Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 54 No. 06 | 11 Kislev 5776 | November 23, 2015
32 Woman’s Luncheon’s speaker shares Aliyah story
2016 Week of Extraordinary Deeds —page 36
38 Two local teens go to AIPAC
39 Family Fun at the JCC
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39 HAT implements new character program
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Terror is terror
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by Daniel S. Mariaschin
(JTA)—The international outrage over the barbaric terrorist attacks in Paris is absolutely on target. But the absence of an outcry over the weeks of attacks against Jews in Israel—stabbings, shootings and car rammings are among the most common tactics—is equally outrageous. More than a dozen Israelis have been killed during the past month. Yet these terror attacks against Jews have largely drawn silence from the civilized world, or worse, questions about whether Israel deployed “excessive force” to defend itself. If people were being stabbed indiscriminately on First Avenue outside U.N. headquarters in New York, does anyone think the diplomats inside would complain about the New York Police Department using “excessive force” to stop the perpetrators? We stand with France. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Whether the weapons of choice are bombs and guns, as in Paris, or knives, as in Raanana and Jerusalem, the taking of innocent lives needs to be seen through the same prism. President Francois Hollande of France has called what happened in Paris “an act of war” and promised the French response would be “merciless.” World leaders have condemned the horrific Paris terror attacks in no uncertain terms. The knifings, shootings and car rammings of Jewish-Israelis deserve to be met with the same global outcry—but they haven’t been. To defeat terror, the world must agree on a “common denominator” around which to develop a strategy. The killing of innocents is that common denominator. Yet in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, levelheadedness in identifying who the
Contents Up Front: Terror is Terror . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Election 2016 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Kerry: Defeat Zionism is racism . . . . . . . 10 Paris’ Bataclan theater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 In Paris, a Shabbat marred by terror . . . . . . . . . 14 Holiday collections at Sandler Family Campus. . . . . . . . . . 17 Happy Hanukkah. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Hazak gets healthy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Federation Women’s luncheon. . . . . . . . . 32 In Memoriam: Tavia Gordon. . . . . . . . . . 34
terrorists are has fallen victim to a pernicious moral equivalence. Whatever the grievance, resorting to verbal gymnastics to explain wanton killing is unacceptable. The U.N. Human Rights Council, in an adopted resolution on the Gaza War last year, did not mention Hamas once in the fivepage document, notwithstanding the fact that Hamas initiated the conflict by firing rockets indiscriminately into Israeli population centers. That’s terror, too. Only the United States voted against the resolution; all sitting European Union members voted in favor. Inconsistency in calling terrorism what it is sends the wrong message every time. Remember the European Union agonizing over whether to put Hezbollah on its terrorism list, with it winding up in 2013 creating a “military wing” and a “political wing” to describe the terrorist group? Since then, Iran has provided thousands of rockets to its Lebanese client. Clearly, neither Hezbollah nor Tehran took the EU seriously. So if one must be “merciless” in defeating the terrorists, as Hollande pledges France will be, why can’t Israel act this way? The way the world looks at terror demonstrates a double standard. Caught up in the politically correct morass of “evenhandedness,” Palestinian terror is getting a very large pass from the world. It’s time to bury, once and for all, the “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” mentality that has given the Palestinians an excuse and even sympathy in too many international eyes to carry on a terror campaign against Israel. For all of us—Americans, French, Israeli, British—to defeat the evil that has brought us this new reign of terror, we all need to be on the same page. Terror is terror. —Daniel S. Mariaschin is the executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International.
Week of Extraordinary deeds photography by Laine M. Rutherford
Week of Extraordinary Deeds. . . . . . . . . Teens attend AIPAC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Family fun at JCC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . HAT implements character building program. . . . . . . . . What’s Happening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thanksgiving 2.0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Who Knew?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mazel Tov. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Israeli-American Council Conference. . . INSIDE— Hanukkah
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Briefs Netanyahu’s office to match Jewish Agency funding to Reform, Conservative movements Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office will match funding given by the Jewish Agency for Israel to the country’s Conservative and Reform movements, according to an agency spokesman. The Jewish Agency provides some $1.09 million each in annual funding to Israel’s Reform and Conservative movements, in addition to $546,000 in funding to Israeli Orthodox congregations. According to Jewish Agency spokesman Avi Mayer, the Prime Minister’s Office plans to match that funding. On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Netanyahu said in a speech to the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly that the government “is joining with the Jewish Agency to invest in strengthening Reform and Conservative communities within Israel.” “As prime minister of Israel, I will always ensure that all Jews can feel at home in Israel—Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, Orthodox Jews—all Jews,” he said. Netanyahu also mentioned a roundtable of representatives from Jewish religious movements and government ministries formed to address the movements’ concerns. The roundtable was first announced in July, though it has yet to formally convene. There has, however, been regular communication between the government, the Jewish Agency and non-Orthodox streams on their concerns. Reform and Conservative leaders praised Netanyahu’s remarks as an indication of the government’s commitment to strengthening Jewish pluralism in Israel. “I hope and am optimistic regarding the commitment of the prime minister, and his ability to fulfill what he promised,” said Yizhar Hess, CEO of the Israeli Conservative movement. “If Israel is the state of the Jewish people, all members of the Jewish people need to feel they’re a part of it.” The following day, haredi Orthodox politicians from the United Torah Judaism in Israel party criticized Netanyahu’s remarks and lambasted the Reform movement. Knesset member Moshe Gafni accused Reform Judaism of “stabbing the holy Torah
in the back,” while Knesset member Yisrael Eichler accused Reform groups of funding anti-Israel activity and said they “incite against everything that is Jewish.” (JTA)
Russian-Jewish billionaire gives out $22 million in science prizes Russian-Jewish billionaire Yuri Milner gave out nearly $22 million in Breakthrough Prize Awards for contributions to life sciences, math and physics. Milner was joined Sunday, Nov. 8 at a televised ceremony in Northern California’s Silicon Valley by prize co-founders Sergey Brin, a co-founder of Google, and his ex-wife, Anne Wojcicki; Alibaba founder Jack Ma and his wife, Cathy Zhang; and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. The prize was established three years ago in an effort to make the sciences more popular. Animator Seth MacFarlane hosted the black-tie event at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. Singer Pharell Williams performed. The 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, worth $3 million, was presented to Ian Agol of the University of California, Berkeley and the Institute for Advanced Study. Five Life Sciences prizes of $3 million each were presented to Edward Boyden of MIT; Karl Deisseroth of Stanford and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; John Hardy of University College London; Helen Hobbs of the University of Texas’ Southwestern Medical Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. The prize in Fundamental Physics, worth $3 million, was awarded to five experiments investigating neutrino oscillation. It will be shared equally among all five teams, comprising 1,377 scientists. Several other prizes, including the New Horizons awards that recognize the achievements of young scientists, were presented. Milner announced in July that he would dedicate $100 million to a 10-year project launched with astrophysicist Stephen Hawking to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. (JTA)
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Philanthropy group providing emergency security aid in Paris, aliyah assistance In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has granted emergency security aid to French-Jewish communal institutions. In addition, the interfaith group announced that it would help any French Jew wishing to immigrate to Israel. The fellowship has provided immediate emergency aid of more than $86,000 to 25 synagogues and schools run by the Chabad-Lubavitch movement across France, including in Paris and Toulouse, to beef up security by adding guards and more sophisticated security systems, it said in a statement. “Amid the horrific terror attacks in Paris, it is critical that we help better protect French-Jewish communal institutions, which have been targets in the past,” said the fellowship’s president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. “At the same time, we are extending our immediate support to any French Jew who wishes to leave France and make aliyah to Israel.” Two families were scheduled to leave France last week for Israel with the fellowship’s assistance, while the organization said it will also be bringing a special flight of French Jews to Israel at the end of November. (JTA) German ‘Nazi grandma,’ 87, sentenced to jail for Holocaust denial An 87-year-old German woman dubbed the “Nazi grandma” was sentenced to 10 months in jail for Holocaust denial. Ursula Haverbeck, of the western German town of Vlotho, told a court in Hamburg this month that the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp is “only a belief.” Haverbeck was charged in April with Holocaust denial after saying on television that the Holocaust was “the biggest and most sustainable lie in history.” She made the statement to reporters outside the trial of former SS guard Oskar Groning, who was found guilty for his role in the murder of 300,000 at Auschwitz. Haverbeck challenged the court to prove that Auschwitz was a death camp, the German Deutche Welle reported. She
was sentenced on Nov. 12. Magistrate Bjoern Joensson, who issued the sentence, said it was “deplorable that this woman, who is still so active given her age, uses her energy to spread such hair-raising nonsense.” “She is a lost cause,” he added, according to Deutche Welle. Haverbeck already has a criminal record, including two fines and a suspended sentence for sedition. She said she will appeal the sentence. It is illegal in Germany to deny or downplay the Holocaust. (JTA)
Spielberg and Streisand on list of 17 to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom Jewish celebrities Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, Stephen Sondheim and Itzhak Perlman will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the United States. They will be among 17 Americans “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors” to receive the award, the White House announced Thursday, Nov. 12. President Barack Obama, saying he looked forward to presenting the “distinguished” group with the award, said in a White House news release, “[T]hese men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans.” Spielberg has won three Academy Awards for his work on films such as Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. Streisand has won two Academy Awards and 10 Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award. Sondheim’s eight Tony Awards are the most for a composer. He has also won an Academy Award, eight Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize and a Laurence Olivier Award. Perlman, who grew up in Israel, has won 15 Grammys and is considered to be among the greatest violinists in the world. Some of the non-Jewish recipients of the award will include baseball legends Willie Mays and the late Yogi Berra, songwriter James Taylor and singer Gloria Estefan. (JTA)
he Medrash tells us about a man named Yosef Meshisa. The context of the Medrash makes it sound like he lived at the time of the Greeks. He was what we would call a traitor. He joined the Greeks, adopted their culture, and assisted them in military strategy. When the Greeks ascended Temple Mount and invaded the Temple, they sent him in first. They told him to choose one item that would be his to keep. Yosef Meshisa entered the Temple and grabbed the Menorah. When he came out it was confiscated by the Greeks. “This is too beautiful,” they said. “It’s too nice for you. A simple man like you cannot own something like this.” The Greeks told Yosef Meshisa to go back into the Temple and choose something else. He refused. They offered to make him a tax collector for three years if he would go back in. He still refused. Finally, they threatened to kill him if he did not re-enter. Yosef Meshisa remained defiant. He said, “I angered my G-d once. I will not do it again.” And he was put to death. What happened to Yosef Meshisa? He couldn’t have been too holy if he was willing to go into the Temple and take the Menorah. What caused him to repent? Rabbi Yosef Kahaneman of Ponevizh (1886-1969) explains that the very space of the Holy Temple on Temple Mount had the power to change a person. Yosef Meshisa was a different man because he spent time in the Temple. This is an awesome thought, but still does not totally answer the question. If he repented inside the Temple, why did he come out carrying the Menorah? I believe that it was the protests of the Greeks that put Yosef Meshisa over the edge. Yosef went into the Temple and was, perhaps unexpectedly, overwhelmed by its
holiness. He was drawn to the Menorah and all that it embodied and represented, the focal point of the entire Jewish nation in their service of Hashem. It was constantly lit and represented the light that Hashem asked us to share with the world. The Menorah was holy. Yosef Meshisa grabbed the Menorah because, deep inside, it meant something to him. When he came outside to his friends, he encountered a culture shock. The Greeks said he couldn’t have the Menorah because it was too beautiful and he was too simple to appreciate it. They couldn’t see the spirituality in the Menorah or its holiness. They couldn’t see that it was meaningful to him. It was at that point that Yosef realized that he had fallen in with the wrong crowd. The Jews weren’t against the beauty, the mathematics, or the art of the Greeks. They were against the attitude that everything in this world is tangible and that an invisible G-d and spirituality have no place. Yosef Meshisa realized there was far more to the Menorah than what the Greeks were able to recognize. He realized that he had a soul and it was far more important to him than any honor or riches or culture that he had been willing to exchange for it. One of the Greeks’ edicts was that every Ox horn must be engraved with the statement “we have nothing to do with G-d.” The Greeks knew what they were doing. Imagine a Jew walking behind his ox plowing his field or bringing goods to the marketplace. He realizes that as hard as he is working, he is relying on G-d to make him successful. The Greeks wanted to put a stop to that. They wanted us to spend all day staring at anti-god bumper stickers. The lesson of Chanukah and of Yosef Meshisa is that there is more to the world than what the Greeks were willing to see. There is a spiritual component and G-d is with us in everything that we do. We need to use Chanukah to refocus and connect to the purity that powers our lives and has the ability to give meaning and depth to everything we do. Whether we are holding the Menorah, leading an ox, or sitting behind a desk, G-d is an integral part of our lives. —Rabbi Sender Haber, B’nai Israel.
jewishnewsva.org | November 23, 2015 | Jewish News | 5
The Jewish Bernie Sanders who only Vermonters know by Ron Kampeas
MANCHESTER CENTER, Vt. ( JTA)— Bernie Sanders reads from the Passover Haggadah in Hebrew and jokes with his seder hosts about finding hametz, traces of leavening, after they have thoroughly cleaned the house in preparation for the holiday. The presidential candidate, a socialist competing for the Democratic nomination, also follows Israeli politics close enough to understand the influence of the haredi Orthodox parties in government. And like many Jews of his generation, Sanders, 74, chafes at what he sees as disproportionate critical attention applied to Israel. But little of this emerges in his public profile. More has been written about the Judaism of his Brooklyn childhood than his interactions with the faith and community today. “I know he’s Jewish and I know he has a good heart, but give us something, make us feel proud of you,” says Rabbi James Glazier of Temple Sinai, a Reform congregation in South Burlington. “I can’t tell him what to do—that’s not my business. He owns his own spiritual journey. But we need a Jewish hug from him every once in a while.” As a politico, Sanders appears averse to hugs, Jewish or otherwise. Consider his awkward handshake with Hillary Rodham Clinton during the first Democratic presidential debate after he said her use of personal emails while in government shouldn’t be a campaign focus. “It’s not like he’s embarrassed or ashamed of [his faith],” says Richard Sugarman, an Orthodox Jew who is among Sanders’ closest friends and a professor of philosophy. “He continues to be a universalist; he doesn’t focus on those issues.” The Jewish Vermonters who know Sanders say his reluctance to make his Judaism central to his public persona is a function of his preference for the economic over the esoteric, as well as a libertarianism typical both of the state and its Jewish community—one that embraces expressions of faith and the lack of them.
Sanders, like many Jews who came here in the 1960s and 1970s, migrated to Vermont for reasons having little to do with his Judaism. He once told NPR that travel brochures he saw as a teenager depicting the state’s open spaces attracted him in the mid-’60s. Sanders, his first wife and his older brother bought 85 acres of land for $2,500. (Sanders has been married twice, and neither his first wife nor his current spouse is Jewish.) Ben Scotch, a lawyer who for decades worked in the state attorney general’s office and for the American Civil Liberties Union, said he and Sanders were part of a generation of Jews who supplanted the state’s more conventional Jewish community. “The children of Jewish families that settled here generations ago frequently looked at Vermont and said, ‘What are we doing here, this is no place to identify as Jews, the real Jewish centers are in the cities,’ and they doffed their hats,” says Scotch, who lives in Montpelier, the state capital, and knows Sanders through his dealings with government. “One generation was heading south on the interstate to New York, and meanwhile heading north on the interstate are children of city-bound Jews, saying ‘enough of my parents’ materialistic values.’” Eventually, many of the new Jewish migrants found Jewish community, albeit one that worked with Vermont’s counterculture. Today Montpelier is home to four female rabbis, three Reconstructionists and one who identifies as Orthodox. Susan Leff, who founded Jewish Communities of Vermont two years ago to coordinate Jewish activities in the state, says counting Jews in Vermont is a challenge, precisely because the Jews who arrived in the ’60s value the state’s nonconformist ethos and resist organization. Before launching her start-up, Leff asked around at Jewish congregations about setting up an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America, but it was a nonstarter. “People would say, ‘why send our money to New York?’” she recalls. Leff says her mailing list suggests that
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there are more than 20,000 Jews among the state’s 600,000 residents. That’s four times the 5,000 Jews that appear on outdated databases. From three functioning synagogues in 1975, when she arrived in the state to study at Bennington College, there are now 14 with rabbis, along with an array of lay-led prayer communities, or havurot. Of the 10,000 students at the University of Vermont, where Leff served as Hillel director for a decade, she estimates 2,000 are Jewish. The campus has a kosher kitchen. Michael Steinweis, who heads the University of Vermont’s Center for Holocaust Studies, says the state’s libertarian traditions created a convivial environment for diverse Jewish expression. “It’s a comfortable place for Jews to move to,” he says. Steinweis notes that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS, had failed in its bids to gain a foothold at the university, despite its reputation for being among the most liberal in the United States. “It’s traditional Yankee libertarianism,” he says. “It’s OK to criticize, but don’t censor.” Sanders’ fraught encounter with BDS supporters who challenged his defense of Israel at a town hall meeting in Cabot last year was captured on YouTube. Sugarman says he was not surprised that his friend stood up to the hecklers, telling them to “shut up.” “Many of us were gratified, not amazed, that Bernard had the ‘beitsim’ to stand up against these nihilists,” says Sugarman, using the Hebrew colloquialism for “balls.” (Most Vermonters call Sanders “Bernie”; Sugarman prefers “Bernard.”) Sugarman has known Sanders since they met on a slow train home to Vermont in 1976. Sugarman was returning from defending his doctorate at Yale, Sanders from a family reunion in Brooklyn— “events that were traumatic for both of us,” Sugarman says. They spoke all night, and Sanders moved in with Sugarman for a while following the breakup of Sanders’ first marriage—and kept a kosher kitchen in
deference to his friend. (Sugarman, who roomed with former Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., at Yale, may be the only person to have lived with both serious Jewish contenders for the U.S. presidency.) Sugarman encouraged Sanders, who had run several hopeless third-party bids for statewide office in the ’70s, to run as an independent for Burlington mayor in 1981; Sanders defeated the Democratic incumbent by just 12 votes. Sanders went on to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 and to the Senate in 2006. He has chosen friends who complement his wonkishness: Sugarman, the philosopher, and Stanley “Huck” Gutman, a professor of poetry at the University of Vermont who has written about the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. In 2010, the Washington Post profiled Gutman, who for four years was Sanders’ chief of staff, because Gutman routinely sent Senate staffers favorite poems. Gutman acknowledged he got nowhere in talking poetry with his old friend and boss. In his cluttered office Sugarman, whose expertise is Emmanuel Levinas, the Talmudist and philosopher, pulled out from a table tumbling with books on Levinas (and one kids’ book about Hanukkah) a compilation of speeches from a Levinas seminar he organized in 2000. He opened it to the welcome speech by Sanders, who mentioned Levinas only to jokingly wonder whether he was a candidate because his name cropped up on signs around town. But Sugarman says the candidate’s Jewish identity is principally expressed in his understanding that elections make a difference, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. “He once said that as a child in Brooklyn, he learned there was an election in Germany in 1932,” Sugarman recalls of Sanders, whose father lost family in Holocaust-era Poland and who is on the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. “And although it was not decisive, it was quite important.”
Election 2016 Democratic candidates pledge robust ISIS fight, implicitly chiding Obama WASHINGTON ( JTA)—The three Democratic presidential candidates pledged during their debate to lead the United States in the fight to crush the Islamic State terrorist group, with each suggesting that the Obama administration has come up short. The candidates in the debate from Iowa broadcast Saturday, Nov. 14 by CBS eagerly embraced increasing U.S. engagement and called for the absolute defeat of the terrorist group in the wake of its massive terrorist attack in Paris the previous night. Implicit in the pledges were critiques of Obama administration policy in the face of the rise of ISIS, which critics have said has been, at least until recent weeks, feckless and deferential to other world powers fighting the group. “We have to look at ISIS as the leading threat of an international terror network,” said the campaign front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former secretary of state. “It cannot be contained, it must be defeated,” she said. “There is no question in my mind that if we summon our resources, both our leadership resources and all of the tools at our disposal, not just military force which should be used as a last resort, but our diplomacy, our development aid, law enforcement, sharing of intelligence in a much more—open and cooperative way— that we can bring people together.” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who trails Clinton but has launched a stronger campaign than many observers anticipated, agreed that the United States must lead the fight against ISIS. But he also launched a broadside against moderate Muslims, saying they must step up in the battle. “We have to understand that the Muslim nations in the region—Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, all of these nations—they’re
going to just have to get their hands dirty, their boots on the ground,” Sanders said at the event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, the first caucus state in the primary season. “They are going to have to take on ISIS. This is a war for the soul of Islam.” The hawkish posture embraced by Sanders, who is Jewish, was unusual in a race in which he has mostly targeted Clinton from the left, most pronouncedly on income gap and banking reforms. Clinton chided Sanders for including Jordan in the list, saying it was “very unfair” to include the kingdom—one of only two Arab states with a peace treaty with Israel— because it has suffered for the lead it has taken against extremist Islamist groups. Sanders and the third candidate on the stage, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, took shots at Clinton for her involvement in policies, both under the Obama administration and during the presidency of President George W. Bush, which led to the unraveling of the Middle East. Clinton was Obama’s secretary of state in his first term, and as the U.S. senator from New York she voted for the 2003 Iraq War. “It was not just the invasion of Iraq which Secretary Clinton voted for and has since said was a big mistake, and indeed it was,” O’Malley said. “But it was also the cascading effects that followed that. It was also the disbanding of many elements of the Iraqi army that are now showing up as part of ISIS. It was—country after country—without making the investment in human intelligence to understand who the new leaders were and the new forces that were coming up.” Clinton, who has acknowledged that her Iraq War vote was a mistake, said that factors in place before the war as well as decisions taken afterward also contributed to the crisis.
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Ben Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist. Here’s why it matters believe the second coming of Jesus may be imminent. The Adventist church also NEW YORK (JTA)—When Joe Lieberman focuses on health and wellness, and membecame the first observant Jew with a bers are encouraged, but not required, to reasonable chance at being president after forgo alcohol, tobacco and meat. Carson is on a mostly vegetarian diet, Al Gore named him his vice presidential running mate in 2000 he faced a host of but he does eat milk and egg products and questions about how his Sabbath obser- occasionally chicken. More relevant politically, Carson frevance might impact his presidential duties. quently cites his faith as the reason for his Now that Ben Carson, a Seventh Day policy positions. On taxation, for Adventist, has emerged at the top example, Carson has proposed of the polls in the Republican People a tithing system. presidential primary, he’s “When I pick up my facing similar questions are afraid Bible, you know what about his religion. of saying “Merry I see? I see the fairest So far, Carson’s individual in the unifaith, which, like Christmas” at verse, God, and he’s Judaism, celegiving us a system. brates the Sabbath Christmastime. It doesn’t It’s called tithes. on Saturday and abjures eating the matter if the person you’re Now we don’t necessarily have to non-kosher animals talking to is Jewish or do it 10 percent, listed in the Book but it’s the princiof Leviticus, hasn’t whether they’re any religion. ple,” Carson said been an impediment in a 2013 speech at to his campaign. That’s a salutation of the National Prayer The neurosurgreeting, of goodwill. Breakfast. “You make geon-turned-candidate billion, you put in doesn’t seem to be a We’ve got to get over a $10 billion, you make $10, Sabbath-observer in the you put in one. Of course, strictest sense: He has held this sensitivity. you’ve got to get rid of the campaign rallies on Saturday loopholes.” and made Saturday stops on Like many other Christian candibook tours. But Carson says he tries dates, he also cites religion for his opposition to respect the day of rest. “Sabbath is still a precious day for us. to abortion, including in cases of rape or We go to church as often as we can,” he incest (though not if the mother’s life is in told the Adventist News Network in 2013. jeopardy). “All you have to do is go and look up “Even if we’re on the road we treat it as a the many stories of people who have led different day than all the others.” Carson is a member of the Spencerville very useful lives who were the result of Seventh-day Adventist Church in rape or incest,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press Spencerville, Md. As a Seventh Day last month. Carson, who cites Jesus as his role Adventist, Carson adheres to a little-understood Protestant religious group that model, also has some pronounced views emerged in mid-19th century America and about Americans of other faiths. He sugnow has some 1.2 million members nation- gested in September that he’d have trouble wide and more than 18 million around the with a Muslim in the White House, saying that any Muslim who became president world. While the religion shares some com- would have to reject certain tenets of Islam monalities with Judaism, Adventists that are incompatible with the presidency. By Uriel Heilman
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Election 2016 “I would have problems with somebody who embraced all the doctrines associated with Islam,” Carson explained on CNN’s State of the Union. “If they are not willing to reject sharia and all the portions of it that are talked about in the Koran, if they are not willing to reject that, and subject that to American values and the Constitution, then of course, I would.” He also believes Jews shouldn’t take offense if someone wishes them a “Merry Christmas.’ “People are afraid of saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at Christmastime,” he said in his 2013 National Prayer Breakfast speech. “It doesn’t matter if the person you’re talking to is Jewish or whether they’re any religion. That’s a salutation of greeting, of goodwill. We’ve got to get over this sensitivity.” More controversially, Carson suggested in a new book and in interviews in early October that gun control was partially responsible for Hitler’s slaughter of
Europe’s Jews, allowing the Nazis to “carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance.” His comments came as part of his reaction to the deadly mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., after which Carson argued that better armed citizens, rather than gun control, is the best way to stop such mass killings. Several weeks later, Carson defended his comments, saying on Meet the Press, “I’ve heard from many people in the Jewish community, including rabbis, who said, ‘You’re spot on. You are exactly right.’” Like many devout believers of all faiths, Carson attributes his successes in life to God. “There’s no question God sets these things up. My whole life, I feel, has been orchestrated by him,” Carson said in 2013. “We always have to remember that no matter what’s going on, no matter how much of a spotlight we have, that all of that comes from God and everything we do should reflect glory on his name.”
Rubio hears loud cheers at Miami pro-Israel rally WASHINGTON (JTA)—Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio drew loud cheers at a pro-Israel rally in Miami. Local media said several hundred people attended the “Never Again” rally on Sunday, Nov. 15 at the Holocaust memorial in Miami Beach marking the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the state-sponsored attacks on Jewish communities in Germany and Austria that presaged the Holocaust. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, joined his fellow Florida U.S. senator at the event sponsored by an array of groups, including the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and some Christian groups, the Miami Herald reported. Both senators were among the speakers who criticized as anti-Semitic the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
movement targeting Israel. Rubio noted the massive terrorist attack in Paris. “We were reminded this week that unfortunately, evil is alive and well in the world,” Rubio was quoted as saying by the local NBC affiliate. “And we are reminded that we are still called to be vigilant and to defeat it in every form that it takes.” Nelson drew some jeers for his vote in September in favor of the Iran nuclear deal, the Herald reported. Another speaker was Norman Braman, a past president of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and Rubio’s principal backer in the race for the GOP presidential nod. Braman is the owner of several car dealerships.
11/16/15 12:03 PM
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Kerry: Defeat ‘Zionism is racism’ by confronting anti-Semitism, advancing 2 states WASHINGTON (JTA)—The struggle to defeat the notion that Zionism is racism persists both in the battle against resurgent anti-Semitism and the efforts to arrive at a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Secretary of State John Kerry said. “Too many outside this room fail to recognize the global reality of anti-Semitism today,” Kerry said at an event Wednesday, Nov. 11 marking 40 years since Chaim Herzog, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, spoke against the U.N. General Assembly’s resolution equating Zionism with racism. “Too many fail to realize that a witch’s brew of old prejudices and new political grievances and economic troubles and nationalism combine to create dangerous new openings for extremism. So Herzog and Moynihan together have left us a major responsibility to continue to tell the world that anti-Semitism is as abhorrent and vile today as it was in 1975.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then the U.S. ambassador to the body, also spoke out against the motion, which eventually passed in 1975 but was rescinded in 1991. Herzog famously tore up a copy of the resolution at the conclusion of his speech.
Kerry, who led an unsuccessful bid in 2013 and 2014 to conclude an IsraeliPalestinian peace agreement, said that arriving at a two-state solution was critical to maintaining the Zionist dream. “The Zionist dream embraces the concept of Israel as a Jewish democracy, a beacon of light to all nations,” he said. “And that dream can only be upheld by two states living side by side in peace and security. And we all know, from years of discussion and effort, this is not an impossible dream. It is achievable.” The event was co-sponsored by the Israeli mission to the United Nations, the American Jewish Committee and the Chaim Herzog Public Council. The American Jewish Committee led the effort to rescind the 1975 resolution. “The reputation of the United Nations was badly damaged by the adoption of resolution 3379, in and beyond Israel and the wider Jewish community,” Ban said. “As we commemorate Chaim Herzog’s words, I appeal to the community of nations to always act to uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter ‘to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors.’”
House appropriators warn Abbas on funding in wake of terrorism wave WASHINGTON (JTA)—Two top congressional appropriators warned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that U.S. funds are contingent on tamping down incitement during the current wave of violence. Reps. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., the committee and subcommittee’s top Democrat, in a letter urged Abbas to resume direct negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We implore you to refrain from highly-inflammatory language and to redouble your efforts to uphold nonviolence,” the letter said. “As you are well aware, any U.S. assistance generously provided by the American people to the Palestinian Authority is predicated on the P.A.’s adherence to the precepts of the Oslo Accords as well as countering terrorism and the incitement of violence.”
The United States funnels about $500 million annually to the Palestinian Authority. Like all foreign funding, the money is authorized by the Foreign Operations subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives. Deadly Palestinian attacks on Israelis have sharply increased in recent weeks amid tensions over the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif, a Jerusalem site holy to Jews and Muslims. Driving the tensions in part have been reports among the Palestinians that Israel is planning to alter the site, which houses a mosque compound. Abbas himself has made the charge, which Netanyahu vehemently denies. “The Government of Israel has repeatedly vowed to maintain the status quo at the Temple Mount,” the letter says. “Therefore, any suggestion to the contrary only serves to provoke aggression and spread distorted rhetoric among the Palestinian people.”
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Before terror, Paris’ Bataclan theater threatened for pro-Israel events by Cnaan Liphshiz
(JTA)—Before the bloodbath on Friday, Nov. 13 at the Le Bataclan concert venue in Paris, this centrally located hall from the 19th century had received numerous threats over pro-Israel events hosted there. From at least 2006–2009, Le Bataclan was the venue for the annual fundraising gala of Migdal, the French Jewish nonprofit group that supports the Israeli Border Police. Last month, the theater served as the meeting place for a gathering of some 500 Zionist Christians who came there in support of Israel. In one case involving threats against Le Bataclan—which until September was owned by a French Jew, Joel Laloux— approximately 10 men wearing Arab kaffiyehs over their faces showed up at the theater in December 2008 demanding to speak to management. “This is something we cannot continue to accept,” one of the men from the group was filmed telling the security guards outside Le Bataclan. “You will pay the consequences of your actions,” the same person, his voice electronically distorted, told the camera after the confrontation, which ended peacefully. “We came here to pass along a small message. Be warned. Next time we won’t be coming here to talk.” The massacre at Le Bataclan, during a rock concert by the Eagles of Death Metal band from the United States, was by far the deadliest of the six attacks that French security forces said were perpetrated by at least eight terrorists. The attacks have left 129 dead and wounded more than 350. Acting on a plan that French President Francois Hollande said was organized outside France by the Islamic State “terrorist army” and carried out with accomplices in France, the assailants struck two cafes, two restaurants and a soccer stadium north of Paris, using automating firearms and explosive charges. At Le Bataclan, two terrorists fired at patrons at random but in a calm and deliberate manner, survivors said. Police stormed the building approximately 40 minutes after the killing began. The terrorists were killed in the raid. Whereas the men who showed up at
Le Bataclan in 2008 presented themselves as “residents of the area,” threats of attack against the concert hall as payback for Israel’s actions also included foreign players, according to a 2011 report by Le Figaro. According to that report, a French woman named Dodi Hoxha told French counterterrorism officers in 2010 of a plot by Jaish Islam, al-Qaida’s branch in Gaza— its name means “the army of Islam”—to organize an attack at Le Bataclan. Hoxha said the theater had been selected because “the owners are Jewish.” Hoxha was arrested that year in connection with an attack against French students in Cairo in 2009, in which one student died. DGSE, the French external security agency, believed the attack on the students in Cairo was to punish France for its perceived role in Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. According to the website of Le Bataclan, the venue was run until its sale in September by Jules Frutos and Olivier Poubelle for Laloux, whose father, Elie Touitou, bought the venue in 1976. He owned most or all of the theater until September, when the media group of the billionaire Arnaud Lagardère bought a 70 percent stake. Lalloux told Israel’s Channel 2 that he sold the Le Bataclan because he recently immigrated to Israel. The Anti-Defamation League in a statement expressed “shock and horror” at the attack, as well as “deep concern” that Le Bataclan had been targeted over Israel or the supposed Jewish affiliation of its owners. “We hope the French authorities will investigate the possibility that virulent anti-Semitism was a motive in the attack,” wrote Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the ADL. For France’s far-right Jewish Defense League, the threats against Le Bataclan are proof that it was targeted as punishment for hosting pro-Israel events. “Pro-Palestinian groups designated it openly as a ‘Zionist’ concert hall, and now we see the result,” the organization wrote in a statement shortly after the attacks. “France woke up to a taste of ‘Palestine.’” Yet Nicolas Shashani, a prominent French pro-Palestinian activist, said that
despite the previous threats, Le Bataclan is not generally associated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Le Bataclan may have had a Zionist link in the past, but if the perpetrators wanted to select a site tied to Israel to send a message, it doesn’t strike me as a very effective target,” Shashani said. “To the general population, Le Bataclan is just a concert hall and nothing more.” Shashani noted that “unsubstantiated rumors” also linked the attack to the Eagles of Death Metal band because it performed in Israel in July. During the concert in Tel Aviv, lead singer Jesse Hughes recalled how Roger Waters, the former frontman for the Pink Floyd band and a promoter of a boycott against Israel, asked the band to stay away. “I answered with two words: F*** you!” Hughes told the cheering audience, adding: “I would never boycott a place like this.” The band escaped the attack unscathed, according to reports in French media. Shashani said it was “far-fetched” to suppose the band was the reason for Le Bataclan’s targeting. “In previous attacks, there were clear targets,” Shashani said. “Soldiers, cops, a kosher supermarket. This time, the attacks were against cafes, restaurants, a soccer stadium—attacks against the Frenchman on the street.”
Dutch pol: Frustration over Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a cause in Paris attacks AMSTERDAM (JTA)—The chairman of the Dutch Socialist Party said the perpetrators of the attacks in Paris acted in part out of frustration over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Jan Marijnissen linked the Friday, Nov. 13 attacks, which left at least 129 dead and which French President Francois Hollande said were planned by the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria, to the Palestinian issue during an interview with the Dutch station NPO Radio1. “Their behavior eventually is connected also to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” Marijnissen said of the perpetrators. “The guys—I assume they were guys— who carried out the attacks probably come from a group of outraged people from the French suburbs.” The Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he added, “is the growth medium for such an attack.” On Monday, Nov. 16, Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the European Jewish Congress harshly condemned similar comments by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot
Wallstrom, who said, “To counteract the radicalization, we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East of which not the least the Palestinians see that there is no future: We must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.” EJC President Moshe Kantor said her view was “borderline racist” because she focused on the one conflict involving Jews in explaining the attacks. Israel said her comments were “appallingly impudent.” Susanne Sznajderman-Rytz, a Swedish Jewish linguist, said she confronted the minister about the issue on the street, and the minister told her, “The Jews are campaigning against me,” though a ministry spokesman later denied the minister had made the comment. Sweden’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Wallstrom “has neither directly nor indirectly linked the terrorist attacks in Paris to the situation in Israel and Palestine,” adding the controversy owes to “a misunderstanding” that “will be clarified shortly.”
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In Paris, a Shabbat marred by terror by Aaron D. Panken
PARIS (JTA)—My son and I met in Paris on Friday, Nov. 13, walked the charming streets of the City of Light, visited the Picasso and Pompidou museums, then went to synagogue at the MJLF (Mouvement Juif Libéral de France), one of the most vibrant Reform synagogues in Paris. Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur, a respected French journalist and graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, who had been my student about a decade ago, presided over a full house of committed French Jews who sang with spirit and prayed with intensity. We enjoyed the familiar liturgy set to unfamiliar tunes, the two young people getting ready for their b’nai mitzvah in the morning, the aufruf for a young soon-to-be-married couple and the very warm welcome of the entire congregation. Aside from the heavily armed soldiers out front, a staple in European synagogues for a long time already, and the mental workout of comprehending a sermon given in French, it felt very much like home. From there we went to Rabbi Horvilleur’s apartment in the Marais, the historic Jewish district, for Shabbat dinner with her beautiful family and some friends. We made blessings, ate delicious food, sang songs, chatted about the Jewish community, her professors and colleagues, and caught up in the manner one does with cherished friends one does not see often. As usual, our phones were left untended out of respect for the peace of the Sabbath. Alas, such an idyllic Sabbath peace was not to be. First my son’s phone began vibrating wildly, and after this went on worryingly for some time, in his concern he checked it. It was then that we learned of one attack, then another, and still more. Friends of his at the Stade de France stadium watching the France-Germany soccer match wrote of hearing explosions, attempting to evacuate, being held in place. One young female friend was trampled as the crowd surged and exited. Soon the awful details of a night of unspeakable atrocity began to become clear. Restaurants just blocks away became scenes of carnage, a well-known concert hall the
site of a hostage crisis and, later, a heinous massacre. French President Francois Hollande asked everyone to shelter in place as police and security forces tried to respond to multiple incidents. The streets were eerily empty, and heavily armed police and military were deployed everywhere. Friends and family were looking for loved ones they might not see again. There were endless texts and emails, most of them answered— some tragically not. The next day when that same congregation gathered, they celebrated those two b’nai mitzvah with all their might because terrorism simply cannot be permitted to win. The strength of such an action speaks volumes about the Jewish community of France. But when they recited the prayer for the French nation, their eyes were not dry, their sadness was profound and their sobbing was audible. Terror had, once again, turned singing into mourning, but it could not overcome the essential power of sacred community. When we walked the streets on Shabbat afternoon, we came across many reminders of the tragedy of the prior evening. Closed were Paris’ stores, museums, educational institutions and government buildings. Signs everywhere proclaimed three days of national mourning and cancellations of concerts, lectures, gatherings and cultural events. Even with the streets less populated, people eyed each other warily, faces lined with creases of concern, moving swiftly to the other side of the street upon even the slightest provocation. Outside hospitals, donors lined up in great numbers to give blood. Small memorial gatherings arose contrary to police instructions, with participants lighting candles and singing La Marseillaise, France’s national anthem. The names of victims started to trickle out. And the names of the perpetrators, too. Hope and fear walked hand in hand with us on those streets. Over the past two decades, I have watched with my own eyes as a plane hit the World Trade Center. I have listened from a few blocks away as bombs detonated in cafes in Jerusalem. And now, I have lived through a night of deep evil in the streets of Paris. I know that the depths of our mourning over yet more senseless and heartbreaking loss
of life will eventually be lifted once again at some point. Peace loving as I am and always try to be, it is at times like this that I yearn for a powerful, just and decisive response. I am aware that this is not simple, but given the awful circumstances and the dangerous potential for future violent acts like these, it now seems vital. I hope the Western world will have the strength needed to take difficult but necessary action in the days and months ahead. At some point, when the time is right, I
also hope that God, of whom Psalm 30:11 speaks, will “turn our mourning into dancing and remove the sackcloth and clothe us,” once again, “with joy.” In the meantime, though, may the memory of those innocent individuals whose lives were brutally taken this past Shabbat be a blessing to humanity and our community. May their families find comfort, and may they rest in peace. —Rabbi Aaron D. Panken is the president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
French Jewish and Muslim leaders lead memorial at Paris’ Bataclan theater
rench Jewish and Muslim clergy members led a memorial together for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris outside the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people were killed and hundreds injured on Friday, Nov. 13. The group, which included multiple French imams and representatives of the Paris Jewish community, laid bouquets of white roses on Sunday, Nov. 15 among the hundreds of candles left outside the theater by the public, the Guardian reported. “Anyone who uses hate speech has no place in France, and those places that preach hate are not places of prayer but
are those of a sect,” Hassen Chalgoumi, the president of the imams’ conference of France, told a crowd of several dozen people. “1.5 million people are hostages of Daesh [an Arabic acronym for ISIS], 1.5 million people are hostages of these barbarians who are sullying the name of Islam and Muslims. It’s time to say no to this barbarity.” Chalgoumi said that ISIS has a “fatwa” against him calling for his death. The memorial was the idea of PolishJewish author Marek Halter, who has written extensively on his family, which escaped the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. (JTA)
The Bataclan was named for this Jewish operetta by Ilana Sichel
( Jewniverse via JTA)—Haaretz writer Vivian Eden just unearthed an amazing historical factoid: the Bataclan, the stately Paris theater that is now synonymous with bloodshed and horror, takes its name from an operetta written and composed by two 19th-century Jews. Composer Jacques Offenbach, the son of a German cantor, immigrated to Paris to study music. The libretto he famously set to music, Ba-Ta-Clan, was written by his friend Ludovic Halevy, the son of a Parisian Jew who converted to Christianity for marriage. (Though with a name like Halevy, we can’t imagine he made a very convincing Christian.) Halevy seems to have cast his own multilayered religious identity into the
operetta, which revels in ethnic cloaking and mayhem. The storyline involves three Frenchmen masquerading as Chinese and a French country “bumpkin with ambitions to rule,” a la Napoleon III. The operetta opened in Paris in 1855 and eventually made it to Broadway under the dubious title Ching Chow Hi. (Did we mention this is 19th-century ethnic humor?) The Bataclan music hall opened 10 years later with a whole chinoiserie theme. What does this all have to do with its current place in the tragic spotlight? Likely nothing. Though possibly of more consequence is the fact that the Bataclan’s longtime Jewish owners, who recently sold the place, used to hold pro-Israel events there. Emphasis on “possibly.” —Ilana Sichel is the editor of Jewniverse. Follow her occasional tweets @ilanasichel.)
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15-year holiday tradition of helping others continues at Sandler Family Campus
his holiday season, Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus security manager Jason Capossere is again collecting gifts, food donations, and cleaning and pet supplies to donate through area organizations to people—and animals— in need. This is the 15th anniversary of the gift drive, which began as a community service project to help make children living at Seton Youth Shelters in Virginia Beach feel less unwanted and alone. These are children, who through no fault of their own can no longer live in their homes. Rather than live on the streets, or worse, they temporarily have a safe, warm space, with a bed, food, and caring adult supervision. Capossere was serving in the Navy when he began volunteering at Seton and became the “Santa” of the shelter. When he left the military in 2008, Capossere decided to maintain the tradition and continued to supply holiday gifts to the roughly 24 children living there. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, Capossere will collect items that the teens are not expecting, but are so grateful to receive. The presents, Capossere says, bring smiles to their faces and a sense of self-worth to their anything but normal lives. Items needed are new or like-new, age-appropriate gifts for 12–17 year old boys and girls, such as costume jewelry,
winter gloves and hats, board games, video games, and clothing—all sizes. This year, as last, Capossere has added the Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s food pantry to the recipient list. As an unabashed dog lover, he hasn’t forgotten the animals, so donations will be accepted for the Virginia Beach SPCA. Nonperishable food and cleaning items are requested for both JFS and the SPCA, and specifically for the SPCA, dog treats, beds, towels, and cat or dog toys will also be collected. Over the years, Capossere’s marathon wrapping sessions at the campus, on or near Christmas Eve, garnered attention. Members and staff took notice, and they asked if they could help with the project. Each year the list of individuals bringing in donations and participating in “wrap day” grows. Capossere also gets beautifully handcrafted hats and scarves from the knitting group that meets on Wednesdays at the Simon Family JCC. In November, the JCC Senior Club surprised Capossere with a donation of $500 to purchase gifts. Donations can be dropped off at any Campus security booth. For more questions about donations or to volunteer with giftwrapping, contact jcapossere@ ujft.org. To learn more about any of the programs being supported, visit their web pages: www.setonyouthshelters.org, www. vbspca.com, www.jfshamptonroads.org.
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18 | Jewish News | November 23, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
Happy Hanukkah Supplement to Jewish News November 23, 2015
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Dear Readers, Hanukkah seems to offer as much confu-
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Should we make a big deal of Hanukkah to offset the major celebrations and commercialization of Christmas or do we treat it as the minor holiday that it really is in the Jewish calendar? Should we light the candles from left to
sion as latke recipes.
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right or right to left? Should we start with eight candles or with one? Should we use russet or Yukon Gold potatoes in those latkes?
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And then, the most obvious… Should we spell it Chanukah or Hanukkah or some other way? We could go on and on…. One place where there is no confusion, however, is that for Jewish children in America, Hanukkah has to be the happiest of the Jewish holidays. How it could not be? The blessings are short, the lights are beautiful, the dreidel game fun, the latkes and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts) delicious, and of course…there are the gifts. Our articles are mainly fun, too. They include a piece on the perks of being
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Jewish in December (clue: It’s easier than
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preparing for Christmas!), how not to spoil interfaith kids at the holidays, and some interesting and festive latke recipes. Plus, several community members share their
favorite Hanukkah memories…meaningful
and fun. Finally, did you know that Adam
Sandler updated his Chanukah Song? We’ll
tell you who he’s included. However you celebrate or observe the holiday, we hope you enjoy this year’s
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20 | Jewish News | November 23, 2015 | Hanukkah | jewishnewsva.org
Festival of Lights!
Terri Denison, Editor
A Hanukkah D’var Torah
hanuka’s origins in the drama of a small people standing up to the might of the Hellenistic empire of antiquity is a poignant symbol and a timeless reminder of Israel’s unique and timely legacy. The Maccabees’ successful revolt in 167 B.C.E. against the dictates of King Antiochus IV that sought to deprive the Jews of practicing their faith, was truly a stance of a proud conscience. Our refusal to submit to a superior physical power when our spiritual inheritance was at stake is a clear indication of how deep a bond we held with our religious convictions, ready to sacrifice the sacred gift of life for the sake of an ancestral covenant with the God of Freedom and Responsibility. The word Hanukkah and its very meaning represent the spirit of dedication to noble ideals and ideas through the cleansing of Jerusalem’s temple of old from pagan defilement. The Talmud’s insisting focus on the miracle of the cruse of oil lasting eight days reflects the rabbis’ aversion to the bloodshed and the Hasmoneans’ intra-political strife, associated with the war and beyond. Consequently, the Book of the Maccabees was not included in our own Biblical canon, but was fortunately preserved through the Catholic one. In truth, the conflict was not only against the enemy from without, but also in response to the experienced assimilation from within. The encounter with the dominant, flourishing and tempting Greek culture led, however, to a fruitful engagement influencing rabbinic thought and logic.
The flickering lights of Hanukkah have come to represent through centuries of trying suffering the miracle of Jewish survival in spite of great odds, while endowing the human family with an enduring, undying hope for a world transformed and redeemed. Let us continue to pray and labor that the ancient promise of prophetic Shalom from the hills of Judea, the first such inspiring and courageous message of universal embrace, will yet be realized for all of God’s children including the offspring of Isaac and Ishmael whose familial bond cannot be denied. How frustrating that there are Palestinian leaders attempting to re-write history by removing the i ncont rover t ible Jewish connection with the Temple Mount, seeking to extinguish Hanukkah’s authenticity. As our American nation, the State of Israel and the entire free world fight the blight of contemporary terrorism with Iran begrudging the Maccabeean victory leading the way, much can be learned from the Maccabees’ old and new saga and spirit. The terrorists negate the life-enlightening, pluralistic and inclusive principles of Hanukkah’s bright Menorah daring to challenge the darkness. All humans have now become vulnerable Jews, yet empowered with our people’s indomitable faith and heroic example to face an oppressive foe—physically, spiritually, and psychologically—and prevail. —Rabbi Dr. Israel Zoberman is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Chaverim.
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Memories Hanukkah 5776 Jasmine Amitay
Gary W. Baum
very year my mom
hen I first came to the
would get out the
“Magic Sevivon” (a
I celebrated my first
large cardboard box deco-
Hanukkah at the Jewish Center at
rated to look like a dreidel)
Cornell. I recall singing Ma’oz Tsur
and as a kid I’d get so excited to stick my hand in
with gusto, only to be brought up
Jasmine Amitay with her family.
short as I launched into verse two, prepared to sing all five verses and everybody else
a choose a gift from this huge box.
appeared to be quite happy with just singing the one verse!
I loved it so much that I’ve created similar boxes for my kids and just as I did, they LOVE it!!
As a reaction to this, I insist on singing all five verses on all eight nights (including the last verse which is the only one to specifically talk about Hanukkah)—much to the chagrin of the rest of my family.
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In our home, growing up we had an easy ritual of
candles and prayers at sunset, followed by dinner and FINALLY the chance to open one present a night. Our gifts were kept in the downstairs coat closet, one bag
Risa Levitt with her son Noam.
for me and one for my brother. Each night I examined the brightly wrapped boxes, deliberating over which to open next. I have always loved the anticipation the most, and would choose my gifts with care, wanting to draw out the wait and excitement of something “big” as long as possible. But it was the last, the eighth night that was the best. In my family we always got “extra” presents; and on the final night there would be multiple gifts waiting for my brother and I to tear into. It is this excitement and practice in patience that stays with me today, and what I eagerly anticipate watching in my own child as he grows to understand and enjoy the celebration of Hanukkah.
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The top seven perks of being Jewish in December by Rachel Minkowsky
NEW YORK (Kveller via JTA)—Growing up, ours was the only house on the block with a menorah glowing in the window. This should have put me onto the fast track to Christmas envy, but it didn’t. I respected Christmas, but was never jealous of those who celebrated. In fact, watching my neighbors actually gave me a deeper appreciation for the simpler joys of Hanukkah. Here’s why:
Blessings be with you this festival of lights and always
Celebrating Hanukkah means I usually have an earlier gift-buying deadline to meet than my counterparts. I have to get myself in gear way before Christmas shopping madness descends on the rest of the world. By Thanksgiving, I’m usually done. I spend most Black Fridays sipping spiced cider and recovering from a turkey-induced coma. Being Jewish means never having to freeze my tuchas off in a parking lot waiting for a “Midnight Door Buster” sale.
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No tall tales I am grateful that I don’t have to remember to hide an “Elf on the Shelf” in a new spot each day. And I don’t have to make up stories to tell my daughters about how a jolly fellow actually gets around the world in one night, or explain how a reindeer’s nose can glow in the dark. Instead I get to teach them the dreidel game while we snack on latkes. Bonus: We don’t have to share our treats with anyone’s flying pets.
The music Only kidding. This is a category where I can’t honestly come up with a “perk” for the Jews…there just isn’t as much Hanukkah music. Let’s see, we’ve got I Have A Little Dreidel and, um, what else? Seriously, what did suburban Jewish kids listen to before Adam Sandler’s The Chanukah Song?
The town where I spent my childhood could probably be seen from space. Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, the neighborhood dads would hang Christmas decorations. They could all be found precariously perched on their roofs stringing lights across the rain gutters. Plastic Santas and their reindeer would be dragged two stories into the air and then somehow fastened to shingles. I watched the scene, year after year, relieved we didn’t have to do the same. My dad + wires + heights = certain doom. The expectations for Hanukkah decor are less labor intensive. We plug in an electric menorah and park it on the windowsill. Done.
Time for fun
—Rachel Minkowsky lives with her husband and two energetic girls in New York City where she works as a school counselor.
My non-Jewish friends have to find time for their kids, spouses, siblings, parents, 24 | Jewish News | November 23, 2015 | Hanukkah | jewishnewsva.org
cousins, in-laws and their great-aunt Shirley that flies in from Nebraska once a year, all within 24 hours. I get eight days to fill with lots of family togetherness. Eight. Long. Days.
Hanukkah is the holiday of deep-fried everything. And chocolate gelt. ’Nuf said.
Holiday spirit Whether families are making Christmas cookies or sufganiyot, the whole month of December is dusted with powdered sugar and scented with vanilla. Everyone’s mood seems to lift. People are kinder and more forgiving. It’s easier to believe that miracles can—and do—happen. This holiday season, I wish everyone peace, joy and magic. Chag Sameach!
Hanukkah 5776 How to not spoil your interfaith kids during the holiday season by Susan Katz Miller
(Kveller via JTA)—“We get twice the presents!” Most interfaith kids will utter this classic, and rather obnoxious, boast at some point during childhood. And I have to admit, it makes me wince and grit my teeth a little. As an interfaith child myself, I understand all too well that bragging about Christmas and Hanukkah gifts can be a defense mechanism designed to dazzle and deflect those who view interfaith families with skepticism and disapproval. But as the parent of two interfaith children, now 17 and 20, it was crucial every year to at least attempt to reduce the avalanche of holiday packages, boxes and bags. I really did not want my interfaith kids to feel entitled, superior or somehow wealthier than their single-faith playmates. To be honest, I did try to give my kids double the gifts, but I wanted those gifts to be metaphorical, or experiential, not material. The plan was to bestow on them deep connections to both Judaism and Christianity, education in the history and rituals and beliefs of both religions, and opportunities to celebrate with extended family on both sides. In lieu of buying stuff, my husband and I tried to focus on creating deep sensory memories for our children: frosting gingerbread houses and frying latkes, hanging ornaments and dancing around the menorah. OK, so we are not total Scrooges, or Grinches, or ascetics. Each child got one pile of gifts at the holidays, and “Santa” delivered that pile on Christmas morning. I do understand why some families who don’t celebrate Christmas give a huge mound of presents on Hanukkah instead. But giving two piles of presents on two overlapping holidays seemed to me like a misguided attempt to make the two holidays equal. Part of the beauty of celebrating both religions for our family is that Hanukkah does not have to compete with Christmas.
Instead we let Hanukkah be a more modest holiday, appropriate to its modest place in the Jewish liturgical calendar, where it stands behind Shabbat, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot in terms of importance. Part of our strategy was to communicate with all the grandparents and aunts and uncles our intention to try to keep the gift giving under control, and instead focus on those who are truly in need. One visionary great-uncle gave donations to a different charity each year at Christmas in lieu of presents, and wrote a letter about his choice to each member of the extended family. My mother has taken to donating goats and sheep and chickens in the name of each of her grandchildren through Heifer International. And each year, we shepherded our children to the local Alternative Gift Fair, where they made charitable donations in lieu of Hanukkah gifts on certain nights: drumming lessons for youth in detention, psychotherapy and fresh local vegetable deliveries for low-income Washington, D.C., residents, and bicycle repair kits for people in Uganda and Honduras. And cumulatively over the years, I must admit, they got a lot of toys and clothes and books. But being an interfaith family provided fresh incentive each year to try to make sure to focus on the carols and the klezmer, the firelight and the candlelight, and spending time with both sets of relatives. It took a conscious effort to keep Hanukkah and Christmas from disappearing under a drift of torn red-and-green and blue-and-white wrapping paper. We did not always succeed. But I hope that if you ask one of my nearly grown kids about the benefits of being part of an interfaith family, you will get a deeper answer than “twice the presents!” —Susan Katz Miller, a former Newsweek reporter, is the author of Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family.
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Jewishnewsva.org | Hanukkah | November 23, 2015 | Jewish News | 25
Memories Hanukkah 5776
here is no doubt that Hanukkah is about food, and there is no more pleasant memory than donuts filled with red jelly. The ones that come on a parchment paper and leave a circle of oil and a splash of sticky jelly with every bite. As a child, I would have a trail of
white sugar on my nose, hands and clothes. It was wonderful! But donuts are not the memory of Hanukkah I want to write about. Instead, I will talk about my grandmother, Ruth. I have a small family, some are Holocaust survivors, and my father is an only child. My grandmother had a golden menorah with a picture on it, a menorah that as a child I was fascinated by. It blinded me and intrigued me. It also played Maoz Tzur when you pulled the string. Every year I waited to hear the menorah and when I grew older I was even allowed to pull the string. When my grandmother passed away, my grandfather asked me what I wanted to have to remember her. Right away I knew: that special menorah. To this day, I pull the string during the holiday and remember my Grandma Ruthie and our special times together. With all the hatred and violence in the world these days, I will end by saying it’s important to remember you can’t fight darkness with darkness; you can only fight darkness with light. From my family to yours, may you have a Happy Hanukkah. And, of course, may it be delicious!
Light & Peace
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26 | Jewish News | November 23, 2015 | Hanukkah | jewishnewsva.org
Naty Horev at four years old.
Adam Sandler debuts new version of The Chanukah Song NEW YORK (JTA)— Adam Sandler has updated The Chanukah Song for the first time since 2002. The Jewish actor and comedian debuted the new version on Saturday, Nov. 14 as a surprise guest at Judd Apatow’s stand-up special at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The updated tune listed a new group of celebrities who are Jewish, including Adam Levine, Drake, Scarlett Johansson, Idina Menzel, Seth Rogen and the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In one comic line, Sandler sang that instead of Santa Claus, Jews can claim “two jolly fat guys: ice cream’s Ben and
Jerry.” Another line went: “We might not have a cartoon with a reindeer that can talk/but we also don’t have polio thanks to Dr. Jonas Salk.” Sandler also mentioned that Jared Fogle, the former face of Subway sandwiches who was convicted this summer on child pornography and sex charges, is Jewish. Sandler first played the original version of The Chanukah Song on Saturday Night Live in 1994. Along with the 2002 version, he also updated the song in 1999.
Thanksgiving Tzimmes Ingredients The vegetables: 4 parsnips 3 sweet potatoes (you can use firm pale-flesh or soft orange-flesh potatoes) 2 large carrots 1 large white onion ½ cup prunes, diced 1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen) For the glaze: 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice ¹⁄ 3 cup apple cider ¼ cup honey ½ teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon black pepper ½ teaspoon paprika ¼ teaspoon coriander a few good pinches kosher salt Sprigs of fresh thyme and sage (you can also use dried) 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips into 1-inch chunks, making sure to discard the woody inner stem of the parsnips. Place in a 2-quart baking dish with prunes and cranberries. Whisk remaining ingredients except (thyme sprigs and butter) together and pour over the vegetables. Place fresh thyme and sage on top. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then baste the juices over the vegetables. Re-cover with foil and bake for another 30 minutes, basting again after 15. Baste again, uncover, and dot the top of the veggies with butter or coconut oil. Continue roasting until vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened, about 35–45 minutes, tossing mixture occasionally. Note: If doubling or tripling the recipe, the final roasting time may take up to an hour.
Thanksgiving Tzimmes by Rebecca Firkser
(The Nosher via JTA)—Thanksgiving is about smells. Of course, it has a lot to do with taste as well, but for the most part I find that the most striking elements of Turkey Day arrive through the nose. In terms of these smells, there are the classics: spicy pumpkin pie aroma mixes with the scent of garlicky mashed potatoes interspersed with whiffs of toasted bread for stuffing. Then there are the dishes special to one’s own Thanksgiving table: my Aunt Sharyn’s corn casserole, buttery and studded with corn kernels; the black pepper-scented roasted Brussels sprouts my mom so painstakingly slices that my sister and I always rebuff in favor of sweeter veggies. This year, a vibrant tzimmes will also grace my Thanksgiving table. Traditionally served on Rosh Hashanah and Passover, tzimmes makes a bright addition to any Thanksgiving spread. I tend to find colorful root
vegetables in a shimmering glaze much more appealing than simpler vegetable dishes (read: aforementioned Brussels sprouts.) I’ve made stovetop tzimmes a few times, but I think the texture of roasted vegetables makes for a more complex vegetable experience, as they hold onto their individual flavors more intently after a journey in the oven than the stockpot It’s more common to find tzimmes made with orange juice, but I find that cider helps this dish to be extra autumnal—not to mention how fantastic it makes the kitchen smell. Cranberries add a tart bite to break up the sweetness coming from the potatoes, carrots, prunes and additional liquid. If you’re not a fan of parsnips, you can easily swap them out for more carrots. The best part of tzimmes is that it can easily be prepped in advance. Chop all the veggies and whisk up the liquid component the night before, then simply combine and toss in the oven on the big day.
From our family to yours, Teri and I wish you a Happy and Peaceful Hanukkah. Congressman& Mrs.
Jewishnewsva.org | Hanukkah | November 23, 2015 | Jewish News | 27
breakfast latkes two ways by Shannon Sarna
(JTA)—I first tasted latkes for brunch at a trendy eatery on the Lower East Side about six years ago. Since then, I’ve seen them across the country on brunch menus everywhere from diners to Michelin Star restaurants. Latkes—or potato pancakes, as they’re known to non-Jews—are comfort food that provide the perfect base to any number of savory toppings, but especially a runny egg or salty, fatty smoked salmon. After all, a latke is very similar to hash browns, a quintessential breakfast food. It’s traditional to eat fried foods like
latkes during Hanukkah, celebrating the miracle of the oil lasting for eight nights. And who doesn’t love a holiday that encourages enjoyment of a little extra oil? These breakfast latkes take the best of a classic and add a fun, American twist that screams brunch party. Here I offer two options: one dairy and one meat. If you keep kosher but want to serve both at a single meal, you could leave out the corned beef from the second latke and just top classic latkes with some fried or poached eggs. If you want to be really indulgent, you could whip up some buttery Hollandaise sauce and have your guests raving for months.
Everything Bagel Latkes with Dill Cream Cheese And Smoked Salmon
Yield: 12–15 latkes These latkes are both creamy and savory. Making latkes bite-size makes the experience a little more fun—guests can easily eat the latkes with their fingers, and also feel like they can indulge a little more since the portions are small. Ingredients For the latkes 4 Idaho (Russet) potatoes 1 small-medium onion 3 large garlic cloves 2 eggs 2 to 3 tablespoons flour 2 teaspoons salt 2 ounces goat cheese, left at room temperature
For the cream cheese 6 ounces cream cheese, left at room temperature 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice Salt and pepper to taste For the everything bagel topping 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 1 tablespoon poppy seeds 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic 1 tablespoon dried onion 2 teaspoons thick sea salt Thinly sliced smoked salmon Vegetable oil for frying
Directions Before getting started on the latkes, I advise making the everything bagel topping and the dill cream cheese. Add softened cream cheese to a bowl and combine with fresh dill, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Place back in the fridge until ready to serve. To make the everything bagel topping, mix together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic, dried onion and thick sea salt. Set aside. Peel and cut potatoes and onions in half. Peel garlic cloves. Place potatoes, onion and garlic through food processor for a coarse grate (you can also grate coarsely by hand). Place potato mixture to a large bowl. Add eggs, flour, salt, goat cheese and 2 tablespoons everything bagel topping mix. Heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Form bitesized mounds of latkes, taking care not to squeeze too much liquid out of the latkes. Fry until golden brown on each side, then place on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet to cool. Immediately sprinkle with a pinch of salt. When ready to serve, spread thin layer of dill cream cheese on top of each latke. Add smoked salmon on each latke and top with sprinkle of everything bagel topping. Serve while still warm.
28 | Jewish News | November 23, 2015 | Hanukkah | jewishnewsva.org
Blessings be with you this festival of lights and always
Corned Beef Hash Latkes with Fried Eggs
Yield: 12–15 latkes These corned beef hash-inspired latkes work best with thinly shredded corned beef. If you can purchase a hunk of corned beef, as opposed to sliced, that would be ideal. If not, make sure to heat up the corned beef before shredding it or dicing into very, very tiny cubes. But don’t skimp on the salt in these latkes just because you think the meat will be salty—the potatoes still need salt to make these latkes most flavorful. Ingredients 4 Idaho (Russet) potatoes 1 small-medium onion 2 eggs 2 to 3 tablespoons flour 2 teaspoons salt Shredded corned beef Additional salt Additional eggs Fresh parsley Vegetable oil for frying Directions Peel and cut potatoes and onions in half. Peel garlic cloves. Place potatoes, onion and garlic through food processor for a coarse grate (you can also grate coarsely by hand). Place potato mixture in a large bowl. Add eggs, flour, salt and shredded (or diced) corned beef. Heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Form large, fist-sized mounds of latkes, taking care not to squeeze too much liquid out of the latkes. Fry until golden brown on each side, then place on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet to cool. Immediately sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Fry or poach eggs to your liking. When ready to serve, place latkes on platter and top with fried or poached eggs. Top with chopped fresh parsley.
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it’s a wrap Hazak gets healthy
ongregation Beth El and Hazak ‘Got Healthy’ on Sunday, Nov. 1 when Hazak hosted a program exploring the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to achieve longevity. Approximately 80 people attended. The morning began with a breakfast buffet that included healthy homemade Dorothy Zimmerman, Betsy Karotkin, Charlene Cohen and Hilde Deutch. mini-muffins and immune systems, as well as the pros granola, as well as a yogurt bar. and cons of nutritional suppleSandra Porter Leon, profesments. She spoke about some sor at Tidewater Community of the common lifestyles that College and nutrition consulexist among Centenarians tant, provided information in cultures from Italy to about the many lifestyle Japan to United States. habits that play a role Even in these diverse in longevity, focuscultures, spirituality, ing on the clusters of a sense of purpose, Centenarians that live and meaningful relaaround the world. She tionships play an began her talk with important role in an American woman, longevity. Harriet Thompson, Some tips for who at 92 is the oldest maintaining well-bewoman to finish a ing include: Do marathon. She started something enjoyable, running when she was drink wine, walk, 76. laugh, be part of a group, Porter Leon emphabe of service, give back, sized the benefits of and “everything in moderaa plant-based diet, the tion, even moderation.” “magic bullet for anti-agPorter Leon concluded with, ing,” specifically the thousands “It’s not just the number of years, of phytochemicals that play a role in reducing inflammation and bolstering but also the quality of life you achieve.”
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Federation Women’s Luncheon honors new milestone givers by Amy Zelenka, Women’s campaign director
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This advertisement does not constitute an offer to sell, nor a solicitation of an offer to buy the securities described herein. Such an offering is made only by means of a Prospectus. The Prospectus provides a full description of the business and a comprehensive listing of risk factors. An investment in L Bonds may be considered speculative and subject to a high degree of risk, including the risk of losing your entire investment. Securities are being offered on a best-efforts basis on behalf of GWG Holdings, Inc., by Emerson Equity, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC, managing broker dealer for the Issuer. GWG and Emerson Equity are not affiliated entities. GWG Holdings, Inc. 220 South Sixth Street, Suite 1200, Minneapolis, MN 55402. Issuer prepared material.Copyright 2015. GWG Holdings Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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32 | Jewish News | November 23, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
he Women’s Division of the UJFT held its annual Lion Tikva Chai Luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the Sandler Family Campus. Guest Speaker Sarah Simha Benkemoun shared her personal Aliyah story with the luncheon participants, explaining her reasons for leaving France and making her new home in Israel. Hers was truly a joyous aliyah. Growing up in France, Benkemoun experienced an idyllic childhood in her tight-knit Jewish community on the outskirts of Paris. Her parents made sure she New Ruby Lion ($10,000+) Mrs. Renee Caplan Mrs. Randy Caplan Ms. Hannah Chakoff Mrs. Charlene Cohen Mrs. Leora Drory Jeri Jo Halprin Mrs. Ann Nusbaum New Lions Of Judah ($5000+) Ms. Marsha L. Chenman Mrs. Amy Lefcoe Mrs. Emily Nied Alice Werner New Tikva Society Donors ($3600) Mrs. Elyse Cardon Mrs. Jennifer Crockford Mrs. Honey Maizel Mrs. Judy Rosenblatt Mrs. Nancy Rosenblatt New Chai Society Donors ($1800+) Mrs. Clay Barr Mrs. Betty Berklee Mrs. Kristy Foleck Lori Kalfus In addition to the above milestone givers, the newest Golda Givers (a new milestone level introduced to the women’s campaign last year) were honored: New Golda Meir Society ($1000+) Francis Bangel Rebecca Cardon Sylvia Kaplan Cathi Laderberg Marlene Rossen Marcia Samuels Sandy Tabachnick
had a Jewish education, took her and her siblings to synagogue every Shabbat, and kept a kosher home. As she grew older, Benkemoun became involved in Jewish programs and travelled to Israel several times. She went to college in France and graduated with a degree in economics. She earned a CPA and began working for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Over time, as Benkemoun began to think more seriously about her future, she “started to realize,” she said, “that France was not my future; nor was it my past. The story of France is not the story I share with the Jewish people.” So, Benkemoun began to make plans. All the while, she was becoming more and more involved as a volunteer in Jewish organizations, including Limmud France, Moishe House, and later the ROI Community (a Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation initiative). Here she found her passion and her direction. Benkemoun looked at today’s Israel—a new nation replete with possibilities for bright, creative, and passionate people—“Start-Up Nation” Israel whose people came from across the globe, converging in a place and time that would nurture their ideas and provide encouragement for the risks that only passionate people dare to take. “This is where my future lies,” said Benkemoun. And so she called the Jewish Agency and told them she wanted to make Aliyah. As the oneyear anniversary of her new citizenship approaches, Benkemoun is more enthusiastic than ever about Israel. She’s found her past, her future and her home. In her remarks (as well as discussions she held with other groups while in Tidewater, including the Federation’s Israel & Overseas Committee and alumni of the Young Adult Division’s “Hineni” program), Benkemoun touched only obliquely on the situation in Europe (and especially in France) with rising anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment. She told of walking home from synagogue on a Shabbat afternoon with friends, when a group of teenaged boys began to throw rocks at them and shout anti-Semitic epithets. When asked by a luncheon participant: “How did you live like that?” Benkemoun reluctantly responded: “As hard as it is to say…you get used to it.”
But Benkemoun insists that the rising anti-Semitism in France was not the motivating forces behind her Aliyah (although she agrees that it is a driving force for many other French Jews, and the numbers from the Jewish Agency bear that out, as aliyah from has France doubled and doubled again over the past three years – experiencing a particular spike in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist incident). “I wanted to live my Judaism 100%,” Benkemoun explained. “Religiously, spiritually, professionally…. Israel was the one place in the world that could provide me with everything I was looking for.” She also pointed out that Israel, as the young nation it is, offers endless opportunities for those who seek them. She compared today’s Israel with the United States in the first half of the 20th century—“Israel is the new melting pot,” she says. “Jews are coming from all over the world to make
Martha Glasser and Janet Mercadante.
Ina Levy, Dorothy Zimmerman, and Betsy Karotkin.
Elyse Cardon, Megan Zuckerman, and Rachel Abrams.
Israel their home and to carve out a future for themselves and for the Jewish nation.” Benkemoun’s story was one that American donors don’t often have an opportunity to hear—an aliyah of joy and passion…not one necessitated by war or civil unrest in countries where being a Jew means being at-risk. Her youthful enthusiasm was contagious, and the Lions, Tikvas and Chais at the luncheon enjoyed meeting and hearing from her. The luncheon also introduced and honored the community’s newest milestone givers in the UJFT Women’s Division. Luncheon co-chair Jodi Klebanoff (speaking on behalf of herself, her co-chair Laura Gross, and the rest of the women’s division) announced the names of the women, who’d reached milestone giving levels since last year’s luncheon (see page 32) Women’s Cabinet Chair Stephanie Calliott closed the meeting with thanks to all for coming, thanks to the chairs and federation staff, and thanks to Black Iris Floral Events (for donating the beautiful linens and floral centerpieces which transformed the room). Finally, she extended heartfelt thanks to all of the women in the community who make the gifts that make a difference in the lives of Jews at home and around the world.
Amy Levy, Barbara Dudley, Thelma Oser and Connie Jacobson.
Carin Simon, New Tikva Honey Maizel, Joan Joffe, Leslie Siegel, Jodi Klebanoff, Sarah Benkmoun (guest speaker), New Ruby Lion Charlene Cohen, Ann Copeland, Deb Segaloff, Hilde Deutsch, and Ilana Benson.
Cindy Kramer and Laura Miller.
Faith Jacobson and Kim Fink.
The UJFT women’s division will hold a series of outreach and engagement events throughout the campaign year. The first will take place on Thursday, Dec. 3 at noon at the Sandler Family Campus (see page 40). All women in the Jewish community are invited to a lunch-n-learn with special guest Viva Sarah Press. Press is an associate editor, journalist and video producer at ISRAEL21c.org and is the host, writer and editor of a weekly radio
talk show on Israeli ingenuity and innovations. Press is well-connected to the high-tech and startup scene in Israel, and has interviewed dozens of CEOs, CTOs, innovators, creators, and risk-takers. Press’ topic will be: “Israel at the Forefront of Health Innovations.” For more information or to attend this event, call or email Patty Malone at the UJFT at 965-6115 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Photography by Laine M. Rutherford
jewishnewsva.org | November 23, 2015 | Jewish News | 33
Tavia Gordon—Tavia ben Yitzhak Pesach v’Malka February 23, 1929–October 30, 2015 A giant in the community, Tavia Gordon is remembered by Rabbi Jeff Arnowitz and Rabbi Arthur Ruberg. Their eulogies from his funeral at Congregation Beth El are excerpted here:
by Rabbi Jeff Arnowitz
s we gather to remember and celebrate the life of Tavia Gordon, it seems that there is no better place to do it than in Beth El’s sanctuary, one of the many places in our Jewish community that exists in large part thanks to Tavia Gordon and where Tavia spent so many Saturday mornings. When we look around Beth El and all around our community and see the fruits of Tavia’s passion, skill and commitment, we know we will never be without him. More importantly we can look around this room at all of us, especially the family that was the core of everything he did, and we can look at the thousands and thousands of people, from school children to those nearing the end of their lives and everyone in between, from the needy of Hampton Roads to the needs of Israelis, we can look at them and see how Tavia’s care, generosity and wisdom continues to echo and influence our community and that it always will. Though he has left us for the Olam Habah, we will never be without Tavia Gordon. Tavia Gordon lived a life of simple order. In fact, that is the thing that makes Tavia Gordon so inspiring; it is that simple thing that was the secret to his greatness– Tavia Gordon was a truly ethical man. That is a rare quality to find, consistency of deed and values, and that was Tavia. Tavia had the
rare gift to always see the right path and the will and fortitude to always choose to do the right thing. Tavia’s ethical consistency was exemplified in every aspect of his life. When it came to philanthropy, no matter how well the business was doing, Tavia never spent a lot of money on himself, on exotic cars or big showy houses or lots of travel to the ritziest vacation spots. Those whims are not for the truly ethical man. Time and again Tavia saw the possibility of spending more on himself or giving more to others and time and again, he chose to give to others. I remember the first time I was in Tavia’s home. I was new in the community and had heard a lot about him and I thought to myself, “This is Tavia Gordon’s house?” It wasn’t a bad thing—it was just a normal house, like any of us may have lived in— not fancy or filled with expensive things of whimsy. But as I got to know the man, I understood, to Tavia, the house was just a place to live. The places to make special were the places he supported that served the Jewish community and the needs of people in the general community. And when it came to Judaism, no matter what his options were on a Saturday morning or on a holiday Tavia always chose to be in synagogue, because the truly ethical man never gets bored by doing the right thing and he knew that’s where he should be. And most importantly, when it came to family and friends, there was never any question—nothing was ever more important. He was there to teach and support and assist whenever he was called upon, and often even when he wasn’t. That is why he is remembered today with love and admiration by his family: his son Steven and his wife Randi, his three grandchildren,
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Eliana, Evan, and Marah and his two brothers, Daniel and Allen and Allen’s wife Barbara, along with numerous nieces and nephews and cousins and many friends and admirers. Tavia was born in Norfolk in 1929. The son of Mollie and Isaac, better known as IP; it was a full house with Tavia’s two brothers, Allen and Daniel, as well as his two beloved sisters, Sara and Edie, of blessed memory. They lived in a house on Maury Place that I understand could get a little raucous, with Tavia and his brothers getting out their energy. IP owned a hardware store and Tavia grew up during the difficult years of the Great Depression. That and the KKK boycotts of the store helped shape who Tavia was—he understood the value of money and what it means when it is scarce, and he learned just why it is so important for the Jewish community to stick together individually and institutionally. As intelligent and strategic as he was, he was never much a book student and his identity as a Jew trumped his identity as a student, as one of his teachers learned his junior year of high School. The teacher made some sort of Antisemetic remark and Tavia was having none of it. The altercation became physical and Tavia ended up finishing school elsewhere. That passion to defend his faith and his people, that fire for stamping out injustice and prejudice was already unusually developed even though he was just a teenager, and as we all know, he found more constructive outlets for that passion as he grew into an adult. IP taught Tavia about business and sales, about how it is all about relationships. No one was a better salesman than Tavia. But I think Mollie was the one who truly influenced Tavia to adopt the core values he did. She was the one who loved Jewish life, and taught Tavia the centrality of synagogue in Jewish life and that he would be wise to associate with rabbis. She was the one who taught him that it doesn’t matter how much you have, but how much you give, which was always the way Tavia
measured his success. She was the one who taught him to give everything you can and that when you do, God will replenish the stores. The combination of IP’s business teaching along with Tavia’s own entrepreneurial spirit and Mollie’s teachings about Judaism and tzedakah created the foundation for the amazing man Tavia became. After high school, Tavia worked in the hardware store and eventually saw an opportunity in the paper business. He founded Gordon Paper with his brother Daniel, a partnership that has lasted these past 50 years and has provided not only stability for their families, especially their sons who also worked there, but also for the community in general. In some families, going into business together is the beginning of the end, but when Daniel and Tavia became business partners, and later when they would go into joint ventures with Allen, there was never a question that family came before finance and that no amount of money is as valuable as blood. Tavia built his business by sheer force of will. He didn’t have a fancy degree, but he had a fire in his belly for making money. For him it was all about the personal relationships. Now, you could take this all the wrong way. If all you heard was about his passion for business and making money, you might think that Tavia was greedy or miserly, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Perhaps it was growing up during the Depression, but Tavia always wanted to know his family had enough—just that though, enough. The rest he gave away with great joy. Other folks have hobbies like golf or travel or cards, but not Tavia. Tavia’s hobby was philanthropy. He loved it. That was his work-life balance. On the road he sat one-on-one with clients and got them to make purchases, at home he sat one-on-one with potential donors to the things he loved and by the time he finished a meeting folks were writing checks with money they didn’t know they had for organizations they didn’t know they cared
about. And no one ever regretted it; they felt great about it. Tavia was not simply a Jewish philanthropist. Though that is clearly where his heart was, he never said no to any organization that came calling, and they all came calling. Daniel and Tavia would sit with them and they would always give. He supported the Salvation Army and the Food Bank and Virginia Wesleyan and who knows how many other organizations. He was president of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater in the 80s and got involved in Israel Bonds and became a powerhouse for that organization. He loved the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater perhaps more than all of them, and was the leader in creating the Tompkins Lane campus. I can only imagine how proud he was of Randi who is now president of HAT. And of course there is Beth Sholom and JFS and
Chabad and pretty much any other Jewish organization who asked. Tavia, along with a few others, were the giants upon whose shoulders this Jewish community stands. That’s what Harry Graber wrote, and I thought it was so appropriate—a giant of the community…that was Tavia and his buddies, and with his passing so passes a generation of leaders and advisors that will likely never again be matched in their commitment and vision. And that brings me to my last and most important aspect of Tavia’s life, and that is his family and first and foremost his beloved partner of 56 years, Freda. Tavia and Freda met on a blind date in Chapel Hill where she was attending pharmacy school and together they were a force to be reckoned with. Tavia ran the business side of things and Freda ruled the roost and I don’t think anyone truly realized just
how dependent upon her Tavia was to keep their life humming along and enable him to accomplish all the great things he did. As Steven put it, some locks only have one key, and Freda was the key for Tavia. Tavia raised Steven to follow in his footsteps, teaching both the business and the love of philanthropy and making sure you always knew what the priorities were. And the same was true with Tavia’s beloved grandchildren, Ellie, Evan and Marah. I came to Norfolk for the first time in October 2010. Tavia came to pick me up at the airport with his friend Sam Werbel. We spoke a little in the car and then he excused himself as Sam had to drop him off at the office before we headed to Beth Sholom. Tavia was 82. I couldn’t believe it—the office? Now I know it could never be any other way. There were deals to be made and philanthropy to be done and
a future of the Jewish community and the greater Hampton Roads community to insure. And his life was a success—he made his community and his family strong and he and his peers created a legacy of institutions and leaders that will continue to insure our strength for the next generation and generations. When we look around this community we will always feel the presence of Tavia Gordon, not only because of the Gordon name on so many institutions and buildings, but because his wisdom, his passion, his care and love are woven into the very fabric of who we are, how far we have come and who we are becoming. And so we say for a truly great man, our beloved Tavia Gordon, “T’hay Nishmato Tzerurah b’tzrur HaChaim, May his soul be bound in the bond of eternal life, his memory be an enduring blessing, and let us say, “amen.”
Reflections on Tavia Gordon by Rabbi Arthur Ruberg
n the United States there was one generation that acquired the name “the greatest generation.” These were the men who in the years after World War II took this country to new heights of achievement and greatness. Here in our local Jewish community, there was also a cadre of men, who with wisdom, determination and incredible commitment built strong Jewish institutions while at the same time supported Jews in need at home and around the world. And here at Beth El we had our own “greatest generation” that led and guided us all the way from the middle of the 20th century into the new millennium that we are now 15 years into. Tavia was a man so humble, unassuming and unpretentious that upon first meeting him, none of us could ever guess how remarkable he was. Tavia Gordon was a charter member of both “greatest generations”—the Tidewater Jewish community and Congregation Beth El, who led us so well for so long. I truly believe that Tavia was “the last of the greatest.” And now even he is gone. I want to highlight one of Tavia’s deepest commitments and passions—and that was his love for Israel. Tavia, like his contemporaries, lived during the birth of the modern State of Israel, and had witnessed its fight for survival against enemies who wanted
to destroy it through three wars during his young adult life. He took great pride in its existence and achievements and set out as an American Jew to do everything he could to support it and help it thrive. Tavia was the chair of multiple fundraising campaigns of our Jewish Federation on behalf of Israel and was the community’s “main man” for the purchase of Israel Bonds through the 1980s and 90s. But those facts don’t begin to tell you how much he cared for Israel and what it stands for. I started to grasp the depth of Tavia’s pride in Israel and his love for it in December of 1991. Miriam and I were getting ready to lead our first Beth El mission to Israel. Tavia would have liked to join us, but he was too busy working. His sister, Edith of blessed memory, was on the trip. A few days before we left, Tavia invited us to to Gordon Paper so he could give us gifts for Edith to give to the people they knew in Israel. That’s when Tavia told me proudly about the office that Gordon Paper had in Tel Aviv, and he wanted our itinerary so he could tell his people in Israel when and where we would be. Sure enough on our last Shabbat in Israel, the heads of the Gordon Paper office in Tel Aviv came over to the Dan Hotel to see Edith and to meet our group. That’s when it dawned on me what this was all about. Tavia was just so proud of his company’s connection to Israel, he was so proud of his family and his shul in Virginia. Tavia wanted to make sure we all
got together. Fast forward 10 years or so. With Tavia’s help, the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater had started a middle school so its students could continue their Jewish day school education through the eighth grade. The graduating class had a great curriculum but was missing one important dimension that comparable Jewish day schools around the country had, and that was a graduating class trip to Israel. Everyone knew it was a great idea, but the funding just wasn’t there. So the first classes went to New York. The kids enjoyed their New York trips. I know; both my children were on them. But how much more appropriate and fulfilling it would be if instead of the destination would have been not New York, it would be Jerusalem. That’s when the leadership of the Hebrew Academy turned to Tavia. The truth is that by that time, the paper industry was already in decline. It would have been totally understandable if Tavia said “Of course I want to help but I just can’t do it anymore.” But Tavia would never say that. Not when it meant sending children from the school he loved so much to the land he loved so much. Starting the next year, the kids who stayed in the Hebrew Academy through the eighth grade had the perfect culminating experience—Two weeks in Israel. Tavia never wanted his name or his family’s associated with the trip as its benefactor. But all of us knew
how it happened and who made it happen. I want to touch on just one more special aspect of Tavia’s life and that is his special relationship with Rabbi Israel Bornstein, the longtime rabbi of B’nai Israel Congregation. Tavia admired Rabbi Bornstein, as did his mother, Mollie. For Tavia, Rabbi Bornstein stood for and exemplified the togetherness, the oneness, the unity of this Jewish community that he so deeply believed in. When Rabbi Bornstein was in declining health and he left the community to live with his family in Manchester, England, it was Tavia who got on a plane and flew to England to cheer him up. The last time I saw Tavia and Freda together was at my daughter Adina’s wedding at Beth El a little over four years ago. Within a few months, Freda was gone and Tavia was never the same. But I will treasure that last moment we shared. Indeed, I will treasure all our moments together. I learned so much from Tavia. Didn’t we all? I respected him so much. Didn’t we all? And I will treasure his memory. As we all will. Yehi Zichro Baruch. May the life of my friend and congregant Tavia Gordon, Tavia ben Yitzchak Pesach v’Malka be an inspiration to all of us who knew him, loved him and love him still.
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it’s a wrap
Participation in 2016 Week of Extraordinary Deeds exceeds expectations by Laine M. Rutherford
he week of October 19-25 was billed as an extraordinary one for the Tidewater Jewish community. Volunteers worked on committees and with the staff at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, planning events to help make life better for others, while also strengthening the community by working together to embrace the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Whether the week would be more than ordinary wasn’t guaranteed. Would the community respond to the
Mitzvah Day committee members Shari Berman and Tracey Weinstein.
UJFTidewater Facebook campaign to Try a Mitzvah every day? Would individuals agree to talk with UJFT ambassadors about the 2016 Annual Campaign, to both be heard and to better understand how their financial gifts make a huge impact toward meeting today’s challenges on a local and global scale? Would women show up for the inaugural, ambitious Great Big Challah Bake, which itself was a lead-in to the community’s involvement in the worldwide Shabbos Project? And finally, after all the events previous six days, would people still have the energy to participate in the community’s 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day? The answers to all of those questions proved to be a resounding, “Yes.” “This year’s Week of Extraordinary Deeds, or ‘The Week,’ as it’s becoming known, is an indelible testament to the generosity, hard work and selfless efforts that is an ongoing legacy of the Tidewater Jewish community,” says Harry Graber, executive vice-president of the UJFT. “The impact of the week’s activities is as close as the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus, which became a true Jewish Community Center for more than 450 women, men, children, families and
Week of Extraordinary Deeds by the Numbers Social Media Reach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,500 people Ages of participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 - 91 Challah Makers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 Challahs Made. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300 Yards of fleece. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240 Blankets made for the homeless . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Lunches made for the homeless . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 Cards made to send to Israeli children and soldiers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 Pounds of donated items for care packages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Donated instruments. . . . . . . . . . 10, including a sax, a violin and a guitar Havdalah candles and spice bags. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Handmade placemats for Beth Sholom Village residents. . . . . . . . . . . 150 One-to-one conversations and gifts to the UJFT Annual Campaign. . . . 50
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Live entertainment from the band Allegro.
friends who volunteered to do mitzvot, and as far away as remote Israel Defense Forces outposts, where soldiers will soon receive care packages and letters of support sent from Tidewater as part of the Thank Israeli Soldiers Mitzvah Day project.” Alex Pomerantz, UJFT senior development officer and liaison for the week’s events, called the community’s efforts outstanding. He noted the efforts of Shana Danziger and Jodi Schwartz, Challah Bake co-chairs, Mitzvah Day chairs Karen Kendall and Deb Yarow, and their committee members from the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project and ATID alumni groups, UJFT volunteer ambassadors, and the hundreds of community members who participated. Pomerantz extended additional thanks to the Allegro band for providing live entertainment, to Mr. Shawarma, for setting up a pop-up restaurant for the afternoon, and to Dani Byers, the 12-year-old artist who provided 18 days of social media images and content for “The Week.” Photographs by Laine M. Rutherford
Diana Ruchelman was glad to be able to donate this saxophone for a good cause.
itâ€™s a wrap
Many families participated, including Rabbi Sender Haber and sons
Mika Bourdette and Jessica Ruthenberg Mitzvah Day committee member Jen Adut.
Jay and Jodi Klebanoff.
Deb Yarow and Brenda Kozak get a braiding tutorial from Cantor Wendi Portman Fried.
Mariah Smith, founder of Blankets for the Homeless, packs her van with blankets and donated items.
Lisa Cohen, Cory Hill, Roslyn Barney, Debbi Kaufman and Jamie Baker.
More than 80 handcrafted Havdalah candles were made.
Rick and Deb Yarow.
jewishnewsva.org | November 23, 2015 | Jewish News | 37
Locals attend AIPAC’s annual Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit in a dialogue about the importance of the United States’ bipartihe first day of a three-day-long Israel san support of Israel. advocacy summit began before the AIPAC achieved this crack of dawn on Sunday, Nov. 1. A dark goal through lectures, and cold morning, the clocks had just interactive lessons, turned back an hour and some were still and bonding exercises. awake celebrating Halloween. However, For two days, disthree Jewish nomads were on a mission cussions pertained greater than candy, horror, costumes, and to the Iran deal, the pranks. We were on our way to meet hunBDS movement, and Grant Campion and Matthew Specht on AIPAC’s main stage. dreds of teens, chaperones and AIPAC staff the recent Palestinian to be educated on the importance of the incitement. An interactive Israel map activ- all the important points and still made time U.S.-Israeli relationship. ity that explained how Israel’s border has to get to know Thomas, who gave them Grant Campion, a Norfolk Collegiate changed over time, lectures on issues in the advice on school and how to get internjunior from Ohef Sholom Temple and West Bank and Gaza and a history lesson ships in D.C. Specht and Thomas each Matthew Specht, a First Colonial junior on the countries surrounding Israel and shared their relationships to Israel. It was from Congregation Beth El were selected their relationship with Israel took place. in those personal moments that the stuby their rabbis to attend the Schusterman On the last night there was a carnival for dents forgot their nerves and realized they Advocacy Institute High School Summit the students to let loose and have some had a voice that matters. Political efficacy fun with their new friends. These talks, wasn’t just something they learned about . activities, and bonding exercises were all in a classroom anymore; these young men Spectacular contemporary home with private back yard on the Lynnhaven River. in preparation for the third day: lobbying implemented everything they had learned Dramatic two story foyer and great room. Relax in over 5000 square feet including in the Capitol. Each student group had in the past few days while establishing an huge master with fireplace and bay window overlooking trees. Potential in law suite. appointments with one of their state’s rep- important relationship with an influential Extensive decking Convenient to all of Hampton Roads. LA K EwithShot Mtub. IT H resentatives to lobby for Israel. Tidewater’s person. Leaving Capitol Hill, they felt Ready for you to enjoy! delegates met with Representative Scott accomplished and ready to head home to This all brick home brag about all they had learned. Rigell’s legislative director, John Thomas. overlooking serene The train ride back to Norfolk was a Matthew Specht left Rigell’s office and Lake Smith is bright the summit with great confidence, “Not different experience. These three wanderers and up-to-date. only was it inspirational to learn the stories were no longer strangers. We sat closer and New roof and windows. of Jewish teenagers like me, I also learned reminisced with one another about the trip. Custom neighborhood how to educate others about Israel to the Each had been altered by their time spent convenient to all of at the summit. Bonding had taken place best of my ability.” Hampton Roads. Grant Campion departed the meeting with each other, with peers, with political at the Capitol saying, “It is amazing to figures, and with the state of Israel. see how much of a differ5113 Crystal Point Drive ence one person alone or a 5113 Crystal Point Drive $539,900 collective group of people with the same ideas and values can make. I will continue to use the skills and values I learned for the rest of my life.” These students carried Janet Frenck, GRI themselves with poise 757-439-4039 and confidence while pas757-439-4039 Howard Hanna William E Wood sionately discussing the GRI Janet Frenck, 1321 Laskin Road,CRB, Virginia Beach, VA, 23451 email@example.com important issues facing firstname.lastname@example.org William E. Wood & Associates Israel. They managed to hit Matthew Specht, John Thomas, Grant Campion and Gabriella Grune. 1321 Laskin Road • Virginia Beach by Gabriella Grune, CRC program associate
based on their maturity, academic performance, and advocacy within the Tidewater Jewish community. As program associate for United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Community Relations Council, I was the chaperone, and together we set off on a journey that would change our lives. When the trip began, we were strangers. We sat far apart from one another, pondering how the future events would unfold. The goal was to sleep the whole ride up and arrive in D.C. well rested and alert for the program. When the train reached Union Station, we grabbed a taxi and headed toward the Grand Hyatt Hotel. By 5 pm, everyone was dressed in business attire and prepared to attend orientation meetings. From 6 am wake up calls to 11:30 pm curfews; the summit was a non-stop event. The conference’s goal was to engage students
Relax by the Water
38 | Jewish News | November 23, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
Family Fun at the Simon Family JCC
Hebrew Academy implements research based character building program
n November, the weather tends to cool a bit and family activities start to move indoors. This month, the Simon Family JCC drew crowds for three special events. On Saturday, Nov. 7, families gathered for Hoedown Havdallah, complete with a petting zoo. Children helped groom a mini-pony and donkey and watched as hens laid eggs. They also took turns petting a baby pig, sheep and chickens. Stacks of books filled the Center’s Cardo during the Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival. The festival boasted seven events, including two for children. On Sunday, Nov. 8, Elmo made an appearance as special guest for the JCC’s first Character Breakfast. That Friday, Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center students had the opportunity to hear Laura Gehl, an author read Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel. Families also enjoyed swimming, a pirate ship bounce house, crafts and a viewing of Disney’s Peter Pan on Veteran’s Day. All these family events were in partnership with PJ Library, a program that offers the gift of high-quality Jewish books and music each month to children six months to six years old. This partnership has helped expand the JCC’s PJ Library network in Tidewater. To subscribe, visit www.pjlibrary.org.
Save these dates in December: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 5:30 pm 3rd Annual Latke Palooza, featuring a family-friendly concert with the Billy Jonas Band
by Dee Dee Becker
Thursday, Dec. 24 31st Winter Camp Friday, Dec. 25. 9:30 am Pancake Breakfast, with bingo, crafts and a movie In January, the monthly Camp JCC events begin, along with a special Family Fun Day in conjunction with the Jewish Film Festival. For more information about these or any upcoming Children’s and Family events, contact Alicia Cohen Kraus, JCC program director, at akraus@ simonfamilyjcc.org or 757-321-2323. The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. *of blessed memory
ike adults, children experience a wide range of emotions during the course of a day—everything from sheer joy to frustration or confusion when things don’t go exactly as planned. While they may understand when and why they are upset, they don’t always understand how to properly verbalize what they need to correct the situation. Enter Second Step, a character building program that Hebrew Academy implemented at the start of the year to increase school readiness and social success, as well as emotional competence and self-regulation skills. The program—an evolution of the character building programming that has existed within HAT for years—is being applied with the Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center four-year-olds all the way through HAT’s fifth graders. “Second Step,” says Laurie Feldman, MSW, program coordinator and student support services coordinator, “offers a fun, interactive way for children to learn the lessons they need to build character and better relate to the people and world around them. Weekly lessons incorporate the use of puppets, songs and games— called brain builders—which challenge and provide practice for attention, working memory, and executive function skills. All of the activities help children improve their ability to listen, remember and control their bodies. The value and message to children is that your brain can get smarter and stronger with practice and effort.” Feldman recently taught about empathy. “Studies show that children with high levels of empathy tend to make better progress in school, be less aggressive and more socially skilled,” she says. “In working with our younger students, we began by asking them to imagine how they would feel if they were in someone else’s shoes. Gaining this perspective—the ability to identify others’ feelings using physical, verbal and situational clues—is essential to the development of empathy. Reading various scenarios, students began to recognize
Laurie Feldman, MSW, student support services coordinator, with HAT students Hila Moallem and Shadan Rahimzadeh.
others’ feelings based on their faces or body language. From here, children were able to gain perspective and show care and concern for others.” Another unit teaches emotion management. Research shows that children who can recognize strong emotions and calm these feelings down can better cope with life’s stresses and challenges—valuable lessons that will serve children well throughout their entire lives. “We play different songs and games,” says Feldman, “and we share additional information with parents, so they can reinforce the lessons at home. Second Step has met with great results. Students are very animated when sharing their own experiences relevant to our weekly lessons. It’s impressive to see them each arrive at creative, empathetic and commonsense ways to deal with their feelings both in and out of the classroom.” Hebrew Academy is now accepting applications for the 2015/2016 academic year. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Carin Simon, admissions director, at 4244327, or email@example.com. Hebrew Academy of Tidewater is a Constituent Agency of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
jewishnewsva.org | November 23, 2015 | Jewish News | 39
what’s happening Maccabee Mitzvah March
Speaker will sharpen understanding of cutting-edge Israeli healthcare innovations
Sunday, Dec. 6, 11 am
aking inspiration from the Maccabees, the students of Temple Israel Religious School are starting Hanukkah with a Mitzvah March to benefit two charitable organizations: the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Parent Missy Rose, the event’s organizer, wanted to help the children appreciate that tzedakah can be made more real by giving time and effort, as well as raising funds. “We decided that if the kids selected the recipient organizations, there would be even more ownership of the event,” she says. The School’s leadership team approached the Minyan Fund for matching gift support and determined the event could benefit an organization with Jewish content as well as one with a more universal scope. The entire class body met in early November and selected the final two charities from a short list of organizations
after learning the Jewish values embodied in tzedekah and listening to an explanation about each organization and its mission. Founded in Phoenix, Ariz. in 1980, The MakeA-Wish Foundation’s mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind began operating on Jan. 1, 1991 with just one objective: to help blind people in Israel achieve independence and mobility through the use of guide dogs. Located south of Tel Aviv, the Center trains dogs to respond to Hebrew commands and provides continuous support after placement. In addition to walking for the event, the students are responsible for creating posters to advertise it and will seek donations based on their participation in the event. The March will be held at Granby High School (weather permitting). To participate or donate, call Temple Israel at 489-4550.
Film Festival partners with Naro for film before the Festival
Wednesday, Dec. 2, 7 pm, Business & Legal Society and Maimonides Societies of UJFT Thursday, Dec. 3, 12 pm, Women’s Division of UJFT, Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus
Viva Sarah Press
iva Sarah Press has her finger on the pulse of Israel’s creativity in the fields of technology, health, culture, and social action. As an associate editor and writer for the forward-thinking non-profit ISRAEL21c, she has in-depth knowledge about all of those topics—and more. Recognized as the single most diverse and reliable source of news and information about 21st century Israel, ISRAEL21c reaches millions of people every week
through its English language online magazine, website, social media channels, enewsletter, and articles. Press will be in Virginia Beach to enlighten and inform the Tidewater Jewish community about the latest Israeli technologies revolutionizing healthcare. Her appearance on Wednesday, Dec. 2 is one of the exciting networking and informational benefits of membership in the Business & Legal and Maimonides Societies of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. For this opportunity, an invitation is extended to all area Jewish business, legal and medical professionals, as well as current members. There is no charge to attend. Visit www.israel21c.org to see how ISRAEL21c is “uncovering Israel.” Email firstname.lastname@example.org by Nov. 27 to RSVP or for more information about the Business & Legal and Maimonides Societies. The following day, Thursday, Dec. 3, Press will lead a lunch-n-learn for all women in the Jewish community. For more information or to attend this event, call or email Patty Malone at the UJFT at 965-6115 or email@example.com.
Wednesday, Dec. 16, 7 pm
he 23rd annual Simon Family JCC Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg, begins next month with a pre-event film. A film festival extra, Rosenwald, will screen at the Naro Expanded Cinema. It is the incredible story of Julius Rosenwald, who never finished high school, but rose to become the president of Sears. Influenced by the writings of the educator Booker T. Washington, this Jewish philanthropist joined forces with African American communities during the Jim Crow South to build more than 5,300 schools during the early part of the 20th century. After the movie, a discussion will take place with Aviva Kempner, the film’s
director, along with and a professor from Norfolk State University. Joel Rubin, president of Rubin Communications Group, will moderate the discussion. “Researching my own family roots in 1979 inspired me to become a filmmaker,” says Kempner. “I am dedicated to making films that span the years prior to and during World War II, since they so scarred my family.” For information on the film, call 625‑6276 or go to www.narocinema.com. The 23rd Annual Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg begins Saturday, Jan. 16.
40 | Jewish News | November 23, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
of blessed memory
very afternoon, there is a buzz in the building as Kids Connection students finish their homework and move on to activities including art, drama and sports. One of the most loved Kids Connection activities this year is the weekly student produced newsletter. When school is closed, Kids Connection is open. New this year: tumbling/gymnastics and yoga. For information, contact Erika Eskenazi, Simon Family JCC children and camp director, at 321-2342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hebrew Academy of Tidewater Konikoff Center of Learning K-5 Open House Friday, Dec. 4, 8:30 am
ebrew Academy’s Open House will include information sessions and the chance to meet current HAT faculty, students and parents. RSVP to 424-4327 or Carin Simon, admissions director, at email@example.com
2016 WINTER-SPRING PROGRAM GUIDE
There’s something for everyone.
SimonFamilyJCC.org 2016 WINTER-SPRING RING 2016 WINTER-SP
Thanksgiving 2.0 by Rabbi Gershon Litt
ne of the greatest American traditions is Thanksgiving. In my home growing up I remember my grandmother’s pecan pie, the football games with my cousins, and my grandfather standing up to make a speech about why we should all be grateful for what we have. As Americans we are blessed. We are given freedoms that many throughout the world do not enjoy. We are protected and cared for by a government, who, even if we may disagree with their political decisions, ultimately allows us to worship how we choose and generally gives us the freedoms that many host countries denied the Jews throughout history. While many of us will sit down in a few days and enjoy Thanksgiving delights with our friends and family, we should take a few moments to consider our brothers and sisters in Israel. While Thanksgiving is not a holiday for them, our Israeli family deserves a break from the hostility and hatred. While we will be celebrating the inception of our nation, our relatives in Israel will be watching the news to see who was attacked that day by those who are only thankful if they bring death to the nation of Israel. America, thank G-d, does not generally see people stabbing others in malls, buses, and streets. In Israel, however, this is becoming a daily occurrence. For the past 200 years our rabbis have called America
the, “Medina shel chesed,” the “Country of kindness.” Compared to everywhere else Jews have called home for the past 2,000 years, America is by far the greatest and friendliest host we have had. We have to remember, however, that not all Jews live in America. We have to give thanks for the fact that we do and that our freedom comes at a price. I am writing this article on Veteran’s Day. We, as Americans, and Jews, owe a tremendous debt to those who fight so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we often take for granted. While we give thanks for our fighting men and women who sacrifice so much, let us also recall those who sacrifice and serve on behalf of the Jewish state. On Thanksgiving and Veterans Day we should reflect on the freedoms that we have and thank those who enable us to have them. This Thanksgiving add a prayer to your family’s tradition. Pray for the American and Israeli troops in harm’s way. Pray for our brothers and sisters who fear for their lives every time they leave their homes. Pray for the government of America and Israel so that all Jews will continue to enjoy the freedoms that true democracies confer upon their citizens. Finally, pray for each other—that next year we will not need to pray and hope for peace because we will have achieved it. —Rabbi Gershon Litt is the rabbi at Adath Jeshurun Synagogue, the executive director of the Norfolk Kollel, and director of Hillel at the College of William and Mary and Christopher Newport University.
PROGRAM OGERAM PRID GU GUIDE
If you’d like a printed copy, stop by the front desk or call 757-321-2338.
jewishnewsva.org | November 23, 2015 | Jewish News | 41
Calendar December 2, Wednesday Business & Legal Society and Maimonides Societies of UJFT present Viva Sarah Press, associate editor of ISRAEL21c. 7 pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. See page 40.
December 3, Thursday Women’s Division of UJFT presents Viva Sarah Press, associate editor of ISRAEL21c for a lunch-n-learn for all women in the Jewish community. 12 pm. For more information or to attend this event, call or email Patty Malone at the UJFT at 965-6115 or email@example.com.
December 4, Friday Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, K–5 OPEN HOUSE. 8:30 am. RSVP to 424-4327.
December 16, Wednesday Rosenwald screens at the Naro Expanded Theatre as an early addition to The Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg. 7 pm. Director Aviva Kempner will attend and lead a discussion following the film. The Naro is located at 1507 Colley Ave in Norfolk. Go to www.narocinema.com for additional information. *of blessed memory
January 16, Saturday Opening Night of the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg. Enjoy the movie Dough at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts at 7 pm, followed by an elegant dessert reception. Visit www.Simonfamilyjcc.org cultural arts pages for more information. *of blessed memory
Send submissions for calendar to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.
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Mazel Tov to
Actress Zooey Deschanel converts to Judaism
ctress Zooey Deschanel has converted to Judaism. Deschanel, the daughter of a Quaker and Roman Catholic, converted shortly before marrying producer Jacob Pechenik, Us Weekly reported. The article did not say what denomination of rabbi supervised her conversion. The two married in June, a month before the birth of their daughter, Elsie. “Zooey converted to Judaism for Jacob,” an unidentified “insider” told the celebrity magazine. Deschanel, 35, stars in the Fox sitcom New Girl and has appeared in numerous films, including Mumford and Almost Famous. (JTA)
Brooklyn sculpture says it all in a New York way: ‘Oy’ and ‘yo’
sculpture installed in a Brooklyn park says it all in an expressly New York way: “oy” and “yo.” Artist Deborah Kass created the bright yellow sculpture, titled “OY/YO,” that was placed this week in Brooklyn Bridge Park, near the East River separating the two boroughs, according to reports. It is scheduled to remain there until August. Those viewing from Brooklyn see “oy”; Manhattanites see “yo.” “The fact that this particular work resonates so beautifully in so many languages to so many communities is why I wanted to make it monumental,” Kass told The New York Times. “This is New York, baby. We’ve got it all. And the sculpture covers it all.” The work is made of aluminum and paint. Much of Kass’ work makes reference to other modern artists, including Gertrude Stein, Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. What does the sculpture using the two oft-used expressions by New Yorkers mean? Kass told the Times that it was best left open to interpretation. “Oy” entered the English lexicon in the 1890s, while “yo” has been used as far back as the 15th century in Middle English, Peter Sokolowski, the editor at large of Merriam-Webster, told the Times.
Nordstrom’s pulls Hanukkah sweater seen as insulting to Jewish women
ordstrom’s pulled a women’s Hanukkah sweater from its stores and website after it was criticized for perpetuating negative stereotypes of Jewish women. The blue sweater has the words “Chai Maintenance” knitted on the top and “Hanukkah J.A.P.” on the bottom. JAP stands for Jewish American Princess, a pejorative. The sweater still appears on the website, but only the back, which has no writing, is visible and the page says “Product not available.” It was removed earlier this month. A men’s version says “Mazel tov” on the top front and “Oy vey” on the back, and Happy Hanukkah on both sides. It remains on sale. Nordstrom’s came under heavy criticism on its Facebook page. “Cute and kitschy is one thing but perpetuating negative stereotypes as supposedly cute or fun holiday wear is disgusting,” one post read. “I expect more of a large high end retailer such as Nordstrom. Especially when the version for men is just cute, why is the version for women derogatory?” “Very disappointed that Nordstrom’s would sell such a degrading item, that makes fun of Jewish Women,” read another. In response to one critic, a Nordstrom’s customer service employee wrote: “this item wasn’t something we should have offered, Eileen. We have pulled the sweater from our site and it will no longer be offered.” Some Facebook fans asked Nordstrom’s where they could purchase the sweaters now that the chain is no longer selling them. It is available on Amazon without the JAP reference. (JTA)
Birth Robin and Ross Kantor on the birth of their son, Brody James Kantor on November 1, 2015. He is the brother of Joseph Adam Kantor, grandson of Dorothy and Edwin Salomonsky and Kathy and J. Jerry Kantor and great-grandson of Evelyn Adler. Mazel Tov submissions should be emailed to email@example.com 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.
Accounts Payable Clerk Wanted Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s Personal Affairs Management (PAM) Program provides legal guardian and conservator services to adults 18 and over with physical and mental disabilities who have no appropriate family or friends to assist and care for them. We are currently seeking a full time Accounts Payable Clerk to write checks for clients. Qualified candidates must possess at least two years of computer experience. QuickBooks and Create-a-Check experience preferred. Drug test and criminal history upon hire. EOE. Drug-free workplace. To apply, please send resume to Marlene Aikman at Jewish Family Service of Tidewater P.O. Box 65127, Virginia Beach, VA 23467 firstname.lastname@example.org
C A R E E R O P P O RT U N I T Y H O LO C AU S T CO M M I S S I O N P RO G R A M C O O R D I N ATO R The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater seeks candidates for the position of Holocaust Commission Program Coordinator. This part-time position (approximately 20 hours/week) is responsible for the administrative and program support of Holocaust Commission activities. A minimum of 1-2 years of administrative experience is required. Associate's Degree in business, Public Administration, Jewish Communal Service, or other related and appropriate field, preferred. Candidate must be proficient in using MS Office Suite; have an understanding of social media and its usage; excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both oral and written. Must be available for flexible working hours.
Contact Taffy Hunter, Human Resources director, at 757-965-6117, email@example.com or submit resume to: United Jewish Federation of Tidewater Attention: Human Resources 5000 Corporate Woods Drive Virginia Beach, 23462
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obituaries Howard Lee Popkin Norfolk—Howard Lee Popkin, 85, of Germantown, Md., passed from complications of cancer on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015 surrounded by family. Born on October 23, 1930, the only son of Dora and Max Popkin from Norfolk, Va., where he grew up, he graduated from Maury High School and then attended William and Mary/VPI, Norfolk Division and VPI Blacksburg. He served in the Navy during the Korean War. Howard was the co-founder of the Norfolk Federation of Civil Leagues. While president of the Civil Leagues, Howard facilitated the removal of price control on milk and dairy products in the state of Virginia and facilitated integration of the Norfolk public schools. He was a real estate developer, realtor, broker and real estate appraiser in both Virginia and Maryland. He was a devoted husband, father,
stepfather and grandfather. He was the beloved husband of Lynn CullatherPopkin; caring brother of Marilyn Faust, loving father and father-in-law of Toni Re Popkin, Shira Beth and Wade Adkins, Leslie Ann and Bruce Rasnake, Jolene and Jeff Sharpe, Robert Scott Cullather and Kristina McCoobery, Susan Elizabeth Schwarz, Mary Kathryn Lewis and Michelle Lee Cullather. Howard was an amazing loving and involved grandfather to Ryan Matthew Unger, Charles Adam Rasnake, Zachary Scott Barry, Joshua Daniel Martin Cullather (deceased), Tyler Michael Lewis, Timothy John Lewis, Christian McEnroe Cullather, Caitlin Florentina Cullather, Mia McCoobery, Jacob James Conrath, Angela Lynn Aguirre, Marco Edwin Aguirre and Maximus Edwin Aguirre. Services were held at Pumphery’s Colonial Funeral Home. Interment followed in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
Memorial contributions to the Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) Hospice at 6123 Montrose Road, Rockville, Maryland 20853. “There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief .and unspeakable love.” Washington Irving Brian Wolfe Manchester, United Kingdom—A man of understated brilliance, warmth and compassion, who was respected and admired by everyone who knew him, Brian Wolfe passed away on Saturday, Nov. 7. His passing leaves a huge hole in the family he loved, but his legacy of loyalty and love will stay with us forever. His humility meant that few people knew the enormity of his achievements in education, business and life. He taught and studied for
his entire life, ran multi-national companies and supported multiple causes in the UK and Israel. But it was his family that mattered the most to him. He would have simply said, “I’m a husband to Joy (The Management), a father to Naomi, David and Laura, a father-in-law to Jonny, Helen and Anthony, a brother to Terry, a grandpa to Ben, Gilad, Danit, Jemma, Sophie, Natan and Sami and uncle to Benita, Joe and Marc.” The world lost a gentle man and a gentleman. We lost our hero. The funeral took place in Manchester.
Andre Glucksmann, French-Jewish political philosopher
rench political philosopher Andre Glucksmann, who began his career as a Marxist and later rejected communism and criticized Russia, has died. Glucksmann, the son of Jewish immigrants from Hungary, died Tuesday, Nov.
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obituaries 10 in Paris at 78. He had battled cancer for several years. His 1975 book, La Cuisinière et le Mangeur d’Hommes, criticized Marxism, which Glucksmann said leads to totalitarianism. It also drew parallels between Nazism and communism. He became known as a “New Philosopher,” part of a group of philosophers who broke with Marxism in the early 1970s. He advocated Western intervention in global conflicts, such as supporting NATO’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999, the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Western military intervention in Libya. His experience during World War II as a Jewish child in France during the Nazi occupation, which he wrote about in his 2006 autobiography A Child’s Rage, shaped his view of international intervention in such conflicts. The French-Jewish intellectual BernardHenri Levy said of Glucksmann, “He was the only one of my contemporaries with whom I had the feeling of sharing the same fears about the world.” (JTA)
“She said, take care of our daughter, I told her I would and that was that,” said Reibenberg, who was at Le Belle Equipe to celebrate the birthday of one of his employees. He knew nine of the people who died at the restaurant, including one business associate and several employees. Reibenberg told NRC that his daughter asked him whether it would be possible to undo what happened to her mother. “I told her to think that her mother is up in the stars, and that she can talk to her there,” he said. Born in the poor municipality of Dreux north of Paris, Houd was considered a symbol of success in her hometown, according to l’Echo Republicain daily. She owned a successful cafe near Bastille in Paris, according to Le Figaro. In the days after the attacks, a volunteer trauma psychologist, Jean-Pierre Vouche, has been accompanying Reibenberg at all times, according to the Dutch daily NRC
Wife of Jewish restaurateur among 100 Paris victims named by media French media published the names of over 100 victims of the Paris terror attacks, including the wife of the Jewish owner of a restaurant that was sprayed by gunfire. Djamila Houd, the spouse of Gregory Reibenberg, the owner of La Belle Equipe on Charonne Street, was among the 19 people who died at the restaurant Friday, Nov. 13 when gunmen fired on patrons. At least 129 people died in the night of terror when at least eight terrorists shot up and set off explosives at six, and possibly seven, Paris-area locales. Houd, who was born to a non-Jewish family of immigrants from Algeria, and Reibenberg, an Ashkenazi Jew, have an 8-year-old daughter, Tess. On Sunday, Nov. 15, Reibenberg led a mourning march with family members to the restaurant where Houd died. In an interview with the France 2 television station, he recounted holding her in his arms as she lay dying from two gunshot wounds to her upper body.
Handelsblad. To cope with his grief and to help others, Reibenberg organized a meeting for relatives of the people who died at his restaurant. “All of us lost someone—a friend, a spouse, a partner,” Reibenberg said. “I lost all of that, like many of you.” One of the people attending the session was a young man, Fillipo, who said he did not join his late wife at the restaurant because he was at home playing a PlayStation gaming computer that he had just bought. “I wanted to play with it so I stayed at home like some kid,” he said in tears. (JTA)
Yitzhak Navon, 94, Israel’s first Sephardic president, buried in state funeral JERUSALEM ( JTA)—Yitzhak Navon, Israel’s first Sephardic president and the first president to visit Egypt, was buried in a state funeral on Mount Herzl.
Navon, who served from 1978 to 1983, died Friday, Nov. 6 at 94. His body lay in state on the following Sunday morning before his funeral at noon. Along with his family, the mourners included current and former Israeli leaders. In his eulogy at the funeral, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Navon “a jewel that adorned our capital, Jerusalem.” Navon served in four Knessets, becoming one of the Labor Party’s most respected members. He served one term as president; he chose not to vie for the position a second time, preferring to serve again in the Knesset. During his presidential term, he threatened to resign unless an investigation committee was set up to look at the events that took place in 1982 at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, where an Israel-allied Lebanese Christian militia massacred hundreds of people.
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Washington DC.—For a vibrant 48 hours, 1,300 Israeli-Americans and Americans who are passionate for the State of Israel, gathered for the Second Annual National Israeli American Council Conference at the Washington DC Hilton in October. At this conference, participants heard from top Israeli leaders in politics, business, media, religion, and Hollywood, and received a Skype call from Prime Minster Bibi Netanyahu. Although Tidewater does not have its own IAC (Israeli American Council) chapter, I eagerly attended this incredible and timely event along with Samantha Golden, a fellow active member of the Tidewater Jewish community. We brought back inspiration, ideas, and momentum, which we are now sharing with our own thriving Jewish community. Both of us are grateful for the enthusiasm and sponsorship of Scott Kaplan and the Tidewater Jewish Foundation for their support in our registration and representation. At the conference, we were also pleased to see that some of the speakers, such as Gidi Grinstein, have already been to Tidewater. IAC’s purpose is to engage and unify the Israeli-American community to support future generations of Israeli-American Jewry and the State of Israel. Through empowering programs, events and nonprofit outreach, the IAC is one of the largest networks of Israeli-Americans in the United States and has effectively strengthened the Israeli-American community. The national conference and the eight newly formed IAC chapters in cities across the U.S. could not have been possible without the donations and support of businessman and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson and his wife, physician and philanthropist Miriam Adelson. Throughout the weekend, these two individuals were honored and recognized as “the Montefiores and Rothchilds of our generation.” I had
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the privilege of meeting Mrs. Adelson and she encouraged me to consider starting a chapter of IAC in Tidewater. During the conference, attendees enjoyed three-course kosher meals and exceptional plenary sessions, which were filled with spir- Danielle Leibovici and Samantha Golden. ited personal accounts, lively interviews and intense mediations who affects their policy on mandated perfrom the likes of Israel’s Ambassador Ron sonalized exposure tours of Israel.” This Dermer, chairman of the Labor Party, Isaac is not your typical Birthright trip. These Herzog, Chief Rabbi of Israel, David Lau, strongly biased participants begin to see Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Proser, and learn for themselves that Israel is and a number of well-spoken news anchors, clearly not an apartheid state. She shares Knesset-members and Congressmen. A that there is a 100% turnaround rate from wide array of breakout sessions on many previous misconceptions. I learned at this conference that, if relevant subjects, making it difficult to choose, also took place. Topics included: you want to be a leader, you have to Israeli Americans and Opportunity in build bridges and meet people where the US, Social Media Strategy, Building they are so that it becomes relevant for Coalitions, Israeli American Male and them. According to George Deek, an Arab Female Entrepreneurs, Engaging Non Christian and Israeli diplomat, “We don’t Profits, Lobbying, Leadership, Israel on need to win an argument; we need to win a Campus, Education, and Securing our war against the delegitimization of Israel.” Finally, I will share one of my favorite Future. One of the incredible individuals whom lingering memories from the weekend. In we met was Amir Give’on, one of the cre- the early hours of our last morning, a growators of a new phone application called ing number of Israelis began gathering in TALK ISRAEL. This free app for phones the hotel’s Irish pub. The music outlet was provides all Israel-related news, as well as suddenly taken over by an Israeli diplointeresting updates, search capability and mate with his iPhone and USB cable. Loud and proud Israeli music of solidarity and sharing features. A brief and meaningful encounter with momentum began to blast from its speaka woman named Emily (name changed for ers. Within moments, at least 200 dancing, identity protection), a 20-something-year- fist-pumping Israeli Americans packed old Israeli who spends her time mostly in themselves into this tiny bar in union and South Africa, made one of the strongest proud support of Eretz Israel. Being around impressions on me. The co-founder of these inspiring, innovative, and visionary an Israeli company, she is almost sin- Israelis from all walks of life gives me hope gle-handily ending the threat of the Boycott that Israel will continue to stay strong. The Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) move- power of its citizens will make more and ment in South Africa (where it originally more contributes to the world in the name began). She explains that she takes “groups of Tikun Olam. Am Israel Chai! of anti-Israel influential leaders and anyone
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