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Supplement to Jewish News, October 6, 2014 jewishnewsva.org | Mazel Tov | October 6, 2014 | Jewish News | 17

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

Dear Readers, Fortunately, there always seems to be a reason to exclaim, “Mazel Tov!” Engaged? “Mazel Tov!” Married? “Mazel Tov!” New baby? “Mazel Tov!” Graduation? “Mazel Tov” Win an award? “Mazel Tov!” We could go on and on. The good news

Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 200 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462-4370 voice 757.965.6100 • fax 757.965.6102 email news@ujft.org www.jewishVA.org Terri Denison, Editor Germaine Clair, Art Director Hal Sacks, Book Review Editor Sandy Goldberg, Account Executive Mark Hecht, Account Executive Beth Weiner Gross, Account Executive Marilyn Cerase, Subscription Manager Reba Karp, Editor Emeritus Sherri Wisoff, Proofreader

is that even in a world that feels a bit dismal at the moment, we don’t have to look too far or too hard to find an excuse to celebrate. After all, we just spent the past few weeks wishing everyone “A HAPPY

Miles Leon, President Stephanie Calliott, Secretary Harry Graber, Executive Vice-President

New Year!” With simchas and happiness on our minds, this section offers a couple of articles for planning events: one on music for Jewish weddings and another on how to

The appearance of advertising in the Jewish News does not constitute a kashrut, political, product or service endorsement. The articles and letters appearing herein are not necessarily the opinion of this newspaper.

make certain guests are well fed and leave happy.

© 2014 Jewish News. All rights reserved.

We have one story on a big group Jewish wedding that took place in Ukraine, a memorable event, for sure. A particularly important piece on page 20 focuses on screening for Jewish genetic diseases. A new test makes the screening process incredibly easy and convenient.

Subscription: $18 year For subscription or change of address, call 757-965-6128 or email mcerase@ujft.org. QR code generated on http://qrcode.littleidiot.be

On JScreen’s website, jscreen.org, you can view an interview with Sanjay Gupta, MD and the couple behind the program. In addition to the articles, our advertisers are all great resources to enhance celebrations. Enjoy!

Terri Denison Editor

18 | Jewish News | October 6, 2014 | Mazel Tov | Jewishnewsva.org

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Four ways to make wedding guests happy The perfect wedding is the one everyone remembers for all the right reasons


rides-to-be have long checklists for planning their big day. Dress, flowers, venue, vows, a sit-down dinner or hors d’oeuvres and crudités? Who will be in the wedding party? “Every bride wants her wedding to be perfect and by that, many mean that they want the event itself and themselves to be absolutely beautiful,” says Eric Gulbrandson, a wedding photographer and author of the new book, Dream Wedding Secrets: The All Important G.S.F, (www. dreamweddingsecrets.com). “But a perfect wedding is also one that people remember months and years later as a wonderful event where they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Think about it—no bride wants her wedding remembered as a disaster!” The secret is to put a high priority on what Gulbrandson calls the G.S.F.—Guest Satisfaction Factor. “It’s how others perceive your wedding,” he says. “Most brides do want their guests to be able to enjoy their wedding, but they overlook the G.S.F. because all the advice is geared toward beauty and budgets. Gulbrandson interviewed hundreds of wedding guests and compiled more than 200 do’s and don’ts for brides-to-be for ensuring a high G.S.F. Among them:

overseeing arts and crafts projects and games. Hiring relatives for this job will help keep the costs reasonable.

• Don’t plan your wedding for a holiday

weekend. Occasionally, brides plan their wedding for a three-day holiday weekend thinking it will help out-of-towners who want to attend. However, it also boosts the odds of local guests being out of town! Given that most working people have only two guaranteed threeday weekends a year, many plan ahead for them. Additionally, hotel and rental car prices tend to go up during holidays, and traffic doubles. Play it safe by avoid-

ing calendar holidays and, of course, Super Bowl Sunday.

 ith food and drink, if you have to W choose between quantity and quality, choose quantity. Nobody will mind if the chicken isn’t the best they ever had, but they will if you run out. While taste and presentation are important, having enough food and drink available throughout the event is more important than a glamorous presentation. If you have children at your wedding, you can keep costs down—and make them happy—by planning a separate menu of, say, chicken nuggets.

• When it’s all said and done, don’t ruin

your perfect wedding by failing to follow through with that time-honored (for good reason) custom of sending thank-you notes. “Technically, accepted protocol allows guests a year after the wedding to send a gift, so you may be on the receiving end for quite some time!” Gulbrandson says. “Keep a list and send handwritten thank-you’s as quickly as you can. Most guests and experts agree that one to three months after the wedding is fine, but the best advice is to get on it quickly!”

• If you invite children, arrange a super-

vised activity area for them. Couples often include children on their guest list because they contribute to the family atmosphere and celebration, but weddings are not child-centered events. Kids get bored; the wedding day is often a long one with extended periods of sitting quietly and an abundance of adults consuming alcohol. Help parents and children enjoy the event by arranging for a supervised activity area on the outskirts of the reception. A couple of teenaged relatives may appreciate earning some money for

jewishnewsva.org | Mazel Tov | October 6, 2014 | Jewish News | 19



Say “Yes” to the test

ngagement season is nearly here. and he’s quiet. They’re both funny or enjoy Like a rumbling storm on the hori- hiking or love dogs or went to the same zon, men across the country are college. Every couple has that one thing that makes them a perventuring to their fect match. Somewhere jewelry stores of choice with down the road, however, money they’ve saved to buy many of these couples that ring that will make will “match” geneticalher say “Yes!” It’s a time for ly to have a child, and celebration. Whether that Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier ensuring they’re geneticelebration is with family, of a genetic disease cally compatible is of the friends or even the folks on utmost importance. the Internet who watch the One in four surprise proposal video he Ashkenazi Jews is a made, everybody is joining carrier of a genetic disin to celebrate the happy ease. While they don’t couple’s chemistry and necessarily have any of compatibility. When one thinks of compatibility, the disease’s symptoms, the chance exists the physical, emotional and personality that they and their partner might both aspects of a couple are generally the first be carriers and pass that disease to their considered. Maybe he’s hyper and she future child. In fact, 80% of children with keeps him grounded. Perhaps she’s loud genetic diseases are born to parents with

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Mazel Tov! May all your celebrations be joyous!


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MAZEL TOV no known history of the condition, making genetic screening a vital component for people of Jewish ancestry to consider when planning their futures. The journey each couple takes after tying the knot can often contain some unforeseen obstacles. Genetic testing, however, can bring peace of mind for couples, ensuring they know if genetic disease might be one of those obstacles and about their options. Testing for one’s carrier status has traditionally been a costly and complex process fraught with visits to the doctor and dips into savings accounts. Now, JScreen, based out of Emory University’s Department of Human Genetics, a non-profit genetic screening initiative, brings the innovative technology of genetic screening right to an individual’s front door. JScreen can test for 80 different genetic diseases and their new Jewish panel screens for more than 40 diseases that are common among people of Jewish ancestry. Results are delivered from JScreen by a cer-

Judaica Gifts & Jewelry tified genetic counselor, so questions can be asked and options discussed to help ensure healthy and happy babies. The process is easy. First, visit www. jscreen.org and request an at-home saliva-based test kit. After providing a saliva sample in the included test tube, mail it back in the pre-paid mailer. In a matter of weeks, a genetic counselor will reach out to discuss results and options. The technological advancements of JScreen have made the test more accessible than ever and its $99 price tag (with insurance) extends that accessibility even further, allowing those interested in starting families to screen their genes without breaking the bank. JScreen also allows people to give the gift of genetic screening. By visiting www. jscreen.org/gift, anybody can cover the cost of a friend or loved one’s JScreen test. After ordering the gift card, friends or family can request the screening kit online and get screened within the comfort and privacy of their own home.

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( JTA)—The Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine held a group wedding for 19 Jewish couples. Most of the couples that wed Sunday, Sept. 14 were already married under Ukrainian law, but had not had a Jewish wedding ceremony, or huppah, the director of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community, Zelig Brez, says. “It is a huge event in the spiritual sense, and, I’m not afraid to say it—historic,” he says, adding that the ceremonies were the largest group wedding performed in his city—where 50,000 Jews live—since before the communist era.

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Ten rabbis conducted the marriages on a terrace at the Menora Center, Dnepropetrovsk’s $100 million Jewish community center, which opened in 2012. The couples received special preparation by Shmuel Kaminezki, the city’s chief rabbi and Chabad’s influential envoy to Ukraine, and his wife, Chana. Under communism, Jewish life in the former Soviet Union was conducted underground, a reality that meant many Jews did not have a Jewish wedding. In many areas, a majority of Jews were not circumcised. “The challenge was both logistical and halachic,” the community wrote in a report about the weddings. Special attention went to helping couples feel the moment in their own private context as opposed to a group activity, Brez explains. For this reason, the weddings were conducted in two groups and not all at once—first for 10 couples and then for the remaining nine. “It was something special, and I’m happy that I saw my daughter, in the presence of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, finally get a huppah,” community activist Mina Dreitser says of the wedding of her daughter, Miriam Minutova, to Shlomo Skorokhod.

1/25/12 9:55:24 AM


Poll: Israeli Jews, Arabs oppose intermarriage TEL AVIV (JTA)—Three-quarters of Israeli Jews and nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs would not marry someone from a different religion, according to a poll. Conducted by Haaretz and the Dialog company Aug. 19–20, the poll found that opposition to interfaith relationships was highest among haredi Orthodox Jews, at 95 percent. But 88 percent of traditional and religious Jews, as well as 64 percent of secular Jews, also opposed interdating. Seventy-one percent of Muslim Israeli Arabs opposed interfaith relationships, but only half of Christian Israeli Arabs were opposed. Across religious denominations, Israeli Jews would be much more opposed to their relatives marrying Arabs than they would be to relatives marrying non-Arab gentiles.

Only a third of secular Jewish Israelis would be opposed to a relative marrying an American or European Christian, but a majority would oppose a relative marrying an Arab. Seventy-two percent of Israeli Jews overall would be opposed to a relative marrying an Arab. Opposition to intermarriage was lowest among immigrants from the former Soviet Union. More than half would avoid having a relationship with a non-Jew, but if they were to fall in love with a non-Jew, only 35 percent would insist their spouse convert. Two-thirds of Israeli Jews see intermarriage as a serious threat to Jews worldwide, and one-third see it as a serious threat to Jews in Israel. The poll questioned 505 respondents and had a 4.4 percent margin of error.

jewishnewsva.org | Mazel Tov | October 6, 2014 | Jewish News | 23

MAZEL TOV Milken Archive of Jewish Music Virtual Museum FINE ITALIAN DINING


Prayers and Celebrations Throughout the Jewish Year: Weddings, Funerals, and Memorial Services

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hose who are in the midst of planning a wedding have probably already started thinking about one of the occasion’s most important components: music. And not just the klezmer band to kick off the party after the crushing of the glass, but music during the ceremony to accompany the processionals and the lighting of candles, to segue between different parts of the ceremony. The freylakhs and bulgars—and, of course, the hora— are a lot of fun and should by no means be dismissed, but often it’s the music that transpires during the ceremony that lends the occasion the most gravitas and cultural context—that imbues it with the aura of a major event in the cycle of life. Such music for Jewish weddings comprises one of two new releases available from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music. As part of the multi-album Volume 4: Cycle of Life in Synagogue and Home, these albums are the latest installment in a series of releases featuring music of Jewish ritual and life-cycle events. And with a composer roster that reads like a who’s who of Jewish music, it is music that serves its “functional” purpose without sacrificing artistic expression. Need a wedding march? This album has three by Ernest Bloch, the Swissborn émigré many consider to be history’s

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Lifecycle Officiant Jewish Educator & Tutor rabbicantorejg@gmail.com 215-359-7806 24 | Jewish News | October 6, 2014 | Mazel Tov | Jewishnewsva.org

greatest “Jewish” composer. Like other famous émigrés, Bloch left Europe to avoid persecution and found great success in America. Bloch’s wedding marches, performed by organist and composer Barbara Harbach, are brief and functional, yet easy to appreciate for their lilting rhythms and simple melodies. Got sheva b’rakhot? The “seven blessings” that constitute the second part of a traditional Jewish wedding, are featured here in three settings. Simon Spiro’s arrangement pays homage to the Eastern European choral-cantorial (khor shul) style and draws on previous compositions by Sholom Kalib and Meyer Machtenberg. In Spiro’s hands, and with his backup choir (the all-male cantorial choir Coro Hebraeico), the performance is by turns festive, joyous, somber and deeply emotional. Settings of the sheva b’rakhot by Meir Finkelstein and Morris Barash occur in the context of larger wedding services that also include other obligatory liturgical texts. A more straightforward approach (compared to Kalib’s) and Finkelstein’s silky-smooth tenor are among the highlights of this service, but listeners will also delight in the tastefully adapted Hollywood melodies in his settings of Ma y’didot mishk’notekha or How Lovely Are Your Tabernacles (Flashdance’s What A Feeling) and Halleluya (Superman’s main theme) that bracket the sheva b’rhakhot and lend the otherwise dignified service a tinge of pop catchiness. The wedding service by Morris Barash features the dark baritone cantillations of Cantor Raphael Frieder and compliments the organ-choral accompaniment with a chamber ensemble. The Milken Archive Archive’s virtual museum www.milkenarchive.org is an interactive guide to music, videos, oral histories, photos and essays.


Is lunar eclipse at Sukkot an ominous sign? by Edmon J. Rodman

LOS ANGELES (JTA)—As we usher in Sukkot, will there be a blood moon rising? John Hagee, the San Antonio pastor who wrote the book Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change, would have us believe so. Hagee predicts that because of a cycle of four lunar eclipses called a tetrad—two this year and next on Passover and Sukkot —that something big is about to happen, like the Rapture. The eclipse will be seen throughout much of the world on Oct. 7 and 8—the latter the eve of Sukkot. It will be visible throughout much of the United States on Oct. 8, but only in New Zealand on the actual holiday. During a lunar eclipse, the moon moves directly behind the earth and into its shadow. Seeing the first so-called “blood moon” following the first night’s seder this year— it looked more like watered-down kiddush wine—did fill me with wonder. Or was that just the Four Cups talking? So is some sort of cataclysm on its way? Should I even bother putting up my sukkah? Jeremy Schnittman, a research astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and an observant Jew, is putting up his, so maybe we shouldn’t worry.

“The lunar tetrad event is perfectly normal,” Schnittman says. “Every night when you go outside on the first night of Sukkot, it is going to be a full moon. And every lunar eclipse happens during a full moon,” he says. “On average there are two lunar eclipses every year. The chance of having a lunar eclipse on Sukkot is one in six. “The same is true for the first night of Pesach,” he says, demystifying what at first seems like an awesome coincidence. But what about the fact that the eclipses fall on the two Jewish holidays? “If there’s one on Sukkot, then there’s a very high chance that there will be one on Pesach,” says Schnittman, noting that the holidays are exactly six months apart. “There’s been a lot of hubbub about ‘Four Blood Moons’ in a row,” he adds. But once the plane of the orbits of the moon and earth are aligned so that an eclipse occurs, “it’s actually quite reasonable that you are going to get them again every six months for the next couple of years before the cycle moves a little bit out of alignment.” As for the blood-like color, which is even mentioned in the book of Joel, Schnittman explains, “Full eclipses are always red. Just like the clouds on earth turn red during the sunset, during an eclipse the full moon turns red.” Perhaps adding a tinge of credibility

to Hagee’s claim is that in the Talmud, the rabbis said that “when the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel, since Israel reckons by the moon.” “That reflects a more ancient superstitious approach to Judaism and astronomy,” says Schnittman, who in graduate school studied theoretical black holes and later attended Yeshivat Hamitzar in Israel for a year. In his book, Hagee builds his theory by lining up catastrophic events in Jewish history, like the Spanish Inquisition and Israel’s War of Independence, with lunar tetrads in 1492 and 1948. “People are looking for patterns,” Schnittman says. “Humans are really good at it. But sometimes you find a pattern that’s not really there. “From a historical point of view, you could close your eyes and stick your finger on a historical date in the last 2,000 years and there’s probably something inauspicious” going for the Jews, he says. “You would think that if this were a real portent of doom for Israel, it would actually be visible from Israel,” Schnittman says. “But it’s not happening there until the middle of the day, so they are not going to see anything. None of the four of the tetrad are actually visible in Israel. Schnittman says he’s been interested in astronomy since he was young. “About half the gifts I got for my bar mitz-

vah were astronomy books,” he recalls. “They sat collecting dust on my shelf for around 10 years before I pulled them out again.” For Schnittman, the coming lunar eclipse “isn’t a random event. You can calculate exactly when all these things happen,” he says. “When I sit down and calculate with a piece of paper and pencil that there’s going to be an eclipse three years from now and it happens, that to me is like getting a little peek inside of God’s world.” For some people, Schnittman says, he knows his approach “takes some of the mysticism out of it.” But “it’s exactly quite the opposite.” “The fact that God created a world that has all these amazing events and also gave us the ability to both predict them and understand them, to me that’s exactly a very religious experience,” he says. And what about finding the date for the next lunar eclipse on a Jewish holiday? “In 2016, there’s one on March 23, which is probably Purim,” he says. “I’m sure people will be coming out saying something about that.” That got me thinking about writing a book filled with dire predictions—including, of course, a hamantashen shortage. The Purim Prophecy, anyone? —Edmon J. Rodman is a JTA columnist who writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles. Contact him at edmojace@gmail.com.

jewishnewsva.org | October 6, 2014 | Jewish News | 25


Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

Take it outside: Hail kale (salad), bring on the beef (stew) by Shannon Sarna

(MyJewishLearning.com)—During the summer we relish al fresco dining. The moment we can bring our meals outside is always a happy one, and we schedule the summer months with picnics, barbecues and rooftop cocktails as much as possible. Then the autumn arrives and we move indoors. But Sukkot offers a beautiful moment to extend our time outside and enjoy the tastes of early fall. Give me a salad with some roasted beets and I am a happy lady. The Chopped Kale Salad with Apples and Beets recipe is satisfying and sweet with crunch from some walnuts and a hint of tartness from dried cranberries. The kale is hearty and will hold up well if you need to transport it to someone’s sukkah for lunch or dinner. Apple Cider Beef Stew uses one of my favorite fall treats, apple cider, to make a rich stew that is perfect to serve on a chilly fall day over some egg noodles or rice. It’s also a great alternative to cholent for a hearty Shabbat lunch in the sukkah. Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting will have your guests asking incredulously, “are you sure these are nondairy?” And yes, they are. The sweet potato ensures a super moist cake even without milk or butter, and the slight spice sings of fall flavors. The marshmallow frosting is super easy to make and even more fun to toast using the oven broiler or a small hand torch if you have one. —Shannon Sarna is editor of The Nosher blog on MyJewishLearning. com, where these recipes originally appeared.)

Chopped Kale Salad with Apple and Roasted Beets Ingredients 3 cups chopped fresh kale 2 medium beets ½ apple, diced ¼ cup chopped candied walnuts ¼ cup dried cherries or cranberries Olive oil Balsamic vinegar Salt and pepper Preparation Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the beets. Place in tin foil and roast in oven for 45–60 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool. Remove the outer peel of beets using hands or a vegetable peeler. Cut beets into bite-sized pieces. Place chopped kale in a large salad bowl. Add beets, apple, candied walnuts and dried cherries or cranberries. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or salad dressing of your choosing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Yield: 4 servings

26 | Jewish News | October 6, 2014 | jewishnewsva.org

Apple Cider Beef Stew Ingredients 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes Salt and pepper All-purpose flour 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, diced 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced 3–4 garlic cloves 2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon cinnamon Pinch crushed red pepper 2 cups apple cider 1 cup red wine 1 cup vegetable or beef stock 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 4–5 m  edium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients 2 medium sweet potatoes 1½ cups flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon ¾ teaspoon ginger ¼ teaspoon nutmeg ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar ½ cup vegetable oil 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Preparation Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and wrap in tin foil. Roast for 40–50 minutes or until soft. Let cool. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out flesh. Place in a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse until smooth. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add pureed sweet potatoes, sugar and oil to a large bowl. Beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture in batches; beat just until blended.

Preparation Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line and grease muffin tins. Fill muffin trays until ¾ full.

Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper liberally over beef. Cover beef in light coating of flour.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out cool. Allow to cool.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large oven-safe pot. Brown meat on all sides and then remove from pot and set aside on a dish.

Pipe frosting in a swirl on top of each cupcake. Using a hand-held blow torch, gently drag the torch across the frosting, toasting the frosting until just lightly brown.

Add another tablespoon olive oil and saute onions, carrots and garlic cloves, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add cinnamon, bay leaves and pinch of red pepper flakes, continuing to stir. Saute vegetables until translucent. Add apple cider, red wine, stock and balsamic vinegar and let come to simmer. Add salt and pepper. Place beef back into the pot, stir and cover cooking for 2 hours in preheated oven. At the 2-hour mark, add the potatoes. Taste the stew, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Put stew back into the oven for another 45 minutes. Serve with rice or noodles. Yield: 6 servings

Make frosting (see recipe below).

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Marshmallow Frosting (half recipe) (via Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes) Ingredients 8 large egg whites 2 cups sugar ½ teaspoon cream of tartar 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract Preparation Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately. Yield: enough for 2 dozen cupcakes

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