time to bring it all together. Cap off the year with a heartwarming community dinner at the Simon Family JCC, showcasing each family’s creations and newfound Shabbat traditions. Those who have participated in the Shabbat@Home series should bring their creations. Those who haven’t, can bring any candlesticks, kiddush cup, challah board, or cover. Extras will be available to set each family’s table, so don’t worry if it’s not possible to bring anything!

The event is presented by the Konikoff Center for Learning and PJ Library of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, in partnership with Ignite757. Tickets: $8 per child, $12 per adult, and $36 for immediate families. Children under 2 are free.

Visit for more information or to register. Contact Sierra Lautman at or 757-965-6107 with questions.

Coffee and Conversation at the JCC – Keep this conversation going!

It’s time for another round of Coffee and Conversation at the Simon Family JCC. After the enjoyable turnout and lively discussions from the last gathering, it is time to get together and do it again.

In recognition of Jewish American Heritage Month in May, the discussion’s focus will be on antisemitism – how it is showing up in society, and ways that individuals and organizations are working to combat it. Each attendee’s presence and perspective will enrich the conversation.

Thanks to the generous support of the Bartel Family, in honor of their parents and grandparents, Dolores and Alan Bartel, various accessibility accommodations are available for this program. Request them at registration. Join this group to connect with new friends. . . or bring a friend along.

For more information and to RSVP, go to or contact Mia Klein at or 757-452-3184.

Next Rabbi Sacks

Tidewater Community Book Club: The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning

Sunday, April 28, 10 am, Temple Emanuel

In The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning, the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks challenges traditional perspectives on the intersection of science and religion. The Rabbi Sacks Tidewater Community Book Club will dissect Sacks’ insights into how both disciplines complement each other in understanding the universe.

The aim of this collaborative initiative, orchestrated by the Konikoff Center for Learning and area synagogues, is to foster a vibrant community of learners grappling with Judaism’s most pressing questions while embracing modern perspectives. Reconciling science and religion might create deeper meaning and purpose.

Register at While reading the book prior to the meeting will enrich the discussion, it is not required to participate.

Saturday, May 11, 11 am – 2 pm Bayside High School

The Family and Student Wellness Expo connects families with local resources, cultivating a stronger sense of community as well as ensuring families remain informed of mental wellness, family engagement, and student support options.

The event includes a food truck, exhibitors, a vaccine clinic, games, activities, and music. Leigh Ellard, membership experience director for the Simon Family JCC, will be among those hosting a table.

Bayside High School is located at 4960 Haygood Road in Virginia Beach. –

For more information, contact the Virginia Beach City Public Schools Office of Student Support Services at 757-263-1980. Simon Family JCC to participate in Family and Student Wellness Expo | May 1, 2023 | Israel @ 75 | JEWISH NEWS | 41 | April 22, 2024
Mia Klein
Thursday, May 2, 1 pm, Sandler Family Campus
Sierra Lautman
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Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month: A journey through art at the Chrysler Museum

Wednesday, May 15, 2 pm

In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, the Chrysler Museum of Art is hosting a special guided tour to explore the rich tapestry of Jewish culture and heritage through art. The tour is in partnership with United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. This docent-led tour is an insightful journey through the museum’s collection, highlighting artworks that resonate with Judaic themes or are crafted by Jewish artists, offering an opportunity to delve into the artistic expressions of Jewish identity and history.

The museum, known for its diverse collection spanning centuries and continents, serves as an ideal backdrop for this exploration of Jewish heritage through art. Through paintings, sculptures, and other artworks, guests will see how artists convey the complexities of the Jewish experience and the universal language of creativity.

To RSVP for the tour, visit The tour will begin promptly at 2 pm in the museum’s Huber Court. For more information, contact Hunter Thomas, UJFT’s director of Arts + Ideas, at

Elie Wiesel Student Art Competition showcases powerful reflections on the Holocaust

Temple Emanuel: Sund vbΩay, May 5

Sandler Family Campus:

Monday, May 6 – Wednesday, May 15

Organized by the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, the annual Elie Wiesel Student Art Competition recently concluded with a formidable display of student artwork exploring the Holocaust’s lessons. The competition invited middle and high school students to create visual art pieces that captured the essence of moral courage and the dangers of prejudice by exploring the concepts of personal identity and stolen art. Judging took place on April 3.

The winning entries will be on display at this year’s community Yom Hashoah commemoration at Temple Emanuel on Sunday, May 5, and in the Sandler Family Campus Cardo, May 6 - 15.

The Elie Wiesel Student Art Competition serves as a reminder of the enduring importance of Holocaust education and the role that art can play in preserving the memory of those who perished. The Cardo exhibition will allow the community to witness the profound impact this competition had on the young artists who participated.

Senior Health and Fitness Day Health Fair, Honest Aging with Rosanne Leipzig, and Senior Prom – All in one day!

Wednesday, May 29, Simon Family JCC on the Sandler Family Campus

Senior Health and Fitness Fair: 9 am - 12 pm • Rosanne Leipzig: 12 pm • Senior Prom: 4 pm

The Sandler Family Campus will be bustling with joy and activity catering to the vibrant senior community with three events on Wednesday, May 29.

The day will begin with the Senior Health and Fitness Day Fair, inviting active adults aged 55 + to join the nationwide celebration of aging Americans staying healthy and fit. With more than 100,000 seniors participating across the U.S., this event promises to be both informative and engaging.

Organized by the Simon Family JCC, the fair will feature vendors from around Tidewater such as The Talbot on Granby, Sentara Optima Health, and many

others, offering insights and resources. A special session, Honest Aging with Rosanne M. Leipzig, MD, an expert in evidence-based geriatrics, will provide guidance on navigating the second half of life, addressing physical, psychological, functional, and emotional aspects of aging with candor, humor, and empathy. Thanks to the generous support of the Bartel Family, in honor of their parents and grandparents, Dolores and Alan Bartel, various accessibility accommodations are available for this

program. Request them during registration.

Later that afternoon, the festivities continue with the Senior Prom, offering an opportunity for seniors to relive cherished moments and create new memories. Whether dancing ‘the night away’ or simply enjoying the company of friends, the Senior Prom promises to be a delightful affair, highlighting the spirit of community at the Simon Family JCC.

For more information or to be a part of some or all the events on this day, contact Mia Klein at or 757-452-3184.

42 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
Hunter Thomas
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Judging the art at the Sandlert Family Campus.



Rabbi Sacks Tidewater Community Book Club. 10 am. Temple Emanuel. Free. Information and registration: or contact Sierra Lautman at SLautman@ or 757-965-6107. See page 41.


Coffee and Conversation at the JCC. 1 pm. Simon Family JCC. Free. Information and registration: or contact Mia Klein at or 757-452-3184. See page 41.


Yom Hashoah. Honor Holocaust survivors and remember those who perished. 6:45 pm. Temple Emanuel. Information: or contact Elka Mednick at See page 11.

Brith Sholom board meeting featuring David Abraham and an update on the progress of Aviva at Pembroke. Board meeting at 10 am, general meeting at 11 am. Brunch follows. $5 in advance, $10 at the door, guests $10. Simon Family JCC. Information and registration:


Elie Wiesel Competition Student Art Show. The Elie Wiesel Competition student art show displays the winning entries of the 2024 competition, in addition to several powerful pieces by middle and high school students. Sandler Family Campus. See page 42.


Forgiveness and Gratitude: Secrets to a more meaningful and fulfilled life with Rabbi Chaim Tureff. Presented by Jewish Family Service of Tidewater. 12 pm. Light lunch. Free. Sandler Family Campus. RSVP


Jewish American Heritage Month Tour. 2 pm. Chrysler Museum of Art. Space is limited, RSVP required. Information and registration: or contact Hunter Thomas at or 757-965-6137. See page 42


An Israeli Chef’s Table Experience. Chef Yaniv Cohen, owner of JAFFA in Miami, author of the cookbook, My Spiced Kitchen, and founder of The Spice Detective blog, prepares and serves dinner that includes Israeli wine bar. 7 pm. Sandler Family Campus. $54/ person or $72/person with a signed copy of My Spiced Kitchen. Information and registration: or contact Nofar Trem at


Generic Theater presents Indecent Inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance, Indecent charts the history of an incendiary drama and the path of the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it. Information and registration: or contact Hunter Thomas at


Yom Ha’Atzmaut in honor of Israel’s 76th Anniversary. An afternoon for all ages filled with all things Israel. Registrants of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s Run, Roll, or Stroll will enjoy exclusive early admission at 11:30 am. 12 – 3 pm. Sandler Family Campus. Information and registration: or contact Nofar Trem at

Employment Opportunity

Director of Human Resources

The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater/Simon Family JCC seeks a proven experienced candidate for the position of Director of Human Resources.

The Director of Human Resources serves as an integral member of the professional leadership team, under the direction of the Executive Vice President/CEO, and is responsible for the development and implementation of human resource policies for the agency covering areas such as recruitment and hiring, employee relations, compensation, performance management, and compliance with applicable employment laws and regulations.

Additionally, the Director of Human Resources is responsible for all HR functional areas for the Tidewater Jewish Foundation and the UJFT Community Campus, LLC., (aka, Sandler Family Campus).

A bachelor’s degree in human resource management, business administration or related field required from an accredited university or college with a minimum of 7 years demonstrated progressive leadership experience in all HR functional areas. Master’s degree preferred. SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP credential strongly desired.

Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, and PowerPoint. The successful candidate will possess strong interpersonal and listening skills and understand the mission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Position start date: April 1, 2024.

Salaries are competitive and commensurate with experience.

Complete job descriptions at and

Submit cover letter, resume and salary requirements to:

Attention: Taftaleen T. Hunter, Director of Human Resources – Confidential 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462

Equal Opportunity Employment | May 1, 2023 | Israel @ 75 | JEWISH NEWS | 43 | April 22, 2024


Mary Alice Fobian Epstein

VIRGINIA BEACH - Mary Alice Fobian

Epstein passed away March 29.

Mary was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on September 30, 1938. She graduated from St. Gertrude’s High School in Richmond. Mary then became a registered nurse after graduating from Mary Immaculate School of Nursing in Newport News.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Herbert Seymour Epstein, infant son, James Roy Belote, Jr., mother, Mary Alice Fobian, and father, Frank Reinholdt Fobian.

Mary is survived by her four children who loved her very much: Susan Belote Connor of Tulsa, Okla. and grandchildren, Morgan and John, Michael (Jerry) Belote of Virginia Beach and grandchildren, Jack and Max, Carolyn Ann Belote of Virginia Beach and their dog, Bumblebee, and Jim Belote and wife, Lee, of Virginia Beach and grandchildren, Justin, Garrett, and Ally.

While living in Richmond, she met and married Herbert Epstein. She gained a new

family with Herb’s son, Herbie, his wife, Konstance, and their children, Joel, Beth, and Josh.

Mary dedicated many years of her life to helping others as a private scrub nurse. She doted on her nine grandchildren and always made everyone feel welcome in her home. Mary had a love and talent for drawing and painting. She was artistically creative, having written many poems. Mary Alice Fobian Epstein loved the Lord and passed peacefully surrounded by her family.

Anita Smith Kinsley

MERRIMACK, N.H. – Anita Smith Kinsley passed away on April 2.

Beloved wife of the late David Kinsley, Anita was the devoted mother of Michelle Kinsley and Jeffrey Kinsley and his wife, Christine. She was the dear sister of Mannie Smith and his wife, Judy, and Debbie Cook and her husband, John. Anita was also the loving grandmother of Jack Kinsley, Alexa Quintero and Brynn Quintero.

Graveside services were held at the B'nai

Brith of Somerville Cemetery in Peabody, Mass. Contributions in Anita’s memory may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, Mass. 02284. For online guestbook, visit the funeral home website,

Betty Lou Legum

NORFOLK - Betty Lou Legum, a lifelong resident of Norfolk, passed away on April 13 at the age of 96.

She was predeceased by her parents, Jesse and Rose Ruden Rafelman, Robin Legum Siegel, and her husband Charles “Sonny” Stuart Legum.

After graduating from Maury High School, Betty Lou attended the University of Michigan, Drexel Institute of Technology, and Old Dominion University. Having received her Bachelor of Science in Education, she taught in the Virginia Beach school system for 30 years.

Betty Lou is survived by her son, Jason Legum, and his wife, Gerri, her son-in-law, Dr. Gary Siegel, and his wife, Laurie, grandchildren Austin Siegel and his wife, Aimee, Corey Siegel, Dr. Marni McClure and her husband, Mark, Bryan Legum and his wife, Sara, and Alex Legum, and great-grandchildren Asher, Shayna, Binyamin, and Rachael Leah Siegel, Robin and River McClure.

The funeral service was graveside at Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Koas officiating. Memorial donations may be made to Congregation Beth El, 422 Shirley Avenue, Norfolk 23517 or to a charity of one’s choice.

Shirley Rosen

PORTLAND, MAINE – Shirley Rosen, 93, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and friend, passed away March 22.

Shirley, the daughter of Lena Shlanger Binder and Joseph Binder, was born in New York City, N.Y. on Dec. 16, 1930, on the Lower East Side. She graduated from Seward Park High School, class of 1949, and attended City College of New York. She was proud to be a first American citizen, and her parents taught her to value family, tradition, to maintain high moral standards, and to have compassion for those less fortunate. She lived her life by these principles.

Shirley and her husband, Murray, married in 1956 in New York and moved soon to Portland. She was a stay-at-home mom until her children were a bit older, a pre-school

teacher at K’Ton Ton Nursery School until 1974, and then she went to work for the Department of Labor, Unemployment Division, where she helped numerous people. She retired in 2003.

She could always be counted on if anyone needed help. Her family was very important to her, and she was inseparable from her husband, Murray. Shirley was very proud of her children, Nancy Rosen and Barry Rosen. She affectionately called her five grandsons “My Guys,” and her friends became extended family.

Shirley will be missed by her daughter, Nancy Rosen of Virginia Beach, her son, Barry Rosen and Deirdre Rosen of Naples, Fla., and her grandsons Matthew Rosen, Daniel Rosen, Scott Rosen, Gregory Rosen and Brendan Rosen.

Shirley was laid to rest next to her love of her life and waltz partner, Murray Rosen, after a funeral service at Temple Beth El in Portland, Maine.

Donations may be made in her honor to Temple Beth El of Portland, Maine.

Jeffrey Alan Swartz

PUERTO NUEVO, MEXICO - Jeffrey Alan Swartz passed away March 11 at his home. He left this world suddenly after an incomparable 71 years, having perpetually blazed his own trails.

Son of the late Arthur F. Swartz and Raye Zfass Swartz-Keller, Jeff was born on February 22, 1953. Jeff was a self-proclaimed “Norfolk boy,” and a proud Maury and VCU graduate. He owned and operated his beloved promotional products business, Powerhouse Advertising, for nearly 30 years in the Tidewater area before moving to Austin, Texas, and later settling in Mexico. For most of his life, Jeff was an avid runner, tennis player, and traveler, with a passion for music and photography. He had a talent for making friends and creating communities wherever he went, and they will remember him for his generosity and quick wit. Known for shooting from the hip, Jeff was always unapologetically himself and never a “yes” man. Jeff loved driving fast and cherished his sports cars. He made Saabs cool.

Jeff is survived by his daughter, Cara Scheffres, and her children, Cooper and Jack Poorman, son and daughter-in-law, Matt and Jessica Swartz, and their children Adelyn

44 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
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and Ben Swartz, daughter and son-in-law, Dee Dee Swartz and Tom Midlane, and son and daughter-in-law, Steven and Stephanie Swartz, and their son, Wesley Swartz.

He is also survived by his sister, Susan Swartz Hookman (Perry) and his brother, Charles R. Swartz (Paula), as well as countless beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.

He was the best dad. He will be forever missed.

Mindy Kaufman Stergas

CHESAPEAKE - Mindy A. Stergas, beloved wife, sister, aunt, and friend, passed away on January 13.

She was born on September 21, 1961, in Maryland. Mindy was 62 years old at the time of her passing.

Mindy led a life filled with simple pleasures and cherished moments. She found

joy in playing Bingo, indulging in jewelry making, exploring the world on cruises, and the convenience of online shopping. These interests brought her immense happiness and created lasting memories for those fortunate enough to share in her experiences.

Mindy was preceded in death by her father, Murray M. Kaufman, her mother, Judith B. Kaufman, and her loving husband, David W. Stergas.

Left to honor Mindy's memory are her sister, Lori Kaufman, her niece, Sarah Kaufman (Brian), and her great nephew, Holden Wallace. Additionally, she is survived by her dear cousins, Deborah Smith, Lawrence Patish, and Michael Patish. Mindy also leaves behind her cherished friends, Vickie and Tom Goolsby, Dale Corne, and Wendy Gray, who were like family to her.

May you rest in peace Mindy.

Amy Ettinger, who inspired readers with her life-affirming essays on dying, succumbs to cancer at 49

Andrew Silow-Carroll

(JTA) Amy Ettinger, an author and creative writing instructor who chronicled the last months of her life in articles for the Washington Post, died March 20 from cancer at her home in Santa Cruz, California. She was 49.

Ettinger’s essays focused on the things she was able to do and cherish despite her diagnosis with a rare, incurable cancer called leiomyosarcoma: seeing a live performance of Mamma Mia! with her 14-year-old daughter, Julianna; eating her favorite pastry from a San Francisco bakery.

“I’ve learned that life is all about a series of moments, and I plan to spend as much remaining time as I can savoring each one, surrounded by the beauty of nature and my family and friends,” she wrote.

Ettinger was an occasional contributor to Kveller, the Jewish family website that is a Jewish Telegraphic Agency partner. There she wrote about her mother’s kugel recipe (“light brown on its crispy top, and the color of milky coffee in the middle”), and how she, as a “non-observant Jew,” marked Yom Kippur — which in 2013 happened to fall

on her 10th wedding anniversary.

“Like Yom Kippur, a wedding anniversary is a time to take a step back from your daily life — to weigh the good and bad, to contemplate your triumphs and missteps, to make a vow to do better individually and as a couple,” she wrote.

Ettinger was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up in Cupertino, California. She discovered her calling as a journalist in high school. She majored in American literature at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1999.

Her writing appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, New York Magazine, Salon, CNN and Newsweek. In a 2021 article for AARP, she wrote how her mother’s death inspired her to learn Sheila Ettinger’s favorite game: mahjong. She taught writing classes at Stanford Continuing Studies.

Her follow-up story to her Washington Post article, titled I Have Little Time Left. I Hope My Goodbye Inspires You, appeared on the newspaper’s homepage less than two weeks before she died.

“I am choosing to focus my limited time and energy on doing the things I love with the people I care most about. It’s a formula that works, I think, no matter where you are in your life,” she wrote.

In an article written after she died, her husband, the writer Dan White, wrote that

In 2017, Penguin Random House published her memoir-cum-travelogue Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America. In it she wrote how she keeps “between fifteen and thirty dollars’ worth of ice cream in my freezer at all times” — not to eat, but as an “emergency backup system” in case one of her favorite shops or stores runs out.

she had dictated her last essay to him from a reading room at UC Santa Cruz with a view of a redwood forest. He said she had gotten hundreds of personal responses: A handful “unwelcome, including missives from ultrareligious people wanting my proudly Jewish wife to get saved to spare herself from hellfire,” but the vast majority saying Ettinger had inspired them to make the most of their lives no matter the cards they’d been dealt.

“Amy had no way of predicting that the lines she composed on the spot would be calls to action for readers from all over the United States, as well as Canada, Poland, France and Greece,” White wrote. | April 22, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 45
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Testament: The Story of Moses is one of Netflix’s top shows — and it features multiple rabbis

Jackie Hajdenberg

(JTA) — Nearly every Easter and Passover season since 1973, Americans have tuned in to ABC to watch Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 sand-and-sandals epic The Ten Commandments.

This year, Netflix picked the season to premiere Testament: The Story of Moses, a docudrama retelling the Exodus with expert commentary from religious leaders across a variety of Jewish, Christian and Muslim denominations. The series — the company’s first foray into the growing faith-based movie marketplace — debuted as the No. 1 show on the streaming platform.

What edge does Moses have over the show it displaced from the top spot, the big-budget sci-fi drama Three Body Problem? Not great reviews, that’s for sure: The few takes on Testament have been negative, citing “mediocre” visual effects, biblical inaccuracies, and claims of empty attempts to anachronistically interpret Moses’s story as one of social justice.

that you’ve got some conservative and liberal members of these three traditions who are also responding. And my guess is that that’s probably helping expand the audience.”

Previous film and television adaptations of the story of Moses include DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, which starred Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Pharaoh; 1975’s Moses the Lawgiver starring Burt Lancaster and Anthony Quayle as Moses and Aaron; Mel Brooks’ 1981 portrayal of Moses in multiple comedy sketches in History of the World: Part I; and Moses, the 1995 miniseries starring Ben Kingsley as the titular biblical figure. The 1998 animated DreamWorks musical The Prince of Egypt, featuring songs performed by Israeli musician Ofra Haza, has become a cult favorite.

But Rabbi Maurice Harris, one of the onscreen Jewish commentators and the author of Moses: A Stranger Among Us, said he understands the appeal.

“This is one of the better examples of this kind of Bible story brought to the big screen,” Harris says. “And I also think maybe it’s got enough that’s surprising in it for viewers coming from different backgrounds to sort of keep people engaged.”

Harris, a Reconstructionist rabbi based outside of Philadelphia, says he was initially approached for the project back in 2020 but did not hear back from the producers until 2022, at which point he wanted to ascertain the Turkish-American production company’s commitment to a religiously diverse perspective and a regionally accurate cast.

Ultimately, Harris joined three other rabbis — Menachem Posner, Rachel Adelman and Shlomo Einhorn — in commenting on the life of Moses, played by the Israeli actor Avi Azulay. He said he believed the diversity of the commentators, plus the centrality of Moses in all three Abrahamic religions, has helped propel the series to its success.

“Within 15 minutes, you’re confronted with the fact that you’re hearing from Muslims and Jews and Christians and from women and men,” Harris says. “And if you’re somebody who comes from a small-c highly conservative religious background that is sort of committed to interpreting the Bible very literally, you’re confronted with the fact

Ridley Scott’s 2014 epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, featured an all-star cast, including Christian Bale as Moses, Joel Edgerton as Pharaoh, and Ben Kingsley as Nun, one of Moses’ assistants and the father of Joshua the spy, portrayed by Aaron Paul. (Despite its cast, director, and hype, Exodus: Gods and Kings” scored poorly among critics.)

The Netflix version uses an increasingly popular form of storytelling known as a hybrid documentary, in which dramatized scenes are interspersed with more traditional footage of experts and, in cases where Bible stories match or reflect the record, historical evidence. Over three episodes, the show depicts Moses’ rise as a leader of the Israelites in Egypt, his confrontation with Pharoah and, finally, the parting of the Red Sea as Moses leads his people from slavery to freedom.

Harris says he appreciated how the series made use of lesser-known, extra-biblical Jewish texts known as midrash, giving even a viewer like him with substantial knowledge of Moses’ story something new to think about.

The minor character of Serach bat Asher, for example, makes an appearance in the first episode. In the Torah, Serach is the daughter of Asher and granddaughter of Jacob and is never part of any narratives, but only listed in two censuses, in the book of Genesis and the book of Numbers, hundreds of years apart.

“For the ancient rabbis who were faithful to the belief that the Torah was completely dictated by God and has no mistakes in it, they had to make sense of this person who seemed to have this crazy long life — and they run with this,” Harris explains. “They develop this elaborate midrash about her being this woman who lives almost like an immortal figure, across these huge time spans of Jewish history.”

In Testament, Serach is also the keeper of God’s true name. To prove that Moses has truly been visited by God, he tells Serach the name as revealed to him, and the Hebrew people recognize Moses’s significance as their leader.

“I was surprised that they found a way to give a nod to this figure who, if you’re not immersed in learning about midrash, you just wouldn’t know about it all,” Harris says.

He adds, “I don’t know whether what they’re weaving in is something from one of the other religious traditions, or whether it’s something that they took some creative license themselves, but I feel respect for the choices that they made.”

In addition to including multifaith voices and unsung stories, Harris appreciated the inclusion of comments by Andy Lewter, a historian and bishop at Hollywood Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral who reflects on the similarities between slavery in the Bible and in the United States.

“The slave labor of Egypt was critical to the economy of the same,” Lewter, who is African American, says in Testament. “And so you say, ‘Let my people go,’ the natural question of Pharaoh and the entire Egyptian economy is, ‘Well, who’s going to do the work? Who’s going to shoulder this labor?’ Just like 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation raised the question of, ‘Well, if you let all the slaves go, who’s going to pick the cotton?’”

The first episode, which runs 81 minutes, also focuses heavily on the Hebrew midwives, and their efforts to conceal the birth and early life of Moses at a time when the Egyptians were killing the Hebrews’ first-born sons. In the series, Moses’s wet nurse in the Egyptian palace turns out to be his biological mother, Yocheved — an account also found in midrash.

“I love the fact that this story begins with this one nursing woman and her infant,” says Celene Ibrahim, a scholar of Islamic studies who has taught religious studies at Hebrew College and is also featured in Testament. “How likely in our conception do we think that a revolution is going to start with a nursing mother?”

Netflix so far has a small faith and spirituality film category, but when used as a search term, more options appear. The majority of those programs are heavily Christian, with the exception of a few Jewish titles. But programs like Seinfeld, Showtime’s comedy drama series Shameless, and Nickelodeon’s tween comedy series Victorious also appear in the search results for faith and spirituality.

Exactly what’s next for Netflix in faith-based programming is not clear, but it’s unlikely that the platform will produce content for Jewish audiences specifically. Testament: The Story of Moses was streamed 13.5 million times in the first five days of its release — meaning that about as many people watched in one week as there are Jews in the world.

46 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
ARTS & CULTURE | May 1, 2023 | Israel @ 75 | JEWISH NEWS | 47 | April 22, 2024

To celebrate Earth Day, Checkered Flag is introducing Keys for Trees, an all-new environmentally focused effort where we pledge to plant 75 trees for every new car sold now through the end of the month. So don’t wait, shop now and together we can reach our goal of planting more than 30,000 trees in nearby Virginia forests.

48 | JEWISH NEWS | April 22, 2024 |
75 trees planted for
new car
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