Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 59 No. 11 | 24 Adar 5781 | March 8, 2021
8 COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Available at JFS
9 Beth El Feeds Tidewater
A year of purposeful living during the pandemic — PAGE 6
18 God of the Piano March 13–March 15
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Israeli Supreme Court rules state must grant citizenship to non-Orthodox Jewish converts in Israel
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Aryeh Deri, the head of the Sephardi haredi Shas party, wrote on Facebook that the decision was “misguided, very trou(JTA)—Israel must grant citizenship to Jews who converted to bling, and will cause arguing and a difficult rupture among the Judaism in Israel under non-Orthodox auspices, its Supreme people.” Court ruled Monday, March 1, possibly igniting another round Successive government coalitions, based on their political in the long-running government battle over who the state leanings, have attempted to either liberalize or narrow Israel’s should recognize as Jewish. conversion standards. But such efforts at reform usually fall The decision, written by Chief Justice flat. Haredi Orthodox politicians object Esther Hayut, comes less than a month to laws that would broaden the range of before national elections. recognized conversions, while attempts to Israel’s Law of Return offers automatic make requirements stricter have provoked “Today, Israel’s citizenship to anyone with at least one backlash from organizations representing Supreme Court decided Jewish grandparent. The state also genAmerican Jews, the vast majority of whom erally recognizes those who converted to are not Orthodox. That has effectively that Israel should be Judaism under Orthodox standards. meant that any change in conversion reguPast Supreme Court decisions have lations comes from court decisions. a national home for mandated that the state also recognize Once they become citizens of Israel, all types of Jews.” Jews who converted outside of Israel non-Orthodox converts still face restricunder non-Orthodox authority, provided tions. Several issues of personal status in they live in a recognized Jewish comIsrael, including marriage and divorce, are munity. Non-Orthodox converts, such as controlled by the country’s haredi Chief Conservative or Reform Jews, however, still often face hurdles in Rabbinate. Because the Chief Rabbinate does not recognize obtaining Israeli citizenship and are sometimes denied. non-Orthodox converts as Jews, they have no way to marry The decision extends the right to citizenship to those who legally in Israel. converted to Judaism under non-Orthodox auspices in Israel Others who obtain Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return itself. The petition that spurred the court ruling was filed in but are not considered Jewish by Orthodox standards—such 2005 but was postponed for more than a decade because the as immigrants with only one Jewish grandparent—similarly court wanted to give the government time to resolve the matter cannot marry legally in Israel. Legislation to address that issue through legislation. has been stymied as well by haredi opposition in parliament. “The petitioners came to Israel and went through a con“Today, Israel’s Supreme Court decided that Israel should be version process in the framework of a recognized Jewish a national home for all types of Jews,” said Mickey Gitzin, the community and asked to join the Jewish nation,” Hayut wrote Israel director of the New Israel Fund and a longtime Israeli in her ruling, according to Haaretz. activist for religious freedom. “It is a day to celebrate, even as Rabbi Gilad Kariv, a leading Reform rabbi in Israel and a Labor the road towards equality for all—especially those who are not Party candidate for the Knesset, or parliament, called the ruling Jewish— remains long.” a “foundational decision of the High Court” in a Facebook post. Ben Sales
About the cover: Various events in Jewish Tidewater since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
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BRIEFS STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: ‘JEWISH IDEAS POISON PEOPLE,’ A U.S. State Department employee named Fritz Berggren has been moonlighting as a blogger devoted to attacking Jews and promoting white Christian nationalism. “Jesus Christ came to save the whole world from the Jews—the founders of the original Anti-Christ religion, they who are the seed of the Serpent, that brood of vipers,” Berggren wrote in an Oct. 4, 2020, post on his website titled “Jews are Not God’s Chosen People. Judeo-Christian is Anti-Christ.” Later in the post he writes, “Jewish ideas poison people.” Berggren has been sharing his extremist and anti-Semitic views under his real name for years while working as a midlevel civil servant. Politico first reported the connection last month after being tipped off by current and former State Department officials. Berggren espouses the idea, common among the far-right, that white people are at risk of being eliminated through demographic change and organized persecution. He commonly rails against Black Lives Matter and other social movements identified with the left. On Friday, Feb. 26, he published a new post titled, “Welcome, Politico readers!” He concluded the post with a PS: “If you have not already surmised, my ideas are my own and not a reflection of any employer, company, agency, country, etc.” Politico reported that Berggren works for a State Department unit that handles special immigrant visas for Afghans. He has been identified as a Foreign Service worker since as early as 2009. According to biographical information shared by Berggren online, he has a doctorate from the University of Miami. His name is indeed listed on the university’s website, indicating he completed a doctoral dissertation in 2001 about Gerardo Machado, an early 20th-century Cuban dictator. (JTA) SUSPECTED OIL SPILL MAY BE WORST IN ISRAEL’S HISTORY Israel closed its Mediterranean beaches to deal with what its officials say may be the worst oil spill in the country’s history. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority
called the suspected spill one of the “greatest ecological disasters to afflict Israel since the founding of the state.” It said that 170 out of 190 kilometers of coastline, or 105 out of 118 miles, have been affected by the spill. The consequences will be felt for years, its statement said. Thousands of volunteers are cleaning tar off the beaches and animals, including birds and turtles, which have been found covered with tar. The Israeli army said it would also send soldiers to help with the cleanup. It’s not clear what ship is responsible for the spill, which is believed to have occurred around Feb. 11, some 20 miles from shore. “We are making every effort to find those responsible for the disaster,” Gila Gamliel, Israel’s environment minister, said on Twitter. (JTA)
AMAZON ALTERS APP LOGO THAT DREW COMPARISONS TO HITLER’S MUSTACHE Amazon has drawn some Fuehrer fury— over a logo featuring a cardboard box and a piece of tape. The ecommerce giant released a new logo for its smartphone app on Monday, March 1 after some users compared the former logo to Hitler’s mustache. The former logo featured a piece of tape with ragged edges above the company’s trademark curved arrow to mimic a taped-up cardboard box. But users said the juxtaposition brought images of Hitler to mind, with the tape as his mustache and the arrow as his mouth. The new logo ditches the ragged tape edges. An Amazon spokesperson only commented to outlets on the new design. “Amazon is always exploring new ways to delight our customers,” the spokesperson said. “We designed the new icon to spark anticipation, excitement, and joy when customers start their shopping journey on their phone, just as they do when they see our boxes on their door step.” (JTA) UAE’S FIRST AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL TAKES HIS POST Tweeting in English, Arabic, and Hebrew, the United Arab Emirates’ first ambassador
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to Israel celebrated his first day on the job. Mohamed Al Khaja posted photos with captions in the three languages on his social media feeds on Monday, March 1. “I look forward to representing my beloved country and working to strengthen cooperation and relations between our two countries,” Al Khaja said in a typical entry, which was accompanied by a photo of him presenting his credentials to Reuven Rivlin, the Israeli president. He also posted photos of meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with senior Israeli foreign affairs officials. Al Khaja is the first ambassador from the four Sunni Arab countries that reached normalization agreements last year with Israel brokered by former President Donald Trump. Another of the countries is Bahrain, which in the late 2000s was the first Arab country to name a Jewish ambassador, Houda Nonoo, to Washington. Nonoo congratulated Al Khaja on Twitter. (JTA)
ORTHODOX AMAZON SELLERS SAY THEY’RE SQUEEZED BY NEW REQUIREMENT A change in requirements for participating in a select Amazon delivery program is posing potentially insurmountable challenges for Orthodox sellers. As of Feb. 1, Amazon businesses that deliver from non-Amazon warehouses through Amazon Prime, a subscription service that includes free two-day delivery, must agree to fulfill orders six days a week. The sellers may choose Saturday or Sunday delivery to fulfill their six-day-aweek commitment, but shipping carriers like FedEx and UPS offer limited or no pickup on Sundays. Observant Jews do not do business on the Jewish sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Orthodox sellers make up a disproportionate share of third-party sellers, according to a 2019 Buzzfeed report that explored the connections between Amazon’s marketplace and Orthodox communities. The Free Beacon, a politically conservative website, reported that the new policy is driving out businesses run by observant Jews, citing group chats it had reviewed.
Amazon told the Free Beacon that Prime sellers had more than five months’ advance notice of the policy to come up with accommodations and that it had dedicated staff to assist the businesses. The Free Beacon said it had heard from Orthodox businesses that Amazon was unresponsive. StandWithUs, a pro-Israel non-profit, has proposed to Amazon that it allow sellers to turn off their Amazon Prime badge during Shabbat, meaning that shoppers would not be promised quick shipping during that time. (JTA)
REPS. GRACE MENG AND TED LIEU JOIN ANTI-SEMITISM TASK FORCE LEADERSHIP, REPLACING TWO JEWISH MEMBERS Two Taiwanese-American members of Congress have joined the leadership of its anti-Semitism task force. Reps. Grace Meng of New York and Ted Lieu of California, both Democrats, were listed among eight-co-chairs of the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism in a release Monday, March 1, the first for the new Congress. The task force has over 100 members from the U.S. House of Representatives. The newcomers replace two Jewish members, also Democrats, in leadership positions: Nita Lowey of New York, who retired, and Eliot Engel of New York, who lost in a primary election last year. That leaves just one Jewish co-chair, Ted Deutch, a Florida Democrat. Meng and Lieu represent districts with substantial Jewish populations. Meng’s covers part of the New York City borough of Queens and Lieu’s covers much of west Los Angeles County. Each succeeded a Democratic Jewish lawmaker: Lieu followed Henry Waxman, who retired in 2014, and Meng replaced Gary Ackerman, who retired in 2012. Lieu was born in Taiwan, while Meng’s parents emigrated from there. Both are known for their closeness to the pro-Israel community. The release said the task force, established in 2015, would encourage the government to “play a role in protecting [the Jewish] community and addressing the rise in ant-Semitic incidents domestically and globally.” (JTA)
NATION Jon Ossoff, Shira Haas and Doja Cat make Time’s 100 emerging leaders list Gabe Friedman
( JTA)—The Jewish stars Jon Ossoff, Shira Haas, and Doja Cat were named to the Time100 Next list, Time magazine’s annual list of “100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future.” Ossoff, the millennial who was sworn into Congress with multiple totems of his heritage, helped Democrats regain control of the Senate along with fellow Georgian Raphael Warnock. “Witnessing the recent election of Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate from Georgia, I saw a moment of recompense and redemption for Black and Jewish Americans in the South, and the U.S. as a whole,” Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice wrote in her text for the Time’s list. Haas earned global acclaim last year for her performance in Unorthodox, a Netflix series loosely based on Deborah Feldman’s memoir about leaving her Hasidic community in Brooklyn. Feldman wrote on Haas for Time. “[W]hen Shira Haas played Esty in Unorthodox…I could see she had a reverence and respect for the material,” Feldman said. Doja Cat is a wildly popular Grammynominated rapper born to a Jewish mother and non-Jewish South African father. Her blurb was written by Lil Nas X, the artist known for blending country and rap on his record-breaking song, Old Town Road. “She’s an inspiration to me, and I can’t wait to see what she does next,” he wrote.
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Here’s a (Jewish) way to redirect your pandemic despair into purposeful living Editor’s note: This month marks one year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this challenging year, Tidewater’s Jewish community has offered enriching and innovative programs, religious services, and even social activities, all while supporting each other and the overall community. This has been a year when we’ve learned new ways to pray, work, study, and perform acts of tikun olam—together. Jewish Tidewater’s agencies, synagogues, organizations, and schools — have encouraged and created opportunities for purposeful living in this most unusual year. Our community’s leaders’ vision and diligence deserve much appreciation. —TD Alan Kadish and Michael Shmidman
his last year of pandemic living has not been easy. More than 510,000 Americans have died, including countless members of our own Jewish communities, and a return to normalcy still feels distant. In these difficult times, we would like to propose an alternative to despair and suggest a path forward that offers not just hope for the distant future, but strength and a sense of purpose for today and tomorrow. This plague is hardly the first time we have been challenged as a people. Consider this story from the period of expulsions of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula between 1492 and 1497. Rabbi Abraham Saba, a scholar and preacher who lived in Spain’s Castilian region, was among those forced to leave his lifelong home. He fled on foot to neighboring Portugal, where he continued writing his rabbinic and biblical commentaries. But several years later Portugal’s Jews were subject to an expulsion decree. Saba again attempted to flee. Nearing Lisbon, he became aware of the decree issued against possession of Hebrew books. Saba buried his trove of manuscripts, but he was thrown into prison and never recovered them. Eventually Saba escaped to Morocco,
where after struggling with an illness he resumed his life’s work, rewriting his lost manuscripts from memory. His commentaries on the Pentateuch and the books of Ruth and Esther are still studied today, five centuries later. Determination and dedication had defeated disruption and despair. Saba’s dogged persistence in studying and writing despite the obstacles he faced was remarkable. But in the annals of Jewish history, it was not extraordinary. Jewish history is filled with figures, from Maimonides to Albert Einstein, who achieved outstanding levels of intellectual accomplishment despite challenging circumstances, from plagues and expulsions to pogroms and Nazi persecution. The challenge of our current period is different, but trying in its own ways. We are isolated from other people, stalked by an invisible threat that has sapped our energy and many of the joys of daily life. We struggle to find purpose and motivation.
A silver lining of the pandemic has been the unprecedented access to learning opportunities. This is where the Jewish intellectual tradition can serve as an invaluable guide. For centuries, Jews have clung to a few basic principles that have helped us lead purposeful lives even in times of political, social and economic distress. This tradition of learning and achievement initially was derived from Torah study, but it has become more universal. Transmitted overtly or inadvertently by a system of education and by a cultural milieu, it has been effective at fostering achievement and offers guidance to Jews and non-Jews alike. Especially these days, with real life replaced by a simulacrum of screens and social media and endless binge-watching—the Jewish intellectual tradition
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offers an alternative that can bring with it happiness and a sense of accomplishment. In our study of some 3,000 years of Jewish history, we have discerned a few guiding principles, which we outline in our new book, The Jewish Intellectual Tradition: A History of Learning and Achievement. These principles include respect for tradition combined with creativity and innovation; the primacy of education for young and old; logic and intellectual honesty in pursuit of truth; and living a purposeful life. We extracted from these specific recommendations for the circumstances of our age. Surround yourself with the written word. Reading is enriching like no other medium. Just because you’re no longer in school doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Self-development through learning should be a lifelong pursuit. Set goals for yourself and don’t be distracted from your determination to accomplish those goals—whether it’s learning something new, mastering a particular skill, creating something in the woodshop or at the writing table, helping children achieve their goals, or tackling Shakespeare, the Talmud or quantum physics. Assume that impediments will crop up along the way. Push through. Find a mentor who can help you toward your goal. Seek out experts as your companions, whether online, in person or in books. One silver lining of the pandemic has been the unprecedented access to learning opportunities. It’s possible to log onto Zoom classes happening anywhere around the world, to find a study partner through any one of a number of matching services, to connect remotely to Jewish events and services. Bring your family along for the ride. Talk to them about your goals and why
they’re important. Your children will pick up the values you exemplify. Don’t just leave their education to school. Show them what’s important in life by modeling that behavior. Learn collaboratively. Find peers who share your goals with whom you can consult, partner and even argue. Studies have shown that cooperative learning not only advances educational achievement but promotes self-esteem, healthy relationships, and more positive attitudes toward learning. The unique feature of Jewish intellectual achievement is that it continues even at times of great challenge. That’s because striving for a higher purpose actually helps us overcome day-to-day stresses rather than adding to them. Our salvation won’t come from mindless activities, but from determined pursuit of our goals. A life lived daily with a sense of purpose, with the firm belief that your actions and the values you exemplify and transmit make a difference, can ennoble and elevate you and those around you. It is this persistence that has made the Jewish contribution to the world so significant, in fields from science and law to philosophy and social justice. Now, particularly when times are tough, our role in helping improve society must not be neglected. Whatever the circumstances, we can proudly uphold that tradition. Dr. Alan Kadish is the president of the Touro College and University System. Dr. Michael Shmidman is the dean of Touro’s Graduate School of Jewish Studies. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media. This story was sponsored by the Touro College and University System.
Local Relationships Matter
Whale watching and Shabbat Allena Hurwitz
ctually standing in a boat looking at a whale in the water, it’s not hard to imagine how one swallowed Jonah. Encouraging her students to be inquisitors, Morah Nicole’s class at Strelitz International Academy has become enthralled with all kinds of whales. That’s how I learned that whales migrate through our area from December to February, and for those willing to brave the cold, it’s possible to see and even smell them up close. So, one Shabbat morning, a group organized by the parenting website, Toddlin’ Around Tidewater, gathered on board the Rudee Whaler. Pair the wonder of streaming Ohef Sholom Temple’s services with that of toddlers (and adults!), seeing whales for the first time, and the Shabbat reminder to focus on the here and now, rather than work, is easy. Cantor Jen’s voice drifting over the splash of whales reiterates the fact that our lives
are truly magnificent and this world is full of awe. Rudee Tours is an environmental organization, so connecting to and repairing the world is part of their mission, along with education. Whales, the world’s largest mammals, feed on krill alone, a reminder that no matter how big or small, there’s a part to play for everyone. Toddlin’ Around Tidewater offers meet ups for families with young children.
Simon Family Passport to Israel: Funds available for teen trips to Israel
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“Our passion is helping those in the community who really need our help. We work for people who are not in business and are not well off. We focus on Workman’s Compensation with a mission to help injured workers. We are one of a few in the community who do this work.”
“Our experience with Payday Payroll has not just been positive but fabulous! They are true experts at what they do. Whenever we have an ‘internal hiccup’ even if not directly related to payroll, but in record keeping or data collection we call them and they always help us out. They find a solution for everything.”
Our client relationships are anything but transactional. We are long-term partners, dedicated to the success of our clients, and most importantly, their people.
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Past Simon Family Passport recipient Jordan Parker-Ashe traveled to Israel to participate in the BBYO Passport Trek Israel program, which took her from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee.
idewater Jewish Foundation’s Simon Family Passport to Israel Fund, which provides grants for trips for teens to Israel, is accepting applications for the program until March 15, 2021. The program provides funds to enable and encourage Jewish students to participate in a trip to Israel. Trips that are funded include educational and peer group experiences. “Without this generous scholarship from Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s Simon Family Passport to Israel Program, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see the ruach (spirit) that fills everyday life in a place where Judaism is found in every aspect of everyday society,” says Sophie Waldman, a past Simon Family
Passport grant recipient. News-111320.indd 5 PD-ad-three-eighths-V-color-Jewish Marvin Simon established the fund because he believed it was important for young people to experience Israel for themselves. “He felt students had to get involved beyond the books and beyond the weekly synagogue visits and experience Israel and worldwide Jewry first hand,” says Simon’s daughter, Kim Simon Fink. “He wanted to afford an opportunity for everyone to get that personal experience.” Qualifying trips are organized by a non-profit organization, educational, or religious institution, are staffed by
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appropriate personnel, and have a struc11/13/20 2:56 PM tured itinerary. Jewish students between the ages of 13 and 18 may apply, and those students over 18 may apply as long as they indicate why a Birthright Israel trip will not meet their current needs. Trips will be funded up to 30% of the eligible expenses, with a maximum of $6,000 per student. To apply or for more information, visit jewishva.org/passport or contact Ann Swindell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-965-6106. Applications are due March 15, 2021.
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SIMON FAMILY PASSPORT TO ISRAEL
he BINA curriculum actively encourages high school students “to develop their love for Hashem, His Torah, and the Jewish people.” The close-knit BINA staff partners with parents to help each student actualize her potential in a supportive and challenging academic environment. The tenets of BINA are pride in heritage, community involvement, and preparation for the future. BINA offers dual-enrollment classes for upper-classmen, giving them a head start on college credits while attending high school. “We are very proud that almost 100% of our graduates go to Israel for a year of learning after high school, and then go on to pursue a higher academic
degree,” says Aviva Harpaz Menaheles, BINA Head of School. “Just last week, an alumna sent me a picture of her newly-earned CPA license!” BINA was completely virtual at the end of the 2019–2020 school year. “We are very grateful that we have been able to be open for in-person classes this year. We are trying to maintain our pre-COVID schedule and extra-curricular program as much as possible, and have been pretty successful with that. Our students have a new level of appreciation for school and are so happy to be here!” This is part of a series of articles spotlighting local and overseas partner agencies that are beneficiaries of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s annual Community Campaign.
A phone application assistance and outreach program for people who need help registering for the COVID-19 vaccination is being offered by Jewish Family Service.
Apply at jewishva.org/passport through March 15
Contact Sharon Rosenbaum and/or Jody Laibstain for help navigating the on-line registration system. VOLUNTEER TO HELP JFS and United Jewish Federation of Tidewater seek volunteers to help people apply, register, and perhaps even drive them to appointments.
The Tidewater Jewish Foundation can help fund the trip through the Simon Family Passport to Israel Fund! • Grants are available for students age 13 to 22, traveling to Israel on an organized and staffed peer trip.
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BINA High comes back from 100% virtual with caution and success
COVID-19 vaccination registration assistance available
Are you a Jewish teen who wants to go to Israel?
• Incentive grants awards are up to 30% eligible expenses (maximum of $6,000 per student).
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For more information, contact Ann Swindell email@example.com | 757-965-6106 foundation.jewishva.org
To volunteer or to seek assistance, call 757-321-2237.
Let Your Future Shine Bright!
JEWISH TIDEWATER BETH EL FEEDS TIDEWATER
If you can’t feed a hundred people then feed just one. Betsy O. Karotkin
uring this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all experiencing a relentless hunger—a hunger for our children and grandchildren, a hunger for our friends, a hunger for “normalcy.” But few of us, gratefully, have known hunger as an empty stomach crying out for food. Soon, we will again recall the time when the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt, and when finally freed, to know the hunger of living in the desert for 40 years. In the words of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, a”h, “We are what we remember.” At Beth El, we are committed to remembering the anguish of hunger. Under the leadership of Rachel Abrams and Joanna Schranz, the congregation is continuing Beth El Feeds Tidewater. “There is such a great need right now as more people than ever are struggling during the pandemic. I am extremely grateful to our Beth El family for their very generous response to this initiative,” says Abrams. The goal is not to feed ALL of Tidewater, but each month, the group addresses the needs of a different segment. In December, Beth El members donated bags of groceries and checks to the FoodBank of Southeastern Virginia, and in January, food and checks went to Village Family, a hunger relief non-profit organization, whose Food Pantry operates out of First Calvary Church in Norfolk. “My daughter, Moriah, and I really enjoyed sorting and packing food with church members and it was so nice to actually work together in person,” says Schranz. In February, 20 Beth El families prepared meals to feed 160–170 people at the Norfolk Union Mission. These meals were delivered on Sunday, Feb. 14 by five volunteers from Beth El’s Sisterhood, in addition to a check for $500 to the Union Mission. This month, the congregation turned to Park Place School. Congregation Beth
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Jonah and Leila Abrams.
El welcomed Park Place School into the education wing of its building four years ago. What started out as a pilot project in the mid-1990s (Project Rebound) to improve test scores of students who were not thriving in Norfolk Public Schools, turned into an expanded private school for third through eighth graders. While Park Place School is considered private, all students receive free tuition. Patti Wainger has taken Park Place School under her wings and given Beth El congregants opportunities to make a difference, as she has with so many other deserving projects throughout Tidewater.
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For Beth El Feeds Tidewater, Wainger made profiles of the 51 families (about 210 people) from Park Place School so that Beth El families could make boxes that “fit” their particular Park Place family, while remaining anonymous. Each participating Beth El family created a box containing food, games, and other items. The Park Place families picked up their boxes along with a $50 gift certificate to Food Lion provided by a generous Beth El congregant. A meal prepared by Mercy Chefs was also included. Some congregants who were not able to
participate directly made donations to help defer expenses. Let’s be honest. We cannot pretend to end hunger, but we can each do something. In the words of my dear, dear friend, Hanns Loewenbach, zichrona livracha, a Holocaust survivor and member of Beth El, “We always have a choice: To do something or nothing.” In honor of Hanns, it is important to do SOMETHING. As our forefathers taught us, “It is not for you to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.”
jewishnewsva.org | March 8, 2021 | JEWISH NEWS | 9
Bob & Augusta Live Forever
Dozoretz Hospice House, the region’s first, will assist grieving Families
As philanthropists and volunteers, this Virginia Beach couple supported important causes in Hampton Roads. Although Bob Goodman passed away in 2006 and Augusta Goodman in 2017, they help others today because of the charitable bequest they entrusted to the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Today, their four children carry on Bob and Augusta’s legacy through donor-advised funds that let them recommend grants to help nonprofits do their best work. Thanks to their generosity, Bob and Augusta will forever make life better in their home region. Learn how easy it is to leave your mark on the future by ordering a free bequest guide. Adding Charity to Your W or IRA ill
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ary Parker was not ready for her husband of 33 years to die and certainly not for the intense care he would need in his final days. “Charles was just 48 when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma before his death at the age of 64. After years of treatment, his health declined quickly after many ups and downs,” says Parker. “When he came home from the pulmonary care ICU unit, he had hospice care for about three weeks before he passed away. The hospice care nurses were wonderful, but were only there for about an hour a day—leaving me to give him morphine shots and other controlled substances, take him to the bathroom, and handle other caregiving duties for which I was not prepared, physically or emotionally,” says Parker. “It was really tough both for me and Charles, who was watching me struggle day after day.” Today, Parker is on the board of directors for a group of committed volunteers who are raising $9-million to build the area’s first free-standing hospice house. Terry Jenkins, who was director of Virginia Beach Human Services, is the board chair. “After I retired, the Virginia Beach City Council agreed to donate 2.5 acres on Upton Drive at Nimmo Parkway in the Red Mill section of the city,” says Jenkins. “Although hospice services are available in some assisted living facilities and nursing homes, our region is underserved with regard to inpatient hospice beds. Now we are seeking donations from individuals, organizations, and families who understand the value of having an inpatient hospice house available to serve the Hampton Roads community.” Shari Friedman is also on the board. “My sister Renee Stretlitz and I are proud that the Hospice House of Hampton Roads will be named after our father, Dr. Ronald Dozoretz, a pioneer in the mental health field and the founder and chairman of Value Options.”
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Dozoretz, who earlier started First Hospital Corporation, passed away at the age of 85 in 2020. He became interested
“Renee and I are anxious to see the Dozoretz Hospice House constructed and know that there will also be a fund to take care of patients, regardless of their financial circumstances.” in the idea of a 12-bed inpatient hospice and bereavement center when he first heard about it because of his passion for helping people in need, and according to Friedman, agreed to make a sizable donation. “Renee and I are anxious to see the Dozoretz Hospice House constructed and know that there will also be a fund to take care of patients, regardless of their financial circumstances,” says Friedman. Hugh Patterson, an attorney with Wilcox and Savage in Norfolk, is also a board member. “I have friends who have lost their loved ones and seen how tough it is at the end,” says Patterson. “So when I was asked to assist, I was glad to help.” “This will fill such a glaring need in our community,” says Dr. Marissa Galicia-Castillo, director of the EVMS Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology. “Loved ones are not trained
to be nurses and therefore should not be put in a situation where they might feel guilty that they couldn’t do enough for their spouse or parent. And like Mary Parker’s husband, the patient is not Dr. Ronald Dozoretz. always elderly. It’s often younger people who are dying from an accident, a drug overdose, or a disease. It can happen to anyone.” Jenkins became aware of the value of an inpatient facility when a relative became ill in North Carolina. “She died in a hospice house run by Duke University,” she says, “and it was a lovely place. The quality of care was outstanding, and the staff could not have been more caring and compassionate.“ Jenkins says Westminster Canterbury will oversee care at the Dozoretz House, Beth Sholom Village will manage the financial operation, and area universities will have students perform clinical rotations. “We have excellent partners. We can’t wait to get started.” The board will break ground as soon as the fundraising goal is met. If interested in learning more or donating, visit www.hospicehousehr.org.
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Mazel Tov As life lessons go, virtual Bar Mitzvahs make the path to ‘adulting’ real, fast Lisa Richmon
n 2020, Carin Joffe Simon and husband Mike Simon planned the first Tidewater virtual Bar Mitzvah for their son, Nate. When Betty Ann Levin watched the event, which was livestreamed on Facebook from their home, she joined the community of friends and family congratulating Nate for his accomplishment during a pandemic. Levin couldn’t help but think about her son Sam’s future Bar Mitzvah months away. “Back then, January 2021 seemed so far off and we just naturally assumed everything would be back to normal,” says Levin, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s executive vice president. Levin, like so many people was gobsmacked by the pandemic’s longevity. Sam Levin is the oldest of Scott and Betty Ann Levin’s two children. This was their first pandemic, and their first experience planning a pandemic-produced Bar Mitzvah. On December 6, 2020, 119 years to the day after Walt Disney was born, Elijah Morrissey became a Bar Mitzvah at Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk. “We picked the date close to Elijah’s birthday because it has a huge tie in to Disney. Our family loves and follows everything about his life’s work, the movies, the music, the history,” says Elijah’s mother Alyson Morrissey. “We are a Disney family, so having a BM on his birthday is pretty cool.” In their own ways, Levin and Morrissey, and their sons, used what COVID took away from their original plans and found
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silver linings. “One awesome thing is that so many of my cousins are much older than me. My aunts, uncles, and cousins are from all over and even if things were normal, they would not have come here. Because it was livestreamed, they all got to see it, making it really special,” says Morrissey. “We converted the recording to a video, and now have a keepsake.” For Levin, the hardest thing was not being able to share this with friends and family. But the takeaway made up for it. “I can’t imagine a more meaningful service. The entire experience brought out Sam’s love of Hebrew! He showed us that if he sets his mind to it, he can do anything. Nothing really surprised us, but the preparation brought us together in a different way. His dad and I reminisced on our bar/bat mitzvah preparation and had wonderful discussions with him about his parsha as he prepared for his Dvar Torah.” Elijah is the third child of Alyson and Chris Morrisey. “If we had to plan a virtual event during the pandemic for Elijah’s older siblings it would have been super hard. Elijah is pretty easy going. But we had to have his service in the sanctuary for livestreaming purposes and that was a little
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intimidating. His brother Jacob and sister Leia both had theirs in the chapel, which is very intimate and is better suited to our tight-knit family.” Everyone was on board helping Elijah prepare, not just Cantor Jen and his mother who oversees the Hebrew school curriculum at OST. His siblings stepped up, too. It got rough at times, and the motivation zigged and zagged, but a joint effort on the part of Elijah’s entire family paid off. “Elijah blew us all away,” says Morrissey. “He rose to the occasion and did it with so much grace.”
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The Morrisey family likes to do things their way—as a family, and often with a new destination in mind. Instead of producing a party with a band and a theme, they have an experience in Hawaii on the books. Elijah is a gamer. His biggest letdown perhaps was the cancellation of the Circuit Social party where he could celebrate his accomplishment his way, with friends playing video games. The virtual Bar Mitzvah season mantra is making the most of a situation you can’t control. It’s a new family affair. Welcome to adulting.
jewishnewsva.org | March 8, 2021 | JEWISH NEWS | 11
PANDEMIC-POKED WEDDINGS: A new altar, an un-altered dress, and an altered state of mind Lisa Richmon
f you think the new sitcom, Call Your Mother is about children avoiding their mothers during the pandemic, you would be half right. The show, starring Kyra Sedgwick, is based, however, on life after the pandemic. The life-after-COVID messaging is pure hope and fiction. COVID’s real-life casualties are not lost on members of the Tidewater community—not even two mothers of the bride, who have spent the last year jumping through hoops to get their daughters to the chuppah. With no real pandemic finish line in sight, and wedding decision fatigue in high gear, time, place, and size of guest list remain anyone’s guess. Laura Gross lost her mother-in-law and her father-in-law to COVID in 2020. Beth Campion has felt survivor’s guilt
Aviv and Rachel Faraj.
due to the furlough of a painfully large number of friends and colleagues at Hilton properties globally. She is director of sales for Hilton Worldwide Sales. Gross, a local attorney, got her daughter, Aly, hitched without a hitch in 2019 when it was legal to have large gatherings. She’s up at bat for the third time trying to plan a legal wedding for her daughter, Rachel. COVID crashed Rachel’s first wedding, which was set for August 20, 2020 on a rooftop in Israel. Then it was rescheduled for June 1, 2021, also in Israel. In January, concern over international travel caused her to bring the wedding home to Virginia Beach for a third try in September. “Hopefully by late September, my friends and family who want to be, will be vaccinated,” says Gross. At work, Campion doesn’t get rattled planning global events for thousands of people. As a mother of the bride during COVID, however, a guest list over 10 is panic inducing. Currently, her daughter’s former guest list of 250 people is illegal and mind-altering. “And I do this for a living,” says Campion, a seasoned professional with a delicate balancing act on her hands. “I sympathize with all the partners I’ve contracted with, and I also sympathize with my daughter and her husband, Chris. Rachel Gross was secretly married at the Norfolk courthouse last year. Even with the Israeli Embassy shutting
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down for several months during COVID, her husband Aviv, an Israeli, was finally able to obtain his green card when Embassy services resumed in January 2021.
“This whole thing has given me perspective and a chance to step back.”
On May 23, 2020, Danielle Campion married Chris Adsit in Chris’s parents’ backyard in the Lochhaven section of Norfolk. The 14-person guest list consisted of the couples’ parents and siblings. “It wasn’t at all what they had planned,” says Campion referring to the traditional wedding of 250 people at the Norfolk Hilton, also crashed by COVID. “Danielle didn’t walk down the aisle with her father. She wore a dress that she ordered online and didn’t even see until the day before she got married. But, it was the most beautiful night and intimate ceremony officiated by Rabbi Roz. Danielle’s mother-in-law, and her friend made them the most beautiful wedding arch,” says Campion, referring to the chuppah. ”It was gorgeous. Her dress was perfect. And I was so happy her grandmother Zoomed in. We hosted a small brunch for some of her bridal party and their moms. Her bridal party sent flowers and decorated their car! I believe May 23, 2020 will always be a day they look back
on and smile, despite it not being the wedding they planned.” Dream marriage to wedding dreams Danielle Adsit and Rachel Faraj are blissfully married, but neither one is ready to release their dream of having their wedding. “The wedding in Israel would have been a real bonding experience,” says Gross. ‘Many of our friends haven’t been to Israel. So, instead of a rooftop wedding in Jaffa, we will be standing under a Dale Chihuly at MOCA in Virginia Beach.” In May, Campion hopes to have an outdoor wedding at the Bay Front Club at East Beach. How many of their favorite people will be invited is still a big unknown. Danielle’s father will walk her down the aisle. That’s the plan. Rachel’s wedding dress has been hanging in her mother’s Virginia Beach home for over a year. “When New York started to shut down in February 2020, I thought the wedding would still take place that August, so I called Kleinfelds and had them send the dress to my home,” says Gross. “It’s March 2021, and it’s still here.” Gross says the hardest part for her has been finding wedding venues on the second and third go-round because so many dates have been booked by newly engaged who don’t need to reschedule. This crowded space makes it really tough for those like Rachel and Danielle, and others who had to scramble to re-schedule due to COVID. “COVID isn’t covered under cancellation policies,” says Gross. “It’s entirely up to the venue and vendors whether they will reimburse for COVID-related cancellations. One very unfortunate byproduct of the venue shortage is the restricted guest-list, which is both caused by and compounded by COVID. There are so many people you want to share this life cycle event with you, but at some point it comes down to who knows my daughter and son-in-law. The whole wedding
Mazel Tov industry is a mess.” A mother of the bride has tough decisions to make without COVID. Add sliced and diced guest lists and it can get dicey. The guest-list ‘talk’ was unavoidable for Beth Campion. “Danielle and Chris keep in touch with friends from childhood, college, and grad school. We both have big families. We had to cut over 100 people knowing there is no way the government will go from 10 to 250 by May, when the wedding is back on the books. I had to call Chris and Danielle Adsit. so many friends and extended family who have been part of every life cycle event, and my mother’s core group who have been part of many life-cycle events and my children’s life cycle events and say, ‘We love you, and want you to share in Danielle and Chris’s day but we can’t have you here.’ It’s just so sad.” But Campion’s friends offered nothing but support and reassurance: ‘We love you and will be there in spirit.’ ‘We will come when it’s safe.’ Danielle’s bridal shower is a saving grace that Campion is thankful for. It was held in late February before the pandemic hit and numbers were an issue. “It was a sunny, perfect day with so many friends and family,” says Campion. “No one imagined the wedding we were planning would not take place.” Booking a rehearsal dinner during COVID is another logistics-meets-pandemic hoop. All venues were booked or closed. For a variation on a theme, Rachel Faraj and her guests will play shuffleboard and eat pizza at Beachside Social. “I tell Rachel all the time, ‘regardless
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of the numbers, we are having a wedding. I don’t know what it will be exactly, or when, or how big, but you will be a princess for a day and you will wear that beautiful dress and look gorgeous.’” Rachel’s dream is a wedding her way, not a typical dream wedding. Totally rejecting the current two-dress bridal culture, “I only get to wear that dress once. Why would I want to take it off?” “This whole thing has given me perspective and a chance to step back,” says Campion “I used to travel four days a week. I lived my life on an airplane. I have slowed down, my husband has found joy in cooking elaborate meals, and we have tried many new wines. With all this craziness, we are grateful for our friends and family’s support and love. The biggest thing I’ve taken away is that my daughter and her husband didn’t start their life traditionally as husband and wife, but they are always smiling. They’ve set the example of handling difficult situations with grace. They’re so happy and as parents we are beaming with pride.”
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Let the madness begin!
An anniversary of caring: Pam Blais delivers to caregivers Patti Wainger
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nniversaries are sometimes faced with mixed emotions. For some, there’s pure joy in recalling a wedding anniversary or the day children or grandchildren were born. Conversely, some bring sadness, reminders of the loss of loved ones or of a catastrophic event such as 9/11. For Pam Blais, like the global community, March 2021 represents the first anniversary of the start of COVID-19. This horrific pandemic, like the unfathomable events of 9/11, inspired in Blais and her daughters, Gilly and Sarah, to change adversity into positive acts toward others. For 27 years Blais has worked in the clinical area—in pediatric intensive care, the emergency room, hospice, and case management. Because of this experience, Blais understands the pressure hospital workers endure, and, so the outbreak of COVID-19 ignited in her the passion to support frontline healthcare providers. In March, Blais, a full-time nurse, established a Go-Fund-Me Page that brought an outpouring of help from funders, volunteers, restaurant owners, and local businesses. By early summer she raised $10,000 that enabled her to get restaurants to provide 7,000 meals to frontline healthcare teams. In addition to the meals, Blais and her daughters delivered pantry boxes filled with goodies to COVID units, emergency rooms, and ICU’s at all of the area hospitals nearly every day since March. Plus, Gilly, a full-time college student, wrote letters to businesses and donors, as well as managed social media for the project. The Pantry Box Project made a huge impact for so many in the healthcare field, as it was aligned with the Jewish values of repairing the world, tikkun olam, and generosity, tzedakah. Myriad businesses support the effort, including: Brueggers, Yorgos, Einstein Bagels, Brooklyn Bagels, No Frill Grill, YNot Pizza, Tropical Smoothie, IHop, Starbucks, Harris Teeter, Dollar Tree, Krispy Kreme, and Jody’s Popcorn.
In December, Blais established a fund at Tidewater Jewish Foundation to provide meals to healthcare providers, specifically in COVID units, emergency departments, and ICU’s. Philanthropic efforts helped raise more than $10,500 that allowed Blais to connect with Mercy Chefs to expand the scale, scope, and quality of the project. The outcome and synergy were exponential, with more than 10,000 meals served. Pantry Box alone served frontline providers in nine hospitals with all funds going to either Mercy Chefs or local restaurants. Mercy Chefs, home-based in Portsmouth, is currently dealing with weather related disasters in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Alabama, and they are not able to continue to support local hospital heroes. While the project no longer has meal deliveries through Mercy Chefs, Pantry Box still fills boxes and delivers meals to the frontline workers. The organization’s efforts continue to thrive with volunteers flocking to help. Recently, Sarah Blais, a 2020 graduate of Cape Henry, contacted her alma mater about supporting the Pantry Box Project. Amanda Hayes, Middle School principal, was excited for this opportunity and the students voted to participate. Sarah engaged with the student leaders via a Zoom presentation, explaining the project and what should be packed in the boxes. The Cape Henry students collected and packed 100 boxes, and Norfolk Academy’s lower school collected candy and contributed money. Currently, 20 volunteers bake lasagnas each week, while parents and children bake cookies, banana bread, and brownies. After the overwhelming support from the community, the fund with Tidewater Jewish Foundation is now closed. “We celebrate all we have accomplished together, and our thanks go to the Foundation for helping us with the mission of honoring our Jewish values through philanthropy,” says Blais. Now, Blais and her team are looking to the future with their own, recently
Mazel Tov formed foundation, Care4frontline. Approval of the agency’s 501c3 nonprofit status is due in the upcoming weeks. In setting new goals for Care4frontline, Blais and her partner, Cathy Fox, BSN, RN, will continue to make daily deliveries of boxes of special treats and will supplement with other Pancake delivery to COVID unit at Sentara Leigh for weekend teams. meals each week. Throughout this year, Blais and Fox have also become Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for informaincreasingly concerned about the mental tion and offers of support, as well as any other health toll facing frontline healthcare skills to share. providers and are working towards providing them with mental health support. In recognition of the two-fold needs of feeding the bodies of hospital workers, as well as providing nourishment for their souls, the Project is adding psychological support to a jam-packed schedule. The team of volunteers now include yoga instructors, meditation instructors, and dance therapy leaders, all providing free classes to the health care heroes. Toward supporting the art project, Tau Upsilon Alpha, an honor society at Old Dominion University, donated $500 to pair up with Melinda and Scott Vouss, Board and Brush, Norfolk, to hold private classes for frontline healthcare providers who care for the COVID population. As Blais and her team prepare for the first anniversary of their project during the pandemic, they are filled with mixed american leather comfort sleepers emotions. The loss of more than 510,000 March 5 thru 29 lives in the United States is devastating; however, COVID vaccines have brought hope that better times lie ahead. Like Pam Blais and her team, others can help support the hospital workers. Volunteers are needed to deliver bagels, bananas, candy, etc. Suggestions of businesses that might join these efforts are also appreciated. Plus, the lasagna and sweets Largest local selection of contemporary furniture | 301 West 21st Street, Norfolk | 757.623.3100 | visit decorumfurniture.com for hours brigade can always use extra hands.
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jewishnewsva.org | March 8, 2021 | Mazel Tov/Passover | JEWISH NEWS | 15
Mazel Tov B’NAI TZEDEK TEEN PHILANTHROPY
Putting the Mitzvah in Bar and Bat Mitzvah Kaitlyn Oelsner
round the time of their bar or bat mitzvot, teens explore what it means to become an adult and active member of the Jewish community. They study Torah, learn to lead services, perform mitzvah projects and begin their journey into Jewish philanthropy. The Tidewater Jewish Foundation is available to facilitate a conversation between the b’nai mitzvah student and their parents about the commitment to tzedakah and family giving. Through TJF, these students and their loved ones have an opportunity to open a B’nai Tzedek Teen Philanthropy fund, which encourages teens to engage in the exploration of, as well as the ability to exercise core Jewish values such as tzedakah (charity)
and tikkun olam (repairing the world) through charitable giving. For many, the B’nai Tzedek fund is the beginning of a lifelong commitment to giving, leadership, and engagement in Jewish community. “We know our children want to make a difference in the world and B’nai Tzedek funds provide a ‘learn by doing’ opportunity to develop the philanthropic mindset,” says Naomi Limor Sedek, TJF president and CEO. “Bar and bat mitzvahs are key formative experiences for our children and these funds are excellent tools to ensure that their development as responsible members of our Jewish community continues well beyond the weekend festivities.”
HOW IT WORKS B’nai Tzedek funds can be opened with
a minimum of $250 to be matched by the Tidewater Jewish Foundation for a starting total of $500. Once the fund is established, teens have an opportunity to distribute 4% of the fund balance to a Jewish charity of their choice each year. In addition, they are encouraged to add to their fund annually with the intention of growing it to a fully funded Donor Advised Fund by the time they reach age 25. To help grow their fund, teens can invite loved ones to make contributions to commemorate any special occasion, starting at their bar or bat mitzvah and continuing through birthdays, holidays, graduations, and other celebrations. The youngest philanthropist will be recognized and honored on the day of the simcha. If the fund is fully funded at age 25, it will convert to a Donor Advised Fund, at which point they may make grants to multiple organizations through their named philanthropic fund.
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PLANTING THE SEED FOR A LIFELONG COMMITMENT TO GIVING By offering the option to grow their fund or distribute the 4% interest every year, teens will have an opportunity to evaluate the current needs of their community
while considering the benefits of longterm philanthropic investment. They also gain access to the full range of resources provided by Tidewater Jewish Foundation, including insight into the charitable needs of the local Jewish community and quarterly fund reports that introduce teens to basic market, investment, and fund growth concepts.
GETTING STARTED—MAZEL TOV! Contact Kaitlyn Oelsner, Tidewater Jewish Foundation director of philanthropy, at email@example.com or 747-965-6103, to schedule a family philanthropy consultation. Visit foundation.jewishva.org to honor a teen’s simcha by helping them grow into engaged, generous members of the Tidewater Jewish community.
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Mazel Tov Hayden Caplan’s mitzvah project: Gaming for Gold for a friend
s Hayden Caplan prepared for his upcoming bar mitzvah in May, there was no question what he wanted to do for his mitzvah project. A friend from his pre-school days at Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, Benjamin Goldberg, an amazing young boy, passed away at just eight years old from a rare childhood cancer. To honor Benjamin’s memory, Hayden wanted to ensure that the Benjamin Goldberg Playroom at The Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters would be a bright place of love, hope, and support for children getting treatment on the Hematology-Oncology floor. Hayden hosted a 12-hour game-a-thon on February 27, which he named “Gaming for Gold,” for people to join him and raise
money while gaming-for-good. “It was so heartwarming to see Hayden play- Hayden Caplan. ing games with old and new friends, doing what they love to do, and raising money to remember and honor his friend, Ben,” says Hayden’s mother, Stacie Caplan. “It was an incredible day filled with so much love.” That love and those young people helped to raise more than $8,000 for the Benjamin Goldberg Playroom and a lesson so much bigger than themselves was realized for all involved. To donate to this cause, visit www. Benjamingoldbergfoundation.org.
Simcha raba simcha raba aviv higia pesach ba.
his old Hebrew song translates to “what joy, spring is here and Passover is coming.” Passover is often referred to as the holiday of the spring—when the cold disappears and thoughts of summer plans begin to form. As spring symbolizes hope and optimism for the arriving summer, the Pesach season brings a special excitement for freedom at Camp JCC this summer. Camp JCC will return to in-person programming this year, complete with all of the necessary safety precautions. At camp, children will be able to socialize and grow into their best selves. Campers will be outdoors as much as possible and learn experientially with each other. They will be able to interact, masked face to masked face, with their peers.
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Spring is near, Passover is coming, Camp JCC is back Dave Flagler
Most importantly, this summer will allow children the freedom of being children again. Campers will again be able to physically play, physically create, and physically experience new things together, always while maintaining social distance. Campers will continue their psychosocial development with their peer groups and within developmentally suitable settings. While everyone—including children—have been through a lot and challenges still lie ahead, when it is time to partake in the seder rituals, the retelling of the story of Exodus and passage into freedom, there is much more to be hopeful, optimistic, and excited for this spring and upcoming summer. For more information about Camp JCC, go to CampJCC.org or contact Dave Flagler, director of camp and teen engagement at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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jewishnewsva.org | March 8, 2021 | JEWISH NEWS | 17
Virginia festivalofjewish film Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America with author Debbie Cenziper
God Of The Piano
Monday, March 15, 12 pm
(72 Hours) Movie available for viewing at your convenience. Reservation required. Itay Tal | 80 min Israel | 2019 Hebrew | Not Rated
n 1990, in a drafty basement archive in Prague, two American historians made a startling discovery: a Nazi roster from 1945 that no Western investigator had ever seen. The long-forgotten document, containing more than 700 names, helped unravel the details behind the most lethal killing operation in World War II. In a story spanning seven decades, Citizen 865 is the gripping story of a team of Nazi hunters at the U.S. Department of Justice as they raced against time to expose members of a brutal SS killing force who disappeared in America after World War II. Debbie Cenziper is an associate professor and the director of investigative reporting at Medill, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and nonfiction author who writes for The Washington Post. Cenziper’s investigative stories have exposed wrongdoing, prompted Congressional hearings and led to changes in federal and local laws. For more information and to register, go to JewishVA.org/Bookfest.
The Melton School is now accepting registration for upcoming classes OMG, Can You Believe?! Thursdays, April 22–May 27 9–10:30 am, via Zoom Faculty: Rabbi Marc Kraus
Soul’s Cycles: A Ride Through the Chapters of Life
Thursdays, April 22–May 27, 12–1:30 pm via Zoom Faculty: Miriam Brunn Ruberg
To register, go to www.jewishva.org/KCL or contact Sierra Lautman, UJFT director of Jewish Innovation, at SLautman@ujft.org.
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View Virtually Saturday, March 13—Monday, March 15
Monday, March 15, 7:30 pm A community conversation led by Rabbi Michael Panitz
bold take on the power of a woman’s control and a mother’s ambition, first-time director Itay Tal conceives a thought-provoking and seductive film that stirs up controversy in many topics: The fact that someone’s talent could be related to genetics or early manipulation of practices and ideas; a subtle justification of a woman’s desperate actions; the role of an absent male dominance; the pressures on a child whose childhood is evidently stolen due to adults’ self interests. Presenting this fierce and audacious female character, actress Naama Preis gives a superb performance, marked by intense complexity and mystery. She won the Best Actress Award at Jerusalem Film Festival for this incredibly unpredictable role. Observational and highly dramatic, Itay Tal is a filmmaker to watch. $12 per household for virtual cinema. Film will be available to view virtually on your computer, laptop, or smart TV. Detailed instructions will be provided when registering at JewishVA.org/FilmFestival.
The Path of the Just Tuesday, March 16, 12 pm, Zoom An interactive 6-week course with Rabbi Sender Haber
ritten by 18th century kabbalist and philosopher, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, this influential work is one of Judaism’s basic texts on why we were created, our role in this world, and the path of our souls as we make our way through life’s
challenges. In this six-part series, the work will be used to find the balance between very practical growth and Judaism’s most esoteric ideals. Rabbi Sender Haber is the rabbi of B’nai Israel Congregation in Norfolk. Classes are independent of each other and recordings will be available after they take place. Course Cost: $36. Class space is limited.
WHAT’S HAPPENING CAMP JCC VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE March 23 at 7 pm & April 29 at 8 pm
oin this informational session to learn about Camp JCC 2021 and the program modifications that will be in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Camp JCC Director, Dave Flagler, will present, answer questions, and will outline the plans in place for an amazing upcoming summer. To register, email Dave at DFlagler@ujft.org.
Bracket Challenge is on!
ADIV Men’s Giving Circle of the Young Adult Division presents the 3rd Annual Bracket Challenge Fundraiser. All proceeds benefit inclusion and special needs programming at Camp JCC and community programs. Brackets are available for $10 each (5 brackets for $40) through Thursday, March 18. Top bracket wins $1,000 Amazon gift card. No basketball expertise is needed to participate. 3RD ANNUAL BRACKET CHALLENGE SPONSORS Title Sponsor Mercedes-Benz of Virginia Beach Final Four Sponsors Iron Valley Real Estate VB Noble Title & Escrow, INC Tidewater Home Funding, LLC Town Center Office Suites Elite Eight Sponsors Calliott, Demeter, & Harrell Investment and Wealth Advisors Damuth Trane Nusbaum Insurance Agency Rubin Communications Group Southern Bank Stokes Law Group Wildcat Propellers Wolcott Rivers Gates To register, visit www.JewishVA.org/nadiv-basketball or contact Matthew KramerMorning, Young Adult Campaign manager, at MKMorning@ujft.org.
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CALENDAR MARCH 11, THURSDAY Join Brianna Caplan Sayres, author of Asteroid Goldberg: Passover in Outer Space for a discussion on an out-of-this-world Passover fantasy. Presented by PJ Library in Tidewater, in partnership with Strelitz International Academy as part of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC’s Lee and Bernard Jaffe Family Jewish Book Festival. 6 pm. Free. Pre-registration required. For more information and to register, go to JewishVA.org/Bookfest or contact Nofar Trem, UJFT’s PJ Library Program professional at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-321-2334. MARCH 13–MARCH 15, SATURDAY–MONDAY God of the Piano, presented by the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC’s Patricia & Avraham Ashkenazi and Alma & Howard Laderberg Virginia Festival of Jewish Film. Offered virtually for 72 hours, from midnight on March 13 through 11:59 pm on March 15. $12 per household. To register, visit www.JewishVa.org/FilmFestival or contact Patty Shelanski, Arts + Ideas manager, at PShelanski@ujft.org. MARCH 15, MONDAY Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America with Pulitzer Prizewinning investigative reporter and non-fiction author, Debbie Cenziper. Citizen 865 tells the gripping story of a Nazi team as they raced against time to expose members of a brutal SS killing force who disappeared in America after World War II. Brought to you by the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC’s Lee and Bernard Jaffe Family Jewish Book Festival in partnership with the Holocaust Commission. 12:00 pm FREE. Pre-registration required. For more information and to register, go to JewishVA.org/Bookfest or contact Patty Shelanski, Arts + Ideas manager, at email@example.com or 757-452-3184. MARCH 16, TUESDAY The Konikoff Center for Learning, Tidewater’s hub for experiential Jewish education and engagement at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC offers an opportunity to join James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov as he presents a virtual Passover cooking demonstration. Solomonov will make three delicious recipes, including Mina with ground beef, cardamom, and coffee, and his special charoset. The third recipe is still a secret. Pre-registration required. 8 pm. For more information or to register for this FREE and open to the community event, contact Sierra Lautman, UJFT’s director of Jewish Innovation, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-965-6107. MARCH 17, WEDNESDAY Join yes Studios Managing Director, Danna Stern, as she offers insight into what the future holds for Israeli TV and film. Presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Simon Family JCC, Embassy of Israel, & Community Partners’ 10th Annual Israel Today series. 12 pm. Free and open to the community with pre-registration required. For more information and to register, go to JewishVA.org/ IsraelToday or contact Jill Grossman at email@example.com, or 757-965-9137. MARCH 18, THURSDAY 2021 VCIC’s 57th annual Tidewater Humanitarian Awards Dinner honoring Lawrence L. Steingold. For more information and to attend and be at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s virtual table, contact Wynston Hammack at firstname.lastname@example.org. To be part of Ohef Sholom Temple’s virtual table, contact email@example.com. MARCH 22, MONDAY Author talk with Jennifer Voigt Kaplan, discussing her book, Crushing the Red Flowers. This is the story of how two ordinary boys cope under the extraordinary circumstances of Kristallnacht. Part of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC’s Lee and Bernard Jaffe Family Jewish Book Festival in partnership with the Konikoff Center for Learning. For middle schoolers. 7 pm. Free. Pre-registration required. For more information and to register, go to JewishVA.org/arts-ideas/book-festival or contact Sierra Lautman, director of Jewish Innovation, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 757-965-6107. MARCH 23, TUESDAY Camp JCC Virtual Open House. Camp JCC returns to in-person programming this summer. Join this informational session to learn about Camp JCC 2021 and the program modifications in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 Dave Flagler, Camp JCC director, will present and answer questions about the upcoming summer. 7 pm. For more information and to register, contact Dave Flagler, director of camp and teen engagement, at email@example.com. Send submissions for calendar to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.
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OBITUARIES DAVID COHEN VIRGINIA BEACH—David Cohen, aka KING DAVID, 64, passed away on Thursday, February 25, 2021 after a long fight against complications from COVID. He was the best man we ever knew, and we are the luckiest people in the world to have had him in our lives. We are so moved by the outpouring of love, support, and kindness. He was loved by so many people and left a mark on everyone that he met; it’s so warming to hear people speak about him. David served as a member of the Israeli military at a young age and moved to Virginia Beach 30 years ago. He was a proud citizen of both Israel and America. He was a long-time entrepreneur and was known to many from his jewelry businesses in Tidewater. He will be deeply missed. David is survived by his mother, Rachel Cohen; three children, Gal Cohen, and his wife Brooke, Edan Cohen, and Noa Cohen; two brothers, Reuven Cohen, and Claude Cohen; two grandchildren, Bella Cohen, and Beck Cohen; his beloved partner and the mother of Noa, Kerri Cohen; and her daughter, Kailyn; and his former wife and mother to Gal and Edan, Tal Cohen. David was in good health before this; statistically, he should have survived COVID. Sadly, as we can see, nothing at all is guaranteed. We ask that we all continue to do our part to protect ourselves and the people around us by wearing masks, social distancing, and doing everything we can to minimize the risks we take each day. The end of the pandemic is near. Let’s continue to see it through to the end properly. We promise it will be worth it. A graveside service was held privately with Rabbi Israel Zoberman officiating. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be made to the family at hdoliver.com. Memorial donations may be made to Yahad–United for Israel’s Soldiers https://www.ufis.org/. MARTIN ALAN EINHORN NORFOLK—On Thursday, February 18, 2021, Martin Alan “Marty” Einhorn, loving son, husband, father, and “Pappy,”
passed away far too soon at age 63 in a Norfolk hospital. Marty was born on August 21, 1957 in Norfolk to Lois and Barry Einhorn. He attended Norfolk Public Schools, graduating from Granby High in 1975, before heading off to begin what would become a life-long “love affair” with the University of Virginia. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science, with a concentration in Commerce in 1980, returning to Norfolk to work for Goodman & Company as a staff accountant. In 1989, Alvin Wall, Jeff Chernitzer, and Marty struck out on their own, founding Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, PC (WEC), which has become one of the most successful accounting firms in the area. As managing partner, Marty helped drive a culture focused on meeting the needs of clients, associates, and the surrounding community. Over his 30 years in that role, he oversaw the expansion of the firm and the unique design and buildout of their present location in downtown Norfolk, all while maintaining a focus on creating a “family” environment at WEC. Community centered, over the years, Marty served on the boards of directors of 14 separate non-profit organizations in various leadership positions, from president (often more than once!) to member. Committed to making the world a better place, he was incredibly generous in time, money, and optimistic spirit, seemingly not knowing the meaning of the word “no.” Not surprisingly, his professional and volunteer efforts deservedly achieved great recognition, including (but not limited to): Old Dominion University Strome College of Business School of Accountancy’s Inspiration and Leadership Award; Virginia Business’ Super CPA, multi-year honoree; Young Audiences of Virginia’s Volunteer of the Year; Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities’ Humanitarian Award; Men for Hope’s Trailblazer Award; and Inside Business’ Entrepreneurial Excellence Award. Marty had a passion for music which was ignited when he learned to play trumpet in elementary school. Partial to jazz, his retirement dream of opening a jazz restaurant in downtown Norfolk was put on hold by the pandemic. Fortunately,
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his beloved UVA Cavalier basketball team still managed to play at least part of their season and he was able to cheer them on from the safety of his home (while his cardboard cut-out, decked out in full UVA gear, kept his seat warm in the John Paul Jones arena). Professional, community, and fun activities aside, Marty’s greatest love of all things was family. He was fortunate to be part of a large extended family and made it a point to seek out and keep in touch with relatives, both near and far. The same can be said of the many deep and lasting friendships that over the years he chose to “adopt” as family. Marty is survived by his parents, Lois and Barry Einhorn; his wife of 37 years, Susan; his two sons, Will and Jay (April); his granddaughter, Charlotte; his sister, Wendy Brodsky (Ron); his sisterin-law, Jean Rogers (George Bergantz); his niece, Marlene Schulman (Jonathan); his nephew, Saul Brodsky (Adina); and his grandnephew, Noah Schulman. Marty was known for his incredibly positive outlook on life and for being a fighter to the very end. He will be sorely missed by his many friends and family. A private graveside service was held for immediate family at Forest Lawn Cemetery. The service was streamed on the H.D. Oliver FaceBook page. Rabbis Rosalin Mandelberg and Michael Panitz and Cantor Jennifer Rueben officiated. Memorial contributions can be made to: Ohef Sholom Temple (530 Raleigh Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23507); the Leukemia Lymphoma Society (lls.org); or Young Audiences of Virginia (420 N. Center Drive #239 Norfolk, VA 23502). Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.hdoliver.com.
BETH MARLENE WEINER GROSS VIRGINIA BEACH—Beth, 65, of Virginia Beach, Virginia passed away on February 22, 2021. Beth was born in Philadelphia to Joseph and Peggy Weiner on June 28, 1955. She went to Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach and graduated in 1973. She was a member of B’nai B’rith and Beth El Sisterhood. She worked as a cashier for Pantry Pride Foods with her
father and siblings for many many years. She also worked for the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, she was the education director for the Sunday School at Temple Emanuel in Virginia Beach, and ran the High Holiday baby sitting services at Temple Beth El for many years. Beth was the coordinator for the local chapter of USY/Kadima youth groups. She also worked for the Virginia Beach School System. Beth had a variety of home based businesses over the years and for the last few years she was an in-home Nanny for several wonderful families. Her love for children is what filled her days and heart during these years. During the early years of her boys lives, she loved watching them play ice hockey and traveling around the country to watch their games. She even became the team mom for their ice hockey team. Beth is survived by her husband, Richard, of Virginia Beach, her sons, Geoffrey (Leah) Gross and grandson Dylan, Brandon Gross; Sister, Faye (Jeff) Kelberg; Brothers, David (Michelle) Weiner and Max (Kim) Weiner; Nieces, Trudy, Mariam, Morgan, Lindsey, Lauren. She is preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Peggy Weiner. A graveside service took place at Forest Lawn Cemetery with Cantor Wendy of Temple Beth El officiating. Due to restrictions, the funeral was able to be viewed virtually via Tribucast Livestream. Memorial donations may be made to the Lymphoma Society or Congregation Beth El in Norfolk.
AARON HERSH SACHNOFF Suffolk—On Thursday, February 18, 2021, Aaron Sachnoff, age 64, a loving husband, father, and grandfather passed away. He is survived by his wife of 44 years Cheryl Sachnoff. He is also survived by his three daughters, Elizabeth, Laurie, and Candice Sachnoff and five grandchildren, Joshua, Elena, Naysa (Rangai), Elijah Clemons, and Isiah Sachnoff. He is survived by his siblings, Steven (Jill) Sachnoff and Rebecca (John) Carroll. Aaron served in the US Navy for 12 years. After the Navy, Aaron was a fixture for over 20 years with most of those years
OBITUARIES as the cantorial soloist at Commodore Levy Chapel at Norfolk Naval Base. He was also active at Temple Israel, WHRO radio, and various veteran organizations. Funeral services were at Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery. Donations requested to WHRO radio Norfolk or Temple Israel. H.D. Oliver.
LEAH WAINGER WAITZER NORFOLK—Leah Wainger Waitzer passed peacefully at home on February 27, 2021. She was born in 1936 to the late Paul and Eva Laibstain Wainger in Norfolk. She was educated in Norfolk’s public schools, graduating from Maury High School in 1953. She was a proud and generous graduate of Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, returning to Norfolk to marry Richard, with whom she spent the next six decades serving her family and the larger community with dedication and resolve. As a newlywed, she volunteered as a teacher at the Florence Crittendon School for unwed mothers that allowed expectant mothers to continue their educations in an era when they were excluded from the public schools due to their pregnancies. Busy as a dedicated young mother of three boys, her community service naturally revolved around their schools. She held every possible volunteer position at Norfolk Academy starting in 1967 from class mother, field trip driver and chaperone, prolific fundraiser, field day chairwoman, substitute Latin teacher, and long-time Trustee. With her sons off to college, Leah became a professional volunteer, giving her time, talent, and resources to organizations throughout Hampton Roads, primarily supporting children’s issues and the arts. She volunteered as an independent investigator in the Juvenile Courts of Virginia Beach for 22 years. At the request of a judge, she co-founded, was chief fundraiser, and initial chair of Virginia Beach’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to assist others in the juvenile justice system by providing more detailed and personal information than would otherwise be available. That work led to
her appointment by the Governor to the Virginia Committee for Juvenile Justice, which she later chaired. She directly helped those in dire circumstances rather than just leading organizations, forming relationships that sometimes lasted for years, 30 in one case, until her health precluded further communications. Leah passionately supported the arts, serving as a trustee of the Chrysler Museum of Art and the Virginia Arts Festival. She worked tirelessly at everything she touched and was perhaps the only trustee of organizations who read every single word of the voluminous materials typically provided in preparation for board meetings. Celebrated for her service to the citizens of Hampton Roads, Leah received many awards, including the JudeoChristian Outreach Center Woman of the Year, YMCA Woman of Distinction, and with Richard, the Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive
Communities, and the Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Hampton Roads. Leah and Richard gave transformative gifts to the Virginia Symphony and the Chrysler Museum of Art, where they funded the Waitzer Community Gallery, in addition to many other projects. Their philanthropy at Norfolk Academy
included funding annual awards for teaching excellence and numerous facilities. They enthusiastically supported Eastern Virginia Medical School, where they and their sons established the Murray H. Waitzer Endowed Chair for Diabetes Research in memory of Richard’s father. In 2018, they made a historic gift for a continued on page 22
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OBITUARIES continued from page 21
new building at EVMS, named Waitzer Hall in their honor. While known publicly for her hard work, generosity and style, Leah was most proud of her role as mother and grandmother. Her grandchildren, Melanie, Jonathan, and Paige were her pride and joy, and she never missed a school play, recital, sporting event, summer camp visiting day, travel opportunity, or shopping trip. Leah was predeceased by her parents and Richard. She is survived by her three sons, Eddie (Kathy), Brad (Terry), and Scott (Debbie); beloved grandchildren, Melanie, Jonathan, and Paige; brothers and sisters-in-law Jules and Patti Wainger, Stephen and Liza Wainger, and Valorie Waitzer; and innumerable nieces and nephews. Online condolences may be offered at www.hdoliver.com. A private service was held graveside at Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg officiating. It was streamed live and available later via H.D. Oliver’s Facebook page. Donations to Norfolk Academy, Development Office, 1585 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502 or Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation, P.O. Box 5, Norfolk, VA 23501-0005.
ARLENE E. ZENO NORFOLK—Arlene E. Zeno, 79, passed away because of COVID 19 on February 22, 2021. Born in Richmond, Va., she was the daughter of the late Ida Blank Ellman and John S. Ellman. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Harley Ellman, MD. Left to cherish her memory are her husband of 57 years, Allan S. Zeno, D.D.S., sons; Richard (Amy), Lawrence, David (partner Kristen Cruz), and an adoring granddaughter Sarah Nesta Zeno; brother Lee Ellman, D.P.M (Alice), sister-In-law Marianne Ellman, brother-in-law Gerald M. Zeno (sister-in-law Judge Rebecca B. Smith), as well as many nieces, nephews, and friends. Arlene graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond, Va., attended the University of Alabama, and graduated from VCU. She taught at
Granby Elementary School in Norfolk for three years before taking time to raise her own three sons. She later enjoyed a 31-year career as medical front office staff for Dr. Herbert M. Brewer, MD. While there she took every opportunity to widen a patient’s smile and join them in laughter. Arlene focused her life around being a generous and devoted wife, benevolent mother of her three sons, and absolute lover of dogs. She adored taking family vacations around the world and day trips to Williamsburg, or other glorious spaces in her everlasting home of Virginia. As a beacon of light in the Zeno family, she will be forever missed, and her light forever remembered throughout the lives of those who were lucky enough to love her. A private family graveside service was held in Forest Lawn cemetery with Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg and Cantor Jennifer Rueben officiating. The service was live streamed through www.hdoliver.com. Memorial contributions may be made to Ohef Sholom Temple, 530 Raleigh Ave, Norfolk, VA 23507 or, the SPCA, 916 Ballentine Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23504. Online condolences may be sent to the family through www.hdoliver.com.
DAVID MINTZ, WHO INVENTED TOFUTTI AS A DAIRY SUBSTITUTE FOR KOSHER MEALS (JTA)—David Mintz, who invented the once-popular Tofutti dairy substitute out of a desire to cater to observant Jews who could not mix meat and milk, has died. His death at 89 on Feb. 24 was first reported by COLlive, an Orthodox news site that covers the Chabad-Lubavitch community. Mintz had a relationship with Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the famed leader of the Hasidic movement, and sought his advice before opening his businesses, the site reported. No cause of death was given. Mintz was born and raised in an Orthodox section of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and attended Orthodox schools. Grub Street, New York Magazine’s food blog, wrote that he sold mink stoles before opening prepared food stores, where he employed “Jewish grandmothers” who made Jewish comfort foods like knishes and rugelach.
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Although he eventually left the haredi Orthodox fold, Mintz saw a wide open market through his Orthodox customers who under kosher law were prevented from eating dairy during a meal that involved meat. He reportedly first bought a gallon of tofu from a vendor in Chinatown in 1972 and went on to meld the soy-based food into “tofu-filled cookies, cakes, rugalach, tuna casserole” and more, as described in a 1981 New York Times article. But it took him several years to perfect what would become Tofutti ice cream, his most popular and enduring creation that became a staple in grocery stores across the country—and on Shabbat tables after chicken dinners. “Everyone said it would never taste good,” Mintz told the Times, which described him as a restless and enthusiastic personality. “Those people are now my biggest fans.” COLlive reported that Mintz went to Schneerson for reassurance during his years of experimentation, and that he gave generously to Jewish causes, including those connected to Schneerson’s Chabad movement. He also reportedly regularly visited Schneerson’s gravesite, a pilgrimage site for Chabad followers. “Whenever I met with the Rebbe I would mention what I was doing, and he would say to me, ‘You have to have faith. If you have faith in God, you can do wonders.’ So, I kept trying,” Mintz said, according to the site. Among the flavors and products Mintz tried over the years were several with Jewish influences: A carrot-apple-raisin tofu ice cream, for example, offered some of the flavors of a traditional Rosh Hashanah tsimmes, while blintzes stuffed with his tofu ricotta turned an archetypal dairy dish into something that could be served at any kosher meal.
ITALO SERVI, 98, SOFT-SPOKEN HEIR TO RICH ITALIAN JEWISH HERITAGE ( JTA)—When Italo Servi donated an amulet that had been in his family for two centuries to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts five years ago, his children had no idea the object even existed.
Servi received the amulet from his mother during a visit home in 1949 while studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following Italian Jewish tradition, the silver amulet containing parchment inscribed with a prayer that was passed down in Servi’s family for generations, was hung over a baby’s crib to protect the newborn from illness. Back in Boston, Servi put the amulet away for safekeeping, where it remained for decades, as he married, raised a family and pursued a career as a metallurgist. No one in the family knew anything about it until Servi gifted it to the MFA in 2016. “He was guarded about the things he did and didn’t talk about. I never realized until 10 or 20 years ago the impact of the events of his life had on his personality and upbringing,” said his son, Ron Servi. Servi, who died on Jan. 2 due to complications from COVID-19 at the age of 98, was born in Gallarate, Italy in 1922. His family had deep roots in Pitigliano, a town in central Italy known as “little Jerusalem” due to its well-established Jewish presence. Servi celebrated his bar mitzvah in 1936 in Pitgliano’s historic synagogue, which was built in 1598. In 1938, after Italy passed a set of restrictive racial laws aimed largely at the country’s Jewish community, Servi’s family fled—first to Milan and later to Recanati, where they escaped deportation to Nazi death camps. Servi and his family maintained lifelong contact with the Italians who helped him. While studying at MIT, he met his wife, Caroline, at Harvard Hillel. They were married for 63 years until her death in 2014. The couple were among the early founders of Temple Isaiah, a Reform synagogue in Lexington, Massachusetts. When his children were young, Servi did not discuss the hardships of his family’s wartime experience. He wanted them to assimilate and grow up as normal New Englanders, his sons said. “He was quiet. He was not flashy. He was accomplished. He was honest,” his granddaughter Amelia said in a eulogy. Servi leaves behind three children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
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