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Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 51 No. 4 | 12 Kislev 5773 | November 26, 2012

Non-Profit Org. u.s. postage paid Easton, MD Permit No. 108

Operation Pillar of Defense

30

INSIDE

17 Hebrew Ladies Charity Society: 110 years

18 Jewish Book Festival

19 Evangelicals and Israel

C e l e b r at e C h a n u k a h 2 9


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Israel’s right to self-defense by Robin Mancoll, director, Community Relations Council of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

T

he Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater unequivocally condemns the ongoing barrage of missiles that are being fired from Gaza into Israeli civilian centers. We staunchly support Israel’s right to defend her citizens. We stand in solidarity with the Israeli people and their fight against terror, now as always. Following a month of similar rocket attacks, rockets have been fired from Gaza killing and injuring Israeli citizens, causing extensive damage to homes and businesses, and forcing hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens in the South and in Tel Aviv to seek shelter from the attacks. In a retaliatory airstrike in the Gaza Strip Wednesday, Nov. 14, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) killed a top Hamas military commander. Ahmed Al-Jabari was the head of Hamas’ armed Izz al-Dinn Al-Qassam Brigades. He was behind the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006 and responsible for a decade of terrorist activity against Israel. Al-Jabari and a passenger were killed when their car was hit by an Israeli missile. The strike was part of an Israeli campaign named Operation Pillar of Defense which struck at the long-range missile capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Hamas leadership has responded to the Israeli operation with an escalation of rhetoric and calls for revenge. According

contents

Up Front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Operation Pillar of Defense. . . . . . . . . . 7 Federation Shabbaton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 AIPAC Breakfast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Special needs B’nai Mitzvot. . . . . . . . . 10 Freedom 25. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Election 2012: Republicans. . . . . . . . . 12 Getting through homework . . . . . . . . 14 Create a Jewish Legacy. . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Beth Chaverim adult B’nai Mitzvah . . 15

to Israeli news source Ynet, top Hamas terrorist Ismail al-Ashkar said “The resistance’s options are now open and they include suicide attacks and quality attacks in Israel cities.” As the IDF’s spokespeople begin signaling the country’s willingness to deploy ground forces into Gaza, there is a possibility of an escalation in the cross-border fighting. “Facing such aggression, Israel has demonstrated extraordinary restraint, but no country can sustain such flagrant attacks indefinitely,” said Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Alvin Wall, president of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, said, “Israeli parents, like American parents--and Palestinian parents--seek a life in which children can live without fear. Israel’s right to defend her citizens is non-negotiable.” The CRC of the UJFT reiterates its recognition of Israel’s right and moral obligation to defend her citizens. Keep up-to-date with the situation in Israel through the CRC’s facebook page.

Donations The people of Israel are struggling with the physical, emotional and psychological impact of living under siege on a daily basis as rocket fire streams into the south from terrorists in the Gaza Strip. The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) opened a new Israel Terror Relief Fund https://secure-fedweb.jewishfederations.org/page/contribute/help-israel-now, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the

Max Sandler in Ethiopia. . . . . . . . . . . HLCS at 110 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jewish Book Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Israel and Evangelicals . . . . . . . . . . . . Innovative Israel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What’s Happening. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mazel Tov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Professional Directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Book Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Face to Face: Morris Elstein, MD. . . .

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 22 23 24 24 26

Tidewater Jewish Foundation has placed a tzedakah box in the lobby of the Simon Family JCC to collect donations for the Israel Terror Relief Fund. Donations will be accepted through

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

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people of Israel at this critical time. This new Fund will help support the more than one million residents of Israel’s South and provide aid to those who are victims and the most vulnerable Israelis during this time of conflict. One hundred percent of all donations will be used for aid. You can also text ISRAEL to 51818 to support the fund.

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and a big smile…

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and the right attitude,

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and that goes a long way”

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jewishnewsva.org | November 26, 2012 | Jewish News | 3


briefs Wiesel, Sharansky address JFNA General Assembly Elie Wiesel and Natan Sharansky reflected on the 1987 March on Washington for Soviet Jewry during a special plenary session of the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly. The discussion in Baltimore featuring Wiesel, a Nobel laureate, and Sharansky, a Soviet refusenik who planned the historic march that helped free Soviet Jewry, was moderated by Laura Bialis, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and founder of the Foundation for Documentary Projects. Sharansky is now the chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel. During the GA, the first-ever report on inclusion of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender within Jewish organizations in North America was released during a special reception. Michael Siegal of Cleveland was installed as the new board chair of JFNA. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the conference in a taped message. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, served as scholar in residence for the gathering. (JTA) Adelson, Raisman in top five on Forward 50 list of influential Jewish Americans The Jewish Daily Forward’s annual list of the 50 most influential Jewish Americans featured Republican Party mega-donor Sheldon Adelson and Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman in the top five. Joining Adelson and the gold-medal winning Raisman in the top five of the Forward 50 were composer Philip Glass, TV star Lena Dunham and Agudath Israel of America Executive Vice President Rabbi David Zweibel. The full list (http://forward.com/specials/ forward-50-2012/?full-list) is published online. It includes Jewish heavyweights in politics and the entertainment industry, but also some more unusual choices. The most read profile, according to Forward editor Jane Eisen, was of Hindy Poupko Galena, a New York mother who blogged about her baby daughter’s struggle against a fatal disease, prompting an outpouring of support through cyberspace. The other most popular profiles included Bessie Shemtov, founder of the Friendship Circle, which links volunteers with disabled children and has grown from a single chapter in Detroit to a nationwide movement; and Michael Uram, the Hillel rabbi at the University of Pennsylvania who

led a successful response to the first-ever campus conference advocating the controversial BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel; and Andy Bachman, the rabbi of a Reform congregation in Brooklyn who has led a religious revitalization. Others featured in the Forward 50 included Open Zion website editor Peter Beinart; scientist Maria Chudnovsky; U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader in the House of Representatives; New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren; and singer Barbra Streisand. Eisner noted the increased number of women and girls featured on the list. (JTA)

IAEA: Iran ready to double operative centrifuges at Fordo Iran is set to double the number of active centrifuges at an enrichment site that Israel claims has been fortified against attack. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, estimates that Iran could soon double the number of operating centrifuges at the underground Fordo nuclear site from 700 to 1,400, multiple media outlets reported. Fordo, near the holy city of Qom, is built into a mountainside. Israeli and Western officials say the site has been fortified against attack. According to reports, it has nearly 2,400 centrifuges. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Iran could be poised to manufacture a nuclear weapon as soon as the spring. Israel favors a military strike if diplomatic and economic efforts to stop the suspected weapons program fail. President Obama said that he had a “window” of several months to bring about a diplomatic solution. Montreal gets its first Jewish mayor The job may be temporary, but Montreal has its first Jewish mayor. Michael Applebaum, 49, won a City Council vote to serve as interim mayor for a year, with a promise not to run in the next municipal election, which is slated for November 2013. He also is the first Anglophone mayor in a century of the predominantly French-speaking Canadian city. Applebaum, who was elected to the City Council in 1994, replaces Gerald Tremblay, who resigned in a corruption scandal that linked him to graft and organized crime. Elected to City Council in 1994, Applebaum is the first Jewish person to assume the office of mayor. The highest

4 | Jewish News | November 26, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org

ranking Jewish official in municipal history was Joseph Schubert, who served as acting mayor of the city for three months in 1927 in a role that would be more accurately understood today as deputy mayor or mayor pro tem. Bilingual, though with rusty French, Applebaum was seen as a dark horse to succeed Tremblay. But he built support among his council colleagues. “Mazel tov, Michael, on becoming the first Anglo-Jewish temporary interim mayor in Montreal history!” joked longtime Montreal Gazette columnist Josh Freed. The city’s Jewish Twittersphere, he added, “is filled with jokes celebrating the unexpected victory, like one that said: ‘Who’s Montreal’s most powerful new figure? Applebaum’s mother.’” (JTA)

Symposium briefs community leaders on treating trauma from Sandy Community support is vital for victims of Sandy, the head of the Israel Trauma Coalition told a symposium on helping those still reeling from the superstorm. Talia Levanon, the coalition’s director, at the Nov. 15 symposium at UJA-Federation of New York headquarters touched on some ways that communities should help those who are suffering from the storm, which was among the worst ever in the New York metropolitan area. “There are a lot stress and emotions that come with weather-related trauma. I’ve seen it firsthand in Sri Lanka and Haiti,” Levanon told JTA after the symposium. “People are unstable, physically and emotionally, they deal with fear and anger and are unsure if they can take care of themselves. Community support is what will help pull them together.” Levanon said not to put a time frame on expected recovery for trauma victims, but added that a strong community will help people feel in control, since their lives have been disrupted. Levanon spoke on the importance of sharing useful information, like where to find food, shelter, medicine and counseling, and suggested leaders make informational fliers to keep everyone informed. “We need to work with people on a local level,” she said. “If you are coming in to help a community, make sure to include the voices of people living locally. They know the people, they will know what is needed.” Levanon also emphasized business continuity and said volunteers should be working to get businesses reopened. “When businesses close, the morale is very low. We see this in Israel when areas are

paralyzed from fear of terrorism,” she said. “Try and find a way to get them open so their life’s social continuity will be restored.” Many at the symposium spoke of the trauma they had seen. “It’s nice to see how many have volunteered for the community. But then what? When they disappear, it is us who have to pick up the pieces,” said Ali Gheith of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, who spoke before Levanon. “Some communities in New York have been tight knit and can help each other, but there are others who have suffered serious trauma and they need us.” Gheith warned the crowd not to make any false promises, since the amount of time before people return to their routines is unknown. With many families who have lost their homes, cars and personal belongings, along with family photos and memories, Levanon said it was especially important to treat victims of the hurricane with kindness. (JTA)

Judith Gross sues government, contractor on husband Alan’s behalf The wife of imprisoned contractor Alan Gross sued the U.S. government and the company that contracted his work in Cuba. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Judith Gross in a federal court in Washington alleged that their training was inadequate and a factor in his imprisonment. A spokeswoman said the family was seeking $60 million from the government and Development Alternatives Inc. A news release issued by Scott Gilbert, the family’s lawyer, said the lawsuit he filed seeks to hold DAI and the U.S. government accountable for their role in Gross’ detention and imprisonment, “including their abject failure to advise, train and protect him.” “Mr. and Mrs. Gross claim that DAI and the U.S. Government failed to disclose adequately to Mr. Gross, both before and after he began traveling to Cuba, the material risks that he faced due to his participation in the project,” the release said. It does not mention the figure that the family is seeking. A separate lawsuit filed the same day is seeking $10 million for benefits that the family says Gross’ insurer, Federal Insurance Company, has denied. Gross, 63, of Potomac, Md., was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison for “crimes against the state.” He was arrested in 2009 for allegedly bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s Jewish community. He has exhausted the appeals process. (JTA)


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is the answer to the question: When do the most people come to services? They come for our longest services! On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur! Which proves that I am correct in the supposition that what most Jews are looking for are much longer services! The fact that you cannot fault this logic proves that we Jews are really a countercultural people because the cultural trend today is to rush through learning and to rush through living as fast as we possibly t is my belief that, contrary to popu- can. Our sense of time has changed radicallar suspicion, we Jews are looking ly from what it was in previous generations. for much, much longer services. I Look around you and find that everyunderstand that such a belief seems thing is being abbreviated because of our to smack in the face of common shortening attention span. sense. If you were to ask any 10 Jews at Oxford Press is producing books on the random, they would express the opposite philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, opinion, but our normal behavior belies and others, each less that 100 pages, each that attitude. to be read in less than an hour. Stephen Let me explain. Hawking’s book A Brief History of The daily shacharit service, Time has now been published in for those congregations offering a condensed version entitled Look such worship opportunities, is A Briefer History of Time. The around you often delayed because of a Hundred Minutes Bible has 64 search for the 10th person. pages. It won’t be too long and find that The kabbalat Shabbat serbefore we see Brecht’s Two everything is being Penny Opera, Dumas’ One vice, throughout our region and probably around the abbreviated because Musketeer, or the Dickens’ A country, is a relatively brief Tale of One City. service. Attendance for this Television commercials of our shortening paramount opportunity to that used to last for one attention express Jewish distinctiveness minute are now down to 15 is meager compared to the size seconds. Hour long exercise span. of a given congregation’s potential classes are now down to a half attendance. The Saturday morning serhour. Mini-series on American TV are vice is a bit longer and the attendance is all but gone. Political sound bites on the slightly larger, especially if there is a b’nai news have been reduced to eight seconds. mitzvah involvement. In some of these Millions are spent at fast and faster food instances, we start out with a handful of emporiums. people and, the longer the service continAnd the list goes on. ues, the more people come. And then, just The silliness with which this article as we have the most people, the service is began may well have a serious element. over! It may be a perspective from which to The turnout for Shalosh Regalim events understand the tension between the world varies depending on what socio-religious around us and the world inside our temples gatherings are offered at any given time and synagogues, between frantically rushsuch as programs in a sukkah, congre- ing through life’s experiences and trying to gational sedarim, or tikun l’el shavuot savor the principle that life is to be lived not sessions. summarized and trivialized. But for the actual worship services Give it a try today, read more slowly, connected with these Torah commanded dine more slowly, enjoy your life at a slower holidays, the attendance is usually embar- pace. Live longer. rassingly light. —Rabbi Arthur Steinberg, rabbi emeritus The incontrovertible truth to my theory Ohef Sholom Temple.

I


operation pillar of defense

News Analysis

As it pummels Gaza, Israel faces a Hamas with stronger missiles and closer allies by Ben Sales

KFAR AZA, Israel (JTA)—In some ways, Israel’s latest confrontation with Hamas looks like past conflicts in the Gaza Strip. Operation Pillar of Defense has left some key Hamas leaders dead, depleted weapons supplies and hit more than 1,000 targets in Gaza. “We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the terrorist organizations” in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at his Sunday, Nov. 18 Cabinet meeting. But there are also some important—and more worrisome—differences that Israel is seeing in Hamas this time around. The terrorist organization that rules Gaza is using more powerful missiles, with a range that can reach the Israeli heartland, and Hamas has closer and stronger allies at its side. In the past, Hamas rockets threatened only Israel’s South. At their farthest, the projectiles could reach the desert metropolis of Beersheva and the southern coastal cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod. This time, however, the rockets have flown nearly 50 miles, reaching the densely populated center of the country: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, making Hamas’ rockets no longer just a problem for Israel’s “periphery.” Taken together with Hezbollah’s increasing firepower from Lebanon, terrorist missiles can reach virtually all of Israel. Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system, which shoots incoming missiles out of the air, has helped limit the damage from Hamas’ rocket attacks. The system is deployed to eliminate missiles headed for Israeli population centers, and Israeli officials say the interception rate is near 90 percent. As of Monday, Nov. 19, Iron Dome shot down 350 of 1,000 missiles overall aimed at Israel;

most landed in unpopulated areas and were not targeted by Iron Dome. Complicating matters further for Israel, Hamas has a steadfast ally in Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil visited Gaza earlier this month and voiced support for Hamas. Egypt also recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv after the assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, which marked the beginning of the Israel Defense Forces’ Operation Pillar of Defense. Hamas hosted Tunisia’s foreign minister, Rafik Abdessalem, who during his visit to the Gaza Strip condemned “blatant Israeli aggression.” Cairo’s sympathies make the conflict especially complicated for Israel, which hopes to safeguard its treaty with Egypt even as it attempts to subdue Hamas. So far, the government of Egypt is playing the role of mediator between Israel and Hamas as the two sides discuss a possible cease-fire. By Monday, Nov. 19 the conflict had claimed three Israeli fatalities—from a missile strike on an apartment building in the town of Kiryat Malachi—and dozens of injuries. In Gaza, about 100 Palestinians were reported dead and more than 600 injured. Even as cease-fire negotiations took place, some 75,000 Israeli reserve troops were activated, and military personnel and equipment arrived at the Gaza frontier in preparation for a possible ground invasion. Rows of military jeeps and armored cars sat parked at a gas station near the border while dozens of young soldiers in full uniform—some with helmets and others with vests—stood in groups or clustered with middle-aged officers around tables. For

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many, the immediate concern was about where to find some food. “There’s nothing open,” one soldier complained as he watched a nearby restaurant shutter its doors. Chaim, a soldier who did not give his last name due to IDF restrictions on speaking to the media, told JTA that Israel should act forcefully. “Everyone wants to go in,” he said of a ground invasion. “We’ve waited too long. I’m calm. We have a father in heaven. “We need to keep going,” he said, until the terrorists “don’t exist.” Yossi, a soldier from Ashkelon, a frequent target of Gaza’s missiles, said he’s excited to serve. “I take it,” he said of the rocket fire, “and I also defend.” Polls show Israelis are strongly sup-

portive of the operation in Gaza, and Netanyahu’s political opponents have lined up behind him, notwithstanding the elections in January. “Israel is united in the war against terror,” Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich, a Netanyahu rival, wrote on her Facebook page. She called Jabari an “arch-terrorist,” writing, “His assassination is right and just.” The Obama administration also supported the Israeli operation. “There’s no country in the world that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” President Obama said at a news conference. “We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces, and potentially killing civilians.”

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operation pillar of defense Jewish federations send $5 million to help Israelis (JTA)—The Jewish Federations of North America committed $5 million for an Israeli terrorism relief fund to help Israeli victims of the conflict with Hamas in Israel’s South. The money from the federation umbrella organization will go toward trauma counseling, financial assistance, portable bomb shelters and the transport of children in the conflict zone out of harm’s way. The organization has set up a texting system to donate to the Jewish Agency’s Fund for the Victims of Terror in Israel (text ISRAEL to 51818). The group is also working with its partner agencies in Israel, including the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Israel Trauma

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Coalition and World ORT to assist Israelis in the line of fire. The Jewish Agency for Israel announced that it will take thousands of children and teenagers from southern communities for respite out of rocket range, in coordination with the National Emergency Authority and the local authorities. It also has planned other respite activities for later in the week through the Jewish Federations of North America. The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for Victims of Terror is distributing emergency grants to residents who were injured or whose houses were damaged by rocket fire to help residents with their initial recovery after an attack.

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WASHINGTON (JTA)—President Obama told the Egyptian and Turkish leaders that a resolution to the Gaza-Israel violence must begin with an end to rocket fire into Israel. “If we’re serious about wanting to resolve this situation and create a genuine peace process, it starts with no more missiles being fired into Israel’s territory, and that then gives us the space to try to deal with these longstanding conflicts that exist,” Obama said Sunday, Nov. 18 at a news conference in Bangkok. Obama said he had spoken multiple times with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who happened to be visiting Egypt during the current crisis. Both leaders are among a handful of nations that have close ties with the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip. Obama repeated his assertion that Hamas and other terrorist groups were responsible for the recent intensification of the violence.

“Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles,” the U.S. leader said. “They were landing not just in Israeli territory, but in areas that are populated. And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. “So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians. And we will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself.” Obama said he was “actively” working with all parties to end the missile fire. “What I’ve said to President Morsi and Prime Minister Erdogan is that those who champion the cause of the Palestinians should recognize that if we see a further escalation of the situation in Gaza, then the likelihood of us getting back on any kind of peace track that leads to a two-state solution is going to be pushed off way into the future,” he said.

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WASHINGTON (JTA)—U.S. Jewish groups launched a $5 million “terror relief fund” in the wake of hostilities between Israel and the Gaza Strip. “This new Fund will help support the more than one million residents of Israel’s South and provide aid to those who are victims and the most vulnerable Israelis during this time of conflict,” said a statement from the Jewish Federations of North America, which is coordinating the effort. “One hundred percent of all donations will be used for aid.”

The Reform movement sent out an appeal to its membership on Nov. 15. “Your generosity will allow for an immediate response from the North American Jewish community as we demonstrate our continued collective support for Israel,” it said. Separately, top JFNA officials wrote President Obama thanking him for his backing for Israel in the current hostilities, and particularly for urging Egypt to use its influence to rein in Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip.


The message of the Federation— Synagogue Shabbaton by Rabbi Sender Haber, B’nai Israel Congregation

L

ast month area congregations, in conjunction with the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, hosted a Federation-Synagogue Shabbaton with Professor David Elcott, scholar-in-residence. He spoke on “Rebuilding Community: The Search for New Models of Leadership.” Elcott spoke at Beth El on Friday night and Temple Israel on Saturday morning, but left town before speaking at B’nai Israel because of the approach of Hurricane Sandy. Rabbi Sender Haber delivered the following message to his congregants: Dr. Elcott shared with me that he intended to spend time examining the first chapter of Isaiah. In the first chapter, the prophet chastises the Jewish people. G-d is unhappy with our prayers and our offerings. He wants us to change our ways. Specifically, G-d says: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Each day, as we recite the morning blessings, we thank G-d for the gifts of sight, clothing, and shelter. We thank G-d for our health and for the fact that we have shoes. Dr. Elcott suggested that as we thank G-d for our good fortune it is important to remember our obligation to “Walk in His ways.”.Just as G-d provides food and shelter for us, we need to make it our business

to provide food and shelter for those who need it. Rabbi Chaim Soleveitchik, the genius of Brisk (1853–1918), was once asked to define the role of a rabbi. He replied by quoting the aforementioned quote in Isaiah. The primary role of a rabbi, according to Rabbi Soleveichik, is to ensure that everyone is taken care of, that everybody has shelter and that everybody has food to eat and clothing to wear. Of course we cannot concentrate on world issues to the exclusion of those in our own community. There is something to be said for a reaction to a person who is standing before you without clothing or shoes. Taking off our own coat and shoes and handing them to another human being can be more powerful than alleviating world hunger in a general sense. The story is told of a Jew who was asked by his rabbi to make a rather large donation to an impoverished family. The man agreed immediately and asked to whom he should write the check. The rabbi responded somberly, “make it out to your brother.” We have two duties before us: we have a duty to our own communities and to the people who stand before us. We cannot ignore them and we must help them. At the same time, helping out on a global scale is also an important Jewish concept. According to Isaiah it is the most important area for us to improve upon and embrace.

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he tables and chairs in the Fleder Multipurpose room on the Reba and Sam Sandler Family campus were set up to feel intimate. “Please come join us in our inner circle. It is absolutely not exclusive. We just want you to understand how it feels to visit a Congressional office when you lobby Capitol Hill,” said Karen Lombart as she welcomed attendees for a debriefing by AIPAC speaker, Elliott Mendes. The American Israel Public Affairs southeast regional director came prepared with facts and figures to describe the new Congress and provide an overview of the Middle East’s unraveling political landscape. The presentation was scheduled on Nov. 8. Mendes noted that close to half of the nation’s representatives in the House and the Senate are new since the 2008 election. AIPAC knows that a huge effort is

required to educate the legislature about the paramount importance of maintaining the relationship between the two democracies so that “no daylight” exists between the two countries. Breakfast began with a short video from AIPAC’s website, www.aipac.org, demonstrating the excitement and energy that participants experience at the National Policy Conference. “The three days in Washington are an education in global citizenry and an opportunity to travel to Capitol Hill to talk to our representatives with 13,000 liked minded concerned citizens,” says Robin Mancoll. Members of AIPAC are asking the community toj oin the Tidewater delegation in Washington, D.C. March 3-5, 2013. Call Kate Samuels, Southern States area director at 770-541-7610 or ksamuels@ aipac.org for more information.

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Helping special needs children in Israel prepare for Bar/Bat Mitzvah by Masorti.org and the Jewish News Staff

MASORTI, meaning traditional, is the Hebrew name for the movement of conservative Judaism in Israel. The Masorti Movement fosters the practice of traditional Judaism while embracing modernity. In promoting the combined values of conservative Judaism, religious tolerance and Zionism, the Movement strives to nurture a healthy, pluralistic, spiritual and ethical foundation for Israeli society. One of Masorti’s special programs provides bar and bat mitzvah preparation and Jewish enrichment for Israeli children with special needs. The only national program of its kind, it has brought joy to more than 3,000 families who never thought they would be able to experience such a simcha (happy occasion). The Masorti Movement believes that every child, regardless of ability, deserves this chance to shine—and take his or her rightful place as a Jewish adult, embraced by community. What began in one school for children with special needs today includes up to about 300 youngsters a year who attend 40 special education schools throughout Israel. The Tidewater community helps ensure that this program exists, and continues, through donations made to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Annual Campaign. Allocations are made through the Israel and Overseas committee of the UJFT. Participants have a variety of physical and developmental challenges, such as cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, ADD-ADHD, autism, blindness, hearing impairments and learning disabilities. The program welcomes

children of every religious and ethnic background, many of them new immigrants. Each year, six to nine months of preparation, with teachers certified in special education and knowledgeable in Judaic studies, culminate in communal bar and bat mitzvah celebrations at one of the Masorti kehillot (congregations). Teacher training is an important component of the program, with professional development provided in the latest alternative and interactive modes of learning. Leading up to the big day, youngsters learn about blessings, Shabbat, festivals and customs, performing mitzvot and other activities that reflect Jewish values. When the children are called up to the Torah for an Aliyah, many utilizing special communications devices to recite the appropriate blessings, the congregation is nearly always moved to tears. Locally, Jewish Family Service of Tidewater provides services for Jewish indi-

viduals with special needs, offering a variety of resources to enrich lives, participate in social recreation programs and connect with area synagogues. “It’s important to all families to be connected to the Jewish community through rituals and ceremonies,” says Debbie Mayer, JFS clinical director. “It helps them feel like they belong, like they are a part of the community.” Local rabbis, Mayer says, are very accommodating to special needs individuals, and welcome the opportunity to assist 10 | Jewish News | November 26, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org

with life cycle ceremonies such as a bar or bat mitzvah. Gifts to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Annual Campaign help ensure the success of organizations such as the Masorti Movement and Jewish Family Service of Tidewater. To find out about these and other programs supported by Annual Campaign donations, or to make a donation, visit www.jewishva.org. To find out more about Special Needs Services of the JFS, visit www.jfshamptonroads.org.


25 years later: Soviet Jews and the Freedom 25 Movement The yellow light was invented in 1920.

by Leslie Shroyer

Almost one hundred years later, 85% of drivers have no idea what to do when they see one.

A

book presented at the Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival highlighted next month’s 25th anniversary of the March on Washington to free Soviet Jews. The event was cosponsored by the Community Relations Council of the UJFT. December marks the 25th anniversary of the seminal event of the Soviet Jewry Movement: the March on Washington on the eve of the first Reagan-Gorbachev summit. Freedom 25, a cooperative initiative of numerous Jewish organizations, is using the anniversary to raise awareness about this epic tale. Freedom 25 seeks to engage one million people in an online virtual march on or around Dec. 6. Edith Rogovin Frankel and Ellie Porter, (who introduced Frankel at the Book Festival), are both intimately acquainted with Soviet Jewry. As president of Jewish Family Service in the mid-1970s, Porter and volunteers working for JFS helped settle 26 Soviet families in Tidewater. The team would meet families at the airport, take them to their new apartments, get them jobs, situate the children in schools, help them find supermarkets, doctors and everything it takes to become settled. “Taking them to their first Friday night Temple service and even showing them how to write a check was all part of the acculturation process they experienced,” says Porter. In Frankel’s book Soviet No More: Immigrants Real Life Stories, the author interviews several dozen people who left the Soviet Union to find new lives in both the United States and in Israel. A political science major from Cornell, she was inter-

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Aimee Koller, JCC cultural arts director, Edith Frankel, Michele Goldberg, cultural arts associate, and Ellie Porter

ested in the huge number of Jews being allowed out of Russia in the late 1970s, and wanted to personally ask some of them why they left, and what they expected out of their new lives. Frankel kept these interviews on a high shelf in her house for decades. Curious about what had happened to these people, she tracked most of them down, resulting in a fascinating account of how their lives had changed over 25 years. “We have lost our sense of community as a Jewish people,” Frankel says. “Twentyfive years ago, we were galvanized around a cause—to free Soviet Jews from oppression. We need to rally around something that brings us together.” Freedom 25 seeks to have 1 million people sign on its virtual website by Dec. 6. Learn more and join the virtual march at Freedom25.net. Through its annual campaign, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater supports programs in the Former Soviet Union through ORT, which in turn provides a year-round busing-transportation program for the 310 Jewish children attending an ORT school in Zaporozhe, Ukraine. *of blessed memory

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Jewish groups praise Russia’s removal from Jackson-Vanik WASHINGTON (JTA)—Jewish groups praised the U.S. House of Representatives for graduating Russia and Moldova out of Jackson-Vanik provisions that restricted trade. A joint statement from NCSJ and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations “applauded” Congress for the 365-43 vote to approve the removal of the two countries from the trade restrictions. “In the 1970s, NCSJ and the Conference of Presidents helped to draft and fought for passage of Jackson-Vanik, an amendment to the Trade Act of 1974 that penalizes countries that restrict emigration,” the release said. “The amendment’s adoption in 1974

was a critical tool in pressuring the Soviet Union to allow Jews to escape Communist oppression by emigrating, primarily to Israel and the United States. NCSJ, the Conference of Presidents and other major Jewish organizations support graduation because Russia has a 20-year record of allowing unrestricted emigration abroad.” The U.S. business community had lobbied for Russia’s removal from Jackson Vanik, in part it inhibited trade with one of the world’s biggest economies, but also because Russia’s recent ascension to the World Trade Organization would allow it to sue companies that denied it trade.

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ELection 2012

On the morning after, Jewish Republicans advise the party by Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Think immigration through—again. Forget about gay marriage. And for heaven’s sake, when it comes to rape, shut up! The Republican Party as a whole is having the morning-afters, reconsidering how it might have done better in an election that saw the party fail to win the White House and suffer modest losses in Congress, and Jewish Republicans and conservatives are coming forward with their own insights. “There will be a lot of very frank conversations between our organization and its leadership and the leadership within the party,” Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, says, while also addressing gains that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears to have made among Jewish voters. A number of Romney’s financial backers—including Fred Zeidman of Texas, Mel

Sembler of Florida and Sheldon Adelson —are among the RJC’s leadership, and Brooks makes clear that their voices would be heard. “A lot of the major financial support the candidates received was from the members of this organization,” Brooks says. “There is a lot of weight behind their message on that.” William Daroff, the Washington director of the Jewish Federations of North America and a former deputy to Brooks at the RJC, says Republican Jews would likely advise the party to moderate. “The conventional wisdom is that the election will result in the shift of the Republican Party to the center, particularly on issues of immigration,” Daroff says. “To the extent that the party does shift, it would make Republican candidates more appealing to Jewish voters who may be inclined to vote Republican on foreign policy and homeland security issues but

who have been turned off by conservative Republicans rigidity on social issues. Some of the leading voices counseling moderation of hard-line Republican policies have been Jewish conservatives. One of the first post-election posts from Jennifer Rubin, who writes the Right Turn blog for the Washington Post, says it is time to stop opposing gay marriage in the political arena. “Republicans for national office would do well to recognize reality,” Rubin says. “The American people have changed their minds on the issue and fighting this one is political flat-earthism. As with divorce, one need not favor it, but to run against it is folly, especially for national politicians who need to appeal to a diverse electorate.” Charles Krauthammer, the syndicated columnist, notes sharp Democratic gains among Hispanic voters and counsels a change in immigration policy, making clear that the current GOP emphasis on secur-

ing the borders should be followed by amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country. Romney had advocated disincentives, including making it more difficult for illegal immigrants to get jobs and educations, that would push them to leave, or “self deport.” “Many Hispanics fear that there will be nothing beyond enforcement. So, promise amnesty right up front,” Krauthammer wrote in his Nov. 9 column. “Secure the border with guaranteed legalization to follow on the day the four border-state governors affirm that illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle.” Zeidman, the fundraiser, says Jewish Republicans had a special role in making the case for immigration reform. “The rest of the party has to understand what we as Jews have always understood— that this is a nation of immigrants and to ignore them is to end up losing,” he says. A number of conservatives have lashed back against calls for policy changes, saying that the party was missing the ideas revolution underpinning the 2010 Tea Party insurgency that propelled Republicans to the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. “There’s no point in two Democratic parties,” says Jeff Ballabon, a Republican activist from New York. “Any such victory would be pyrrhic.” Singling out gay marriage or immigration was self-defeating, says Ballabon. “All the postmortems focus on demographics—that’s playing the Democrat’s gem, that’s a loss right there,” he says. Recalling the drawing power of a figure like Ronald Reagan, Ballabon says positions on hot-button issues matter less than a party leader who can appeal across demographic lines. “The only chance we have is there’s another bold visionary who can attract people not based on divide and conquer, but who can inspire people to core American ideals—liberty, freedom, personal responsibility,” Ballabon says. Tevi Troy, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, says the problem was not with policies but with how they were presented. “There are messaging challenges,” he says. ”I don’t think any of our candidates should talk about rape.” GOP Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana—states that otherwise went solcontinued on page 13

12 | Jewish News | November 26, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org


operation pillar of defense

Senate, House resolutions back Israel’s actions in Gaza

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oth houses of the U.S. Congress unanimously passed resolutions expressing support for Israel’s “inherent right to act in self-defense.” The identical non-binding resolutions passed Nov. 15 in the Senate and the following day in the House of Representatives. Initiated in the Senate by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and in the House by Reps. Ileana RosLehtinen (R-Fla.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.), each resolution “expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.” By Nov. 15, the Senate resolution had garnered 64 cosponsors. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee in a statement praised “the leadership of Senators Gillibrand and Kirk, and the extraordinary show of support by the Senate for Israel’s struggle against terrorist attacks on its citizens.” The resolutions are the first such proposed legislation in the wake of Israeli airstrikes launched Nov. 14 in retaliation for rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. Unlike statements of support for Israel’s actions from the Obama administration, the resolutions do not call on both sides to exercise restraint or express regret at casualties on both sides. “We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent

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Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence,” Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, told reporters on Nov. 15. “There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately in order to allow the situation to de-escalate.” More than 60 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed in the escalated violence between Israel and Palestinian terrorists. Among the dead Palestinians is a terrorist leader, Ahmed Jabari. A host of lawmakers have issued statements in support of Israel, and Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on Nov. 14 briefed five senators from both parties— Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). “As a bipartisan group of Senators committed to Israel’s security, we express our solidarity with Israel during this deeply challenging period and denounce the reprehensible and indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad against innocent Israeli citizens,” the senators said in a joint statement. AIPAC praised the outpouring of congressional support. “These statements demonstrate that America continues to firmly stand with Israel and her right to defend herself,” it said. “No nation can tolerate constant barrages of rockets against its civilian population.” (JTA)

continued from page 12

idly for Romney—both lost their seats after making controversial marks about rape that were widely reported and derided. Their losses facilitated a net Democratic gain in the body from 53 to 55. Troy says the Republican Party could learn from its Jewish supporters how to frame its vision of an America of opportunity in ways that would appeal to minorities and immigrants. “You do have a place in America to succeed,” he says. “Jews are a paradigmatic example of a minority that came to the U.S. and did very well in the American system.” Troy says also that the party should consider gradual and not radical changes in some areas. For instance, reversing “Obamacare,” the president’s health care reforms mandating universal coverage, was likely no longer an option. “Repealing Obamacare is not viable right now,” says Troy, an assistant health secretary under President George W. Bush. “I still think the law needs significant reforms, and now is the time to talk about it.” Noam Neusner, a domestic policy adviser and speechwriter for the George

W. Bush administration, says that Jewish Republicans were not necessarily more moderate than other Republicans. Instead, he suggests, the party’s Jews represented a bridge to other communities that tended to perceive Romney as remote. Neusner notes a secretly recorded fundraiser at which Romney referred to hard-core Obama voters as the 47 percent of the country who saw themselves as victims. The Obama campaign hammered Romney with the remarks, replaying the video in ads in swing states. “The biggest problem with that 47 percent video is that he portrayed people who don’t have wealth as victims,” Neusner says of Romney. “Most Jewish Republicans come from families with no wealth and have seen in America a wonderful place to create wealth, and they want to preserve that for others, especially immigrants.” Similarly, Neusner says, Jews were well placed to convey the freedoms offered by American religious liberties. He referrs specifically to an Obama order this year mandating contraceptives coverage for women who work at religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and orphanages.

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Founder & Original Owner of CoverWorks, Inc. jewishnewsva.org | November 26, 2012 | Jewish News | 13


Getting through homework by Tanya Conley

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omework for elementary school children has fallen in and out of favor over the years. In the early 1900s, it was illegal in California for teachers to assign homework to young children who were instead expected to help on the farm or in the family business after school. When Russia launched Sputnik in the Tanya Conley 1950s, the space race began and along with it came a push for homework for American children. In the 1970s, less homework overwhelming and it would help to break it was assigned; in today’s age of No Child down into smaller parts. Left Behind and high-stakes testing, more • Reading is probably the most imporhomework is showing up in backpacks. tant skill to develop in elementary school. At Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, It is a learned skill, like becoming a good teachers believe homework has an impor- cook or baseball player. Together, teachtant place. As an independent school, it ers and parents can help each child find does not practice for Virginia Standards the right book to spark a lifelong reading of Learning (SOL) tests. Instead, habit. Instead of searching for the it prepares students for the acaright ‘reading level,’ search for the demic challenge independent genre and topics that interest schools provide. HAT agrees each child. Read to and with Homework with the National Association children often and model of School Psychologist’s reading at home: magahelps children statement: “Homework zines, newspapers, books, teaches children how to professional journals and learn how to plan take responsibility for letters. Children should tasks and how to work and organize tasks, read nightly even when independently. That is, no other homework is homework helps chilassigned. manage time, make dren develop habits of • Remember positive mind that will serve choices, and problem reinforcement. Speak them well as they propositively about school, ceed through school schoolwork, teachers, solve, all skills that and, indeed, through and classmates. The life. Specifically, homecontribute to effective attitude parents express work helps children are the attitudes children learn how to plan and reflect. Make a positive functioning in the organize tasks, manage statement about the value time, make choices, and adult world of work of homework! problem solve, all skills If parents are providing that contribute to effecassistance often or children and families. tive functioning in the adult are taking an inordinate world of work and families.” amount of time to complete Here are a few tips to help homework, then it may be time children master the skills needed to talk to the teacher. Working as to successfully complete homework: a team, it is possible to determine • Create a positive atmosphere for how best to make homework a producschool-related work. Some students need tive and positive experience. to work near a parent, while others are betTanya Conley is the director of general ter on their own. Avoid noisy distractions studies for Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. such as the television and have good light- Prior to assuming this role, she held the posiing and school supplies handy. tion of HAT science teacher for grades 1–5. • Develop a routine and be consistent Before joining HAT, Conley taught at Ware (such as do homework at the same time Academy in Gloucester, Va. and served as every day). the religious school principal at Temple Beth • For a struggling child, take time to El of Williamsburg. She holds a bachelor-ofhelp him verbalize the problem: Are the arts degree from Brandeis University and is directions confusing? Are needed notes or licensed to teach PreK-sixth grade. word lists missing? Perhaps the work seems 14 | Jewish News | November 26, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org


FIRST PERSON

Do you remember why you purchased one or more of your life insurance policies? by Philip S. Rovner, president & CEO of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation

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hen we’re young adults, we most often purchase life insurance to pay off our mortgage or provide some surety that our spouse would have a sum of cash should we become deceased before we’ve had the opportunity to build our estates. Over the years, the initial purpose may no longer be valid. During our later years, we may have purchased life insurance to cover possible estate and income taxes and/or to set aside sums to benefit our children and grandchildren. However, as with most things in life, our personal situation and fortunes have either waxed or waned. Our needs are most often quite different than earlier in our lives. Consequently, there is considerable benefit from reviewing your life insurance coverage now. To better understand the coverage and to re-think how this important asset might be better used in the future is essential. Policy guarantees, like most any dated promise and expectation, often look quite different in light of today’s situations. Life expectancy has increased quite substantially over the last 50 to 60 years and the guar-

antees of times past may no longer have the same value to you today. Particularly, with the earlier introduction of Universal Life and Variable Life Insurance policies, there were very few guarantees. The impact of the investment market has assaulted the values which were previously illustrated. And with life expectancies being longer, policies set to endow at age 95 or 100 may have no residual value should you live beyond these contractual dates. There are sometimes actions you can take which will serve to enhance the value of older policies and the guarantees they contain. Several life insurance agents/underwriters who serve on Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s professional advisory committee have made themselves available to review your policies with no obligation and no cost. To Create a Jewish Legacy with Life Insurance, contact Philip S. Rovner at 757‑965-6109 or psrovner@ujft.org to have us review your policy today.

Adult B’nai Mitzvah at Beth Chaverim

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At Shabbat services on Nov. 4, an Adult B’nai Mitzvah took place at Congregation Beth Chaverim. Pictured in front of the Ark: Rabbi Israel Zoberman, Maria Ruckman, Norman Schnobrich, Rita Frank, Esther Diskin, Diane Phillips-Hampel, Ron Greenspan, Shannon Hurley, Janet Rubin, Jim Hibberd and Debbie Hibberd, Rabbi Zoberman’s assistant.

jewishnewsva.org | November 26, 2012 | Jewish News | 15


Young Jewish professionals commit to tackling global issues

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by Laine M. Rutherford

ast year at this time, Adam, Jeanine, Aliza and Max enjoyed the comforts of American life. Today, you’ll find these young Jewish professionals and 21 of their peers living all around the world, in cities and villages from Mumbai, India to Kharkov, Ukraine to Duis, Germany. They have made a yearlong commitment to make a difference overseas in a unique program offered by Entwine, the young adult engagement initiative of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, better known as JDC or “the Joint.” The JDC is the largest Jewish humanitarian organization in the world. It works in 70 countries, specializing in humanitarian aid, Jewish community renewal and disaster relief. The mission of the four-year-old Entwine is to offer a one-of-a-kind movement for young Jewish leaders and advocates who want to make a meaningful impact on global Jewish needs and international humanitarian issues. The particular Entwine program that

Adam and the others are involved in is the JDC’s Jewish Service Corps; its paid participants—recent college graduates and young professionals—are called JSC fellows. The JSC is one of three divisions of Entwine, which also offers educational opportunities, additional global service work and leadership training. “We have 25 fellows in the JSC this year who are placed around the world,” says Naomi Sage, senior program director for Entwine. “Some of them are in Diaspora Jewish communities, some of them are in Israel, and some of them are connected to our nonsectarian development and disaster relief work overseas.” One of the JSC fellows hails from Tidewater. Max Sandler, who was featured in a recent issue of Jewish News, has a placement in Gondar, Ethiopia, where he is working in the field of education, teaching English in a high school. “Max has tons of energy and a big smile…and the right attitude, and that goes a long way,” Sage says. “Your community should feel really proud that one of its young people is making this kind of commitment to take a year of his life and live

in very difficult conditions, and give to this very important work of addressing global and humanitarian challenges. It takes really a special person to make that kind of commitment.” Before going to Ethiopia, Sandler was involved in Entwine in Washington, D.C., close to where he worked and lived after graduating from college. Washington is one of seven cities throughout the United States where Entwine has established Learning Networks, and Sandler helped plan programs and events for the organization. “What we’re hoping comes out of this is a greater awareness of global Jewish issues and a greater commitment in the sense of responsibility to care for these issues,” says Sage. “We see some of the JSC fellows who are inspired by their year of service to go into work in the Jewish community, or to go into work connected to global issues. Others don’t pursue that field of work, but what we do see is that they come out with a real, lasting commitment to these issues and an understanding of them that is different than their peers—and that is what we’re looking for.”

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Working in Gondar, Ethiopia, Jewish Service Corps Fellows Max Sandler and Elizabeth Kurtis with Ethiopian friend.

The JDC and its programs and initiatives, such as Entwine, are able to operate in part due to gifts made to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Annual Campaign. The JDC is a recipient of Israel and Overseas allocations. “Without the support of your community, we can’t do the work that we do,” Sage says. “Whether its working with Jewish communities around the world and ensuring that they can build a vibrant Jewish life, whether its making sure that welfare needs are being met in Jewish communities around the world, whether it’s making sure that social needs are being met in Israel, or whether its making sure that the Jewish community is providing a Jewish response to general humanitarian needs, we can’t do any of that without the support of communities like Tidewater. You make a huge difference.” To find out more about the ways that gifts to the UJFT’s Annual Campaign makes a real difference to real people, visit www.jewishva. org. To find out more about Entwine, its programs and the JDC, visit www.jdcentwine.org. To get an idea of Max Sandler’s life in Gondar, read his blog: www.tibsfordinner.blogspot.com.


Hebrew Ladies Charity Society celebrates 110 years of service by Leslie Legum

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ore than 200 people gathered at Beth Sholom Village on Tuesday, Oct. 23 to celebrate the 110th birthday of Hebrew Ladies Charity Society. Founded in 1902, children and grandchildren of the original founders of HLCS were honored at the luncheon. Photographs of the founders and their descendants were prominently displayed. Proclamations in honor of HLCS were issued by the White House, the Governor of Virginia, the mayors of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, and the directors of Jewish Family Service and Tidewater Jewish Foundation. The mayor of Norfolk declared October 23 as Hebrew Ladies Charity Society Day. “Hats” was the day’s theme, so many women wore hats—both contemporary and vintage. Several guests even wore vintage clothing—either inherited, rented or borrowed. Winners of the hat contest were: Honorable mention to Lillian Piasecki, a resident of The Terrace; third place to Kay Kesser; second place to Esta Kreisman and the first prize to Arlene Kesser. Lili’s of Ghent provided gift certificates for prizes. Lili’s also presented an amazing fashion show using professional models, as well as HLCS members. Members of the community were invited to participate in the event by donating $110 to the 110 Society. Funds will go to Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care of Tidewater and donations are still being accepted. To contribute any amount, mail checks to Carol Levitin at 1321 Noble Street, Norfolk, VA 23518. The lunch was prepared by The Village Caterers. Tables were decorated with mannequin heads wearing hats, as well as other vintage items—jewelry, gloves, lace and more. To join HLCS, send a check for $50 (annual) or $150 for a life membership to Jackie Sandler at 305 Brooke Avenue, #307, Norfolk, VA 23510. HLSC thanks all who supported this event and all the vendors and committee members who made it so successful. (photographs by Laine Rutherford)

Marian Tichatch and Frances Birshtein, president of HLCS.

Kay Kesser, Linda Longman, and Donna Kootner.

Laura Kesser, Arlene Kesser and Sharon Laderberg.

Pearl Glassman.

Miriam Seeherman and Dolores Bartel. jewishnewsva.org | November 26, 2012 | Jewish News | 17


Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival sponsors

T Margie Breslin with Delia Ephron.

Elaine Wolf with BBYO girls.

DID YOU KNOW?

he support of the sponsors of the 2012 Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival enabled the Simon Family JCC to present 12 authors and sell thousands of books. Business sponsors of this year’s festival were Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Monarch Bank, Altmeyer Funeral Homes, Heritage Bank, Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel, and Beth Sholom Village. Individual sponsors were Lynn and Hugh Cohen, Fred and Laura Gross, Kim and Michael Gross, Sandra and Miles Leon, and Terri and Lonny Sarfan. The festival, which ran Nov. 4–18, brought author speakers discussing an array of topics, including Soviet Jewry, bullying, solutions to personal success and comedy. Ultimately, there was something for all ages to share and enjoy. The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. * of blessed memory.

Lynn Sher Cohen, author Francesca Segal, and Anne Kramer.

…You are helping motivated, talented Israeli kids without financial resources reach their full potential? Money raised here in Tidewater makes a real difference to real people every day.

TOGETHER WE DO EXTRAORDINARY THINGS.

Lynn Sher Cohen and Sandra Porter Leon, Book Festival co-chairs, with Delia Ephron, (center).

18 | Jewish News | November 26, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org


Should the Jewish community work with Evangelicals? One of the biggest obstausan Michael, U.S.A. director of the cles to the International Christian Embassy Jewish-Christian Jerusalem addressed a crowd relationship is of nearly 100 people at Temple the media and Emanuel on Sunday, Nov. 4. their negative Speaking about the importance of treatment of working together to support Israel, Jews Evangelicals in and Christians came to hear Michael. Her general and of comments addressed the concerns and Christian supskepticism often expressed by the Jewish port for Israel community, offered a better understand- s p e c i f i c a l l y. Susan Michael, U.S.A. director ing of the Christian perspective and made Other issues of the International Christian practical suggestions on how to further a include concerns Embassy Jerusalem conversation that can promote understand- over proselytism ing between the faiths. and apocalyptic motives suggesting that This was the third event in a series returning Jews to Israel will bring back of interfaith initiatives co-sponsored by Jesus. Michael says, “no one believes anythe Community Relations Council of the thing we do will bring about the future. United Jewish Federation of Tidewater with God has already made plans that actions area synagogues. cannot change.” Michael estimates that out of the 90-120 The International Christian Embassy million born again Christians in the United Jerusalem was started in 1980 as an expresStates, who are routinely mis-labeled as sion of Christian support of Israel and their Evangelicals, about 50 million are pro-Israel. claim to Jerusalem as the capital. Michael Christian support is often motivated by three found that while studying in Israel, the different things. The greatest, is their excite- Bible took on a third dimension, as a hisment and appreciation after having visited tory book, it all just came alive. She now Israel. The second is that many realize that looks at issues from a different perspective, politically it is in the United States’ best “how will this affect Israel? How will this interest to have an ally in the Middle East affect the Jewish community?” She says and it is known that Israel is America’s only that “so many Christians don’t even know a true option. Third is the theological reason Jewish person and we should all approach based on Genesis 12:1-3 where the Lord relationships with real expectations, and in said to Abram, “Go from your country, your an educational way. We don’t learn about people and your father’s household to the interfaith relations by reading a book, we land I will show you. I will make you into a learn by doing it and we learn the most great nation, and I will bless you; I will make from our mistakes.” Her parting words, your name great, and you will be a blessing. “we cannot change 2,000 years of history I will bless those who bless you, and who- overnight!” ever curses you I will curse, and all peoples The Temple Emanuel Men’s Club proon earth will be blessed through you.” vided a beautiful breakfast that was enjoyed by all, starting the event off in a way that made each person feel comfortable to make new friends, obvious by the tables full of Christians and Jews together. “I have been driving by this synagogue for more than 20 years and finally had an opportunity to come in,” said a Christian member of the audience, “I Babbi Bangel, Brenda Horwitz, Abby Horwitz, and Barbara Parks. have been made to

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by Robin Mancoll

Sheldon Fineman, Reul Atkinson, Karen Lombart, Tammy Wohlers, Mark Solberg, Marcie Waranch, Susan Eisner, Rachel Ellenson, and Connie Anonyuo.

feel so welcome that I look forward to more opportunities to come back.” To learn more about the CRC’s interfaith

initiative, contact Robin Mancoll, director, at rmancoll@ujft.org or visit www.jewishva. org/CRC.

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jewishnewsva.org | November 26, 2012 | Jewish News | 19


—A

PRODUCTION —

SHOW SPONSOR

innovative Israel

The proof is in the kugel by Nataly Fleishman

By CHARLES Adapted by PATRICK

DICKENS MULLINS

DEC 7- 23

Get into the spirit of the holidays with VSC’s heartwarming and musical family tradition!

Rory King and Peter Moore as Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge

Don’t miss this special VSC adaptation, featuring the warm carols of a merry olde English Christmas!

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ome of the first thoughts that come to Americans’ minds when thinking about Israel are the Palestinian conflict, the threat of terrorism, and the treat of war with neighboring countries. While the reality of life in Israel, these issues do not define Israel or her people. What Israel is perhaps most proud of is her leadership in innovation and being arguably the most innovative people on the planet, in spite of such a stressful life. Israel as a country has achieved this promise through hard work and creativity, in spite of enormous existential challenges. The proof is in the kugel. Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world’s population can proudly claim the following and much, much more:

Environment • Israel is the only country that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, even more remarkable—in an area that’s mainly desert. • Over 90% of Israeli homes use solar energy for hot water, the highest percentage in the world. • Israel is the first country to host a national electric car network. • Israel operates the world’s largest desalinization plant. • Israeli companies are producing the largest solar energy production facility in the world.

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Science and Technology • More Israeli patents are registered in the United States than from Russia, India and China combined (combined population 2.5 billion vs Israel’s 8 million). It leads the world in patents for medical equipment. • Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, 63% more than the U.S. It also has the most physicians and engineers per capita. • Israel’s scientific research institutions are ranked third in the world. • Israel is ranked second in space sciences. • Israel produces the third most scientific papers per capita.

• Israeli companies invented the drip irrigation system, discovered the world’s most used drug for multiple sclerosis, designed the Pentium NMX Chip technology and the Pentium 4 and Centrium microprocessors, created Instant Messenger (ICQ), and Israeli cows produce more milk per cow than any other in the world.

Business • Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship among women in the world. • Israel has attracted the most venture capital investment per capita in the world, 30 times more than Europe. • Israel has more NASDAQ-listed companies than any country besides the U.S. —more than all of Europe, India, China and Japan combined. • In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute numbers, Israel has more startups than any country other than the U.S. • Microsoft, Berkshire-Hathaway, Motorola, Intel, HP, Siemens, GE, IBM, Philips, Lucent, AOL, Cisco, Applied Materials, IBM, J&J and more - have chosen to make significant investments in Israel. (The above facts were assembled by Taccata Online using publications from United With Israel and Israel & Christians Today) The listing above is just a fraction of all the achievements and innovations that come out of Israel. For a more detailed examination of Israeli innovation, the CRC Israel Advocacy Committee highly recommends the book, Start Up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. This is the first in a series of articles presented by the CRC Israel Advocacy Committee. In the future, current innovations and scientific achievements will be presented in more detail. Contact Robin Mancoll, director of the Community Relations Council or the Israel advocacy committee chairs, Nataly Fleishman and Steve Leon, with any questions about Israel, related concerns, or innovations that deserve future articles. In addition, check out the Everything Israel section on the CRC Website at www.jewishva.org/crc.


what’s happening Film Festival announces lineup Sunday, Jan. 13, 2pm  Life in Stills Short film preceding feature: Sorry, Rabbi

Opening Night at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts

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Saturday, Jan. 19, 7pm  Hava Nagila followed by Opening Night Festivities

ith two decades of outstanding films, this is a milestone 20th year for the Sunday, Jan. 20, 2pm  Virginia Festival of Jewish Film presented David by Alma* and Howard Laderberg. Sunday, Jan. 20, 7pm The 20th anniversary of the festival God’s Neighbors offers an eclectic collection of films that followed by discussion won’t be available anywhere else locally. Monday, Jan. 21, 7pm  Screening committee co-chairs William Mendelsohn’s Incessant Vision Laderberg and Mark Robbins, along with the committee members, teamed Tuesday, Jan. 22, 7pm  up to watch more than 100 films. After Yoss months of watching and discussing, the Short film preceding feature: True to Life group narrowed the search down to 11 Wednesday, Jan. 23, 7pm  films described by Robbins as “entertaining, Free Men thought provoking, fascinating films sure to Short film preceding feature:  A Wonderful Day satisfy our diverse audience.” “Finding the perfect mix of films to Thursday, Jan. 24, 7pm  celebrate the 20th Annual Virginia Festival Mal’s Pick: Yentyl of Jewish Film presented by Alma* and followed by reception with Mal Vincent Howard Laderberg was one of the most of The Virginian-Pilot difficult, yet ultimately satisfying tasks I have ever done,” says Laderberg. “We have Saturday Jan. 26, 7pm  selected a broad range of quality feature AKA Doc Pomus films from all over the world, with the Sunday, Jan. 27, 2pm  emphasis on entertainment, combined with Six Million and One some that may inform you and some that followed by discussion with honored guest may even make you think a little.” Sunday, Jan. 27, 7pm  The festival will kick off with a free Leon the Pig Farmer screening at the Simon Family JCC on Short film preceding feature: Kosher Sunday, Jan. 13. Opening night on Saturday, followed by Closing Night Festivities Jan. 19, will take place at the Sandler Center All films shown at The Roper Performing in Virginia Beach, and the remainder will be screened at the Roper Performing Arts Arts Center unless otherwise noted  *of blessed memory Center in Norfolk through Sunday, Jan. 27. Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Chanukah with an Asian flair for Young Adult Division Saturday, Dec. 1, 8–11 pm

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he Young Adult Division of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is celebrating Chanukah this year with a bash they’re calling “Sushi, Sake, Latke.” Steve Zuckerman, Chanukah Party planning committee co-chair, says “we wanted to do something fun and interesting and different.” So the Jewish meets Asian theme will lend a festive atmosphere to the Cardo area of the Sandler Family Campus when partygoers will enjoy kosher maki rolls, traditional potato latkes and an open bar to include sake, Japanese rice wine. The more adventurous palettes are sure to give their potato pancakes extra kick with a dab of wasabi. The party planning committee, chaired

by Zuckerman and Beth Gerstein, has been working on the Asian-themed party for months. It was important to the entire committee to provide this social program for the young adult community. “At this time of year, we’re all pulled in so many directions. We really wanted to bring everyone together as a community of young adults, and not so many separate circles. At this event, there will be no pressure to do anything or learn anything. It’s an opportunity for us all to get together and drink and have a good time,” Zuckerman says. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. They can be purchased online at jewishva.org/yad or from a member of the YAD Cabinet.

CRC prepares for Date with the State 2013

What We Carry

Monday, Dec. 10, 12 pm The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater invites the community to weigh in on the issues that will be lobbied on in Richmond with the annual Date With the State— Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. CRC will meet to choose the issues and invites anyone interested to attend. If you have an issue you’d like the community to advocate on, submit it to Robin Mancoll, CRC director, at rmancoll@ujft.org no later than Friday, Dec. 7 to allow for review prior to the meeting. If interested in participating in the annual Date With the State, contact Mancoll at rmancoll@ujft.org for details. The meeting will be held at the Sandler Family Campus.

Temple Emanuel Day at Barnes and Noble Town Center — Thursday, Nov. 29

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ll proceeds from the purchase of books, toys, magazines, DVDs, gifts, Nooks, and even from the cafe at Barnes and Nobel on Nov. 29 will go to Temple Emanuel’s Religious School and the Temple Library for scholarships, textbooks, supplies, books for the library and new children’s library programs. Just mention voucher number “10839421” or “Temple Emanuel” at checkout.

Programs that day at the bookstore include: Rabbi Barnett’s Torah study at 1:30 pm, children’s story time and crafts at 5 pm, a Chanukah sing-a-long with Rabbi David Barnett at 5:30 pm, and the Book Club’s monthly meeting at 7:30 pm. The support is not just limited to that store on that day. Barnes and Noble purchases on-line Nov. 29 through Dec. 4 with the voucher number “10839421”

entered at checkout and purchases at any Barnes and Noble in the United States on Nov. 29 with the mention of the voucher number will send the proceeds to the temple. Cafe purchases count only at the Town Center store. For more information, call Beth Gross at 428-2591.

Sunday, Jan. 6, 3 pm In January it will have been a year since the Holocaust C o m m i s s i o n ’s Speakers’ Bureau was cut in half, when David Katz and Hanns Loewenbach passed away. To try to continue to fulfill its mission of sharing personal survivors’ stories, the commission developed What We Carry, an educational program for schools and community groups based on documentary films and replicas of artifacts from the survivors’ journeys, all as part of a docent-led presentation. A full Roper Theater at Tidewater Community College was treated to the films in a premiere in March. By popular demand and as a tribute to Katz and Loewenbach, the Holocaust Commission will present an encore showing of its 63-minute What We Carry documentary, and remember the lives of two of our heroes. Their children will share their thoughts about the men we all admired, and there will be a light reception. The event will take place at Congregation Beth Chaverim. This moving presentation will highlight all of Tidewater’s local survivors, including the other What We Carry survivors, Dana Cohen and Kitty Saks, who have given so much of themselves to assure that meaningful Holocaust education continues.

jewishnewsva.org | November 26, 2012 | Jewish News | 21


Golan Heights is first Israeli winery to win Wine Enthusiast’s prestigious Wine Star Award

mazel tov to Achievement Marcia Futterman Brodie, for becoming director of marketing at Beth Sholom Village. Futterman Brodie has been in sales and marketing for most of her career. For the last five years, she was the marketing director for The Frieden Agency and worked with agents on finding target markets and promoting their own practice. Her life experience has prepared her for the marketing and branding of Beth Sholom Village as both of her parents (of blessed memory) were residents of the home. Daniel E. Hahn, executive chef of Beth Sholom Village who recently obtained his Certified Culinary Administrator® (CCA®) designation.

This designation was only possible after a 10-year journey for Hahn. He obtained his initial certification culinary degree and obtained an AAS in culinary arts by accumulating more than 100 hours of study and testing in all areas of culinary practice including nutrition, management, and supervisory management and sanitation. Birth Cary Vaughan and Herb Eilberg of Brooklyn, N.Y. on the birth of their son, Paul Vaughan Eilberg on Sept. 28. Big sister is elated as are grandparents Susan and Jim Eilberg of Norfolk and Dr. Polly and Bill Vaughan of Newcastle, Maine. Mazel Tov submissions should be emailed to news@ujft.org with Mazel Tov in the subject line. Achievements, B’nai Mitzvot, births, engagements and weddings are appropriate simchas to announce. Photos must be at least 300k. Include a daytime phone for questions. There is no fee.

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n the eve of their 30th anniversary, Golan Heights Winery won the coveted 2012 Wine Star Award from Wine Enthusiast Magazine in the New World Winery of the Year category. The award is a first for an Israeli winery and is an indicator of the tremendous growth in quality recognition of Israeli wineries. “We are so honored to win such a prestigious award,” says Anat Levi, CEO of Golan Heights Winery. “This recognition gives us added motivation to continue our efforts to fully exploit the vast potential of our wonderful winegrowing area. We are excited to be a leading player in the renewal of winegrowing in Israel, and to receive this award as a leading new world winery.” The achievement caps off several exciting years of the winery earning global awards and recognition. In 2008, Golan Heights Winery became the first winery from Israel to rank in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year. In March 2011, Golan Heights Winery was awarded the World Wine Cup from VinItaly, the first winery from Israel ever to be named the

Best Wine Producer of the Year from the international organization, besting more than 1,000 wine producers from 30 different countries, including France, Italy and Spain. In June 2011, Golan Heights also received a Special Prize of Distinction in Les Citadelles du Vin in Bordeaux, a blind tasting of more than 1,000 wines from multiple countries. Golan Heights Winery and the winners of the 2012 Wine Star Awards will be honored by leading members of the wine and spirits industry at a gala, black-tie awards ceremony at the New York Public Library in New York City on Jan. 28, 2013. Founded in 1983, the Golan Heights Winery is based in the small town of Katzrin, Israel. The weather in the Golan region is ideal for growing grapes with warm, dry summers and cold, snowy winters. Elevations vary from 1,300 feet above sea level in the south to 3,900 feet in the north, and soils vary from well-drained and airy basaltic soil, rich in minerals, to heavier and deeper soils, with higher clay content. The wines are marketed under the Golan Heights Winery and Yarden brand names.

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22 | Jewish News | November 26, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org

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calendar No v emb er 27, T ue s d ay Join the Community Relations Council o f t h e Uni t ed Je w ish F eder a t io n o f T ide w a t er a nd c o m m u ni t y p a r t n er s t o k ic k o f f t h e 2 012- 2 013 Isr a el To da y f o r u m w i t h P r o f esso r A m os G uio r a as h e disc usses M o r ali t y f r o m Isr a el To da y. 7 p m. C o n t a c t J Jo h nso n @ ujf t.o r g t o RS V P o r f o r m o r e in f o. No v emb er 29, T hur s d ay Temple Emanuel Day at Barnes and Noble Town Center . D E C EMBER 2, S und ay  Brith Sholom’s brunch meeting . T h e b o a r d w ill m e e t a t 10 a m. G e n e r a l m e e t i n g s t a r t s a r e 11 a m. B r u n c h f o ll o w s a t 12 n o o n. B r u n c h m e n u : l o x , b a g e ls, t o m a t o e s, o n i o n s, e g g s, f is h, f r u i t a n d s w e e t s. D e c emb er 3, Mo nd ay The Kabbalah of Love taught by Rabbi Litt ( r e s c h e d u l e d f r o m 10 / 2 9 ) J u d a is m is a ll a b o u t r e la t i o n s h ip s : b e t w e e n e a c h o t h e r a n d b e t w e e n G o d. T h is c l a s s w ill d e l v e i n t o t h e b a sis o f w h a t i t m e a n s t o c r e a t e m e a n i n g f u l r e la t i o n s h ip s a n d h o w l o v e c a n t r a n s f o r m a p e r s o n. 7– 8 p m. S i m o n F a m il y J C C. $10. 7 5 7- 3 21- 2 3 3 8. D e c emb er 16, S und ay Brith Sholom Gala dinner and dancing . 1 p m. $15 p e r p e r s o n. T h e g r o u p w ill b e s a y i n g f a r e w e ll t o P i c k e t t R o a d. M e n u c o n sis t s o f a p p e t i z e r s, s a l a d, b r is k e t , la t k e s, v e g e t a b l e s a n d d e s s e r t. E n t e r t a i n m e n t b y R o b e r t o, D r e s s : a f t e r n o o n c h i c. D e c emb er 17, Mo nd ay Jewish Architecture—What is That? L o c a l a r c h i t e c t s P a u l Tu r o k a n d R o b B e r z l e a d a dis c u s si o n o f t h e h is t o r y o f t h e i r t r a d e i n J e w is h c o m m u n i t i e s a r o u n d t h e w o r l d, a s w e ll a s a c a r e f u l s t u d y o f t h e S a n dl e r F a m il y C a m p u s, a n d h o w i t s c o n s t r u c t i o n w a s i n f l u e n c e d b y J e w is h v a l u e s. 6 : 3 0 – 8 p m. F r e e. 3 21- 2 3 2 8 o r m b r u n n r u b e r g @ si m o n f a m il y j. o r g f o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n. J a nua r y 19 - 27, S at urd ay t hr o u g h S und ay The 20th Anniversary year of the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film , p r e s e n t e d b y A l m a* a n d H o w a r d L a d e r b e r g. M o v i e s t o d e lig h t a n d i n s p i r e, a p p e a li n g t o di v e r s e a g e s a n d i n t e r e s t s. O p e n i n g n ig h t a t t h e S a n d l e r C e n t e r i n V i r g i n ia B e a c h ; a ll o t h e r m o v i e s a t t h e R o p e r T h e a t e r i n d o w n t o w n N o r f o l k . S i m o n f a m il y j.o r g f o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n, i n c l u d i n g p a s s e s a n d t i c k e t s. S e e p a g e 21. Send submissions for calendar to news @ ujf t.org. Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.

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book review Comprehensive The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery Captain Witold Pilecki Translated by Jarek Garlinski Aquila Polonica Publishing, 2012 460 pages, $34.95(paper) ISBN 978-1-60772-010-2

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e have been reviewing Holocaust literature for the Jewish News for 29 years; survivor memoirs, scholarly works, Hal Sacks books by children of survivors have been standard fare in this publication. But this book, The Auschwitz Volunteer, a selection of the History Book Club, the Book-of-theMonth Club, and the Military Book Club is truly unique, at once a transcendent example of heroism and a historical document of singular importance. In September 1940, Witold Pilecki (pronounced veetold peeletsky), a 39-year-old Catholic Polish cavalry officer voluntarily walked into a German roundup of 1,800 Poles in Warsaw and was shipped by train to a new German concentration camp, the soon to be infamous Auschwitz. It was initially set up as a camp for Polish political prisoners, many of whom were savagely killed or worked to death, Barely surviving serious illness in a hospital overrun by lice, Pilecki, having set up a military organization in the camp endured three winters during which he built a radio transmitter to broadcast reports. These clandestine broadcasts, many sent out with escaping Poles were received by the Allies as early as 1941 and reported on the horrors of daily life, the building of the gas chambers and the mass extermination of Jewish prisoners. Pilecki survived starvation and disease, avoided shipment to other camps and escaped in 1943 to join the underground Home Army High Command. Pilecki fought in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 and once again became a prisoner, ending the war in a German POW camp. Late in 1945, the intrepid Pilecki left his wife and two children and returned undercover to Poland to work with anti-communist resistance organizations. Captured, he was tortured and executed in 1948, not to be exonerated posthumously in the 1990’s. His comprehensive report, completed in 1945, was suppressed by the postwar Polish Communists regime for nearly 50 years. Some might say that the accurate detailing of the day by day atrocities and minutia of camp operations is more than one needs to know.

obituaries Yet for the first time it is made clear (to me) that Auschwitz was more than one camp; it was variously a prisoner of war camp, a work camp, a torture and experimentation camp, and a death camp. Even as a death camp, the means of execution varied from clubbing, hanging, and freezing, to lethal injection, shooting, and gassing. When there weren’t a sufficient number of victims to fill a gas chamber, justifying the expenditure of a can of Zyklon B gas, the prisoners were clubbed and sent alive but unconscious into the ovens. None of these details are overlooked. In preparation for what would be mass shipments of Jews to be immediately murdered, the Germans took some earlier Jewish arrivals, fed them well, gave them good jobs along with their families and had them write letters describing how well they were being treated. Of course they were immediately executed after that. Hard as he might try to maintain an objective professional tone, Pilecki allows himself to wonder from time to time, “are we people or are we just animals, or worse than animals.” The passage of the seasons and the blooming of flowers in the spring make it easy for him to wish he were somewhere else. His devotion to duty, however, in the face of almost 1,000 days in Auschwitz, is ‘beyond bravery,’ and the story of his escape is the stuff of motion picture drama. When he finally, in 1945, sat down to write the full report of his three years at Auschwitz his friends told him, “the more you stick to the bare facts without any kind of commentary, the more valuable it will be.” “…but we are not made of wood, let alone stone,” Pilecki concluded, “though it sometimes seems as if even a stone would have broken out in a sweat.” Many years ago, the old JCC with Federation support sponsored a Holocaust exhibit featuring artifacts provided by the Polish government. The Communist Polish government was anxious to call the exhibit “Crimes against Humanity,” anxious that we understand that not only Jews perished in the fires. We were rather unsympathetic to that approach and for good reason. Nevertheless, The Auschwitz Volunteer casts a slightly different light on the infamous camp and its operations. Not “beach” reading by any means, this record of Auschwitz prisoner No. 4859 is certain to become a standard reference work in every major Holocaust library collection. —Hal Sacks has reviewed books for Jewish News for more than 28 years.

24 | Jewish News | November 26, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org

Jane S. Beskin Norfolk—Jane Hope Stern Beskin, 91, a New York City native who made Norfolk her home shortly after the end of World War II, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. She was preceded in death by her rock and husband of 46 years, LeRoy N. Beskin of Norfolk. She is survived by her three sons: Herb Beskin, and his wife Sumner Brown, Roy Beskin, and his wife Lorie, and Richard Beskin; by four grand-children: Courtney Epps, and her husband Matt, Bradley Beskin, Randi Smith, and her husband Colby, and Kelly Beskin; and by two greatgrand-children, Emerson Jane Epps and Everleigh Epps; her sister and best friend for 91 years, Nancy Hirschler; and by countless other wonderful family members. Jane was born in New York City, the daughter of Herbert and Ceil Stern. As a young woman she was an accomplished equestrian. In college, she was the captain of her college basketball team at Centenary College in an age where women were considered too delicate to play sports. During World War II she worked at ASCAP Publishing and did volunteer work at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. Later on, Jane taught elementary school. In 1947, while visiting her sister Nancy in Norfolk over the Christmas holidays, she met her future husband and love of her life, LeRoy. They married in 1948 and settled into the Wards Corner area of Norfolk, which would be her home for the remaining sixty-four years of her life. Jane’s highest priority was always her family. She provided for her clan with passion, protection, and tireless energy. Additionally, she was also involved in her community on numerous levels: she was a longtime member of Ohef Sholom Temple, a stalwart for the Granby Elementary PTA, and a constant volunteer and spectator at her sons’ athletic activities. When her three sons went off to college, Jane threw herself into volunteering as a “Pink Lady” at DePaul Hospital. We were all proud of Jane earning her ‘25 Years of Service’ pin. Another priority for Jane were her dogs… boy, how she loved her poodles. Later in life her greatest joy became the time spent with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She said they made her feel young again. A private family service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery. The family suggests a contribution to the Rita B. Cogan Scholarship Fund at Ohef Sholom Temple 530 Raleigh Ave. Norfolk, Va. 23507. H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts., Norfolk Chapel.

Online condolences may be made through www.hdoliver.com.

Bevalan Rafal Chesapeake—Bevalan Cohen Rafal, 83, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 surrounded by her loving family. Born in the Berkley section of Norfolk, she was the daughter of the late Ben and Anna Cohen. She was a founding member of Temple Israel in Norfolk, and was recently a member of B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, Fla. She volunteered at Menorah Manor Nursing Home in St. Petersburg. She and her husband owned and operated Mr. Dog Restaurants in downtown Norfolk for many years. She was a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Mischa Rafal. She is survived by her four children, Lynn Kushner and husband Bruce of Chesapeake, Jerry Rafal and wife Kathy of Hertford, N.C., Marc Rafal and wife Anne of Austin, Texas., and Stephanie Levin and husband Ron of Troy, Mich.; her 11 grandchildren, Robyn Mansfield and husband Raleigh, Amy Moore and husband Paul, Karen Potter and husband Chris, Lauren Tucei and husband Joe, David Kushner and wife Nicole, Jessica Williams and husband Phil, Cari Fisher and husband Richard, Emilie Rafal and companion Kristin Smyth, Jason Rafal, Elayna Levin and Alexandra Levin, and her 11 great-grandchildren. She also leaves numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. She was a friend and mentor to the whole family. A graveside service was conducted in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Rabbi Michael E. Panitz officiated. Memorial donations may be made in Bevalan’s name to the Freda Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care of Tidewater. Friends are invited to send condolences and to sign the online guest book at www. omanfh.com.

Martha Klaff Robbins Norfolk—Martha Klaff Robbins, 90, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012 in Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital. Martha was born in Norfolk, Va. on Feb. 19, 1922 to Harry and Rae Klaff. She was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Manuel (Buddy).


obituaries Martha is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Nancy and Chuck Zeitman, son and daughter-in-law Mark Robbins and Nancy Bangel, grandchildren Joel Zeitman, Leah and Scott Flax, Melanie Balaban, Sam Haga, Elise Robbins, Lori Robbins, Aaron Robbins and great grandchildren Abe Flax and Levi Balaban. She is also survived by her sister, Cilda Meltzer, and sister-in-law Hannah Konikoff, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. Until her failing health would no longer allow her, Martha led an active and productive life. She was a past president and long time treasurer of the local Henrietta Szold chapter of Hadassah, president of her garden club, treasurer of the Chrysler Museum Glass Club, B’nai Brith bowler, avid knitter, seamstress, needle pointer and, for 30 years, worked as an election official and eventually became chief inspector for her precinct. When she could no longer easily get around, her days were spent watching CNN and then putting her own spin on the news. She thought of Anderson Cooper as her own son. Martha and Buddy had a loving and happy life together for 56 years. They worked side by side in A. Robbins Furniture and she had an innate ability to know when a jewelry salesman was coming in. You never saw Martha without her diamond bee pin. Their life revolved around family and friends. In later years, as Buddy’s muscular dystrophy became worse and he could no longer walk, Martha became his driver, nurse, dresser and caregiver. Never complaining, she did what she thought she had to do to make his life easier. Of all her roles in life, the one she loved most was being “Bubba Honey” to her grandchildren. Martha cherished every moment she could be with them and tried never to miss any event they were in. Funeral services were held at the Norfolk Chapel of H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. by Rabbi Jeffery Arnowitz, Cantor Gordon Pilch, and Cantor Jacob Tessler. Burial followed at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the charity of choice. Online condolences may be offered to the family at hdoliver.com.

FERDINAND B. SPIEKER Clairemont Calif.—Ferdinand Bernard Spieker, 82, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Ferd was born in Baltimore, Md. on May 23, 1930. After serving in the Army

during the Korean War, he moved to San Diego with his bride, Joan, in 1953 and has lived in Clairemont for the last 55 years. Ferd enjoyed a 35-year career with General Dynamics Convair. He will be remembered for his love of family, travel, camping, fine wine and music. Ferd is survived by his wife, Joan, his three daughters, Debbie, Nancy and Patty, and their husbands, his 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Norman Tavss Danville—Dr. Norman Tavss, 92, of the 200 block of Oakwood Circle, died Thursday, Nov. 16, 2012. He was a native of Norfolk and was the son of the late Mathew and Frieda Katz Tavss. He was a Navy veteran of World War II, having served as a wartime executive officer on an LCI gunboat. He was involved in the invasions of the Marshalls, Saipan, and Pelelieu, where, in 1942, his ship was sunk. He then served as a gunnery officer on the

carrier Boxer CV21 in the Pacific until he was discharged as a full lieutenant in 1945. Dr. Tavss graduated from the Southern College of Optometry and attended the College of William and Mary. He practiced optometry in Danville for 41 years before retiring in 1988. He is survived by his adoring wife of 65 years, Florence Schonholt Tavss of Norfolk. Left to miss him forever are his beloved children, Lynn Lantz, Jody Tavss and partner Helaine Harris, son and best friend Sidney Tavss, and grandchildren, Matt Lantz, Jesse Lantz, Avery Lantz, and precious great grandson Daegan Powers. He loved and will be missed by his brother in law, Ed Schutz, as well as his dear cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends for whom he would have gone to the ends of the earth. He was a member of Aetz Chayim Synagogue in Danville. Norman was a great raconteur, humorist, and debater, who took to his heart everyone that needed a kindness. He never took himself too seriously though, and lived 92 years without complaining or asking for anything. As a lifelong learner,

Norman had a lively, open mind his entire life. He could always be counted upon to root for the underdog and “tell it like it is.” Graveside services took place in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Rabbi Michael Panitz officiated. Memorial donations may be made to B’nai B’rith, in support of his beloved country, Israel. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be sent to the family at hdoliver.com.

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Approved by all area Rabbis and Chevrah Kadisha jewishnewsva.org | November 26, 2012 | Jewish News | 25


Face to face

Morris M. Elstein, MD: Witnessing miracles

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by Karen Lombart

s an OBGYN, Morris Elstein helped many infants enter into this world, placing them into the loving arms of their parents. He believes every delivery was an opportunity for him to witness God’s work. Born in Augusta, Ga. on May 11, 1951, Elstein’s mother’s family came from Eastern Europe in the mid 1800’s, and his father’s family immigrated to New York from Lithuania in the early 1900’s. Living in a multigenerational home, his maternal grandmother ran the household: cooking, baking and always entertaining. His parents owned and operated a dry goods store. And the family’s housekeeper, “Annie Boo” became a surrogate mother, bathing, nurturing, feeding and protecting him, his two brothers and sister.  Always invited to attend services with his grandfather, Elstein went to synagogue often. “It felt safe and inviting,” he describes, remembering the joy the men shared, preparing and partaking in the “Suedah Shelishit” meal at the end of Shabbos.  Close to his grandmother, he stayed by her bedside when she broke her hip, realizing that he wanted to be a doctor as he watched the professional caregivers. Sadly, his grandmother passed away when he was eight years old. Elstein’s family’s activities centered around the Orthodox shul where he attended Friday night, Saturday morning, and Saturday evening services, and then Sunday school.  In second grade, he asked if he could attend Hebrew School four times a week instead of just two. He and his friends were competitive, pushing each other academically. Before his Bar Mitzvah on June 20, 1964, Elstein read Hebrew fluently, chanted the Haftorot, and engaged in Talmud study. He led services the entire week of his Bar Mitzvah, ready to accept the responsibilities of being a Jewish adult in the eyes of his community. As a teenager, Elstein attended Shabbat services with his friends. He often led Sunday morning prayers and then afterwards they all ate breakfast together, picked a topic to study, then played basketball or football. During his adolescent years, he belonged to NCSY—the Orthodox youth group.

Elstein saw an article in Life magazine when he was 14 years old, showing the results of a pregnant woman’s ultrasound. He was amazed by “the convergence of processes that had to come together to create the perfect human body.” He concluded that, “life had to be divinely created,” never questioning that belief again. Offered a full scholarship to Baltimore’s Yeshiva, he preferred to spend most of his high school years in Augusta. Elstein walked to synagogue on Shabbat, and then after the kiddish luncheon, walked to Augusta College’s library to read magazines all afternoon. When the Yom Kippur War broke out, he walked from high school to synagogue, to sit alone and pray. During his first year at the University of Georgia in Athens, he became a member of AEPi and lived in the fraternity house. Definitely the most well versed in Jewish practice, Elstein became the go-to-guy for Jewish prayer and religious questions. With his decision to get more serious about academia, he moved out of the house a year later and declared Biochemistry as his major.  Only choosing to date Jewish women, Elstein consented to a blind date with an acquaintance’s sister. Sharon Rainbow was a high school senior performing in a play on campus and became a UGA freshman the following fall. The couple married on Dec. 28, 1974 when Sharon was a junior, majoring in medical record administration, and Elstein attended the Medical College of Georgia. They relocated to Norfolk for his residency at Eastern Virginia Medical School and became members of B’nai Israel. They found Rabbi Bornstein to be compassionate and sincere.  In 1981 when they moved to the oceanfront, they joined Temple Emanuel’s congregation of approximately 220 families. Rabbi Turschik’s service was casual and participatory. Although different from his Orthodox upbringing, Elstein quickly became involved. At 30 years old, he was certainly one of the youngest board members. That same year, his first son, Nathan, was born; and Jacob followed two and a half years later. Sharon taught Sunday school and worked in the library. In 1977, as a learned man and Jewish doctor, Elstein was invited to perform his first bris. With no mohel in Tidewater, Dr. Bill Reingold had been performing some ceremonial circumcisions. Hospital

26 | Jewish News | November 26, 2012 | jewishnewsva.org

instruments and a siddur in hand, accompanied by a rabbi, Elstein performed the procedure. “I felt privileged to perform the ritual and naming,” relates Elstein. “I added a drash (a story) so that the ancient ceremony felt relevant to modern times.” The calling for a local mohel became a gateway to a new career. In 1992, Elstein enrolled in a week-long Brit Kodesh program at Morris M. Elstein the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. The curriculum gave him the opportunity to marry his medical practice with his religious observance. He felt humbled to meet the brightest people in the global Conservative Jewish movement. Elstein studied text six hours a day. One course in particular called Mohel and Personal Piety changed his life, presenting a chance for self-reflection. “I began to eat only Kosher foods outside my home and I became more Shabbat observant,” Elstein admits. “I consciously incorporated the sacred into my life and repeatedly asked the question, ‘Where does God fit in?’” Through the years, Temple Emanuel evolved into his “family of choice.” Most of his friendships were born from his synagogue involvement. He says, “It is a very special congregation because it is small and intimate.” As president of the temple since June 2010, Elstein wants to share the synagogue’s uniqueness with others. The congregation has recently come together for several well received community events: An open “Pink tea” for cancer survivors; presentations from visiting Jewish educators, a public concert at the Roper Theater with Neshama Carlebach, and a heartfelt return concert by the performer, just 10 months later to honor the memory of Sharon. During Rosh Hashanah, 2010, Sharon discovered she had leukemia. She had just attended Jacob’s graduation from Oregon State in June, thrilled that her youngest child had earned degrees in teaching and engineering.  Starting her treatment with hope, months later, Sharon learned that she needed a bone marrow transplant. In March of 2011 while at Johns Hopkins, she received

the bone marrow from her son, Jacob. Upon the operation’s completion, a prayer service from Temple Emanuel was skyped into the hospital room to comfort the family. Elstein was by his wife’s side through her entire illness, and he has written a journal on the website “Caring Bridge,” mindful that “he was given a ‘gift’ that had to be returned....” He will be forever grateful that Sharon had the opportunity to meet Jacob’s fiancée, Leah, and help plan their wedding that took place in Virginia Beach on July 1, 2012. “We are constantly tested to see if we can be the person that we say we are. Through all the pain and darkness, we must pick ourselves up again and move forwards no matter how difficult it may be,” Elstein says with sadness.  Through the months that followed, Elstein travelled out west to visit his children. Jacob and Leah live in Takoma, Wash., where Leah is a cantor and Jacob teaches high school math and physics. Nathan is a farmer, sushi chef, and baker in a northern California town of 324 people. Together, father and son have shared wonderful hiking adventures.  Elstein donates platelets regularly to the American Red Cross in Norfolk. On Dec. 4, 2011, Temple Emanuel held a blood drive in memory of Sharon. Elstein went to honor his late wife, never expecting to meet a woman with whom he would soon fall in love. Devorah Ben-David, living in Glen Allen, Va., was assigned to write a story about the blood drive for the Beacon section of The Virginian-Pilot. Over the phone, months later, their friendship began while Elstein donated platelets in a procedure that took two hours. Now engaged, the couple plans to marry on Jan. 19, 2013. Travelling for work as a journalist, BenDavid now has a new assistant. As a hobby, Elstein captures her stories in photographs. “Life’s journey is full of self-discovery,” Elstein says. “Circumstances unfold, and we can’t control them. All we are able to do is bear witness to their magnificence, experience the awe, and appreciate God’s blessings.”


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