Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 53 No. 13 | 18 Adar 5775 | March 9, 2015
TIDEWATER TOGETHER MARCH 26–29
12 HAT’s 10 years on Sandler Family Campus
28 Operation Hamantaschen Rabbi Sharon Brous Scholar-in-Residence —page 32
33 Ofer Merin Sunday, March 15
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34 The Maccabeats Sunday, March 29
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Letter Fighting words with words Response to Upfront—Charlie Hebdo: Freedom of speech and mutual respect, Jewish News, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. My dear friend, Dr. Frederick Lubich, has blessed our Hampton Roads community with much through the years. Indeed, as he advocates, we should avoid insulting (different from being critical) other religions and may I add, also our own. How well we Jews know, that denigrating one’s religion can lead to devaluing the adherents of that particular religion. However, freedom of expression, which is a cornerstone of democracy and sorely lacking in the non-democratic Muslim Arab world, admittedly has its excesses. Surely Dr. Lubich shares the opinion, though not stated in his piece, that those excesses along with satire that is not always discernible by all and particularly those from another culture, should NOT be counteracted with acts of murder. In a democracy we fight words with words, ideas with ideas. Rabbi Israel Zoberman Congregation Beth Chaverim Virginia Beach
Rice: Inspections will continue after Iran nuclear restrictions expire WASHINGTON ( JTA)—A nuclear deal with Iran must include access to its nuclear facilities even after the expiry of restrictions, which would last at least 10 years, Susan Rice, the U.S. national security adviser, told AIPAC. Rice, addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday, March 2, said expectations that Iran would cease uranium enrichment altogether or that restrictions would be in place indefinitely were unrealistic. But she added that intrusive inspections would continue indefinitely. “At the end of any deal, Iran would still be required to offer comprehensive access to its nuclear facilities and to provide the international community the assurance that it was not pursuing nuclear weapons,” she said. Insisting on no enrichment would collapse the alliance built by the Obama administration to sanction and isolate Iran —factors that led Iran to agree to nuclear negotiations, Rice said. “Let’s remember that sanctions have never stopped Iran from advancing its program,” she said. Without a deal, Rice said, Iran would return to enrichment levels it achieved before the terms governing nuclear talks with the major powers imposed restrictions and seek to expand its nuclear capability. “And we’ll lose the unprecedented inspections and transparency we have today,” she said. Rice also addressed concerns about
contents Letter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Up Front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Netanyahu speaks to Congress . . . . . . 6 JTA Blog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Virginia Legislature supports Israel. . . 9 Global Anti-Semitism. . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 HAT’s first 10 years on Sandler Family Campus. . . . . . . . . . 12
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upfront reports that any deal restricting Iranian nuclear activities would expire after 10 to 15 years. “I know that some question a deal of any duration,” she said. “But it has always been clear that the pursuit of an agreement of indefinite duration would result in no agreement at all. “A deal that extends for a decade or more would accomplish this goal better than any other course of action—longer, by far, than military strikes, which would only set back Iran’s program for a fraction of the time,” she said. The AIPAC activists received Rice warmly, ignoring calls from some right-wing figures to stay away from her talk after she said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress was “destructive” of the U.S.‑Israel relationship. AIPAC favors legislation that would trigger new sanctions should Iran walk away from the talks and would subject any deal to congressional review. President Obama has pledged to veto the legislation. “Additional sanctions or restrictive legislation enacted during the negotiation would blow up the talks, divide the international community and cause the U.S. to be blamed for the failure to reach a deal,” Rice said. She earned cheers for saying emphatically that Obama would consider “all options,” a euphemism for military action, should the talks fail. However, activists also cheered whenever Rice described the views of skeptics of the talks in order to rebut them. (JTA)
quotable Opinion: Jewish Families and Vaccinations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Camp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 It’s a wrap. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Operation Hamantaschen. . . . . . . . . . 28 Book review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 What’s Happening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Who Knew?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Appreciation: Leonard Nimoy. . . . . . 38
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briefs Oscar nods go to Jewish talent, but Israel loses again Jewish artists and themes were featured among the winners at the Academy Awards, but an Israeli nominee again failed to bring home the treasured trophy. The Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film went to Ida, a Polish film about a Catholic novitiate who learns she is the daughter of Jewish parents killed by the Nazis. But Israel’s losing streak at the Oscars continued as the short film Aya, co-written and co-directed by Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnun and starring Sarah Adler, failed to win for Best Short Film. The awards were handed out Sunday, Feb. 22 in Los Angeles. The director of Ida, Pawel Pawlikowski, whose paternal grandmother was Jewish and died in Auschwitz, was asked during a backstage interview whether he considers the Holocaust and the fate of the Jewish people one aspect of post-World War II Poland. Pawlikowski, in his response, tried to shift the emphasis. “Of course, Polish-Jewish relations are difficult,” he said. “And the two lead characters, Ida and [her aunt] Wanda, who are Jewish, but for me they are Polish. I don’t like people who attack the film from various sides and say, ‘Oh, it’s about Jews and Poles and stuff.’” The Grand Budapest Hotel, which tied with Birdman for the most Oscars at four apiece, has an oblique Jewish connection, as it was, according to director Wes Anderson, inspired by the writings of the Austrian-Jewish novelist Stefan Zweig. In the individual categories, MexicanJewish cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki accepted the Academy Award for Birdman, repeating his victory last year for Gravity. Graham Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for the script for The Imitation Game, and he used his acceptance speech to make a plea for gay rights. His mother, Susan Sher, served as President Barack Obama’s liaison to the Jewish community and as chief of staff for first lady Michelle Obama. Patricia Arquette, whose mother is Jewish, won for Best Supporting Actress
for her role in Boyhood. The evening’s “In Memoriam” segment, devoted to film industry notables who have passed away over the past year, included among others Israeli filmmaker Menachem Golan, director Mike Nichols and legendary film actress Lauren Bacall. A number of writers and people on Twitter were outraged that longtime red carpet grandee Joan Rivers was not mentioned. (JTA)
Poll: Seven in 10 Americans view Israel favorably Seven in 10 Americans continued to view Israel favorably, despite the breakdown of relations between the U.S. and Israeli leaders, a Gallup poll found. By contrast, some 17 percent of Americans viewed the Palestinian Authority favorably, according to Gallup’s Feb. 8-11 World Affairs survey. The results were nearly identical to the same question asked one year ago. However, while 83 percent of Republicans viewed Israel favorably, 48 percent of Democrats shared the same view —a drop of 10 percentage points from last year. The decrease was a possible fallout from the controversy over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial March 3 address to Congress. The poll also found that 62 percent of Americans say they sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians in their conflict, and that 16 percent sympathize more with the Palestinians, also nearly identical results from one year ago. The results follow the high-profile disagreements between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, as well as Israel’s 50-day operation last summer against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The poll was based on a random telephone and cellphone sample of 837 adults living in the United States; it has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. Since 2005, Israel’s public image in the United States has averaged 68 percent of Americans viewing it favorably, according to Gallup. Between 2000 and 2004, the score averaged 60 percent. In 1991, when Israel was a victim of Iraqi rocket attacks, its favorable rating was a record 79 per-
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cent, according to Gallup. Gallup has measured American’s impressions of the Palestinian Authority since 2000, with the percentage viewing it favorably averaging 17 percent. (JTA)
Germany sued over medieval collection sold to Nazis The heirs of four Jewish art collectors filed suit against Germany to regain a medieval gold treasure they claim was forcibly sold to the Nazis in 1935. Alan Phillip and Gerald Stiebel filed their claim on Monday, Feb. 23 against Germany and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They are demanding the return of a collection known as the Welfenschatz, or Guelph Treasure, whose value they estimate at approximately $227 million. The treasure, which a consortium of collectors bought in 1929 as an investment, originally included 82 pieces. The plaintiffs are seeking the return of the portion sold to Hermann Goering, Hitler’s deputy, in 1935. In a statement issued in Berlin, Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation President Hermann Parzinger said he was “astonished by this step” after his foundation had done extensive research that he believed showed “the property at issue was not confiscated by the Nazis. Nor was it part of a forced sale or transfer under duress or coercion by the Nazis.” Furthermore, he said that the plaintiffs’ attorneys had said they would abide by the advice of the Limbach Commission, a German advisory board for Holocaustrelated claims, which one year ago rejected a claim by Phillip and Stiebel that the 1935 sale had been forced. On Saturday, Feb. 21, Parzinger announced that the state of Berlin had formally entered the Welfenschatz into the national registry of valuable cultural assets, which prevents it from leaving the country without permission from the minister of state for culture. In their suit, the plaintiffs called the 1935 sale a “sham transaction” carried out by the Dresdner Bank acting for Goering
and Hitler. They claim the price paid for the collection, 4.25 million Reichsmarks, was at best 35 percent of its value at the time, and perhaps as low as 15 percent. “The transaction relied on the atmosphere of early Nazi terror, in which German Jews could never be arms’-length commercial actors,” the suit claims. (JTA)
Palestinian groups must pay U.S. victims over $218 million A New York jury ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority to pay more than $218 million in damages to American victims of six terrorist attacks in Israel. The verdict Monday, Feb. 23 in a Manhattan federal court was in favor of 10 American families suing over attacks in the Jerusalem area from 2002 to 2004. The attacks have been attributed to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Hamas. The $218 million award could be tripled under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act. “Now the PLO and the P.A. know there is a price for supporting terrorism,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. The verdict followed a six-week civil trial that included testimony from survivors of suicide bombings in Jerusalem. The PLO and the Palestinian Authority are expected to appeal. While the plaintiffs argued that PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat had arranged for attackers and their survivors to be compensated, lawyers for the PLO and Palestinian Authority said the groups had condemned terror attacks and that any payments made to terrorists were done by low-level employees acting independently. “Money is oxygen for terrorism,” Kent Yalowitz, a lawyer for the families, said in a closing argument Yalowitz added that the U.S. antiterrorism law “hits those who send terrorists where it hurts them most: in the wallet.” The U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act was also used last September by a Brooklyn jury that found the Arab Bank liable for supporting Hamas terrorism. Damages in that case will be decided in a second trial. (JTA)
Spirituality of matzah balls
very week my family and I are blessed to have anywhere between five and 20 guests for Shabbos. These guests come from various backgrounds and levels of observance and everyone knows that they are always welcome to come and enjoy a Shabbos meal. Recently, we had a gentleman who had never had a matzah ball. That’s right, we had a hard time believing it as well, but it was true. He had never had a matzah ball and my wife’s matzah ball soup was his first. He definitely enjoyed it and commented that he may have to come back soon if, for no other reason, than to make sure that the soup is always this good.
I have found over the years that people will sometimes start off their personal, spiritual journey in a very unknowing manner. They will not recognize, or allow themselves to recognize that their journey is a spiritual one, but rather they will come because, “The chicken soup is so good….” Sometimes people will sign up for a class because it is intellectually interesting, not expecting to have the class change them in any way. Many people will attend a Passover seder simply because that’s what they do. They have to go to a seder, but they have no intention of the seder making an impact on them. This is the choice that each and every one of us has with every Jewish event, class, program, meal and service we attend. Do we want to “do” something or do we want to “become” something? Am I the type of person who will participate, but never thinks that the topic applies to me
or am I the type of person who wants to always try and reach my potential? As we approach Passover this is a very important question that we should all be asking ourselves. Over the next few weeks we have a chance to break out of our personal prison that we each make for ourselves and burst out into a world of true, personal freedom. As I am writing this we are a few days before Purim. In just a few days we are going to remember a time in our history when we were almost destroyed, but because we took action, we prayed, we fasted and we repented and the Jewish people were saved. But then, in a few more weeks we will come to Passover. At this time in history, G-d took us out from Egypt not because we fasted or prayed or repented but because G-d decided that it was the right time and He, Himself took us out of Egypt. There are times when we need personal effort and action. There are other times
when G-d just runs the world and all we can do is follow His lead. Whichever we are experiencing at any given time there is one thing that is consistent—it all has the potential to bringing us closer to G-d. The matzah ball can bring us closer to G-d, as well as the chicken and brisket and even the bitter herbs. It’s up to us whether we come to dinner to eat or we eat in order to serve a Higher Purpose. When we have a chance to attend a service, a meal, a program or a class we have a choice. Attend because we feel as though we have to or try to figure out how this matzah ball can bring us a little closer to G-d. If you want to know more about the spirituality of matzah balls (or anything else) feel free to be in touch. —Rabbi Gershon Litt, executive director of the Norfolk Kollel, director of Hillel at the College of William and Mary and Rabbi of Adath Jeshurun Synagogue in Newport News.
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Speaking to Congress, Netanyahu slams ‘bad deal’ with Iran by Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON ( JTA)—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech, in the end, was about reminding Americans that the enemy of your enemy may still be your enemy. He may have lost some friends in the process. Netanyahu spoke before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, March 3 following a six-week buildup that spurred questions about the propriety of an Israeli prime minister using Congress as a platform for his views two weeks before elections in his country and resulted in a rupture, for now, between the Obama and Netanyahu governments. “To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle and lose the war,” Netanyahu said during his 45-minute address, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the terrorist group
targeted by a U.S.-led coalition. “That is exactly what would happen if the deal currently being negotiated is accepted by Iran.” Netanyahu spoke at the invitation of the House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who in a breach of protocol did not consult the White House, congressional Democrats or the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. No Obama administration officials attended the speech, and Vice President Joe Biden, who conventionally co-chairs such events with the House speaker, was out of the country. “I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy,” the Israeli leader said early in his address. “I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.” Netanyahu praised Obama for his support of Israel, eliciting a rare standing ovation for the president from both sides of the aisle. (Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire
casino magnate who is a patron both to Netanyahu and the Republican Party and was present, did not clap.) It was clear, however, that there were those on the Democratic side who remained unhappy with the speech. At least 60 lawmakers, including one Republican, chose not to go, and applause was often perfunctory on the Democratic side. When Netanyahu strode up the center aisle of the U.S. House of Representatives chamber, it was mostly Republicans who rushed to shake his hand. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and one of the most prominent Jews and outspoken Israel supporters in the party, studiously hung back. So did Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader in the House. “As one who values the U.S.-Israel relationship, and loves Israel, I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech,”
Pelosi said. “Saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5+1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.” The P5+1 is the acronym for the six major powers negotiating with Iran: The United States, Russia, China, Germany France and Great Britain. Netanyahu received multiple standing ovations. However, at the point in which he came out most forcefully against the deal being negotiated, most Democrats remained seated, with some clapping politely, while many Republicans stood, whooped and hollered. “This is a bad deal, it’s a very bad deal and we’re better off without it,” Netanyahu said. Republicans said Netanyahu’s speech was a necessary tonic for talks that they say have been conducted without transparency.
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Netanyahu of indefinite duration “Prime Minister counseled a deal would result in no Netanyahu made clear agreement at all.” how dangerous the that would require A nuclear deal direction of these with Iran must negotiations really is,” include access to its Rep. Doug Lamborn Iran to moderate its nuclear facilities even (R-Colo.) said in a statement. “With two behavior, ending its regional after the expiry of restrictions “to prodeadline extensions vide the international behind us, with the troublemaking and backing community the assuradministration’s acquiance that it was not escence to enrichment, for terrorism, and its pursuing nuclear weapand with a potential sunons,” Rice said. set clause of no more than threats against While Netanyahu 10-15 years in the agreespoke, thousands of activment, we now know once and Israel. ists attending the AIPAC for all, this is a bad deal.” Policy Conference visited Capitol Earlier in the week, there were Hill to lobby lawmakers’ offices on reports that the Obama administration was worried that Netanyahu would reveal two bills that would subject the talks with secrets that its negotiators had shared with Iran to greater congressional involvement. the Israelis. Netanyahu in his speech said Obama has said he will veto both measures that the two main areas of the emerging should they pass. This year’s AIPAC conference—the agreement that concerned him were easily pro-Israel lobby’s largest ever—drew found in a Google search. He said that the two likely out- 16,000 activists representing all 435 concomes—allowing Iran a limited uranium gressional districts. Speakers over the enrichment capacity and letting the deal three days included congressional leaders lapse after a period of at least 10 years— from both parties and Samantha Power, would leave Iran a nuclear threshold state. the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Netanyahu instead counseled a deal that along with Netanyahu and Rice. There were sessions on everything from would require Iran to moderate its behavior, ending its regional troublemaking U.S.-Israeli cybersecurity cooperation to and backing for terrorism, and its threats the Palestinians’ efforts on the international stage to Israel’s burgeoning craft brewery against Israel. Obama administration officials have industry. The primary focus of the conference said that demanding the dismantling of Iran’s enrichment capacity would collapse and the lobbying efforts, however, was the talks, in part because it is seen as on Iran. And although much of the prounrealistic by some of the major pow- gramming was indeed Iran-focused, the ers now squeezing Iran with sanctions. controversy surrounding Netanyahu’s conAdditionally, the administration has gressional speech, and the blow it may said that any deal must have a period of have dealt to bipartisan support for Israel, duration, and it has resisted attaching surfaced repeatedly at the event. After Netanyahu spoke, an Obama non-nuclear issues to the talks, including administration official told CNN that Iran’s behavior in the region. On Monday, March 2, speaking to the Netanyahu offered nothing new. “Literally, not one new idea, not one American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Susan Rice, the U.S. national security single concrete alternative; all rhetoric, no adviser, confirmed reports that any deal action,” the network quoted the anonymous would lapse after a set period. Rice said the senior administration official as saying. Obama himself has said that the fallout term would be at least 10 years. “I know that some question a deal from the speech will not cause permaof any duration,” she said, preempting nent damage. On Monday, March 2, the whatever surprise Netanyahu may have president told Reuters that he would meet reserved for his speech. “But it has always Netanyahu again soon after Israel’s March been clear that the pursuit of an agreement 17 elections if Netanyahu is reelected.
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Bill’s will said a lot about him. What does your will say about you? Norfolk businessman Bill Goldback valued good health and good music.
Before he died in 2007, Bill arranged for a bequest to the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to provide grants for arts and medicine in Hampton Roads. Goldback grants have helped the Virginia Symphony and The Free Foundation, which provides wheelchairs for lowincome citizens. Thanks to Bill’s generosity he will forever bring music and health to his home region. Connect your passions to the future by ordering a free bequest guide. Learn how easy it is to leave a gift for charity. Call 757-622-7951 or visit leaveabequest.org.
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JTA BLOG Forbes’ billionaires list features new and old Jewish faces by Gabe Friedman
The billionaires’ club isn’t as exclusive as it used to be. On Monday, March 2 Forbes released its 29th annual list of every billionaire on the planet, and it features a record 1,826 people, or 181 more than last year. As in previous years, Jews are disproportionately represented on the roster of the world’s wealthiest, with 10 Jews among the top 50. (The list, topped by Bill Gates, ranks from richest to slightly less rich.) Larry Ellison, the founder of the tech giant Oracle Corporation, is the wealthiest Jew in the world and the fifth wealthiest person alive. At age 70, his net worth is $54.2 billion. With a net worth of $35.5 billion, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the second wealthiest Jew on the list and 14th wealthiest person overall. Mark Zuckerberg, still one of the world’s youngest billionaires at age 30, climbed five spots on the list to number 16 overall. His net worth has grown to $33.4 billion. Other Jews in the top 50 include casino
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magnate Sheldon Adelson ($31.4 billion), Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page ($29.2 and $29.7 billion), investors George Soros ($24.2 billion), Carl Icahn ($23.5 billion) and Len Blavatnik ($20.2 billion), and Dell Computer Founder Michael Dell ($19.2 billion). There are several Jews among the newcomers on the list as well, including Russ Weiner, the founder and CEO of Rockstar energy drinks, Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox sports franchises, and Ken Grossman, a co-founder of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Weiner is the son of prominent conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage (born Michael Weiner). Seth Klarman, an investor in the Times of Israel, is also on the list, with a net worth of $1.5 billion. While men far outnumber women on the list, a few Jewish women are on it, including Shari Arison ($4.4 billion), Karen Pritzker ($4.3 billion), Lynn Schusterman ($3.7 billion) and Doris Fisher ($3.2 billion). With a net worth of $1 billion, Sheryl Sandberg, of Facebook and “Lean In” fame, just makes the cutoff for the list.
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Commentary magazine called it “flood libel.” HonestReporting.com described it as “dam busted.” And Camera headlined it “Dam Lies.” Agence France Presse’s report last month falsely alleging that Israel intentionally opened a large dam in the South in order to unleash floods upon Gaza’s already beleaguered residents has released a torrent of puns. But it also opened the floodgates for Israel bashing (as if they weren’t already opened), with numerous other publications, blogs and other sites repeating the claim as fact. One of those, Al Jazeera, officially retracted its story, noting, “In southern Israel, there are no dams of the type which can be opened.” Gaza does indeed suffer frequent flooding this time of year, and this isn’t the first time the dam rumor has, ahem, surfaced. The Palestinian Maan News Agency made the claim in 2012, as did Middle East Monitor in 2013.
BuzzFeed, one of the first non-Israeli and non-Jewish outlets to report the claim as false, quoted a Palestinian official speaking on condition of anonymity as saying the rumor “could be traced back more than a decade.” “It is easy to say it is dams, easier than saying that the problem is infrastructure —not having infrastructure, having bad infrastructure, having what little infrastructure Gaza destroyed each time there is war —that is the truth,” said the official, who spoke with Buzzfeed by phone from Gaza. He asked to remain anonymous as his statements did not coincide with those made by Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. “If we could rebuild Gaza, we could build a system that dealt with these horrible floods. But Gaza is in ruins, there is nowhere for the water to go, and each year it will be the same unless someone helps us.” No word on whether the flooding has damaged any remaining Hamas tunnels into Israel.
Virginia Legislature passes resolution in support of Israel by Robin Mancoll
ollowing a rocky start in the Virginia House of Delegates, Del. Brenda Pogge of Williamsburg accepted a substitute resolution by Senator Adam Ebbin of Northern Virginia, which was approved in the Senate, and made its’ way back to the House where it finally earned unanimous support. The final version of the resolution commending the State of Israel will be delivered to Ralph Robbins, executive director of the Virginia-Israel Advisory Board, Robert G. Sugarman, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and Michael D. Siegal, chairman of the Jewish Federation of North America Board of Trustees, and their constituents. Below is the printed (final) language of the bill. The original language of the resolution and the process it travelled through, can be found on the Virginia General Assembly website by searching their bill tracker for HJ659. The next time you see your Virginia Senator or Delegate, please say thank you for supporting the State of Israel through their vote on this resolution and for their representation of our interests in Richmond. If you are interested in getting involved in the Virginia legislative process through the Community Relations Council, including their annual Date With the State, which is set for February 2, 2016, contact Robin Mancoll, director, Community Relations Council, at RMancoll@ujft.org.
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 659 — Commending the State of Israel. WHEREAS, the Jewish people have a long-standing connection to the land of Israel; and WHEREAS, the claim and presence of the Jewish people in Israel has remained constant throughout the past 4,000 years; and WHEREAS, Israel declared its independence and self-governance on May 14, 1948, with the goal of reestablishing a homeland for the Jewish people; and WHEREAS, the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel issued
on May 14, 1948, declares the nation “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants regardless of religion, race or sex”; and WHEREAS, the United States, having been the first nation to recognize Israel as an independent nation and as Israel’s principal ally, has enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial relationship with Israel and her people; and
RESOLVED FINALLY, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates transmit a copy of this resolution to Ralph Robbins, executive director of the Virginia-Israel Advisory Board, Robert G. Sugarman, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and Michael D. Siegal, chairman of the Jewish Federation
of North America Board of Trustees, requesting that they further disseminate copies of this resolution to their respective constituents so that they may be apprised of the sense of the General Assembly of Virginia in this matter.
WHEREAS, Israel is the greatest friend and ally of the United States in the Middle East, and the two countries enjoy strong bonds and common values; and WHEREAS, there are those in the Middle East who, since the time of Israel’s inception as a state, have continually sought to destroy Israel; and WHEREAS, Israel and the United States have similar goals of democracy and stability in the Middle East; and WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia and Israel have enjoyed a cordial and mutually beneficial relationship since 1948, a friendship that continues to strengthen with each passing year; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby commend the State of Israel; and, be it RESOLVED FURTHER, That the General Assembly commend the State of Israel for its cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with the United States and with the Commonwealth of Virginia, and express support for the State of Israel for its legal, historical, and moral right of self-governance and self-defense upon its lands; and, be it RESOLVED FURTHER, That the General Assembly hereby recognize that Israel is a democratic state that must defend itself against hostile neighbors and that peace can be afforded in the region only through combined efforts and trust; and, be it
jewishnewsva.org | March 9, 2015 | Jewish News | 9
Global surges of anti-Semitism Hollande: Anti-Semites have no place in France
rench President Francois Hollande said the country would protect its Jews against rising anti-Semitism. “Jews are at home in France, it’s the anti-Semites who have no place in the republic,” Hollande said Monday, Feb. 23 at the annual dinner of CRIF, the country’s
Jewish umbrella organization. “In protecting its Jews, the republic is protecting itself.” With some 500,000 Jews, France has the highest Jewish population in a European country. In January, four Jews were killed in a terrorist attack by an
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Islamist gunman on a kosher market in the Paris area, and last month, an Islamist gunman shot and killed a volunteer Jewish security guard outside the main synagogue in Copenhagen. “In Paris as in Copenhagen, terrorists have sent the same message: that of war. This scares, which kills, which divides, which seeks to destroy the very foundations of living together. And among the first victims there is always the Jews,” Hollande said. Hollande also said that attacks against Muslims are on the rise in France. Some 10,000 troops and police forces are currently protecting the country’s Jewish sites, as well as mosques and places where the public congregates. Hollande also called for “faster and more effective sanctions” against racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia.
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The president also said he would strengthen Holocaust education in French schools. “Not teaching about the Shoah would already mean denying it,” he said. CRIF President Roger Cukierman during a radio interview asserted that most of the anti-Semitic attacks in France are being perpetrated by a minority of radicals from within the country’s Muslim community. The statement drew condemnation, particularly for Cukierman’s use of the term Islamo-facism, from the French Council of the Muslim Faith, which pulled out of the CRIF event. Speaking at the dinner, Cukierman said he regretted the absence of Muslim leaders. “Jews and Muslims are all in the same boat and I hope that contact will swiftly be re-established,” he said. (JTA)
Former Sen. Danforth decries use of anti-Semitism in Missouri campaign
ormer U.S. Senator John Danforth chastised Missouri state political leaders for using anti-Semitism as campaign tactic, which he said led to the suicide of a gubernatorial candidate. Danforth, a dean of Missouri’s Republican Party, spoke Tuesday, March 3 at the memorial service in Clayton, Mo., for Tom Schweich, a Republican candidate for governor of Missouri. Schweich, the state auditor, apparently killed himself shortly after telling journalists that a fellow party member was leading a whisper campaign saying he was Jewish. Schweich, who attended an Episcopal church, reportedly had a Jewish grandfather. Schweich was pronounced dead at a hospital from a single gunshot after paramedics responded on Feb. 26 to an emergency call made from his home in a suburb of St. Louis. Schweich had said that John Hancock, the chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, was spreading rumors that Schweich was Jewish. Schweich had told a reporter that Hancock was trying to hurt his chances in the primary with evangelical
Christian voters. “Tom called this anti-Semitism, and of course it was,” Danforth said during the eulogy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. “The only reason for going around saying that someone is Jewish is to make political profit from religious bigotry.” “The death of Tom Schweich is the natural consequence of what politics has become,” Danforth said. “I believe deep in my heart that it’s now our duty, yours and mine, to turn politics into something much better than its now so miserable state.” Danforth also said of the campaign: “[W]hat has been said is worse than anything in my memory, and that’s a long memory. I have never experienced an anti-Semitic campaign. Anti-Semitism is always wrong, and we can never let it creep into politics.” Hancock said in interviews in the wake of the suicide that he mistakenly thought that Schweich was Jewish, and may have told others, but not in a derogatory way. Hancock did not attend the funeral. Schweich had contacted the AntiDefamation League about his allegations, the Post-Dispatch reported.
Global surges of anti-Semitism Study: More than half of U.S. Jewish college students encountered anti-Semitism
ore than half of today’s American Jewish college students have witnessed or experienced an anti-Semitic incident, according to a new study. Some 54 percent of the participants in the survey released Monday, Feb. 23 by the Louis D. Brandeis Center and Trinity College said they had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism within the past academic year. The survey was conducted in the spring of 2014, prior to the outbreak of hostilities last summer in Gaza. The online survey of 1,157 students, conducted by Trinity College professor Barry Kosmin and associate professor Ariela Keysar, found that the percentages of students reporting encounters with anti-Semitism were relatively consistent across gender, religious outlook and geographical region. Students who affiliate with the Conservative and Reform movements were more likely to report such experiences than Orthodox students, with 69 percent of Conservative students, 62 per-
cent of Reform students and 52 percent of Orthodox students responding that they had reported anti-Semitic encounters. Those who said they were always open about their Jewishness on campus were about as likely to have encountered anti-Semitism as those who said they were never open about their Jewishness, at 58 percent and 59 percent, respectively. The data in the report came from the 2014 National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students as part of a broader series of questions. The students who took the surveys were volunteers, and the study’s authors found that the students roughly matched the broader demographic outlines of other surveys of Jewish college students. What constituted an anti-Semitic incident was self-defined by the participants. The findings were broadly consistent with a 2011 survey of college students in the United Kingdom, which found that 51 percent of students reported experiencing or witnessing an anti-Semitic incident.
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London soccer fans chant anti-Semitic slurs on subway
he British Transport Police is investigating an incident in which soccer fans allegedly chanted anti-Semitic slurs while riding a London subway train. Video filmed by another passenger and circulated on social media shows several men, believed to be supporters of the West Ham United club, chanting “I’ve got foreskin, how about you? F******Jew” while passing through the Stamford Hill neighborhood, Fox Sports reported. Stamford Hill has a large population of Hasidic Jews. The men reportedly were en route to a
soccer game on Sunday, Feb. 22 between West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur, a club with many Jewish and pro-Jewish fans. In a letter emailed to the ticket holders, the West Ham team wrote that it will “continue to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards any form of discriminatory behaviour and any fan found to be acting inappropriately—including racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic behaviour—will be punished to the full extent of the law and banned from attending matches.” (JTA)
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jewishnewsva.org | March 9, 2015 | Jewish News | 11
AnniversAry Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus
The Reba and Sam Sandler Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community marked its first decade in the fall of 2014. In 2015, each of the agencies that comprise the Campus will tell their Campus Story in Jewish News.
10 years on Sandler Family Campus
Hebrew Academy of Tidewater Konikoff Center of Learning and the Strelitz Early Childhood Center by Dee Dee Becker
n the 1950s, a very determined group of leaders came together with a vision for a Jewish day school for the children of Tidewater. That dream became a reality and the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater opened its doors in Norfolk in 1954–1955. The founding men and women of the school were: Joe Jaffe*, Rabbi Joe Schecter*, Rabbi Israel Bornstein*, Soloman Yavner*, Molly* and IP Gordon*, Jack Stein*, Nellie Gottlieb*, William Mazel*, Harold Goodman*, Harold Burstein*, Willie Einhorn*, Dr. David Kruger and Carl Katz* (*of blessed memory). In 2004, the community joined together to open its new home in Virginia Beach, the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community. In sharing these extraordinary grounds with the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Tidewater Jewish Foundation and Simon Family Jewish Community Center, the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater became a
Members of the HAT Class of 2008 Hannah Diehl, Josh Konikoff, Alex Kramer and Danuta Epstein.
campus partner in promoting Jewish life and learning, and bringing the joy of youth to the greater Jewish community. It is heartwarming to walk through the campus cardo and hear HAT students “benching” (singing the prayer after eating) or belting out with ruach (spirit) songs as they prepare to welcome Shabbat. Witnessing the daily ritual of students walking to the gym, cafeteria, pool or the playground reinforces the circle of Jewish life to campus visitors. When HAT students engage with the JCC’s seniors by sharing a joint Seder, or participate in the Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival or simply join in the JCC’s after school programs and activities such as swimming lessons or Kid’s Connection, the convenience and synergy of campus life becomes a blessing for many families. Miles Leon, president of the HAT board at the time of the move from Thompkins Lane to the Sandler Campus says, “The same warmth and excellence of the old school still exists, but in an amazing, state-of-the-art building that has even more to offer.” And what a first-class facility it is. Every classroom is outfitted with interactive white boards, allowing students a 21st Century Classroom global learning experience. The Miller Library boasts two floors of books and media resources for students, as well as a Jewish resource room for the community. The Fleder Multi-Purpose Room is home to many school events, including Jewish holiday celebrations, strings concerts and other performance art, guest speakers, book fairs, open houses, graduation cer-
12 | Jewish News | March 9, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
emonies, alumni functions, professional development and more. Preschoolers enjoy swimming classes, a cooking center and a fantastically equipped playground. “When we moved to the new campus,” says Jodi Klebanoff, a former HAT board president and HAT parent, “it was essentially the start of the new millennium. I took office on the heels of Miles Leon, whose outstanding leadership prepared us for the move and kept the ship steady through transition. “During my term, the board’s goal shifted to capitalizing on the strengths of the new building and sharpening our academic capabilities. The board recruited Zena Herod as the new head of school and, with her knowledge and expertise, receive the school evolved Students instruction in the into the 21st century Computer Lab. classroom, making extensive use of laptops, ActivBoards and daily instruction in the modern computer and science labs. Opportunities for our students grew exponentially. During Zena’s leadership, the school also received a 10-year re-accreditation from the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, an extraordinary undertaking which involves intensive planning.” Much has changed over the last 10 years, including never-ending advances in technology.
Smiling back to school faces in 2014. Ariella Jackson, Shayna Friedman and Maurice Truslow.
Leora Friedman, Class of 2013, prepares a beaker for a science experiment.
Hebrew Academy of Tidewater (HAT) moves to the Sandler Family Campus.
AnniversAry Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus
Strelitz Early Childhood Center established as a joint partnership of HAT and the Simon Family JCC.
Hebrew Academy of Tidewater celebrates 50 years of Jewish day school education in Hampton Roads.
HAT is renamed the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater Konikoff Center of Learning.
Mushka Brashevitzky dresses up for Purim.
HAT and SECC receive 10-year re-accreditation from the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS). The VAIS evaluation and review process is authorized by the Virginia State Board of Education through its membership in the Virginia Council for Private Education.
HAT and Strelitz preschool students celebrate life on the Sandler Family Campus (year 2006).
Strelitz Early Childhood Center receives the Safe Harbor Award, in recognition of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of Hampton Roads’ children. Teacher Jodi Laibstain and music teacher Cindy Kayes enjoy singalong with the Strelitz two-year-old preschool class.
e have to keep up with that pace,” says Randi Gordon, current board president and HAT parent. “We continue to update technology and added another layer to it a few years ago: a student run broadcasting system with the call letters WHAT, of course! The kids host their own television show every morning, providing school-wide updates and announcements to all students and faculty. It’s an impressive way for our students to practice and showcase their public speaking and leadership skills. “I’ve watched two of my children graduate from HAT, and a third who will do so soon. I could not be more proud,” adds Gordon. “I attend graduation ceremony every year and, without fail, Hebrew Academy graduates are truly poised young
HAT students perform in the annual Evening of the Arts program.
leaders. They are accepted into all of the top independent schools and public school International Baccalaureate and academy programs in Hampton Roads. I look forward to seeing what the future brings for HAT and the Strelitz Early Childhood Center.” “If I could impart one thing to any parent considering sending their child to HAT,” says Klebanoff, “I would say this: Do it. As a past HAT parent to three children, I appreciate the tangible impact HAT’s dual curriculum makes on its graduates. No question, the secular program builds confident and prepared graduates who excel in all core subjects necessary to transition to middle school and beyond. The Judaic studies program builds character and integrity, fostering a love of Israel and strong Jewish identity. Most importantly,
students receive a foundation that is critical to maintaining a vibrant Jewish community for generations to come.” • • • Hebrew Academy of Tidewater Konikoff Center of Learning and the Strelitz Early Childhood Center preschool is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools and is recognized as such by the Virginia Board of Education. It is also a founding member of RAVSAK. Serving students from preschool through fifth grade, the school is also a recipient agency of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Tidewater Jewish Foundation and the United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula. For information about enrollment, contact Carin Simon, director of admissions, at 757424-4327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hebrew Academy of Tidewater Konikoff Center of Learning and Strelitz Early Childhood Center celebrates 60 years.
HAT Board Presidents serving the past 10 years Miles Leon—2004–2006 Jodi Klebanoff—2006-2008 Deborah Segaloff—2008–2011 Burle Stromberg—2011–2014 Randi Gordon—2014–present
jewishnewsva.org | March 9, 2015 | Jewish News | 13
Response to why Jewish families should vaccinate their kids by Richard S. Marten
n the Monday, Feb. 9, 2015 edition of Jewish News, on page 25, we read an editorial by Jamie Rubin, writing for the organization Kveller, entitled: “Why Jewish families should vaccinate their kids.” Ms. Rubin cites the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland and writes about the “betrayal, one that I just can’t get past” she feels on the part of a Jewish friend who has decided not to vaccinate her children. The clear implication is that the friend—along with other parents who have chosen to “separate themselves from the herd”—is recklessly endangering the welfare of the community and has betrayed not only Ms. Rubin, personally, but also fundamental Jewish values. The author opines that people who do not agree with her on this subject are “crazies” and “the anti-vax position is indefensible.”
This type of emotional rhetoric is a characteristic element of the public relations campaign currently underway, which was kick-started with that most potent symbol of family and Americanism—“Disneyland” —a campaign funded by pharmaceutical interests to stampede legislatures and the populace into embracing mandatory vaccination. It is astonishing when even otherwise liberal-minded individuals attempt to cut off reasoned debate on the subject of vaccination—people who would ordinarily be on the front lines of defending the First Amendment. Such individuals who would profess horror at the potential curtailment of our civil liberties, nevertheless, when it comes to vaccination, make the assumption that a divergent opinion on this issue is ipso facto invalid and unworthy of consideration or discussion. It is superfluous for them to cite evidence because, according to Ms. Rubin, “there is no question in
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the medical community that vaccinating is the right choice for healthy children and in the best interest of everyone’s public health” and “it’s impossible to argue with the research from countless scientific studies and medical professionals who are unequivocally pro-vaccine.” But, is this true? No, it is not. In fact, this is patently false. Medical opinion is far from unanimous. While skepticism on the subject of vaccination represents a deviation from the dominant paradigm, there are many qualified physicians, medical professionals and scientists who have come to a different conclusion. Nevertheless, anyone holding such a divergent opinion is, by Ms. Rubin’s definition, either despicably selfish or deluded. According to her and like-minded individuals, in dissenting from the dominant medical paradigm, one threatens the lives of our children, no matter what evidence and information may have reasonably led to an opinion differing from theirs. To them, a refusal to vaccinate renders one morally and ethically deficient, a corrupting influence in society. In the past 25 years, we’ve more than doubled the number of vaccines given to young children. This is coupled with a 100% increase in learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders in children; a doubling of asthma; tripling of diabetes; skyrocketing rates—an increase of more than 600%—of autism. Mercury-based preservatives, live viruses and vaccines and other chemical agents are known culprits in connection with neurological disorders. What might possibly underlie the fear mongering and finger pointing in lieu of credible, independent scientific research
to resolve questions about vaccine safety and efficacy? It is a fact that nine out of the top 10 drug makers spent more on marketing than they did on research. In recent years, pharmaceutical companies spent $4 billion marketing to consumers, but also an unfathomable $24 billion marketing to doctors! Ms. Rubin airily dismisses skepticism about the motives of the pharmaceutical companies or distrust of government. Yet in 2013, a repentant researcher in the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) went public about his role in a decade-long cover-up that put millions of infants at risk. He confessed to complicity in fraud and malfeasance in the CDC’s suppression of a 2004 study that showed a dramatic increase in the risk for autism based on the age of exposure to the MMR vaccine. “We are a religion that values life, after all,” writes Ms. Rubin. Not vaccinating to her is morally equivalent to drunk driving or wasting water during a drought. Ms. Rubin has chosen to place the argument in a distinctly Jewish context while castigating parents who make an informed decision to forego vaccination for their families as reckless with the health of the community. By ‘separating oneself from the herd,’ one is, by her definition, arraying oneself against not only the larger community, but also in opposition to Jewish ethics and morality. On one point both sides agree: the issue is one of grave import and has momentous ramifications, both for national health and for the well-being of liberty in America. It is to be hoped that civil and rational discussion is possible, instead of ad hominem attacks on people who have considered the available information and come to an opinion differing from theirs.
both sides agree:
the issue is one of grave import and has momentous ramifications.
Camp Supplement to Jewish News March 9, 2015 jewishnewsva.org | March 9, 2015 | Jewish News | 15
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Camp Dear Readers, Summer Camp has a way of impacting campers and counselors in a way, I believe, that only they truly understand. So many children can’t wait to return each year, and the same goes for the staff and counselors. A perfect example of the phrase, “you can take the kid out of camp, but you can’t take the camp out of the kid,” is found in our article about an attorney turned camp owner. This successful Manhattan litigator traded his skyscraper view for a mountain view because he always wanted to work in a camp. Instead of simply switching jobs, two years ago he and his wife started their own camp. It’s an interesting story on many levels. We have one article on a topic that is probably as old as camp, but is only recently being addressed by professionals: how camps deal with teen sexuality. Programs are being developed and implemented to address campers’ romantic relationships by a variety of organizations. This is an important subject. Betsy Karotkin and Rabbi Jeremy Bunn Ruberg, both former camp staff members, share some of their favorite memories from their respective camps. You can just see them smile when you read their pieces. Of course we also have our annual Camp Guide, highlighting camp options— particularly from our advertisers. Just for fun, on page 24, you’ll find a photograph from JCC Day Camp at Spotswood Ave. in Norfolk. What we don’t have is a caption identifying the campers. If you know any of those young faces (or perhaps one is yours!), please contact us: email@example.com, 757-965-6132, www.jewishnewsva.org (click on contact) or through our facebook page, to help identify everyone. For those getting kids ready for camp, we hope this section offers some ideas, for those who no longer attend camp, we hope you enjoy the memories, and for everyone else, thanks for reading!
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16 | Jewish News | March 9, 2015 | Camp | jewishnewsva.org
Terri Denison Editor
Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 200 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462-4370 voice 757.965.6100 • fax 757.965.6102 email firstname.lastname@example.org www.jewishVA.org Terri Denison, Editor Germaine Clair, Art Director Hal Sacks, Book Review Editor Sandy Goldberg, Account Executive Mark Hecht, Account Executive Marilyn Cerase, Subscription Manager Reba Karp, Editor Emeritus Sherri Wisoff, Proofreader 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. © 2015 Jewish News. All rights reserved. Subscription: $18 year For subscription or change of address, call 757-965-6128 or email email@example.com.
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Camp First Person
From litigating cases to lighting campfires by Isaac Mamaysky
NEW YORK ( JTA)—“You worked in camp!?” My professor was befuddled. Admittedly, it’s a strange way to spend the summer after your first year in law school. Most of my classmates accepted summer associate and law clerk positions at various firms—that’s what you’re supposed to do. As a college student, I had told friends and family that I wanted to make camp into a career. After all, I had made my closest friends and formed many of my warmest memories as a camper and staff member of Camp Jori in Rhode Island, one of the oldest Jewish camps in the United States. When I began thinking about what to do after college, camp was the natural choice. But this aspiration was frequently met with the same advice: “It’s time to grow up and get a real job. You can’t work in camp your whole life.” After hearing that refrain so often, I decided to apply to law school. Three years later, in September of 2008, I started my legal career on a beautiful summery day. Upon arriving at a new lawyers’ training session in the Manhattan skyscraper where the firm was located, I found myself wondering how I had ended up in such a decidedly un-camp-like environment. Initial reservations aside, lawyering was actually quite enjoyable. The cases were interesting, the associates had an active social scene, the salary left little to be desired and, at least compared to other law firms, the hours were relatively reasonable. I even got used to the suits. But there were frequent reminders about the career that might have been. I remember my heart sinking when I walked past a sign, made by New York street artist James de la Vega, that said, “Become your dream.” Why wasn’t I working in camp? On some nights I would literally dream about camp—the smell of hot chocolate in the dining hall on cold mornings, the silly
tunes of our camp songs, the day when campers arrive. It went on like this for a couple of years, until January of 2011, when my wife, Lisa, and I took a vacation to the Adirondack Mountains. While scaling a frozen waterfall, we started talking about careers with our guide, a former pharmaceutical researcher who now owns an outdoor adventure store. When he asked what I had always wanted to do, my answer was a no-brainer: “Camp.” When he asked, “Why don’t you start a camp?” a flame was ignited. Of course, I could have worked at an existing camp, but Lisa and I had a unique vision for what the ideal camp would look like. In our personal lives, we cook healthy, organic foods, go hiking and cycling, and relish our involvement in the Jewish community, so we wanted to create an overnight camp that reflected what we see as a recipe for healthy living. For two years, while Lisa worked in finance and I worked in law, we pursued funding to launch a camp that celebrates food, fitness and joyful Judaism. My legal training turned out to be helpful in drafting the 65-page grant application that got us accepted into the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Specialty Camp Incubator II, the program that enabled Camp Zeke to open its doors last summer. When I was still at the law firm, one of the titans of the camping industry told me that he’d met countless lawyers who wanted to become camp directors, but not a single camp director who wanted to become a lawyer. Now I understand why, and it’s not for the reasons I initially thought. Contemplating this career years ago, I envisioned carefree strolls and long coffee breaks to catch up on the news. In my mind, running a camp was going to be fun and relaxing, just like being a camper. I have come to realize that doing something you love is really hard—precisely because you love it so much. In
a recent Harvard Business Review article, “How Hard Do Company Founders Really Work?” the author, a company founder herself, observes that “nobody else [is] as concerned with solving my company’s problems as [me].” She goes on to discuss 12-hour days and the perceived inability to take personal time due to a total commitment to the enterprise. “Check, check and check,” I thought, reading. Let me give an example. After postponing time off for the first few weeks of camp last summer, I finally found a good day to take a few hours to myself. It was supposed to be simple: I would drop off some staff members to pick up rental vans—the first-session kids were going home the next day—and then I would spend a leisurely few hours off site. But when we arrived at the rental pickup place, it turned out that the rental company had made a mistake, and only three of the seven vans we had reserved were available. Needless to say, the idea of taking a few hours off went out the window. On the plus side, however, our leadership team resolved the issue in less than 40 minutes, contacting a bus company
and booking drivers for the next day. The kids would get home, they assured me. I breathed a long sigh of relief. By that evening, the whole situation was already a humorous story among the staff. This is why camp differs from starting another kind of company. While it often feels like I own every challenge, in actuality the entire Camp Zeke family—the staff, parents, campers and funders—has become as concerned with camp’s challenges as me. After all, it’s their camp too. I still have garment bags full of suits and ties from my days at the law firm. They hang neatly next to my preferred attire, a growing collection of camp T-shirts that Lisa and I had a lot of fun designing. In more ways than one, the T-shirts are so much more comfortable. —Isaac Mamaysky is the co-founder and executive director of Camp Zeke, which is funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, AVI CHAI Foundation, the Foundation for Jewish Camp and UJA-Federation of New York. Sponsored message: Jewish camp is worth it! Discover first-time camper opportunities with One Happy Camper (up to $1,000 off) and BunkConnect.org (special rates 40–60% off).
jewishnewsva.org | Camp | March 9, 2015 | Jewish News | 17
Camp Eco-Tours for kids This is the program dubbed by The Virginian-Pilot, a Traveling Road Show and recently featured on WAVY TV 10’s Reck On the Road. For 20 years, Discover Virginia has provided exciting, educational and fun outdoor adventures for kids including: Kayaking, fishing, crabbing, swimming and more. Its professionally trained staff closely supervises each activity. These weekly adventures continue all summer, every Monday through Friday, beginning the last week in June and continuing until the first week in September. Every day is packed with new, exciting and FUN adventures. The kids come home tired and happy! Visit www.discoverva.com for information, detailed itinerary and registration. 757-721-9668.
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18 | Jewish News | March 9, 2015 | Camp | jewishnewsva.org
Larry Ward Basketball Camps
oach Larry Ward begins his 22nd year of running basketball camps in Virginia Beach and North Carolina. Coach Ward’s camps are highly organized to help young girls and boys better understand the game. Considered to be a true teacher of the game of basketball, Coach Ward places a strong emphasis on player development both on the court and in the classroom. Session I—June 22–26, 9 am–4 pm, First Colonial High School Boys and Girls 7 yrs–15 yrs. Session II—July 13–17, 9 am–noon, Friends School Boys and Girls 5 yrs–7 yrs. Session III July 20–24, 9 am–4 pm, First Colonial High School Boys and Girls 7 yrs–15 yrs. Session IV August 3–7 9 am–noon, Friends School Boys and Girls 8 yrs–15 yrs. Full Day Camps include lunch, t-shirt and basketball. Half Day Camps include snack, t-shirt and basketball. Visit: LarryWardBasketballCamp.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2/13/2015 4:10:30 PM
Camp Foundation for Jewish Camp launching four pilot efforts NEW YORK (JTA) — The Foundation for Jewish Camp is launching two pilot programs to benefit Jewish day camps, as well as two programs for overnight camps. The programs, funded with grants from various foundations, are demonstration projects that the Foundation for Jewish Camp, or FJC, hopes to expand and replicate in the future. They are a camp “accelerator,” an initiative to help camps be more inclusive of children with disabilities, a Hebrew immersion program and a “Jewish coaching” project. New Camp Accelerator, which provides consulting and funding to help establish new overnight camps, is currently working with URJ 6 Points Sports Academy West and Ramah Northern California, both of which plan to open in the summer of 2016. The FJC Ruderman Inclusion Initiative will help four camps hire and train inclusion coordinators to increase the number of children with disabilities participating there. The camps are Camp Young Judea Texas, URJ
Camp Harlam, Camp B’nai Brith Oregon and Camp JCA Shalom. Arevim Hebrew Immersion at Camp will help Jewish day camps add a Hebrew-immersion curriculum to their programming. The Jewish Coaching Project will provide coaches, cohort learning and communities of practice focused on helping four New York-area day camps define their Jewish mission and maximize the Jewish outcomes they seek for their campers and staff. “FJC believes these four grants will have significant impact not only on the local programs but also in creating models for expansion across North America,” Jeremy Fingerman, the FJC’s CEO, says. The mission of the FJC, which works with more than 155 nonprofit Jewish camps in North America, is to increase the number of children participating in immersive Jewish experiences each summer.
Summer Safari Camp Explore the world of animals this summer. Weekly camp sessions begin June 22, 2015. To sign up or for more information visit
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3/3/15 10:05 AM
jewishnewsva.org | Camp | March 9, 2015 | Jewish News | 19
My most favorite place Betsy O. Karotkin
y the first of April every year, I
by Elicia Brown
would begin to dream of won-
derful summer days at Camp Henry S. Jacobs in Utica, Miss. It was here, in this rural area of the deep South that I taught pottery for a month for many summers. Kids from third grade through high school came summer after summer to renew their friendships and experience Judaism in a way that’s unique to the camp experience. I, too, loved being a part of that deeply Jewish experience. Each day I had great fun working with the campers to make mezuzahs, kiddush cups, Shabbat candlesticks, honey pots and all manner of ceramic Judaica. I remember vividly the last nights of camp when I would be running back and forth between my cabin and the art room to keep turning up the kiln, knowing that every camper was waiting to take home the pottery they had made. All of our children went to camp there and I had the great pleasure of being able to wave to them as we passed, to hear their funny stories and to watch them enjoy Jewish camping as much as I did. And to make life complete, every summer Ed would join me for a week or two as the camp doctor. My warmest memories are celebrating Shabbat together—the campers and counselors dressed in white as the song leader went from cabin to cabin picking them up in song and dance. Coming home, the Sabbath always paled in comparison to those wonderful camp Shabbats, where singing went on and on and on after our Shabbat dinner—despite the 90–100+ temperatures. We didn’t have air-conditioning—but who needed it? We were much too caught up in the joy of Shabbat to even notice. This summer I will have the immense pleasure of seeing a granddaughter go off to Mississippi and continue the wonderful Jewish camping experience at Camp Jacobs, where her mom and dad met.
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Amid increased scrutiny and risk, camps grapple with teen sexuality
20 | Jewish News | March 9, 2015 | Camp | jewishnewsva.org
NEW YORK (JTA)—The counselors didn’t approve, but preferred not to meddle: According to the bunk’s “hook-up competition,” each teenage girl was supposed to mark a space on the cabin wall with her name and date indicating when she had successfully kissed—or otherwise hooked up with—a boy. Naomi Less, a longtime camp consultant, was approached for advice from the camp, which she preferred not to identify. She counseled to paint over the wall. Less, a rock musician and Jewish educator as well, also suggested that the counselors “bring in someone to speak with the girls about the idea of pressuring each other to perform acts they weren’t ready for—or didn’t want to do—and to reduce the hetero normative hooking-up assumptions, as there will most certainly be girls within the bunks who will not ever want to hook up with guys because they are lesbians.” While sexual behavior and boundaries on college campuses—particularly the growing number of reported rape cases— has been in the spotlight in recent months, at overnight camps these issues tend to receive less attention, in part because teens there are more heavily supervised and must adhere to strict no-alcohol policies. Some argue that Jewish summer camps should be more proactive about how they address campers’ romantic relationships, particularly given that some statistics indicate that as many as one in three female adolescents is a victim of sexual assault. Dana Fleitman, manager of prevention and training programs at Jewish Women International, recently developed a project focused on combating teen dating abuse (materials available free at http://datingabuse.jwi.org), and believes that education should begin “early, from the time kids are young teens, long before they go to college.” The JWI program, which provides tools for adults to speak with teenagers, could easily be adapted to a counselor orientation program, Fleitman says.
Mara Yacobi, a New Jersey-based social worker and founder of JLove and Values, a nonprofit that provides sex education from a Jewish values perspective, has done staff training at several Jewish camps and has also spoken with campers. She recalls one eighth grader who stated, “This summer it was all about kissing and feeling up a girl’s shirt,” and that “Next summer it’s all about the hand job.” The comment, made during a co-ed discussion, reflected a general sense that “sexual behaviors were about achieving one conquest after another,” says Yacobi, who reminded that group that “if you are being intimate with someone, take time to remember that you are sharing this experience with a person—not an object.” Summer camps have a unique opportunity to spend time on issues that schools do not,” Yacobi says. “Spending time simply reviewing the qualities of a healthy and unhealthy relationship are the types of conversations young people are yearning to have with the camp counselors they admire.” One potential model for doing that is Tawonga, a JCC camp on the outskirts of California’s Yosemite National Park, which offers one of the Jewish camp world’s most carefully considered approaches to physical intimacy and relationships. Jamie Simon-Harris, the director at Tawonga and a former sex educator for United Against Sexual Assault in Sonoma County, Calif., leads several workshops about sexuality. The camp also starts each session with girls-only, boys-only and transgender campfire discussions about sexual identity. Later, Simon-Harris leads optional sessions in which Tawonga’s youngest campers learn how to be a good friend, the middle school-age children discuss relationships, and the teens delve into the physical and emotional components of safe sex. “They love it,” says Simon-Harris, who says she’s been told by participants, ‘Camp is where I learned to say no,’ and ‘Camp is where I knew I could be gay.’” Sam Quintana, who is 25 and a “lifer” at Tawonga, says the camp’s “sex positive”
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campers let their imagination run wild as they meet artists new and old from around the world. Campers learn to paint, draw, do ceramics, weave, work with wire and build buildings. D’ART Summer camp is taught by professional artists and Norfolk and Virginia Beach public and private school teachers. The kids have fun while improving their artistic technique. D’ART Camp opens for drop off at 8:30 am and runs until 3 pm. Campers also get out and about in downtown Norfolk exploring nearby parks during lunch and to use as inspiration for projects. 757-625-4211. www.d-artcenter.org.
approach “validates rather than shames.” Quintana, who is now on the camp’s year-round staff adds, “The sexual values I learned at Tawonga have been incredibly transformative. It’s about the ability to relate to other people and treat other people with respect.” Tawonga’s extensive examination of sexuality may not feel appropriate in all camp settings, particularly its “hugging and kissing with all clothes on” credo, which Quintana describes as a way to defuse “pressure to be in a relationship.” Sheira Director-Nowack, the associate director of Camp JRF in South Sterling, Pa., says she “would never say ‘kissing with clothes on is OK,’ because maybe the kid is not ready, and then it would make that the norm.”
She has spoken with campers about the problem of overly provocative attire, however, inspiring a new slogan for the Friday night dress code: “No Shabooty; No Shabooby.” Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, the national director of the Conservative movement’s Ramah camping movement emphasizes that the “most important thing is how to reduce social and sexual pressures on children.” Despite their “sex-positive” approach, Tawonga leaders emphasize that the summer should be more about community than coupling. “If a camper chooses just friendships, that’s also totally accepted. Dating can be part of camp, but it can’t be all of camp,” says Simon-Harris.
Grades K-5: Academic Mornings - Reading/Writing/Math Recreational Afternoons - Art/Technology/Games Half or Full Days - 3 or 6 Week Programs Grades 6-8: Reading - Decoding & Comprehension Math - Computation/Problem Solving Study/Organizational Skills Half Day Program - 3 or 6 Week Programs
Register online at www.cba-va.org Contact Dana Calo at 757.497.6200 or email@example.com for more information. 821 Baker Road l Virginia Beach, VA 23462 | cba-va.org
jewishnewsva.org | Camp | March 9, 2015 | Jewish News | 21
A place of kindness Jeremy Brunn Ruberg
f you’re like me you begin to think, “How did it get to be so cold outside?” Not that I mind the cold so much,
but weather like music takes us back to different times in our lives and my best childhood memories mostly come from when it was warmer, meaning summertime. To warm my heart as it turns colder, I often reminisce about my years at Jewish summer camp. If you don’t know already, I attended Camp Ramah in New England for more than 15 years; seven years as a camper and eight years as a staff member. While I don’t remember everything I did at camp, there are some moments that stick out in my mind that I will never forget, including my first day at camp 20 years ago. After driving all day with friends of my family to camp, I began to feel worried about what camp would be like. After all, I didn’t know anyone going to camp. My stomach began to hurt, but I thought that was just nerves. Well it wasn’t just nerves; it was actually my appendix. We didn’t know that at the time but I got pretty darn sick. When I arrived at the camp, I was greeted by my counselors, they shook my hand, and then I lost my lunch. You read that right. Got sick right on the spot in front of all my counselors, parents and bunkmates. At that moment my counselors told me I would be okay
Chesapeake Bay Academy’s Summer Learning Program Dive into learning this summer! Providing an opportunity for students to practice and cement reading, writing and math concepts learned during the school year
and that they would take me to the “marp.” The word “marp” is a shortened, slang for
and to keep skills fresh for the fall, Chesapeake Bay Academy’s Summer Learning
the full Hebrew word “Mirpa’ah” which means “infirmary.” Although I was the son of a
Program helps avoid the summer slide with a learning program personalized to each
rabbi and attended Jewish day school, no amount of Hebrew knowledge can decipher
child’s strengths and areas of need.
the insider languages of camps. So I was not only scared to be at camp, and sick as a dog, but now I was being sent to a mysterious place for treatment.
The grades K-5 program includes academic mornings involving reading, writing
I was driven over to the infirmary where I was given very good care by both nurses
and math instruction incorporating multi-sensory instruction and individualized
and doctors. But the best care was not from the medical professionals. You see, on the
support. Recreational activities such as technology, art and games provide time for
first night I was visited by my counselors and bunkmates, whom I hadn’t even met. They
creativity and fun in the afternoon. The half day program for grades 6-8 focus on
came with cards written in English and Hebrew saying “Get Well Soon” and “Refuah Shleyma.” I have never forgotten the kindness that was shown to me that first night. Now I know you might be thinking the obvious: people can be nice anywhere. But I think this display of kindness was different. Why did all my counselors and bunkmates come to visit me? Because it was a mitzvah, a value, something important that Camp Ramah emphasizes in ways that other camps do not. Mitzvot at Camp Ramah are not just a nice thing to do; they are a way of life.
reading (decoding/comprehension), math (computation/problem solving) and study/ organizational skills. At Chesapeake Bay Academy, each child’s unique learning style is embraced, with new, specialized pathways to academic and social success created. CBA’s 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio, multisensory instruction and project-based curriculum
To conclude the story after spending three days in the infirmary, I was released and
offer students the opportunity to develop a true love of learning. Small classrooms,
went on to have a great summer at camp with many wonderful friends. It turned out to
Individualized Instruction Plans and caring, highly-trained teachers lay the foun-
be a beginning of a long relationship with Camp Rama in New England. So long, that I spent eight years on staff. And that work at camp was easily the most rewarding activity of my life. I recommend it to anyone. 22 | Jewish News | March 9, 2015 | Camp | jewishnewsva.org
dation for programs designed to ensure the academic achievement of each student. CBA empowers students with tools for success in school and beyond. 757-497-6200.
Camp Camp JCC at the Simon Family JCC
Hunt Club Farm Hunt Club’s Summer Farm Camp provides children the opportunity to learn about life on a farm. This program offers real hands
A traditional Day Camp for Kkids 16 months–10th grade,
on experience with petting farm animals,
a few of the camp’s actives include arts & crafts, music, field
including horses, goats, sheep, llamas,
trips, swim lessons, fun in the outdoor water park, games
rabbits and chickens. Campers learn the
and sports and overnight stays. New activities this year
responsibility of daily feeding, cleaning, grooming and animal care activities. In the
include gardening, fishing and Pickleball.
garden, campers pick vegetables, herbs and flowers, and they even pull a few weeds. Each session includes several horseback riding experiences, fishing, farm games,
Sessions are June 22–August 14 with three weeks of Post
daily cool down water activities, arts and crafts and more. Campers leave with an
Camp: August 17–September 4. Camp JCC accommodates children with special needs. For details, call Michelle Fenley at 757‑459‑4640.
abundance of knowledge and appreciation of all living things. The goal at farm camp is to encourage a friendly environment in which children learn responsibility and initiate leadership skills that will make a memorable impact on their lives.
Brochures and registra-
For a brochure or more information, go to www.huntclubfarm.com or call 427‑9520.
tion forms are available online at CampJCC. org, at the JCC Customer Service desk or call
FRIENDS SCHOOL A PLACE WHERE STUDENTS BELONG
SIMPLICITY, PEACE, INTEGRITY, COMMUNITY, EQUALITY, STEWARDSHIP Est. 1955 • Pre-K through 12
Call for a Campus Tour Today 1537 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 • (757) 428-7534 • www.friends-school.org
jewishnewsva.org | March 9, 2015 | Jewish News | 23
JCC Day Camp circa 1955–58
Camp Program connects discount-seeking families with camps eager to broaden their recruitment base by Julie Wiener
Recognize anyone? Help us write the caption! Please send names and locations (front row, second row, etc.) to news @ujft.org.
Summer Safari Camp 2015 at the Virginia Zoo Explore the wonderful world of animals at the Virginia Zoo this summer. Summer Safari camps offer children from first graders through eighth graders up-close animal encounters, behind-the scenes adventures, crafts, games, zoo hikes and much more fun each and every day. Weekly sessions begin June 22, 2015. For more information or to enroll, visit virginiazoo.org or call the education department at 757-441-2374, ext. 229.
24 | Jewish News | March 9, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
NEW YORK (JTA)—Andrea Lass’ son and daughter had their hearts set last year on going to Camp JRF, a Jewish overnight camp recommended by their friends. But with her husband recently laid off, the New Jersey mom didn’t see how the family could manage the expense, even with a scholarship. At the suggestion of Isaac Saposnik, the camp’s director, Lass went to the website of BunkConnect, a Foundation for Jewish Camp program that helps first-time campers from lower- and middle-income families find specially discounted spots at Jewish camps. “It was an incredibly easy process and incredibly generous,” she says, noting that she paid just 20–30 percent of the usual rate for each child to attend an almostthree-week session. “I wouldn’t have been able to send the kids to camp without help from them.” Piloted last summer in 35 camps on the East Coast, BunkConnect is launching in full this year, with 75 camps nationwide offering discounts ranging from 40 to 80 percent. The program is open to all FJCaffiliated camps in the United States who wish to participate, and plans to expand to Canada in the future. A joint project with the Center for Entrepreneurial Jewish Philanthropy, BunkConnect seeks to match families that have not previously sent children to Jewish overnight camp or who might think such camps are unaffordable with camps that have beds that might otherwise go unfilled. Jeremy Fingerman, the FJC’s CEO, described BunkConnect as an affordability initiative as well as a “lead generator.” “We’re hoping to help the camps identify new families who might not otherwise have considered a Jewish camp or that particular camp,” he says, adding that the program aims to reach “families that maybe are not on the radar screen of the camps.” Participating camps decide how many discounted slots to offer—generally
picking sessions or ages that are more difficult to fill—and then post them on the BunkConnect site. Parents fill out a short online questionnaire to determine their eligibility, based on adjusted gross income, number of children and other financial details and browse the site for available camp slots. Once parents select a camp, the site notifies a camp staff member who then contacts the family to answer any questions and register the child. “This is not buying a hotel room,” Fingerman explains. “You’re buying an experience, so it’s got to fit. If you need kosher food or a camp that accommodates special needs, you have to make sure the camp offers that.” While Lass, the New Jersey mom, had been in contact with Camp JRF before logging on to BunkConnect, Fingerman says two-thirds of the families who used the program last summer were unknown to the camps beforehand. In addition, 90 percent of the parents surveyed report that they would not have enrolled their child without the BunkConnect discount. Stefan Teodosic, executive director of Perlman Camp in Lake Como, Pa., says that all but one or two of the nine new campers brought in through BunkConnect last summer, with discounts ranging from 40-75 percent, found out about the camp through the website. Teodosic sees BunkConnect as a way for Perlman to reach “people that are under-affiliated [Jewishly] or not educated about the value of camping. They’re the hardest people to get in touch with.” The program also enables the camp to promote slots that are filling more slowly. “If we wanted to push a certain age group or session, we could discount it higher,” he explains, adding that the BunkConnect website offered “flexibility” and was an “easy tool to use.” Saposnik, the Camp JRF director, also deems the pilot a success. His camp, which is affiliated with the Reconstructionist movement, joined the pilot as a way to help fill a new “eco-village” it had recently built
Camp and to improve outreach to lower-income families, a sector he said the camp had “not done a particularly good job” with before. “What we heard time and again from families we spoke to was, ‘I didn’t think camp was going to be option for me but this makes it possible to think about,” he says. Camp JRF brought in 18 new campers through BunkConnect last year, “far more” than Saposnik had expected. So far, about 60 percent say they will return this coming
summer, availing themselves of the second year of the discount. That includes the children of Andrea Lass, who hadn’t realized—until she got an email from the camp in December—that the discount was an offer for a second year. Interviewed soon after getting the email, she says, “I’m going to tell them on the last night of Hanukkah. They’re going to freak out, because they had a tremendous time there.”
Cape Henry Collegiate: Summer at the Cape
Act up with hurrah players Hurrah Theatre Camp is an opportunity for young people to learn about theatre
sive summer program, Cape Henry Collegiate’s “Summer at the Cape” runs June 1–August 7. The program offers day camps run by professional educators, as
with hands on activities and workshop style instruction. Previous experience is not required, but a desire to have fun is. In the mornings, campers participate in classes in Musical Theatre, Acting, Broadway Dance, Jazz, Tap and more. In the afternoons, campers experience the three P’s of theatre…. Producing, Promoting and Performing. Campers will learn
well as half- and full-day camps specializing in the arts, sciences, academics, athletics and numerous other exciting and creative endeavors. These programs are designed to allow students from ages three to 18 the opportunity to develop their talents, acquire new skills and knowledge, explore new interests and make new friends.
about sets, props, costumes and make-up as well as market and perform their own One-Act Play. The final day of camp is Performance Day. Following a Pizza Party Picnic, campers will showcase all their hard work and talents for their families and friends. Campers also receive a free ticket to attend Hurrah’s main-stage production of The
Cape Henry Collegiate is the largest independent, college-preparatory school in Magic and Music of Motown. 757-627-5437. Virginia Beach, educating students in grades prekindergarten through 12th grade. With a 10-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, emphasis is placed on the core values of community, opportunity, scholarship, and integrity. Campers will enjoy a slice of
what Cape Henry Collegiate offers over the course of Summer at the Cape, and they
Outdoor FUN for KIDS
Kids 6 to 12 • 9am-4pm Weekly ALL SUMMER
Kayaking • Fishing • Crabbing
will do so on a state-of-the-art campus which includes a fully staffed dining hall, air-conditioned field house, newly redesigned library, brand new turf field complex and more. 757-963-8241.
721-9668 discoverva.com 20 YEARS jewishnewsva.org | March 9, 2015 | Jewish News | 25
BMX BIKING • ROCK BAND • GO KARTS • ROBOTICS • CULINARY ARTS • PAINTBALL • SPORTS A JEWISH CAMPING TRADITION
26 | Jewish News | March 9, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
it’s a wrap JEC workshop explores meaning of chalutz
hat is a “ c h a l u t z? ” This is the question that Leon Covitz posed at the recent Jewish Education Council Educators’ Professional Development workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 10. B or n in Glasgow, Scotland, Covitz is the direc- Leon Covitz (workshop presenter) is pleased that this group of teachers completed the tor of education at Israel puzzle so quickly. Temple Israel and • How can I be a chalutz in my Jewish an educator at the Hebrew Academy of community and for the State of Tidewater where he is also coordinator of Israel? its alumni programs. He is also a teacher in The workshop included hands-on ideas the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish for making this topic come alive through Learning. During this workshop, Covitz explored different genres—biblical text (both in with participants the various ways to Hebrew and English), music, film, pictures understand the meaning of the word and art. Covitz began the workshop by dividchalutz, which is usually translated as “pioneer” in the context of the founding of ing the participants into several groups, giving each group a large puzzle of the the State of Israel in 1948. State of Israel. He challenged each group Some of the questions he asked were: • Is chalutziut still alive in the 21st to complete the puzzle as quickly as poscentury? If so, who are today’s sible. It was exciting to watch educators from different schools work together on chalutzim? a project which they can then present to • What does it mean to be a chalutz? their students as they begin a unit of study on Israel.
Win 2 Tickets Enter to win two tickets to see The Virginia Symphony by going to JewishNewsVA on facebook and like The Virginia Symphony image by Sunday March 22. Two winners will receive two tickets each for an upcoming performance this season.
Professional dancers perform at the JCC
odd Rosenlieb and four of his accomplished dancers delighted children and their families on Sunday, Feb. 22 during an informal dance recital as part of the Children’s Performing Arts series at the Simon Family JCC. Rosenlieb, who oversees both his own dance company and Virginia Ballet Theatre, narrated an informal presentation,
demonstrating classical and modern dance warm ups, movements and even some choreography. Children were active participants and had the opportunity to ask the dancers questions, as well as touch and feel pointe shoes. The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
Tu B’Shevat Seder at Beth El by Helene Rosenfeld and Helene Smith
n Monday, Feb. 2, Congregation Beth El’s Sisterhood held its 2nd Tu B’Shevat Seder, celebrating the “new year of the trees.” Helene Smith, Helene Rosenfeld and Barbara Abraham prepared four trays of fruit for each table. Ina Leiderman helped set up the Seder tables with colorful tablecloths, napkins and flower arrangements. Rosenfeld introduced and began the Seder. An interactive Seder, Sisterhood members took turns reading the service, including Barbara Abraham, Brenda Kozak, Carol Smith, Betsy Karotkin, Judy Smith, Judy Dobrinsky, Barbara Rossen, Marlene Rossen, Barbara Leibowitz, Jody Wagner,
Sharon Wassenberg, Sue Ellen Kaplan, Ina Leiderman, Frieda Goldstein and Linda Samuels. The themes of the meal were appreciating the beauty of the world, the cycle of the seasons, love of the land and environmental challenges. No Seder is complete without the four cups of wine, a fruit derivative, one of the greatest world delights. Beginning with white wine, they gradually added red wine to the cups. The increasing redness symbolizes the change in the colors of nature as spring arrives and trees produce their fruits. Similarly, people ripen and mature as they go through life’s experiences and pleasures. As always with any Sisterhood event, comradery of the “sisters in the hood” and the friendships were enjoyed.
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it’s a wrap
Community rolls out support for Operation Hamantaschen
Benyamin Yaffe, Stephanie Steerman, chair, Alicia Kraus and Erika Eskanazi. by Laine Mednick Rutherford
he culinary and creative efforts of the Tidewater Jewish community filled bodies and souls over the Purim holiday this year. An estimated 150 people of all ages came to the Sandler Family Campus on Sunday, Feb. 15 to participate in Operation Hamantaschen. The annual event is devoted to Jewish members of the United States military—and the making, baking and sending of hamantaschen, the traditional cookies associated with the holiday. By the time the last volunteers rolled down their sleeves, more than 2,000 of the triangular, fruit-filled cookies had been boxed, bagged and were ready to be delivered locally, or shipped to bases in the United States and to recipients around the world. “I liked that we were actually doing something to help others and it was something I could do with my daughter that wasn’t in front of a screen,” says Wendy Juren Auerbach, who attended with her daughter, Lily. “I saw people that I usually don’t see at
events like this, I got to meet new people, and I got to spend time with old friends,” Auerbach says. “It showed everyone that they’re an important part of this community, and I think it was really a success.” Families came with children and friends in tow. BBYO teens, young professionals, retirees and veteran hamantaschen bakers were present. Members from all congregations and religions helped out, working alongside each other to draw, to bake and to occasionally taste the cookies. The Young Adult Division of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and the Simon Family JCC Department of
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Children and Families presented Operation Hamantaschen. Any extra cookies were shared with Jewish Family Service of Tidewater, to distribute them to their clients. “Based on years past and our RSVPs, we expected maybe 100 people to come,” says Stephanie Steerman, chair of the event. “We were surprised when so many more came, but really happy, and I’m glad we had the ability to make more dough!” Steerman says. “This is one small way we can show the military how much the Tidewater Jewish community supports and appreciates them. I think everyone enjoyed themselves and had a great time doing a mitzvah, and demonstrating to our children the meaning of tzedakah—of giving to others.” In addition to making cookies, volunteers decorated cardboard cookie boxes and created Happy Purim and thank you cards. These cards were sent to U.S. troops,
and to Israel Defense Forces Lone Soldiers, too, in time for last week’s festival of Purim. “Lone Soldiers usually don’t have any family in Israel, and having kind words, or even a child’s drawing, can lift their spirits and keep them going,” says Benyamin Yaffe, YAD programming associate. “We wanted to show as many people as possible that we were thinking of them this Purim, and the community did that, in so many ways, at this year’s Operation Hamantaschen,” says Yaffe. To see more photos from Operation Hamantaschen, visit www.fb.com/YAD-UJFT.
Adam and Jennie Tabakin.
itâ€™s a wrap
Joshua and Elijah Mallenbaum. Danial Watts.
M.J. and Shawn Lemke.
Sandy and Anne Goldberg.
Colleen and Amelia Fox.
Wendy and Lily Auerbach.
Haley Bartel and Payton Stredler.
Jeff and Ben Goldberg. jewishnewsva.org | March 9, 2015 | Jewish News | 29
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Book Review A brilliant essay Jews and Words by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger Yale University Press, 2012. 232 pages Jews and Words is not an ordinary book. It is the enchanting outcome of a unique collaborative conversation between a father Rabbi Zoberman and daughter. Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger are both well-known figures, particularly the world-renowned Israeli author Amos Oz, professor of literature at Be’er Sheva’s Ben-Gurion University and a center-left political activist. His daughter Oz-Salzberger, an author in her own right, serves at Haifa University’s Faculty of Law as a history professor. She also taught at Australia’s Monash University, holding the Leon Liberman Chair in Modern Israel Studies and at Princeton University sponsored by the Laurance S.
CALLING ALL HIGH School Seniors!
Announcing the 2015 Stein Family College Scholarship
The application is now available online at: www.jewishva.org/tjf-stein Applications deadline is April 1, 2015 Questions? Contact Shelby Tudor at: 757.965.6105 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Rockefeller Professorship for Distinguished Teaching. Defined as an essay by its authors who ordinarily write in their native Hebrew, this gem of brilliant writing explores the long and intimate bond of a genuine love affair between the Jewish people and language that has proudly defined them as “The People of the Book,” reflecting their ownership of the Hebrew Scriptures along with their passion, to the level of sanctification, of the literary enterprise. “The point of our book is not that Jews were any better then others, but that Jews had a special way with words. Words became texts. The published became perennial.” Staunchly defending Jewish identity and describing themselves as “secular Jewish Israelis” who do not believe in God, the authors’ overriding and underlying thesis is that looking at the historical Jewish experience through secular Jewish lenses is no less authentic, particularly in the current political and social climate in Israel where the religious Orthodox perspective hovers over the cultural conversation with the liberal persuasion in retreat. Yet, the authors face the ultra-Orthodox world head on regarding it as a “museum civilization” which lost touch with a changed world while it is solely committed to perpetuating a lost past. The Oz pair calls to replace it with a “living civilization,” one willing to confront and challenge. “A living civilization is a perpetual drama of struggle between interpretations, outside influences and emphases, an unrelenting struggle over what is wheat and what is chaff. Rebellion for the sake of innovation. Dismantling for the purpose of reassembling differently. And even putting things in storage to clear the stage for experiment and for new creativity.” However, has not ultra-Orthodoxy proven quite resilient? The authors find the Jewish encounter with Western humanism to be a fateful one, unlike its other encounters in history, for Western humanism contains “Jewish genes” and consequently has an understandable and undeniable appeal to Jews
with all that implies, positively and negatively. A significant by-product of the book’s inquiry is the writers’ assertion that the claim by Palestinians and others that a Jewish state is a recent concept has no legs to stand on given the Biblical heritage of words affirming an early Jewish sovereignty. The authors also unequivocally call for recognizing Palestinian pain of loss, disavowing the rigid ideology of a Greater Land of Israel. Throughout this intellectually reinvigorating essay from an unabashedly proud liberal prospective, we find incisive and insightful use of words–living up to the book’s title–such as, “Ours is not a bloodline but a text line; “At its best, Jewish reverence has an irreverent edge;” “In Jewish tradition every reader is a proof-reader, every student a critic, and every writer, including the Author of the universe, begs a great many questions;” “Jewish continuity was always paved with words;” and “Genesis, Isaiah and Proverbs are our pyramids, our Chinese Wall, and Gothic Cathedrals. They stand un-demolished in the flow of time.” The book is also enhanced by the authors’ mixing profound reflection with biting humor, such as with their defining of who is a Jew. “Here is our personal definition: any human being crazy enough to call himself a Jew is a Jew. Is he or she a good or a bad Jew? This is up to the next Jew to say.” This original volume is divided into four chapters: Continuity, Vocal Women, Time and Timelessness and Each Person Has a Name; or, Do Jews Need Judaism? It is the brainchild of Felix Posen, providing for a unique contribution to the distinguished 10 volume in-the-making Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization. The Posen Library’s challenging and most welcome mandate is to embrace Jewish history in its wider context with all its intriguing complexities and connecting crossroads, which the Ozs so ably probe and explore with lingering delight. —Dr. Israel Zoberman is founding rabbi of Congregation Beth Chaverim.
what’s happening Community Relations Council’s 3rd Annual Israel Poster Contest Vote March 10–March 27
ll entries in the Community Relations Council’s 3rd Annual Israel Poster Contest are on display (and available for voting) in the Sandler Family Campus Cardo. Stop by and cast a vote for an Israel Advocacy poster. The display includes the artwork, as well as interesting facts about Israel. The 10 finalists (those 10 posters with Poster entries will be available for in-person voting at the most votes) will be shared online in the JCC, March 10–27. April and the community (the online community which stretches worldwide) will be encouraged to vote for their favorite. Online voting will allow these posters, with facts about Israel, to go viral—which means local kids can have an impact, advocating for Israel, beyond the Tidewater community. The winning poster will be announced on Yom Ha’Atzmaut, April 23 and will be professionally framed and hang permanently at the Sandler Family Campus. Attendees of the community Israel Festival on Sunday, May 17 will receive a copy of the winning poster. For more information, contact Robin Mancoll, director, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Community Relations Council, at RMancoll@ujft.org.
The Quarrel to be shown by NEXUS Interfaith Dialogue series Monday, March 9, 7 pm
s part of its NEXUS Interfaith Dialogue series, the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan College will show The Quarrel (dir. Eli Cohen, 1991) in the newly renovated Blocker Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, and a discussion of the film and related topics moderated by Dr. Eric Mazur, Professor of Religious Studies and CSRF Fellow, will follow. The Quarrel focuses on two former friends who encounter each other after years of being separated. The film centers on how each understands the power of evil in the world, and how friends continue reflecting together, even when they have profound clashes of beliefs.
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what’s happening Local rabbis say amen to choice of Tidewater Together Scholar-in-Residence 2nd Annual Tidewater Together Thursday–Sunday, March 26–29, 2015 by Laine Mednick Rutherford
hen Rabbi Sharon Brous arrives in Virginia Beach on March 26 to begin a four day weekend as the 2nd Annual Tidewater Together Scholarin-Residence, she’ll meet a community that’s curious to find out: how does someone earn the title of America’s most influential rabbi (Newsweek/The Daily Beast, Rabbi Sharon Brous 2013), and what was it like to be the rabbi asked to bless the President and Vice President at the 2013 Inaugural National Prayer Service? Two local Rabbis would vie to be at the front of the line to answer those questions, and more, in an effort to let community members know they shouldn’t miss any of the six conversations Brous will be leading while she’s here. Rabbi Michael Panitz of Temple Israel in Norfolk, and Rabbi Marc Kraus of Virginia Beach’s Temple Emanuel both know Brous well. They speak highly of the work she’s doing at IKAR, the spiritual Jewish community she founded in Los Angeles, and about what a generally good person she is. Rabbi Panitz first met Brous in the 1990s, when his daughter Emily was attending Camp Ramah, a Jewish and Hebrew summer camp. Brous was Emily’s special needs counselor. “She was wonderful to Emily, and we are just so delighted to see how this brilliant, young, promising rabbinical student has turned into one of the leading rabbis of her generation,” says Panitz. “It’s a cliché, but, sometimes you know certain people are destined to do great things—Rabbi Brous is one of those people.” His connection with Brous has grown over the years as Panitz’ son Morris (Ben), is a student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in California, and attends IKAR. “I believe that we can look forward to a series of presentations from Rabbi Brous that will expand our existing paradigms of Jewish communal life and spirituality,” says Panitz. “What that means is we are sometimes trapped by a rhetoric that made a lot of sense for a previous generation, but works less well for the challenges of the 21st century. “I think we’re going to hear from Rabbi Brous teachings that are uniquely directed for the Jews of today and tomorrow.” Rabbi Kraus’ experience with Brous and IKAR doesn’t date as far back as Panitz’, but he can share his own experiences with learning from her—IKAR was his spiritual community of choice while studying to become a rabbi in California. Some of the exciting new elements introduced into Temple Emanuel’s services take inspiration from IKAR traditions.
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“Besides the fact that most members—75 percent— were previously unengaged Jews, they do two things really well,” says Kraus. “They have vibrant, spiritual—almost intoxicating—worship, and they involve all members in social action that actually makes significant and meaningful changes in the world, both locally and globally. Their ethos of the community is the people, and what the people do, and not the building, which is such a change from what our rabbis have been doing, and which isn’t working.” In Kraus’ experience, everyone who hears Brous speak will come away with something that resonates in them— and will be inspired to change themselves and the greater community, for the better. “I think she will probably broaden people’s spiritual horizons. By which I mean we’ll think about what Jewish spirituality may look like in a way that we hadn’t before… and I think it will help all of us think about what we want a Jewish future to look like. “We’re incredibly fortunate that we’re part of a community that feels the need to look ahead, and we are beyond lucky to have Rabbi Brous’ vision to help guide us in that direction.” Panitz and Kraus are members of the Tidewater Jewish Leadership Council, a group of synagogue rabbis and presidents who meet four times a year with representatives of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. They discuss ways they can help one another and work together. It is through this collaboration, and the generosity of the Milton “Mickey” Kramer Scholar-in-Residence Fund, that Rabbi Brous will be in Tidewater for the four days of intensive learning. “Our Tidewater community sometimes overachieves— we manage to accomplish what you expect of a larger community, and Tidewater Together is an example of it,” says Panitz. “I know that Rabbi Brous was unsure whether to come to Norfolk—she has many, many invitations from across the country and we’re not the largest community she could be impacting—but, based on his experience here last year, Rabbi Artson said to her, ‘No. You dare not miss the chance to encounter this community. They are truly special.’ “I’ll be attending as many of the discussions as possible.” Tidewater Together conversations are free and open to the community. There is a $10 fee for the community Shabbat dinner before the general discussion on Friday night. To RSVP, and for a complete list of this year’s unique topics, times, hosts and locations, visit www.TidewaterTogether.org, call 757-965-6136, or email email@example.com. Look for the Jewish News interview with Rabbi Sharon Brous in the March 23 edition.
The Milton “Mickey” Kramer Scholar-in-Residence Fund United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Tidewater Synagogue Leadership Council present
2nd Annual Tidewater Together A four-day journey of Jewish insight, understanding, and growth
MARCH 26–29 Thursday, March 26, 6:30 pm Discussion and cocktail reception Moral Conundrum Ahead: What is My Purpose? Hosted by the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater Sandler Family Campus 5000 Corporate Woods Dr., Virginia Beach Friday, March 27, 12 pm Lunch and Learn (lunch included) Fire on the Mountain: Visions of the Jewish Future Hosted by Congregation Beth Chaverim 3820 Stoneshore Rd., Virginia Beach Friday, March 27 6:30 pm Dinner*, 7:30 pm Service and Oneg Shabbat Prophets of Eternal Dissent: Shabbat & the Power of the Outsider Hosted by Ohef Sholom Temple 530 Raleigh Ave., Norfolk Saturday, March 28, 9:30 am Service and Kiddush Lunch The Amen Effect: I Can’t Heal You, But I Can See You Hosted by Congregation Beth El 422 Shirley Ave., Norfolk Saturday, March 28, 8:30 pm Dessert reception I Am Yours, You are Mine Hosted by Temple Emanuel 424 25th St., Virginia Beach Sunday, March 29, 10 am Discussion and brunch Against Indifference: Finding Inspiration, Making Change Hosted by Temple Israel and KBH 7255 Granby Street, Norfolk Tidewater Together conversations are free and open to the community. *Friday night dinner, $10; 11 and under, free. RSVP required. Kosher option available. Dinner is not mandatory for attendance at 7:30 pm community event. Visit www.TidewaterTogether.org, call 757-965-6136, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, and to RSVP.
what’s happening Nationally known advocate for Jewish inclusion to speak in Tidewater Saturday, March 21, Temple Israel, 11 am
helly Cristensen, a nationally known advocate for including people with disabilities in Jewish life will speak on the subject at Temple Israel for its Disabilities Shabbat. Shelly Cristensen She is also a guest speaker at the That All May Worship-2015, Embracing Inclusion Conference in Virginia Beach on Friday, March 20. Cristensen literally “wrote the book” on the subject, The Jewish Community Guide to Inclusion of People with Disabilities. In the forward to the Guide, the director of the Council for Jews with Special Needs in Scottsdale, Arizona, writes, “The Guide shines a light on the issues that impede participation in all facets of Jewish life for individuals who struggle with their disabilities. In this valuable resource guide, the barriers to participation are clearly articulated along with strategies to eradicate those barriers. The Guide’s step-by-step approach provides a reassuring road map for inclusion committees to assess, envision, organize and implement an inclusion plan that can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each organization. A graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Delaware, Christensen’s award-winning work as program manager of the Minneapolis Jewish Community
Inclusion Program for People with Disabilities led her to found Inclusion Innovations, a company that provides training, organizational and community development and strategic planning, so Jewish organizations and communities can become more welcoming and inclusive. She serves as president of the Religion and Spirituality Division of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and her articles on inclusion and parent perspectives have appeared in journals. In addition, she has published chapters in several books. The mother of three sons, one of whom was diagnosed with a number of disabilities throughout his school career, Christensen found the secular educational world difficult to navigate. Fortunately, their synagogue and religious school provided a respite from the secular school world. At Temple, she says, “Jacob was just Jacob. He was always treated with respect, appreciation and understanding that he needed some supports in order to learn, be a contributing member of his class and be seen as just Jacob.” For information on the That All May Worship–2015, Embracing Inclusion event, call 757-282-8000 with questions. A registration fee includes lunch and all materials. For information on the Temple Israel Disabilities Shabbat, call Nancy Tucker at the Temple office at 489-4550.
Pee Wee Soccer at Simon Family JCC March 12 – May 3 Sundays (Games) – Thursdays (Practices)
PEE WEE SOCCER at the Simon Family JCC is for four- to six-year-olds. This league teaches children the basic techniques and skills of the game of soccer including dribbling, passing, throw-ins, defense and shooting. Participants practice once a week on Thursdays with a game each Sunday.
Players must supply their own shin guards. Team jersey is included. No rain dates. There will be no practice on April 9. To register, visit the JCC or call 757-321-2338. Games 1–2 pm; Practices 5:30–6:30 pm. $65 or $55 for JCC members.
Israel’s global humanitarian efforts hghlight of CRC Forum Sunday, March 15, 7:30 pm Sandler Family Campus by Laine M. Rutherford
he past few months have proven challenging for Dr. Ofer Merin, the featured speaker in the Community Relation Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s upcoming Israel Today Forum. “I’ve had to confront, more than once —treating not only victims of trauma, and victims of terror trauma, but also treating the terrorists themselves,” says Merin, Deputy Director General, director of Trauma Services, and a cardiac surgeon at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. “It has been difficult, but as a physician, you have to understand that you’re treating patients, no matter who they are.” Merin keeps those words close, and he’s reminded of them constantly, not only in his work at Shaare Zedek, but also in his role of commander of the Israel Defense Forces Field Hospitals, a position he’s held as an Army reservist for over a decade. From his unique perspective as a participant in numerous and life-changing Israeli humanitarian and medical missions, Merin will discuss the topic Global Disaster Relief: Israel, First on the Scene. The program is free and open to the community. As the IDF Field Hospitals commander, Merin works with a team who responds quickly to crises, often mobilizing within hours of getting a call for help. Merin and his team set up the first operational field hospital in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that left hundreds of thousands of people dead and injured. He oversaw the operation of one of the first field hospitals in Japan after an earthquake and tsunami hit in 2011, and he did the same in the Philippines, immediately after a typhoon struck in 2013. Other countries and people, too, have been—and are being—helped by Israelis, including Ethiopian doctors who are receiving medical training, and civilians injured in the Syrian war, who view Israelis as their enemies. “We feel that giving humanitarian
Lt. Col. Dr. Ofer Merin attending to patients in Haiti following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010.
assistance to people who are strangers is the great privilege of this work,” Merin says. “We’re doing the work not because we’re obligated, not because it’s our people, or the hospital where we’re working says this is part of our job—for us, it is a bridge between people, it is a bridge to peace, it is a bridge between countries.” Mona Flax met Merin while on the UJFT mission trip to Israel last summer. She says she knew a little about Israel’s humanitarian efforts, but was deeply impacted by a conversation Merin had with the group over Shabbat dinner. “I had no clue that Israel is always the first on the ground for any natural disaster regardless of political ideology. What struck all of us was how under the radar they are. The logical question was, ‘Why no PR, given Israel’s bad rap in the press?’” says Flax. “What I learned and felt was that these efforts are true “tikkun olam,” she says. “And thus, PR is not an issue.” “The community must hear Ofer Merin,” Flax adds. “I have always held the opinion that there are a lot of good doctors, but it is rare to come across a true healer. Ofer is a healer.” Merin says it’s a fine balance between getting press coverage and helping in crises. For him, saving lives will always come first. “Of course we would be happier if all the people in the world knew about the important work that we’re doing, but from the other side—we’re doing this work in order to assist people in need, at that time,” he says. “You come many times to small places around the world and you meet people who have no idea where Israel is or what Jewish people are, and they are just glad you are there. It’s really affirming.” For more information about Ofer Merin, and to RSVP, visit JewishVA.org/CRCIsraelToday or call 757-965-6107. RSVPs are requested for security and planning purposes.
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calendar March 15, Sunday The Community Relations Council and area synagogues, Jewish agencies, organizations and partners conclude the 4th annual Israel Today forum with Lt. Col. Dr. Ofer Merin, chief, IDF Field Hospitals, in charge of setting up the hospitals in instances of natural disaster. His reserve force unit was part of the Israeli delegation that gave aid to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, arriving first on the scene. Merin was also first on the scene in Japan after the tsunami that followed the massive earthquake on March 11, 2011, and in the Philippines after the Typhoon in 2013. 7:30 pm at the Sandler Family Campus. RSVP by March 12 to jewishva. org/CRCIsraelToday#Merin, CRC@ujft.org, or 965-6107. See page 32. Ohef Sholom Temple’s Sisterhood’s used book sale at the temple. 625-4295. Camp JCC Open House. A fun-filled day with a glimpse of what Camp JCC will offer this summer. 1–4 pm. Simon Family JCC. 321-2338. March 18, Wednesday The JCC Senior Club’s guest speaker and entertainer will be Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin. The cantor for Ohef Sholom Temple, Cantor Wally will sing and play the guitar. He will also talk about Passover. Board meeting begins at 10:30 am, lunch at 12 noon. General meeting follows. For further information call 497-0229.
The Maccabeats Sunday, March 29, 3 pm
erforming Arts at the J, presented by Leah Wohl*, presents The Maccabeats, a male a cappella group, performing at the Simon Family JCC. Tickets are going fast, so order now at 321-2338. Adults are $20 or $15 for JCC members; Children are $15 or $10 for JCC members. *of blessed memory.
March 21, Saturday Temple Israel Disabilities Shabbat to feature Shelly Cristensen, a nationally known advocate. She will talk about how to include people with disabilities in Jewish life. 11 am at Temple Israel. 7155 Granby Street. For more information call the temple office at 489-4550. See page 33. March 25, Wednesday Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities’ 2015 Humanitarian Awards dinner honoring Leah and Richard Waitzer at Norfolk Waterside Marriott. 5:45 pm. To attend and sit at the combined United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Tidewater Jewish Foundation and Simon Family JCC table, contact Samantha Golden at 965-6124 or at Sgolden@UJFT.org. March 26–29, Thursday–Sunday Tidewater Together Scholar-In-Residence. Rabbi Sharon Brous to speak throughout Tidewater at various locations. See page 32 for details. March 29, Sunday The Maccabeats, a male a cappella group, will perform at the Simon Family JCC at 3 pm. Order tickets by calling 321-2338. Adults $20 or $15 for JCC members; children $15 or $10 for JCC members. April 19, Sunday Temple Israel Gala to pay homage to Jewish jazz giants with local bandleader bringing story of survival to event. The synagogue’s annual fundraiser will feature hors d’oeuvres and a dinner prepared by TCC’s culinary expert Deanna Freridge, as well as music, dancing, singing and the stories behind the legends, told by WHRV FM’s Jae Sinnett, the area’s leading authority on jazz. Tickets are $60 each and are available by calling 757-489-4550. Send submissions for calendar to email@example.com. Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.
Seeking vendors for Yom Ha’Atzmaut Sunday, May 17, 11 am–5 pm Celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day with the Simon Family JCC’s biggest party of the year. Spaces for artists, craftsmen and non-food vendors are now being filled for the Shuk tent. To apply and for more information, contact: Sherri Wisoff at 757-321-2304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Who Knew? Richard Dreyfuss to play Bernie Madoff in ABC drama
cademy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss will play Bernie Madoff in a multiple-episode drama on the ABC network. The drama will be based on the book The Madoff Chronicles: Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth, according to the Hollywood Reporter. ABC’s chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, wrote the book. Several high-profile actresses are in the running to play Ruth, Madoff’s wife, who was the director of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, according to the Hollywood Reporter. A premiere date and the number of episodes to be screened has yet to be determined. In 2009, Madoff, 70, pleaded guilty to 11 felonies for fabricating nearly $65 billion in profits to attract investors. He is serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina. His Ponzi scheme hit numerous Jewish philanthropies and investors particularly hard. Among those that suffered were Hadassah, the Elie Wiesel Foundation and the American Jewish Congress. (JTA)
One of the producers of Oppenheimer Strategies is Oren Moverman, also a native of Israel, who co-wrote and directed The Messenger (2009), which was also nominated for an Academy Award, for Best Original Screenplay. (JTA)
Stoudemire debuts with NBA’s Mavs
mar’e Stoudemire, who received a buyout from the New York Knicks, made his debut with the Dallas Mavericks. Stoudemire, 32, a six-time NBA AllStar, played in the Mavs’ victory over the Charlotte Hornets in Dallas. Since signing with the Mavs on Feb. 18, the forward-center had been learning the team’s playbook and conditioning, according to ESPN. The Mavs, with a record of 38–20, are third in the Southwest Division and sixth in the Western Conference; the top eight make the playoffs. Stoudemire, who claims “Hebrew roots,” is a minority owner of the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team and has visited Israel. He received a buyout on the final season of his five-year contract with the Knicks, who have the league’s worst record this season at 10–45. (JTA)
Buscemi, Michael Sheen joining Gere in new Joseph Cedar film
sraeli director Joseph Cedar’s Englishlanguage debut film has added top Hollywood figures Steve Buscemi and Michael Sheen to a cast that included Richard Gere. Oppenheimer Strategies, which recently began production and will shoot in New York and Israel, also will feature Josh Charles and Charlotte Gainsbourg, as well as the Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi, according to a recent report by Deadline Hollywood. Gere stars as the title figure, Norman Oppenheimer, a small-time operator who befriends a young, down-and-out politician. Oppenheimer’s life is transformed when the politician rises to international prominence. Along with directing, Cedar, 46, also wrote the script. His last two films, Beaufort (2007) and Footnote (2011) were each nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.
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he 13-week radio series, American Jewish Music from the Milken Archive with Leonard Nimoy, is available on the Milken Archive’s site. Produced by the Milken Archive with WFMT, the award-winning series bears Nimoy’s unique voice and characteristic authority throughout. The first eight two-part episodes are available free for streaming (the rest to be added). http://www.milkenarchive. org/articles/view/radio-series-withleonard-nimoy.
If you are an ambitious, high-energy, self-starter with good people skills, this might be the job for you!
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obituaries Sylvia Altschul Norfolk—Sylva Behr Altschul, 96, formerly of Norfolk, died Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 in Silver Spring, Md. Mrs. Altschul was born in Jersey City, N. J., and was the daughter of the late Louis Behr and Bertha Horowitz Behr. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lemuel Altschul, her daughter, b j Altschul and her brother, Dr. Irving Behr (Florence). Survivors include her niece, Joan Behr Schaeffer (Donald) of New York, Elaine Bregman (Herb) of Virginia Beach, and great nieces and nephew Jan Rabinowitz (Allen) and Amy Saunders (Ed) of Atlanta, and Toby Harris (Ron Shure) and Jess Harris (Judi) of Seattle, and fur-granddaughter Cori. Mrs. Altschul was a former member of Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk and was a past president of B’Nai Brith Women of Norfolk. A funeral service took place at the Norfolk Chapel of H.D. Oliver Funeral Apartments by Rabbi Lawrence A. Forman with burial in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Allan Mark Cogan Norfolk—Allan Mark Cogan, 66, passed away on Sunday, March 1, 2015 in a local hospital. He was the former co-proprietor of Cogan’s in Ghent. Born in Norfolk, he was the son of the late Eulis and Pauline Cogan. Allan graduated from Maury High School in 1966 and attended O.D.U. Allan always “did it his way” He is survived by his brother, Carl B. Cogan of Norfolk and a number of cousins. A graveside funeral service was con-
ducted in B’Nai Israel Cemetery in Norfolk. H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be offered to his family at hdoliver.com. Harry Norkin Norfolk—Harry Norkin, 93, formerly of Norfolk and most recently of Boynton Beach, Fla., passed away Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. A native of Philadelphia, he was the son of the late Louis and Rose Norkin. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Rosalind Green Norkin and their son Bevan Norkin. Mr. Norkin was an Army Veteran of WWII, a charter member of Temple Israel, a 32nd degree Mason and Shriner and member of the United Jewish Federation Emerald Club. After he retired as a chemical process pipeline engineer, he founded his own business and later built two hotels, one in Williamsburg and one in Newport News. Mr. Norkin loved to play golf and fish. He was especially proud of having made a hole in one, as well as having caught a Blue Marlin in Acapulco, Mexico. Mr. Norkin is survived by his daughter Janet Norkin Schiff of Norfolk; three grandchildren Brian Schiff of Norfolk, Dr. Lauren Schiff Weber and husband Dr. William Weber of Lexington, Ken., and Leslie Schiff of Virginia Beach; a great granddaughter Charlotte Weber; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and dear friends. Funeral services were held in Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Michael Panitz officiating. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.
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Jackie Suissa Muise Virginia Beach—Jackie Suissa Muise, 77, of the 1100 block of Hubbell Drive, died Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 in a local hospital. She was a native of Fez, Morocco and was the daughter of the late Maurice and Perla Cohen Suissa. She was a member of Hichal Sholom Temple. Survivors include her loving husband of 35 years, Donald Barry Muise of Virginia Beach, her daughter, Yvette Ortiz of Los Angeles, California, her son, John Jacque Suissa of Virginia Beach, her brother, Gerard Suissa of Israel and her sisters; Solange Suissa, Heleen Hunter and Albertine Rubin all of Virginia Beach. She is also survived by her grandchildren; Mortiel, Ellia and Sherel. Graveside funeral services were held in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Norfolk with Rabbi Mosha Sossna officiating. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.
Leonard Nimoy, actor who played Spock on Star Trek’ Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for his role as Spock on Star Trek, died at his home in Los Angeles. The cause of his death Friday, Feb. 27, was end-stage chronic pulmonary disease, The New York Times reported. He was 83. Nimoy’s Spock has proved to be one of the most famous television characters of the second half of the 20th century. Nimoy said that he based the character’s split-finger salute, now a pop culture fixture, on a Kohanic blessing that involves a manual approximation of the Hebrew letter shin. Nimoy was born in Boston’s West End neighborhood in 1931 to Yiddish-speaking, Orthodox Jewish immigrant parents from then Soviet Ukraine. After teaching method acting in his own studio and making several minor film and television appearances in the 1950s and early 1960s, Nimoy was cast as Spock, a pragmatic alien with trademark pointed ears, in 1965. Star Trek became a cult classic show in the 1970s and eventually spawned five subsequent TV series and 12 films. Nimoy played Spock for over four decades and sustained a successful Broadway theater career. His other notable acting roles include Paris in the spy series
Mission Impossible and the psychiatrist David Kibner in a 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He also directed two of the Star Trek films and the 1987 comedy Three Men and a Baby. Nimoy showcased his ambivalence about being closely identified with the Spock role through the titles of his two autobiographies, which are titled I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (1995). In his later years, Nimoy rediscovered his Jewish roots. In 1991, he produced and starred in Never Forget, a TV movie based on the story of a Holocaust survivor who sues a group of neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers, and four years later he hosted an NPR series in which Jewish celebrities read aloud Jewish short stories. In 2002, he published Shekhina, a book of photographs of semi-nude Jewish women, which angered Orthodox leaders. And in 2009, he narrated a documentary about the Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Pa., which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Nimoy was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in A Woman Called Golda in 1982.
Herman Rosenblat, Holocaust memoir fabricator Herman Rosenblat, a Holocaust survivor who created a scandal by writing a memoir filled with untrue details, has died. Rosenblat died on Feb. 5 and was buried three days later in Hollywood, Fla., The Associated Press reported. He was 85. He created an uproar with his 2008 memoir Angel at the Fence with the claim that he and his wife, Roma, had first met when she sneaked food to him at a Buchenwald subcamp and reconnected more than a decade later on a blind date in the United States. Research by scholars and interviews with family members subsequently proved the story to be false, and publisher Berkley Books canceled the memoir. Rosenblat had indeed survived a harrowing series of experiences in the concentration camps, and his wife, born Roma Radzicki, had indeed survived the war living under a false identity. However, she had been living far away in Germany with her family. They had never met until the blind date in 1957. They were married a year later. (JTA)
obituaries Slain Copenhagen guard memorialized as fine example to community Dan Uzan, the Jewish volunteer guard killed in a shooting outside Copenhagen’s central synagogue, was remembered at his funeral as one “who was always ready to do his part.” “Everybody in our community knew Dan,” said Dan Rosenberg, head of the Danish Jewish community, on Feb. 18 at the Mosaiske Vestre Jewish cemetery in Copenhagen. “He was always ready to do his part; he was a very fine example for the whole community.” Danish Prime Minister Helle ThorningSchmidt was among the hundreds of
mourners who attended the funeral, which was held under tight security, the French news agency AFP reported. “The Jewish world embraces you at this difficult time,” Natan Sharansky, the Jewish Agency’s chairman, told Uzan’s family at the funeral. Uzan, who had an Israeli father and a Danish mother, died Feb. 15 from injuries sustained in the attack on the Danish capital’s central synagogue in Krystalgade. He was 37. Uzan was standing guard outside the synagogue at an event held at an adjacent building for approximately 80 people who had gathered for a bat mitzvah. The attack occurred hours after a fatal shooting
Saturday afternoon at a free speech event at a cultural center featuring the Danish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who is under police protection because of his cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad. Danish police in a shootout Feb. 15 killed the suspected gunman in both attacks. (JTA)
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Behind those pointy ears, a ‘nice, earnest Jewish boy’ by Tom Tugend
This article was originally published in 1991. It is republished with the author’s permission. (JTA)—As a struggling young actor in the early 1950s, Leonard Nimoy, inspired by the rebirth of the Jewish state and childhood memories of Zionist rallies in Boston Garden, considered making aliyah to join Habimah, Israel’s national theater. Upon cooler reflection on the huge language barrier he would face, Nimoy instead headed west to Hollywood. Whatever the loss to the Hebrew theater, the decision vouchsafed to millions of Star Trek devotees that Nimoy would be at the right place at the right time to create the role of the semi-immortal Mr. Spock of the Starship Enterprise. A friend, Diane Johnson, describes him as “a nice, earnest Jewish boy, hard working, family oriented, undereducated for his intelligence, with the autodidact’s respect for the intellect and for literature.” What does Nimoy think of the thumbnail sketch? Sitting on the patio of his rambling house in the posh Bel Air section of Los Angeles, Nimoy laughs. “She’s right on the nose, right on the nose,” he says. “I really screwed up on my education.” The relentlessly driven Nimoy is at peace with himself, perhaps for the first time in the 43 years since he made the decision at age 17 to become an actor. “I’ve told my agent not to call me for at least a year,” says Nimoy. “I want to spend a great deal of time re-examining my life, my identity, my Jewishness. In the past, my identity was based on my job, but now I’m secure. “I’m a very happy guy, with a new family and no financial cares. At 60, I have accomplished far more as an actor, writer, director and producer than I ever expected. The tables are cleared and I am open to inspiration and choice.” It’s been a long road to the self-assured squire of Bel Air from a difficult childhood and adolescence in a middle-class section of Boston. His parents arrived separately in the U.S. from the small Ukrainian town of
Zaslav in the early 1920s. In Boston, father Max became a partner in a barbershop. The Nimoy household kept kosher and was flexibly Orthodox: With Saturdays the busiest day in the barbershop, the father tended to his job. Nimoy’s studious older brother, Melvin, was clearly the parents’ favorite. When Nimoy gave the first inkling of his future calling by starring in a children’s play at 8, the father declared sternly that he hadn’t come all the way from Russia to America to see a son waste his life as an actor. The family pecking order powerfully influenced Nimoy’s career. “Family life made me a supporting player to my brother and later, as an actor, I continued to be most comfortable in that role,” he says. “I did not aspire to be the leading man but sought out the role of the outsider, the alien, who would be a secondary character.” The sense of alienation was reinforced by growing up in a predominantly ItalianCatholic neighborhood. “Being Jewish, I sensed some element of difference, a separation,” Nimoy recalls. His early psychological bent became irreversible—as did his decision to become an actor—when as a 17-year-old he landed his first real stage role as the teenage son, Ralphie, in Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing. The play dramatized the struggles of a Jewish family, the Bergers, in the depth of the 1930s Depression. “That was an amazing event,” Nimoy says. “That characters could talk about Jewish concerns on an American stage made me feel validated as a person and as a Jew. My role as a young man, surrounded by a hostile and repressive environment, so touched a responsive chord that I decided to make a career of acting.” Rather than attend college, Nimoy spent the next two years saving money as a vacuum-cleaner salesman; when he had enough he headed for Los Angeles. The family separation scene still makes him shudder. “It was terrible, a terribly emotional ordeal,” he says. “There were tears and fights and arguments up to the last minute. I left with a lot of pain.” Out West, Nimoy enrolled in acting classes at the Pasadena Playhouse and, as one of the few youthful Yiddish speakers
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in town, picked up minor roles whenever a Yiddish theater troupe came to town. “I was in a play with the great Maurice Schwartz, the most famous Yiddish actor of his time, and hoping to gain some credibility in the eyes of my parents, I asked him to write a letter to them saying that I was doing all right. And he did so,” Nimoy says. Slowly, Nimoy’s career started to take off. At 21, he snagged his first major film role, playing another outsider, a disfigured boxer, in the long-forgotten Kid Monk Baroni. One thing Nimoy appreciated about Hollywood was the pervasive Jewish influence in the film industry, which dampened any blatant expressions of anti-Semitism. “At least I didn’t have to hear such terms as ‘dirty kike’ as l did in Boston,” he says. After a two-year stint in the army, Nimoy was discharged in 1956. He couldn’t find an acting job and his wife, Sandi, was expecting their second child. For a while, Nimoy made a precarious living as a taxi driver. He gradually found more roles in the movies and theater, but the watershed event in Nimoy’s life came in 1965 when he was cast as Spock in what would become the enormously successful Star Trek television series and subsequent motion pictures. Nimoy, as the rational, pointy-eared Spock, quickly became a pop hero. Has the Star Trek phenomenon been a curse or a blessing? “Both,” Nimoy says jocularly before quickly changing his tone and adding, “I shouldn’t be facetious about this.” Spock’s fame “has given me an entree and influence, the chance to translate my abilities into other kinds of work, to play in the theater because they know that I can sell tickets.” Indeed, given the opportunity, Nimoy has demonstrated a versatility even he may not have suspected. He has become a respected director. His credits include Star Trek III, Star Trek IV, Three Men and a Baby and Funny About Love. On stage he has starred on Broadway in Equus and as actor, director and producer of Vincent, a one-man play about another alienated hero, Vincent van Gogh. He derived perhaps his greatest satisfaction from the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof during an eight-week run in New England,
not least because it allowed his parents to view their son as an actor for the first time. Nimoy has been a highly regarded acting teacher and the author of three volumes of poetry, illustrated with his own photographs. He has recorded 10 narrative albums and, in 1975, wrote his autobiography, I Am Not Spock. At the same time. Nimoy has branched out into television movies. He warmly remembers his part as Golda Meir’s husband, Morris Myerson, in A Woman Called Golda, because it gave him a chance to revisit Israel, where the film was shot. In the television movie Never Forget, based on actual events, he portrayed Mel Mermelstein, a 64-year-old Holocaust survivor who won a dramatic and drawn-out legal battle against a group of neo-Nazi revisionists who claimed that the Holocaust was a “Jewish hoax.” The experience deepened his study of the Holocaust. Lying on his living room table were two books about the era, The War Against the Jews by Lucy Davidowicz, and Beyond Belief by Deborah Lipstadt, next to Ben Shahn’s illustrated Haggada. Amid the professional success, some painful personal problems that had been building for some time came to a head. A New York Times reporter and family friend wrote later that by the mid-1980s, Nimoy “guiltily played the roles of husband in a marriage that had grown stale and son to immigrant parents he could never satisfy. In December 1986, he walked out on his wife of 33 years. In 1987, his father died and his mother six months later.” On New Year’s Day 1989, Nimoy married Susan Bay, and the couple attend services at Temple Israel of Hollywood, a Reform congregation, where Susan’s cousin, John Roscove, is the senior rabbi. Though not a particularly religious man, Nimoy feels that “everything I do is informed by my Judaism. A lot of what I’ve put into Spock came to me through my Jewish orientation.” As one example, Nimoy modeled the Vulcan hand greeting, which expresses “Live long and prosper,” on the gesture still seen in Orthodox synagogues during the blessing of the kohanim (priestly class). Live long and prosper, Leonard Nimoy.
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