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Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 30

INSIDE

27 Genetic Screening

30 UVa’s Birthright trip

34

Summer Camp: Special Section 15

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upfront

jewish news jewishnewsva.org Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

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Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 52 No. 11 | 17 Adar I 5774 | February 17, 2014

contents Up Front. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Op-Ed: Fighting assault on Israel’s legitimacy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Israel: Exit-Nation at AIPAC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Tidewater goes to AIPAC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Putin’s Jewish embrace. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 2014 JCPA Plenum. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Summer Camp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 JFS Genetic Screening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Tallwood students talk about Israel trip. . . . . . 27 Beth El’s Bingo night . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 HAT’s evening of arts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

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Celebrate Israel

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hose of you who honored me by being present at the book signing for Hal’s Navy, may recall that I committed the proceeds to the creation of The Jewish News Archival Project Fund. Many in the community have shared my concern that the precious record of Jewish communal activity, some of which predates the creation of the Jewish Federation 75 years ago, may be lost to future generations as the ravages of oxidation takes its toll. For the past three months I have been privileged to fund the talented effort of Shayna Horwitz in organizing the project and researching companies capable of digitizing and creating an interactive electronic library of the Jewish News in its various iterations over the years. A candidate has been selected and a test project is underway. I must now acknowledge the fact that the project will require between $23,000 invited to You are and $30,000 (depending on the degree of sophistication selected), a level of support somewhat beyond my personal resourcArts e es. Both the United Jewish Federation C u l t u ri o n T r a do iot d F of Tidewater and the Tidewater Jewish Foundation are on board with this project 8 — page rating and will help. ts celeb of even adition, and s e ri tr A se , re ltu ts, cu n Roads! Please assist me by donating $500 Israeli ar ere in Hampto ht h food rig el to $1,000 to The Jewish News Archival brateIsra org/Cele milyJCC. SimonFa Project Fund. An internal transfer from a donor advised fund can be easily facilitated by contacting the TJF office, but your check will be greatly appreciated. As we continue to celebrate the 75th anniversary of our Federation and the 30th anniversary of our Foundation, I hope you will agree that we owe it to ourselves to InsIde: summer preserve this community treasure.

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INSIDE

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7 Film Festival Finale

Upcoming Deadlines for Editorial and Advertising April 7 Passover April 21 Home May 5 Guide May 19 Health Care June 2 June 30 Legal July 14 UJFT Annual Report

10 Date with the State 2014

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March 21 April 4 April 18 May 2 May 16 June 13 June 27

Super Sunday 2014

Camp

About the cover: Photograph of Maestro Gianandrea Noseda by Sussie Ahlburg; Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Second grade Chumash presentation at HAT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Disability awareness at Temple Israel. . . . . . . . 28 JFS Special Needs makes Hamantaschen. . . . . 29 Danuta Epstein’s Global Studies project . . . . . 29 UVa’s Birthright trip. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Book Reviews. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Israel Philharmonic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 What’s Happening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Mazel Tov. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Who Knew?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

quotable

candle lighting Friday, March 28/Adar II 26 Light candles at 7:05 pm

“Where is the ingenuity and

Friday, April 4/Nissan 4 Light candles at 7:11 pm

brilliance that are creating these

Friday, April 11/Nissan 11 Light candles at 7:17 pm

modern day miracles? Israel.”

Friday, April 18/Nissan 18 Light candles at 7:23 pm

—page 8

Friday, April 25/Nissan 25 Light candles at 7:29 pm Friday, May 2/Iyar 2 Light candles at 7:35 pm

jewishnewsva.org | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 3


briefs Haredi Jews rally in N.Y. against Israeli draft proposal Tens of thousands of haredi Orthodox Jews rallied in New York against a proposed Israeli law that would draft more young haredi men into the military. The Sunday, March 9 prayer rally in the Wall Street area of Lower Manhattan drew a crowd that police estimated at between 30,000 and 35,000, according to The Jerusalem Post. Organizers put the number of participants at more than 50,000. The rally stretched for blocks, with men and women gathered in separate areas. The prayer rally’s logistics were organized by Agudath Israel of America, the leading haredi Orthodox umbrella group. Among the prominent rally participants was Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, the grand rabbi of one faction of the Satmar Hasidic sect. Earlier this month, an estimated 300,000 haredi Jews protested in Jerusalem against the proposed draft law, which is backed by Israel’s governing coalition. (JTA) Crowd of 1,000 comes to Times Square to learn about Israel move More than 1,000 Jews gathered in New York’s Times Square to learn about moving to Israel. Jewish-Americans and Israelis living in the United States attended the “aliyah mega” event on Sunday, March 9 organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh, a group that eases the path to move to Israel. In addition to the New York event, aliyah fairs were scheduled for six other North American cities—Fort Lauderdale, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal—organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh along with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA. The fairs include aliyah-related seminars and workshops, and personal consultations with staff from The Jewish Agency for Israel, the Tzofim Garin Tzabar youth movement and Nefesh B’Nefesh. “It’s important to encourage you in this moment, when you are about to take a major step that will change your entire life—aliyah to Israel,” Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Absorption Sofa Landver told

the gathering. “As a former olah myself, I know it’s not easy. But we will be there for you, to support you and ensure your absorption into Israel society will be the best it can be.” (JTA)

Jewish Russian was aboard missing Malaysian Airlines plane One of the passengers aboard the Malaysian Airlines plane that vanished is a Jewish Russian national. Nikolai Brodskii, 43, of the Siberian city of Irkutsk, appears on the missing plane’s passenger manifest. He is a husband and father of sons aged 17 and 11. Rabbi Aharon Wagner, a Chabad rabbi for the region, contacted Brodskii’s family after learning that he was on the plane, the Times of Israel reported. Brodskii, a scuba diving instructor, had traveled to Bali, Indonesia, for a diving vacation. He was returning to Russia on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the Times of Israel reported, citing Vitaly Markov, first secretary of the Russian embassy in Malaysia. The flight, with 239 passengers on board, disappeared Saturday, March 8 while flying over the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam. (JTA) France returns Nazi-looted art as Monuments Men hits French screens Ahead of the French premiere of The Monuments Men, France said it will return three precious paintings to the heirs of their owners. The paintings were returned Tuesday, March 11, one day before the film on Nazilooted art starring George Clooney debuts in France. The conjunction of the two events is “an opportunity to remind people that Culture Minister Aurelie Flipetti is very attached to this gesture of remembrance,” France’s Culture Ministry said. Portrait of a Woman, an 18th-century painting believed to be by Louis Tocque, will be returned to heirs of Berlin Jewish art dealers Rosa and Jakob Oppenheimer. Virgin with Child, by Lippo Memmi or an associate, seized from banker Richard Soepkez in Cannes in 1944, and Mountain

4 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org

Landscape by the 17th-century Flemish master Joos de Momper, belonged to Baron Cassel van Doorn, a Belgian banker. Van Doorn, who had residences in France, had his property confiscated in 1943 although he was not Jewish. About 2,000 works whose owners have not been identified are being held in French museums. The Monuments Men, whose cast includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett and the French actor Jean Dujardin, tells the story of a group charged with finding and saving artworks and other culturally important items during World War II. It is based on a nonfiction book by Robert Edsel. (JTA)

Tel Aviv makes top 10 in ‘selfiest cities’ list Tel Aviv has the sixth-most selfie-takers per capita of any major city, according to a ranking in Time magazine. Among Tel Aviv residents, 139 per 100,000 frequently take selfies, or self-portraits taken with a cellphone, according to the “top 100 selfiest cities in the world” survey published last week. Time calculated the results by surveying 400,000 selfies tagged according to location on Instagram, a popular photo-sharing online social network. The survey looked at selfies from cities worldwide with at least 250,000 residents. Tel Aviv, Israel’s second largest city, has a population of approximately 400,000. Jerusalem, Israel’s capital and biggest city, did not crack the top 100. The Philippines’ Makati City won the distinction of the “selfie capital of the world,” with 258 selfie-takers per 100,000. The United States holds three of the top five spots, with the New York borough of Manhattan placing second, Miami placing third and the metropolitan area of Anaheim and Santa Ana, Calif., placing fourth. (JTA) Scarlett Johansson: No regrets on SodaStream gig Scarlett Johansson said she does not regret her decision to become a spokeswoman for the Israeli company SodaStream. Johansson told the British newspaper The Observer that she was aware before she signed on to work for SodaStream that the manufacturer of home soda makers oper-

ates a factory in the West Bank. The factory employs Palestinians and Jews, which the Observer failed to note in its article. The Jewish-American actress resigned in January as a global ambassador for Oxfam, a position she held for eight years, citing “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement” after the humanitarian organization criticized her decision to work for SodaStream. “I stand behind that decision,” she told the Observer in an interview published in advance of the release of her new film, Under the Skin. She added, “I was aware of that particular factory before I signed. And it still doesn’t seem like a problem—at least not until someone comes up with a solution to the closing of that factory and leaving all those people destitute.” Johannson pointed out to the Observer, a sister newspaper of Britain’s The Guardian, that the issue that SodaStream represents is much larger and more complicated than one factory. “I was literally plunged into a conversation that’s way grander and larger than this one particular issue,” she said. “And there’s no right side or wrong side leaning on this issue.” (JTA)

Israel and U.S. holding joint military training exercise The Israel Defense Forces and U.S. military are participating in a bilateral training exercise. The exercise was planned, the IDF said in a statement. A contingent of U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy sailors are participating, according to the IDF. The statement did not say where or when the exercise was being held. “As with other bilateral exercises conducted with the IDF, this exercise is a routine training exercise and is not associated with or in response to any specific real world events,” the statement said. The purpose of the exercise, according to the IDF, is to “improve collaboration and interoperability, understanding and cooperation between the IDF and U.S. Forces.” (JTA)


Torah Thought

Jewish identity camping

B

y the time this article goes to press, spring will have arrived. Does that mean there will be no more snow? This year, who knows! Does it mean that many of our young people will be already looking ahead to summer camp? Without a doubt! Many of our children “live for camp” all year. That is why I am devoting this column to summer camp, particularly to a genre of overnight camping that has been so important to our Jewish community. I am talking about “Jewish identity camps.” These include those identified with the different movements of Judaism (Camp Ramah for the Conservative, 15 URJ camps for the Reform, and a whole network of Orthodox camps), and there is also Capital Camps, which has a close relationship with our Simon Family JCC and others such as Camps Louise and Airy. All of our Jewish identity camps have this in common—when our children go, they have fun in a Jewish environment; they come back with wonderful memories and enriched by the experience. For me, Jewish identity camping is a passion and a personal cause. It was, is and will be “in my blood.” My first job after rabbinic ordination was as the director of a Ramah camp in Pennsylvania. It was a special time for me. Then, as a congregational rabbi, I was proud to help provide a Jewish identity camp experience for many of our local children. And, to think, I was dragged “kicking and screaming” to my first summer as a camper. Allow me to share the story. My rabbi growing up took me aside in Hebrew school one day and offered me a scholarship to go to Camp Ramah in the Poconos. In a moment of weakness or maybe shyness, I said “yes.” My parents were keen on the idea; they thought it

would be good for me to go away to camp. I said to them, “okay, I’ll go; but on one condition—that you will buy me a TV for my room. That was the 1960s—getting a television in your room was a very big deal! To me it sounded great. Put up with two months away and get a TV for the rest of the year. My parents took the bait and agreed. The week before camp, thinking about going away was immediate, and coming home, even for a television, seemed very far away, and I got “cold feet.” “Please don’t make me go,” I begged my parents. That is when my mother pulled off one of the best parenting moves of all time. “Okay,” she said, “I won’t make you, but you have to call the Rabbi yourself and tell him you’re not going.” Yetta Ruberg must have known that for me going to sleep-away camp would be easier than calling the rabbi and disappointing him. So off I went for my first summer at Camp Ramah. When my parents came up on visiting day, I had just one question for them, “Did you get the TV yet?” The answer was “no, but if you make it through the whole summer, it will be there when you get home,” and indeed it was. What took me a while to realize was that I got a lot more than a television that summer. I came back with new friends; I came back knowing counselors I could stay in touch with, and I came back with an experience of being Jewish that was fun, engaging, and positive. Up until that time, I looked at being Jewish mostly through the prism of a Hebrew School student or having to wear a starched uncomfortable shirt when I went to synagogue services and a few holidays a year at home. Ramah changed that. It deepened it. Camp meant playing basketball, friends and a Judaism that felt natural. No wonder I went back the next year. The following summer I went to Israel with my camp friends. What an amazing experience that was! Then it was on to serving on staff, and eventually after 15 years, to the position of camp director, where I could help give other children the special experience I had myself. This year there has been much talk about the Pew Study, which put in print

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Torah Thought — continued from page 5

something most of us already knew—how hard it is to pass Jewish involvement from one generation to the next. But studies also show that the most successful way of doing that is giving a Jewish identity camp experience to your children. And so I end with this. Consider providing one of the sleep-away Jewish identify camp experiences for your children or grandchildren. Or if you are an older teenager or young adult, think about

going as a staff member. All of the local rabbis and Sunday School educators will be more than happy to provide you with information, videos, personal testimony, and maybe even a scholarship. You can also see the JCC professionals. One final thought—that TV was great. I had it for five years until I left for college; but the influence of camp will be a part of me for the rest of my life. —Rabbi Arthur Ruberg is rabbi emeritus at Congregation Beth El.

Liberal pro-Israel academics reject boycotts and bans on boycotts More than 50 Jewish academics joined an initiative rejecting academic boycotts of Israel as well as legislative attempts to inhibit such boycotts. “Academic boycotts and blacklists are discriminatory per se and undercut the purpose of the academy: the pursuit of knowledge,” said the statement posted by “The Third Narrative,” an initiative of Ameinu, a liberal Zionist group. “Likewise, we are against legislative and other efforts by domestic or foreign interests that seek to diminish the academic freedom of those scholars who might propose, endorse, or promote academic boycotts, even if we strongly disagree with

these tactics,” the statement said. Most of the signatories are Jewish and include prominent pro-Israel critics of current Israeli government policies, particularly settlement expansion. Among them are Eric Alterman, a journalism professor at Brooklyn College and a Nation columnist; Susanna Heschel, a professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth; Peter Beinart, an associate professor of journalism at City University of New York as well as an author; Todd Gitlin, the chairman of the program in communications at Columbia University; and Michael Walzer, a noted philosopher. (JTA)

CRC Israel Poster Contest Stop by the Simon Family JCC and cast your vote for your favorite 2014 Israel poster in the Community Relations Council’s annual contest. More than 100 submissions from local students are on view. The posters are creative with great messaging—all focusing on awesome facts about Israel. The posters will be on display until Tuesday, April 1. The 10 posters with the most votes become finalists. The contest continues in April, when voting on the top 10 to determine the ultimate winner takes place online at JewishVa.org. The poster that gets the most votes, and the creative artist behind the masterpiece, will be announced at the screening of the film The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers, in celebration of Yom Ha’Atzmaut on Tuesday, May 6 at 7 pm at the Sandler Family Campus. The winning poster will be hung permanently in the Simon Family JCC and will be reproduced for all attendees at the the Simon Family JCC’s Israel Festival on Sunday, May 18.

6 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org


op-ed

Beating back the assault on Israel’s legitimacy by Jerry Silverman and Steve Gutow

NEW YORK (JTA)—Leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement say they are protesting Israel’s policies in the West Bank. They are doing far more than that. BDS advocates routinely oppose a twostate solution and seek to delegitimize the sovereign, Jewish State of Israel. In some cases, BDS is anti-Semitism. The BDS movement aims to isolate and punish Israel, using the same techniques applied to apartheid South Africa. Not hesitating to misrepresent facts and ignore context, these Israel bashers take advantage of ignorance and naïveté within civil society circles, mostly in Western Europe, to advance their anti-Israel agenda. BDS advocates view the situation in the West Bank through a one-way lens, seeing only a single perspective. They cite, for example, the security checkpoints that make life difficult for Palestinians, but conveniently overlook the reasons for those checkpoints. They ignore the fact that hurting Israel’s economy would also hurt Palestinians who earn their livelihoods from Israeli-owned businesses. BDS backers don’t bother to protest the many countries that have horrific human rights records, instead singling out the world’s only Jewish state, often based on false or misrepresented information. A tipping point for the Jewish community’s response to BDS came in 2009 when anti-Israel groups called for a boycott of the Toronto International Film Festival because one of its themes was Tel Aviv’s 100th anniversary. The Toronto and Los Angeles Jewish federations joined forces and, with major figures in the entertainment industry, fashioned an effective response. With calls for BDS escalating in the mainline Protestant churches, on college campuses and elsewhere, Jewish community leaders realize that the situation calls for a strategic approach with national support and coordination. In 2010, the Jewish Federations of North America, representing more than 150 local federations, allocated significant resources

so that the Israel Action Network could serve this purpose. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs—with its 16 national member organizations, including all four of the religious movements, and 125 Jewish community relations councils, which work with non-Jewish coalition partners on a range of international and domestic concerns—was the JFNA’s obvious partner. One principle that guides this work is that we should understand our audiences. And when we speak with others, we should do so with a respect for the sensitivities of that constituency so that our important messages are authentically heard. We should always be clear that we stand as partners, sharing the goal of a future with peace and security—not one of conflict and BDS. Experience and research demonstrate that what works best with these audiences—mostly made up of political and religious progressives—is not an all-goodvs.-all-bad characterization of Israelis and Palestinians. Instead, a more nuanced narrative is the one that is likely to defeat the one-sided and hostile stance of those seeking to delegitimize Israel. This means honestly conveying the situation’s complexity, expressing empathy for suffering on both sides (without implying moral equivalency) and offering a constructive pathway to helping the parties move toward peace and reconciliation based on two states for two peoples. Whether we are dealing with a boycott of Israeli academic institutions or an attempt to remove Israeli products, the most effective opponents of these initiatives are the people who travel in those circles. While we in the organized Jewish community should not remain silent, we should strongly support and accentuate the efforts of these third-party validators who share our values and viewpoints. The 247 (and counting) universities and colleges that have denounced academic boycotts generally—and academic boycotts of Israel specifically—are just such validators. It is not enough to only expose the true goals of the boycotters and their allies. Israel’s supporters must also go on the

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offensive. The Israel Action Network does not work alone. On a daily basis, numerous organizations stand up for Israel. Through the IAN, JFNA and JCPA are working together to convene around a common strategic planning table not only our affiliates, but also a range of other North American, Israeli and European groups in order to share best practices and coordinate resources in confronting this global danger. There is no imminent threat to the critical and broad North American support

for Israel. But American support for Israel is not something to be taken for granted in light of the organized campaign we now face. While should not be panicked, we cannot be complacent either. We pledge to continue to work hard to prevent any erosion of that support. —Rabbi Steve Gutow is president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Jerry Silverman is president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America. UJFT’s CRC is a member of JCPA.

jewishnewsva.org | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 7


policy conference 2014

AIPAC

Israel: Exit-Nation and leaks so that you can utilize existing water for everything from drinking to irrigation. By the way, 25-30% of the world’s water is lost to leaks and the U.S. alone loses seven billion gallons of water a day. Not only that, but water is the #1 user of energy in the world, so this system saves energy as well.

by Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg

Imagine the following:

• A camera, which can see through walls and ceilings, delineating people and motion within, allowing law enforcement and the military to more effectively take out bad guys, rescue hostages and locate bombs.

• A n electronic “nose”—a sensory array that mimics the way a dog’s nose works to detect unique markers in exhaled breath that reveal different cancers in the body.

• A pair of glasses that reads to you, allowing blind or severely seeing impaired individuals to read books and prescription labels, go grocery shopping or order from a menu, affording them independence while keeping them safe.

• A test, which can unravel the mysteries of the mind by seeing the inner workings of the brain, its neural networks and how they fire. Rather

• A water detection system that allows you to locate contamination

than only being able to see the structure of the brain, you could now understand what is happening inside and diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, concussions, ADD, chronic pain, and cognitive functions or dysfunctions. • Or, a personal favorite, how about an unhackable, frictionless program, which enables you to access all of your accounts without ever having to utilize a username or password, in fact, which renders them useless. hese innovations may sound like the work of science fiction, but they are very real and being used in real life situations today, as we speak. In fact, I had the opportunity to witness demon-

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strations of these inventions up close and personal at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference; because where is the ingenuity, and brilliance that are Rabbi Rosalin creating these modern Mandelberg day miracles? Israel. It has long been known that Israel is a hotbed of research and creativity in all sorts of areas—from agricultural advancements, such as drip irrigation which has saved millions of south Saharan Africans from starvation; to medicine, where so many of us have swallowed the pill-sized cameras that take hundreds of real pictures of what’s going on inside our bodies; from technology, like the cell phones, voice mail and text messages the world relies so heav-

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AIPAC ily upon; to science. Not surprisingly, Israel has the second highest number of companies traded on Nasdaq and is the second largest home to technology company satellite plants from Google to Facebook; from Microsoft to Intel. But these are just the tip of the iceberg. Harnessing it’s greatest resource, its people and their minds, Israel has invested in an elite education system, which chooses the best and brightest for it’s most select military intelligence units, 8,200 and Talpiot, training them in areas like cyber intelligence, computer science and engineering. Following their mandatory service in the army, these young men and women go on to outstanding universities and study everything from engineering to the internet, consumer webs and computer apps; from big data (which is collecting and aggregating knowledge to create business value) to life sciences (like the brain and water); from cyber security to mobile technology. To date, 2013 was Israel’s biggest innovation year yet: there were 5,000 start-ups; in the third quarter alone, $660 million was invested and start-ups earned $7-billion in successful exits, meaning that the companies were either acquired by another firm or that they went public; specifically, last year in Israel, 700 companies merged and 107 companies went public. And 30 percent of the investments were made by private investors, both in the early and the late stages of these company’s developments. It is no wonder that average price of an exit, a sale of merger of the company, in the last year was $83-million per company sold or acquired and that five companies exited at a billion dollars each. Just last week, there were four Israeli offerings on Wall Street, two of them IPOs; raising $400-million. There are an additional 19 IPO offerings in the works. Finally, it is estimated that there are four to five thousand serial entrepreneurs in Israel, most of who have worked for at least one other corporation before beginning their own venture. Not surprisingly, many U.S. and multi-national companies who purchased them did so to buy up the Israeli engineers working at these start-ups. There are extremely successful investment companies in the U.S. whose sole purpose is to

find American investors to invest in Israeli companies and they are making money hand over fist. It really does sound like science fiction or fantasy at least, but it isn’t. I wrote myself a big note in the steno pad I took with me on the pages where I was gathering this information from a workshop entitled, “Entrepreneurial Oasis: Israel as an Innovative Hotbed.” It said, “It’s education stupid.” Indeed, while the United States graduates half of the engineers we need, Israel graduates twice that number. If I had to put another big note on top of the page, it would have read: “It’s freedom, stupid.” With all of the threats Israel faces to its security and even to its survival, it continues to operate as a free and democratic society, investing in its youth, cultivating its greatest minds, incubating them and allowing them the space and resources needed to create the unimaginable, the stuff of science fiction and fantasy, which are revolutionizing the world in which we live. Just one example: Years ago, everyone predicted that the next war in the Middle East would be over water. After all, it has half the rainfall that it did 65 years ago for 10 times the population. Yet, today, Israel is the first, and only, water independent country in the world. It has sufficient water regardless of rainfall or usage. It’s education, stupid, and freedom, and innovation and investment in human resources. There are still issues to be addressed in this current boom, markets to be mined, pit falls to avoid. But to those haters of Israel who are perpetrating the BDS, the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions, program against the Jewish state, they are simply on the wrong side of the economic and the moral divide. As he closed his remarks, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “we live in a knowledge-based century and Israel’s best days are ahead.” And so we will continue to love and to sanctify life, to create that which will heal and feed and nourish humanity, that which will enhance the quality of life of all of God’s people, that which will enable us to fulfill the command to choose life each and every day. —Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg of Ohef Sholom Temple attended the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington D.C. with 55 members of the Tidewater Jewish community.

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policy conference 2014

AIPAC

T

Tidewater goes to AIPAC

he

2014 America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference

was the largest gathering of America’s pro-Israel community with 14,000 attendees. The conference highlighted the importance of the partnership between the United States and Israel and showcased the two nations’ common interests in making the world a better place.

Through demonstrations of groundbreaking Israeli innovations that are saving

American lives, keynote speeches by top leaders from both the United States and Israel such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, along with many members of the U.S. Senate and Congress and others— emotional and inspiring moments on stage, smaller and more intimate educational sessions, and dynamic interactive exhibits, Policy Conference was three days of full scale pro-Israel activism in Washington, DC. The conference culminated in the opportunity for delegates to lobby their members of Congress to support legislation that encourages a stronger relationship between the United States and Israel. Read what some of Tidewater’s 56 attendees of AIPAC Policy Conference 2014 had to say about the experience:

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Policy Conference this year was “I am AIPAC.” The opening moment of the conference brought a businessman, a nurse practitioner and disaster relief worker, an executive with the NBA, a Harley riding Evangelical preacher, a Mexican American Union president, former senator Joe Lieberman, a Latino community activist, a Jewish Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, a college student representing 2,300 students, and a African American pastor and community leader to the stage. The end of their presentation was “I am, You are, We are AIPAC!” The entire conference was based on this theme and weaved support for the Israel-U.S. relationship, the importance of support for initiatives making clear that Iran must dismantle it’s illicit nuclear program such that it cannot develop or build he theme of

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a nuclear weapon, support for fulfillment of America’s commitment and support for the full $3.1-billion in security assistance to Israel for the fiscal year 2015 (this is year seven of a 10-year memorandum of understanding that the U.S. has with Israel, keeping in mind that 76% of this money is to be spent back in the U.S.), and the strong commitment to peace and need for continuing close U.S.-Israel cooperation to facilitate peace efforts. It was a conference like no other and I can’t wait to attend my fifth Policy Conference March 1–3, 2015. —Robin Mancoll

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here was someone for everyone to relate to and it reminded us all that Israel needs all of the friends she can get. I have never been more proud to be Jewish. Three days of total immersion into Pro-Israel programming being surrounded by thousands of Jews, Christians, AfricanAmericans, Atheists, young and old with one vision—the acknowledgement of and preservation of our Jewish homeland. No matter what political stance one has, ALL came together under the banner of protecting the Jewish state. There were inspiring speeches, tearful stories of how Israel helps our Arab neighbors, and a raucous soulful and engaging testimony of dedication to Israel by a black pastor from the poorest area of South Chicago. I was very proud to hear Benjamin Netanyahu speak and verify that all options are on the table to continue Israel’s existence. I was proud that so many of my fellow Jews came to Washington from Tidewater to be a part of this historic convention. Am Yisroel Chai. —Dr. Robert Lehman

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his is the second year that I attended this conference as an Israel Fellow. Exactly as the first year, I was amazed by this grandiose event and as the first year - I learned a lot of new, deep and important things. I learned it, mostly, not from the speakers, politicians or lectors, but from other Jews who I talked with between all the speeches, in corners of the confer-


AIPAC ence hall. I would love to share with you some of the main things that I have gotten from this conference and which will stay with me forever. Last year, I was not sure if I wanted to attend the conference. I had heard before that AIPAC is too radical, too “pro-Israeli” and as an Israeli, I know that seeing only one side of a story is always wrong. My director of Hillel at Virginia Tech, Sue Kurtz said: “You have to go. It is not about you and your political visions. It is about our students who are going. If they go—it is important for you to be there with them.” Thank you Sue, the conference has changed my life. This year I wanted to go without any doubts. First of all, I saw that all those things that have been said about AIPAC are absolutely wrong. There were speakers with different points of view. Republicans and Democrats, Latinos and African Americans, Israelis and American Jews shared their feelings about Israel. They spoke about their love of Israel, their passion and their commitment to the Jewish State. How inspiring to see 14,000 Americans applauding three rabbis from different streams of Judaism who are on the same podium and embracing each other. It gives you wings, it gives you power and it gives you feeling that YOU are responsible for Israel exactly as those people are. All of us are Jews, all of us love Israel. A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz by Elliot Kosegrov, a rabbi in New York. He claimed that we, Jewish people are going through a sad process. According to him, Israelis and American Jews have no topics to speak about between themselves anymore. They have different interests, different realities and different duties. It is an important issue and I am glad that he has started talking about this. But during the AIPAC conference, I felt that the article is wrong. And especially, I felt so during free time, when I talked with American Jews who I had never met before. That is how it is at AIPAC—you just feel that everyone is your friend, a part of you. I am sure that participating in this conference can partially solve the problem that Rabbi Kosegrov talks about. The 2,300

students who attended the conference will be connected forever to Israel and Judaism. They will find new friends, new couples will be born and new Judaic issues will be solved. I am sure of this. This year we had one student who attended the conference and participated in lobbing on Capitol Hill. Melissa Eichelbaum, the student I am so proud of, said she will do everything possible to bring more students from Virginia Tech next year. In fact, Sue Kurtz, Isabel Shocket and I have decided that the AIPAC conference will be our priority for next year. We will write grants and do what is necessary to send as many Hokies as possible to this amazing conference with great people. I believe that every Jewish family should go to this Conference. Every parent should take their children. I know that this is the place where they will understand that we are the same nation. They will find new Jewish friends. And even if all those things are only my imagination —you still have to go. In the end of the day, where else can you see the American Secretary John Kerry said in Hebrew: “Am Yisorel Chai!” he said, and continued: “Am Yisorel Chai! Chai… Chai…Chai….” —Ivan Goncharenko, Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at Hillel at Virginia Tech

I

found the conference amazing, motivating and emotional with fantastic programs and speakers—from U.S. political leaders on both sides of the aisle, to people of other races and faiths who also care about the U.S./Israel relationship and, finally Prime Minister Netanyahu, who brought it all together and was so energizing. The conference really builds toward more than 14,000 people going to Capitol Hill to meet with EVERY member of the House of Representatives and all 100 members of the Senate in regard to the U.S./ once again

Israel relationship, including ensuring the long-term security of both of our countries. We had the opportunity to have meaningful, two-way conversations with Senator Mark Warner, Senator Tim Kaine and Congressman Scott Rigell. It is so important that they hear from our Jewish community and I hope more people will have the opportunity to have this experience! —Betty Ann Levin

A

absolutely fantastic experience—14,000 Jewish Americans coming together to express their commitment to Israel and the Jewish people everywhere—Educational—Emotional— Exhilarating—I was honored to be present. —Bobby Copeland n

W

hat an emotionally uplifting experience this year’s AIPAC Policy conference was. Yes, the dangers facing Israel were front and center and they were many and daunting, but so were the many accomplishments of the Jewish state. Israel’s defense, both in terms of concrete military preparedness as well as strategy, were explored. Magnificent innovation in the world of health care, water resources, technology were all on display, as well as the economic and political ramifications of Israel as a new energy power and so much more. Equally compelling were the several thousand students among the delegates. Strong presence from the black religious community, as well as the evangelical community, were also seen. AIPAC not only showed me what is going on to help and safeguard Israel in a dangerously fluid moment in the world...it also allowed me to be personally involved, doing my part, and not feel I am sitting on the sidelines of history. —Abbey Horwitz

T

his was my third

Policy Conference and

the best yet. —Matt Sharpe

To learn more about how to get involved with AIPAC or other pro-Israel activities in Tidewater, contact Robin Mancoll, director, CRC at RMancoll@ujft.org.

jewishnewsva.org | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 11


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12 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org



Putin’s Jewish embrace Is it love or politics? by Cnaan Liphshiz and Talia Lavin

(JTA)—When even Russian policemen had to pass security checks to enter the Sochi Winter Olympics, Rabbi Berel Lazar was waved in without ever showing his ID. Lazar, a Chabad-affiliated chief rabbi of Russia, was invited to the opening ceremony of the games last month by President Vladimir Putin’s office. But since the event was on Shabbat, Lazar initially declined the invitation, explaining he was prevented from carrying documents, among other religious restrictions. So Putin ordered his staff to prepare an alternative entrance and security-free route just for the rabbi, according to one of Lazar’s top associates, Rabbi Boruch Gorin. “It is unusual, but the security detail acted like kosher supervisors so Rabbi Lazar could attend,” Gorin says. To him, the Sochi anecdote illustrates Putin’s positive attitude toward Russian Jewry—an attitude Gorin says is sincere, unprecedented in Russian history and hugely beneficial for Jewish life in the country. Others, however, see more cynical motives behind Putin’s embrace of Russian Jewry. “Putin has been facing international criticism for a long time now over human rights issues,” says Roman Bronfman, a former Israeli Knesset member who was born in the Soviet Union. “He needs a shield, and that’s the Jews. His warm relations with Russia’s so-called official Jews are instrumental.” In recent weeks, Putin has positioned himself as a defender of Jews as part of his effort to discredit the revolution that ousted his ally, former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych. During a March 4 news conference, Putin called the anti-Yanukovych protesters “reactionary, nationalist and anti-Semitic forces.” While right-wing Ukrainian factions—including some that have embraced anti-Semitic rhetoric in the past—played a prominent role in the opposition movement, Ukrainian Jewish leaders have sharply disputed Putin’s characterization and condemned Russian incursions into Crimea. Some individual Jews, however, say that they agree with Putin’s analysis and welcomed the intervention by Russia. Few would dispute that Putin has

been friendly to Jewish institutional life in Russia—especially to organizations and leaders that belong to the Chabad Hasidic movement. Gorin, a Chabad rabbi and chairman of Moscow’s $50 million Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, credits Putin personally for providing state funding for the institution, which opened in 2012. Putin also donated a month’s wages to the museum. “Putin has facilitated the opening of synagogues and Jewish community centers across Russia, at the Jewish community’s request. This has had a profound effect on Jewish life, especially outside Moscow,” Gorin says. “He instituted annual meetings with Jewish community leaders and attends community events. His friendship with the Jewish community has given it much prestige and set the tone for local leaders.” Putin’s relationship with the Jewish community is consistent with his larger strategy for governing Russia. His brand of Russian nationalism extends beyond just ethnic Russians to include the country’s many minorities. Putin has carefully cultivated relationships with Russia’s many subgroups and regions as a means of projecting his government’s authority. Mikhail Chlenov, secretary general of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, says Putin’s pro-Jewish tendencies are part of the reason that anti-Semitic incidents are relatively rare in Russia. In 2013, the Russian Jewish Congress documented only 10 anti-Jewish attacks and acts of vandalism, compared to dozens in France. Under Putin, harsh laws have led to a crackdown on ultranationalist groups that once had flourished in Russia. At the same time, anti-extremism legislation has been used as well to prosecute political protesters, including the punk rock collective Pussy Riot. Some Russian Jews recoil at Putin’s authoritarian tendencies. Freedom of expression has been severely restricted and politically motivated prosecutions remain widespread under Putin, according to Amnesty International’s 2013 report on Russia. “Putin may be good for Jews, but he’s bad for Russia,” says Michael Edelstein, a lecturer at Moscow State University and a journalist for the L’chaim Jewish newspaper.


Putin traces his earliest connection to Judaism back to his early childhood in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, when he befriended a Jewish family that lived in his apartment block. In his 2000 autobiography, Putin wrote that the unnamed family loved him and that he used to seek its company. “They were observant Jews who did not work on Saturdays and the man would study the Bible and Talmud all day long,” Putin wrote. “Once I even asked him what he was muttering. He explained to me what this book was and I was immediately interested.” Another influential Jewish figure for Putin was his wrestling coach, Anatoly Rakhlin, who sparked the young Putin’s interest in sports and got him off the rough streets of Leningrad, where Putin would get into fights while his parents worked. At Rakhlin’s funeral last year, Putin, reportedly overcome by emotion, ditched his security detail and went on a short, solitary walk. Bronfman calls Putin’s childhood accounts “a smokescreen” and likens them to the Russian leader’s friendly gestures toward Israel, which he last visited in 2012. Putin, who already led Russia to sign a visa waiver program with Israel in 2008, said during his visit to Israel that he “would not let a million Russians live under threat,” referring sympathetically to the regional dangers facing Israel and its Russian-speaking immigrant population. But at the same time, Russia has criticized European sanctions on Iran, a major Russian trading partner, and negotiated the sale of the advanced S-300 air defense system to Syria. “It’s all pragmatic with Putin,” Bronfman says. “He says he regards the million Russian speakers living in Israel as a bridge connecting Russia to Israel, but when it comes to Russian interests in Syria or Iran, this friendship counts for very little.” In Israel, Putin received a guided tour of the Western Wall from Lazar, who joined Putin’s entourage—vividly illustrating the president’s close ties to the Russian branch of the Chabad movement. Zvi Gitelman, a professor of Judaic studies at the University of Michigan who studies the relationship between ethnicity and politics in the former Soviet Union, says the relationship between Putin and the Chabad organization in Russia is one of mutual convenience. Shortly after taking office, the Putin

government clashed with several prominent Jewish business moguls, including Vladimir Gusinsky and Boris Berezovsky, both of whom went into self-imposed exile. “When he went after these oligarchs, Putin sensed that this could be interpreted as anti-Semitism,” Gitelman says. “He immediately, publicly, demonstratively and dramatically embraced Chabad.” Chabad, meanwhile, has expanded throughout Russia. “Chabad, with the help of Putin, is now the dominant religious expression of Judaism in a mostly nonreligious population,” Gitelman says. Putin has not been shy about using his good relations with Chabad to his advantage. Last year, he moved a collection of books known as the Schneerson Library into Gorin’s Jewish museum in an attempt to defuse a battle with the global Chabad movement. Chabad’s New York-based leaders had demanded the library’s return, which had belonged to one of its previous grand rabbis, but Russia has refused to surrender it. The compromise was rejected by the Hasidic movement’s headquarters, but defended by its Russian branch. “Putin’s suggestion came as a surprise to us, and not a very pleasant one,” Gorin recalls. “We very much wanted to stay out of the dispute.” But, he adds, “when the president of Russia makes a suggestion, it is usually accepted.” Other Jewish groups, however, have had less cozy relations with the Putin government. In 2005, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the chief rabbi of Moscow, was suddenly denied entry into Russia for several weeks before he was allowed back into the country, where he has resided since 1989. No official explanation was given, but it was rumored that his banning was part of a power struggle that saw Chabad-affiliated rabbis emerge on top. Goldschmidt declined to comment on his brief exile, saying “Google has the whole story.” The preferential treatment of Chabad by Putin’s government “is creating a monolithic Jewish institutional life and preventing grass-roots development, which is the real key for Jewish rejuvenation,” says Michael Oshtrakh, a leader of the Jewish community of Yekaterinburg.

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305.323.3247 Please contact me for all your Miami real estate needs jewishnewsva.org | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 13


first person

2014 JCPA PLENUM

Future for Israel and American Jewry explored

T

agencies to gather, learn, debate, and vote on consensus policy. I attended as a “lay leader” as part of my involvement with JCPA through the Lois and Larry Frank Institute Fellowship. Robin Mancoll, director of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s CRC, and Megan Zuckerman, chair, also attended. The JCPA is Tidewater’s CRC’s

by Brad Lerner

he Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) held its annual Plenum in Atlanta, Ga., March 8–11. The Plenum is the annual conference for Jewish community leaders and representatives from 125 Jewish Community Relations Councils and 16 national Jewish

  

 

    



14 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org

umbrella organization. I was able to meet up with some dear friends from the Frank Fellowship (a diverse group of eight from Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Louisville, San Francisco and Atlanta). Lois and Larry Frank, two philanthropists from Atlanta, funded our program where young U.S. Jewish leaders visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and Israel. As I noted in an earlier article, the Franks gift was transformative. The Franks invited the Fellows to their home for dinner one night, and subsidized our Plenum trip, so their boundless generosity continued in Atlanta. I cannot thank them enough for the remarkable experience. In one of the best Plenum sessions, David Makovsky, who recently joined the U.S. State Department peace process team (and past Tidewater CRC Israel Today speaker), spoke about the need for a twostate solution and the prospects for peace. Concerns like Iran and religious extremism are shared by Arabs and Israelis, and without the Palestinian conflict to divide them, they could begin to cooperate more. Support for two states for two peoples has been a bipartisan American goal for many years, according to Makovsky. Of particular interest to me was the lively discussion on the implications of the 2013 Pew Research Survey about how Jews view themselves in the U.S. The survey suggests that Jewish identity is changing in America, where one-in-five Jews (22%) now describe themselves as having no religion. In order to combat a growing ennui toward Jewry in America, a panel of experts (Elana Kahn-Oren, CRC director, Milwaukee; Jerry Silverman, CEO of Jewish Federations of North America; and Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president Reconstructionist Rabbinical College) offered several intriguing suggestions, including providing free early childhood Jewish education, increasing capacity of Jewish camps, attracting the birthright generation within the communities and better engagement within Jewish neighborhoods. As the father of young children, I loved the idea of subsidized Jewish preschool or the increased presence of Jewish camps. Hampton Roads could benefit from

Robin Mancoll, CRC director; Brad Lerner, JCPA Frank Family Fellow and CRC media committee vice chair; and Megan Zuckerman, CRC chair. Photo: David Makovsky.

such initiatives should they gain traction or funding. The challenges of the Pew study were discussed by Abe Foxman, AntiDefamation League director. After warning of the costs to world Jewry if America retreated from the world stage, Foxman said that crucial to stemming the estrangement of today’s Jewish youth is stopping what he calls the ignorance of today’s youth. It is incumbent to explain why our concerns matter. Foxman also stated that Jews often have a truncated Jewish identity by over-emphasizing Bar/Bat Mitzvah as end point for Jewish education. This resonated with me since my own Bar Mitzvah was effectively the end of my formal Hebrew/Sunday school years. I attended a break-out session on the topic of Judaism and public school curriculum. Since the Virginia legislature recently passed Senate Bill 236 on prayer in school, along with the controversy of Saturday make-up days for snow, this issue felt timely. Jews in Tidewater must remain vigilant that Jewish history/traditions and Israeli politics are not taught in our schools in a biased manner. This session taught me many strategies on how to address the sensitive church/state separation issue. The JCPA resolutions process encouraged interesting discussion as far as new policies on human trafficking, the minimum wage, reproductive rights, inclusion and disabilities, international LGBT discrimination, and increasing government support for public higher education. I was impressed with the level of thought and consideration that goes into the resolution process. I look forward to attending future Plenums!


Summer Camp

Supplement to Jewish News, March 24, 2014 jewishnewsva.org | Camp | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 15


THERE ARE PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES TO MOVE AS FAST AS YOU WANT AT CAMP AIRY. A JEWISH CAMPING TRADITION

16 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | Camp | jewishnewsva.org

410.466.9010

WWW. AIRYLOUISE.ORG


Dear Readers,

Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

A

ccording to the American Camp Association, the first

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

organized American summer camp, the Gunnery Camp,

was founded in 1861. Today, the ACA has accredited more than 2,400 summer programs, affecting the summers of millions of participants and staff each year, including camps, counselors and campers right here in Tidewater. What is it about summer camp? What causes the attraction, and for so many, a life-long devotion? Is it the independence that kids gain at a residential camp? Is it the friendships made? Or, perhaps the skills acquired? Or, is it having structured fun without concern about a grade? Perhaps it’s a mix of all of these tangibles and intangibles that makes camp so important in the lives of campers. Today, there are many definitions of camp. Some are traditional day, or residential with rustic accommodations, while others take place in air-conditioned classrooms or on campuses. Some follow the model of general camping activities…swimming, hiking, sailing, arts and crafts…and others are more specific, focusing on a wide variety of topics such as film, writing, science or athletic training. If a child wants to attend camp, whether spending nights at home or sleeping miles away, options abound. Our lead article discusses trends in today’s camps, including lengths of sessions, specialized programs, changes in camp food, and efforts to make it all affordable. Camps that accommodate children with disabilities are becoming easier to find, too, as more and more camps recognize the need—and the benefits. Camps here in Tidewater, as well as throughout the national Jewish camping networks offer options. The information is just a few pages away.

Terri Denison, Editor Germaine Clair, Art Director Laine Mednick Rutherford, Associate Editor Hal Sacks, Book Review Editor Sandy Goldberg, Account Executive Mark Hecht, Account Executive Marilyn Cerase, Subscription Manager Reba Karp, Editor Emeritus Miles Leon, 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. © 2014 Jewish News. All rights reserved. Subscription: $18 year For subscription or change of address, call 757-965-6128 or email mcerase@ujft.org.

Attending camp can be life changing for everyone involved, and that includes parents who gain some free time while their campers are away, if only for a few hours a day or for weeks at a time. Our Summer Camp Guide highlights some of our personal favorite camps, and provides information that can help you make summer decisions for the youngsters in your life. Now is a great time to

Upcoming Special Features QR code generated on http://qrcode.littleidiot.be

Issue

Date

Deadline

Passover

April 7

Mar 14

time to register as a camper, or apply for

Home

April 21

April 4

a job as a counselor or specialist.

Health Care

May 19

May 2

Senior Living

June 16

May 30

Legal

June 30

June 13

Arts Season

We hope this Summer Camp section offers some new ideas and options for

Aug 18

Aug 1

how your family chooses camp. And, we

Rosh Hashana

Sep 8

Aug 15

hope whatever the choice, that it’s fun!

Yom Kippur

Sep 22

Sep 5

Oct 6

Sep 19

Mazel Tov

—Jewish News Staff

jewishnewsva.org | Camp | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 17


Jewish camp trend-spotting 10 ways a summer ritual is changing of campers attending for seven, eight or

many

even 10 weeks. Now it is the rare child or

Jewish camps have

NEW YORK (JTA)—Nostalgia about summer

teen who spends the full summer at camp

been redoing their

traditions notwithstanding, Jewish camps

(or at one camp), and most programs offer

menus to make them

have changed dramatically from a genera-

multiple sessions, ranging in length from just

more nutritious and

tion ago.

six days to seven weeks. “Our three-week

environmentally

Camp’s value for Jewish education and

session has always sold out more quickly

friendly: adding salad

identity-building is now a major focus of

than the four-week, and our new two-week

bars, replacing “bug

communal attention. Major Jewish foun-

session has been a quick hit as well,” says

juice”

dations, federations and organizations are

Vivian Stadlin, co-director of Eden Village

offering more vege-

investing heavily in the sector.

Camp in Putnam Valley, N.Y.

tarian fare and even

by Julie Wiener

Many camps have become more intentional about incorporating Jewish learning, Shabbat and Israel into their programming. They’ve also evolved to meet families’ changing expectations and demands: offering a

established

with

water,

planting their own Specialized programs

organic

W

hether a child’s passion is sports,

vegetable

gardens.

the environment, outdoor adven-

ture or science and technology, there’s a

wider range of choices of all kinds (from

Jewish camp for that. An incubator under

food to activity to session length); providing

the auspices of the Foundation for Jewish

more frequent updates and communications to parents; accommodating numerous medical requirements and allergies; and placing greater emphasis on safety and security.

More affordable options

T

in air-conditioned dorms, and Six Points

he Foundation for Jewish Camp recent-

Science blur the boundary between “camp”

ly introduced a new program called

and “summer program,” while programs like

Camp spurred the creation of five special-

BunkConnect that enables first-time camp-

USY on Wheels and Adamah Adventures,

ty camps in 2010 (including Eden Village,

ers from middle- and lower-income families

which operate under the Foundation for

which is focused on the environment) and

to search for a variety of discounted Jewish

Jewish Camp’s umbrella, blur the boundary

another four that will open this summer.

summer camp options. While BunkConnect

between “camp” and “teen travel.”

At the same time, the Jewish camping

The idea is to attract kids who might not

is currently only available in the Northeast,

field is becoming more professionalized. The

otherwise consider a Jewish camp and to

New England and Mid-Atlantic regions of

camp director’s job is shifting from a season-

show them they can combine their pas-

the United States, the foundation hopes to

al gig to year-round career, and counselors

sion with Judaism. Increasingly, established

expand it in future years. In addition, the

are receiving more intensive training.

general-interest Jewish camps are adding

One Happy Camper Program, initiated in

specialty tracks and electives. For example,

2006, offers grants for all first-time campers

camps generally haven’t interacted much

the New Jersey Y camps offer a science

regardless of need. So far, 50,000 children

with overnight camps, nor have they

program and various sports programs, while

have received One Happy Camper grants.

received the same level of attention from

Ramah in the Poconos has run basketball

Plus, most Jewish overnight camps offer

Jewish communal leaders or philanthropists

clinics and a tennis academy.

financial aid.

as their sleep-away counterparts. That is

With all this change in the Jewish camp world, here are 10 specific trends: Shorter sessions

O

nce upon a time, summer camp meant the entire summer, with the majority

W

hile the Conservative movement’s Camp Ramah has long operated

both day and overnight camps, Jewish day

changing as this year, for the first time, leadHealthier food Serving healthy, locally sourced food is a

Broadening definition of camp

W

ers of Jewish day camps are being included

hile rural settings and rustic accom-

in the bi-annual Leaders Assembly of the

modations are still the norm, two

Foundation for Jewish Camp. The founda-

specialty camps—the Union for Reform

tion is finalizing plans with UJA-Federation

some specialty camps

Judaism’s Six Points Sports Academy and

of New York to establish an incubator devel-

like the new health-

Six Points Science & Technology—are locat-

oping six specialty day camps in the region.

and-wellness-focused

ed on boarding school campuses, and

In addition, the Union for Reform Judaism

Camp Zeke and was a

another, the 92nd Street Y’s Passport NYC,

is opening its first day camp this summer.

component of Ramah

is in the middle of Manhattan. Passport

Meanwhile, the philanthropic group Areivim

Outdoor

Adventure

NYC, in which participants choose among

is funding Hebrew-immersion day camps

from its beginnings

tracks in culinary arts, film, fashion, musi-

throughout the United States.

in 2010. In addition,

cal theater and music industry, and live

part of the mission of

18 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | Camp | jewishnewsva.org

Day camps brought into the tent


Inclusion of children

institutions such as synagogues and day

weekend. A number of camps “got into the

with disabilities

schools. These partnerships often involve

business just trying to use the facility more,

n estimated 13 percent of children

sharing staff members under the auspices

but it wound up being a great recruiting

A

have some sort of disability, but only

of new programs like Ramah Service Corps

tool,” says Foundation for Jewish Camp CEO

two percent of Jewish campers do, accord-

and the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Nadiv

Jeremy Fingerman. Several camps also host

ing to research conducted last year by the

initiative. In addition, camps within easy

sessions specifically for families of children

Foundation for Jewish Camp. The Jewish

commuting distance of major metropolitan

with disabilities. While traditionally mar-

camping world wants to make the camping

areas or in temperate regions or with win-

keted to camp-age kids and their parents,

experience accessible to more children with

terized facilities are increasingly hosting a

Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, national director of

disabilities, including them at regular camps

range of family/community programs in the

the Conservative movement’s Camp Ramah

wherever possible, rather than segregating

off seasons: Eden Village, just 50 miles north

network, says several Ramah camps are con-

them at separate facilities. The foundation

of Manhattan, runs a home-school program

sidering adding sessions for Ramah alumni

is currently working to raise $31-million for

and weekend family/community programs

with younger children. “It’s a relatively inex-

a multi-pronged effort to serve more such

throughout the year, while nearby Surprise

pensive family vacation,” he notes.

children by offering relevant staff training,

Lake Camp, in Cold Spring, N.Y. runs High

revamping physical facilities to make them

Holiday services and Passover Seders. Camp

accessible, and creating vocational edu-

Ramah Darom in Georgia runs a week-long

cation and life-skills training programs at

Passover retreat.

I

Jews, a wide range of Jewish communal

ADVERTISEMENT: Think Jewish Summer

leaders have offered their prescriptions for

Camp is Out of Reach? Think Again.

around

engaging more youth. While these leaders

BunkConnect.org–the newest way to find

for decades, but now virtually every

may differ on many issues, almost all have

camp experiences at introductory rates. We

G

ing educational programming during

Jewish overnight camp offers at least one

cited Jewish summer camp as something that

match 1st time campers with available ses-

the school year through partnerships with

family-camp session, usually a three-day

“works” and is a worthy investment. Jewish

sions at over 35 camps, at 40–80% off.

F

amily

camps

n response to last year’s much-discussed Pew Research Center survey of American

Family camp rowing numbers of camps are offer-

have

been

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all of the pro-camp buzz will likely generate

Pew-fueled camp enthusiasm

even more dollars for the field.

multiple camps. Year-round programming

camps are already popular with funders, but

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jewishnewsva.org | Camp | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 19


Summer 2014

Traditional Day Camp

for kids 16 months – 10th Grade

June 16 – August 29 At the Simon Family JCC, kids of all ages will enjoy: • Arts, Crafts, and Music • Games & Sports • Field Trips

• Swim Lessons

• Fun in our outdoor water park

• Making new friends & memories

I loved Camp JCC’s overnights, field trips, and free swims. All the counselors were really nice and friendly too.” – Hannah, 10

20 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | Camp | jewishnewsva.org

For more information, visit CampJCC.org or call 757-321-2306.


Jewish camps welcoming more children with disabilities children

with

disabilities

attend Jewish overnight camps.

by Julie Wiener

N

EW YORK (JTA)—In the late 1960s, when husband-andwife team Barbara and Herb Greenberg first decided to create a Jewish overnight summer camp program for developmentally disabled children, it was hard to find a camp willing to host it. Camp directors thought such a pro-

offered at several Ramah camps. Knopp says the foundation would like

to helping in the office to assisting in babysitting programs for the children of

The foundation recently hired a

to double the number of children with

full-time professional, Lisa Tobin, to focus

disabilities attending Jewish camps over

At the Ramah camps in California and

on special needs and is hoping to increase

the next five years and ultimately have

Wisconsin, participants are placed in jobs

significantly the numbers of children with

children with disabilities make up 10 per-

in nearby towns, giving them training and

disabilities served over the next decade.

cent of the total campers.

experience that will help them find year-

camp staff.

While the 2013 survey found more camp-

To reach that goal, the foundation

ers with disabilities attending camp than

plans to provide grants enabling more

“It’s extraordinary to watch them inter-

the foundation had anticipated, the dis-

camps to hire senior professionals with

act with their employers,” Cohen says.

abled

15

expertise in special needs, while also help-

“They’re thrilled to do jobs other people

percent of children—is still considerably

ing them train their entire staffs in best

see as drudge work but that make them

underrepresented among the 75,000

practices in working with children with

feel productive.”

North American children attending Jewish

disabilities.

population—an

estimated

overnight camp each summer.

round jobs.

Asked about the Foundation for Jewish

“In some models, you have one expert

Camp initiative, Cohen says, “It’s fantastic

gram would make other campers and

The study also found that 93 percent

at the camp who deals with all issues

that the foundation has dived into this

staff uncomfortable, and that parents of

of parents of special-needs campers were

related to disabilities, and that’s not a

area.”

non-disabled children would see the pres-

satisfied or extremely satisfied with their

good situation,” Knopp says. “The whole

ence of disabled children as a potential

child’s Jewish camp experience, but that

staff needs to be well trained.”

danger.

most camps do a poor job of marketing

The foundation also wants to provide

are able to receive a Jewish education

and publicizing their programs for children

funding for accessibility-related capital

and feel part of the Jewish community,

with disabilities.

improvements and equipment at 15 camps

he says.

But in 1970, the director of the Conservative movement’s Camp Ramah

For many children with disabilities, camp is one of the few places where they

of New England agreed to try it, and the

“Even if you say that a nice proportion

Tikvah program http://www.campramah.

of the camps are offering opportunities

org/content/specialneeds.php was born.

for kids with disabilities, it’s a handful of

“What we’re hearing from camps and

they’d have fun and make friends. I didn’t

Now Tikvah serves 250 children in nine

kids each session,” says Abby Knopp, vice

families is that children are aging out of

realize you’d be nurturing his soul and

Ramah camps throughout North America

president of program and strategy at the

the programs that do exist, and the big

sending him back as a committed Jew.”

and offers family-camp and vocation-

Foundation for Jewish Camp. “People’s

question on the minds of a lot of camps

But the children with disabilities and

al-training programs.

hearts are in the right places, but we’re

is what to do now for them,” Knopp says.

their families are not the only beneficiaries

While Ramah was a pioneer in the field

not doing enough as a field. We know

“Other teens are moving on to leader-

of inclusion programs, Cohen says.

of inclusion—serving disabled children at

from parents that there are not enough

ship training and Israel trips, and there

“It has a sensitizing effect on people

regular camps rather than segregating

opportunities.”

are no opportunities for their peers with

and makes an important statement about

disabilities.”

the community you serve,” Cohen says,

and to create 10 new camp-based vocational training/life-skills programs.

Tikvah parents, he says, frequently tell him, “I sent my child to your camp so

them at separate facilities—today more

The foundation is working to raise

than 50 Jewish overnight camps, including

$31-million to implement a multi-pronged

Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, director of the

noting that tutoring a Tikvah girl for

all Ramah and Union for Reform Judaism

initiative focusing on staffing and training;

National Ramah Commission, whose

her bat mitzvah inspired his daughter to

camps, accommodate some children with

making more facilities physically acces-

Tikvah program has vocational train-

pursue a career in special education.

disabilities, mostly serving kids with cogni-

sible and supporting the development

ing programs at several camps, says

“Once you’ve run a program like this,

tive impairments and autism.

of more camp-based vocational educa-

participants perform a variety of camp

you realize you don’t have an alterna-

A Foundation for Jewish Camp study

tion and life-skills training programs for

jobs depending on their abilities, rang-

tive,” he says. “You must. It’s just a

last year found that approximately 2,500

young adults with disabilities, such as one

ing from setting tables in the dining hall

responsibility.”

jewishnewsva.org | Camp | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 21


su mmer art ca mp

at the Hermitage Visual Arts Studio The Hermitage is the perfect place to introduce your child to the world of art!

summer camp guide

Discover Virginia Outdoor Adventure Camp

E

co-tours for kids—for more than 20 years! Offering kayaking, fishing, crabbing, swimming and fun! Small groups, always supervised by professional staff.

Choose themed weeks for: Kids (6-10) June 23rd to Aug 29th

Five-Day Camp: Monday–Friday, 9 am–

Young Artists (11-13) July 14th to Aug 22nd

discoverva.com. 

4 pm. Convenient pick up and drop off. Where learning is fun! 757-721-7668

Kumon Math and Reading Center

K

umon is an after school learning program for children in grades K through 12. The

Kumon Method fosters independent study habits that are needed to improve academic performance. A preschool program for children ages three- to six-years-old is also available. Call for a free placement testing session. 801 Volvo Parkway, Chesapeake,

REGISTER

today! www.theHermitageMuseum.org | 423-2052

757-547-0445; kumon.com.

©2014 Kumon North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This summer, put your child on the path to a lifetime of learning. With the school year fresh in your child’s mind, summer is the perfect time to join Kumon. Here, your child will gain confidence that will last a lifetime. That’s learning for the long run.

Schedule a free placement test now at your local Kumon Math & Reading Center of: CHESAPEAKE - GREENBRIER 801 Volvo Pkwy., Ste. 120 Chesapeake, VA 23320

757.547.0445

kumon.com/chesapeake-north

VIRGINIA BEACH - KEMPSVILLE 4540 Princess Anne Rd., Ste. 126 Virginia Beach, VA 23462

757.474.1130

kumon.com/virginia-beach-kempsville

Camp Air y & Camp Louise

C

amps Airy & Camp Louise provide overnight camping experiences for children entering second through 12th grade. Activities are designed to match camper interests while providing an environment rich in Jewish traditions and values. Camp Louise, located in the picturesque Catoctin Mountains of Western Maryland, has provided an extensive selection of programs for the last 90 years. Girls enjoy cooking, arts and crafts and a huge variety of sports including swimming, lacrosse, basketball, dance and performing arts. Established in 1924 in Thurmont in Frederick County, Camp Airy enables boys to participate in a variety of activities including athletics, swimming, camping and photography. Campers at both camps enjoy weekly Shabbat services, a full outdoor adventure and nature program and joint social programming. airlouise.org. 410-466-9010.

22 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | Camp | jewishnewsva.org


summer camp guide

Summer Safari Camp at the Virginia Zoo

S

pend your summer at the wildest place in town! The Virginia Zoo’s Summer Safari Camps include up-close animal encounters, crafts, games and visits to the Zoo’s exhibits. Weekly sessions begin June 23 and continue through Aug. 22. For details, call (757) 441‑2374 x 229 or visit virginiazoo.org.

The Her mitage

T

he Hermitage Visual Arts Studio is the perfect place to introduce children to the world of art. Spring and Summer Art Camps provide a unique experience by incorporating art projects, outdoor activities and nature walks, museum tours, guest instructors, and games. thehermitagemuseum.org.

Camp JCC

F

or ages 16 months through 10th grade, Camp JCC is a day camp that offers music, arts, water play and swim in the Simon Family JCC’s outdoor pool and water park, all kinds of outdoor fun and games on its spacious campus. Older campers will have a weekly overnight, and field trips to area attractions. Located in Virginia Beach, weekly sessions are available June 16–Aug 29; 8:30 am–3:30 pm with full day care available and half day camp options for K and under. Go to campjcc.org or call 321-2342.

SUMMER

under the

OAK

ACADEMIC ADVANCEMENT | ATHLETICS | ENRICHMENT | EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING | LIFELONG LEARNING

2014 SUMMER PROGRAMS JUNE 16 - AUGUST 1 Join us for an exciting Summer under the Oak! With a variety of camps designed to sharpen academic skills, inspire artists and performers, and energize young athletes, Norfolk Collegiate’s summer programs offer something for everyone, ages five and up. For information, call 757.626.1820 or visit NorfolkCollegiate.org/summerprograms.

jewishnewsva.org | Camp | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 23


SUMMER LEARNING

summer camp guide

Norfolk Collegiate

J

oin Norfolk Collegiate for a Summer Under the Oak! Explore newly developed centers, categorized by academic advancement, athletics, enrichment, experiential learning and lifelong learning. There’s something for everyone in your family from adults to children, ages 4 and up. Seven weekly sessions: June 16–August 1. norfolkcollegiate.org. 757-626-1820.

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24 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | Camp | jewishnewsva.org

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to paint, draw, build animals or buildings, and work with clay, paper mache, beads and fabric. d-artcenter.org for more information.

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hesapeake Bay Academy educates students through academic programs individualized to address their learning differences, empowering them with the skills and

confidence necessary for success in higher education, careers, and life. 757-497-6200. cba-va.org. 821 Baker Road, Virginia Beach, Va.


New Reform camp combining science and Judaism by Julie Wiener

NEW YORK (JTA)—At most Union for Reform Judaism overnight camps and youth programs, girls account for at least half, if not more, of the campers. Outside the Orthodox community, Jewish institutions often struggle to attract and retain boys. But finding boys is not a problem for URJ’s Six Points Sci-Tech Academy, one of four new Jewish specialty camps opening this summer. (The others are a business and entrepreneurial camp, a nutrition and fitness camp, and a sports camp.) Instead, the biggest challenge facing the camp in Byfield, Mass., is recruiting girls: Of the 70 campers registered so far, fewer than 20 are female. “One of the things I’ve been shouting from the rooftops is that this is a program

say, ‘I’m a scientist, so I don’t believe in God.’ But you can have both. Judaism can inform our decisions as discoverers and explorers. We can use robotics in a discussion about repairing the world because robotics is being used a lot in medicine and in creating prostheses.” Despite the science focus and the academic setting—the kids live in dorms rather than cabins—Kellner says Sci-Tech is more camp than summer school. “When the kids get up in the morning, they’re going to have morning singing,” he says. “There will be traditions in the dining hall, athletic programs, evening programs, campfires, special days and trips. It will have a camp feel, and certainly we’ll celebrate Shabbat with dinner, song and dancing.” In contrast, he says, “with many academic programs you get a course from one thing to the

Tech’s director.

next, it’s more fron-

At Sci-Tech, located on the campus of the Governor’s Academy boarding school, participants choose from four tracks: robotics and engi-

is

more

digital media production. The camp is open to kids entering fifth through ninth grades. It is believed to be the first Jewish summer camp focusing on science, so kids “don’t have to choose between science and a Jewish program,” Kellner says. “My passion lies in making sure that when the kids are at camp that they can learn that science and Judaism are not exclusive of one another,” he says. “You hear a lot of people

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June 16 - 27 * July 7 - 18 July 21 - August 1 August 4 - 15 * Session is held at Norfolk Collegiate. All other sessions are at The Hurrah Players.

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jewishnewsva.org | Camp | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 25


SUMMER@ THE CAPE

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• Specialty Camps, Academic Courses and Dolphin Athletic Camps • Ages 3 – 17 • 10:1 student-to-program leader ratio • June 2 through August 8, half or full day programs • Drop off as early as 7:30 AM , pick up as late as 5:30 PM • Purchase 4, 6, 8 or 10-week packages and save! For more information, please visit summeratthecape.com or contact Mr. Tim Hummel, Director of Auxiliary Programs: (757) 963-8241 or timhummel@capehenry.org 1320 Mill Dam Road | Virginia Beach, VA 23454 CapeHenryCollegiate.org

26 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | Camp | jewishnewsva.org


it’s a wrap Tidewater Jewish Genetic Screening provides vital information for future generations

Tallwood High School students share their impressions on Israel

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ne hundred and sixty-two community members participated in the Tidewater Jewish Genetic Screening in December at the Sandler Family Campus. A make-up day for college students took place in January. The screening was a partnership between Jewish Family Service of Tidewater, Eastern Virginia Medical School, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Maimonides Society and Young Adult Division, as well as local synagogues. The screening tested for 19 preventable genetic disorders, including Tay Sachs, Canavan, Niemann-Pick, Gaucher, Familial Dysautonomia, Bloom Syndrome, Fanconi Anemia and Cystic Fibrosis. In the Ashkenazi population or those of Eastern European descent, it is estimated that one in four individuals is a carrier for at least one of these conditions. The screening found that 35 percent of those tested were carriers for at least one of these conditions. Plus, 20 additional individuals were found to have an “atypical” result - meaning he/ she is not a carrier, but genetic screening for future generations is recommended. Other interesting statistics from the screening included that only one married couple were both carriers of the same condition. Also, the number of carriers exceeded the expected frequency for some of the conditions, including the following: five individuals were carriers for Canavan Disease, compared to the expected frequency of one in 55 and 12 individuals were carriers of Gaucher Disease, compared to an expected frequency of one in 15. All individuals identified as carriers received personal contact and consultation/ follow-up (if they chose) with the genetic counselors from the EVMS Maternal Fetal Medicine Department. All individuals who were tested received a letter and a copy of the results in the mail. Many members of the community made the screening possible. Dr. Steve Warsof from EVMS served as medical director for the screening, with the help of other physicians, medical professionals, clergy and volunteers who served on the

Dr. Michael Gross with Aaron Shames. Photo by Laine Rutherford

Screening Advisory Committee. Avraham and Patricia Ashkenazi, on behalf of Congregation Beth El, underwrote the cost of the screening for those without medical insurance. Local rabbis sponsored “Blue Gene Shabbats” to increase awareness in the Jewish community. Dr. Sue Gitlin, instructor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Jones Institute of EVMS, coordinated all clinical logistics prior to, during and after the screening. Dr. Warsof, Dr. Gitlin and a genetic counslor were at the screening to answer questions from participants. Monique Lubaton, who is pursuing graduate education in genetics, was also instrumental in assisting Dr. Gitlin with the clinical logistics prior to and during the screening. The medical professionals who donated their time to draw blood at the screening include: Dr. Michael Gross, Dr. Marc Abrams, Dr. Samantha Vergano, Allison Madore, RN, Lucy Cardon, RN, Abby Pachter, RN, Susan Schwartzman, RN, Pam Blais, RN, Dave Becker, Dawn Tharrington and Linda Samuels. Other volunteers who assisted at the screening included Kim Gross, Janet Yue, Patty Wainger, Marcia Samuels, Susan Katz, Jody Laibstain, and Mike Lloyd. Look for upcoming information in the Jewish News on ongoing genetic screening opportunities. Jewish Family Service is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Back row: Andrew Clark, Gregory Falls, Kathleen Laroue (teacher), Halina Gregg, and Bria Reel; Front row: Kaitlyn Gallagher, Marialle Balingit, Franchesca Virtucio, Isela Vazquez, and Zoe Hollander. Photo by Robin Mancoll.

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tudent Youth Ambassadors enrolled in the Global Studies & World Languages Academy at Tallwood High School who participated in an exchange program organized by the America Israel Friendship League, shared stories of their experiences on Thursday, March 6 at the Sandler Family Campus. Almost 50 people heard from the students and left feeling great about the future of Israel with young ambassadors such as these. The America Israel Friendship League was established by the U.S. and Israeli governments in 1979 and is now a highly successful international exchange that encourages inter-cultural understanding and communication. The Virginia Beach Public School system is one of only five in the nation that participates in the program. Students and teachers who are past participants say it changed their lives and their perception and appreciation of Israel. Those who attended the event presented by the Community Relations Council of

United Jewish Federation of Tidewater can attest that the program did, indeed, accomplish what it set out to do. The month-long exchange began Oct. 24 when 10 students from Israel arrived in Virginia Beach to live with host families. They attended school at Tallwood, visited local sites of interest, and generally learned about life in Tidewater. After a week spent here, the Youth Ambassadors from both countries joined other American and Israeli Youth Ambassadors from across the nation in Washington, D.C. and New York. Beach students then headed to Israel for a week in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Finally, they stayed with host families in other parts of Israel to experience the local customs and hospitality in the same spirit offered to the Israeli Youth Ambassadors in Virginia Beach. To learn how to support this Virginia Beach City Public School program, contact Robin Mancoll, CRC director at RMancoll@ ujft.org.

jewishnewsva.org | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 27


it’s a wrap Bingo wins at Congregation Beth El by Mark Kozak

Bingo co-chair Mark Kozak, emcee Gary Kell and the $500 blackout game winner, Brooke Cholish. Photo by Brenda Kozak

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n Olympic terms, it was the gold medal. Brooke Cholish, a 16-year-old Kellam High School sophomore from Temple Emanuel, took home the top prize Feb. 8 at Congregation Beth El’s Men’s Club’s 15th annual Ben Gordon Family Bingo Night. Thanks to almost 40 sponsors, more than 50 merchants who donated prizes, and some 320 people who packed the synagogue’s Meyers Hall, the club was able to turn over record proceeds to benefit Sunday school education and Jewish camp scholarships. The night’s final blackout game netted

$500 in cash for Brooke, the daughter of Sheryl and Clinton Cholish. And she has it all planned out. “I just got my license, so I’m sure I’ll use some of it for gas money,” she says. “I also have two big trips coming up—a field trip with my fashion class to New York, so I’ll have some spending money, and a springbreak trip to Florida to visit my grandma. I can save the rest for a rainy day.” Brooke was far from the night’s only big winner. During a dozen games and multiple raffles, players took home more than 100 prizes ranging from hotel stays and restaurant coupons to Judaica, entertainment tickets and wide-screen TVs. For the first time, the Men’s Club put on a wildly popular 50/50 raffle. The $15 price of admission also included hotdogs, beans, chips, popcorn and brownies. “This is a night that “Benji” would be proud of,” Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz said in opening the games and speaking in memory of the evening’s titled honoree. “He was a big supporter of this event while he was alive, and the only thing that he loved more than a night of fun, was a night of fun that benefitted a good cause.”

HAT second graders receive Chumash during traditional presentation

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ebrew Academy of Tidewater’s second graders recently received their Chumashim. The annual tradition celebrates everything students have learned so far about the Hebrew language and Judaic studies. Few things make parents more proud than seeing their child beam with excitement on stage while singing, speaking and understanding another language at such a young age. During the ceremony, Rabbi Mordechai Wecker, head of school, offered his prayers and wishes for this very enthusiastic bunch of students. After the presentations, students joined their parents, family, friends and congre-

Cupcakes! Jack Jenkins, parent Marissa Kempner, Rebecca Auerbach, Kaylah Walker, and Izzy Seeman.

gational representatives to continue the celebration—it’s not a party without food. Hebrew Academy of Tidewater is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

28 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org

Celebrating an Evening of the Arts by Dee Dee Becker

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rt plays a critical role in developing a child’s creativity, discovery and learning processes. A form of expression, art gives students the opportunity to take risks, experience beauty on many different levels and share something personal about themselves. Each year, Hebrew Academy of Tidewater celebrates creativity with an Evening of the Arts, showcasing the musical, artistic, and dramatic talents of its students. The highly anticipated affair is one in which students and faculty spend weeks preparing and ultimately deliver extraordinary results in front of a packed audience of family and friends. When the curtain rose on Thursday, Feb. 27, several strings and recorder performances, including solos by Kaylah Walker, Noah Alper and Danial Watts on the violin and Leo Kamer on the recorder took place. The fourth and fifth grade drama club followed with a performance of Village of Fools, a play based on the stories of Chelm —the most famous and hilarious town known in Jewish folklore. It was evident

Winners of the Visual Arts Display Peoples’ Choice Awards: Hattie Friedman, preschool division; Isabella Leon, grades K–2 division, and Gabe Foleck, grades 3–5 division.

that students had practiced long and hard to prepare for the show. Winners of the Visual Arts Display Peoples’ Choice awards in the student art gallery were: Hattie Friedman, preschool division; Isabella Leon, grades K–2 division, and Gabe Foleck, grades 3–5 division. Faculty members Janet Jenkins, Tanya Conley, Kevin Tabakin, Meredith Carnazza, Alene Kaufman and Lorna Legum coordinated the event.

Temple Israel hosts Disability Awareness Shabbat

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emple Israel’s second annual Disability Awareness Shabbat took place on Saturday, March 1 with Colleen Miller, executive director of disAbility Law Center of Virginia, as the featured speaker. The center serves as a non-profit law firm for addressing issues that affect people with disabilities. Miller addressed a variety of topics including the importance of changing the way people with disabilities are thought of and talked about. She contrasted the terms “wheelchair-bound person” and “person with a wheelchair.” With the latter, the person is emphasized, not the disability. Several disabled members of Temple Israel participated in the service, including Daniel Miller, Daniel Hecht and Emily Panitz, all who regularly attend services. Muriel Hecht arranged the event. She and her husband, Gary, joined the temple many years ago because “everyone was so wel-

coming to their autistic son, Daniel.” Copies of an article written by Daniel Hecht entitled, “My Name is Daniel Not Autism,” were also available. “Nobody should have to feel badly about being different. It is easy for others to only see strange behaviors rather than the real person.… Most autistic people want to be friends and make smart choices as much or more than anyone else…I feel the most important thing any of us can do is to be ourselves and accept others for who they are.” Rabbi Michael Panitz commented, “In my tenure as rabbi of Temple Israel, I have had the privilege of seeing our congregation embrace, ever more fully, an inclusive definition of community, in which differently abled people are welcomed and contribute, each according to his own uniqueness. This is a recognition that, apart from all of our different skills and qualities, we share in the divine image.”


it’s a wrap

10

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$

JFS Special Needs program enjoys a Night Out at Café M

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ewish Family Service’s Chaverim and Simcha groups offer social, recreation and religious programs for local Jewish adults with various physical, emotional and/or developmental disabilities. Each of these groups meets monthly and provides members with an opportunity to connect with other members of the Tidewater Jewish community, enrich their friendships and further develop their Jewish identity. On Tuesday, Feb. 18, members enjoyed an early start to celebrating Purim with a private baking lesson and dinner at Café M in Norfolk near the Virginia Zoo. The owner, Missy Kennett, kindly opened her café and invited the group in for a private, fun-filled time of baking, eating, and socializing. The evening began with making festive Hamantashen from scratch and learning how to measure, mix, fold, and fill these special Purim cookies. While the cookies baked in the café’s ovens, the group’s flour-covered members enjoyed a light meal of homemade pizza and drinks. When sampling their delicious, warm, handcrafted cookies, the participants shared stories about Purim. Everyone went home with a bag of Hamantashen.

Missy Kennett, owner of Café M, with members of Chaverim and Simcha groups and JFS staff.

Maryann Kettyle, JFS case manager, says, “The generosity of Missy Kennett was amazing! The smiles and laughter throughout the evening were infectious and it was a pleasure to be welcomed into an environment that was so inclusive and embracing.” Venues, agencies, and organizations that are welcoming and inviting to these social groups area always needed. The JFS Special Needs program relies on the support of community donations, discounted rates, free tickets, and gift cards for restaurants, movies, and bowling. For more information, contact Maryann Kettyle, JFS special needs case manager, at 459-4640 or MKettyle@jfshamptonroads. org. Jewish Family Service is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Danuta Epstein presents Global Studies senior project

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0 2 1 l i r Ap

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igh school senior Danuta Epstein welcomed an interested audience to “her” synagogue, Kempsville Conservative Synagogue/Kehillat Bet Hamdrash on Sunday, Feb. 23, to present her senior project for the Global Studies World Language Academy located in Tallwood High School. Her topic? Similarities, Differences, and Views of Terror of the three Abrahamic Faiths. Her technique? Danuta moderated a stimulating panel discussion among Rabbi Michael Panitz, Imam Vernon Fareed, and Father James Parke. More than 60 guests listened intently as the clergy answered Danuta’s thought-pro-

Rabbi Michael Pazitz, Daunta Epstein, Imam Vernon Fareed and Father James Parke.

voking, deep, and meaningful questions with confidence, clarity, and respect for each other. After about an hour of responding to

Danuta’s prepared questions, the panelists were ready for a brief break. Imam Fareed suggested that the audience also break and help themselves to the refreshments provided by Danuta’s proud parents, Christine and Sam Epstein. Then, it was the audience’s turn, so they submitted questions in writing for Rabbi Panitz, Imam Fareed and Father Parke. While Danuta continued to moderate, the panelists responded to every question, and some of them were not easy. Danuta’s Judaism is a very important part of her life, and, when faced with the

challenge of selecting the topic for her senior project, it was a clear choice. Audience members say that they learned new things about the various faiths and often found the responses to be spiritual and profound. Note: As a friend of the family, a member of the congregation, and an administrator of the Hebrew Academy where Danuta was a student, there are no words to share how proud I am of Danuta and how impressed I was by this excellent program. I think everyone who was there would agree. AK

jewishnewsva.org | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 29


first person UVa’s Birthright trip exceeds expectations

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Tickets start at only $22! VirginiaSymphony.org

757.892.6366

30 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org

by Hannah Neukrug

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efore going to Israel, I expected to visit historical and religious sights, make some new friends, and eat a lot of hummus. Though these things all ended up being true, I got a lot more from my trip than I anticiClara Griff, Alexis Greenberg, Hannah Neukrug, Ana Turenkov, pated. Not only did Ben Walzer, Paulina Mirovski, Gabrielle Soussan, and Erica Perlman. I experience a different culture, but I also learned from it. attend services regularly, I don’t observe Additionally, due to the interactions and all Jewish holidays, and I don’t believe in self-reflections I had on the trip, I finally God. Furthermore, I compared the role Judaism plays in my life to the role it have a clear idea of my Jewish identity. The most significant part of Birthright plays in the lives of other, more religiously was spending five days with Israeli sol- observant Jews. Going to Israel made me diers. Their purpose (which I was initially realize that there are innumerable ways to unaware of) was not to protect us; it was practice Judaism, and each way is equally to learn from us and for us to learn from legitimate. In other words, I came to the them. While I learned about their expe- conclusion that Judaism can be unified riences in the army, I also learned about without being uniform. In Israel, I heard a speech given by their political beliefs, their passions, their goals, their families and friends, and their Avraham Infeld, president of the Chais Family Foundation and a former president Jewish identities. I learned how to order falafel the Israeli of Hillel International. He proclaimed mulway (cutting the line and saying “hurry up” tiple times that “Judaism is not a religion,” rather than “please”), about the Israeli par- a message that stuck with me. Judaism, in ty-scene, how to haggle for a souvenir at a Infeld’s words, is instead a five-legged table street market, and how to apply the Hebrew comprised of memory, family, covenant, word “balagan” (which means “mess”) to Hebrew, and Israel. His speech, the coneach and every situation. Though I knew versations I had with Jews who held many that the Israelis were my age or close to my different beliefs and came from many age, I couldn’t help but think of them as different backgrounds, and the introspecolder. I came to understand that this feel- tion I experienced during the Birthright ing resulted from knowing that no matter seminars with my trip leaders and fellow how cheerful, carefree, funny, and silly students all helped me to understand what they seemed, they had experienced trage- Judaism means to me. More than anything, however, being dies that I couldn’t even fathom. I feel more confident in the notion of surrounded by both strangers and friends my Jewish identity than ever before since with whom I share a vital part of my returning from birthright. Before traveling identity and being in a land rooted in the to Israel, I spent little time reflecting on history of my people made me recognize what Judaism meant to me. I have always the importance and meaning of Judaism considered myself to be a “Jewish Atheist,” in my life. Hillel at UVa and Birthright are recipients but before going to Israel, I also thought of myself as being just “Jew-ish” and even of funds from United Jewish Federation of described myself in this way. I no longer Tidewater.


book reviews Recipes for good eating Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration Orly Ziv 245 Pages, Hardcover $35, ISBN: 978-9659207107

The Israel Philharmonic to Season of Faves • 2013–14 perform at the Sandler Center Hal Sacks

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eaders will doubtless recall the featured revue of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s gorgeous Jerusalem, A Cookbook. The Mediterranean menu, with its de-emphasis of meat and fats, has been gaining in popularity with Jewish and non-Jewish home cooks and professional chefs. Orly Ziv, a professional nutritionist before striking out with her company, Cook in Israel, is passionate about teaching readers and students about cooking Mediterranean meals that are healthy, flavorful, have heightened eye appeal and are easy to prepare. Ziv’s recipes are inspired by those of her mother and grandmother, by newspaper clippings (don’t confuse those in Israel with the sorry recipes found in our local press), and by the marketplace. There are essentially 100 illustrated recipes (photographed simply in her own kitchen with no food-styling tricks) that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. If you or your family are among the non-eggplant eaters, feel free to skip the first 12 pages of recipes—but don’t overlook the creative vegetable dishes and hot and cold salads. There are nine fish recipes, several variations of which I have had the pleasure of eating over the years in Israel. (My first experience was in the cramped apartment of Etti, who made a Moroccan style fish that had Persian overtones—she was Moroccan and her husband was Iranian. I still have the recipe for “Etti’s Fish” given to me in 1984.) Readers will love the simplicity and flexibility of these recipes. If a particular spice is not found in your pantry, another can usually be substituted. Orly Ziv conducts cooking classes in her home and food tours in Israel. Let My Children Cook: A Passover Cookbook for Kids Tamar Ansh 2014 Judaica Press, 96 Pages, $9.95, ISBN 978-1-60763-142-1

K

The American Theatre

what’s happening

ids like to cook. And when not actually cooking, they like to play at it. This Purim, during one of the snow days in Rockville, Md., our three-year-old great-grandson was thrilled to have his dad home, and they made Hamentaschen together. So I’m sending my copy of Tamar Ansh’s Passover cookbook for kids, Let My Children Cook, to Rockville where I’m sure it will be put to good use. Designed for kids from “8 to 108,” the recipes are not totally dumbed down, but aside from the frequent warnings about adult supervision and permission, the recipes appear to lead the cook to a successful and definitely edible result. Adults may or may not be enthusiastic about Matzah Marshmallow Melts, Rocky Road Brownies, or Pizza Potatoes, but the Matzah Brie, Gefilte Fish, Spicy Chicken Bake, and Meatloaf could be welcomed at any Passover table. Included are some uncomplicated craft projects for Passover. —Hal Sacks is a retired Jewish communal worker who has reviewed books for Jewish News for more than 30 years.

Wednesday, April 2, 7:30 pm pre-concert conversation, 6:30 pm by Leslie Shroyer

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he Simon Family JCC, in partnership with Virginia Arts Festival, will present the acclaimed Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the Sandler Center as part of the JCC’s Celebrate Israel series presented by Charles Barker Automotive. New York Times music critic Bernard Holland says of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s tonal beauty: “From top to bottom, the strings made sounds different from any orchestra I can think of. You hear it even as players tune their instruments.” Gianandrea Noseda is the orchestra’s principal guest conductor for the current tour, conducting seven performances in the U.S. in Naples, Fla., Houston, Texas, Newark, N.J., Washington, D.C., Louisville, Ky., Chapel Hill, N.C. and Virginia Beach. The program consists of Faure’s Pelléas et Mélisande: Suite, Op. 80, Ravel’s Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose) Suite, Daphnis et Chloé: Suite No. 2 and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14. As guest conductor, Noseda regularly conducts the most celebrated orchestras in the world, such as the Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Cleveland orchestras in the U.S., the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Wiener Symphoniker in Europe and the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan. “Partnering with the Virginia Arts Festival on this event seems natural. We hope to continue this partnership to bring other great Israeli performances to Hampton Roads as part of the Celebrate Israel series.” says Scott Katz, JCC Center director. For a complete list of Celebrate Israel events and the generous sponsors, visit the Simon Family JCC at SimonFamilyJCC.org. Tickets $127 gold Circle, no discounts; $92, $77. Purchase tickets through the Virginia Arts Festival at 440 Bank Street, Norfolk or Sandler Center Box Office, Virginia Beach. Call 757-282-2822 or online at vafest.org. Purchase tickets through the JCC at 5000 Corporate Woods Dr. in Virginia Beach. Call 757-321-2338 or online at SimonFamilyJCC.org. The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Sat. March 29, 8pm

Alex de Grassi & Andrew York

Thu. April 10, 7:30pm

Jon Batiste and Stay Human BUY TICKETS AT

www.HamptonArts.net (757) 722-2787

jewishnewsva.org | March 24, 2014 | Jewish News | 31


what’s happening Israel is IT this year! Annual Israel Fest

A Melton sampler class to help achieve balance

Sunday, May 18, 11 am–5 pm, Simon Family JCC

Tuesdays, 10:15–11:30 am

by Leslie Shroyer

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hat does an updated Israel Fest at the Simon Family JCC look and feel like? Find out when the JCC comes alive under tents displaying Israel’s technological innovations and foods unrivaled by former festivals. Paul Terkeltaub traveled to Israel on a men’s mission led by Steve and Art Sandler several years ago. “I saw how technologically innovative the country had become, visiting companies such as OrCam, an Israeli start-up that has developed a camera-based system intended to give the visually impaired the ability to both ‘read’ easily and move freely,” he says. “I came away with memories of a totally modern Tel Aviv, not ones of a 1950’s country in the desert.” When Terkeltaub’s wife, Marcy, was asked to be the Festival chair, he suggested updating the event. Among the products at Israel Fest will be designs from such companies as Babysense’s Infant Movement Monitor, which uses highly sensitive motion detector technology to detect a baby’s smallest movements to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, a water purifying system, and glasses for sight-impaired individuals.

This year’s Israel Fest also has an expanded food component, “a virtual food extravaganza,” says Marcy Terkeltaub. Every area temple, as well as Beth Sholom Village is preparing a menu of delectables, from Israeli couscous to Shawarma, kugel, falafel, and more. Visitors can purchase food to eat at the festival or for “to go.” Favorites of Israel Fest that will return include camel rides, educational and carnival games, inflatables, arts and crafts and goods sold by vendors, and an Israeli band. This is the Simon Family JCC’s biggest party of the year. “We’ve had about 1,000 to 1,200 people come in the past few years, but this year we are aiming for 1,500,” says Marcy Terkeltaub. “I’m thinking of this year’s theme as ‘Israel makes IT happen, The IT can stand for information technology, but also suggests that this forward moving country can and will shape the world’s future.” The Simon Family JCC’s Israel Fest is part of the Celebrate Israel series, presented by Charles Barker Automotive. For a complete listing of events and sponsors of Celebrate Israel, visit SimonFamilyJCC. org/culture-enrichment. The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Memorial Day is just around the corner

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ontinuing Sonny Werth’s work, for a $25 donation, the Norfolk JWV Post 158 will maintain a United States flag at the grave of a Jewish Veteran in Tidewater. The Post will attach a flag holder and a 12 by 18 inch flag to the grave marker of the veteran and ensure every Memorial Day that the flag is in good repair and still attached. For information, contact Adam Goldberg, Post Commander, at 831-917-3996, and leave a message, or e-mail JWV.Norfolk.VA@gmail.com.

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earching for ways to find balance in your life? This is a common issue for many people—from family to work and community to personal time: How do we learn to strike the right balance? A new four-part class, Modern Living: Maintaining Balance Discovering Ageless Answers in Timeless Jewish Texts, will offer access to Jewish texts to provide assistance in prioritizing the right balance for personal lives. Classes are on Tuesdays and are divided into four units: Focus on family: April 1 Focus on work and community: April 8 Focus on self: April 29 Finding the balance: May 6 This class will expose those who haven’t taken a Melton course to the learning and interactive discussions typical of a Melton experience. There is no tuition cost. First come first serve. Call 321-2338 to register. For more information, email mbrunnruberg@simonfamilyjcc.org.

Celebrating 10 years of Healthy Living Race: Sunday, May 4

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t all started with one idea: Why have just a race on one day when healthy programming and activities could take place all week long? Thus, the Week of Healthy Living was born in 2004. Ten years later, Jewish Family Service of Tidewater has seen the Week of Healthy Living grow into an event that many in the community look forward to every year. The event includes the annual Run, Roll or Stroll, a race that was initially held at Norfolk Botanical Garden. In 2008, the race moved to the Virginia Beach boardwalk. The 10th Annual Run, Roll or Stroll is back this year at 24th Street Park in Virginia Beach. There will be an 8K run, a 5K run/walk, and a 1-mile run/walk, plus fun activities. Children can enjoy balloon creations and face painting and Don London of The New 101.3 radio station will provide fun music and entertainment. “We wanted a way to raise funds for JFS while at the same time, give back to our community,” says Betty Ann Levin, JFS executive director. “Through the Week of Healthy Living, our largest fundraiser,

we continue to be able to provide services which meet the growing needs of those less fortunate in our community.” The Week of Healthy Living’s presenting sponsor is Towne Bank. Lead sponsors are the Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Fund of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation. The Copeland/Klebanoff Families are the diamond/race sponsors. Many additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Betty Ann Levin, executive director, or Sue Graves, fundraising coordinator, at 757-321-2222. Or visit www.jfsrunrollorstroll.org to register to run/walk, be a Virtual Walker, or view the full listing of sponsorship opportunities. Jewish Family Service is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. * of blessed memory


what’s happening Viginia Symphony to perform for children at Simon Family JCC

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Sunday, April 6, 2:30 pm

he violin, viola and cello are just some of the instruments children and families will see and hear when the Virginia Symphony Orchestra brings their educational show From Bach to Beatbox to the Simon Family JCC as part of the Children’s Cultural Arts series. Beginning with a Bach piece and ending with Beatbox music, the audience will learn about the music they hear and about the musical period and type of music written during each of four major periods. Beatbox, a soundtrack from a CD, is familiar to many young people today. Featuring a form of vocal percussion that involves producing drum beats, rhythm and musical sounds using the mouth, lips, tongue and voice, Beatbox is used in many hip-hop styles of music. This short, entertaining and interactive presentation is designed to familiarize elementary school aged children with some basic music history, an overview of major instruments, and music’s place within its historical and cultural context. This is the third and final program in this season’s Children’s Cultural Arts series at the Simon Family JCC, which also brought the Virginia Opera and Virginia Stage Company to perform short programs. Tickets are $5 for children 10 and under; $7.50 for adults, 11 and older; and $25 for a family of two adults. Call 321-2338 or visit SimonFamilyJCC.org for more information and to buy tickets. The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

The Maimonides Society continues series of “Cocktails & Conversation” Disaster Relief Efforts: On the Ground in Haiti Monday, March 31, 6 pm–reception; 6:30 pm–main presentation

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anny Pins of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee will speak on disaster relief efforts in Haiti at the March Maimonides Society “Cocktails & Conversation” event. Pins is the chief financial officer for the Africa and Asia Region of the JDC. He was crucial in the orchestration of JDC’s disaster relief response to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which included shipping food, shelter, hygiene and medical supplies to the Philippines. Leading efforts to effect change in Israeli society and abroad, Pins and a small cadre of JDC staff worked alongside IDF representatives in the Philippines to ensure that relief efforts

were organized and efficient. Virginia Beach surgeon Navy Captain Martin Snyder, a member of UJFT’s Maimonides Steering committee, will also make remarks. The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Maimonides Society is comprised of Jewish healthcare professionals dedicated to educational, social, and philanthropic activities that focus on the betterment of Jews in need locally in Tidewater, in Israel and around the world. The event takes place on the Sandler Family Campus. RSVP by March 27 to 965-6124 or cwildes@ujft.org.

Col. Edward Shames to speak at Ohef Sholom Sunday, April 27, 10:30 am brunch; 11 program

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n honor of Yom Hashoah, Ohef Sholom Temple’s Adult Education Committee invites the community to a Carpool Café featuring Col. Edward Shames who will speak about his wartime experiences as one of the first military officers to liberate a concentration camp. Born in Norfolk, Col. Shames was a student at the Naval Engineering School when the United States entered World War II. In Sept. 1942, he volunteered for the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, an experimental regiment that the War Department was creating with the unprecedented idea of a “super unit” of the highest quality soldiers chosen only from civilian l 0th Annua water’s 1

T R A W of Tide ily Service

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Jewish Fa

ing

volunteers. While 7,000 recruits signed up for the most rigorous training schedules any WWII unit would have to undergo, only 2,500 stood at the end to comprise the regiment. Shames was one of them. Shames joined Easy Company—now known as the Band of Brothers—in July 1944 and remained with them through Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, the liberation of the concentration camps, and the end of the war in 1945. He was, in fact, the first American officer at Dachau. Ohef Sholom is located at 530 Raleigh Ave. in Norfolk. For more information or to make reservations, call 625‑4295.

Grievildren’s Ch

10th Annual Grieving Children’s Art Show at the Leon Family Art Gallery

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April 8–May 9

of local grieving children and teens. This show is open to any school-aged youth in Tidewater who has experienced the n Display Artwork Mo ay 9, 2014 death of a loved one. Hundreds of pictures April 8 – rt Gallery Family Aa have been submitted over the years and it eople of all ages are impacted Leonwhen C mily JC Simon Fa rive Woods te ra isD an opportunity for children and teens to loved one dies. Children and teens are po 5000 Cor ach Be ia in rg Vi share their feelings with others and to see sometimes the “forgotten mourners” during these times and other life changes within a that they are not alone. After the Grieving Children’s Art Show family. Jewish Family Service counseling by ntedDozoretz at the Leon Family Art Gallery at the Presethe staff, through Center for Service ish Family c. In er at Simon Family JCC, the works will be on Healing andJewofJessica Glasser Therapeutic Tidew Edmarc ship with er rtn pa n in re Pavilion, specializes helping individuals display for one night only at Peace by Piece Child for in Hospice May d? 22. After May 22, the pictures will of all ages cope with loss and grieving. memon ber or frien g. group settin a family e loss of l, family or nced this dividuareturn rie in pe One component of chthis program Peace an 40 ex in s 9-46 .to either JFS or Edmarc for display. ling o ha se 45 wh un 7ild co 75 f ll ie ow a te gr ices, ca Do you kn e or facilita nical serv her clichildren, can provid group Jewish Family Service is a constituent agenby Piece,wisha Fafree support for e or ot mily Service formation on thes Je in e or m r Fo teens, and their families who have experi- cy of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. enced the death of a loved one. Peace by Piece is operated f you know any school-aged child or teen who has by Edmarc Hospice experienced the death of a loved one and would like for Children in colto contribute artwork for the Grieving Children’s Art laboration with JFS. JFS and Edmarc Show, contact Debbie Mayer at JFS. For more informaco-sponsor an annution about helping grieving children and teens or about al art show—now in its 10th year—that the free Peace by Piece support program, contact JFS at displays the creative 757-459-4640 or DMayer@jfshamptonroads.org. drawings and poetry

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calendar

what’s happening

March 30, Sunday Temple Israel celebrates 60th anniversary with music. Voices of Virginia, an elite group of students from the musical theatre department of the Governor’s School for the Arts, will sing and dance to a variety of music, from Gershwin to Sister Sledge to Adele as pare of their revue, I Believe in Music. 6 pm. In addition to the performance, the evening includes hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and dinner. Tickets are $50 each. Contact the synagogue’s office at templeisraelva@ aol.com or 489-4550.

Bagels and Bluegrass at JMCC

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Saturday, April 12, 7 pm

he Jewish Museum and Cultural Center will present “Bagels and Bluegrass” as part of the Portsmouth Museums’ focus on Appalachia. The festivities will begin with music by Simcha Klezmorim, the popular local Klezmer ensemble led by Warren Weiss. A discussion of the history of the Jews of Appalachia led by Jean Haskell, PhD, will then take place. A retired professor of Appalachian Studies at Virginia Tech and East Tennessee State University, Haskell is the co-editor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Appalachia, as well as author/editor of several other books. She is assisting the City of Portsmouth Museums with an exhibition: Changing Appalachia: Custom to Cutting Edge. Haskell is a resident of Portsmouth where she and her husband, Fred Schoenfeld, are co-owners of the Commodore Theater. Completing the evening’s entertainment, the legendary Bob Zentz and Jeanne McDougall will perform traditional folk and bluegrass music, entertaining listeners with unique instruments and stories. Zentz is an international folk music star. As a songwriter, he is celebrated by fans and peers. Dozens of performers have sung his original compositions. McDougall and Zentz share a love of music and history with a friendship dating to the early 70s. A “Bagel Reception,” sponsored by Yorgo’s

April 2, Wednesday Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The Simon Family JCC partners with Virginia Arts Festival for this Celebrate Israel event. 7:30 pm. Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach. 757-282-2822; vafest.org. See page 31. APRIL 6, SUNDAY Brith Sholom meeting will be held at the Beth Sholom Home. Board meeting 10 am, general meeting at 11am, followed by brunch at 12 pm. Viginia Symphony to perform for children at Simon Family JCC. 2:30 pm. Call 321-2338 or visit SimonFamilyJCC.org for more information and to buy tickets. See page 33. April 9, Wednesday JCC Senior Club. Board meeting begins at 10:30 am, lunch at 12 pm, followed by general meeting. For further information, call 338-2676. Bob Zentz

Bageldashery will follow the program. “Bagels and Bluegrass” is for all ages. Advance reservations are $25 and should be made by April 5 by calling 757-391-9266 or online at www.jewishmuseumportsmouth. org. Tickets are $30 at the door. Donations benefit the programs of the Jewish Museum and Cultural Center, which is located at 607 Effingham St. The program is sponsored in part by a generous gift from the Dalis Foundation. Jean Haskell, Ph.D.

April 12, Saturday JMCC presents Bagels and Bluegrass. Lecture, music, entertainment and bagles! 7 pm. Call 757-391-9266 or visit jewishmuseumportsmouth.org. See page 34. April 13, Sunday Best Chopped Liver in Tidewater. A contest sponsored by Beth Sholom Village/58 Deli Collaboration at 58 Deli. 4 pm. Call Bryan Mesh or Claire Roth at Beth Sholom Village at 757-420-2512 for details. APRIL 23, WEDNESDAY Join the Maimonides Society of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater for Healing Across the Divides: Fostering Improved Health Among Israelis and Palestinians. Special guest will be Dr. Norbert Goldfield, whose organization promotes the health of Israelis and Palestinians while helping to forge inter-agency cooperation and mutual understanding. 6 pm cocktails and hors d’oeuvres; presentation follows at 6:30 pm at the Sandler Family Campus. RSVP by April 16 to Shayna Horwitz at 757-965-6124 or shorwitz@ujft.org. For more information, visit JewishVa.org/Maimonides. APRIL 27, SUNDAY Yom Hashoah, an evening of prayer and remembrance. Guest speaker is Werner Reich. Ohef Sholom Temple, 6:45 pm. 757-965-6100. Brith Sholom will hold a Semi-Annual Dinner at Happy Buffet, located on S. Lynnhaven Rd., behind Lynnhaven Mall. Cyndi and Billy Mitchell will sing and play music. Dinner is at 5:30 pm. $7.50 members $15 guests. RSVP by April 22. Call Gail at 461-1150. April 28, Monday “Reading of the Names” Sponsored by the Beth El Men’s Club at the Simon Family JCC. 10 am–4 pm. 757-965-6100. MAY 4, SUNDAY Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day at Temple Israel. There will be a Yom Hazikaron ceremony honoring the memory of Israeli soldiers who lost their lives in battle for the creation and preservation of the State of Israel, and the memory of all victims of terrorism. The event is free of charge and open to the community. Refreshments will be served following the ceremony. RSVP to the Temple Israel office, 489-4550. Jewish Family Service’s 10th Annual Run, Roll or Stroll. 24th Street Park, Virginia Beach. 757-321-2222 or www.jfsrunrollorstroll.org. See page 32. Send submissions for calendar to news@ujft.org. Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.

Bob Zentz and Jeanne McDougall.

34 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org


Mazel Tov to Birth Hava and Jonathan Anderson on the birth of their daughter Noa Mayaan Anderson, on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Rockville, Md. Noa is the granddaughter of Judy and Pierre Anderson and great granddaughter of Annabel and Hal Sacks. Brother, Eli Anderson, age three, loves his new sister.

Rabbi Israel and Jennifer Zoberman on the birth of a second grandchild, Andrew Lee. Parents are Rachel and Ben Azoff of Potomac, Md. His brother Daniel, is three years old. Andrew was born on March 2, 2014 at 8 pounds, 9 oz and 21 inches. All is well. 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.

who knew?

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Beyonce to play Israel?

he upcoming Israeli summer might just be getting even hotter. According to a report on Israel’s Channel 2 news, Beyonce will be stopping over for a gig at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park on June 15. The thing is, the date does not appear on Beyoncé’s website. Plus, as Israeli fans may remember, a 2009 rumor that the pop star would visit never panned out. If this thing really happens, Mrs. Carter will join a long list of big-name performers to visit Israel this summer, including Lady Gaga, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Justin Timberlake. (JTA)

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Bill Maher: Jay Leno is like Israel

ay Leno’s induction to the TV Hall of Fame was preceded by a spirited and vaguely controversial introduction from Bill Maher, who compared the former Tonight Show host to a small Middle Eastern country some of you may have heard of. “Jay reminds me a little of Israel,” Maher said of Leno. “He isn’t perfect, but he’s held to standard I don’t think anybody in the world is expected to live up to but him.” Maher also addressed the accusations that Leno had “stolen” Conan O’Brien’s dream by taking back the reins of the Tonight Show from O’Brien after a ratings drop. Despite the obvious Middle East conflict/Late Night War parallel, the host of HBO’s Real Time opted for a different analogy on this topic, pointing out that this was like saying Tom Cruise had robbed Maher of the lead role in Top Gun. (JTA)

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obituaries Bertha S. Chenman Virginia Beach—Bertha Segall Chenman, 91, passed away Thursday, March 6 in the hospital surrounded and embraced by the love of her children. Bertha was born in the Dominican Republic. Her family moved back to the States in 1929 when her father had a severe stroke at his age of 46, and because her five siblings needed schools that went higher than grade seven. Bertha went to elementary school in Norfolk and graduated from Maury. She worked at Graysons Ladies Wear on Granby St.; then she met the love of her life—Sol. They were married for 50 incredible years until he passed away in 1997, and were lifelong members of Temple Emanuel. Bertha was past president of the synagogue sisterhood, a member of Hadassah, ORT, and The National Council of Jewish Women. Besides those activities, her weekly Mahjong game, and never missed Friday hair appointments with Diane—her greatest joys were her family. Bertha was a loved and loving wife, sister, aunt and friend to all who had the privilege of being in her company, but what she excelled at the most was being a mother to Bobby and Marsha. Growing up, friends always wanted to be at their house, envied their relationship with their Mom and wanted her for their own. Bertha was class, charm, elegance, quiet strength and always the consummate lady who listened with her heart and made everyone feel welcomed. She is survived by her devoted daughter Marsha, and husband, Dr. Stephen Goldstein; son Bobby, and wife Janet; and many loving nieces and nephews. We were blessed to have her for so many years, this kind, gentle, rock solid beautiful woman, who didn’t tell us how to live; rather she showed us every day by example of how to be a better person. Services were conducted by Rabbi Roz Mandelberg at H. D. Oliver’s chapel; then graveside at Forest Lawn. Memorial donations may be made to Temple Emanuel Synagogue, or the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad.

Nicodemus Cohen Norfolk—Nicodemus “Nic” Cohen, 20 of Virginia Beach, died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Nic was born in Norfolk. He is survived by his parents Andrew and Teejay Cohen of Virginia Beach, his sister, Emma Cohen of Virginia Beach, paternal grandparents, Aaron and Ruth Cohen of Norfolk and maternal grandparents, June Anderson and the late Ian Anderson, of Prince Edward Island, Canada, as well as numerous aunts, uncles cousins and extended family. Nic was a big flirt, he loved smiling and making kisses for all the girls. A graveside service was conducted at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to F.D. Hope Foundation 121 S. Estes Drive Ste. 205-D Chapel Hill, N. C., 27514. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.hdoliver.com. Donald Leigh Corey Norfolk—Donald Leigh Corey passed away on Sunday, March 9, 2014. He was 82 years old and was born and raised in Portsmouth, Va. He was the son of the late Leonard I. Cohen and Freeda Levy Cohen. Donald graduated from Wilson High School in Portsmouth and the University of Virginia. He worked in the contact lens industry for over 30 years as president of Conforma Laboratories and as an administrator with Amsco-Lombart Lenses. He was also on the board of CLMA (Contact Lens Manufacturing Association). He was well-known and respected in his field. He was a member of Ohef Sholom Temple. Don is survived by his wife of almost 62 years, Charlotte Cooper Corey, son, Dr. Mitchell L. Corey of Norfolk, daughter, Faith Fuhrman and her husband, Ben Atkinson, his grandchildren, Jay Fuhrman, Erica Fuhrman and Annie Fuhrman, all of Annandale, N.J. He is also survived by many cousins and friends and extended family. A graveside service was held in Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg officiating. Memorial donations may be made to Ohef Sholom Temple, Bon Secours Hospice or Jewish Family Service of Tidewater. H.D Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be sent to the family at hdoliver.com.

36 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org

Gilbert Reuben Friedman VIRGINIA BEACH—Gilbert Reuben Friedman, 88, passed away on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 in a local hospital. He was the owner and president for over 57 years of M & G Sales Co., Inc., the Army & Navy Store on Granby St. Born in Norfolk, Va., he was the son of the late Bessie Glazer Friedman and Max Friedman. Gilbert was a graduate of Maury High School, Class of 1944 and attended the University of Virginia where he was a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity. Before college he went into the U. S. Army, 36th Infantry Division during W.W. II. During his service he was awarded two bronze stars, two Purple Hearts, and the Combat Infantry Badge. He also toured with the 36th Infantry Band and studied music at the University of Heidleberg. Gilbert was a charter member of Temple Israel in Norfolk, and was more recently a member of Temple Emanuel in Virginia Beach. He was also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, and the Jewish War Veterans of America. One of his great passions was his yard and gardening, where he spent many hours during his retirement. Survivors include his beloved wife, Trudy J. Friedman; daughter, Laura Friedman Buzard of Norfolk; son, Larry R. Friedman and wife Carol of Virginia Beach; sister, Lois F. Einhorn and husband Barry of Norfolk; grandchildren, Aaron Friedman of Raleigh, N.C. and Rachelle Chapman and husband Chris of Knightdale, N.C.; great grandson, Jeremiah Wycoff of Norfolk; niece, Wendy Brodsky and husband Ron; and a nephew, Martin Einhorn and wife Susan. Funeral services were conducted at H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts., with Rabbi Marc Kraus and Rabbi Michael Panitz officiating. Burial followed with military honors in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Rachelle E. Friedman 1st Party Special Needs Trust, P.O. Box 1943, Norfolk, VA 23501. Online condolences may be offered to the family through www.hdoliver.com. Mayda Lannik Gardner Mayda Lannik Gardner passed away on Feb. 28, 2014 at the age of 89. Also known professionally as Marsha

Lane, she had two radio shows on WBAB, N.Y. and was the first female vice president of Schenley Ind. She participated in several organizations, including Old Westbury Gardens and Hofstra University. She was predeceased by her parents, Sam and Blanche Schecter Chosed, her first husband, Dr. William Lannik, and her second husband, Dr. Milton Gardner. She is survived by her brother, Lloyd Chosed, her children Susana Gorstein (Mark), Dr. David Lannik (Phyllis) and Liz Branman (Jeff), and grandchildren Dr. Sam Gorstein, Joshua Lannik, Matthew Branman and Alexandra Branman. Donations may be made to the LandauLannik Philanthropic Fund at Jewish Family Service of Tidewater or the charity of choice. Beatrice S. Maltz VIRGINIA BEACH—Beatrice S. Maltz, 97, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. She is preceded in death by her loving husband, Leo H. Maltz. Left to cherish her memories are her daughters, Carol Sherman and Wendy Hellman. A memorial service was held at Altmeyer Funeral Home in Virginia Beach, officiated by Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin. Visit www. altmeyer.com to leave a note for the family. Samuel Rubin Naples, FL—Samuel Rubin, 90, passed away on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 in Naples, Fla. He was born in Baltimore, Md. in 1924, the son of Goldie and Joe Rubin. Sam was the middle of three sons including the late Daniel and Stanley Rubin. He grew up in Pomeroy, Ohio and Parkersburg, W.Va. before settling in Charleston, W.Va. A World War II Army veteran, Sam graduated from Ohio State University. He worked with his two brothers in the oil and gas industry, serving as president of Blue Creek Gas for 35 years before forming Rubin Resources, Inc. with his son Rick. Sam is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sugar; his daughter, Debbi Steiger and husband, Jim of Virginia Beach; son, Rick Rubin and wife, Wendy of Charleston; daughter Carol Rubin of Naples; grandchildren, Jodi and Mike Lazarus, Brett and Andrea Steiger, Ali and Ryan Rubin, Amy and Brooke Greenspan; and great-granddaughter, Sydney Lazarus.


obituaries Sam was active in Charleston at B’nai Jacob Synagogue and the Jewish Federation. He was a member of the House of Delegates in West Virginia. He served as president of the Charleston Tennis Club, on the board of directors of South Hills Bank, was a member of the Independent Oil & Gas Association and an active Rotarian. Upon retiring and moving to Naples, Sam and Sugar lived at Wyndemere Country Club. Sam was a member of Temple Shalom and volunteered with the Jewish Federation and Jewish Family Services. He also spent 14 years volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Sam loved to travel, play golf, read, and achieved life master in bridge. The family suggests donations to Habitat for Humanity of Naples, B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston, Temple Shalom in Naples, or Avow Hospice in Naples. A service was held at Temple Shalom in Naples. FranceS Deitch Swartz Norfolk—Frances Deitch Swartz, 93, passed away on Monday, March 3, 2014 in Virginia Beach. She was a retired insurance representative for Sentara Healthcare Systems. Born in Norfolk, she was the daughter of the late Bessie Leibowitz Deitch and Louis Deitch, and was the widow of Paul Swartz. She is survived by her two sons, Maury Swartz and his wife Suzanne of Amsterdam and Ira Swartz and his wife Paula of Virginia Beach; a daughter, Roslyn Blumberg of Pennsylvania; a sister, Eudice Goodman; grandchildren, Daniel Swartz and his wife Jennifer, Michael Swartz and his wife

Miriam, Samuel Swartz, and Daniel Swartz and his wife; six great grandchildren, Jair and Lior Swartz, Stephanie and Michael Blumberg, and Lauren and Cameron Blumberg; a niece Debbie Goodman; and a nephew Lon Goodman. A graveside funeral service was conducted in Forest Lawn Cemetery with Cantor Gordon Piltch officiating. H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be offered to the family through www. hdoliver.com. Myron M. Ungar Norfolk—Myron Milton Ungar, son of the late Martha Cooper Ungar and Max Ungar passed away peacefully Monday, March 10, 2014 after a long hard fought illness. He was born and raised in Norfolk, Va. Following graduation from Granby High School, he went on to do what he did best, sales! Mr. Ungar was the top salesman for Phillips Oldsmobile in Virginia Beach for several years before moving to South Carolina to start working for Combined Insurance Company. In the mid 1980’s he moved to Christiansburg, Va., and continued working for Combined Insurance. While there, Mr. Ungar was awarded several national sales awards, Combined even declared a “National Myron Ungar Day” for his sales efforts and leadership skills. Myron is survived by his wife, Betty Ungar, his daughters, Dana Ungar Patish (Larry), Bonnie Ungar Dowdy (Mitchell), Heather Ungar Cardenas (Tony), son Joshua Ungar and fiance Christina Nordman, step-daughter Angie Green Smith (Robert) and step-son Christopher Shattuck, his sister Barbara Koonan Krampf and brother

Phillip Ungar (Pamela). He is also survived by his grandchildren, Brandon Ungar, Lauren and Austin Dowdy, Melanie, Stacey and Jessica Patish, Sara and Isabella Ungar, as well as several nieces and nephews, all of whom will miss his humor and bad jokes. Horne Funeral Services, Christensburg, Va.

Leo Bretholz, Holocaust survivor set to testify for Md. rail bill WASHINGTON (JTA)—Leo Bretholz, who had escaped from a train transporting him to a Nazi death camp, died the weekend before he was to testify on behalf of a Maryland bill making railroad firms accountable for their actions during the Holocaust. Bretholz, of Baltimore, died on Saturday, March 8, two days after his 93rd birthday. He was to testify before the Maryland House of Delegate’s Ways and Means Committee considering legislation that would prevent companies from winning tax-funded rail projects until they were held accountable and paid reparations to those who were forced onto the cattle cars.

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obituaries He had become the face and voice of the Ad Hoc Coalition for Holocaust Rail Justice. Bretholz was a young boy on one of the deportation trains run by SNCF, the French-owned railroad company, when he and another boy began filing at the bars that covered the train’s windows. Many others on the train begged them to stop for fear they would all be punished, but one rider urged them on, telling the boys to tell the world the deportees’ story, Bretholz recalled repeatedly during testimony and in his book, “Leap Into Darkness: Seven Years on the Run in Wartime Europe.” “To know Leo was to love him and respect him, and our work to ensure justice for him and the thousands of other SNCF victims will continue in his memory,” according to a statement issued from the Ad Hoc Coalition for Holocaust Rail Justice.

David Brenner, observational humor royalty David Brenner, a longtime standup comedian whose observational humor is credited with inspiring many top comics, has died. Brenner, a Philadelphia native, died at his home in New York City on Saturday, March 15 after battling cancer. He was 78. A favorite of Johnny Carson, Brenner appeared on The Tonight Show more than 150 times—reported to be a record—starting in the 1970s. The former documentary filmmaker was a regular on TV talk shows and starred in four HBO specials. “David Brenner was a huge star when I met him and he took me under his wing,” comedian Richard Lewis said in a statement. “To me, historically, he was the godfather of hip, observational comedy. He mentored me from day one.” Lewis added, “His passing leaves a hole in my life that can never be replaced.” Several of his uncles became rabbis, but Brenner told the Philadelphia Jewish Voice in 2008 that “I never had the calling.” Brenner was performing his standup routine regularly as late as last year. “David was one of the most respected and liked comedians by his peers,” said Jeff Abraham, his friend and former publicist. “He was always there helping a bright young comedian, whether it be Richard Lewis, Freddie Prinze or Jimmie Walker, and he was still doing it until the very end.” (JTA)

essay

Rings and things Remembering loss, moving toward life by Esther Kustanowitz

LOS ANGELES (JTA)—During shiva for my mother, my father gathered my brothers and me to share a letter in which she expressed some musings and last wishes. The letter also said that as the sole daughter, I had inherited her jewelry box. In the room in which I had grown up in the 1970s, I opened the box to see the necklaces, bracelets, rings and clip-on earrings my mother had collected. She had not worn them much over the last 16 years, as she grew considerably weaker from an illness she preferred to keep private. Most of the jewelry was gifts from people who never knew how little my mother cared for trinkets—a sentiment I inherited—but the gold ring immediately flashed at me. Its large brown oval stone at the center of a sturdy gold cocktail-style setting seemed to oscillate between dark brown and hazel. I put the ring on my right hand. Tracing my left hand with my right, I suddenly felt like a teenager in synagogue on Saturday mornings, with my mother’s hand lightly on mine, her fingers soothingly tracing my hand while I waited for services to end. I started to cry. Once I put the ring on, it stayed on. On a visit to Israel soon after, one of my first stops was to see my mom’s extended family. The Israeli cousins had immigrated to Petach Tikvah, which had been co-founded in the 1870s by their great-grandfather (my great-great-grandfather). My mother had visited them on her honeymoon, walking down the street with her little cousins. Her oldest cousin was now a grandmother. She grabbed my hand, tilting it back and forth to let the ring’s stone catch the afternoon Jerusalem light. “It was your grandmother’s, yes?” she asked. “No,” I said. “My mother’s.” “Not possible,” my Israeli cousin asserted. “You see that setting? It’s a classic Jerusalem style, 1940s or earlier.” I already knew the ring was important. But this moment transformed the ring into something more than an emotional

38 | Jewish News | March 24, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org

tether to my mother. Suddenly it was an heirloom, something that connected me not just to the loss of and memory of my mother, but to her loss and memory of her mother. This ring was family. My emotional attachment to the ring intensified; now I was fixated on both losses. Every time I looked at the ring, I felt connected to my mother and her mother. Remembering how it was on my hand instead of my mother’s, how she wouldn’t touch my hand again, the tears would return. Illogically, I’d even try to reach her through the ring, touching it in an attempt to access her wisdom, get her advice on how to cope with her loss. Time passed. The open wound of loss grew a thin protective coating, shielding it from some of the elements. At the conclusion of my year of mourning, my friend Becca gave me a small blue hamsa whose bright, sparkling color seemed to recall both sky and ocean while symbolically evoking hope and transition at the end of a year of grief. The ring stayed on my finger, the two pieces symbolizing my emotional state: balancing between my designated time of grief and the echo of that grief that I’ll carry the rest of my life. Every time I wore the hamsa or the ring, someone asked me about the stone, where I got it or what it meant. My hand would fly to my neck, juxtaposing ring and hamsa, and feeling my pulse, which reminded me of the activity of my blood, heart and lungs working together to move me forward. Nearly two years after my mother’s passing, I was reading to my seven-yearold nephew Gil, who was sitting in my lap, tapping the stone with his finger at regular intervals. “Doda Esther, why do you have this ring?” he asked. “It belonged to Savta Shuly.” “And why do you wear it now?”

“Because when I see it, I think about her, I remember her and remember how much she loved us.” “Oh.” There was a moment as Gil processed the information. “Do you have another one for me?” Stifling a sob, I said, “I don’t have another ring for you, but maybe the next time we visit Saba, we can look for something that belonged to Savta Shuly that you can keep. But I’m glad you’re here with me now, and we’re remembering her together.” “OK, let’s get back to the book.” And we did. Two minutes later, Gil very dramatically said, “Shushhhh!” “What’s the matter, Gil?” He took my hand with the ring and raised it to his ear. “Shhh! I hear Savta Shuly!” I was caught between wanting to believe that my mother was trying to communicate through a piece of her jewelry and terror that my nephew might actually be a conduit to voices from beyond. “You hear Savta Shuly? What is she saying?” I asked. He listened closely to the ring for a few seconds, then lowered my hand and announced, “She says… BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH,” before erupting into giggles. I giggled, too, and tickled him, listening to his laughter mingle with mine. I felt tears begin to form and realized we were both still grieving. But he was laughing. And he wanted to ask questions, be close to his aunt and “get back to the story.” If that wasn’t a message from my mother, I don’t know what is. —Esther D. Kustanowitz is a writer and consultant based in Los Angeles. She blogs regularly at MyUrbanKvetch.com. She is writing a book, Nothing Helps (But This Might Help): A Guide to Loss and What Comes After.

Once

I put the ring on,

it stayed on.


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Jewish News March 24, 2014  

Jewish News March 24, 2014

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