Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 53 No. 18 | 29 Iyar 5775 | May 18, 2015
American Jewish Statistics The Pew Research Religious Landscape Study
6 Tom Hofheimer Fund Expanding horizons
14 Yom Hashoah 2015
25 Pavel Ilyashov at JMCC June 17
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upfront In heritage month proclamation, Obama says U.S. Jews still face bigotry WASHINGTON (JTA)—Jews continue to face bigotry in the United States, President Barack Obama said in his Jewish Heritage Month proclamation. “This year, Jewish American Heritage Month begins as the world commemorates the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau by American soldiers,” Obama wrote in his proclamation issued April 30 for the month, which is designated as May by U.S. law. “We are once again reminded that the vibrant culture of the Jewish people has not always been embraced,” he wrote. “As tragic events show us all too often, Jewish communities continue to confront hostility and bigotry, including in America.” In the proclamation, Obama said he remains “committed to standing against the ugly tide of anti-Semitism in all its forms, including in the denial or trivialization of the Holocaust” and reaffirmed “America’s unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel and the close bonds between our two nations and our peoples.”
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BERLIN (JTA)—A state visit to Germany by Israel’s president marking 50 years of diplomatic relations highlighted the countries’ deep ties and political differences. After discussing with German President Joachim Gauck issues such as the threat of a nuclear Iran and the state of talks with Palestinian leaders, President Reuven Rivlin said that “friends can sometimes agree to disagree.” Rivlin arrived in Berlin on Monday, May 11 with his wife, Nechama, and they were received at Schloss Bellevue, the presidential residence, where the two presidents also discussed the importance of strengthening their nations’ ties. Israeli flags were flying at the Reichstag during the three-day visit, which included a visit with Chancellor Angela Merkel and a gala ceremony at Berlin’s Philharmonic. To mark the 50th anniversary, the May 12 edition of Bild Zeitung, Germany’s most-read daily newspaper, featured a front page in Hebrew. On May 11, Rivlin walked with Berlin Mayor Michael Muller through Brandenburg Gate and met with a group of 300 Israelis and Germans aged 18 to 30 who had taken part in partnership projects in the arts and culture field. Security was visibly high in the German capital, with uniformed police patrolling in greater numbers. Gauck said he and Rivlin talked about “aspects of policy where Germans and Israelis still differ,” including their assessments of the threat from Iran. The German president reiterated his country’s support for a two-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but added that he took seriously the concerns of Israelis, especially when “coming from an independent person such as President Rivlin.” For his part, Rivlin said he was convinced that their differences were those of friends who know the other is sincere in wanting to bring about peace. He also said that the strong relationship between Germany and Israel had gone well beyond “reparations” for the Holocaust—a point he reiterated when speaking to the young adults in the afternoon. According to a statement from Rivlin’s office, the Israeli president said that the strong connection between the two countries “was made possible by Germany taking responsibility for the crimes of the past. And so we made a decision that our relationship would never be compensation for that dark history, but that its lessons would guide us to a better future.” Rivlin also visited with political leaders in Kiel, as well as the submarine manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, which is to deliver Israel’s fifth of six Dolphin class submarines this year.
contents Up Front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Tom Hofheimer Fund. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Virginia State Bar’s canceled trip to Israel. . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Pew Research’s U.S. Religious Landscape Study on American Jews. 9 Ethiopians in Tel Aviv . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Jews in Baltimore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Israel in Nepal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 VCIC update. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
Israeli president in Germany to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations
quotable Yom Hashoah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Graduation Time. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CRC honored by Virginia Beach Public Schools . . . . . . . . . . . Book Reviews. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beth El family day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Strelitz smiles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What’s Happening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mazel Tov. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Who knew?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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“I am counting on you to be
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briefs Merkel at Dachau ceremony condemns anti-Semitism Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany condemned anti-Semitism at a ceremony marking 70 years since the liberation of Dachau. “We are all forever called upon to never close our eyes and ears to those who today accost, threaten and attack people when they identify themselves somehow as Jews or also when they side with the State of Israel,” Merkel said Sunday, May 3 at the former concentration camp during a ceremony attended by Holocaust survivors. Merkel first visited Dachau in 2013, the first German chancellor to do so. “There were unfathomable horrors everywhere,” she said. “They all admonish us to never forget. No, we will never forget. We’ll not forget for the sake of the victims, for our own sake, and for the sake of future generations.” Dachau, which is about 10 miles from Munich, was the first Nazi concentration camp opened in Germany. The ceremony was one of several at Nazi camps throughout Europe during this 70th year since the end of World War II. The main gate of the camp, bearing the sign “Arbeit macht frei,” or “work sets you free,” was stolen last year and was re-created by a German blacksmith. More than 200,000 people were imprisoned in the camp and its satellite locations between 1933 and 1945. Some 28,000 prisoners died in Dachau, and another 13,000 died at the external sites. (JTA) Israeli-American chef wins top U.S. food prize Israeli-American chef Alon Shaya was named best chef in the South by the James Beard Foundation. The prize, America’s top prize for food, was awarded on Tuesday, May 5. Shaya, 37, broke through as the winner after being a finalist in the category for the past three years. He was recognized for his work as the executive chef at the Domenica restaurant in New Orleans, which he opened in 2009 with the prominent chef and restaurateur John Besh. His newly opened Shaya restaurant in the same city offers an Israeliinspired menu using local ingredients.
Shaya moved with his family from Israel to Philadelphia when he was 4 years old. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York. (JTA)
Biden: U.S. will go to war to keep Iran from going nuclear Vice President Joe Biden said the United States was willing to go to war to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. War was “unpredictable,” Biden said on April 30 in an address to the 30th anniversary dinner of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, but “if required, it will happen. It is a risk that we may yet have to take should Iran rush to a bomb.” Biden’s warning was the bluntest ever threat from any administration of war against Iran should it pursue a nuclear weapon. The George W. Bush administration introduced the locution “all options are on the table,” and that has remained until now the favored formulation. “The finest military in history remains at the ready,” Biden said. “Don’t underestimate my friend Barack Obama. He has a spine of steel and he is willing to do what it takes to keep our allies safe.” He referred to the deployment of U.S. Navy warships to escort U.S.-flagged vessels in the Persian Gulf in the wake of Iran’s seizure of a cargo ship this week. “We’re prepared to use the force, just listen to the news tonight about what we’re doing in the straits,” Biden said. He also said that Obama had authorized military preparations in the event of a decision to strike Iran. “No such policy existed before president Obama uttered it, that all instruments of American power to prevent—not contain—a nuclear armed Iran would be used,” Biden said. “He made sure that our military had the capacity and the ability to execute the mission if required.” Biden’s pledges were part of a broader pitch to Israel supporters to ignore warnings from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the emerging nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers. Biden twice quoted Netanyahu to deride his views, although he did not name him. “Those who say the deal paves Iran’s path to a bomb, respectfully, they don’t get it,” Biden said in one such instance. He also
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mocked Netanyahu for calling the interim agreement a “historic mistake,” although Netanyahu now favors its extension. Biden reiterated pledges he made a week ago in a speech to the Israeli Embassy’s Independence Day party, saying the Obama administration would not sign a deal that ended sanctions up front and that did not allow for intrusive measures that would extend Iran’s breakout period from three months, where the Obama administration believes it now stands, to a year. Iran’s leaders have insisted that sanctions need to be eliminated almost immediately. Biden added a new pledge: A deal would require Iran to reveal its past nuclear weapons research. Iran’s leaders have rejected such a formula. (JTA)
Jeb Bush: I turn to George W. for Israel advice Jeb Bush said he was inclined to take advice on Israel from his brother, former President George W. Bush. “If you want to know who I listen to for advice, it’s him,” the former Florida governor and likely GOP presidential contender was quoted May 7 by the Washington Post while telling a group of potential campaign funders from the pro-Israel community. Bush faced questions at the meeting on May 5 in New York City organized by Paul Singer about including on his team James Baker, the secretary of state under Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush. Baker had tense relations with the Israeli government at the time, led by the late Yitzhak Shamir, and more recently criticized the current Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for his policies toward the Palestinians. Republican Jews are fond of the younger former President Bush, seen as among the friendliest presidents to Israel, but are wary of associations with the brothers’ father. “Gov. Bush has said before that his brother is the greatest ally to Israel in presidential history, he admires his stalwart support for our ally, and that is in line with his commitment to standing with Israel in the face of great threats to their security and our own,” his spokesman, Tim Miller, told the Post. Singer is organizing meet-and-greet
events for a number of declared and likely Republican candidates. Bush has yet to formally declare. (JTA)
12 U.S. lawmakers, European envoys joining ‘Solidarity Sabbath’ Twelve members of the U.S. Congress and a number of European ambassadors will attend synagogues this month and participate in other activities to show their concern about anti-Semitism. Among 11 Democrats and the Republican who pledged to observe the May 22 “Solidarity Sabbath” is Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate minority leader, and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., one of two Muslims in Congress. The sole Republican is Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. Also pledging to participate, according to the event organizer, the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, are ambassadors to Washington from Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Georgia and Cyprus. Noted human rights activists Chen Guangcheng, formerly of China, and Paul Rusesabagina, formerly of Rwanda, also have signed on. In addition to visiting synagogues, options for participation include hosting a Shabbat dinner and organizing a meeting on religious intolerance. A release from the Lantos Foundation said that “high-level” political leaders from Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Spain and Sweden will participate, although they have not been named. The foundation set up a website for others to take the pledge. “The Solidarity Sabbath provides a unique opportunity for leaders in Europe and North America to stand shoulder to shoulder against anti-Semitism and send a powerful message that this kind of hate will not be tolerated,” Katrina Lantos Swett, the foundation’s president, said. The Lantos Foundation is named for Swett’s father, the late Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor elected to Congress. Lantos, a California Democrat, was noted for his focus on human rights and chaired the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee in 2007–08. (JTA)
Stand up and be counted
t seems like just yesterday that we were all going to synagogue for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and all of the holy days associated with that time of year. Now, we are past Pesach, headed towards Shavuos, and starting the book of Bamidbar, the book of Numbers. This annual personal path is vital for personal growth and spiritual development. The Torah teaches that by observing all of the holidays, we are going through an annual
process that is powerful and can change who we are as people and as Jews. Much of our emphasis during the fall holidays is on individual development, but it is interesting to note that our spring holidays help to focus us on our national identity while, at the same time, force us to define our own, personal obstacles to obtaining true freedom. Pesach defines us as a “free nation under G-d, indivisible.” The upcoming holiday of Shavuos brings us as a nation to Mt. Sinai where G-d gave the Jewish nation the greatest gift in human history—the Torah. As we are now ascending from Pesach to Shavuos, our job becomes to merge the energy that we attained through our personal development in the fall and the pinnacle of national freedom in the spring to climb up and once again receive our personal and national Torah, our eternal, spiritual bond to The Creator. Each day
we are counting up to that event, recalling our past, but dreaming about our future. We should all be trying to take the lessons learned in holidays past and apply those lessons to our lives on a daily basis. The Torah gives us the perfect prescription for living a life of spiritual greatness as individuals and as a nation. The book of Bamidbar, Numbers, starts off by teaching us about the census that the Jewish people performed during their time in the wilderness. This census is significant for many reasons. One reason is that we need
to know that we are part of an amazing nation. Each and every Jew should be proud to be counted among our people. Learning about and exploring our heritage this time of year is one way to be counted. By committing to learning more about ourselves spiritually, we are, in effect, standing up and making a statement. Stand up and be counted! —Rabbi Gershon Litt is executive director of the Norfolk Kollel, the director of Hillel at the College of William and Mary and rabbi of Adath Jeshurun Synagogue in Newport News.
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jewishnewsva.org | May 18, 2015 | Jewish News | 5
Tom Hofheimer fund
Part III of a Series
The Tom Hofheimer Medical Mission Expanding its horizons
by Hal Sacks
nder the continued leadership of Marcia Hofheimer and Joyce Strelitz, the Tom Hofheimer Fund, while continuing its Medical Mission abroad and particularly to Israel, cast about for other areas needing its attention. The new millennium kicked off with a major grant to Jewish Family Service of Tidewater (JFS) to develop a Children’s Grief, Loss and Transition Center that would serve the entire Tidewater community. Working jointly with the EDMARC-Hospice for Children, this structured interfaith program was designed specifically to meet the needs of children, pre-teens and teens that have suffered some type of loss or whose families have undergone a separation or divorce. Congregation Beth Chaverim, the Reform synagogue in Virginia Beach, made its facility available to the community, and based on the success of the program’s first year, the JFS grant was renewed for a second year.
Having expanded its interest from plastic surgery to pediatrics, dental technology, emergency medicine and life support systems, it was only a matter of time before a partnership with a family related philanthropy was realized. The announcement that the Hofheimer Fund would establish a fellowship in diabetic neuropathy at the Leonard R. Strelitz Diabetes Institute of Eastern Virginia Medical School in further partnership with the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, was greeted with enthusiasm by Dr. Aaron Vinik, research director at the Strelitz Diabetes Institutes. “We are very happy to entertain a fellowship here at the Institutes which will allow an Israeli physician to gain clinical experience and take that knowledge back to Israel,” noted Vinik. Ultimately, Dr. Sameer Kassem from Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, further enlarged the scope of research working as a fellow studying pancreatic tissue samples brought from Israel. These samples were from the Bedouin population, which suf-
Alfred (Buzzy) Schulwolf, Marcia Hofheimer and Betsy and Ed Karotkin in Romania in 2004.
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fers from an unusually high rate of hypogloxemia. The second, or Al-Aqsa Intifada, which began in September of 2000, was the cause of tremendous stress, uncertainty and emotional trauma for both students and teachers in Israel. A significant grant from the Tom Hofheimer Fund was approved for ORT Israel to support the Counseling Center at ORT Horowitz Comprehensive High School in 2001 and was renewed for a second year.
he first Hof heimer Medical Mission to Romania, in cooperation with American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and Physicians for Peace was organized in 2002 by Dr. Edward H. Karotkin who, in conjunction with Drs. Warren Sachs, Philip Goldstein and Richard Wertheimer, gave special attention to education Esteria shows her fashion sketches and explains that her dream in pediatrics, dental implants, is to design women’s clothing. cardiology and urology. Physicians for Peace collected and shipped ing a fashion designer. The operation was extraordinarily sucmedical supplies, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to the Romania Jewish cessful and Esteria was brought back to community for its use or to barter in the Israel six months later for necessary follow-up testing to determine if she required general community. In 2004 the second Hofheimer Medical further surgery. She was given a clean bill Mission to Romania added a visit to the of health. “The missions to Romania jointly sponMedical Center Rosen Nursing Home. On this mission, Dr. Buzzy Schulwolf iden- sored by the Tom Hofheimer Medical tified a young woman, Esteria, suffering Mission and Physicians For Peace demonfrom diastematomylia, a life-threatening strated how two non-profit organizations disease in which her skeletal structure was could work together and create a program that neither could do alone,” says Karotkin. deforming and crushing her organs. Largely through the tireless efforts of The success of these missions fulfilled both Schulwolf, Esteria traveled to Israel with the medical and nursing educational aims the help of the Hofheimer Mission, and the of these two organizations, as well as procomplex surgery was performed to help vided some direct patient care for several correct her severe skeletal deformities and complicated pediatric patients. “I was particularly impressed with how allow her to pursue her dreams of becom-
together we can count this as one more world that the JDC has successfully saved. Thank you all for allowing me to be even a small part of this.”
n 1984 an Israeli teen, Shuli Shaked, daughter of one of the volunteers we were working with in our newly twinned community, Pardes Katz, came to our attention. Shuli suffered from a severe congenital condition that was not being successfully treated in Israel. Alice Tom Hofheimer Davis, then United Jewish Federation of Tidewater Women’s Division Campaign the JDC was able to donate the medical equipment brought with us to the chair, was determined to help Shuli. At her request, a comprehensive workup community hospital in Bucharest, in in Israel was arranged, which exchange for having the hospi“The determined she needed the tal commit to care for elderly service of three specialpatients in the Jewish commissions to ists: orthopedic, plastic munity who would not Romania jointly and vascular surgery. have the funds to pay Through the efforts of for needed care,” says sponsored by the Tom Davis, and her husKarotkin. The following, Hofheimer Medical Mission band, Dr. Harvey Davis, a team of spefrom Davida Chazan, and Physicians For Peace cialists in Norfolk, well-known Israeli corw it h respondent, blogger demonstrated how two non- work ing Children’s Hospital of and author who covprofit organizations could The King’s Daughters, ered the event in Israel attended to Shuli’s bears repetition: work together and create needs at no cost. She “...to all of the donors a program that neither returned to Israel, but a year later, was brought whose generosity made it could do alone back to Norfolk where she possible ...you all know that underwent amputation of her at this time of the year we tell left leg. people “G’mar Hatima Tova,” hoping Shuli spent her recovery at Norfolk’s that they will be inscribed for another Ronald McDonald House, until she was year in the Book of Life. This, combined outfitted with a prosthesis. A teen-age boy, with the JDC motto of the proverb “He Craig Einhorn, a member of BBYO at the who saves a single life, it is as though time, was assigned the task of visiting Shuli he has saved the entire world” has truly to cheer her up. They cheered each other come alive for me. I’m sure you will all up. Craig made aliyah. They eventually agree that what was done here helped married and are now living in the United insure that this lovely young woman will States with their two teenage children, have no further physical impediments to one of whom celebrated a Bat Mitzvah last allow her to be inscribed in the Book of month. Life for many, many years to come, and
Shuli Shaked in The Virginian-Pilot.
To learn more, support or make a donation to the Tom Hofheimer Fund with the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, visit www.JewishVA.org/Hofheimer.
jewishnewsva.org | May 18, 2015 | Jewish News | 7
Failing the Bar: Cross-examination of Israel trip cancellation by Noam Gilboord
n Friday, March 27, Virginia State Bar (VSB) President Kevin Martingayle sent an email to members of the bar, which caused a fair Noam Gilboord amount of upset in local Jewish communities. Martingayle’s message notified VSB members that their upcoming Midyear Legal Seminar, which was scheduled to take place in Jerusalem, was cancelled. Immediately, some labeled this action as a boycott, and 40 organizations supporting the BDS Movement, which advocates for widespread boycotts of Israel, produced a statement thanking the
VSB for this cancellation. Perhaps most troublesome is the VSB’s waffling regarding the reason for the trip’s cancellation. Initially, the bar claimed that, “there are some unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to [Israeli] border security that affect travelers to the nation. Upon review of U.S. State Department advisories… it has been determined that there is enough legitimate concern to warrant cancellation of the Israel trip.” A few days later, in a subsequent email, Martingayle added that “we were well short of the required number of confirmed attendees necessary for the trip to proceed.” Well, why didn’t the bar just say so initially? If the VSB had failed to recruit the required minimum number of participants for their Israel seminar, surely they could have just cancelled based on low
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numbers. Had they done so, they could have avoided the public relations disaster they began through an accusation that Israel discriminates against certain individuals attempting to enter the country and making a statement that appeared to ally themselves with the BDS Movement, from which they have attempted to distance themselves. Incredibly, the VSB claims their cancellation was a result of Israel’s discriminatory failure to ensure entry to Israel for all of its members, some of whom are “individuals who may encounter lengthy examination and possible rejection.” However, no one has asked why Israel might bar their entry. There is a false underlying assumption that American citizens must be allowed entry to Israel, or any other country. Is this so? Are all countries required to let any non-citizens into their territory? Obviously not. The U.S. State Department’s travel warning is very clear that “The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.” No doubt the Israelis feel vulnerable with Islamic terrorist organizations surrounding their borders, such as Iran-backed Hezbollah and Hamas, not to mention ISIS. Israelis have the right and the responsibility to ensure that those entering their country do not constitute security threats. Recent memories of violent terrorist attacks and missile barrages give ample reason for such policies. Those who are not found to constitute such a threat would be granted entry. If the VSB was concerned that some of its members would not be permitted to enter, they could have undergone the process of pre-clearing their members through the Israeli consulate. Why they didn’t is anyone’s guess. Israelis, like Americans, have every right to deny entry to individuals coming
to their borders. Despite this, millions of non-citizens of all races, religions, ethnicities and national origins enter Israel as tourists each year. In fact, data from 2012 shows that of some 626,000 Americans travelling to Israel as tourists, only 142 were rejected—a refusal rate of 0.023%. In comparison, the American refusal rate for Israeli applicants for tourist visas was 5.4%, making America’s entry policies much more restrictive than Israel’s. Given the rather unremarkable nature of Israel’s policies, it makes no sense that the VSB should be accusing Israel of discriminatory practices. At this point, the VSB appears unwilling to engage on this issue any longer. The decision to cancel the Israel seminar is unlikely to be reversed due to low registration numbers. Meanwhile, our Jewish and pro-Israel communities have learned that no institution is impervious to attacks from the unyielding BDS Movement. Together, we must be vigilant in speaking truth and providing context where Israel’s legitimacy is assaulted. Our role as advocates is to engage respectfully and thoughtfully with those institutions which have been victims of Israel’s true detractors. Furthermore, we can be proud that Israel does not practice discrimination at its borders. Those who overlook Israel’s legitimate security concerns in an effort to delegitimize the Jewish state and provide ammunition to Israel’s detractors must be called to the stand, and the record must be corrected. —Noam Gilboord is the director of Community Strategy for the Israel Action Network. The Israel Action Network is a joint initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America (the national umbrella agency of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater) and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (the Community Relations Council’s national umbrella agency).
does not practice
discrimination at its
One in six Jews are new to Judaism— and nine other new Pew findings by Uriel Heilman
NEW YORK (JTA)—The Pew Research Center’s newly released 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study offers a trove of data on American Jews based on interviews with 35,071 American adults, 847 of whom identified their faith as Jewish. Here are some of the more interesting findings about the Jews.
We’re highly educated! There are more American Jews with two or more university degrees than those who have just one—31 percent have a graduate degree and 29 percent have just a bachelor’s degree. With a college graduation rate of about 59 percent (more than twice the national average of 27 percent), American Jews are the second most-educated religious group in America after Hindus, at 77 percent.
We’re the biggest religious minority! Judaism is the largest faith group in America after Christianity, and its relative size in America has grown slightly since 2007—from 1.7 percent of the U.S. population in 2007 to 1.9 percent in 2014. The denominational breakdown of Jews who identify with the Jewish faith (“Jews by religion”) is 44 percent Reform, 22 percent Conservative, 14 percent Orthodox, 5 percent another movement and 16 percent no denomination.
We’re not as white as we used to be: American Jewish adults are 90 percent white, 2 percent black, 4 percent Latino, 2 percent Asian-American and 2 percent “other non-Hispanic.” That’s a notable change from 2007, when whites comprised 95 percent of American Jews, Latinos comprised 3 percent, blacks comprised 1 percent and the percentage of Asians was negligible.
A quarter of us are losing our religion: When it comes to religious retention rates, American Jews come in third, retaining 75 percent of those raised Jewish. By comparison, Hindus retain 80 percent and Muslims 77 percent. Behind the Jews are Evangelical Christians at 65 percent; Mormons, 64 percent; Catholics, 59 percent; and mainline Protestants, 45 percent. Jehovah’s Witnesses retain only 34 percent.
But 17 percent of us have found Judaism! Seventeen percent of American Jews say they were raised in another religion. Six percent say they were raised unaffiliated, 4 percent as mainline Protestant, 3 percent as Catholic, and 2 percent each as Evangelical and in some other religion.
Who are we marrying? Sixty-five percent of American Jews who are married or living with a partner are with a Jew and 35 percent are with a non-Jew. Nine percent of American Jews are partnered with Catholics, 8 percent with mainline Protestants, 4 percent with peoples of other faiths and 11 percent with unaffiliated Americans.
Nu, when are we going to get married already? The percentage of Jewish adult singles is growing—up from 19 percent in 2007 to 23 percent in 2014. Fifty-six percent of Jewish adults are married, and another 6 percent are living with a partner. Fifteen percent were married but are now separated, divorced or widowed. The Jewish fertility rate is 2.0 children, compared to 2.1 children for all Americans.
We’re mostly American born and bred: Sixty-six percent of Jewish adults are Americans born to American-born parents. Of the 12 percent of American Jews who are immigrants, 5 percent were born in Europe, 4 percent in the Americas, 2 percent in the Middle East and 1 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.
We still heart New York: Where do America’s Jews live? Forty-two percent in the Northeast, 27 percent in the South, 20 percent in the West and 11 percent in the Midwest. In the Northeast, where Jews are most numerous, Jews comprise roughly 4 percent of the total population. Eight percent of the New York City area is Jewish.
We’re rich! (but also poor): American Jews (44 percent) are more than twice as likely as average Americans (19 percent) to have annual household incomes over $100,000. But 16 percent of Jewish adults have annual household incomes of $30,000 or less, and 15 percent live in households that earn between $30,000 and $50,000. The Jewish data in the survey has a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.
jewishnewsva.org | May 18, 2015 | Jewish News | 9
Why Ethiopian-Israelis took to Tel Aviv’s streets by Ben Sales
TEL AVIV (JTA)—A historically disadvantaged black minority is galvanized when one of its members appears to suffer brutality at the hands of police—and the episode is caught on video. Peaceful mass protests devolve into violence. Police crack down in an attempt to control crowds. It’s not Baltimore or Ferguson. It’s Tel Aviv, which was rocked by unrest Sunday, May 3 after a video of a uniformed EthiopianIsraeli soldier, Demas Pakada, being beaten by Israeli police made the rounds online. Here are four things you need to know about the Israeli demonstrations. A police beating sparked the protests. The video that triggered the Tel Aviv protests shows Pakada holding his bicycle on an empty sidewalk. A police officer approaches him, grabs him, punches him and pushes him to the ground. Pakada then stands up and exchanges words with the officer.
On May 3 in Tel Aviv, chanting protesters invoked the name of Yosef Salamsa—a 22-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli man who committed suicide in July. Salamsa killed himself four months after police approached him in a public park and accused him of breaking into a house, then tased him before he was released. The deputy mayor of Salamsa’s coastal hometown of Binyamina, Shlomi Salame, said the police “broke his spirit,” according to the Israeli news website Walla. But unlike in the United States, where a series of high-profile law enforcement killings of unarmed black boys and men have made headlines, until now there have been no known parallel cases with Ethiopians in Israel. On Monday, May 4, Pakada met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with a delegation of Ethiopian-Israeli community leaders. But the protests are also responding to Ethiopians’ systemic challenges.
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Pakada’s beating triggered the Tel Aviv protests, including in Jerusalem several days earlier, but it also unleashed long-simmering grievances in the Ethiopian community. Protesters said they were troubled by lagging educational opportunities, discrimination when applying for government jobs and high rates of Ethiopian-Israelis in military prisons. Israel has celebrated approximately 125,000 Ethiopian immigrants who arrived beginning in the mid-1980s through 2013. And Israel’s government has provided a range of benefits to Ethiopian-Israelis, from free college tuition to lower mortgage rates. But challenges remain. Ethiopian-Israelis are overrepresented in military prisons and underrepresented at the nation’s universities. And in 2012, the average Ethiopian family’s income was just over half the Israeli average. “We want to receive rights just as we fulfill our duties,” says Yosi Minyuv, 27, an Ethiopian-Israeli who served four years in the Israeli army, including as a combat officer. “We’re second-class citizens. We want good work and they block us.” The Tel Aviv demonstration began peacefully and ended in violence. When protesters—Ethiopian and others—first gathered in Tel Aviv on May 3, they chanted and held signs as police stood at a distance. As the protest swelled beyond 1,000 people, the demonstrators formed a giant circle, blocking a major intersection and then marching down Tel Aviv’s central Ayalon highway. Protesters chanted slogans like “Whether black or white, we’re all people” and “Every violent police officer needs to be put away.” They held signs with slogans such as “Being black is not a crime.” Some waved Israeli flags. Clashes began as police cleared protesters
from the highway, and violence intensified as thousands of demonstrators filled the central Rabin Square. Fighting escalated as protesters threw glass bottles and stones at police, and police responded with stun grenades and a water cannon. Demonstrators began to chant “police state” and remained past midnight. By the time the crowds dispersed, dozens of people had been injured— including 56 police officers. Blood stained the usually tranquil square. Despite challenges, some Ethiopian-Israelis remain optimistic. Even as protesters vented frustrations, many of them said they felt a sense of belonging in Israel. A large Israeli flag waved over the demonstration’s early hours, and Ethiopian-Israelis at the protest proudly referenced their military service. Protesters said that after serving in the Israel Defense Forces and living in the state as loyal citizens, they didn’t feel the state treated them as they deserved. “I gave to the state because I’m part of the country,” says Avi Sabahat, 27, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia at age 4. “There’s some hidden discrimination. It’s in the conscious and the subconscious. There’s been a little improvement, but you don’t feel it. There’s integration in society, but not enough.” Dana Sibaho, a 29-year-old EthiopianIsraeli, says that a decade ago, the older generation, who had come to Israel as adults, were too focused on their absorption to demand better treatment from the state. But she says younger Ethiopians, either born in Israel or having arrived as small children, feel empowered to demand their rights. “Things will change,” she says. “They won’t silence us. Not like our parents, who accepted things. We know what we’re up against. Now we won’t shut up.”
vented frustrations, many of them said
they felt a sense of belonging in Israel.
How Jews are trying to make things better after Baltimore by Ron Kampeas and Melissa Apter
WASHINGTON (JTA)—From roundtable discussions to protests and prayers to candid talk with law enforcement officials, American Jewish communities are joining in the debate about community policing in the wake of several high-profile deaths of unarmed black men while in police custody. Officials were short on specifics, but several told JTA that protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray on April 19 have sparked a determination to confront the tensions between police and minority communities. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella public policy body, last month called for a “new national conversation” about police tactics. “At this critical time in our nation’s history it is abundantly clear that a conversation not only needs to be had between law enforcement and disenfranchised communities—particularly the African American community, but within our own communities,” JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow said in a statement. In several communities, Jewish organizations with strong ties to both the African-American community and law enforcement see themselves as well positioned to help bridge differences. In Baltimore, where violent protests led the mayor to impose a curfew on the city for several days following Gray’s death, the local chapter of Jews United for Justice appealed to its members in the legal profession to volunteer “as a legal observer, jail care, or hotline volunteer” during the protests. In Detroit, the Michigan Round Table, an umbrella body for minorities in which local Jewish groups take part, called an emergency meeting following the Baltimore protests. Heidi Budaj, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, says the meeting was mainly an opportunity to share reactions to what was unfolding in the Maryland city. “These incidents are bringing to the forefront in our discussions feelings that may have been hidden for many, many years,” Budaj says. “All of us want to resolve any issues before it turns into Ferguson or Baltimore.”
Through its various law enforcement training programs addressing bias and hate crimes, among other topics, the ADL has long forged close relations with local police departments. At its national conference here over the weekend, the ADL featured a session about police-community relations and the organization’s role in improving them. In Detroit, Budaj says the Jewish community is also part of a coalition, Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust, that has held monthly meetings with area police about police brutality and other “touchy issues.” The group rallied members, including 14 rabbis from Baltimore and Washington, to join in protests in Baltimore on May 1. In Ferguson, a city near St. Louis, protests following the shooting last summer of Michael Brown by a local police officer were a major catalyst for a renewed national debate about police relations with the African-American community. “What we’re focusing on is healing what’s broken and building a St. Louis that is safe, equal and just for all,” says Batya Abramson-Goldstein, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council in St. Louis, which helps organize an annual 9/11 commemorative concert that last year made reconciliation its focus. The Ferguson protests also drew attention to the increased militarization of local police departments. “To suggest we need police looking like they did in Ferguson, it’s outrageous,” Gutow says. “When you see the blue uniform of police it should be a sign of friendship.” The expanded availability of military-grade hardware to local police departments coincided with a growing concern about counterterrorism following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. John Cohen, who until last year was a senior counterterrorism official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, says the war footing adopted by police departments after the attacks put community policing on the back burner. After race riots in the early 1990s, “there really was a broad and energized movement within the policing discipline to expand local community cooperation continued on page 12
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focused on preventing crime, improving life,” says Cohen, now a professor at Rutgers University’s School of Criminal Justice in New Jersey who is helping to direct a project examining attacks on faith communities. But after 9/11, he says, “there was a shift in priorities.” Jewish groups “benefited greatly” from the shift, according to Paul Goldenberg, the director of the Secure Community Network, the security arm of the national Jewish community. Concerned that Jewish institutions were prime targets for terrorism, Jewish groups won significant grant money from the Department of Homeland Security—
including 97 percent of all funds doled out in 2012 under the department’s Non-Profit Security Grant Program, according to a report that year in the Forward. Goldenberg praises law enforcement agencies for the “extraordinary amount of time” spent assisting Jewish communities. A degree of militarization was inevitable, he said, to face terrorists at home and abroad. “Police officers a decade ago were carrying 357s with six shots and rounds on heir belts, and they found themselves being confronted by adversaries with automatic weapons,” Goldenberg says. “The paradigm has changed.”
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JERUSALEM (JTA)—Israel closed its field hospital in Kathmandu at a joint ceremony with its Nepali counterparts. The 60-bed field hospital, which treated more than 1,400 patients during its 10 days of operation, was closed on Sunday, May 10. The hospital performed 90 life-saving surgeries, and delivered eight babies, six by Caesarean section, according to the Times of Israel. Some 150 Israelis staffed the hospital, the largest ever erected by the Israel
Defense Forces. “Let me express our sincere gratitude to the government of Israel and to the people of Israel for helping us in times of very critical hours for Nepal,” the country’s urban development minister, Narayan Khadka, said at the ceremony. The death toll from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25 and the resulting avalanches centered near Kathmandu rose above 8,000, with more than 16,000 injured.
IDF delegation to Nepal lands in Israel as new temblor strikes area JERUSALEM (JTA)—The Israel Defense Forces delegation to Nepal returned home as a second powerful earthquake shook the beleaguered Asian country. An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 struck Nepal on Tuesday, May 5, less than three weeks after a 7.8 magnitude quake struck the same area, killing more than 8,000 people and injuring upwards of 16,000. At least 42 people have been reported killed and several buildings destroyed in the earthquake in the hours after it struck. The area had faced numerous aftershocks and smaller earthquakes since the April 25 temblor centered near Kathmandu, the capital. Many families had moved back to their homes. Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz, co-director of the Chabad of Nepal with his wife, Chani, said soon after the May 5 quake that 133 Israelis have again taken shelter
at the Chabad center, according to the Chabad.org website. “Although everyone we know appears to be safe, we are sad to report that there are many more casualties in Nepal again today,” Lifshitz said. “There is so much more work that now needs to be done.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted the IDF delegation when it arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport. “Members of the delegation, we are proud of you!” Netanyahu exclaimed. “You rescued people from the ruins, treated 1,600 injured and sick people, and brought new life into the world, at least eight births. You showed the true face of the State of Israel—a state that loves life and saves life.” “You brought much honor and much pride to the State of Israel. I am certain and I know that you are already prepared for the next mission wherever you are needed.”
An update on the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities by Jonathan Zur, president and CEO, VCIC
he Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities continues to make measurable and meaningful changes in area local schools, businesses and communities. The following are highlights of the Jonathan Zur. past year: Over the last year in Tidewater, every first year student at Virginia Wesleyan College was trained by VCIC; every educator who sponsors a diversity-related club in Virginia Beach City Public Schools was trained by VCIC; and hundreds of business leaders were trained by VCIC through a keynote presentation at the Eastern Virginia Regional Diversity and Inclusion conference; military service members in the Coast Guard and Navy were trained
by VCIC; and high school students from Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach participated in Connections Institute and Diversity Dialogue Day programs. The list goes on and on and on. In fact, VCIC has increased the number of programs it delivers annually by more than 400%. In this fiscal year, it expects to reach more than 20,000 Virginians through workshops, retreats, assemblies, forums and events—compared to reaching around 3,000 people a year less than a decade ago. VCIC received awards and commendations from, among others, the Virginia General Assembly, Partnership for the Future, the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond, the Urban League and the Valentine. Plus, VCIC ended 2014 by being named a “Top Rated Nonprofit” in the country by GreatNonprofits.org—for the third year in a row. Three new initiatives in Tidewater that will advance VCIC’s work include:
• Through a partnership with the Governor’s School for the Arts, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities is developing a discussion and resource guide to accompany an original performance focused on reducing bullying. This spring, every single middle school in Tidewater will receive a DVD of this production with a discussion and resource guide. • A formalized relationship is now in place with the Hampton Roads Diversity and Inclusion Consortium, a coalition of business and community leaders that meets quarterly to explore best practices in workplace inclusion, in addition to an annual fall conference.
• The outstanding program called Operation Understanding Hampton Roads, led by two past VCIC Humanitarian Award recipients, Barry and Lois Einhorn, is slated to begin again. VCIC is partnering with Tidewater Jewish Foundation, The Community Relations Council of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, the Urban League of Hampton Roads, and YWCA of South Hampton Roads to attempt to bring this yearlong leadership development program back for African American and Jewish teenagers in this area. VCIC will serve as the program’s lead coordinator and fiscal agent.
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jewishnewsva.org | May 18, 2015 | Jewish News | 13
“Remember the survivors, because we’re not going to be around too long.” —Henry Greenbaum, survivor by Elyse Cardon
f you were not one of the 500–600 people at Congregation Beth El for the annual Yom Hashoah program, sponsored by the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, I wish I could say with confidence, “Don’t worry—there’s always next year.” But I cannot. The reality is that each year the survivor population decreases substantially. This means each year we must ask, “will we have the opportunity to honor them, to hear their stories live and in person?” The time is now—our days together are numbered. Anne Diamonstein Fleder, chair of the Holocaust Commission, opened the program recognizing the 70th year since the end of WWII. While freedom was all the victims had hoped for, the anguish of liberation and the idea of returning to some sort of “normal,” left most survivors lost and alone. Fleder quoted professor Dina Porat, chief historian at Yad Vashem: “The day of liberation, the one for which every Jew had longed throughout the years of the Holocaust, was for most a day of crisis and emptiness, a feeling of overwhelming
loneliness as they grasped the sheer scale When Enough Isn’t. An excerpt: of the destruction on both the personal and communal level. Those who had sur“The true tragedy lies in the fact that vived, either in camps or in hiding, were If we behave so flippantly in severely deteriorated physical condition After hearing the story of a true, real, and in a state of emotional shock.” Flesh and blood victim Turning to the voices of the future, the Of the consummate atrocity to which entries of more than 1,400 students to the minorities were subjected, 2015 Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts The scarce amount we care now Competitions were acknowledged. Poems, Will become infinitesimally small essays, two- and three- dimensional artOnce they pass away. works and multimedia entries came from People ask why the message of the a record 46 public and private schools Holocaust in Tidewater, as well as from Western Matters today and in the future. Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., They inquire why these hard truths Maryland, South Carolina, Florida, New should be stressed to a highly Jersey and Wisconsin. The entries were repetitive degree. rendered anonymous and went through To them I reply third party judging by highly qualified History does indeed repeat itself educators, writers and artists. Student winif left alone. ners were presented with a certificate of And I refuse to lay the grounds for a achievement, a cash award and a handfuture genocide blown glass Star of David paperweight, Simply because a high schooler wants donated by local artist Matthew Fine with to study for a quiz.” the cooperation of Ed Francis at TCC. Jaden Baum, a 10th grade student at Henry Greenbaum, the evening’s guest Norfolk Academy, won first place in this speaker, told his inspiring story of suryear’s Senior Division Poetry competion. viving the Holocaust. His son, Stanley, She moved everyone to tears with her joined him, “talk-show style,” on the delivery of her extraordinary poem titled, bima. At 87-years-old, Greenbaum gives
Dame Mary Barraco and Mickey Held.
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the hour-long version of his story every Friday as a volunteer at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. At Yom Hashoah, his son helped guide him through the memories in an abridged report of the horrors, including losing his mother, five of his eight siblings, and living through a gunshot wound to his head before being deported to Auschwitz in 1944. He was liberated by American troops April 25, 1945. Greenbaum was only 11 years old when all he knew was taken away. Less than a year ago, the elder Greenbaum took Stanley and his two brothers to his hometown and to Auschwitz. It was the first time he had set foot on that ground since his liberation. Stanley remembered how striking it was to see color in everything, a sharp contrast to the black and white images associated with the Holocaust. He also said, “After visiting Auschwitz and Flossenberg concentration camps with my father this past summer, and actually seeing where the horrors took place, I realize he is stronger than I could ever have imagined. He is my HERO.” In Tidewater, Greenbaum also spoke to hundreds of students at both Norfolk Academy and Tallwood High School. As Greenbaum spoke, one young boy’s eyes
The Betesh family from Ocean, N.J. with Henry and Stan Greenbaum, Rina, Jacob and Joesph Betesh, Henry and Stan Greenbaum and Sonia (senior essay honoree) and Danny Betesh.
Erica Reisner Ausch and her grandchildren.
Mickey Held and Ellie Brooke helps Alfred Dreyfus light a candle.
Henry Greenbaum and Bill Jucksch, veteran of U.S. 71st Infantry.
got wider and wider. He was listening to what life had been like before the war. “I was just a regular kid, with regular friends,” said the octogenarian before them. “I went to school and kicked a soccer ball around for fun… I was just like you.” I don’t think that boy blinked for the entire hour. I know I didn’t. Perhaps until Greenbaum described the day of his liberation when I blinked away tears: “The guards who had been making us march for hours suddenly left us by the edge of the forest and ran away. A huge tank pulled up in front of all of us. The lid popped open, and we didn’t know who they were at the Stan and Henry Greenbaum. time, but they turned out to be two beautiful American soldiers. ‘American Angels’ I call them. They put their hands up to their mouth and yelled, ‘You are Free!’” I looked up to the sky and said, ‘Thank you G-d that I am free, but why did it take you so long?’” The Holocaust Commission works diliPhil Walzer lights for his father, Alexander Walzer. gently to document and preserve the stories of our survivors, so that we may never forget, but nothing will replace hearing it from them first hand. As Alex Konikoff, seventh grader at Norfolk Academy, unequivocally said, “He was amazing! It was so interesting to hear what it was really like. I mean, we have read it in books and stuff but never heard from a real person.” As the standing room only crowd at Ralph Soussan, Henry Greenbaum, Arlene Soussan and Stan Greenbaum. Tallwood High School left the auditorium after 75 minutes of rapt attention, 10 to 20 Each year Yom Hashoah closes after a somber candle lighting students approached Greenbaum with more ceremony, during which local survivors, liberators and Righteous questions. Within seconds, his left sleeve Gentiles are honored. The number of survivors who light candles was rolled up to show them his tattoo from grows smaller each year, as that population grows older. This year Auschwitz. Several students had tears in it seemed there were more people lighting in memory of survivors their eyes, and many could not leave with- who had passed away in the last year than actual survivors, and out hugging him. “I am counting on you to the trend will continue. As Greenbaum said, “Remember the surbe good to each other,” he told them. “We vivors, because we’re not going to be around too long.” It is up to are all the same. White people, black people, all of us to keep not only their memories, but also their stories and Clara Zimm lights a candle for 1.5 million children lost in Holocoust. brown people, green people. It doesn’t mat- their lessons alive. ter. Don’t let this happen again.”
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Amid Chinese influx, Brandeis considers its Jewish identity by Uriel Heilman
WALTHAM, Mass. (JTA)—When Jeff Wang was applying to U.S. colleges more than two years ago from his home near Shanghai, Brandeis University was a top choice. Like many Chinese students now at Brandeis, he had discovered the university on Chinese Internet forums that touted the school’s academic rankings and its high faculty-to-student ratio. Wang noted one other element that appealed to him: the Jewish character of Brandeis. “It’s run by Jewish, and Jews are smarter—there were lots of people talking about that in the forums,” says Wang, now a Brandeis sophomore and a double major in economics and fine arts. “A lot of Jews are in very high positions in corporations, so once we get to Brandeis we can have connections to those corporations through alumni relationships.” Wang is among the fast-growing number of students from mainland China enrolled at the Jewish-sponsored, nonsectarian university outside of Boston. Founded in 1948 as a top-tier alternative for Jews who faced quota restrictions at the nation’s Ivy League universities, Brandeis has undergone a profound demographic shift in recent years. Last year, about a quarter of incoming freshman were international— with the largest number of them from China (about 10 percent of all freshmen). After China, the top countries of origin for foreign students at Brandeis are Korea, India, Canada and Israel, in that order.
Jews are now thought to make up a minority of Brandeis’ 3,700 undergraduates—40 to 45 percent according to many faculty and student estimates. That figure was said to be upwards of 60 percent just two decades ago. University officials do not have precise numbers because Brandeis does not ask students about religious background. Brandeis is not alone in seeing an influx of students from China. During the 2013-14 academic year, there were 274,439 Chinese students at American universities, including about 110,000 undergraduates. But questions about the changing makeup of the Brandeis student body—and perhaps its leadership— are particularly resonant here given the school’s history as a Jewish institution. The university is in the midst of searching for a successor to Frederick Lawrence, who has served as president for the past five years. When Brandeis provost Lisa Lynch steps in as acting president in July, she will be the first non-Jew ever to occupy the university’s top job. Lynch has said she does not want the permanent post. The debate over whether being Jewish is a requirement for the presidency has “never [been] more fierce than it is today,” says Jerry Cohen, a longtime American studies professor at Brandeis who is working on a book titled, Innermost Part: Brandeis University and the Jewish Question. “This question, whither Brandeis, is now up for definition and debate as we contemplate a new president, trying to figure out where we are and who we are.” The current high number of international students—the figure has risen
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30 percent over the past five years and now comprises 18 percent of undergraduates—is something of a fluke that is in the process of being corrected, says Andrew Flagel, the senior vice president for students and enrollment. “There was an unusual pattern in the last two years of students accepting our offers,” Flagel says. “The precipitous increase of international acceptance has caused us to dramatically decrease the number of offers we’ve put out for international students this year.” He notes that “a plurality of our students are Jewish,” and the number of Jews “appears to be well over 50 percent of our U.S. students.” Percentages notwithstanding, Jewish life is thriving at the university. Racheli Berkovitz, a senior from Newton, Mass., says that when her father attended Brandeis a generation ago, the school was about 75 percent Jewish, but had no daily minyan, or Jewish prayer service. Now there are three daily services, a range of denominational choices on Shabbat, and Jewish cultural offerings from theater troupes and a cappella groups to a Yiddish club. “I’m very comfortable Jewishly here,” Berkovitz says. “We have a very vibrant community and we’ll continue to have it, despite the percentages.” There’s also a growing array of offerings for and by Asian students. In addition to foreign students from China and Korea, Brandeis has more than 475 AsianAmerican undergrads. In one awareness-raising exercise, the Brandeis Asian American Student Association recently decorated a prominent place on campus with fliers highlighting the stereotypes that Asian students encounter at the college. “Look, it’s made in China, like you,” the fliers read. “Me love you long time.” “How do you tell each other apart?” “Are there any fat Asians?” “I totally have an Asian fetish.” Many Chinese students complain about not understanding American humor and cultural references, and being misunderstood by Americans. They also lament the dining hall offerings at Brandeis—in a nod
to the university’s Jewish character, they pointedly exclude pork or shellfish, both staples of the Chinese diet. Shanghai native Tianwu Wang, a sophomore and physics major, says students from China tend to stick together, but the dearth of interaction with American students doesn’t bother him. For Tianwu, the appeal of Brandeis was its size. “The small school and very cutting-edge study and research is a very good thing here,” he says. “The physics department is small, which I like. There’s a lot of interaction with the professors.” For universities, the allure of Chinese students is clear: International students are not eligible for federal loans and are restricted from most types of financial aid, so Chinese students pay full freight. And the Chinese who come to school in America tend to have strong academic qualifications, ambition—and means. On the downside, Cohen notes, “many of the foreign students, and in particular the new group of mainland Chinese students, have a way to go with regard to English-language skills and writing.” Ariel Kagedan, a Jewish junior at Brandeis, says his training to become a resident adviser included a session on international students, but it didn’t prepare him for two surprising episodes. One was when a newcomer from India asked where he could find drinking water on campus. The other was when a Chinese student asked for help choosing an American name; many Chinese students adopt American nicknames instead of their given Chinese names. This student chose Kyle. Huilin Gang, a master’s student in computer science from Xinjiang, China, says she didn’t know anything about Jews before she came to Brandeis. Then, last month, a friend invited her to join his Jewish girlfriend’s Passover seder. Huilin says she was fascinated by the dress, the foods and the rituals. “It was my first time to know something about Passover, about their customs, about their traditions,” she says. “It was very interesting.”
The financial conversation to have with kids before they leave for college
f you’re worried about your new college student’s ability to manage money on his or her own, you’re not alone. Here, financial advisor Donna Skeels Cygan spotlights seven specific things you and your student need to consider before freshman move-in day. Your years of encouragement and supervision have paid off, and your teenager will be heading off to college this fall. But if you’re like most parents, your pride and relief are mingled with new worries. You want your child to thrive (or at least survive) academically. You hope you’ve made a lasting impression when it comes to teaching time management skills and making “responsible life choices.” But is it possible that you overlooked one of the most important lessons of all: how to manage money? Now that your student will be living on his or her own for the first time, he or she will be facing a lot of potential financial pitfalls—and Donna Skeels Cygan says you should make time to talk about them. “Often, college students don’t realize that their current financial habits and decisions will impact their lives for years to come—and looking back, many wish they’d done things differently while they were in school,” says Cygan, author of The Joy of Financial Security: The art and science of becoming happier, managing your money wisely, and creating a secure financial future ( www.joyoffinancialsecurity.com). “That’s why it’s so important for parents to sit down with their kids before freshman move-in day and have a serious conversation about good financial habits. “I promise—underneath the potential sighs and eye-rolls—your child will absorb more than you think,” she adds. In addition to owning a financial advisory firm, Cygan and her husband have one daughter in college as well as a recent graduate. Cygan says her advice to her children mirrored the guidance she gives her clients, much of which is detailed in The Joy of Financial Security. One of the book’s central tenets is that lavish, spontaneous spending doesn’t make us happy at all
(at least not for long). Sane, smart money management—which should ideally start in college—does bring joy and peace (not to mention smaller credit card bills and student loan payments). Here are seven things to consider with your student before classes start: Be sure your child knows what this is costing. (And make her commit to finishing in four years.) There’s a lot of popular “wisdom” for college students along these lines: “Don’t rush. Experiment and try a lot of new things. Take your time figuring out what you want to do. And don’t forget to have fun!” Cygan agrees that college is a great time to explore new areas of interest…but she also believes that college is a time to focus on learning and earning a degree. “It’s all too easy for students to sign up for semester after semester of classes that look fun, interesting, or easy, only to find that they’ll need to spend an extra year (or more) completing graduation requirements,” she notes. “Even during your child’s very first semester at college, it’s important for her to take class selection, and later on, major selection, seriously. Instruct her to plan ahead and make sure that she’s on track to check all of the necessary boxes on time. And make it very clear that the more time she takes to graduate, the more debt she’ll rack up. Spending five years at college when you could have finished in four is a huge waste of money—so don’t buy the line that changing majors several times is consequence-free.”
from year to year. “Having a direct conversation with the college’s financial aid office might also benefit your student,” Cygan points out. “With my youngest daughter’s aid package, we were able to negotiate an additional ‘discount’ on tuition. I learned that financial aid employees often have a certain amount of flexibility in allocating aid, so it’s worth getting to know them. Also, be aware that your child may qualify for additional types of aid later in college that he didn’t initially. As the semesters pass, remind him to stay abreast of any updates. For instance, once he declares a major, his department may offer scholarships to its students. “And one more piece of advice on the topic of paying for school: If your family decides to take out college loans, make sure some of the loan balance will be repaid by
your child,” she adds. “Knowing that his education isn’t a freebie will make it more meaningful to him—and may also sharpen his motivation to graduate in four years.” Help your child work out a monthly budget. In college your child will be responsible for managing her monthly budget, which might include paying for food, transportation, entertainment, laundry, clothing and more. If she’s like many students, this will be her first experience at managing a budget, and she’ll quickly find that expensive outfits, frequent pizza deliveries and daily $4 lattes aren’t sustainable. “You can help ease the transition by helping your student identify priorities and figure out how much she’s likely to spend on necessities each month, so that continued on page 18
Involve your student in the financial aid process. Make sure your student is knowledgeable about any financial aid he may be receiving, whether it’s in the form of merit-based scholarships, need-based aid, grants, work-study or something else. (This is especially important if you, on whose income and assets the aid may be based, filled out the forms.) It’s important for the student to know what he’s entitled to, what his aid does and doesn’t cover, and whether terms and conditions will change
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Graduation Time continued from page 17
she’ll have a general idea of how much she can put toward more fun activities,” says Cygan. “If money is tighter than she’d like, inform her that she’s just taken one of her first major steps toward entering the real world. The good news is, if she gets used to budgeting, prioritizing and stretching her dollars now, she’ll have a leg up on many of her peers once she becomes completely independent—and after graduation, she probably won’t have to use her first paychecks to attack a credit card balance.”\ Talk about how to resist financial peer pressure. Your child is likely to meet students who don’t put much thought into their spending habits. One acquaintance may have “Daddy’s credit card,” for example, while someone else may be using his own credit card with little thought toward the consequences. And if all of your student’s friends are eating out at restaurants, indulging in shopping sprees, and going to see a new movie each weekend, he might
be tempted to do the same. “Keep in mind that ‘The Joneses’ go to college, and keeping up with them can quickly drive your child into a financial hole,” notes Cygan. “Yes, it might be embarrassing for your student to tell his friends that a certain activity isn’t in his budget, but it’s very important for him to get comfortable in that role. It’s a life skill. “Making a deliberate commitment to living within his means probably won’t sound like fun to your student, but it will save a lot of stress,” she adds. “I promise, being financially responsible feels good.” Beware of plastic. During your child’s first year on campus, she’ll probably have the opportunity to sign up for a credit card. Encourage her to think long and hard before doing so. In some cases credit cards can be a lifesaver because they allow you to pay for basic necessities during emergencies, but much more often, they lead you down a slippery slope and into
a black hole. If your teen doesn’t have the cash for something and doesn’t absolutely, positively need it, tell her to say no and start saving. “Parents, be aware that many banks provide debit and credit cards with a preset limit,” notes Cygan. “My husband and I took advantage of this by working with a national bank to open a debit card and a credit card (both with a pre-set limit) for each of our college-age daughters. Their monthly allowance went into the debit card account each month, and we put an extra $500 on the front-end for cushion. We agreed with them that extra charges would go onto the credit card, but only with our prior approval. We didn’t want any surprises when we received the bill each month. “You may choose to set up a different system with your student, ,” she adds. “Just be sure that both of you understand what the credit and debit card rules are before move-in day.” Encourage your student to start a savings program. Whether you’ll be providing your student with an allowance or he’ll have a part-time job (or a combination of both), Cygan recommends saving some of that money if your student’s budget allows. Immediately after he receives his allowance or paycheck each month (let’s say that adds up to $200), encourage him to put a predetermined percentage (say, 15 percent) into his savings account. In this example, that’s $30 a month, which will add up. “Yes, I’ll admit that saving money out of an already-small budget will feel unreasonable or even impossible for most teens,” she says. “It may help to remind your student that he is starting a lifelong savings habit that will serve him well over his entire life. Once he finishes college and has a full-time job, he can increase his savings percentage to 20 percent, and leave it there throughout his working life. This is the concept of ‘pay yourself first,’ and it will set your child on the path toward financial security.” Specifically, talk to her about opening a Roth IRA. If your student is working during college (or perhaps only during the summer), Cygan strongly recommends that
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she put some of her savings into a Roth IRA. She can invest up to $5,500 per year, but she must have earned income of at least $5,500 to contribute the full amount. (If her earnings are only $2,000 from a summer job, for example, she can contribute any amount up to $2,000.) And if it seems too early to begin contributing to a fund that’s typically used in retirement, think again. If your child contributes $5,000 to her Roth IRA for 10 years, her contributions will total $50,000. However, if the account grows 8 percent per year, its total value at the end of that 10-year period will be over $75,000. The point is, the earlier your student starts contributing, the more her money will work for her. This is the power of compounding. Although it was originally intended as a retirement account, the Roth IRA is very beneficial for other purposes, too. Because account holders are able to access the contributions at any time without penalties and without taxes, the Roth IRA is a great way to save for a down payment for a home or to help pay for graduate school. “If possible, you or your child’s grandparents might agree to match her Roth IRA contributions up to a certain amount, similar to how an employer matches a 401(k) contribution for their employees,” suggests Cygan. “It does not matter where the money invested in the Roth comes from, as long as it does not exceed the lesser of the amount of earned income that is reported on a tax return or $5,500. Note that if your student’s summer job does not result in a W-2 from her employer, then the amount contributed may need to be reduced slightly to cover self-employment taxes. See your tax adviser or www.irs.gov for details.” “Parents, think of this money management discussion as your parental contribution to freshman orientation,” Cygan concludes. “The budgeting, spending, and saving habits your student forms in the coming months and years are likely to stick around long after graduation. By providing sound guidance, you’re making an investment in your child’s long-term security and happiness.”
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Six Tips for Creating a Fulfilling College Experience (Finance Aside!) by Donna Skeels Cygan
“While money can impact our happiness, it’s far from the only factor that leads to fulfillment,” says Donna Steels Cygan. “In addition to managing your money wisely in college, you’re in control of many other factors that can impact how content you are—or not—in college, including your attitude, choices and behavior. Actually, psychology research has shown that we control roughly 40 percent of our happiness.” Here, she shares six non-financial tips to help college students create a happy four years: Be grateful. You can focus on what you don’t have (which leads to dissatisfaction and, often, an unhealthy Keeping-up-withthe-Joneses attitude) or on what you do have. Choosing gratitude is a proven way to boost mood and well-being and to ward off self-centeredness and entitlement. So as you enter college, recognize that your parents, grandparents and teachers probably helped make it possible for you to be where you are today. Thank them explicitly for their support. Not only will you be giving these loved ones a valuable gift, you’ll be laying the groundwork for fulfilling relationships in the years to come. Communicate often with your parents, grandparents and siblings. Believe it or not, they want to hear from you and be a part of your life. A few phone calls or emails each week will be appreciated more than you know. Volunteer. Whether you choose to tutor local children, get involved with a philanthropic organization at college, or volunteer in the field you’d eventually like to enter, giving back to others is a powerful learning experience that you won’t be able to get in a classroom. In addition to learning new skills, developing relationships and gaining
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real-world experience, neuroscience also shows that charitable acts cause reward portions of the brain to light up. In other words, volunteering can make you happier. Make new friends. Yes, it’s true that you (and perhaps your parents) are paying tuition so that you can get an education. However, that doesn’t mean that you should devote all of your time to hitting the books. Developing mutually fulfilling friendships with your peers is an essential part of being happy. And some of the friendships you develop in college may last a lifetime. Study. It’s true that the act of studying itself might not make you feel very happy. But the grades you receive can be a huge source of pride and fulfillment, and excelling in your classes will boost your self-esteem. (Plus, they will be very important if you want to go to graduate school or apply for additional scholarships.) Be aware of risk. An important factor in achieving happiness is steering clear of trouble, stress, and anxiety. That’s why it is important to put careful thought into the decisions you make during your college years. The brain’s prefrontal cortex (which is where logical thinking and risk assessment happens) does not fully mature until about age 25. Yet the amygdala (where strong emotions such as impulsivity, cravings, fear and greed originate) is in full force during adolescence and the college years. Basically, this means that through no fault of your own, you’re physiologically more likely to get “carried away” without thinking through the consequences. Researchers have theorized this is why college students engage in risky behavior, which sometimes leads to horrific results. In most situations, despite the impulses your amygdala is sending, you know the difference between right and wrong. So, pay attention and do your best to choose wisely.
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CRC honored by Virginia Beach City Public Schools as Model Partner by Jessica Windish, teacher and Partnership Coordinator, Tallwood High School and Robin Mancoll, CRC director
eginning in 2000-2001, the Virginia Beach City Public Schools Partnership Advisory Link, an advisory body comprised of school and community representatives, began annually recognizing Model Partnerships. Through a nomination and panel review process, each school year’s Model Partnerships are selected as examples of best practices of meaningful community involvement in the Virginia Beach school district. Model partnerships are selected based on criteria including engagement in innovative educational activities, a positive
impact on student learning and achievement, mutual benefit to the school and organization and value added to the educational initiatives in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools and to the community organization. On Thursday, April 30, at an annual community celebration attended by all Virginia Beach school principals and school partnership coordinators, along with many volunteers and community partners, the Community Relations Council (CRC) of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater was honored as one of 13 model partnerships, out of 82 nominees, for their work with the Global Studies and World Languages Academy at Tallwood High School.
The partnership between the CRC and Tallwood High School began in 2012 as the Global Studies and World Languages Academy (GSWLA) at Tallwood needed a local partner to support student efforts in a student exchange program through the American-Israeli Friendship League (AIFL). This annual exchange program provides opportunities for Israeli students to learn about American culture and American students to learn about Israeli culture as they travel to each other’s countries and participate in community activities. In preparation for an upcoming delegation from and to Israel, Greg Falls, a GSWLA teacher and former Israel exchange chaperone, contacted UJFT and was put in
GSWLA teachers and students with Art Sandler at the CRC’s fall 2014 Congressional Meet the Candidates event at the Sandler Family Campus.
Israel Today’s Dr. Ofer Merin with GSWLA volunteers in March 2015.
GSWLA and Israeli exchange students in October 2013 at the Sandler Family Campus for an after school activity with Jewish community kids.
Tallwood Israel Exchange presentation March 6, 2014.
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touch with Robin Mancoll, CRC director. Falls and Mancoll discussed the possibilities and agreed that the partnership would first include CRC support of the upcoming American-Israeli Culture Café and would provide guest speakers to help prepare GSWLA students for their travel to Israel. The GSWLA regularly holds culture cafes, a popular after school event for students and teachers to learn about other cultures through activities, food and presentations. Culture cafés generally coincide with the visiting student delegations. (Israel is one of six GSWLA exchange programs, along with Northern Ireland, China, Germany, Spain and the Philippines.) One of the highlights of the annual American-Israeli culture cafés is a sing-a-long with Ohef Sholom Temple’s Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin who plays his guitar and teaches traditional Israeli songs. With more than 100 students, the American-Israeli culture café is the best attended of all the GSWLA cafés each year. The first events were such a success that the partnership quickly expanded to include regular guest speakers for the GSWLA (not just for those traveling), invitations to community events organized by the CRC, student presentations to members of the Jewish community, volunteer opportunities in both the Jewish community and at Tallwood, as well as mutual support of each other’s goals to raise awareness of the cultural diversity within this community, country and world. As the partnership between the GSWLA and the CRC grew, so did the popularity of the CRC’s visiting guest speakers at Tallwood. These after school engagements provided not just the GSWLA students, but all Tallwood students, an opportunity to hear internationally recognized speakers in their fields and brought anywhere from 20 to 120 students, staying after school to learn from these visiting experts as they talked about the challenges and successes of Israel today. Amos Guiora, Neil Lazarus, Ishmael Khaldi, David Makovsky, Mark Dubowitz, former MK Einat Wilf, and oth-
ers have participated in these successful experiences at Tallwood. Through these and other CRC speakers, the students have the opportunity to expand their awareness and knowledge of current events beyond what is available through the mainstream media. They are exposed to first-hand accounts of Israel’s history, as well as that of the Jewish people and the ever-changing geopolitics of the Middle East. When the Tallwood students come to events on the Sandler Family Campus, or speak about Israel in the community, it makes a statement—if these young, non-Jewish students care so much about Israel and are willing to attend and speak up, what more should and could, the Jewish community do? After the 2012 AIFL exchange program, GSWLA students created an Israeli Culture and Hebrew Club at Tallwood High School. The club meets regularly to discuss current events relating to Israeli culture, learn Hebrew and gain an appreciation for the U.S.-Israel relationship. Educators from the community and CRC members are often on site for these meetings to provide expertise and guidance. The AIFL student exchange program with Israel for 10 Israeli and 10 GSWLA students is quite expensive. In addition to the 10 days in each community, participants tour Washington, D.C., New York City, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and additional cities in Israel such as Haifa, Sderot and Modi’in. To raise funds for this endeavor, the GSWLA Boosters organization holds an annual Golf Tournament. For the past three years, CRC has helped the Boosters secure “hole sponsors” and various other contributions. Other than donations from community members secured by Andrew Nusbaum, financial support from United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and through generous grants funded through the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, this golf event is the single largest fundraiser the Boosters takes on each year. As the partnership has matured, the CRC and GSWLA have expanded their activities. Since 2013, Mancoll and other CRC members have served as interviewers for the GSWLA mock interviews that all 365 Academy students participate in each year. The partnership with the CRC has also generated community relation-
Israel Today’s Neil Lazarus and GSWLA teachers and students in Febuary 2013.
GSWLA director, Rebecca Gurley, Israel Today’s David Makovsky from The Washington Institute, and Kaitlyn Gallagher in May, 2013.
Stand With Us, Israel Soldiers Stories visit the GSWLA Israeli Culture and Hebrew Club in February 2013.
Tallwood HS teacher Jessica Windish, Dr. Aaron Spence, VBCPS Superintendent, Robin Mancoll, CRC Director following the Model Partnership award presentation.
ships which have provided mentors and presentation judges for the culminating senior project that all GSWLA graduates must successfully complete. Additionally, the CRC fosters relationships between the GSWLA and other local organizations that host visiting delegations for fieldtrips and learning opportunities. In addition to volunteerism, GSWLA students work with CRC members to achieve common goals, including support for those within Tidewater, informing the public of the joys of diversity and the tragedy of discrimination, and to promote understanding of the role U.S. citizens play in the political, social and economic activities around the globe. GSWLA students that have served as delegates to Israel participate in numerous CRC events upon their return, including attending the Meet the Candidate event, reminding the candidates that the youth (Jewish and non-Jewish) believe in a strong U.S.-Israel relationship; presentations focusing on their travel experiences to a variety of community groups; and participating in the CRC’s Community
Impact Partnership program with the goal of building relationships throughout the community to advocate for Israel and create positive change in the community. Through the promotion of each other’s goals, both organizations have expanded their network of supporters and advocates. The GSWLA has been able to continue participation in the AIFL student exchange program due to generous donations from individuals and organizations they might otherwise not have encountered and the CRC has expanded its audience and advocates to youth and adults beyond the Jewish community. About the value of this partnership, Andrew Nusbaum says that, “it’s so often that the teachers and administration from Tallwood’s Global Studies and World Languages Academy thanks us, but really, we should be thanking them for the energy that they’re giving us to learn more and do more.” This partnership is truly the model of a mutually beneficial community relationship and the Community Relations
Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and the Global Studies and World Languages Academy at Tallwood High School are so much better for it. To learn more about the Global Studies and World Languages Academy’s Israel Exchange Program, or to make a contribution to send eight students and a teacher to Israel this fall, contact Robin Mancoll CRC director, at RMancoll@ujft.org or Rebecca Gurley, the Academy coordinator at 757‑648-5725 or email@example.com.
The Be A Reader or BEAR Program of the Simon Family JCC was also honored as a Model Partner at the event for their work with Bayside Tri-Campus Elementary Schools. Look for an article on BEAR in the June 8 issue of Jewish News.
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Book Reviews Illustrated by a Portsmouth native Retelling Genesis by Barry Louis Polisar Illustrations by Roni Lynn Polisar Rainbow Morning Music: Silver Spring, Maryland 32 pages, $7.95
uthor, musician, recording artist, songwriter and entertainer Barry Louis Polisar was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Rabbi Zoberman grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. His 14 children’s books and more than 160 songs have already made him well known, especially among young kids. And, his song, All I Want is You in the opening credits of the Juno film—with appearances in commercials for Vick’s, Coca-Cola, Honda, Ikea and others—has caused his celebrity to grow. Polisar, 60, continues to delight in his latest literary adventure, Retelling Genesis. Though slim in size— which can be an asset—it is a thoughtfully sensitive, poetically touching and creatively engaging rendition of 13 famous stories in the Biblical Book of Genesis, the wondrous book of relationships, divine and human. The accompanying colorful and striking illustrations by the author’s wife, Roni Lynn Polisar, who grew up in Portsmouth Va., immeasurably add to the carefully crafted words. This fruitful collaboration by a gifted family team is bound to be an appreciated addition to one’s Jewish library, as well as a catalyst for much needed conver-
Barry Louis and Roni Lynn Polisar. 22 | Jewish News | May 18, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
sation among Jews of all ages. A very reasonable, yet meaningful, gift at any time of the year, Retelling Genesis’ attractive format from within and without reflects well on a religious tradition bidding us to ever probe, renew and enlarge our sacred texts, thus enhancing the rich Midrashic literature which is the hallmark of the fertile Rabbinic mind and heart searching deep into our people’s foundational stories. Barry Polisar’s wise choice to have the characters address us in the first person, allows for the reader’s immediate, intimate and intertwined encounter in a fresh way with an account that may not be as familiar as in past generations. This unique collection of timeless and timely lessons for Jews and Gentiles is the proud culmination of the author’s own uneven Jewish journey humbly beginning in an uninvolved Jewish home environment, and gradually moving toward deep immersion in synagogue life and learning. Instructively, the book’s project originated in a school assignment for the author and illustrator’s daughter, Sierra, who chose to “resurrect” Noah’s wife who is absent in the Bible. The author’s following penetrating voice for Noah’s wife captures the book’s special spirit, “And through it all, I labored on, doing the hard work and never complaining…I cleaned up after those animals, watched the signs and shared the journey with him as we replanted and our sons repopulated the earth. At night I think of all that was lost forever in those dark waters; the memories come flooding back to me in a torrent of tears.” The author, who was featured last month in The Washington Post Style Blog: How Barry Louis Polisar became the king of kids’ music, can be reached at www.Barrylou.com. —Rabbi Israel Zoberman is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Chaverim.
A compelling view of Israel The Victory of Zionism Emmanuel Navon 2014 366 pages, $18 (paper) ISBN 1-502-32794-5
ri Shavit’s best-selling cri de coeur, My Promised Land, was naturally not a hit with the American Israel Political Hal Sacks Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its supporters. Yet despite its rather liberal take on the history and present condition of the state of Israel, it was clearly the work of an individual deeply in love with his country. Emmanuel Navon, director of the Political Science and Communications Department of Jerusalem Orthodox College and a teacher of International Relations at Tel Aviv University, has collected four years worth of his articles on Israeli politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israel’s foreign policy. The articles challenge conventional wisdom and offer a different reading in three areas of concern as expressed by government officials and Middle East commentators: (1) Israel will lose its Jewish majority and, thus, its democratic regime and its international support if a Palestinian state is not established in the near future; (2) Solving the conflict depends mainly on Israel making concessions; and (3) Israeli democracy and the Israeli-Jewish Diaspora relationship are endangered by Israeli politics shifting to the right. Navon, an intellectual fluent in English, Hebrew and French and conversant in German, in a more than 50-page introduction pretty well debunks the conclusions of what H.L. Mencken brilliantly termed the “booboiserie” on the above three matters and offers a crystal clear summation of the past and current condition from a conservative vantage point. What follows this substantial introduction are 100 brief pieces—“op-ed” variety if you will. These each explore individual issues, but are interconnected by a drum-beat repetition of basic right-wing principles as applied to Israeli politics—the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israel’s relationship with the United
Book Reviews Nations, Europe and the United States. American Jews, increasingly polarized by the dichotomous desire to support liberal social legislation and conservative support for Israel, may find Navon compelling on the matter of Israel’s borders, Palestine’s inability to create a government, the tragic recognition that peace may not be possible in the long run. In the author’s view, Islam will never come to terms with Jewish sovereignty and the European Union is a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Among other “dissident” views is Navon’s belief that the concept of a demographic time bomb is obsolete; Arab birthrates are declining and Jewish birthrates have been increasing for the past 20 years. It may be time after all to achieve Menachem Begin’s dream and simply annex Samaria and Judea. Regardless of its leadership over the years, from Hajj Amin al-Husseini or Yasser Arafat, whether Hamas or Fatah, the Palestinian national movement’s goals are unchanged—Muslim rule over all of Palestine with no Jewish state at all. Professor Navon has spoken at more than a dozen North American Jewish federations as well as to the umbrella organization, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). A visit by him to Tidewater might be a shot in the arm for our community which encourages us
to accept the fact that “in the absence of a solution, settling with [Israel’s] being a success story surrounded by failed states is not that terrible after all.” Short of bringing Emmanuel Navon to Tidewater, The Victory of Zionism, albeit one-sided, is consistently powerful in forwarding that point of view.
No practical solutions America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder Bret Stephens Sentinel, 2014 269 pages, $27.95 ISBN 978-1-59184-662-8
Bret Stephens, is a Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent and deputy editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal and former editor in chief of the Jerusalem Post. America in Retreat, essentially a jeremiad against Barack Obama’s conduct of foreign policy, cherry-picks history to support a not particularly creative work, one that reflects current Republican attacks on the President. Not that Republicans, Libertarians, other fiscal conservatives and the war-weary get off scot-free. Stephens distinguishes sharply between “decline’ (which America is not in) and “retreat” (which America is dangerously in). The reluctant letting go of its imperial posture by Great Britain, beginning in
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1945, is offered as an example of decline, as the exhausted country, recovering from the loss of more than 400,000 citizens and soldiers, was reduced to a second-tier nation. At least 10 examples of America’s retreat are offered, ranging from our failure to respond to post-electoral demonstrations in Iran; failure to apply the right pressure to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict; failure to act when Syria crossed the “red-line,” and so on. Fixated with the theory of “broken windows,” (wherein allowing initial disorder leads to total anarchy) and over-reliant on policing the world, America in Retreat, gives the appearance of being well-researched, but fails to offer practical solutions to its fast paced litany of impending disaster. Stephens and Navon share similar views of the world and their books compliment each other. —Hal Sacks is a retired Jewish communal worker who has reviewed books for Jewish News for more than 30 years.
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it’s a wrap Noah’s Ark Family Fun Day at Beth El The real stars of the event were the children. Erica Kaplan’s daughter Liora, says, “The petting zoo was a great idea, the bounce house was fun, the food was good and the balloon guy was a hit.” B u i l d i n g community relaCasey Barkan, Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz, Ava Goldman, Esther Barkan, tionships and Lainey Goldman, Moriah Schranz, Noah Schranz. creating memories (Photo by: Elyse Tapper Cardon of Sweet People Photography) for family members of all ages are just a few of the reasons why by Ashley A.S. Zittrain events like this are so important. Jen Adut n Sunday, April 26, Beth El Synagogue says, “Our whole family had a terrific time hosted a Noah’s Ark themed Family at Beth El Family Fun Day. I was proud to Fun Day. Open to the community, more be a part of such a dynamic and engaged than 40 families with infants to grandpar- community.” Rachel Krupnick says, “We are always ents attended. With decorations courtesy of Leslie Siegel, there was something for all to grateful that Beth El provides programs enjoy. Whether it was jumping in the tiger and events which allow our children to see bounce house, having faces painted and and meet new friends.” It’s obvious that many were happy that hair colored with an array of temporary color, feeding one of the many animals Noah (Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz) and his Ark in Noah’s petting zoo, challenging Ryan floated into town with his animals and the Balloon Guy to create balloon art, or friends to have fun with the community. While this was the first Family Fun Day having a nosh while gabbing with new and old friends, people found themselves that Beth El has hosted for the community, absorbed in laughter and enjoying one it is not expected to be the last. another’s company.
Beth El Men’s Club Shabbat by Norman Soroko
he Men’s Club of Congregation Beth El celebrated its annual Men’s Club Shabbat on Saturday, April 18. The Parsha, Shemeni, was discussed by Gary Kell and Howard Horwitz through their D’vrei Torah. Many Men’s Club members took part in the service, from start to finish. Dr. Craig Schranz, president of the Men’s Club, gave remarks on the accomplishments of the past year and plans for
the upcoming year to continue to build on the comradery, good works and fun that have been part of the Men’s Club for so many years. Following Schranz’s remarks, Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz commended the club’s accomplishments and contributions to the synagogue overall, to the religious school and to the families of Beth El through the Men’s Club gifts for Jewish summer camp attendees. Norman Soroko, a past president of the club, and Brad Lazernick, chaired the Men’s Club Shabbat.
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Breckin Lemke showing off her big bubble during Field Day and Lag B’Omer celebrations at the Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center.
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what’s happening Jewish Museum and Cultural Center announces Summer Music Series “Wonderful Wednesdays”
Younger players in this year’s JCC Golf Tournament Monday, June 1, noon Heron Ridge Golf Club
Pavel Ilyashov: Wednesday, June 17 Tidewater Guitar Quartet.
Virginia Chorale: Wednesday, July 1 Tidewater Guitar Quartet: Wednesday, July 15 Anders-Aguirre Trio: Wednesday, August 12 Adagio Trio: Wednesday, August 26
Eric and Bill Miller.
he 7th Annual Summer Music Series, “Wonderful Wednesdays” at the Jewish Museum and Cultural Center offers five evenings of performances. The series kicks off with a bonus concert, an evening of violin music played by Pavel Ilyashov, a full-time member of the Virginia Symphony and a substitute violinist with the Philadelphia and Chicago Symphony orchestras. Ilyashov will be Anders-Aguirre Trio. accompanied by Dr. Kemal Chemali, a practicing neurologist and a conservatory trained pianist. The Virginia Chorale, conducted by Charles Woodward, will present an evening of song. The Tidewater Guitar Quartet will perform with members Sam Dorsey, John Boyles, Todd Holcomb and Cliff Morris. The Anders-Aguirre Trio with oboist Sherie Aguirre, violinist Jorge Aguirre and pianist Lee Jordan Anders will play an evening of “Summer Romance” music by Dvorak, Thomas Dunhill and Debussy. The series will close with the Adagio Trio, Linda Grieser harpist, Kathryn Daniels flutist and Michael Daniels cellist. Virginia Chorale. All concerts will begin at 7:30 pm. For information and ticket prices, call 391-8266 or visit www.jewishmuseumportsmouth.org. JMCC is located at 607 Effingham St. in Portsmouth.
by Leslie Shroyer
ome young arms will be swinging clubs at the Simon Family JCC’s 5th Annual Presidents’ Cup Golf Tournament. Eric and Bill Miller, along with Evan Levitt, JCC development director, have recruited players who are under 35 years old to participate this year. Eric Miller has worked actively on this year’s golf committee because he says it follows a family tradition of giving. “Our family has been involved since we were little kids. I’ve learned through my parents (Laura and Jerry) that giving back is important if you are able to do so.” His brother Bill says that they were “encouraged to be a part of this community, so giving back through golf makes perfect sense.” The golf tournament, which supports children’s programming at the JCC, is exactly the kind of cause the Miller brothers want to support. “If we’re trying to perpetuate the tournament to the next generation, and the tournament allows more kids to benefit from all that the JCC has to offer them, it’s a perfect fit,” says Bill. The 5th Annual JCC Presidents’ Cup Golf Tournament is still accepting players. The cost is $180 per person. For more information, contact Evan Levitt at 321‑2337.
jewishnewsva.org | May 18, 2015 | Jewish News | 25
Tidewater Jewish Journeys walks to Israel May 18 – June 14
idewater Jewish Journeys, the local organization that was created to support Tidewater’s involvement with the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project’s trips to Israel and beyond, is embarking on its first major fundraiser, JWRP WALKS 2015. Anyone can participate by going to www.jwrp.org/walks and register as a walker for Tidewater Jewish Journeys. Steps are tracked for this time period by syncing a fit bit or “moves” app to the website. The goal is to walk 100 miles by June 14, about 10,000 steps a day. The next step is to get sponsors. It’s the best of both worlds—raising money for the community and getting in shape at the same time. National prizes are awarded over the four weeks to participants who reach great heights in walking and fundraising. Free trips to Israel are just some of the prizes. Consider being a part of this exciting and fun event. Contact Shari Berman at shari@ guttermanlaw.com or Amy Lefcoe at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Serving the Oceanfront for 8 years Vinyasa • Essential Pre-Natal • Restorative Yin • Chair Yoga • Basic
calendar May 18, Monday–June 12, Friday Don Hurwitz–Photography. “Postcards from Southeast Asia” on display in the Leon Family Art Gallery at the Simon Family JCC. MAY 20, WEDNESDAY The J.C.C. Senior Club guest speaker will be John W. Hallman, Virginia Beach Fire Department. Responsible for the “Operation Smoke Detector” program as well as the Older Adult Program, he will give a presentation on fire safety. Board meeting at 10:30 am, lunch at 12 noon, General Meeting at 12:45 pm. For information, call 757-497-0229. May 21, Thursday David Broza live in Concert at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. This final performance of the JCC’s Celebrate Israel series, presented by Charles Barker Automotive, begins at 7 pm. Tickets: $25, $40 and $55, available at the Sandler Center or call the JCC at 321-2338. May 23, Saturday Tidewater Chavurah invites the community for Tikkun Leil Shavout at 4661 Priscilla Lane in Virginia Beach. Call 468-2675 or email email@example.com.
Teacher Training Facility Group and Party Yoga Personal Training
May 31, Sunday Camp JCC Dive-in Open House. An afternoon of fun and frolicking at the Simon Family JCC pool and fields. Wacky water games, a slip ’n’ slide, and GAGA tournament with prizes. Play as a team or as an individual. 1–4 pm. Games start at 2 pm. Enjoy a special discount when registering for one or all eight weeks of Camp JCC on this date. Call 321-2306 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
www.oceanfrontyoga.com Oceanfront Yoga | 616 Virginia Beach Blvd. #104 | The Cypress Shops | Cypress and 17th Street | Virginia Beach
Eric Kline Business Development
June 1, Monday Fifth annual Simon Family JCC Presidents’ Cup Golf Tournament at Heron Ridge Golf Club. Noon shotgun start. Proceeds benefit children’s programming at the Simon family JCC. For sponsorship opportunities and to register, call 321-2337 or visit SimonFamilyJCC.org. JUNE 7, SUNDAY Brith Sholom will hold it’s regular meeting at Beth Sholom Village. Board meeting begins at 10 am; general meeting at 11 am. Annual Memorial Service led by Cantor Flax follows. Brunch takes places after the service.
Danny Kline President
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June 14, Sunday Brith Sholom will have a dinner at Teppanyaki Chinese Buffet in Southern Shopping Center, Norfolk. 5:30 pm. Billy and Cindi Mitchell return for another great performance. $7.50 for members and $15 for guests. Reservations and payment must be received by Tuesday, June 9. Brith Sholom has guaranteed 90 people to get the entire room with no competing groups, so make reservations early. Call Gail at 757-461-1150. June 15, Monday- August 15, Saturday Kevin Moss-Paintings. “ka·lei·do·scope” a series of original works exploring the vast possibilities of color and form on display in the Leon Family Art Gallery at the Simon Family JCC.
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Contact us today at 757-523-0605 or www.paydaypayroll.com 26 PD-ad-JewishNews-QtrColor-110614.indd | Jewish News | May 18, 2015 | 1jewishnewsva.org
11/6/14 7:39 PM
June 28, Sunday Israeli Scouts perform at the Simon Family JCC. Experience Israel with the Tzofim Friendship Caravan, a delegation of Israeli teens who tour the United States and represent their homeland through song, dance and humor. Free and family friendly. 6:30 pm. Call 321-2338.
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.
Mazel Tov to
Six area nonprofits certified as service enterprises
Achievement Rabbi Israel Zoberman, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Chaverim, on his article on Yom HaShoah and Yom HaAtzmaut being inserted into the Congressional Record by Congressman Scott Rigell.
Koonan of blessed memory and Barbara Krampf. Erin is the daughter of John and Cindy Giblock, and granddaughter of Harold and Susan Johnson of Lilly, Pa. Justin and Erin live in Arlington, Va. The wedding will take place in November.
Engagement Beth and Barry Dorsk on the engagement of their son, Justin to Erin Giblock. Justin is the grandson of Robert Dorsk of blessed memory and Peggy Dorsk, Jack
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.
Denise Hoffman: a VBCPS Volunteer of the Year
ore than 22,000 individuals served as volunteers in Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) during the 2014–2015 school year, donating more than 690,000 hours of service, valued at $15,562,883. On Thursday, April 30, at VBCPS’ annual community celebration of these volunteers and community partners, 86 Volunteers of the Year were honored—one from every school in the district. This year’s award-winning volunteers included parents, grandparents, high school students, soldiers, citizens and former educators who donated their time to assist with academics, athletics, activities and the arts. From among this prestigious group of volunteers, Denise Hoffman, Tidewater Jewish community member, was one of three named 2015 Citywide Volunteers of the Year by the Virginia Beach Council of PTAs. In addition to serving on various committees, chairing the teacher appreciation committee and implementing the WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program at Christopher Farms Elementary School, Hoffman also leads the school’s Beach Bags program. Thanks to her efforts to collect donations from area businesses and personally pack weekly Beach Bags,
VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads (VHR) announced this month that six local nonprofit organizations have been certified by VHR and Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, as Service Enterprises. With this certification, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, Hope House Foundation, Samaritan House, Tidewater Arts Outreach, Virginia Beach Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Virginia Living Museum RW are the first Virginia organizations to be recognized as Service Enterprises. Service Enterprises leverage volunteers and their skills to successfully deliver on the social mission of their organizations. Research indicates that organizations operating as Service Enterprises outperform peer organizations on all aspects of organizational effectiveness and are more adaptable, sustainable and capable of scaling their work. When organizations leverage volunteers, managing them effectively, they are in a better position to grow.
Kate Meechan (VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads), Page Hayhurst (Virginia Living Museum), Season Roberts (Virginia Beach CASA), MaryAnn Toboz (Tidewater Arts Outreach), Katherine Ashford (Samaritan House), Lynne Seagle (Hope House Foundation), Joanne Batson (Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia).
With training and coaching from VHR, these six organizations completed the yearlong extensive assessment, training/ consulting and certification process that led to their recognition as Service Enterprises. For the participating organizations, the value of volunteer hours provided in the year-long process equaled $2.7 million.
You're Cordially Invited
to a brunch honoring the retirement of Miriam Brunn Ruberg Director of Jewish Life and Learning, Simon Family JCC
nearly 30 students at Christopher Farms are provided food to take home for the weekend. “As with most great Samaritans, very few people know the ‘true angel’ behind this project. Denise slips in to do her good deed each week and wants no public recognition for what she does,” says Teri Breaux, principal.
Sunday, June 14, 2015 • 11 am The Fleder Multipurpose Room Simon Family JCC 5000 Corporate Woods Drive • Virginia Beach Dairy Brunch
RSVP by Tuesday, June 9, 2015 email@example.com or 757-321-2326
In honor of Miriam's 27 years of devotion to the Simon Family JCC and the Tidewater Jewish community, contributions may be made to the Miriam Brunn Ruberg Adult Jewish Education Fund. This fund helps the JCC to continue providing the many programs which have flourished thanks to Miriam's dedication. Please make checks payable to Simon Family JCC, Memo: Miriam Ruberg Fund or contact Evan Levitt at 757-321-2337
jewishnewsva.org | May 18, 2015 | Jewish News | 27
obituaries First Person
A conversation about a final resting place by Betsy Karotkin
lmost 10 years ago, As Ed and I turned 60, we began to talk about death. Not in a grim sort of way, but simply about where we wanted to be buried and how to make decisions that would free our children from having to deal with these matters at a naturally stressful time. Having lived in Virginia Beach for close to 40 years, we felt strongly that this was the community where we had our deepest roots, where we had forged friendships, tried to make a difference and where one of our daughters, Jennifer, and her family lived. We were also aware of the fact that space was quickly filling up at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Norfolk and that demographics indicated the greater part of the Jewish community was now living in Virginia Beach. Working with a committee of rabbis, temple presidents and community leaders, we established a burial section for the Jewish community in accordance with Jewish law and tradition in Princess Anne Memorial Park located on Great Neck Road in Virginia Beach. Since then, Dignity Memorial, the parent company for Princess Anne Memorial Park, has landscaped the area designated for the Jewish community. There are two distinct sections separated by a low hedge: one for families wishing to be buried with Jews only and a larger section for Jews
married to Jews, as well as interfaith couples. Additionally, there are private plots for couples as well as hedged family estates in a beautifully wooded, adjoining section. “Having lived here for 43 years (more than any other place) it was only natural to decide to be buried with our friends at Princess Anne Memorial Park,” says Mimi Karesh. “And Virginia Beach was a natural since we never lived in Norfolk. When Betsy told us that plots were available, we decided to make the decision and have that out of the way for our children. We were able to pay for it over a year’s time with no interest.” Dignity Memorial also offers the possibility of exchanging burial sites. For people who later move to a different area, a transfer policy allows individuals to exchange a burial site for one in another cemetery belonging to Dignity Corporation. Do you want to think about a final resting place? Probably not. The reality, however, is that we must do it before the fact or leave it for our children to handle at a time of loss. Ed and I invite you to join us at 7pm on Sunday, June 7 or Thursday, June 25 for more information and some homemade desserts. We look forward to seeing you and to having a discussion with Kimberly Keon, sales manager and Chris Gordonn, sales supervisor. RSVP to Betsy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-486-3402 or 408-4216.
at Princess Anne Memorial Park
Dolores Becker Virginia Beach—Dolores Becker, 82, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away on Friday, April 24, at Sentara Virginia Beach Hospital. She was born on October 4, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pa., daughter of the late George and Faye Jaffee. She was a dedicated Navy wife for 24 years and steadfastly held her family together while nurturing her three sons in the absence of their father. She was a founding member of Congregation Beth Chaverim in Virginia Beach and successfully ran the temple gift shop for over 10 years. She was known for her artistic talent, and many of her paintings still adorn her home. Her boys were blessed to have a mother who could cook and bake with finesse, and she graciously passed those skills on to all three sons. In her youth she was an accomplished tap dancer and actually met her husband, Alvin, on a USO bus. She will be remembered and cherished for her love of family, her integrity and her appreciation for artistic endeavors. She is survived by her son, Charles Becker and his wife Catherine; her son, Larry Becker and his wife Letitia; her son, Arthur Becker and his wife Donna; her brother Mitchell Jaffee; eight grandchildren, Jack Becker, Ross Becker, Gretchen Ulrich, George R. Ulrich, III, Joseph Becker, Sarah Becker, Linda Hart and Jonathan Hart; seven great-grandchildren, Crysta Becker, Alia Becker, Griffin Becker, Madelen Falardeau, Renae Ulrich, Haydyn Ulrich and Lailani Hart. A memorial gathering was held at Congregation Beth Chaverim with Rabbi Israel Zoberman officiating. Memorial donations may be made to Congregation Beth Chaverim. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.woodlawngroup.com.
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28 | Jewish News | May 18, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
Helen Elkin VIRGINIA BEACH—Helen Elkin, age 93 passed away at Sentara Life Care Center on May 5, 2015. Born Sept. 24, 1921 in Brooklyn, N.Y., she lived in Far Rockaway, Queens, N.Y. and worked as an executive legal secretary at Cravath, Swain and Moore for 16 years, until retiring in 1988.
She loved to travel, read, knit and listen to opera. She was a member and recording secretary for the local chapter of Cancer Care for many years. She loved her family, especially her grandchildren, Robert and Stephanie Lask and son-in-law, Andrew Lask. Survivors include daughter Rochelle Lask, grandchildren, Robert Lask and Stephanie Lask, nieces, nephews and friends. Helen was predeceased by her parents, Isodore and Bertha Noskin, sisters, Marilyn Katz, Selma Kanfer and Rhoda Schnee and a son, Dr. Steven Elkin. Services were held at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Lynnhaven Chapel. Memorial contributions to a charity of choice. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com.
Dave Goldberg, husband of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Dave Goldberg, the CEO of Survey Monkey and husband of Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg, died suddenly after exercising while on vacation. Goldberg, 47, was at a resort in Mexico on Friday, May 1 with family and friends, The New York Times reported. The cause of death was not immediately announced and was the subject of much media speculation. “Efforts to revive him at the gym and the hospital were unsuccessful,” a person close to the family who did not want to be identified told the Times. Goldberg and Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, were married in 2004 and have two children. Goldberg joined Survey Monkey, an online cloud-based company that helps organizations conduct surveys, in 2008. He previously worked at Capitol Records and founded a music company called Launch Media, which was bought by Yahoo in 2006. (JTA)
Body of Israeli hiker retrieved by army buddies in Nepal The body of Israeli hiker Or Asraf was retrieved from a remote area of Nepal and was returned to Israel. The Israel rescue teams on Monday, May 4 took the body extracted from a rocky mountainside in the Langtang area and airlifted it to Kathmandu. It was flown to Israel on Tuesday, according to reports.
obituaries Several of Asraf’s army comrades and his commander, who had arrived in Kathmandu to join in the search, carried the body on a stretcher after extracting it from a mountainside struck by rock slides and sent a message to his mother: “This is our last journey with our friend. We are bringing him home to you,” the IDF said in a statement. Several European hikers also died in the same area, which was hit by rock slides and heavy rain in the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25. Asraf, 22, had been traveling with members of his former Israeli army unit,
but left for a hike on his own shortly before the quake hit. Hundreds of Israelis were in the area at the time of the quake; Asraf was the only Israeli fatality. Asraf, who was injured in Israel’s operation in Gaza last summer, was on a trip to far-flung places that was due to end in July. While on his trip, he kept in touch with the mothers of his friends who fell during Operation Protective Edge, including taking pictures of himself holding his friends’ photo in the exotic places, according to the IDF. He volunteered at schools and agricultural villages in Nepal during his time there. (JTA)
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• Approved by all area Rabbis and Chevra Kadisha jewishnewsva.org | May 18, 2015 | Jewish News | 29
Who Knew? Natalie Portman raps Bibi, hearts Alan Dershowitz by Julie Wiener
( JTA)—Hollywood Reporter’s new cover story interview with actress Natalie Portman may be one of the most heavily Jewish-themed articles the magazine has ever published. In it, the Israel-born Portman, who was preparing for the May 18 debut of her film adaptation of Israeli author Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness, which was shot in Jerusalem, talks about everything from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (she’s not a fan) to anti-Semitism in Paris, where she now lives, to reading Bible stories with her 3½-year-old son, Aleph. Here’s some highlights from the interview with the 33-year-old star, director and screenplay writer: On Netanyahu: “I’m very much against
Netanyahu. Against. I am very, very upset and disappointed that he was re-elected. I find his racist comments horrific. However, I don’t—what I want to make sure is, I don’t want to use my platform [the wrong way]. I feel like there’s some people who become prominent, and then it’s out in the foreign press. You know, shit on Israel. I do not. I don’t want to do that.” On whether she’s nervous about being Jewish in Paris (she moved there because hubby Benjamin Millepied is French) after the Hyper Cacher attack: “Yes, but I’d feel nervous being a black man in this country. I’d feel nervous being a Muslim in many places.” On why she decided to option Oz’s memoir and film it in Hebrew: “The language was really what [drew me], his obsession with words and the way words are connected in Hebrew, which has this incredible poetry and magic. It’s obviously almost impossible to translate, but there’s just incredible beauty to that. [Jews are]
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30 | Jewish News | May 18, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
a people built of words, people built of books, and it’s quite beautiful to see that, which is a strange thing to start for a movie.” On why she doesn’t display her Oscar (for Best Actress in Black Swan): “I was reading the story of Abraham to my child and talking about, like, not worshipping false idols. And this is literally like gold men. This is literally worshipping gold idols—if you worship it. That’s why it’s not displayed on the wall. It’s a false idol.” On Harvard Law professor and Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz, for whom she worked while an undergrad at the Ivy League school: “He has quite different politics than I do, but I really, really like him. He’s a very good friend. We just have different opinions.”
The Jewish songwriters behind the Elvis Presley hit machine by Zachary Solomon
(Jewniverse via JTA)—Like Rodgers and Hammerstein before them, Leiber and Stoller were a songwriting duo to the stars. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, both born in 1933 to Jewish families in Baltimore and on Long Island, respectively, met in Los Angeles as teenagers and bonded over a mutual love of blues and R&B. With Stoller’s compositional acumen and Leiber’s talent as a wordsmith, they quickly found between them a sparkling collaborative energy. The partners were unstoppable in the 1950s and ’60s, pumping out hits like Jailhouse Rock, Loving You, Stand By Me and Love Potion No. 9—all of which would become beloved radio earworms—for artists such as Ben E. King, The Clovers and, of course, Elvis Presley. In 1955, Stoller and his wife traveled to France to meet “La Mome Piaf,” the great Edith Piaf, who had sung a translated version of a tune he and Leiber penned. During their return, their ship, the SS Andrea Doria, was hit; Stoller and his wife were rescued and made it back safely to the States. Leiber met his friend at the
docks with some good news: Hound Dog had become a hit for Elvis Presley. Stoller’s response: “Elvis who?” —Zachary Solomon is a Brooklyn-based writer and current Fiction MFA candidate at Brooklyn College. You can find him at zacharycsolomon.wordpress.com and on Twitter at @z_solomon.)
Hilary Swank to play Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt in film Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank will star as Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt in a film adaptation of her book about her legal battle with a Holocaust denier. The movie will be a courtroom drama based on History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, which was published in 2005. Tom Wilkinson, a two-time Oscar nominee, will portray David Irving, a British revisionist historian who sued Lipstadt for libel after she called him a Holocaust denier in her 1993 book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth & Memory. Lipstadt won the case in 2000. British playwright David Hare adapted the book for the film. (JTA)
Natalie Portman to star as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in new movie Natalie Portman will star as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a new film. On the Basis of Sex will follow Ginsburg’s obstacles-filled career on the road to becoming the second female justice and the first Jewish female justice on the high court, Deadline Hollywood reported. President Bill Clinton appointed Ginsburg to the Supreme Court in 1993. The producers are hoping to start filming by the end of the year. Portman, who is Jewish and a native of Israel, is making her directorial debut with A Tale Of Love And Darkness. The film is based on the memoir by Israeli author Amos Oz and is largely in Hebrew.
SAVE THE DATE Monday, July 27, 2015 11:30 - 5 pm
THE JANET GORDON
Annual Mah Jongg Tournament and Luncheon
For details and reservations, call Claire Roth at 757-961-3024
TH E COM M U N ITY IS IN V IT E D TO AT T E N D T H E
MONDAY, JUNE 1 ST Noon Shotgun Start
HERON RIDGE GOLF CLUB 2973 Heron Ridge Drive Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456
2015 BIENNIAL MEETING of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater
TUESDAY, JUNE 16 • 6pm
Sandler Family Campus | 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Virginia Beach
We appreciate all of our sponsors. Proceeds benefit children’s programming at the Simon Family JCC For more information, sponsorship opportunities, and to register, contact Evan Levitt at 757-321-2337 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
Nomination & Election of New UJFT President JAY KLEBANOFF Recognition of Outgoing President MILES LEON Acknowledgment of New & Retiring Leadership Presentation of Special Community Awards Kosher Hors d’Oeuvres | Cocktail Reception
RSVP to 757-965-6124
jewishnewsva.org | May 18, 2015 | Jewish News | 31
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO A COCKTAIL RECEPTION
HONORING THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE
Thursday, June 4, 2015 5 - 6:45 pm The Cardo at the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Virginia Beach
HAT Class of 2015 Commencement Ceremony immediately following reception RSVP by May 28, 2015 email@example.com; 757-424-4327
32 | Jewish News | May 18, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
Jewish News May 18, 2015