Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 55 No. 17 | 19 Iyar 5777 | May 15, 2017
28 Israel Fest celebrates 69 years
29 Tidewater gets a taste of Israel
Community remembers and honors Writing and Visual Arts competition winners
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33 In Our Hands: the Battle for Jerusalem Tuesday, May 23
Health Care 38 in the Jewish community supplement to Jewish News May 15, 2017 jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Health Care | Jewish News | 15
Sidney Levine Stein Family College Scholarship winner
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US senators to UN: Treatment of Israel ‘must change’
ll 100 members of the U.S. Senate signed a letter to the leader of the United Nations urging a comprehensive effort to remedy the organization’s “anti-Israel agenda.” The letter, which was sent last month to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, praised his recent decision to disavow an anti-Israel report from the U.N.’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and identified four specific areas where further action could be taken to rectify the “unacceptable” treatment of Israel at the world body. The senators urged Guterres to eliminate or reform various standing committees focusing on issues relating to Israel, press members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to stop advancing measures targeting Israel, reform the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, and to seek change in the Human Rights Council—in particular the elimination of Agenda Item VII, the only country-specific item on the council’s agenda, which specifically targets Israel. “Too often, the U.N. is exploited as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing the lofty goals of its founders,” the senators wrote. “These actions have at times reinforced the broader scourge of anti-Semitism, and distracted certain U.N. entities from their original mission.”
The letter came just days after Guterres, in an address to the World Jewish Congress in New York, denounced anti-Semitism and said Israel deserves to be treated at the United Nations like any other country. “As secretary-general of the United Nations, I can say that the State of Israel needs to be treated as any other state, with exactly the same rules,” Guterres said. In their letter, the senators issued no threats regarding funding to the United Nations, though they did note that the United States is the single largest contributor to the organization. Earlier last month, the Trump administration announced it had canceled funding for the U.N.’s Population Fund, which provides family planning and contraception services to women in 155 countries. “As duly elected representatives of the American people, we take seriously our responsibility to conduct rigorous oversight of U.S. engagement at the United Nations,” the letter said. “We are deeply committed to international leadership and to advancing respect for human rights. But continued targeting of Israel by the U.N. Human Rights Council and other U.N. entities is unacceptable.” According to The Times of Israel, the letter was authored by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Christopher Coons, D-Del. (JTA)
“Too often, the U.N. is exploited as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing the lofty goals of its founders.”
About the cover: Photograph at Yom Hashoah by Dmitry Gotkis
Up Front. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Health care in the Jewish community. . . . . . 15
Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Celebrating Israel’s 69th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Shavout and holding the Torah. . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Tidewater gets taste of Israel. . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Hal Sacks Jewish News Archives. . . . . . . . . . . 6
Yom Hashoah moves community . . . . . . . . . 30
Executive order allows campaigning from pulpit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
What’s Happening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Trump to visit Israel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Comey had Jewish admirers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Ralph Robbins to retire from VIAB. . . . . . . . 13
Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Sydney Levine receives Stein Family College Scholarship. . . . . . . 38
French Jews relived over election. . . . . . . . . 14 Special Section— Health Care
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“What if a congregant asks a pastor for an endorsement when
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Briefs El Al to begin nonstop Tel Aviv-Miami route El Al Israel Airlines will begin nonstop flights between Tel Aviv and Miami in November. It will be El Al’s sixth route in North America; the others are New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Boston, and Toronto. Miami International Airport had been in talks with El Al since February 2016 to secure the route, the Miami Herald reported. “In our efforts to make MIA a truly global gateway, Israel has always been one of our top strategic targets because of its unique and historically significant global location, and because of its deep cultural ties with Miami,” Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio Gonzalez said. South Florida has a large Jewish population. (JTA)
community, and all of the peoples of our country, has been outstanding. We wish him a healthy and contented retirement.” Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, thanked Phillip for “shining a spotlight” on Holocaust remembrance and education. His mother, Princess Alice, who risked her life in Nazi-occupied Athens to save the lives of Jews, is buried at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem. In 2015, Elizabeth and Phillip met with survivors and liberators in a visit to the former Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany. “I will never forget the mutual affection, humor and respect shared between [Phillip] with survivors and liberators in 2015 when he and the Queen visited Bergen-Belsen,” Pollock said. “We wish him a happy and well-earned retirement.”
Jewish leaders pay tribute to Prince Phillip on his retirement Jewish leaders in Great Britain paid tribute to Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who announced that he will retire from public engagements after August. Buckingham Palace announced that the 95-year-old Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, had the “full support of the Queen” in stepping back after some 70 years of hosting charity dinners, attending state functions, presenting trophies and honoring foreign dignitaries. “Prince Philip has given long and tireless public service to our country for over 60 years,” Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told the Jewish Chronicle. “I had the honor of conducting him on a tour of Hertsmere Jewish Primary School at its opening in 2000 when I was the chair of governors. He was a wonderful guest, engaging beautifully with the children and giving an outstanding witty speech. It was a memorable occasion which those present will always recall with pleasure.” Simon Johnson, the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, told the Chronicle: “His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh has been selfless and dedicated in his public service. His commitment to the well-being of the Jewish
Former religious freedom, anti-Semitism envoys urge Trump to fill positions Four previous U.S. envoys to fight anti-Semitism and promote religious freedom called on President Donald Trump to fill the two positions, which are currently empty. The letter, sent by the Lantos Foundation, noted “spreading anti-Semitism both at home and abroad” and persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East and Asia. The signatories include two former envoys for international religious freedom, Robert Seiple and Rabbi David Saperstein, the former director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center; the two previous envoys for combating anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal and Ira Forman, and the president of the Lantos Foundation and former chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Katrina Lantos Swett. “The perilous state of religious freedom around the globe confirms the wisdom of America’s leaders in creating a legal framework for addressing these abuses and ensuring that our foreign policy remains focused on protecting and advancing these fundamental rights,” read the letter sent by the human rights-focused nonprofit. “The positions of Ambassador-at-Large
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for International Religious Freedom and the Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism are absolutely critical components of that legal framework.” There have been conflicting reports as to whether Trump will fill the positions. The Lantos Foundation is named after Tom Lantos, a U.S. lawmaker, human rights activist and the only Holocaust survivor elected to Congress. Lantos died in 2008 at 80. (JTA)
Israel’s population is 8.68 million on 69th birthday Israel’s population stood at 8.68 million on Israel Independence Day. The figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on April 27 ahead of the nation’s 69th birthday on May 1 show that the country’s population is growing by nearly 2 percent a year and that there are 10 times as many Israelis today as there were when the state was founded in 1948. Some 6.48 million residents of Israel are Jewish and account for 74.4 percent of the population, and 1.8 million Arabs make up 20.8 percent, according to the bureau. Non-Arab Christians and other ethnic groups make up the remaining 388,000 people, or 4.4 percent. In the last year, there were 174,000 births and 44,000 deaths. The population also increased some 30,000 by new immigrants from around the world. Seventy-five percent of the current population was born in Israel, compared to 35 percent born in the area in 1948. Some 54.3 percent of Israelis are between the ages of 19 and 64. Those aged 65 and over make up 11.1 percent of the population and 18 and under make up 34.6 percent. Some 45,000 people are 90 and older. Forty-four percent of Jewish Israelis consider themselves secular, with 24 percent identifying as traditional but “not so religious.” Eleven percent say they are religious/Orthodox and 9 percent say they are haredi Orthodox. Of the country’s non-Jews, 52 percent call themselves religious, 21 percent secular, 23 percent “not so religious” and 4 percent very religious. Under the heading of “how is it to live in Israel,” 89 percent of Israelis age 20
and up say they are “satisfied with their lives”; 59 percent say they are “satisfied with their economic situation”; 52 percent “estimate that their lives will be better in the future,” and 44 percent “believe their economic situation will improve.” Jerusalem is the largest city with 865,700 residents. Israel’s smallest town is Neve Zohar, located near the Dead Sea, with 71 residents. (JTA)
Lawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to commission Elie Wiesel bust in Capitol Two Congress members introduced a bipartisan bill to commission a bust of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who died last year. Reps. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., introduced the bill in the House of Representatives. Wiesel, an activist against racism who was well known internationally for his many books, essays and educational projects about the Holocaust, died in July at 87. Cohen, who is Jewish, and RosLehtinen, an Episcopalian with Jewish heritage, praised Wiesel’s accomplishments in a statement noting that they were introducing the bill during the week of Holocaust Remembrance Day. “Elie Wiesel was one of the greatest moral forces in the world,” Cohen said. “He is a member of that rare group of people who have had a major individual impact on our world, such as Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.” Ros-Lehtinen said that a statue or bust of Wiesel in the Capitol “would memorialize him and ensure that we continue to share his story and remind ourselves that, as he said, ‘our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.’” Among the bill’s 51 co-sponsors are 12 Jewish lawmakers: Reps. David Cicilline, D-R.I., Susan Davis, D-Calif, Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., David Kustoff, R-Tenn., Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., John Yarmuth, D-Ky., and Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y. (JTA)
On Shavuot, remembering the day I almost dropped the Torah Edmon Rodman
LOS ANGELES (JTA)—On Shavuot, we are reminded that the Torah is a tree of life to which we are to hold fast. But what happens when that hold slips from your grasp? It’s a question I found myself asking six weeks before Shavuot, late in the Torah service on the last day of Passover. Returning with my wife Brenda to Temple Beth Emet, in Anaheim, Calif., where I grew up, we both had come to attend the Yizkor service and to see her family who continue to pray there. Not far from Disneyland, it’s a shrinking kingdom of Jewish memories where, as I walked down the aisle to my seat, I could see my Hebrew school teacher and the familiar faces of those who had been friends of my parents. A little while after we were seated, the gabbai came down the aisle, blue card in hand, and asked me if I wanted to be “hagbah”—that is, to raise the Torah after it was read. “Thank you,” I said, accepting the honor. When my wife joined me, we quickly exchanged notes and found that we were going to be a Torah team, since while she was out in the lobby, the gabbai had asked her to be “gelilah”—the person tasked with dressing the Torah. As the scrolls were taken from the ark, I nudged her, saying the larger of the two scrolls was probably the one I should lift. As I sized it up, I could see that this scroll was longer than the one I had grown accustomed to lifting in my minyan in Los Angeles. Torah scrolls vary quite a bit in size, from short study scrolls weighing only a few pounds up to tall, arm-length versions that can weigh up to about 50 pounds. Besides being a holy object, a Torah scroll is also expensive, taking a scribe a year or more to write its 304,805 letters by hand, and costing between $30,000 and $60,000, depending on size, quality of script and parchment.
Trying to keep this out of mind, I counted down the aliyot, the sections in which the Torah is read, until with the completion of the eighth and final reading. Quickly, I walked up the few steps to the bima where I had chanted, in what seemed like a million turns of the Torah ago, for my bar mitzvah. Grabbing the wooden handles, known as the Trees of Life, I rolled each tight, so that three columns were left showing in the middle. I carefully slid the scroll towards me, and then, using the Torah reading table’s edge as a fulcrum, I slid the remaining section down, bent my knees and levered the Torah up. With the handles about even to my shoulders, I turned away from the congregation, so the worshippers could see the writing, and raised the scroll higher. I took about four steps to the chairs where I knew I was supposed to sit, and where my wife would tie the scroll and dress it. Only, there was a problem. “The least stable time during hagbah is right after you sit down,” says the National Chavura Committee’s website, and this is the truth. While lowering my body to sit, I lost the tension between the two halves, and the half in my left hand began to wobble. Thrusting my arm out to steady it only caused the scroll to gyrate more in what began to appear to me as a slow-motion disaster. Now, being asked to raise the Torah is a great honor—or, as the gabbai had put it, “greater than them all.” Rabbi Joseph H. Prouser, citing the Mishnah in an article titled, “Raising Awareness: The Symbolic Significance of Hagbah and Gelilah,” explained: “lifting the Torah scroll, is a public act of qinyan, of establishing ‘ownership’” rights. But if that were the case, those “rights,” remembered on Shavuot with the celebration of the giving of the Torah, were wobbling away both from me and from the congregation, who if I dropped the Torah, would need to decide how to
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reassert their ownership. Would they fast? Give tzedakah? One more wobble, and then my wife, seemingly coming out of nowhere, grabbed the top of the errant roller, and even though the parchment buckled into an S-like shape that widened my eyes, she stopped its fall. “Good save,” someone said to her as she returned to her seat. In another era, according to Prouser, the raising and dressing of the Torah was “executed by a single individual.”
But today, I was ecstatic to be part of a team: a husband and wife, who had long been juggling work, children, family, and Judaism, coming together, after some juggling of my own, finally to take grasp of the Torah and own it. “She is a tree of life to those who grasp her,” says the Book of Proverbs, “and whoever holds on to her is happy.” Edmon J. Rodman is a JTA columnist who writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles. Contact him at email@example.com.
jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Jewish News | 5
COFFEE CONCERT ANDRÉ-MICHEL SCHUB, piano DEBRA WENDELLS CROSS, flute SHERIE LAKE AGUIRRE, oboe LAURA LEISRING, bassoon MICHAEL DANIELS, cello
MAY 18, 10:30 AM
from the hal Sacks Jewish News Archives
May 25, 2007 Hebrew Academy of Tidewater recently received one of the largest donations in its history—$2,850,000 —thanks to the kindness and philanthropy of three Konikoff brothers and their wives. The official name of the school is now Hebrew Academy of Tidewater Konikoff Center of Learning.
ST. JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, PORTSMOUTH
Music by Haydn, Schubert and Poulenc. OLGA KERN, piano MAY 24, 7:30 PM
WELLS THEATRE, NORFOLK Sponsored by
May 9, 1997 Annie Sandler has been invited to serve on the board of the International Research Institute on Jewish Women, located at Brandeis University. The Institute, the first of its kind, has several defining characteristics which incorporates Jewish women’s historical and contemporary experiences in diverse contexts.
May 22, 1987 The new offices of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater—The Rose Frances and Bernard Glasser Pavilion—will be dedicated on Sunday, May 31. The new and extended office of the UJFT is located in a wing of the Jewish Community Center adjoining the Esther and Ben Simon Auditorium.
May 27, 1977 “Call it star quality... music likes Kern the way a camera liked Garbo...” — The Washington Post
WORLD PREMIERE OPERA! KEPT: a ghost story Kristin Kuster, composer Megan Levad, librettist JoAnn Falletta, conductor Mary Birnbaum, stage director William Burden, tenor MAY 25, 7:30 PM MAY 28, 3 PM ATTUCKS THEATRE, NORFOLK
On Tuesday, May 31, Mrs. Susan Eilberg will welcome the members of the Norfolk Chapter of Women’s American ORT to an installation luncheon. Mrs. Beverly Werbel, president elect, will be installed by Mrs. Marcia Hofheimer, vice president District IV, WAO.
May 1, 1967 Under the competent direction of Mrs. Rose Nordlinger, Thursday night Duplicate Bridge is a smashing success. There are about 75 true-blue bridge players who show up week after week, rain, sleet, or snow, and there is always room for more players.
May 1, 1957 On Sunday, May 19, Beth Sholom Home of Virginia will lay the cornerstone of its new building at Libbie and Fitzhugh Avenues in Richmond. Governor Stanley will keynote the ceremony with an address, “Virginia’s Concern for the Aged.” Those participating in the ceremonies from Norfolk include Jake Goodman and Rabbi Paul Reich.
May 1, 1947 WILLIAM BURDEN This production made possible through a generous gift from Connie & Marc Jacobson. Supported in part by the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Friedrich Ludwig Diehn Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music.
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During the last two weeks in April and the entire month of May, the Tidewater B’nai B’rith Youth Organization Council is undertaking a drive to supply the Jewish people of Roumania with religious articles, prayer books, and textbooks.
To browse or search the Jewish News Archives, go to www.jewishnewsva.org and click on archives.
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Said a Lot About H1m.
Trump executive order allows campaigning from the pulpit Ben Sales
(JTA)—Jewish groups largely came out against a new executive order allowing clergy to endorse or oppose candidates
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from the pulpit, fearing that it will erode the separation between church and state. The order, which President Donald Trump signed Thursday, May 4 at the White House on the National Day of
Prayer, effectively reverses a 1954 regulation called the Johnson Amendment that prohibited houses of worship and faith groups from endorsing or opposing candidates. Offending houses of worship would lose their tax-exempt status. Trump has long promised to do away with the law, which he sees as restricting religious freedom, but Jewish organizations had urged him to leave it intact. On May 4, several Jewish groups and leaders came out against the executive order, saying the amendment was a bulwark that prevents the mixing of prayer and politics. They noted that religious groups are free already to advocate for issues and political causes, if not candidates.
What is a pastor to do if a congregant who is a major donor now makes his church gift contingent on an endorsement from the pulpit for his or her preferred candidate?
Last month, a range of major Jewish organizations was among more than 4,000 nonprofit groups that signed a letter in support of the Johnson Amendment. “Clergy and communities of faith already raise our voices loudly on issues of political and social concern,” Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious
Nation objections not to include Action Center, Reform contraception coverage in Judaism’s legislative workers’ health care plans. advocacy arm, said in a “We are grateful that statement. “The prohibiPresident Trump has made tion against endorsing or Percent of Americans it clear that his adminisopposing political cansupport clergy tration will promote and didates from our pulpits making endorsements protect the religious libsimply prevents groups from the pulpit erty of Americans of all from being simultafaiths wherever possible,” neously tax-exempt Nathan Diament, the ministries and partisan O.U.’s executive director of political outfits.” public policy, said. “We Throughout his camlook forward to working paign and afterward, with the White House, Trump has maligned Justice Department and others to implethe amendment as a muzzle on the free ment the principles laid out in today’s speech of clergy. In February, he vowed to executive order.” “totally destroy” it. A full repeal of the Johnson At the signing ceremony, Trump Amendment can happen only through an invoked the history of church-driven act of Congress. But Trump’s order directs social change movements in America, the Internal Revenue Service not to prosereferring to the activism of the Rev. cute violations of the Johnson Amendment Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil by houses of worship, effectively ensuring rights movement. He called the amendthat they won’t face repercussions from ment “very, very unfair” and told clergy the law. that “you’re now in a position where you “The Founders envisioned a Nation can say what you want to say, and I know in which religious voices and views were you’ll only say good and you’ll say what’s integral to a vibrant public square, and in in your heart.” which religious people and institutions “Free speech does not end at the steps were free to practice their faith withof a cathedral or a synagogue, or any other out fear of discrimination or retaliation house of worship,” the president said. by the Federal Government,” the order “We are giving our churches their voices reads. “For that reason, the United States back, and we are giving them back in the Constitution enshrines and protects the highest form. The federal government will fundamental right to religious liberty as never, ever penalize any person for their Americans’ first freedom.” protected religious beliefs.” Americans’ support for the order’s cenThe executive order pledges to “vigtral action appears to be low. According orously enforce Federal law’s robust to a March poll by the Public Religion protections for religious freedom.” It also Research Institute, only 22 percent suppromises to “address” regulations that port clergy making endorsements from prohibit employers from denying coverage the pulpit. And the Pew Research Center of contraceptives to employees on relifound that such endorsements are relagious grounds. tively rare. A 2016 Pew study found that At least one Jewish group, the while nearly two-thirds of worshippers Orthodox Union, applauded the order. have heard clergy deliver a sermon about The O.U. opposed the Obama admina social or political issue, only 14 percent istration’s requirement that religious have heard clergy endorse or oppose a organizations provide coverage of concandidate. traceptives for employees, and also came Rather than loosening the reins on out against Obama’s support for same-sex churches, opponents of the order say marriage. defanging the Johnson Amendment could It welcomed as a change of course an put houses of worship in a bind. Testifying order that also directs federal agencies to on the law before a House subcommittee, make it easier for employers with religious
Reform Rabbi David Saperstein said congregants could now pressure clergy into endorsing candidates, creating potential for divisiveness in congregations. “What is a pastor to do if a congregant who is a major donor now makes his church gift contingent on an endorsement from the pulpit for his or her preferred candidate?” asked Saperstein, a former
U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom. “What if a congregant asks a pastor for an endorsement when the pastor has endorsed other candidates in other elections? “Once down that path,” he said, “painful pressure to endorse any congregant running for office arises.”
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jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Jewish News | 9
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Trump will visit Israel on first overseas trip Ron Kampeas
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WASHINGTON ( JTA)—President Donald Trump said his first overseas trip as president would be to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Vatican—a triad that signals his plan to join the three Abrahamic faiths in the fight against terrorism. Trump’s announcement and how his aides framed it to reporters sought to allay concerns stoked during his presidential campaign and the first weeks of his presidency that he is anti-Muslim. “My first foreign trip as president of the United States will be to Saudi Arabia, then Israel and then to a place that my cardinals love very much, Rome,” Trump said Thursday, May 4 on the White House lawn, where he had just signed an executive order easing restrictions on tax exemptions for religious groups. Dates were not specified, but it has been reported that the trip will take place during the week of May 21, with the Israel stop the following day. Trump singled out the visit to Saudi Arabia, where he will begin his trip, as especially significant. The president noted it was the custodian of the two holiest Islamic sites. “It is there we will begin to construct a new foundation of cooperation and support with our Muslim allies to combat extremism, terrorism and violence, and to embrace a more just and hopeful future for young Muslims in their countries,” he said. The formal White House announcement also emphasized the Saudi component of the trip. “The visit will reaffirm the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and allow the leaders to discuss issues of strategic concern, including efforts to defeat terrorist groups and discredit radical ideologies,” it said. In a briefing for reporters just after
the ceremony, a senior aide to Trump said the thrust of the tour, which will precede a previously announced visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels, is to unite the world’s nations and the three faiths—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—against terrorism. The agenda was deliberately set “to bring about all the different countries, all the different religions, in the fight against terrorism,” said the aide. In the briefing, three top Trump aides, who spoke on condition of not being named, sounded a slightly defensive note about Trump, whose broadsides against Islam during his campaign drew fire from American Muslims and from some foreign leaders of Muslim-majority states. Those concerns were compounded when one of Trump’s first executive orders was to ban travel from seven Muslimmajority countries—a ban that federal courts have stayed in part because it may have targeted Muslims in violation of the constitutional prohibition on religious preferences. The aides said Muslim and Arab leaders had expressed relief to Trump over what they said was the retreat from engagement in the Middle East that had characterized the presidency of Barack Obama, Trump’s predecessor. “President Trump has said a lot of things that a lot of those leaders agree with,” an aide said. “They want to see a lot of the Muslim young people in that region to have economic opportunity.” Although no reporter in the course of the briefing raised the issue of the isolationism Trump articulated during his campaign—encapsulated in his slogan “America First”—a senior aide defended the president against the charge. “‘America First’ is fully compatible with American leadership in the world,” the aide said. Another aide suggested that the Iran
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Nation nuclear deal Obama negotiated, which swapped sanctions relief for a nuclear rollback, was an element in what the aides claimed was new regional enthusiasm for Trump. “What we’re seeing now is a very emboldened Iran, and as a result of that you’ve had a set of very unified countries throughout the Middle East,” the aide said. Notably, however, the signing cer-
Trump’s aides were vague about the particulars of Trump’s push for Middle East peace, but said more details should emerge during the trip.
emony, which Trump scheduled to coincide with the National Day of Prayer, opened with prayers from three clergymen—two Christians and a Jew, but none of them Muslim. Rabbi Marvin Hier, who founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center and delivered
the benediction at Trump’s inauguration, was among the clergymen delivering the opening prayers. “While everyone has the right to own his dreams, no one’s dreams should include a license to hate,” he said. The formal announcement of the visit said Trump would meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the trip, but did not say where he would meet him. Abbas, who met this month with Trump at the White House, said afterward he had invited Trump to meet him in Bethlehem. Abbas was speaking at a reception that his diplomats organized for U.S. Middle East scholars and Jewishand Arab-American community leaders. On the conference call, Trump’s aides were vague about the particulars of Trump’s push for Middle East peace, but said more details should emerge during the trip. “We’re going to reinforce the strong alliance with the Israeli people,” the aide said. “We’re going to talk about the peace process, how we go forward, outline what we think will be a good future in that region.” The aide said they were approaching the vexing issue of Israeli-Palestinian peace with “humility” and examining the strategies of Trump’s predecessors. Trump in the public portion of his meeting with Abbas did not mention a key Israeli demand—that Abbas stop payments to families of terrorists killed or jailed by Israel. However, a White House readout of the meeting said Trump “raised his concerns” about the issue and “emphasized the need to resolve the issue.” During the briefing on Thursday, May 4, a reporter asked the aides why Trump, who has confronted other leaders in public, kept the matter of payouts to families of terrorists behind closed doors. An aide said that Trump at times believes it is more productive to “keep things confidential” when he meets with foreign leaders.
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jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Jewish News | 11
James Comey had admirers among Jewish defense officials Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON ( JTA)—“You make us better,” James Comey told the AntiDefamation League in his final public speech as FBI director. Judging from the applause in the conference room at the venerable Mayflower Hotel here, the feeling was mutual. Mired in investigations of the scandals of 2016 (Hillary Clinton’s relationship with her email server) and 2017 (Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia), not a lot of love ended up being lost between the FBI director and either party. Democrats called for Comey’s firing last year when a week and a half before the election he reopened the Clinton case because of emails found on the laptop of former congressman Anthony Weiner in an unrelated case. President Donald Trump, who
repeatedly praised the FBI director as a candidate, fired Comey on Tuesday, May 9 ostensibly because Comey treated Clinton unfairly last July – he excoriated her for her email habits in a news conference, but recommended against legal action. The firing was drawing attention for its timing: Comey is delving into ties between the Trump campaign and transition officials who may have had ties to Russia. Among the folks whose business it is to keep Jews safe—like those gathered Monday, May 8 in the Mayflower for the ADL’s leadership summit—admiration for Comey was fairly unequivocal. To a degree greater than most of his predecessors, he made the Jewish story central to the FBI mission. Comey required all FBI staffers to undergo a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“Good people helped to murder millions. And that’s the most frightening lesson of all,” he told a museum dinner in 2015. “That is why I send our agents and our analysts to the museum. I want them to stare at us and realize our capacity for rationalization and moral surrender.” Comey, already known as a persuasive speaker, was especially adept at understanding what moved Jewish Americans. In his ADL speech last week, he recalled meeting a man who was not far from the scene when a gunman opened fire last June at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. “My name is Menachem Green and I’m Jewish,” Comey quoted the man as saying, pronouncing Menachem impeccably, and went on to say that Green was pleased to tell him that he ran toward the shooting alongside a police officer he learned was a Muslim.
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“We were Jew and Muslim and Christian and white and black and Latino running to help people we didn’t know,” Comey recalled Green saying. Comey also noted the “Muslim activists who raised over $100,000 to repair Jewish headstones in St. Louis and Philadelphia—that makes us better.” The now former FBI chief also embraced one of the ADL’s signature issues, improving reporting of hate crimes by local authorities. “We must do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what is happening in our country so we can stop it,” he said. Just a week earlier, Comey was due to receive a recognition award from the Secure Community Network, the security affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America. Paul Goldenberg, the SCN director, says Comey was to be recognized for
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Nation his work with the community in tracking down the perpetrator of dozens of bomb hoaxes on JCCs and other Jewish institutions. “Director Comey put in extraordinary resources and showed tremendous commitment to the American Jewish community,” Goldenberg says, noting that the FBI had deployed agents to Jewish communities across the states.
Comey required all FBI staffers to undergo a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Comey could not personally accept the recognition, and SCN delivered it to a surrogate, because Comey was on the Hill testifying to the Senate about how he handled the email and Russia scandals. In his testimony, he noted one of the FBI triumphs of recent months as a defense of the agency—helping to solve the JCC bomb threats. “Children frightened, old people frightened, terrifying threats of bombs at Jewish institutions, especially the Jewish community centers—the entire FBI surged in response to that threat,” Comey said in his opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In March, an Israeli-American teen was arrested in Israel on suspicion of calling in more than 100 bomb threats. Last month, the U.S. Justice Department charged the teen, Michael Kadar, with making threatening calls to JCCs in Florida, conveying false information to the police and cyberstalking. “Working across all programs, all divisions, our technical wizards, using our vital international presence and using our partnerships especially with the Israeli national police, we made that case and the Israelis locked up the person behind those threats and stopped the terrifying plague against the Jewish community centers,” Comey said. Comey may be gone, but the shock among Democrats—and some congressional Republicans—at his departure means his memory is unlikely to fade anytime soon. “We must have a special prosecutor,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the minority leader in the Senate, said in a statement delivered at a briefing for reporters. Schumer said he told Trump in a phone call that firing Comey was a “very big mistake.” Trump fired back on Twitter, recalling that Schumer had said recently that he did not have confidence in Comey. “Then acts so indignant,” Trump said, calling the New York lawmaker “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer.” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, which is also probing the Trump campaign’s Russia ties, said there was no contradiction between being appalled at Comey’s handling of the Clinton case and at his firing. “The decision by a president whose campaign associates are under investigation by the FBI for collusion with Russia to fire the man overseeing that investigation, upon the recommendation of an attorney general who has recused himself from that investigation, raises profound questions about whether the White House is brazenly interfering in a criminal matter,” he said.
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jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Jewish News | 13
French Jews relieved Macron won but worried over Le Pen’s electoral gains
communities have decried as dangerous to democracy and minorities, received 34.2 percent of the vote compared to the 65.8 percent for the centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron, according to a report by Le Monde based on exit polls from the final round of the elections.
eaders of French Jewry expressed relief at the defeat of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the presidential election, but concern that she received more than a third of the vote. Le Pen, whom the chief rabbi of France and the CRIF umbrella of Jewish
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“I am happy with the result of Emmanuel Macron being elected president, which constitutes a veritable relief for all our nation and for the Jewish community of France,” Joel Mergui, the president of the Consistoire, wrote in a statement by his group, which is responsible for providing religious services to Jews. Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, who is employed by the Consistoire, also spoke of his satisfaction from the vote. But in his statement, Korsia also referenced concerns over the support shown to Le Pen—a nationalist who seeks a ban on wearing Jewish and Muslim religious symbols in public, ritual slaughter and the provision of pork-free meals in school cafeterias. The vote was the best electoral result ever obtained by her National Front party, which was established in the 1970s by her father, the Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has multiple convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews. He clinched 18 percent of the vote in the 2002 presidential elections—the first time that National Front made it to the final round. “Well aware that many voices have been raised in favor of the candidate of the National Front, the Chief Rabbi calls on all political leaders to take seriously the voters’ cry of despair and anger in order to review their platforms and to regain the enthusiasm and support of the citizens,” the statement by Korsia’s office read. Francis Kalifat, president of CRIF, called the victory “incontestable” and congratulated Macron. “Everything starts right now,” Kalifat, who lobbied intensively in favor of Macron, wrote optimistically on Twitter. The president of European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, said in a statement: “We remain extremely concerned by the still large support for parties of the far right, not only in France but across Europe.” He also wrote that the result was “a victory against hate and extremism” by the French people. Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement that while Macron’s election is “extremely encouraging,” his group is “concerned that a
third of the French population voted for a dangerous political leader.” This, he said, is part of a “worrying political landscape in Europe and the increase in far-right rhetoric which has swept the continent.” Macron’s positions on Israel, its conflict with the Palestinians and the Middle East in general correspond with those of the government of France’s outgoing president, Francois Hollande, Macron told a predominantly Jewish crowd in March during a town hall meeting organized in Paris by CRIF. Hollande is one of France’s least-popular presidents. Citing dismal approval ratings, he had withdrawn from the presidential race to better the chances of his party to remain in power. The economic policies of Macron, a former banker who at 39 will be the youngest president in the history of the Fifth Republic of France, differ significantly from those of the Socialist Party. A believer in free-market economy, he is calling for an economic reform opposed by labor unions and advocates of France’s relatively generous welfare amenities. This has alienated many left-wing voters in what could explain a historically low turnout in the vote. According to Le Monde, a quarter of registered voters did not show up to vote, making the turnout of 75 percent the lowest recorded in any final round of the presidential elections since 1969. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not address National Front’s gains in the vote in a statement congratulating Macron. He said that one of the greatest threats facing Israel and France “is radical Islamic terror which has struck Paris, Jerusalem and so many other cities around the world,” adding he was sure the two countries “will continue to deepen our relations.” President Donald Trump congratulated the “people of France on their successful presidential election.” Trump, who said last month that Le Pen was “the strongest candidate on borders,” added: “We look forward to working with the new President and continuing our close cooperation with the French government.” (JTA)
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ounded in 1972, PFLAG is the nation’s largest family and ally organization. Locally, it provides support and resources to the LGBTQ community of Hampton Roads and its family, friends, and allies. The group meets monthly to discuss personal, local, and national issues, or to look more deeply into a particular topic. Presentations for African American History month and Women’s History month, as well as a special screening of National Geographic’s film, Gender Revolution have taken place. All meetings are friendly, informal gatherings, with opportunities to share or just listen, meet new friends, or get information. Once a year, the Norfolk
chapter of PFLAG offers a workshop to help students, teachers, and advocates in the creation and maintenance of a GayStraight Alliance (GSA) in their schools. Research shows that the existence of such organizations improves the lives and academic performances of many students in a given school, whether they’re gay, straight, or transgender. PFLAG meets at 6:30 pm at the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads on the third Tuesday of each month. The LGBT Center is at 247 West 25th Street in Norfolk. The phone number is 757-640-0929. A meeting on the second Tuesday of each month is for parents and guardians to be able to ask questions and talk about their concerns, or just meet new people.
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he most revealing account of A Common Struggle is indeed the Rabbi Zoberman uncommon struggle with mental health issues of a member of America’s perhaps most famous family, the Kennedys. Author Patrick J. Kennedy is the erstwhile Congressman from Rhode Island and son of the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy. His very public car crash at the U.S. Capitol in May 2006 made headlines and was followed by rehab at the Mayo Clinic with exclusive coverage
on the pages of the New York Times. Senator Ted Kennedy was reportedly very upset over his son’s decision to go public with his bipolar disorder and addiction. Five months prior to the car crash, Patrick was treated at the Mayo Clinic, but failed to take it seriously, relying instead on hazardous self-medication. Early in his life he suffered from asthma and depression accompanied by heavy drinking and cocaine use. In 1984, Patrick sustained a serious head injury in a car accident near his home in Hyannis Port.
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Health Care The young Kennedy left the House of Representatives in 2010 following 16 years of service, and has been sober since February 22, 2011, which would have been Ted Kennedy’s 79th birthday. Patrick attributes his recovery, the longest since he was 13 years old, and which is after all, one day at a time with the threat of relapse, to meeting and marrying his wife Amy, his first marriage at age 44. Patrick highlights love and faith as essential to the complex healing process. He also focuses on the genetic factor. His mom, Virginia, suffered from serious alcoholism inherited from her own mother and Ted lived through the assassination of his two distinguished brothers, President Jack and Senator Robert, along with the tragic death of Marry Jo Kopechne in Chappaquiddick Island. In 1964, Ted suffered a back injury from a small plane crash. Ted Kennedy experienced all of this trauma without reaching out for proper help, even as he was there for others in need, which Patrick concludes prevented his father from becoming President of the United States. Aunt Rosemary, who was born with developmental disabilities and psychiatric issues, underwent a lobotomy in 1941 at the direction of her father, Joseph P. Kennedy that only worsened her condition. On October 31, 1963, three weeks before his assassination, Rosemary’s brother and Patrick’s uncle, President John F. Kennedy, signed the landmark Bill for the Construction of Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers, now known as the Community Mental Health Act. So close to his own family’s pain and concerns, President Kennedy’s inspiring message remains most relevant, “It was said, in an earlier age, that the mind of a man is a far country which can neither be approached nor explored. But, today, under present conditions of scientific achievement, will be possible for a nation
as rich in human and material resources as ours to make the remote reaches of the mind accessible. The mentally ill and the mentally retarded need no longer be alien to our affections or beyond the help of our communities.” Patrick is rightfully proud of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act that he and his father were instrumental in passing in 2008, describing it as “the equivalent of a medical civil rights act.” He contends that together with the Obama Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a most vulnerable population has more opportunities to receive mental care, though legal, governmental, and psychological hurdles persist. Not the least challenge is convincing all Americans that we face a “common struggle,” with 25% suffering from mental illness and addiction, involving one-third of hospital stays, and more than 50% of those diagnosed do not receive treatment. The book’s Appendix 1 (“What You Can Do”) and Appendix 11 (“Your Own Brain Health Scoreboard”) are both practical and enlightening. Patrick is the founder of the Kennedy Forum offering national leadership and initiations on mental health, and is co-founder of One Mind with its supportive international dimension. The book’s co-author, award-winning Stephen Fried, has written two books on related themes. Patrick Kennedy has courageously chosen to turn private pain into public promise, becoming the leading crusader in a complex field with much destructive stigma still attached to it. “My hope is that by writing about and exposing the worlds I get to visit—as a politician, advocate, patient, and family member—I might be able to make your journey less isolated.” —Rabbi Dr. Israel Zoberman is the founding rabbi of Congregation Beth Chaverim, and the only rabbi to receive a doctorate in Pastoral Care and Counseling from the Presbyterian affiliated McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
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jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Health Care | Jewish News | 19
Dan Grimsley cites JFit as a major player in changing his life transformation and his ability to lose more than 300 lbs. “My wife had heard good things about very day, Dan Grimsley, a 52-year-old, JFit and we decided to tour it. My wife 195-pound, 6-foot-2-inch-tall man, and I are both very religious. The minute can be found using the strength training we walked through those equipment at JFit at the doors, I knew I was Simon Family JCC. At the where I was supposed to same time, his wife, Leigh, be,” says Grimsley. “I felt participates in the JCC’s it and my wife felt it and array of fitness classes. after talking to everyone, It’s hard to believe how many pounds we knew that we would that just over two years lost by be members for life! ago, Grimsley weighed Dan Grimsley “I began to go to the 502 lbs., subsisted on 12 JCC daily. Now, my life different heart medicahas drastically changed. tions, and was told by his It was hard work on my cardiologist not to expect part, but without the to live another year. center, it would have At 50, coping with been so much more difficult. I have never congestive heart failure, he was in and met a more supportive group of people. I out of the hospital on a monthly basis, was a big boy, it is easy to be intimidated on oxygen almost 24 hours a day, and to go to a gym, but I have never ever felt struggled to walk around his own home. that way at JFit. I’ve developed relationGrimsley found himself on the sidelines ships with the other members and care of his former life and was forced to retire about them. It is like a supportive family on disability. and you will not get that at any other gym. “I think we all have a time when we JFit was a major player in my success.” realize, this is when I need to make a Grimsley wants to share his experichange,” says Grimsley. “They say you ences to assist others. His journey helped always hit bottom first…that day with my him learn how to avoid the pit falls of doctor was my bottom. I was furious with emotional eating and to establish healthy him, but he just spoke the truth. He told life habits. He says, “I have learned to me ‘You have a 10-year-old son and you look at the bigger picture. I know the are not going to see him be 11 years old!’ donut looks good, but it will not help me I am not a very emotional individual, but in the larger picture of my life. I still can I started crying that day. I called my wife eat pizza, but I don’t have to eat the whole and I said I have to change, for you, for my pizza.” son, and for my own quality of life.” Today, Grimsley is studying to be a The next day, with a medical team, certified personal trainer. He believes it is and nutritionist on call, Grimsley started his life calling. “My heart is pulling me to working out at home. He says he began work with other people,” he says. with baby steps, “I started off just using “Sometimes, I could kick myself for a hand bike, because I could barely walk. not making all my health changes sooner, You put it on a table and move it with but now I can set an example. I see people your arms—little by little—I started to and know they are struggling. All it takes increase my activity. Five minutes on a is a little encouragement to get over the treadmill at a time and I was done! But hump. At one point, I was on 12 cardiac steadily, I continued to drive myself and drugs, now I am on only one. I went back noticed that I was feeling a bit better every to the cardiologist and they were amazed, other day.” my heart has improved to almost normal. Grimsley credits the support system The JCC was a godsend.” at JFit as a major key to his health Sherri Wisoff
20 | Jewish News | Health Care | May 15, 2017 | jewishnewsva.org
Jewish groups weigh in on health care bill J
ewish groups criticized the passage of a health care bill by the House of Representatives to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act. The bill, backed by Republicans and President Donald Trump, passed Thursday, May 4 in a 217–213 vote almost entirely along party lines. The measure, which is now headed for the Senate, would nix tax penalties for those without health insurance and decrease state programs to insure low-income Americans expanded by President Barack Obama. Among those that criticized the passage were the Reform movement, the Jewish Federations of North America, B’nai B’rith International, the National Jewish Democratic Council and Jewish Women International. However, the Republican Jewish Coalition praised the bill as “an important legislative victory for President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan.” The Reform movement said it was “deeply disheartened” by the bill’s passage. “This reverses the tremendous progress that has been made in recent years to increase the number of Americans with health insurance,” Rabbi Jonah Presner, director of the movement’s policy arm, the Religious Action Center, said in a statement. “We urgently call on the Senate to reject this profoundly harmful legislation.” Jewish Federations said it was “distressed” by the approval. “We are distressed by the House passage of this legislation that would literally gut Medicaid, which provides an essential safety net for millions of Americans,” William Daroff, director of the umbrella group’s Washington office and its senior vice president for public policy, said in a statement. “Jewish Federations’ network of health and social service agencies depends on Medicaid to care for the vulnerable who rely upon it.” B’nai B’rith said the act would harm senior citizens. “We strongly urge the Senate to reject
the House plan, which would have a negative consequence for many communities, including low-income seniors,” the group said in a statement. The National Jewish Democratic Council called the bill a “catastrophe.” “We are not surprised, but still extremely disappointed, that President Trump and the Republican leadership decided to go for a short-term win instead of thinking about the millions of lives that they have negatively affected by jamming this bill down our collective throats,” the NJDC said in a statement. “Mark our words—We will ensure that history will not look kindly on the congressmen who voted in favor of the catastrophe known as Trumpcare.” The Republican Jewish Coalition in its praise said Trump and Ryan, R-Wis., “worked tirelessly for this victory.” “As the legislation moves to the Senate, we hope for swift passage so President Trump can sign it and fulfill his commitment to the American people for affordable health care,” RJC’s executive director, Matthew Brooks, said in a statement. Jewish Women International said the the bill “will harm women, families, the elderly and the poor” and called it “a careless, undisciplined effort by the president to make everyone think he is fulfilling a campaign pledge and it will wreak havoc on our nation, including the very people who supported him.” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Senate Republicans to reject the bill. “This bill is going nowhere fast in the United States Senate,” Schumer, the Jewish Senate minority leader, said in a statement. “Rather than trying to pass a different version of the same Trumpcare bill that would mean higher costs and less care, Senate Republicans should refuse to follow their House colleagues over a cliff, reject repeal, and work with Democrats to improve our health care system in a bipartisan way.” (JTA)
jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Health Care | Jewish News | 21
Hadassah’s Coalition for Women’s Health Equity convenes Women’s Health Empowerment Summit for National Women’s Health Week Wednesday, May 17, 10 am–2 pm The Newseum, Washington DC
he inaugural Women’s Health Empowerment Summit, hosted by the Coalition for Women’s Health Equity, takes
place during National Women’s Health Week (May 14–20) of which Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of
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22 | Jewish News | Health Care | May 15, 2017 | jewishnewsva.org
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America, Inc., is a national supporter. The half-day event will bring together women’s health policymakers, advocates and thought leaders to identify legislative opportunities and align mobilization efforts to advance women’s health equity. Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal, MD, who served as the country’s first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health and U.S. Assistant Surgeon General, will serve as keynote speaker. Blumenthal’s pioneering work helped expose inequities in women’s health. She developed a broad range of initiatives and public/private sector partnerships to address critical women’s health issues and the study of sex differences across the life cycle. The Women’s Health Empowerment Summit’s bipartisan Honorary Host Committee includes: Sen. Susan Collins (ME); Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY); Sen. Patty Murray (WA); Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA); Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-03); Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14); Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01); Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12); Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA-38); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09); Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23); Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43). The 2017 Women’s Health Empowerment Summit will feature policy briefings on women’s health issues, testimonials from patients and medical professionals and opportunities to network and align mobilization efforts. With a rapidly changing legislative landscape, the 2017 Summit will focus on action strategies to further women’s health equity—from prevention and diagnosis, to treatment and cure. The Summit will also highlight how key advances in women’s health equity have been achieved and identify the next frontiers—including the emerging scientific, economic, and advocacy solutions to improve women’s health. Blumenthal says, “In the past, lack of attention to the health of 51% of the U.S. population—women—has resulted
in striking gaps in scientific studies and inequities in their health care. While significant progress had been made over the past two decades, women’s health issues are being threatened in the current political environment and much more work needs to be done. A new national prescription is needed that increases investments in women’s health, ensures that sex differences in research are evaluated and reported, expands access to quality health care, educates the public and providers about gender differences, and makes the prevention of disease a top priority. The results should be a healthier future for women—and men—in America.” Ellen Hershkin, national president of Hadassah, who will open the 2017 Summit, says, “Women’s health impacts all aspects of our lives and society— from the classroom and workplace, to our communities, family life, and more. Eliminating disparities and discrimination in women’s health is the top priority for the Coalition for Women’s Health Equity. The inaugural Women’s Health Empowerment Summit will mobilize the resources of Hadassah, our Coalition partners and other key stakeholders in the fight for positive policy change.” The 23-member Coalition for Women’s Health Equity, which has nearly doubled in size since its 2016 launch, was convened by Hadassah to address inequities in quality of care, funding, support, and gaps in women’s health awareness. The Summit helps further the Coalition’s mission to publicly promote policies in support of gender equity in medical prevention, research, access, and treatment, and will raise awareness about how that lack of equity adversely affects women and families throughout the United States. The Newseum is located at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC. For more information, visit: www.hadassah.org/ womenshealthequity
Mother’s family history could pose risk for preterm birth, according to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev study mothers and daughters over 22 years BEER-SHEVA, Israel—If a pregnant (1991 to 2013), and found that the risk of mother has a family history of premature preterm delivery was significantly higher birth, she is at risk for a preterm birth among the 34 percent of women whose of her baby, according to a new study by mothers had given birth early for any of researchers from Ben-Gurion University her pregnancies. The risk remained sigof the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University nificant even after adjusting for the race Medical Center. and age of the woman giving birth. Preterm birth occurs when a baby is Additionally, the researchers also born before 37 weeks of pregnancy and is found that even if a mother’s aunt or sister the leading cause of infant hospitalization, had premature births, her risk of deliveraccording the Center for Disease Control ing prematurely was and Prevention. In also 30 percent higher 2015, preterm birth than normal. affected one of every “Women who are 10 infants born in the at risk can benefit United States. from close monitoring The study, pubinfants born in the U.S. and early detection of lished in the American are preterm genetic markers,” says Journal of Perinatology, Prof. Eyal Sheiner, followed 2,300
1 of 10
M.D., Ph.D., vice dean of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences (FOHS), member of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a physician at Soroka, and one of the researchers.
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jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Health Care | Jewish News | 23
The three cancers Jews need to worry about most— and how to reduce the risks Niv Elis
NEW YORK—As if Jews don’t have enough to worry about. Geopolitical threats to the Jewish people may wax and wane, but there’s another lethal danger particular to the Jewish people that shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon: cancer. Specifically, Jews are at elevated risk for three types of the disease: melanoma, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The perils are particularly acute for Jewish women. The higher prevalence of these illnesses isn’t spread evenly among all Jews. The genetic mutations that result in higher incidence of cancer are concentrated among Ashkenazim—Jews of European descent. “Ashkenazim are a more homogenous population from a genetic point of view, whereas the Sephardim are much more diverse,” says Dr. Ephrat Levy-Lahad, director of the Medical Genetics Institute at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. But there is some hope. Susceptible populations can take certain precautions to reduce their risks. Recent medical advances have made early detection easier, significantly lowering the fatality rates from some cancers. Cheaper genetic testing is making it much easier for researchers to discover the risk factors associated with certain cancers. And scientists are working on new approaches to fight these pernicious diseases—especially in Israel, where Ashkenazi Jews make up a larger proportion of the population than in any other country. Understanding risk factors and learning about preventative measures are key to improving cancer survival rates. Here’s what you need to know.
Melanoma Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, representing some 80 percent of skin cancer deaths, and U.S. melanoma
rates are on the rise. It’s also one of the most common forms of cancer in younger people, especially among women. Just a decade ago, Israel had the second-highest rate of skin cancer in the world, behind Australia. One reason is that Israel has a lot of sun. Some credit better education about the dangers of sun exposure for helping reduce Israel’s per capita skin cancer rate, now 18th in the world. But the sun isn’t the whole story. Jews in Israel have a higher incidence of melanoma than the country's Arab, non-Jewish citizens. What makes Jews more likely to get skin cancer than others? It’s a combination of genetics and behavior, according to Dr. Harriet Kluger, a cancer researcher at Yale University. On the genetics side, Ashkenazi Jews—who comprise about half of Israel’s Jewish population—are significantly more likely to have the BRCA-2 genetic mutation that some studies have linked to higher rates of melanoma. The other factor, Israel’s abundant sunshine, exacerbates the problems for sun-sensitive Jews of European origin. That’s why Arabs and Israeli Orthodox Jews, whose more conservative dress leaves less skin exposed than does typical secular attire, have a lower incidence of the cancer. “There are epidemiological studies from Israel showing that secular Jews have more melanoma than Orthodox Jews,” Kluger says. So what’s to be done? “Other than staying out of the sun, people should get their skin screened once a year,” Kluger says. “In Australia, getting your skin screened is part of the culture, like getting your teeth cleaned in America.” You can spot worrisome moles on your own using an alphabetic mnemonic device for letters A-F: See a doctor if you spot moles that exhibit Asymmetry, Border irregularities, dark or multiple Colors,
24 | Jewish News | Health Care | May 15, 2017 | jewishnewsva.org
have a large Diameter, are Evolving (e.g. changing), or are just plain Funny looking. Light-skinned people and redheads should be most vigilant, as well as those who live in sunny locales like California, Florida or the Rocky Mountain states. If you insist on being in the sun, sunscreen can help mitigate the risk, but only up to a point. “It decreases the chances of getting melanoma, but it doesn’t eliminate the chances,” Kluger warns. As with other cancers, early detection can dramatically increase survival rates. In the meantime, scientists in Israel—a world leader in melanoma research—hold high hopes for immunotherapy, which corrals the body’s immune mechanisms to attack or disable cancer. At Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Cyrille Cohen is using a research grant from the Israel Cancer Research Fund to implant human melanoma cells in mice to study whether human white blood cells can be genetically modified to act as a “switch” that turns on the human immune system’s cancer-fighting properties.
Breast cancer Breast cancer is already more common in developed, Western countries than elsewhere—likely because women who delay childbirth until later in life and have
fewer children do not enjoy as much of the positive, cancer risk-reducing effects of the hormonal changes associated with childbirth. Ashkenazi Jews in particular have a significantly higher risk for breast cancer: They are about three times as likely as non-Ashkenazim to carry mutations in the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes that lead to a very high chance of developing cancer. One of the BRCA-1 mutations is associated with a 65 percent chance of developing breast cancer. Based on family history, including on the father’s side, the chances could be even higher. “Every Ashkenazi Jewish woman should be tested for these mutations,” says Levy-Lahad, who has done significant research work on the genetics of both breast and ovarian cancer. Iraqi Jews also have increased prevalence of one of the BRCA mutations, she says. Levy-Lahad is collaborating on a long-term project with the University of Washington’s Dr. Mary-Claire King—the breast cancer research pioneer who discovered the BCRA-1 gene mutation that causes cancer—on a genome sequencing study of Israeli women with inherited breast and ovarian cancer genes. The two women are using a grant from the Israel Cancer Research Fund to apply genomic technology to study BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 mutations and their implications for breast cancer risk in non-Ashkenazi women in Israel, who are similar to populations in Europe and the United States. In a project that is testing thousands of women for deadly cancer mutations, they are also studying how mutations in genes other than BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 impact inherited breast cancer in non-Ashkenazi Jews. The earlier breast cancer mutations are discovered, the sooner women can decide on a course of action. Some choose to have bilateral mastectomies, which reduce the chances of breast cancer by 90-95 percent. Actress Angelina Jolie famously put a Hollywood spotlight on the issue
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when she wrote a 2013 op-ed in the New York Times about her decision to have the procedure. But mastectomies are not the only option. Some women instead choose a very rigorous screening regimen, including more frequent mammograms and breast MRIs. Early detection is the cornerstone of improving breast cancer survival rates. “Breast cancer is not nearly as deadly as it once was," Levy-Lahad says.
Ovarian cancer Of the three “Jewish” cancers, ovarian cancer is the deadliest. Linked to the two BRCA mutations common among Jews, ovarian cancer is both stubbornly difficult to detect early and has a very high late-stage mortality rate. Women should be screened for the mutations by age 30, so they know their risks. In its early stages, ovarian cancer usually has no obvious symptoms, or appears as bloating, abdominal pain or frequent urination that can be explained away by less serious causes. By the time it’s discovered, ovarian cancer is usually much more advanced than most other cancers and may have spread to surrounding organs. If that has occurred, the five-year survival rate drops considerably. Women with the BRCA mutations have about a 50 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer. The best option is usually to remove the ovaries. “We put a lot of pressure on women to have their ovaries removed because it’s a life-saving procedure,” Levy-Lahad says. That doesn’t mean these women can’t have children. The recommendation is that women wait to have the procedure until after they complete child-bearing, usually around the age of 35-40. Much work still needs to be done on prevention, early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer, but new research shows some promise. “The exciting thing is that we live in a genomic age, and we have unprecedented abilities to understand the causes of cancer,” Levy-Lahad says. “There’s a whole field that, if you become affected, can look at the genetic makeup of the
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therapy is part of the standard of care for many cancer types, is FDA-approved and covered by jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Health Care | Jewish News | 25 Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance providers.
26 | Jewish News | Health Care | May 15, 2017 | jewishnewsva.org
Virginia Israel Advisory (VIAB) Executive Director Ralph Robbins to retire
fter almost 17 years, Ralph Robbins, executive director of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB), has announced that he will retire on Sept. 1, 2017. Mel Chaskin, chairman of the VIAB, has formed a search committee to replace Robbins. “Replacing Ralph will not be easy as he combines passion with an entrepreneurial approach to grow Israeli businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia leading to expansion into rest of the United States. He has a unique skill set with business background in both the United States and Israel,” says Chaskin. In his report to his board of directors, Robbins said, “While there are many
important projects in the VIAB pipeline, I hope to have closure on several of them in the coming months. I will work closely with the new executive director in both Virginia and Israel to assure a smooth transition and a continuity of all the
programs we have initiated or are in our pipeline.” For more information about the position and application process, go to http://www.viab.org/ executive-director-description.
SATURDAY MAY 20 & SUNDAY MAY 21 WORKS FROM MORE THAN 135 ARTISTS • LIVE MUSIC • DELICIOUS FOOD • FUN CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES
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Call 757-321-2308 for more information. | Visit www.SimonFamilyJCC.org or call 757-321-2338 to register by May 26. jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Jewish News | 27
Celebrating Israel’s 69th—Community played, shopped, learned, and danced with Israel Michele Goldberg
unday, April 30 was a beautiful day all around—not just the weather—as more than 1,200 people attended the Simon Family JCC’s annual Israel Fest to experience the culinary, cultural, and artistic gifts of Israel. Attendees at the celebration were treated to fresh cuisine prepared by Israeli chefs Guy Marom and Nir Margalith from Puzzle Israel, Israeli music and dancing, and a Krav Maga (Israeli martial arts) demonstration. The Leon Family Art Gallery showcased a unique photo exhibit, J-Champs: The Triumph of Jewish Sport, featuring athletes from the
Molly and Hannah Mancoll enjoyed the camel ride. Nir Margalith and Guy Marom of Puzzle Israel with Culinary Institute of Virgina intern.
Congressman Scott Taylor with Jay Klebanoff.
Children enjoyed an obstacle course sponsored by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.
Judith and Reuven Rohn teach a group Israeli folk dancing.
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1920’s, and JFit offered an opportunity for spinning enthusiasts to ‘take a ride through Israel.’ Kids of all ages were able to engage in myriad Israel activities including with a Friends of the Israel Defense Forces obstacle course and by riding a camel. Jay Klebanoff, president of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater says, ”It is existentially important for Israel to count on government support from the
Kids of all ages learned some Krav Maga martial arts moves.
United States. Having Congressman Scott Taylor attend and speak at our Israel Fest celebration shows that Scott respects our Jewish community and, as a former SEAL, understands the importance of Israel to Jews everywhere.” Gloria Siegel was so impressed with the variety of the day. “I have been to many Israel festivals over the years, and this one was so uplifting. There were kids carrying Israeli flags, everyone was raving about the delicious Israeli cuisine, and families were enjoying themselves and dancing to Israeli music. It was a perfect day,” she says. Shikma Rubin also had a wonderful
day with her family, noting that “the Israel Fest gets better and better every year.” Israel Fest was part of the 6th annual Israel Today series presented by the Simon Family JCC, Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and community partners. The generous support of Simon Family JCC corporate contributors and JCC Spotlight on Israel Today series donors made this event possible. The 6th annual Israel Today series, including Israel Fest, was presented by Charles Barker Automotive, Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, P.C. and WealthQuest Financial Services.
Tidewater gets a taste of Israel Wendy Weissman
hefs Guy Marom and Nir Margalith of Puzzle Israel, an adventure tour and catering company, spent a week in Tidewater sharing their love of food and celebrating Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s 69th birthday. Sous chef Neta Margalith, joined her brother and Marom for a busy and impactful week. As part of the Israel Today series, the Puzzle Israel group shared their cooking expertise with students, future chefs from culinary schools, and those just interested in eating authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. The Margaliths and Marom also explored Tidewater’s food scene with restaurateurs John Stein of Baker’s Crust and Rodney Einhorn of Terrapin. They got a “first look” at the soon-to-open Norfolk location of Commune with chef and owner Kevin Jamison, a community partner with Virginia Beach City Public Schools culinary students. The first stop on the chefs’ agenda was The Hampton Roads Show where they cooked in the kitchen with host, Kerry Fure, previewing their culinary talents just in time for the all-day, community-wide Israel Fest on Sunday, April 30.
In addition to the games, artists, and local vendors, the festival featured the chefs’ fresh Israeli cuisine. At the Culinary Institute of Virginia, Marom and Margalith spent time with students and with Andy Gladstein, the school’s president. “We are so appreciative that CIV students had the opportunity to learn about Israeli culture and cuisine in the best possible way: by working alongside those who know it best!” says Gladstien. “Chefs Nir, Guy, and Neta were incredible in the kitchen, exposing students to unique spices and flavor combinations. Our visiting chefs were great ambassadors for Israel as well as role models for culinary students with international ambitions,” says Gladstein. The day ended with a YAD event, Hands of Tidewater, where volunteers and the Puzzle chefs prepared dinner for the Union Mission Ministries shelter. At Tallwood High School, the Puzzle group spoke to Global Studies students, some who have traveled to Israel, as well as to other teens who are studying food in the Family and Consumer Science department. The chefs prepared a quick and easy side dish featuring a familiar Israeli
Jodi and Jay Klebanoff, Brant and Cary Feldman, Lawrence and Anne Fleder during JCC’s One Night fundraising event at Baker’s Crust.
Chef Marom, Rebecca Levitt, Shikma Rubin, Stephanie Steerman, and Chef Margalith during YAD’s MomMe Time meet and greet.
ingredient, tahini. Moms from YAD’s MomME Time group enjoyed a meet-and-greet with the chefs just before the evening Israel Today event, Israeli Kitchen Encounters, a hands-on, culinary experience, sponsored by the Simon Family JCC, Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation Yaniv and Ben Amitay with Sam Molofsky preparing food for the of Tidewater, and Union Mission Ministries shelter during YAD’s Hands on Tidewater event. community partners. Approximately 80 people prepared, cooked, and ate delicious Israeli fare with instruction from Chef Margalith. “We love coming here,” says Margalith. “The people are incredible and have such an amazing connection to Israel. We had such a wonderful time cooking with the community and can’t wait to see everyone next year in Israel. Yalla! (Let’s Cook!).” The chefs also spent time with Culinary Arts & Hospitality Jill Wainger and Kathy Kantor at Israel Today’s Management students at Stratford Israeli Kitchen Encounters. University, and ended their trip taste of Israeli culture and cuisine from with the Simon Family JCC’s fundraising these two great chefs—we were able to event, One Night, at Baker’s Crust, where celebrate what makes our Jewish commuthey cooked for a group of 120. nity so special and taste a morsel of what “What an honor it was to be able to makes Israel such a great country.” host Guy and Nir,” says John Stein. “A
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Hands protect the flame as Dana Cohen lights a candle.
Yom Hashoah moves the community T
his year’s Yom Hashoah Commemoration, honoring the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, as well as liberators and righteous gentiles, brought the community together around not just awareness and sadness, but honor, hope, and music on a rainy Sunday night. Yom Hashoah co-chair Carol Jason says, “It was overwhelmingly poignant to see so many students and their parents, teachers, and community members, both Jewish and non-Jewish, come together to support and help cultivate the Holocaust Commission’s efforts.” Ohef Sholom Temple hosted the annual event, and after a round of applause for Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander, Holocaust Commission Chair Wendy Auerbach opened the evening with her thoughts on the current climate of incivility that seems to be gripping the nation. Referencing the rise in antisemitic rhetoric and other hate speech in America today, and sharing the goals of the Commission, she urged attendees to try to bring back civil discourse, which is “vital to a vibrant and active democratic system.”
Democracy’s future was represented beautifully by the winners of the 2017 Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts Competitions for Students. With more than 1,700 entrants, it was the largest contest in the competition’s 20-year history. Entries came from nine states and as far away as India. Winners were from a record 18 schools, making this year’s competition a fitting tribute to its namesake, who died last July. Two winners of the commission’s Awards for Excellence in Holocaust Education were recognized for their years of dedication to helping students understand the relevance and critical lessons of the Holocaust. Lauren Goldman Barkan, co-chair of the Educator Awards, presented this year’s honors. The Esther Goldman Award, in memory of Barkan’s grandmother, went to Marianne McMillin of Oscar Smith High School, and the Ruthi Sherman Kroskin Award, named for the late commission member who embodied the spirit of the Holocaust Commission, went to Amy Lindgren of The Williams School.
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The evening’s guest speaker was Virginia Beach native, Dr. James A. Grymes, author of the award-winning Violins of Hope. He shared with the nearly full sanctuary the stories of two of the violins featured in his book about the work of Tel Aviv luthier Amnon Weinstein,
Ai-Ling Kue with her 2nd place junior artwork.
who lost 400 members of his own family in the Shoah. The instruments Weinstein continues to restore tour the world being played by first class orchestras, in honor and memory of their lost owners. The lighting of memorial candles followed Grymes’ talk. Holocaust survivors, liberators, Righteous Gentiles—or those lighting in their place—were handed long tapers by Holocaust Commission volunteers. As names were read, those in the sanctuary were silent, while those who had attended prior commemorations noticed the dwindling number of candles on the table. Organizers say that this is a motivation to continue to hold the event—so the stories and the survivors, and their rescuers are never forgotten. After all candles were lit, the beautiful music played by the Berz family (mother Lei Lei on cello, and daughters Lily and Amelia on violins) continued, as the names of the survivors who made their homes in Tidewater and who have now passed away, were displayed on the screen on the Bima. They are gone, but never forgotten. Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin shared with the audience one of his last beautiful melodies as cantor of Ohef Sholom, the K’El Malei Rachamim memorial prayer, and Jay Klebanoff, UJFT president, closed the evening with some words on loss by Rabbi Naomi Levy. As attendees quietly exited, the candles burned in honor and memory, urging to never forget. “Each year Yom Hashoah highlights how Holocaust education branches out with amazing positive effects on so many different people, from students
Senior first place winner Cassidy Burnett with her teacher Jessica Szymanski.
Erica Reisner Ausch lights with her grandchildren. Ilya Kremenchugsky lights a candle.
and teachers, to the military, to community members of all faiths. Our goal is that these branches not only continue to grow, but multiply and reach more and more people with the message of the Commission each year,” notes event co-chair Rachael Feigenbaum. Visit and like the Holocaust Commission Facebook page to see photos from Yom Hashoah: www.fb.com/holcommission. Photography by Dmitry Gotkis. Dr. Jay Grymes with his book and the student created “paper clip violin.”
Lei Lei, Lily, and Amelia Berz provide beautiful music for the evening.
Winners of the 2017 Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts Competitions Junior Poetry 1st Place—Christopher Signorelli, 7th Grade, Norfolk Collegiate School, Norfolk, Ms. Archer 2nd Place—Anthony Hollifield, 8th Grade, Hugo Owens Middle School, Chesapeake, Ms. Stevens 3rd Place—Michele McDermott, 8th Grade, Great Bridge Middle School, Chesapeake, Ms. Mansell HM—Victoria Chapel, 7th Grade, Norfolk Collegiate School, Norfolk Ms. Archer Junior Essay 1st Place—Kathryn Bonheur, 7th Grade, St. Patrick Catholic School, Norfolk, Ms. Moberly 2nd Place—Olivia Galbreath, 8th Grade, Plaza Middle School, Virginia Beach, Ms. Bonsall 2nd Place—Matthew Moore, 7th Grade, Norfolk Academy, Norfolk, Mr. Tucker 3rd Place—Kate Kiameh, 8th Grade, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, Eads, TN, Ms. Cluck Senior Poetry 1st Place—Ingrid Lavin, 10th Grade, Oscar Smith High School, Chesapeake, Ms. McMillin 2nd Place—Colin Crowe, 10th Grade, Oscar Smith
High School, Chesapeake, Ms. McMillin 3rd Place—Elise Fisher, 11th Grade, Bishop Sullivan Catholic, Virginia Beach, Ms. Sullivan HM—Cameron Lochrie, 10th Grade, Oscar Smith High School, Chesapeake, Ms. McMillin HM—Angelina Rodriguez, 10th Grade, Oscar Smith High School, Chesapeake, Ms. McMillin Senior Essay 1st Place—Audrey McGovern, 11th Grade, Frank W. Cox High School, Virginia Beach, Ms. Faircloth 2nd Place—Eleni Fafoutis, 11th Grade, Bishop Sullivan Catholic, Virginia Beach, Ms. Sullivan 3rd Place—Emmy Giacoia, 10th Grade, Oscar Smith High School, Chesapeake, Ms. McMillin HM—Kathryn Monnin, 11th Grade, Grassfield High School, Chesapeake, Ms. Clements Junior Visual Arts 1st Place—Brooke Rowland, 8th Grade, Northview Middle School, Hickory, NC, Mr. Jones 2nd Place—Ai-Ling Kue, 7th Grade, Northview Middle School, Hickory, NC, Mr. Jones
3rd Place—Lorna Seddon, 7th Grade, Northview Middle School, Hickory, NC, Mr. Jones
2nd Place—Charlotte Meader, 8th Grade, Virginia Beach Middle School, Virginia Beach, Ms. Dean
HM—Leigh Cress, 8th Grade, Virginia Beach Middle School, Virginia Beach, Ms. Long
3rd Place—Tucker Pincus, 8th Grade, Virginia Beach Middle School, Virginia Beach, Ms. Horner Darby Hunt, 8th Grade, Virginia Beach Middle School, Virginia Beach, Ms. Horner
Chair’s Choice—Julia Maslankiewicz, 8th Grade, Emerson Middle School, Park Ridge, IL, Ms. Harrington Senior Visual Arts 1st Place—Cassidy Burnett, 12th Grade, Frank W. Cox High School, Virginia Beach, Ms. Szymanski 2nd Place—Tatiyahna Blakely, 11th Grade, Lakeland High School, Suffolk, Ms. Stuart 3rd Place—Mary Catherine Langston, 10th Grade, Lakeland High School, Suffolk, Ms. Stuart HM—Grayson Browning, 11th Grade, Cape Henry Collegiate School, Virginia Beach, Mr. Warden Chairs’ Choice—Raeanna Kilby, 11th Grade, Cape Henry Collegiate School, Virginia Beach, Mr. Warden
HM—David Smith, 8th Grade, Great Bridge Middle School, Chesapeake, Ms. Mansell Akye Johnson, 8th Grade, Great Bridge Middle School, Chesapeake, Ms. Mansell Kerby Guillame, 8th Grade, Great Bridge Middle School, Chesapeake, Ms. Mansell Senior Multimedia 1st Place—Tifanni Mayes, 10th Grade, Tallwood High School, Chesapeake, Ms. Laroue 2nd Place—Caroline Vorndran 10th Grade, Tallwood High School, Chesapeake, Ms. Laroue 3rd Place—Lauren Mesina, 10th Grade, Tallwood High School, Chesapeake, Ms. Laroue
Junior Multimedia 1st Place—Naomi Williams, 8th Grade, Plaza Middle School, Virginia Beach, Ms. Bonsall
jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Jewish News | 31
You are Invited to Attend the
2017 BIENNIAL MEETING of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater
Wednesday, June 7 | 6:00pm Sandler Family Campus | 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Virginia Beach
Nomination & Election of New UJFT President
Recognition of Outgoing President
Also Recognizing Wendy Juren Auerbach Karen Jaffe
Outgoing Chair, Holocaust Commission Outgoing Chair, General Campaign
Dr. Barbara Parks
Outgoing Chair, Israel & Overseas Committee
Outgoing Chair, Community Relations Council
Outgoing Chair, Women’s Campaign
Honoring Community Award Recipients Steven Zuckerman Ann and Bobby Copeland Rabbi Gershon Litt
Leonard R. Strelitz Memorial Award Joseph H. Strelitz Community Service Award Jewish Communal Professional Award
Kosher Hors d’Oeuvres | Cocktail Reception | Free & Open to the Community 32 | Jewish News | May 15, 2017 | jewishnewsva.org RSVP Today! Email email@example.com or call 757-965-6124.
what’s happening AJC’s Global Forum
In Our Hands: the Battle for Jerusalem
Sunday, June 4–Tuesday, June 6 ] Washington, DC
Tuesday, May 23, select theaters
leading global Jewish advocacy organization, AJC has unparalleled access to government officials, diplomats, and religious leaders, engaging worldwide opinion and policy leaders at the highest levels. The annual impressive three-day program includes presentations by global leaders and a mixture of large plenary sessions featuring headline speakers and smaller breakout sessions to engage directly with Jewish leaders from around the world. So far, those attending from Tidewater include Jody and Alan Wagner, Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg, Robin Mancoll, and Beth and Nathan Goldin. More than 2,500 participants from more than 70 countries who are working to safeguard the Jewish people and state, as well as democratic values and human rights, are expected to attend the event. At the AJC’s annual conference in Washington DC, participants have the power to make a difference for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. For more information or to register, visit www.ajc.org/globalforum. First-time attendees should use the code AJCFirst for a 50% discount.
his spring marks the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War. CBN Documentaries commemorates this historic battle with the new film, In Our Hands: the Battle for Jerusalem. For centuries, the Jewish nation had been in exile. Then, for a generation, Jews had been without access to the ancestral city. For six days, surrounded
by enemies, Israel stood alone…and changed history. In Our Hands tells the story of Israel’s 55th Paratrooper Brigade and how the Israel Defense Forces risked everything for the sake of their homeland and nation. With firsthand interviews and historical reenactments, this powerful docudrama focuses on the commitment and sacrifice of the soldiers who reunited Jerusalem. This special one-night event in select movie theaters shares the story of Israel’s extraordinary battle for survival 50 years ago. For more information and to see a special preview, visit: inourhands1967.com.
mazel tov to Rabbi Israel Zoberman joined Mayor Alan P. Krasnoff and the citizens of Chesapeake on Thursday, May 4 at the city’s National Day of Prayer program. Rabbi Zoberman shared a heartfelt message of Hope and Prayer for Unity.
Mazel Tov submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with Mazel Tov in the subject line. Achievements, B’nai Mitzvot, births, engagements and weddings are appropriate simchas to announce. Photos must be at least 300k. Include a daytime phone for questions. There is no fee.
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7 Annual th
Calendar May 21, Sunday Learn about the Technion, a major source of innovation and brainpower in Israel, at Congregation Beth El. 10 am. 757-625-7821 or email@example.com.
May 20, Saturday Temple Israel’s Annual Disability Awareness Shabbat featuring Lynn Seagle from the Hope House Foundation. 9:30 am. May 23, Tuesday In Our Hands, a docudrama retells the modern battle that returned Jerusalem to Israel. For tickets, visit InOurHands1967.com. See page 33. June 5, Monday Simon Family JCC’s Presidents’ Cup Golf Tournament. Heron Ridge Golf Club. simonfamilyjcc.org/about-us/support-your-jcc/presidentscup/. Call 757-321-2337 or email Corrie Lentz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 7, Wednesday United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s 2017 Biennial Meeting. Sandler Family Campus. 6 pm. 757-965-6124.
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.
Monday, June 5 Registration | 11:30am
Shotgun Start | 1:00pm
Heron Ridge Golf Club 2973 Heron Ridge Drive, Virginia Beach 23456
Early Bird Special $150 per player | $550 per foursome (deadline April 30)
Play. Support. Win.
C A R E E R O P P O RT U N I T Y H O LO C AU S T CO M M I S S I O N PRO G R A M C O O R D I N ATO R The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater seeks candidates for the position of Holocaust Commission Program Coordinator. This part-time position (approximately 20 hours/week) is responsible for the administrative and program support of Holocaust Commission activities. A minimum of 1-2 years of administrative experience is required. Associate's Degree in business, Public Administration, Jewish Communal Service, or other related and appropriate field, preferred. Candidate must be proficient in using MS Office Suite; have an understanding of social media and its usage; excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both oral and written. Must be available for flexible working hours.
Proceeds to benefit children’s programming at the Simon Family JCC
Visit SimonFamilyJCC.org/Golf to register. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Corrie Lentz at clentz@simonFamilyJCC.org or 757-321-2337. 34 | Jewish News | May 15, 2017 | jewishnewsva.org
Contact Taffy Hunter, Human Resources director, at 757-965-6117, firstname.lastname@example.org or submit resume to: United Jewish Federation of Tidewater Attention: Human Resources 5000 Corporate Woods Drive Virginia Beach, 23462
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obituaries David M Finder Asheville, N.C.—David M. Finder, 67, of Asheville, N.C. died peacefully on Sunday, April 16, 2017 at John F. Keever, Jr. Solace Center. A former resident of Virginia Beach, Virginia, he had resided in Asheville since 1997. He was preceded in death by his father, Theodor and a sister, Robbie Finder. Mr. Finder was the National Energy Programs manager for Alliance AutoGas, which is a division of Blossman Propane since 2005. Previously he worked at Daniels Graphics, Asheville; Harperprints, Henderson; and Teagle and Little, Norfolk. He is survived by his wife, Terry Finder; sons, Kevin Finder and his wife, Tiffany McAndrews and Ryan Finder; grandchild, Kynlee McAndrews; mother, Bessie Finder; sister, Andrea Zarge; niece, Roni Robinson and her husband, Blake and great nephews, Charlie and Ben; nephew Jeffrey Zarge and wife Lisa; niece, Carrie Noriega and son Jordan; niece, Stacey Schiff and son Atticus. And his beloved extended family, Greg and Georgie Frech and their children, Dina Armstrong, EJ, Chris, and Nick Frech. A funeral service was held in the chapel of Morris Funeral Home with Rabbi Wolff Alterman officiating. Burial followed at Riverside Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Care Partners Hospice, Solace Center, PO Box 23885, Asheville, NC 28813. Condolences may be sent through www.morrisfamilyfuneralhome.com.
Ruth Chapel Soskel Norfolk—Ruth Chapel Soskel, 98, died peacefully in her residence on April 30, 2017. She was a native and lifelong resident of Norfolk, Virginia and was the daughter of the late Nathan and Eva Shiffman Chapel. She was preceded in death by her husband Fred Soskel. Mrs. Soskel was a member of Temple Israel. She taught piano to many students in the Norfolk area for over 40 years. She encouraged both her children to study piano and to perform and compete in Norfolk and the region. Survivors include her daughter, Gail Woolley and her husband John of Sterling, Virginia and her son, Norman Soskel and his wife Judith of Germantown, Tennessee, four grandchildren, Daniel Soskel and his wife Michelle, Erich Woolley and his wife Candace, Shira Soskel and Rachael Woolley and three great grandchildren; Tristan Soskel and Madison and Reagan Woolley. A graveside funeral service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Rabbi Michael Panitz officiated. Memorial donations to Temple Israel, 7255 Granby Street, Norfolk, VA 23505 H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts., Norfolk chapel. Online condolences may be sent to the family at hdoliver.com.
Born in the small Romanian village of Romoli in 1922, Rachel helped run her family grocery store until the start of the Second World War. She was one of a few family members to survive the horrors of Auschwitz and Nazi Death Marches, to return to Viseu de Sus, Romania. There, she married her husband, Baruch OB’M, and started a family. Experiencing yet more anti-Semitic persecution under the Communist regime, Rachel and family made aliyah to Israel, where she would live until her passing. Despite years of trial and suffering, Rachel stood fast in her faith and took the utmost pride in being able to provide for her family in the homeland of the Jewish people. Rachel lived for her children and grandchildren, enjoying immeasurable nachas from them. Rachel is survived, and lovingly remembered, by her daughter Pessy, and her husband, Benny (of Edmonton, Canada); her son, Jacob, and his wife Cyndi (of Norfolk, Virginia); and four grandchildren. Donations in her memory can be made at www.gofundme.com/jewishmusictolife in support of a project to save and revive a piece of lost Jewish music that Rachel brought with her through the camps of Holocaust Europe.
Rachel (Regina) Tessler Ramat Hasharon, Israel—Rachel (Regina) Tessler, mother of long-time cantor of Congregation Beth El, Jacob Tessler, passed away on Thursday, March 30, at the age of 94.
Rabbi Benny Elon, former Knesset member and champion of settlement movement
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36 | Jewish News | May 15, 2017 | jewishnewsva.org
Rabbi Benny Elon, who served as the head of a number of religious Zionist yeshivas in Israel and was a Knesset member from 1996 to 2009, has died. Elon died Friday, May 5 at 62; the cause was cancer, Arutz Sheva reported. A member of the right-wing Moledet and National Union parties, Elon was removed from the Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004 when he refused to vote for Sharon’s plan to evacuate some 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip. “Rabbi Benny Elon was a big-hearted man who dedicated himself entirely for the sake of education and the public,” Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, said in a statement. “As a minister, as a member of
parliament, and as a man of action, vision, and of spirit, Rabbi Benny Elon was one of the great fighters and doers for the sake of the Land of Israel, for its residents, and its children.” The Jerusalem-born Elon lived in Beit El, a West Bank settlement that has served as an incubator for religious Zionists committed to Jewish sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, as Jewish residents there call the West Bank. He served as the chief rabbi of Kibbutz Shluchot and the rosh yeshiva, or dean, of Beit Orot Hesder, the eastern Jerusalem yeshiva he founded in 1990 with Hanan Porat, another key figure in the growth of religious Zionism as a political movement. Elon also was the rabbi at the hesder yeshiva of Maale Adumim, Machon Meir and Ateret Cohanim in the Old City of Jerusalem. In 2016, he was awarded the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, established by the late Irving Moskowitz, an American philanthropist best known for his support of the settlement movement and shoring up the Jewish presence in largely Arab eastern Jerusalem. The prize committee said Elon “renewed and bolstered Jewish settlement in various parts of eastern Jerusalem and the area around Rachel’s Tomb; galvanized the national camp into a united political force; advanced an alternative political plan to the Oslo accords; and established a network of parliamentary lobby groups that brings together pro-Israel parliamentarians worldwide.” Elon is a son of the late Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon. His brother, Rabbi Mordechai Elon, was convicted in 2013 on charges of sexually assaulting a minor. Benny Elon’s funeral took place at the Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem.
Jesse Lurie, longtime
Hadassah Magazine editor Jesse Lurie, the longtime executive editor of Hadassah Magazine and a peace activist, has died at 103. Lurie, an Israeli American, was the magazine’s founding executive editor in 1947 and held the post for 33 years. He professionalized a publication that had
obituaries been run by volunteers since its launch in 1914. Lurie also served as a correspondent for The Jerusalem Post covering the United States, according to a Post article about his passing. One of his six brothers, Ted, was among the founding journalists of The Palestine Post, which would become The Jerusalem Post and he would serve as editor-in-chief. Lurie traveled extensively in the Jewish world, including Soviet Russia, writing about people he met, the political situations in those countries and how they affected the Jewish population. He was an ardent campaigner for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and was among those who supported the founding of Neve Shalom, the cooperative village cohabitated by Jews and Arabs. As one who also supported and encouraged media diversity in Israel among Jews and Arabs, he created the Eliav-Sartawi Award for journalism in Israel through Common Ground, an organization with which he was closely associated in his efforts to encourage conflict resolution in the country. Lurie was keen for Israel to establish more integrated schools in which Arabs and Jews study together. As for Israel’s future, Lurie said in a 2014 interview while visiting the country that he was sure it would remain secure, but was not overly hopeful of great progress on the peace front. “Israel has been living in a bubble for 20 years or more, and will continue to live in a bubble for some time,” he said. (JTA)
Chicago Jewish couple married 69 years die moments apart holding hands A Chicago Jewish couple who were married for 69 years died moments apart in the same hospital room while holding hands. Teresa Vatkin, 89, died at 12:10 am Saturday, April 22 at Highland Park Hospital, and her husband, Isaac, died at approximately 12:50 am as they wheeled his wife from the room and their hands separated, according to local reports. Teresa Vatkin had been suffering from
dementia for the past decade. Isaac was her caregiver, staying by her side even when she entered a memory care facility. “The moment he felt we removed her hand from his, he was able to say ‘OK, I’m done protecting her. I can go and rest as well,’” their son, Daniel, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The ultimate in chivalry—so he could go to heaven and open the door for her.” “I saw it with my own eyes,” their daughter, Clara Gesklin, told the newspaper. “All of a sudden, when their fingers separated, he just stopped breathing.” Isaac Vatkin had been admitted to the hospital with influenza and his wife with pneumonia. They were moved to the same room the day before, when both were breathing shallowly and were unresponsive. The couple grew up in Argentina, on opposite ends of the country, and wrote love letters to each other three times a week until they married in 1947. Isaac, known as Alberto in Argentina to avoid anti-Semitism, was a leather maker. The Vatkins moved to Chicago in 1968, where Isaac worked as a kosher butcher and invested in apartments. They were memorialized in a joint funeral. (JTA)
Terror victim Ezra Schwartz posthumously inducted into Jewish fraternity at Rutgers Ezra Schwartz, who was killed in a West Bank terrorist attack in November 2015, was inducted posthumously into Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity, at Rutgers University. The induction ceremony was held last month, at the start of Yom Hazikaron in Israel, which memorializes fallen soldiers as well as victims of terror. Also at the ceremony his father, Ari, was inducted as an honorary brother of the Rho Upsilon chapter of the fraternity, which has chapters throughout the United States and around the world. Ari Schwartz said the ceremony “represents who he could have been,” the news website MycentralJersey reported. “He could have been sitting here. He could have been roommates with one of
you,” Schwartz said of his 18-year-old son. “It means a lot. It really does. It seems like the entire world has reached out to us in order to support us through this tragedy. AEPi’s gesture today is another example of that. I also very much appreciate the gesture of inducting me into AEPi as well. Now I have something else I share in common with Ezra.” Ezra Schwartz, from Sharon, Massachusetts, was on a gap year studying at a yeshiva in Israel. He was to start business school at Rutgers, in central New Jersey, in the fall of 2016. He was killed when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire near Alon Shvut in the Etzion bloc on a minivan full of students and teachers from Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh, who were volunteering to clear a nearby park. Three others were killed in the attack. The gunman, Mohammed Abed Odeh Harub, was sentenced to four life terms in prison. (JTA)
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jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Jewish News | 37
Sydney Levine bounces back to receive Stein Family College Scholarship from Tidewater Jewish Foundation Scott Kaplan
he annual Stein Family College Scholarship of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation was awarded this month to Sydney Levine, a soon-to-be graduate of Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach. Levine is the ninth recipient of the four-year scholarship of up to $10,000 per year that is provided to a Jewish student in Tidewater. She heads to the University of Virginia this fall as she enters the Class of 2021. As a gymnast from the age of three, Levine was raised to understand and
learn the value of “hard work, dedication and perseverance.” She also knows what it means to overcome challenges, having competed regionally and nationally as a level 10 gymnast from an early-age through high school. Levine says, “My life consisted of countless practices lasting for four hours a day, five days a week, all year round.” Potentially on her way to compete for a college scholarship, Levine severely injured her back during training in her sophomore year of high school. Out for the season and overwhelmed with disappointment, Levine learned a key life lesson as she fought back from injury
13th Biennial Educators’ Conference Words Matter: Now More Than Ever Keynote Addresses • $50 (box lunch included) Wednesday, July 26 • 7:30am - 4:00pm
Norfolk Academy • Batten Library • 1585 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk, VA The Holocaust Commission’s 13th Biennial Educators’ Conference continues a tradition of enabling teachers, administrators, student advocates, historians, and humanitarians to better understand, and, in turn, more effectively teach and impact others about one of the most tragic and significant events in history. Community members are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to hear keynote addresses from noted Holocaust scholar Alexandra Zapruder and Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger, son of a Nazi tank commander who repudiated his father’s past and now speaks on behalf of victims and survivors. For more information and to register, email email@example.com or visit www.JewishVA.org/holocaust-educator-conferences.
38 | Jewish News | May 15, 2017 | jewishnewsva.org
using strength training, physical therapy, and a determined and positive attitude and outlook on life. “For me, it was about perseverance and sticking to something I was passionate about,” she says. Eventually, she was able to compete again, but not at the same high level. Levine learned that gymnastics wasn’t everything and while continuing to compete, she applied her determination and dedication to her academics. “I challenged myself to take hard courses through high school, and to remain passionate about learning,” she says. In fact, she has successfully taken more than five Advanced Placement (AP) courses and will graduate in the top 3% of her class. “I am looking forward to attending UVA this fall and can’t wait to see where this next chapter brings me.” In speaking about education, family, hard work, and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), Levine references these Jewish values, which she learned from her parents and grandparents and through her experience going to Hebrew school and becoming a Bat Mitzvah at Temple Israel. Levine’s older sister is finishing her junior year at Old Dominion University and her younger sister is in ninth grade, also at Cox High School. Levine learned about the Stein Scholarship after her
mother read about it in the Jewish News earlier this year. She applied for this scholarship among several others, and says she is “extremely grateful to have been selected to receive this prestigious honor from the Stein Family and TJF. The Stein Family College Scholarship was established in 2009 in memory of Arlene Stein who did not complete college because of financial hardship. Jerry Stein, her beloved husband, passed away in 2014. The Tidewater Jewish Foundation works closely with the Stein Family in administering this generous scholarship to a deserving Tidewater teen. Prior recipients of the scholarship include Morgan Conley (Brandeis University ’13), Eric Smith (University of Virginia ’14), Marissa Arager (George Mason University ’15), Avi Malkin (College of William and Mary ’16), Dinar Yusufov ( James Madison University ’17), Amanda Gladstone (Virginia Tech ’18), Dana Cohen (Virginia Tech ’19) and Brett Pomerantz (Virginia Tech ’20).
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jewishnewsva.org | May 15, 2017 | Jewish News | 39
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www.GI-MDs.com 40 | Jewish News | May 15, 2017 | jewishnewsva.org