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2 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
A different take on a patriarch
nherent in our description of Avraham, Yitzchak & Yaakov (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) as Patriarchs, we define them as leaders who have set the Gold Standard by which the Jewish people are measured. Each Patriarch uniquely wiring within each and every Jew a DNA code that makes us who we are. In Pirkei Avos (Chapters of our Fathers) Chapter 5 Mishna 19 we are told that one who exemplifies certain character traits are clearly from the students of Avraham. Why? Because it is the essence who we are. Yitzchak gave us one of the most crucial abilities that have kept us who we are throughout the millennia: to be Moser Nefesh, to sacrifice oneself in order to serve G-d. (Not G-d forbid in the sense that the Radical Muslims do, which means murdering others, but in the sense that we want to preserve that which is uniquely ours). Yitzchak’s role as a human sacrifice etched within us the ability to stand up to the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Spaniards, the Germans and the list goes. That inner strength we attribute to Yitzchak, this is not a “kleinakeit.” (As a side point, his placement on the altar as a sacrifice sanctified him so as to prohibit him from leaving the land, not because of any other reason).
Yitzchak also gave us the Afternoon Prayer, Mincha. Our Torah tells us that the Mincha prayer is actually the most difficult (we are forced to break from our day, especially now in the winter months) and therefore may be accorded the most reward. On a deeper level, Rav Moshe Shapiro, Shlita explains that when we pray at the end of our day where we have already presumably prospered from the “sweat of our brow” we are coming back to G-d and saying “I know that all that I have accomplished is because of you” – it is the ability to subservient to the Almighty that Yaakov has instilled within us. Rav Moshe Shapiro, Shlita (based on the Maharal of Prague) also explains, the fact that Yitzchak was the link between Avraham and Yaakov because he was the apex of the Patriarchal period, not a simple connection to “hold the fort.” We see this with the comparison of the Jewish people to the moon. We peak in the middle. Hardly mediocre. Phil Schwartz Norfolk Va. This letter is in response to Cantor Gordon Piltch’s Torah Thought in the Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 issue of Jewish News, titled Isaac: the mediocre patriarch.
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Netanyahu offers inquiring U.N. interpreter a job in Israel
Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
JERUSALEM ( JTA)—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there will always be a job waiting in Israel for a U.N. interpreter caught wondering aloud at the excessive number of anti-Israel resolutions. Netanyahu played a video recording of the incident during the Sunday, Nov. 17 regular Cabinet meeting and called the unidentified interpreter “brave.” The interpreter’s remarks came during the Nov. 14 meeting of the U.N. General Assembly’s Fourth Assembly attended by representatives of all 193 United Nations member states. Nine of the 10 resolutions adopted at the meeting condemned Israel. “I mean I think when you have five statements, not five, but like a total of 10 resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there’s gotta be something, ‘c’est un peu trop, non?’ [‘It’s a bit much, no?’],” the interpreter said in English and French in remarks heard live by the delegates. “I mean I know, yes, yes, but there’s other really bad s*** happening, but no one says anything about the other stuff.” Amid titters of laughter from the delegates, the committee secretary says, “I understand there was a problem with the interpretation.” “Interpreter apologies,” the interpreter responds. Netanyahu said, “I would like to tell this interpreter that she has a job waiting for her in the State of Israel. There are moments that tear the hypocrisy off the unending attacks against us, and this brave interpreter did so.”
contents Letter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Upfront. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Israel aids typhoon victims . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Found Holocaust-era art. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Threat of Muslim Brotherhood . . . . . . . . . 8 Remembering the Yom Kippur War. . . . . .9 Reading readiness program. . . . . . . . . . . 10 It’s a Wrap. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Evan Levitt joins Simon JCC . . . . . . . . . . 13 Tour De Mensch Bike Ride. . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Jewish War Veterans honored. . . . . . . . . Jewish Book Festival’s last pages. . . . . . . Jewish genetic testing at JCC. . . . . . . . . . Book Reviews. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What’s Happening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Who Knew?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mazel Tov. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jack Ruby’s motives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hal’s Navy launches. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Special Section: Thanksgivukah . . . . . . .
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jewishnewsva.org | November 25, 2013 | Jewish News | 3
briefs Scholastic apologizes for publishing Mideast map without Israel Scholastic Inc. apologized for publishing a map of the Middle East that omits Israel in a popular children’s series. On Wednesday, Nov. 13, hours after the Times of Israel reported about the Israel omission in Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt, the book publisher said it was stopping shipment immediately of the title, revising the map and reprinting the book. The book, part of Scholastic’s “Geronimo Stilton” series, was published in June 2012. It tells of a journalist mouse who travels to Egypt to participate in an archaeological excavation. “We regret the omission which was in the original version of the book published in Italy and was translated by our company for English language distribution,” the statement said. Under the comments section, readers thanked Scholastic, and asked how the mistake could have passed through editors and proofreaders. Some complained about the vitriol shown by some commenters and offered their full support to Scholastic. “What bothers me most are these questions: what about the books already sold? What exactly caused Scholastic to react?” one reader wrote in the comments section. Several booksellers’ websites were allowing the purchase of the book. (JTA) CIA declassifies Camp David Accords intelligence The Central Intelligence Agency declassified documents dealing with the Camp David Accords. The 1,400 pages of intelligence, dated from January 1977 to March 1979, were declassified on Wednesday, Nov. 13 The Associated Press reported. The documents cover the time period from before the summit to the following spring, when Egypt and Israel signed the peace treaty. President Jimmy Carter, who negotiated the accords in 1978, told AP that the intelligence helped convince him to push for the treaty. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 in the wake of the treaty signing. The intelligence included political and personality profiles of Sadat and Begin. (JTA)
D.C. street renamed for Bulgarian official who saved Jews The street in front of the Bulgarian Embassy was renamed for Dimitar Peshev, who is credited with halting the deportation of some 50,000 Jews. Approximately 75 people attended the ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 12 naming the intersection of 22nd and R St. NW Dimitar Peshev Plaza. Speakers included Bulgarian Ambassador Elena Poptodorova, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Neil Glick, who championed Peshev’s cause. Poptodorova called the street naming the first recognition of a Bulgarian as a hero in the Western Hemisphere. The D.C. Council voted unanimously for the honor. On March 9, 1943, Peshev was the deputy speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament when he heard of a deportation order and rushed to the capital city of Sofia in a bid to stop it. He brought a petition signed by 43 members of the government and went to the Interior Ministry to beg officials to halt the order. He refused to leave the office until every deportation center in the country was contacted and all the prisoners released. By the end of the day, the order was canceled. Historians have credited him with saving 50,000 people. Peshev also tried to stop deportations of Jews in northern Greece and Macedonia, but without success. He was stripped of his position as deputy speaker and then kicked out of Parliament. A year-and-a-half later, when the Soviet-backed communists took over the government, Peshev was tried as a war criminal and sent to jail. One of his crimes was listed as anti-Semitism. Peshev is credited with saving the second largest number of Jews during World War II and was awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. “His is a story of making choices and tolerance,” Poptodorova said. “His story is particularly relevant today. He risked everything, his career, his life.” Glick, a former commissioner on the D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Board Commission, learned of Peshev’s actions 19 years ago. He brought it to the attention of the D.C. Council less than two years ago. (JTA)
4 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
Cummings Foundation to focus on inequality, climate change A Jewish family foundation that allocates $30 million per year is narrowing its focus to two issues: inequality and climate change. The Nathan Cummings Foundation has given $5 million to $6 million annually to Jewish organizations, primarily through its Jewish life program. Simon Greer, the foundation’s executive director, said the new focus is the culmination of yearlong strategic planning. Asked if the change will result in less support for Jewish causes, Greer said, “I think we’re becoming more Jewish. We used to have one-fifth of our grant making set aside in Jewish life and values, and if you were a Jewish organization that’s where you applied.” Jewish organizations addressing climate change or inequality, such as the New Israel Fund, Shacharit, American Jewish World Service and several Jewish social justice groups, will continue to be eligible for grants, he said. But a number of major Jewish grantees, such as BBYO, the Israel Policy Forum and Encounter, will likely no longer be eligible for funds after 2014, which Greer said will be a “transition year.” (JTA) Jewish groups laud federal proposal on holiday time off Jewish groups made up nearly half the faith groups that praised proposed federal regulations clarifying compensation time for religious holidays. Some 20 groups, including nine Jewish ones, on Nov. 13 joined in attaching a formal comment praising the latest federal proposal for compensation time. Since 2005, the federal government has attempted to make a uniform rule for such compensation. Religious groups objected to a version proposed that year that would have required “written documentation” proving the “legitimacy” of observance and compensating for time off within six weeks. The new rule requires only objective data—for instance, published dates and times marking a holiday—and a year within which to make up the time. It also extends to part-time employees.
Abba Cohen, the Washington director of Agudath Israel of America, helped draft the comments praising the new proposed rule and said such rules have an impact beyond the federal government. “What the federal government—the nation’s largest employer—does in this area cannot be overstated,” Cohen said. “It is a role model and standard-bearer in making ‘religious accommodation’ an important principle in federal and state law.” Other groups signing on to the comments included the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the American Jewish Committee and the Orthodox Union. The federal government posts proposed rules for a time, before deciding whether to put them into effect. Negative reaction to the 2005 proposal helped to shelve it. (JTA)
Rep. Steve Cohen presses Turks on anti-Semitism U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a co-chairman of the congressional caucus on Turkey, pressed the Turkish foreign minister on reports of anti-Semitism and human rights abuses in his country. Cohen (D-Tenn.) said he asked Ahmet Davutoglu when the caucus met Monday, Nov. 18 with a Turkish delegation about reports of a surge of anti-Semitism of the repression of dissent in Turkey. “Just met w/Turkish delegation,” Cohen said in a Twitter post attached to a photo and a New York Times story detailing allegations of repression of dissent. “Made sure to ask about #humanrights & #antisemitism in #Turkey.” In an interview, Cohen said Davutoglu denied both phenomena, saying that Jews still felt comfortable in Turkey. “That was good to hear but hard to believe,” Cohen told JTA. Cohen, who has Turkish Jewish ancestry, has been a leading member of a caucus that successive Turkish governments have valued for advancing Turkish interests in Washington. “I don’t think it hurts among friends— and I consider the Turks friends—to bring up issues of concern,” Cohen said. (JTA)
The ultimate “Eight Step” program
t is always great to be able to write about one of the greatest and most powerful holidays in our calendar. Given the time of year, I am obviously referring to Chanukah. Some find Chanukah powerful because of the military victory that we recall and yet we also all tell the story of the famous miracle that occurred with the oil. Most Jewish homes in the world mark this time of year in some way and recall some aspect of the historical power of this great holiday. There is another perspective, however, that I would like to share about Chanukah that will hopefully change the way we all practice this potentially life changing time of year. Chanukah is when we bring light into our homes. It is a time when we remember what we had a long time ago and we aspire to once again be able to see. We long for the light of the menorah in the holy Temple in Jerusalem and we pray three times a day for its speedy return. Our sages teach us that when you put two
candles together they become one light and the mystical reason why this occurs is because the light of this world all exists because of the mystical “light” of the spiritual universe. When we light the Chanukah candles we are tapping into that “light” and we are bringing some of it into our homes. When we put the candles, or the oil, into our menorah we are mentally placing a priority to our illustrious history, our unique spiritual power as Jews, and bringing the miracle into our lives at that moment. Of course, there is the alternative. The sad alternative is to do the very thing that we battled against in the days of the Maccabees. We could become part of Greek society to the extent that the light of the menorah and the menorah itself is a religious symbol that we gather around while exchanging gifts and eating oily potato pancakes. We could all gather around the menorah, eat merrily and open presents, or we could take the requisite time to contemplate the power of the moment. The first night’s light pales in comparison to the light of two candles, which is only multiplied on the third night and so on until we reach the
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pinnacle of the eighth, magical night. Eight always symbolizes that which is beyond the obvious and physical and transcends to our most passionate and secret desires— the ultimate level of accomplishment, i.e. spiritual greatness. If we allow the light of Chanukah to push us to transcendence by examining the very motives that we have for lighting the lights to begin with, then we can reach spiritual goals never before imaginable in our lives. This is the power of Chanukah. This year do not let your Chanukah
experience be like it has been in the past. Each night think of some aspect of your personality or character that can be improved. Consider an area of your life that is engulfed in western, or “Greek” philosophy and transform it to being in line with Jewish, spiritual achievement. We all have the potential to reach amazing spiritual heights. Chanukah is the time for self-discovery and growth. It is the ultimate “eight step program.” —Rabbi Gershon Litt, Norfolk Kollel.
jewishnewsva.org | November 25, 2013 | Jewish News | 5
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6 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
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(JTA)—Obviously wanting to get back to work as the medical manager of the field hospital set up by the Israel Defense Forces in the Philippines, Lt.-Col. Dr. Ofer Merin speaks hurriedly about the three days his team has been seeing patients in the typhoon-ravaged nation. He tells of at least 12 babies the hospital has delivered—most of them premature— and the stabbing victim who may have died if not for the IDF hospital in Bogo City on Cebu Island, one of the areas hardest hit by this month’s Typhoon Haiyan. By 5 am on the first Sunday there, Merin says at least 50 people had lined up in front of the field hospital to receive treatment. “If we stayed here two months or even two years we would have patient work,” he said during a phone call with the media from the Philippines. The field hospital began operating on the Friday, Nov. 15, about seven hours after the team arrived on the island. The parents of the first baby delivered by the Israeli team that first morning named him Israel in gratitude to the volunteers. Established adjacent to the local hospital in Bogo City, the Israeli field hospital is the only one located in a region of about 250,000 residents, Merin says. Representatives of other countries have visited to view its operation. The 125-member Israeli team has been seeing about 300 patients a day who were either injured in the typhoon or unable to care for chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes due to lack of running water or electricity. Others with untreated diseases, including those with advanced cancer, also have made their way to the facility. Some 22 members of the team are medical doctors, 15 are nurses and the rest are technicians, lab workers and members of the Homefront Command who are coordinating logistics. The delegation brought 100 tons of equipment and supplies. Merin says the local officials and res-
idents, as well as the medical staff of the local hospital, “greeted us warmly.” “We are working hand in hand with the Filipino people,” he said. Merin, a cardiac surgeon and deputy director of Shaare Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem, says the Israelis also have performed surgeries in the local hospital in concert with local doctors “to give them some of our knowledge.” Despite the death toll of more than 3,000, which is expected to climb thousands higher, and the nearly 2 million displaced, Merin says the wounded are not wandering the streets like he saw in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. He also was part of the Israeli team that traveled to Japan in the aftermath of its 2011 tsunami; the Japanese infrastructure was better able to withstand a disaster, Merin said. At about 4 am Sunday, a man who had been stabbed in the chest was brought to the Bogo City field hospital by friends. Doctors put in a chest drain, which Merin says was beyond the capabilities of the local hospital. “I am not sure what would have happened if we had not been around,” he said. Mobilizing and operating the field hospital has cost Israel millions of dollars, Merin says, as well as lost manpower. The medicines and much of the equipment brought in will remain when they leave in about two weeks, he adds. Merin, who is volunteering, believes the IDF is able to mobilize so quickly in the wake of natural disasters because it operates as an army unit, sending an advance team that allows the unit to deploy quickly upon arrival. One of the logistics officers left with the team for the Philippines two days after his wedding, despite being on leave from the army for the occasion. Israelis, Merin says, are “ready to drop everything and come and assist anywhere in the world that we need to be.” His team in the Philippines, he adds, is “really treating [the patients] with all their heart.”
First steps taken to identify trove of Holocaust-era art found in Munich by Toby Axelrod
BERLIN (JTA)—The extraordinary disclosure earlier this month that a trove of more than 1,400 vanished artworks were found in a Munich apartment has raised more questions than it has answered. What were these works, which were produced by masters such as Chagall, Matisse and Picasso? Who are their rightful owners? And who is Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a Holocaust-era art dealer in whose apartment they were found? Responding to growing international pressure, German authorities have begun to offer some preliminary answers. The state prosecutor in Augsburg started to put names and images of the works into a database run by Germany’s central office for lost cultural property, whose website promptly crashed due to an overload of requests. Authorities also have confirmed that the collection contains at least 380 works that the Nazis confiscated during a 1937 campaign against so-called “degenerate art.” Still, much remains unclear about the provenance of the works and how they came to be stored in Gurlitt’s apartment. The case has unfolded like a suspense novel. On Sept. 22, 2010, customs agents searching for tax evaders on a night train from Zurich to Munich caught Gurlitt with 9,000 euros, just under the legal limit. Suspecting him of tax evasion and embezzlement, investigators were intrigued to find no record of Gurlitt ever working, paying taxes or receiving Social Security. On Feb. 28, 2012, customs investigators carried out a search and seizure order of his apartment. Over three days, they carted off more than 1,400 works of art—many by artists banned by the Nazis, some of which were unknown to experts. The seizure was kept secret until this month, when it was revealed by the German magazine Focus. Since then, it has been the talk of the nation. “My reaction was ‘wow. Really wow!’” says Hannah Lessing, the secretary general of two Austrian government funds for Nazi victims who has worked to help heirs recover stolen art. “Maybe [now] there will be some people who inherited a whole house from their grandparents…and maybe they will ask themselves ‘where did this art come from?’” The Munich find is by far the most significant discovery of Holocaust-era art-
work, pieces of which occasionally surface over the years in auction houses, vaults and even abandoned cellars. In 2010 in Berlin, workers excavating a subway tunnel unearthed a stash of sculptures by artists disliked by the Nazis. Meanwhile, European governments have made significant progress in identifying seized Holocaust art. In Austria, nearly 20,000 artworks and cultural items held in state collections have been returned to their original owners since the 1990s. In Holland, the Restitution Commission recommended in favor of the claimants of 430 objects, which fetched more than $10 million when they were sold at auction in 2007. And in France, a government probe of 2,000 paintings resulted in the restitution of six paintings in March to Thomas Selldorff, 84, of Boston. “More artwork has been coming on the market as people die and their heirs try to sell it off,” says Wesley Fisher, director of research at the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. “But there’s been nothing as spectacular as this.” Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand, was a German art dealer well known to restitution campaigners. Among other things, he was hired to procure works for the so-called Fuhrer Museum in Linz, Austria, and he was sent to Paris 10 times between 1941 and 1944 to purchase art on its behalf, according to a sworn statement Hildebrand Gurlitt provided to U.S. authorities in June 1945. The elder Gurlitt also was used to scour markets for sellable art that could bring in money to the German treasury. In his statement, Hildebrand Gurlitt says he had heard about art and furnishings confiscated from Jews and held in a Parisian palace, but insisted he had never seen it. Nor, the elder Gurlitt says, had he ever bought anything from someone who did not want to sell. In 1950, the United States returned “a whole bunch of art” to Hildebrand Gurlitt, according to Willi Korte, a Washingtonbased researcher for the Holocaust Art Restitution Project who, along with a fellow investigator Marc Masurovsky, dug up an inventory of the elder Gurlitt’s collection compiled by the U.S. military at the National Archives in Washington. Fisher is combing through the inventory of works taken from the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris between 1940 and 1944. The museum was used as a repository for works looted by the Nazis from French and Belgian Jews. According to The New York
mitted a claim already. Times, at least eight of M a r i a n n e the paintings that the Rosenberg, an U.S. military returned American attorney to Hildebrand Gurlitt and granddaughter of had been stolen and the French dealer Paul stored there. vanished artworks Rosenberg, identified Cornelius Gurlitt found in Munich a Matisse unveiled at apparently sold off the news conference pieces of his father’s colas belonging to her lection occasionally and family. lived off the proceeds. With the decision In 2011, he sold a work to gradually pubby Max Beckmann, The Lion Tamer, that brought in more than $1 lish the list of works, heirs now have a good chance of starting legal proceedmillion. Gurlitt’s collection is being held at a ings. Ultimately, courts will have to decide customs warehouse at an undisclosed loca- whether works in question were obtained tion, where it is being cataloged by art legally, were stolen or were purchased at historian Meike Hoffmann of Berlin’s Free deflated prices from sellers under duress. “Those who think we are at the end of University. A task force of six experts will assist in this, that we shouldn’t make such a big deal the provenance search. The move comes about it,” says Korte, “they don’t have any after pressure from Jewish groups and fricking idea what they are talking about.” restitution advocates who were troubled (JTA’s Cnaan Liphshiz contributed to this report.) that the Germans had not made the full list public. “The process is both literally and legally complicated, difficult and time consuming,” Hoarder of Nazi-looted art the office of the chief public prosecutor in vows to fight for Munich stash Augsburg said at a news conference. Cornelius Gurlitt said he is the legal Jewish groups and restitution advoowner of the 1,400 works of Nazi-looted cates had criticized Germany’s initial art found in his Munich apartment and sluggishness in publicizing the contents he will fight for them. of the collection. Deidre Berger, the head At issue are long-lost works by of the American Jewish Committee office Chagall, Picasso, Matisse and others in Berlin, had called on Germany to move deemed “degenerate” by the Nazis. quickly to address the ownership question “I won’t give anything back voland welcomed this week’s developments. untarily,” Gurlitt, 80, said in the “Valuable time has been wasted,” World German-language Spiegel magazine. Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder Gurlitt, whose father, Hildebrand, told the magazine Die Welt. “Neither the was among a handful of art dealers possible claimants nor possible witnesses in authorized by the Nazis to obtain and the return process are getting any younger.” sell works for the benefit of the German Fisher of the Claims Conference says treasury, said he had turned over papers he found the delay outrageous, yet he to the state prosecutor to prove that his acknowledges that “legal aspects” of the father acquired the works legally. case make some delay inevitable. Gurlitt said the courts and media “Evidently the Germans are afraid they had given a wrong impression of the will get lots of claims, and maybe some of situation. Expressing amazement at all them false,” he says. “But that comes with the attention to the case, he said he the territory.” “only wanted to live with my paintAnne Webber, director of the Londonings.” based Central Registry of Information on Gurlitt said the authorities could Looted Cultural Property, says her office have waited until he was dead before has “been inundated with requests from removing the artworks and he decried families all over the world asking if their the decision by the state prosecutor to lost works of art might be in this collection.” post images from the collection online At least one family reportedly has subas an invasion of his privacy. (JTA)
jewishnewsva.org | November 25, 2013 | Jewish News | 7
Talk to the Hand: Global information operations for the Post-Coup Muslim Brotherhood Brotherhood still has capabilities. Its success in being able to roll out the ‘R4bia” ews reports claim that one of (pronounced Rabia, meaning 4 in Arabic) the last senior Egyptian Muslim campaign demonstrates this. The R4bia Brotherhood (MB) leaders was symbol consists of a black hand raising four taken into custody in late October, which fingers on a yellow background. The image, may lead some to believe that the radical which is now ubiquitous in pro-MB proIslamist organization had been effectively tests as well as in social media, is ostensibly defeated by the new Egyptian military an “anti-coup” symbol commemorating the death of Pro-Morsi protestors in the Rabia government. But Eric Trager, a Washington Institute al-Adawiya Square. The yellow background for Near East Policy analyst and a special- is supposedly representative of the Al Aqsa ist on the Egyptian MB’s hierarchy, has Mosque, and the black color of the hand of noted on Twitter that Erian’s influence was the Kabaa in Saudi Arabia, illustrative of primarily that he spoke English, and was the pan-Islamic nature of the Brotherhood. well known to Western journalists. Other, The symbol additionally has deeply esoterfar more senior MB leaders remain at large ic religious references, and contains within in Egypt. So while it may be true that the it, as the r4bia.com website notes, a connoBrotherhood has been heavily rocked in tation of violence: “…R4BIA is the arena of martyrdom, the aftermath of the coup, which oustR4BIA is the ed MB president mother of martyrs, Mohammed Morsi, Kyle Shideler is the director of R4BIA is a smilhow badly off is the ing martyrdom.” Research and Communications for group really? The same webWhile many the Endowment for Middle East site notes that the senior MB leaders symbol stands have been arrested, Truth (Emetonline.org) and will for “…an end to the fact is that the Zionists.” organization is used speak at Beth Chaverim at 7 pm, The MB’s ability to its senior leadMonday, Dec. 9, on “The Threat of to roll out a new ers facing prison. global brand with Ex-President Morsi, the Worldwide Muslim Brotherhood speed and have it although far from successfully adoptthe most senior Movement.” For more information ed ought to be the of the Muslim or to RSVP, contact LHenderson@ envy of any corBrotherhood leader, porate marketing was himself broken ujft.org or 965-6107. executive. It indiout of prison during cates that in the the events of the “Information battle Arab Spring. More troubling for the Brotherhood space,” the Brotherhood remains effective is the breakup of the usras, the cell-like despite setbacks. The R4BIA campaign originated out groups to which each Brother member belongs. Usras are tight-knit almost famil- of Turkey, whose governing Islamist AKP ial groups, which serve to rapidly transmit party led by Turkish President Recep information from senior leaders to even the Tayyip Erdogan, remains staunchly prolowest ranking members. The Egyptian MB. This strong support has elevated security forces know this, and have been Turkey to a chief operations center for the seeking to disrupt Brotherhood operations global Brotherhood. As Mohammed Abdel Kadar writes in Al Arabiya: by targeting these key structures. “Since the June 30 revolution in Egypt, Time will tell whether they will be Turkey has become the regional hub for successful. Although weakened, the Muslim the Muslim Brotherhood’s international by Kyle Shideler
8 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
organization. Istanbul has played host to many meetings planning what steps are to be taken against the military-backed Egyptian government after the July 3 ouster of President Mohammad Mursi.” While Turkey’s influence has been strongly felt, other Brotherhood operatives have fled to Qatar, under the care of the pro-MB Qatari regime and its television network Al Jazeera, while London has been transformed into the MB’s media headquar ters, according to reports. That decision is deeply interesting, since it’s a reflection of the importance of influencing western media in the MB’s response. Speaking of the West, The black “R4BIA” hand has also made an appearance in the United States, displayed on the personal Twitter account of Department of Homeland Security advisor Mohamed Elibiary. Elibiary, who openly displays his admiration for the Muslim Brotherhood, was also the subject of substantial scrutiny after he posted on Twitter that he considered the U.S. an “Islamic country” with an “Islamically-compliant Constitution.” Another American resident and strong Muslim Brotherhood proponent is Imam Shaker Elsayed, the Imam of the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque. If the name Dar-al-Hijrah sounds familiar, it is because it was the mosque where Al Qaeda ideologue Anwar
Al-Awaki was Imam, prior to his traveling to Yemen and subsequent death in a drone strike. As the Investigative Project on Terrorism has reported, ElSayed also prominently displays the R4BIA hand in his social media presence via Facebook. Although Elsayed denies his Muslim Brotherhood connections, he is formerly the head of the Muslim A m e r i c a n Society (MAS), which Federal prosecutors have called the “overt arm” of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. So far the Brot herhood ’s ability to leverage western opinion through information operations, like the R4BIA campaign, have been moderately successful. The U.S. and EU have both cancelled or withheld some forms of military aid to Egypt, something Muslim Brotherhood groups in the West have called for. Whether the Brotherhood will be able to successfully leverage its ability to influence opinion outside Egypt in order to preserve what remains of its operations in Egypt remains unclear, but for now that appears to be a key part of the strategy. As for the large numbers of Egyptians within Egypt who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood and have been supportive of the military’s efforts to uproot it, for now the Brotherhood’s message to them is “Talk to the Hand.”
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Remembering the Yom Kippur War at Temple Israel
ast month, Temple Israel commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. During the ceremony, Eitan Mor, a member of Temple Israel and a native Israeli, offered his memories in a speech titled “Impressions and Departed Souls.” These are excerpts from his remarks:
The Yom Kippur war found me walking alone between our community synagogue and my grandparents’ home. During the day, my father was called for the military, and the entire country was nervously volatile. There was a feeling that something was wrong. Men gradually disappeared from the synagogue and, breaking from tradition, the roads were filled with cars. Shortly afterwards, the Rotman family—one of our neighbors—were told that their son-in-law, Udi, an officer in the Golani Battalion, was killed fighting on the Hermon Mountain. Udi got married three years before the war. I can never forget the sight of Udi’s wife standing at the entrance to the building, holding her newborn baby, and wailing. The days dragged on. Each day we children pretended not to notice the war outside our school, until the day my friends told me that Eitan, our teacher’s son, was killed protecting the Hermon Mountain from the Syrians. That night, I received a phone call from my father, who was on the Egyptian front. When I gathered up the courage to ask how
he was doing, he asked me to watch over my mom and my sisters. A few days after, we received a phone call from my uncle Eli who was in Sinai. For my sake, he airily said that they will be done soon. Two days after that phone call, Eli was killed in Sinai. He was the younger brother of my mother—and my big brother. When they ask me why I call him my big brother, I reply that he is the person from whom I learned the most: for example, how to behave in the synagogue, how to build a kite and fly it, how to ride a bicycle, how to build a sukka, how to listen to pop music, how to buy albums, and how to take care of the fruit trees of my grandparents. After he was killed, my mother told me that she used to take care of both of us when I was a baby and he was a young boy. Eli was five years older than me— the same gap between my sons Ro’ee and Edo. The chaos of war did not allow us to have a funeral. The military buried our loved ones in a temporary grave on Herzl Mountain in Jerusalem. After two months of bitter fighting, Eli’s coffin was moved to a military cemetery in Rehovot, our city. Since then, every Memorial Day, I adopted the habit of visiting him there. Forty years is a long time, but the picture of Eli, of blessed memory, is still hanging on the wall at my office next to my grandfather’s picture. At the conclusion of the war, Israel emerged mortally wounded, yet victorious through the sacrifice of its military and
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their families. For months after the war, I saw my grandfather battling with demons in his mind. He stopped working for months, and every day he went to the grave of his youngest son. After some months, my bar mitzvah arrived. It was clear that the party would need to be somber, so we celebrated without any music and dancing, with my grandfather coming only for a few minutes and without my grandmother, who remained at home because she could not bear celebrating any event with her youngest child dead.
On a clear spring day, the soldiers who were captured by the Arabs were freed following a costly deal between the governments. I remember a crowd of us walking to a neighbor’s house, whose son was captured by the Egyptians. Everyone waited anxiously to see the physical, and mental, condition of the prisoner. After some time, a police escort and an ambulance came to the house, and a young, bony soldier came out. I stood there, relieved to see at least one of us return home, and welcomed him back with the rest of our people.
jewishnewsva.org | November 25, 2013 | Jewish News | 9
Strelitz Early Childhood Center enhances reading readiness program by Carin Simon, admissions director, Strelitz Early Childhood Center and Hebrew Academy of Tidewater
honics. Whole Reading. Play Base. Developmentally Appropriate. Google any of these terms and slew of reasons of why each philosophy is the best for early childhood education or reading instruction appear. Today’s parents of young children have so many decisions to make and, undoubtedly, want to ensure they are giving their children the best start to their school years. The academic expectations of preschoolers have become more and more demanding. As a result, the administration and faculty of the Strelitz Early Childhood Center preschool spent last year researching various reading readiness programs. “We wanted to find the best approach to teaching reading in a developmentally
appropriate and individualized way,” says Alene Kaufman, preschool director. “After months of research, we concluded that the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program (LiPS)®* program was the perfect tool for giving students the strongest reading foundation while still being able to incorporate all the multisensory activities that are vital to a preschool experience.” The preschool teachers participated in an intensive training workshop on how to effectively implement the program in their classrooms. “They are so excited,” says Kaufman, “to have seen results already after two months of school.” The program begins with students learning the names of the partner letters in the alphabet and practicing their sounds. Within the first few weeks of school, signs appeared in the halls with pictures showing representations of “lip poppers” (B-P
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10 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
combination) and “lip coolers” (V-F combination). “As the students master these combinations,” says Elyssa Brinn, preschool teacher, “they take turns looking in the mirror while creating the sounds. They are guided to discover which part of the mouth is used to make each sound. By discovering the way the sounds of the letter are formed, it helps students to remember each letter and sound. They are able to focus on the sounds of each letter and build phonemic awareness as they learn to connect these sounds while reading and sounding out words. Students begin to identify if they hear the sounds at the beginning, middle, or end of a word.” The LiPS®* program teaches students the sounds for each vowel and vowel combination. “While learning the sounds,” says Brinn, “children feel their jaw move as they speak each vowel. Once they begin to master the letter pairs and vowel sounds, reading is the next natural step.” LiPS®* provides students with the basic foundation for decoding, spelling, letter blends and diagraphs to help build a student’s concept of whole language that will follow them into adulthood as they continue to decipher and add new vocabulary to their reading repertoire. The bulk of the program is being implemented in the four-year-old classes where many of the students are already decoding words. “We are introducing each sound or sound combination with a lesson and we follow up with many integrated songs, art lessons, and games,” says Brinn. ”We are also using the LiPS®* program in conjunction with the Handwriting without Tears program which is used to teach how letters are formed. Students are assessed regularly, and we report their progress to their parents.” Brigitte Gottlieb is a parent of a Strelitz preschool student in “Gan Gimel,” the fouryear- old class, and is thrilled with the new program. “Leo has been doing his ABC’s since he was two years old. This program has definitely pushed him to excel. The
Strelitz teachers are so good with giving students the individual attention they need to help them reach their fullest potential. As we drive along, Leo loves to point out the various letter combinations in the street signs and then actually reads them to me!” While the LiPS®* program is new to the preschool, it not new to Hebrew Academy. “For years, the Hebrew Academy kindergarten students have been using the LiPS program, and year after year, we have seen amazing results in their reading progress,” says Janet Jenkins, director of general studies at HAT. “We are looking forward to seeing the effects of the program’s continuity from preschool to kindergarten.” “The preschool children are having fun learning phonemic awareness,” says Kaufman. “We are thrilled to have found the perfect tool that enables them to learn letter sounds so effortlessly while continuing to instill a love of learning in each of our students.” For more information on the Strelitz Early Childhood Center Preschool or the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, contact Carin Simon, admissions director, at 424 4327 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Strelitz Early Childhood Center and Hebrew Academy of Tidewater are recipients of funds of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. *Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and Strelitz Early Childhood Center are not affiliated with, certified, licensed, or sponsored by Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, Nanci Bell, Phyllis Lindamood or Pat Lindamood. Lindamood-Bell Learning Process in no way guarantees the quality of the materials or services that might be supplied by the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and Strelitz Early Childhood Center.
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jewishnewsva.org | November 25, 2013 | Jewish News | 11
it’s a wrap Beth El welcomes new members at Shabbat dinner
lmost 200 members at Congregation Beth El thought having 36 new members was a great reason to have a Congregational Shabbat dinner and the perfect way to welcome them and celebrate Shabbat on Friday, Oct. 25. Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz and Cantor Gordon Piltch switched things around a bit and lead an energized family service giving the young and not-so-young a feeling of spirituality and warmth. Congregant Rachel Abrams said, “It was the perfect
service for families. The children could enjoy themselves and the parents were able to participate with their children.” Immediately following the service, Nancy Kantor and her kitchen crew served a delicious Shabbat dinner. After the children ate, they were ushered to a special activity room where they decorated cookies and the parents were able to enjoy their meal while getting to know each other. Everyone left feeling a deeper sense of connection to each other and to their Beth El family.
Holocaust Commission takes its show on the road
hile many people spent the evening of Thursday, Oct. 31 shepherding children around seeking sweets, the Holocaust Commission sent its representatives to Roanoke for a different kind of solicitation. Elena Baum, Commission director and Mickey Held, former chair headed west to share the commission’s now two-year-old flagship program, What We Carry, with the Virginia State Conference of Social Studies Educators. Since its debut, approximately 7,600 people have seen a presentation of What We Carry, and another 1,500 have seen the full-length films at one of the local or Los Angeles showings. With all four vintage suitcases on display, the two commission leaders held 25 to 30 educators enthralled with the stories of four Hampton Roads survivors. Those assembled learned how the program came about, viewed the nine-minute trailer showing parts of each story, and got a “mini-presentation” of one of the stories in their short 45-minute session. They were Suitcase for David Katz.
thrilled with the possibility of being able to bring this locally produced program to schools and communities across the state. The reception was enthusiastic. In preparation for a “travelling program,” the commission had their talented artist, Perry Deglandon, create a second set of suitcases to go with the What We Carry films. They are now able to still bring the stories to local schools, military bases, and community groups with trained commission docents, while also “exporting” this successful educational program across the state. “There have already been several requests from teachers in other communities,” says Baum. “We are excited to see the growth of this amazing program.”
12 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
Families honored at Temple Israel
Legacy Society Shabbat honoring the 41 families who have established endowment funds at Temple Israel took place on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the synagogue. “The benefits of the Temple Israel Legacy Society will be felt for many years to come,” Leigh Baltuch, the chairman of Temple Israel’s Endowment Committee, told the congregation. “Money will be available to help teach our children in both the Sunday school, as well as the weekday Hebrew school. There are funds available for Jewish camping experiences. Endowed funds bring in outside scholars.” Baltuch cited Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s book, A Code of Jewish Ethics: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself, in thanking the mem-
bers of the Legacy Society. “The Talmud teaches that ‘charity is equal in importance to all the other commandments combined,’” he said. He also thanked the members of the Endowment committee—Stan Dickman, Barry Einhorn, Bootsie Goldmeier, Daniel Gordon, Richard Saunders and Beverlee Tiger. Quoting Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian, Baltuch said: “The one who gives, gives money, while the one who influences others to give, gives time—and time is life.” After the service, Rabbi Michael Panitz dedicated the Temple Israel Legacy Society board on the Evelyn Eisenberg Atrium, and the congregation enjoyed a Kiddush lunch in Brody Auditorium.
Bat Mitzvah Club returns to Tidewater
group of fifth, sixth and seventh grade girls gathered at Chabad House for an evening of food, learning, discussion and crafts on Saturday, Nov. 9 for the return of the Bat Mitzvah Club. After enjoying a delicious dinner and dessert, the girls participated in a ‘getting to know you’ game. The girls were then led in a discussion on the meaning of becoming a Bat Mitzvah. The club watched a burning candle in the dark and then described the flame and came up with ways that souls are just like a burning flame. With Chanukah approaching, the girls also discussed the qualities of oil. They discovered that oil rises above other liquids and discussed how there are moments when courage is needed to rise above the situation and make the right choices— which is an important lesson for anyone becoming a Bat Mitzvah. Club members also used duct tape to make special rose pens to use in their club journals—which were also decorated that night. The club concluded with each girl
writing about what they learned in the meeting in their club journals. The Bat Mitzvah Club meets once a month—the next meeting will be held on Dec. 21. For more information, email rashi at email@example.com.
Evan Levitt joins Simon Family JCC as new development director by Leslie Shroyer
fter a year in Israel, Evan Levitt knew he wanted to work in the Jewish communal world. Originally from Baltimore, Md., he graduated from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut and lived for a year in Israel as Project OTZMA fellow. While in Israel, he worked for projects funded by the Jewish Federation system, including staffing duties at absorption centers, teaching Ethiopian kids English, and working with new immigrants. Levitt received a master’s degree in nonprofit management with a focus on Jewish communal service from Gratz College and worked for the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia as a development associate on such annual projects as Super Sunday, donor engagement initiatives and a golf tournament. He was promoted to a senior Major Gifts officer after working on behalf of the Jewish Federation for three years, and before accepting a position as campaign executive for the Jewish National Fund (JNF). While at JNF, Levitt and a major donor conceived of and executed an interfaith high school trip to Israel called Philadelphia’s Common Ground Mission. “It was my first foray into project-based fund raising, and it clicked,” he says. “I really enjoyed the specialized focus this provided.” After becoming campaign director for the Monmouth County, N.J. Federation, Levitt started community Taglit Birthright Israel trips, also in partnership with a major donor. With colleagues and volunteers, he created and implemented a campaign model which they called “Donor Driven Philanthropy.” When the position at the Simon Family JCC became open, Levitt and his young family saw the job as a great opportunity to raise funds for an organization “that has
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been so successful, primarily due to the efforts of volunteers.” The skills he developed in Monmouth County drew Levitt to the Simon Family JCC, where he hopes to demonstrate to donors that they can help fund JCC programs and events through a transparent campaign model. He is working on a fundraising model for the JCC that will be centered around the interest of the donor. One major initiative is “Celebrate Israel,” combining the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra appearance (April 2, co-sponsored with the Virginia Arts Festival) and the JCC’s annual Israel Festival, along with other community-wide activities. “We can demonstrate to the community that we have multi-faceted initiatives, all for the good of the JCC that community members can impact directly by giving at all levels. We can take on large projects with lofty goals because even a small community can execute really big ideas. To me, anything is possible,” he says.
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jewishnewsva.org | November 25, 2013 | Jewish News | 13
2nd Annual Tour De Mensch Bike Ride and JWV Brunch a success
2nd Annual Tour De Mensch participants: Samuel Leibovici, Sholom Mostovsky, David Jancewicz, Adam Goldberg, Craig Schranz, Steve Alperin, Chuck Werchado, Richard Popkin and Joanna Schranz.
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he Mens Club of Congregation Beth El teamed up with the Tidewater, Post 158, of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States to help organize the Second Annual Tour De Mensch Bike Ride followed by a community brunch on Sunday, Nov. 3. The Tour De Mensch is a 15-mile bike ride from Congregation Beth El in Ghent to West Ocean View Ave. and back. It helps bring awareness to the often under recognized role that the American Jewish community has played in our nation’s defense. Each of the nine participants rode in honor of a Jewish veteran.
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Lt. Cdr. Craig Schranz, active duty Navy, currently stationed at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, started the Tour last year. “I wanted a chance for people to come out and do something active, break down barriers throughout our community and recognize the contributions that Jews have made to military service. Last year we just did the bike ride, but we wanted to expand this year to include a brunch for those unable to ride and see if we could raise some funds for a
noble cause,” says Scharanz. With the help of Congregation B’nai Israel member, Adam Goldberg, who recently revived the local Jewish War Veterans of the USA’s Post 158 and is serving as the current Post Commander, they were able to expand the event this year and raise more than $400 for the JWV of the USA. Capt. Marty Snyder, who recently retired from 25 years of active service with both the Army and Navy, was the honored speaker. A veteran of both Gulf Wars, Katrina Relief and Operation Unified Response; Haiti’s international earthquake relief, shared his insight on the Navy’s important new mission for both foreign and domestic Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. Joanna Schranz, a two-time “Menschette” and owner of moisture wicking clothing retailer, CoolclothingUSA. com, sponsored the brunch. This was organized and administered by Norman Soroko and Ron Gladstone, who among many others, made the event a success. The Jewish War Veterans Post 158, Norfolk still seeks support to help sustain the post and preserve the heritage of Jewish Americans’ service. Donations are welcome and can be sent to Jewish War Veterans of the USA, 420 Spotswood Ave, Norfolk, VA, 23517.
Honor Role Rider
Sidney Wilson (grandfather)
Gary Poscover (uncle)
Irvin Alperin (uncle)
Morris London (father-in-law)
Howard Werchado (uncle)
Murray Goldberg (grandfather)
Samuel Leibovici Henry Leibovici (father)
‘67 & ‘72 Wars (Israel)
Shia Lome (step father)
Career Air Force
Stansell Raines (grandfather)
TJF honors veterans at Jewish War Veterans Monument
pproximately 60 people attended Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s annual Veterans Day Memorial Ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11. Philip Rovner, president and CEO of TJF, welcomed guests at the monument and Captain James Eilberg, SC, USN (Ret), officiated. Cantor Aaron Sachnoff, USN; Cantor Elihu Flax; Rabbi Israel Zoberman, IDF (Ret); Captain Martin Snyder, MC,
USN (Ret); and Rabbi Sender Haber also participated in the ceremony. Captain Snyder spoke about tikkun olam, and how service to one’s country is so important. He shared that he could always tell whether a person had been in the military by the way they carried themselves. Snyder challenged those attending to always remember and “honor those who had and continue to serve our country, a proud tradition that is at the very center of the freedom we enjoy.” The Jewish Veterans War Monument was completed and dedicated in 2010, after years of planning by many local Jewish veterans. Retired Army sergeant, Samuel “Sonny” Werth*, envisioned the memorial and spent timeless energy fundraising on its behalf to make the dream a reality. The Tidewater Jewish Foundation and the Sandler Family Campus are honored to house the beautiful monument, dedicated to all who have served with true bravery. The Jewish War Veterans Post 158 meets monthly on the Sandler Family Campus. Contact Post Commander Adam Goldberg, USN, at 831-917-3996 or jwv. firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. Memorial pavers are available for purchase to honor a veteran. Contact Shelby Tudor with TJF at 757-965-6105 or email@example.com for more information. *of blessed memory
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jewishnewsva.org | November 25, 2013 | Jewish News | 15
Moment Magazine seeks book reviews from young writers
oment Magazine is calling all young book critics and is now accepting entries for its annual Publish-a-Kid Contest, which asks children ages nine through 13 to write a book review from a recommended list of titles, including Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Running on Eggs by Anna Levine and the graphic novel, The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey by Steve Sheinkin. Nadine Epstein, editor and publisher of Moment, says the purpose of the contest is to, “Encourage young readers to choose books with Jewish content and to write and share their responses with others.” Epstein continues, “When kids have a chance to see their own words printed in a national magazine they realize the power of writing and the importance of reading.” The winning book reviews will be published in the May/June issue of Moment
in a section spotlighting children’s literature. Past children’s literature issues have featured interviews with Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth, iconic young adult fiction writer Judy Blume and many more. The deadline for contest is Feb. 14, 2014. For more information about the contest, visit www.momentmag.com/contests/publish-a-kid, or contact Diane Heiman at firstname.lastname@example.org. A printable poster describing the contest is available online for teachers to use in the classroom or email to families. Moment Magazine is the nation’s largest independent Jewish publication, co-founded in 1975 by Elie Wiesel and Leonard Fein. Focusing on Jewish politics, culture and religion, Moment presents in-depth journalism from an independent perspective.
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Francine Morgan Complimentary Initial Consultation 16 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
Last pages of Book Festival satisfy diverse groups by Leslie Shroyer
ith good book sales and attendance, wonderful sponsors and concluding events, this year’s Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival was among the most successful at the Simon Family JCC. Closing events included Marion Grodin, a stand-up comedian, who had a lunchtime audience doubling over with her witty remarks on an otherwise bleak Tuesday, Nov. 12. Dara Horn, author of this year’s Community Read, A Guide For The Perplexed, gave a mindful talk Thursday, Nov. 14. And Meg Akabas shared her parenting wisdom with a morning audience Friday, Nov. 15. The fourth Global Day of Jewish Learning was celebrated at the JCC on Sunday, Nov. 17, with two authors delivering a different message to two age groups. Alan Gratz, author of a handful of young adult books including his most recent, Prisoner B-3087, let a group of teens know that it’s okay not to have chosen a path for the future, and that eventually it will fall into place. As a teen, he disliked reading books and never could have seen himself as a writer. Still, his interest in science fiction and imagination led to his eventual career as a writer with the most recent book about a boy who endures 10 concentration camps. Jay Michaelson, author of a number of books including his latest, Evolving Dharma, Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next
Leslie Kimmelman, author.
Anne Kramer, Book Festival co-chair, Marlene Frankel, Neville Frankel, author, and Sharon and Bill Nusbaum.
Generation of Enlightenment, spoke of his own ispirituality (religion in the iphone age, as he refers to it) and how his Judaism has traveled the path of Conservative to Orthodox to his evolving into a “BuJu.” He talked briefly about how each person treats their Jewish traditions, which are tied up with boundaries, and how for many, Judaism has evolved to meet beliefs and lifestyles. He invited individuals, sitting at tables, to discuss their own ispirituality and share insights into their boundaries and parameters for incorporating Judaism into their spiritual sides. The Book Festival Committee, chaired by Lynn Sher Cohen and Ann Kramer, worked diligently to select hundreds of titles for the festival, as well as help staff carry out event details, from catering to
Lynn Sher Cohen, Book Festival co-chair, Sherri Wisoff, Michele Goldberg, Anne Kramer, Book Festival co-chair.
Robin Mancoll, Lynn Sher Cohen, Book Festival co-chair, Matthew Levitt, Author, Paul and Ellie Lipkin.
transportation, introductions and book signings. Book Festival sponsors are: Barnes & Noble Booksellers (of Tidewater Community College), Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel, Altmeyer Funeral Homes & Crematory, Beth Sholom Village, and the Jewish Book Council. Agencies and departments who partnered with the Book Festival include: The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, The Holocaust Commission of the UJFT, Tidewater Jewish Foundation, PJ Library, Jewish Family Service, The Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, the Board of Rabbis and Cantors of Hampton Roads, and BBYO. Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. * of blessed memory
June Hersh, author.
Alan Gratz speaks to BBYO students and area teens.
jewishnewsva.org | November 25, 2013 | Jewish News | 17
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18 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
Tidewater Jewish community Jewish genetic screening Sponsored by Jewish Family Service Sunday, Dec. 15, 10 am–3 pm Simon Family JCC by Betty Ann Levin, Jewish Family Service executive director
have recently had the honor of attending two very special Shabbat services, the first at Congregation Beth El and the second at Ohef Sholom Temple. Both Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz of Beth El and Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg at Ohef Sholom chose to celebrate “Blue Gene Shabbat,” an opportunity for congregants and other interested community members to be casual and learn more about the upcoming screening at the Simon Family JCC. Sponsored by Jewish Family Service of Tidewater in partnership with Eastern Virginia Medical School and the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Young Adult Division and Maimonides Society, the screening is being held in coordination with the American Red Cross Blood Drive, in memory of Sharon Elstein. Both “Blue Gene Shabbats” featured individuals speaking about how one of these conditions has affected them. At Beth El, Lois Pepkin shared her own family’s emotional story, as her granddaughter Gabi has familial dysautonomia, or “FD” (see excerpts from Pepkin’s remarks on page 19). At Ohef Sholom, Rabbi Mandelberg recounted two moving and emotional stories congregants had shared with her in regard to their own experiences with genetic disorders and her hope that members of our community be tested. “Even if you are intermarried or your spouse converted, even if you are beyond child-bearing age or have closed the kitchen on your own reproduction, another family member can learn from your information,” shared Rabbi Mandelberg. “You can make that much of a difference in someone’s life. As our tradition teaches, ‘saving a life is like saving the entire world.’” When thinking of Jewish genetic disorders, most people think of Tay-Sachs. Many members of the community participated in the Tay-Sachs screening at the JCC on Newport Avenue in the 1990s. But there
are actually 19 disorders that have an increased frequency in individuals of Eastern European Jewish ancestry, or Ashkenazi descent. One in four Jews may be a carrier for one of these conditions. The 19 disorders may be found in the “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)” at www. jewishva.org/geneticscreening. Getting screened is easy—it is a simple blood test. It is vital information, particularly for those approaching, or at, child-bearing age. However, it is also vital information for parents and grandparents who may want to know if he or she is a carrier for one of these conditions, in order to provide his or her children with this information. If a parent is a carrier, there is a 50% chance that his or her child is a carrier. Even if not aware of a family history of any of these disorders, everyone should get screened. A carrier may pass on a mutation from generation to generation unknowingly. It is only expressed when a carrier reproduces with another carrier of the same condition. At that point, the risk of having a child with that particular disorder is 25 percent. Anyone who is Ashkenazi or has Ashkenazi heritage is recommended for screening. In addition, it is recommended that those with an Ashkenazi partner get screened, because it is still possible that both are carriers. While these disorders are thought of as “Jewish,” they can occur in other ethnicities and populations. The screening is free thanks to generous donors; however, those with health insurance will have their insurance billed (no copayments, and cost is not applied to deductibles). To register for the screening and learn more about these conditions, why it is important to get screened, about being a carrier and more, visit www.jewishva.org/geneticscreening. Registrants should complete the consent form and bring it to the screening. Jewish Family Service is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
Gabi’s story by Lois Pepkin
y first granddaughter, Gabi, has Familial Dysautonomia. It’s a mouthful, so we refer to it as “FD.” When Gabi was diagnosed, my daughter called another family dealing with FD and they said, “Welcome to hell.” I agree and disagree with that statement. FD is an Ashkenazi—or Eastern European—Jewish genetic disorder that affects the autonomic and sensory nervous systems. Autonomic means what you take for granted, including tears in your eyes, regulating your own blood pressure and body temperature, and the swallowing of fluids and your own saliva. Gabi’s illness causes these non-controllable body functions to sometimes have a glitch. Sensory is what you feel. For example, if you are walking and twist your ankle, you stop twisting it and say, “ouch.” People like Gabi might not feel ‘the ouch’ and keep twisting it until it breaks. We had no idea that anything was wrong with Gabi until she was 18 months old. Gabi hit all the milestones and was not a failure to thrive child. She was fat, happy and always smiling and drooling! She walked, talked and ate right on schedule. Her only problem was that she still drooled a lot, sometimes became blotchy on her face and chest, and when she cried, she had no tears. But at 18 months, everything went wrong. Gabi suffered an aspiration pneumonia. That means food or fluid went into her lungs. The neurologists at the Children’s Hospital in New York treated her, but missed the diagnosis. At 20 months, she had her second aspiration pneumonia. The Babies Hospital lung specialists in New York also missed the diagnosis. Her third pneumonia at 22 months was also missed by the specialists. She again had pneumonia at 23 months, and it was during that fourth hospitalization for pneumonia that Gabi again aspirated while drinking. They called a code and the crash carts came. Gabi was whisked away to the intensive care unit and she survived. This time, the intensive care doctor, who had studied in Israel and saw more severe patients with FD, became involved. On his suspicions, Gabi was tested and we got the diagnosis. When she was diagnosed shortly before age two,
we were told she only had a 50 percent chance of living past the age of five. We planned her funeral for three years. At that point, Gabi started intensive feeding therapy to help her direct food only to her stomach and not to her lungs. I’m happy to say that Gabi is now 19 years old and attending college. Having a grandchild with a life-threatening and sometimes fatal illness is MY reality. Looking at her, you may see her leaning forward when walking, and she sometimes drools, especially if she is tired. Sometimes she has an autonomic crisis—a non-stop retching incident that goes on and on and she simply cannot breathe. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I simply didn’t know what to do, especially as I became paralyzed with fear. And I cannot believe how my kids can get medications into her that force her body to stop the vomiting cycle. That’s because we drug her. Eating is tricky. Foods that become liquid in the mouth, such as ice cream, Jell-O, soup, and any drinks—from water to juice to milk to alcohol—can all cause an aspiration pneumonia in Gabi. So they are eliminated from her diet. When she was younger, we made cookies on a stick, her lollipops. Or cakes in an ice cream cone. We always had yogurt, which was her version of ice cream as well. And she says I make the best hard matzo balls and veggies. We simply hold the soup and give her all the goodies! What Gabi wouldn’t give to have a cup of coffee or a diet Coke with friends! But having that drink could kill her. You may wonder how Gabi drinks. Gabi drinks through a tube in her stomach, a G-tube, although she eats by mouth. And yes, that tube has broken while at college, and another time at a wedding, and there is a mad rush to find an ace bandage to wrap around her belly since the tube leaks stomach fluid until she gets home or to an area so she can get the tube changed. We still bring a change of clothes for her at age 19. Flying on a plane brings an extra layer of problems, too. Gabi flies with oxygen. We pre-order the oxygen, and her ticket shows she has special needs and requires oxygen. But somehow, there is always a problem at the airport. You may go to the airport an hour or two early—we go three hours early because check-in always requires extra help.
As a family, we have really tried to normalize her life. Her body doesn’t know how to sweat in order to cool off in the summer, so we don’t go to the beach, park, or amusement parks, and we don’t stay outdoors much in the summer. She can’t attend camp unless the buildings are air-conditioned. Since Gabi has no tears, we can’t go to the beach since the sand or even the salt from the ocean can damage her eyes. Instead, we go to the beach in December to see the Holiday Lights. We are frequent visitors of the Portsmouth Children’s Museum, the Virginia Aquarium, and Waterside in Norfolk. Avoiding the hot, humid air becomes routine after a while. Gabi has actually helped us along the way, too. She needs a wheelchair for long distances. You cannot believe the lines we were able to cut at the airport due to that wheelchair! We also have met incredible airport personnel. While in Paris, and not speaking the language, they let my daughter bring in fluids in a carry-on bag larger than three ounces for Gabi, and a wheelchair escort helped Gabi with her oxygen and coordinated our trip to the hotel. Strangers on the subway, yes the Paris subway, helped us on and off the subway. And Gabi was wheeled close to then French President Sarkozy when he gave an appearance during Armistice Day in 2011. I do not intend to mislead you that it has been easy for us. My daughter was accused of Munchausen syndrome by proxy—a psychological disorder in which a parent or other caregiver gains attention from medical professionals by repeatedly causing or fabricating disease symptoms in a child. A security guard at another hospital shadowed my daughter until the x-ray doctor called Gabi’s specialist because he couldn’t understand why Gabi had no pain and why Gabi was not complaining about her broken arm. They thought Gabi was abused by my daughter. My story is about awareness. There is only one world specialist at NYU Medical Center in New York. The gene was finally found in 2001 and now you can be tested for it prenatally. Gabi’s foundation, the Dysautonomia Foundation, has raised monies for research and to improve their quality of life. With the support of the specialists and ongoing treatment, Gabi is expected to have a normal life…as normal as can be.
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Book reviews On Potok Chaim Potok: Confronting Modernity Through the Lens of Tradition Daniel Walden, Editor The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013 184 pages Chaim Potok, who died in 2002, shared two things with your reviewer. We both graduated with Hal Sacks Bachelor-of-Arts degrees in literature in 1950 and we both had our minds opened to literature by Evelyn Waugh (among others). He was smitten by Brideshead Revisited; I by A Handful of Dust. We both studied James Joyce, particularly A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Potok went on to join the pantheon of great American writers, and more particularly of great American Jewish writers. Daniel Walden, professor emeritus of American Studies, English, and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University was the founder and longtime editor of the journal, Studies in American Jewish Literature. We both received our Masters degrees in literature at Columbia University, but our paths never crossed until recently. Readers of this column know that this reviewer is generally untroubled by bouts of humility, but Professor Walden has assembled essays from such a distinguished group of scholars that any reader should be a bit intimidated. Still, for any fan of Chaim Potok, especially one who has read most of his novels decades ago, this collection is as much a joy as it is a challenge. Walden and his contributors made me recall that, whereas Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth captured and ruminated on the conflicts engendered by Jews fitting and not fitting into the fabric of American culture, Potok’s early works such as The Chosen and The Promise did the same—but within the context of Judaism alone. This is one reason Potok seems to be considered a kind of “outlier” among Jewish American authors. The first half of the book is a significant body of criticism of Potok’s novels, including some of his later and less well-known works, providing a review for those who may be a bit rusty on Potok— as well as the basis for scholarly and critical discussion.
The second half consists of more personal considerations, notably a wonderful essay by Potok’s widow, Adena Potok, who in addition to her own career as a psychiatric social worker was his “first reader” until his death in 2002. Herman Harold (Chaim Tzvi in Hebrew) Potok was born in 1929 in The Bronx, N. Y. (We were chronological, geographic, and name contemporaries and I have wondered my entire life what it was in the name Harold, a Middle English name derived from the Scandinavian, that fascinated Jewish mothers in the Bronx at that time.) His father was a Belzer Hasid and his mother descended from the Hasidic Ryzner line. A yeshiva borcher from childhood through rabbinic ordination, Potok was enamored of painting until Orthodox concerns with idolatry forced him to seek other intellectual pursuits. Brought up in the tight Jewish world of the Bronx, he emerged blinking in the powerful light of what he termed “Western secular humanism.” One could argue that this was a western extension of the European Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment movement in Europe of the late 18th to late 19th centuries inspired by Moses Mendelssohn. It could be further argued that there was a line of connection going back to writers like Sholom Asch, who emigrated to America and whose novels, such as East River, foreshadowed the work of E.L. Doctorow, Herman Wouk, as well as Saul Bellow, Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud. Chaim Potok concludes with the reprint of an address by Potok himself in 1982. In it he acknowledges that “the Eastern side of our planet has some overlap with our side, but at the heart of things, I think the two sides of the planet really think the world structures reality in ways quite different, one from the other.” The new world, only about 300 years old, begins with the Enlightenment, thus our “civilization makes no appeal to the supernatural.” No wonder Potok has been described as a “Zwischenmensch,” a “between person,” and not only Jews, but Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists have taken to his works as they struggle to live in constant tension with tradition and daily reality. Re-reading one’s favorite books is more and more difficult as we are bombarded with a surfeit of new publications on our Kindles, Nooks, or good old paper.
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However, re-reading the perennially relevant Chaim Potok is what your reviewer has in his bucket, and Daniel Weldon’s Chaim Potok is an invaluable guide to that task.
Inspiring Story The Rage to Live Anna Andlauer Create Space, 2012 225 pages, $17.00 ISBN 978-1479322-2893 They were a band of broken children: From infants on the verge of death from exposure and starvation to young children, teenagers, and young adults who had lived through hell and unspeakable horrors. Most were Jewish, but many were Polish, Czech, and Hungarian youths who had been subjected to years of Germanization. In July 1945 the first international children’s center in the American zone in Germany was housed in an old monastery, Kloster Indersdorf, not far from Dachau, under the aegis of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitations Administration (UNRRA). The inspiring story of the efforts of social workers, nurses, doctors, and Sisters of Mercy of Saint Vincent de Paul, seven decades ago, would have been lost were it not for two women. The first was a 35-year-old former nanny and nursery school teacher. Greta Fischer escaped with her family to England from Moravia, one step ahead of the Nazis. From Anna Freud, daughter of the founder of psychoanalysis, Fischer gained an appreciation of pioneer work in trauma therapy for children. At the end of the war in Europe she volunteered for UNRRA to help overcome the challenges of caring for and healing the uprooted, orphaned and traumatized children brought to the Displaced Persons Children’s Center. It is mainly from Fischer’s detailed notes that the story of the Center was preserved. The second is the author, Anna Andlauer, a German high school teacher who served as a docent for tour groups visiting the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial. Eventually, research led her to Fischer’s papers and a new career. Specializing in the Kloster Indersdorf Center, Andlauer traced survivors spread worldwide, interviewing and bringing them back to visit “their cloister,” renew acquaintanceships,
and talk about their experiences. Each year dozens of survivors, the youngest now in their late 70s or early 80s, return to Germany, still mourning their murdered family members, friends, and comrades. The Rage to Live, first published in German in 2011, has been given a serviceable if not eloquent translation into English. Clearly not intended as a work of great literary aspiration, it is a stunning testimonial to the survivors of Kloster Indersdorf. The story of the heroic efforts of a tiny staff and a few volunteers to create a sanctuary for displaced children, satisfy their need for nourishment, restore them to physical health and seek to repair their spirit is enormously uplifting. Babies certainly required individual attention; younger child survivors tended to cling to each other regardless of gender. Concomitantly, the search for surviving relatives had to be preceded by the daunting task of simply identifying the children. Once matters of food, clothing and shelter were stabilized, the complicated concerns of easing children’s minds, creating education programs, vocational training and leisure activities had to be addressed. Sociologists may now take issue with some of the philosophy and methodology used—for which there were no texts or guidelines. Thanks to Andlauer’s research, the reader can meet many of the children personally through photographs and individual stories as well as see them as they are now, elderly, even frail. Fischer embarked on a lifetime of service to children, first serving in Canada in a shelter serving child survivors from Europe, while earning a Master’s degree in education from McGill University. Service for the “Joint” (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) followed, training social workers and teachers in Casablanca, Morocco, improving institutions for the handicapped for the Ministry of Health in Israel, then finally developing and directing the Social Work Department at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital. She retired at age 70 and lived in Israel until her death in 1988. Greta Fischer never married and had no children of her own, but served thousands of children in her lifetime. —Hal Sacks is a retired Jewish communal worker who has reviewed books for Jewish News for more than 30 years.
what’s happening Israel Today Forum on diversity features voice of experience--Bedouin Israeli Diplomat Thursday, Dec. 12, 7 pm by Laine M. Rutherford
Follow Me director to speak at Jewish Film Festival Wednesday, Jan. 22 by Leslie Shroyer
variety of venues and film genres and a visit from two of the films’ directors are just some of what’s planned for the 2014 Simon Family JCC’s Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg. One director, Jonathan Gruber, will visit the Naro Expanded Cinema in Norfolk, where his film, Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story will show as part of the Festival lineup. Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story is a compelling docudrama based on Yoni Netanyahu’s own words and letters. Sharing emotions and feelings seldom portrayed in Hollywood scripts, this movie portrays Netanyahu as a poet and intimate, loving man, as well as a warrior and international hero. A member of a high-profile family (father Benzion was a highly respected political and educational leader, who had hands-on contributions to Israel’s independence, and brother Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel’s Prime Minister), Netanyahu’s heritage, patriotism and tragic death accomplished his utmost desire: not one other Israeli was killed in the heroic rescue of Air France flight 139, containing more than 100 Israeli and Jewish passengers, when it was hijacked and flown to Entebbe Airport, near Kampala, Uganda in June 1976. Jonathan Gruber wanted to give the film, written by Ari Daniel Pinchot, a visceral feel as director, to make it a cinematic
experience from the onset. Three trips to Israel helped make this a reality. “It’s unusual in shooting a documentary to be able to make more than a trip or two to a destination for shooting,” Gruber says. The first trip was for research, the second was for the majority of the interviews, and the third and final trip was to fill in some blanks. “It added layers and dimensions,” he says. “These visits led to a feeling of completion and satisfaction, because we were able to meet so many people close to Yoni, and not just rush through the process.” Since its release last year, Follow Me has won awards at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, the Charleston Film Festival and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. “One would hope viewers will get a sense of the life of a dedicated Israeli soldier,” says Gruber. “Although Yoni died in Entebbe nearly four decades ago, this powerful story is not dated. Life and death decisions are unexpected during crises, they always have been, and always will be.” Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story will show at the Naro Expanded Theatre. This event is co-sponsored by the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Visit SimonFamilyJCC.org for more information about the Film Festival, look for a mailer, and like it on Facebook. The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
ife as a diplomat in Israel’s Foreign Ministry can be a constant challenge. Most of a diplomat’s time is spent representing Israel as a positive, thriving, welcoming country, and always, always combating religious stereotypes, myths and biases perpetuated in the media, and hostility—even hatred—toward Jews. Ishmael Khaldi knows that he’ll face all of those issues and more in his position as Counsellor for Civil Society Affairs at the Israeli Embassy in London. “Being a diplomat is challenging. Being Israeli is challenging,” says Khaldi. “Being an Israeli Bedouin Diplomat? That’s even much, much more of a challenge.” Khaldi will appear at the Sandler Family Campus to, fittingly, discuss Diversity in Israel Today. The event is the first in the three-part Israel Today Forum, presented by the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and community partners. Khaldi was born and raised in Khawaled, a Bedouin village in the north of Israel, near Haifa. Until he was eight, he lived in a tent—shepherding flocks, playing with his 10 siblings, and walking four miles to attend an Arab Christian school where he was a glaring minority. He engages readers with tales of childhood in A Shepherd’s Journey, his 2010 memoir. Recognition of his ambition and intelligence propelled his parents and others to encourage higher education: Khaldi earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Haifa and a Masters Degree in International Relations from Tel Aviv University. Before embarking on his career in the Foreign Ministry, Khaldi served in the Israeli Defense Forces, the Defense ministry and the Israeli Police. After passing a stringent screening and testing process, Khaldi became the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson to the Arabic media during the Disengagement from Gaza, was the Deputy Consul General in San Francisco, and was Middle East and Arab affairs advisor for embattled (and recently acquitted) Foreign
Minister Avidgdor Lieberman. “I refer to myself as an Israeli Bedouin, all those other terms—Arab, Muslim and the ministry terms— Ishmael Khaldi at this point are all political, and I believe very much in who I am and what I do,” says Khaldi, “and to speak out is part of who I am. I have found that the vast majority of people, at least the ones I have met, have a plain understanding about Israel—that it’s a Jewish state, there are politics, and that’s it. “When I come to Virginia Beach, I’m going to pose the issues of rights—equal rights, civil rights, and everything else. While no, everything is not perfect and there may be many things that can be improved in Israel, I do use my honesty, when there is something wrong, I say it—I believe there is no other country like it, particularly among the countries surrounding us. There are Jews, Bedouins, Christians, Arabs, Muslims, Latinos, Africans, and so many more living in Israel. It is a multicultural society where many people do live together well, and that’s one of the things I think makes it so great.” Khaldi says some of the places he visits, he’s met with open doors and open minds. Other places, he is attacked, shouted at, restricted legally, and blatantly hated. “When people see me and hear what I have to say, it often surprises them,” he says. “It makes people rethink—they listen, they calm down, and they begin to hear a different message about Israel from the one they think they know, from the things they hear, and from what the media says. To me, this is what a diplomat does—I believe that the relationship between countries is not only to be between government offices, the defense ministry, the foreign ministry, the health ministry…but also with the people.” The Israel Today Forum is free and open to the community. RSVP is requested. Call 757-965-6107, or email email@example.com.
jewishnewsva.org | November 25, 2013 | Jewish News | 21
what’s happening Rabbi Gershon Litt to be honored at Toras Chaim’s gala dinner
Sunday, Dec. 8, reception at 5 pm; dinner at 5:30 pm
ince its inception 12 years ago, Toras Chaim has held an annual celebratory gala dinner and this year is no exception. With a dinner, theme of “Bringing Wisdom to the Stars,” the evening’s keynote speaker will be Rabbi Benzion Klatzko, who is known as “The Rabbi to the Stars” for his work in Los Angeles with well-known Hollywood personalities, as well as for being the creator of Shabbat.com, the premier Shabbat hospitality placement service in the world. A special video presentation by David Weiss, the co-writer of Shrek 2, Rugrats and Smurfs will also take place, as well as a choir presentation by the students.
This year’s honoree is Rabbi Gershon Litt, the current president of Toras Chaim. He has touched the lives of many young adults in Tidewater and has led the school with passion for the past two years. Sponsorship ads are available to thank him for his work on behalf of the community and the school. Toras Chaim’s gala dinner will be held at B’nai Israel Congregation. Tickets for the dinner and advertising space can be purchased at the dinner’s website, www.tcdinner.com. Go to the site, select the “event” tab and select purchase and ad text. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homework Help Monday through Thursday, 3:45-4:45 pm Homework helpers are needed to work with 1st-6th graders at the Simon Family JCC’s Kids Connection Program. It doesn’t take much time and makes a world of difference. High school students to seniors are welcome. Call 321-2342.
November 26–February 23 JCC Youth Basketball League with guidance from Coach Larry Ward. Open to kids in grades K-8. *Required parent & child Open House on Nov 26 (K–2 5:30 pm, 3–5 6:30 pm, 6–8 7:30 pm) Team practices begin first week of December. Practice start times may extend later depending upon enrollment. $100; $80 JCC members. Team coaches are needed for all grade levels. Free Basketball Coach’s Clinic on Monday, November 25, at 6:30pm. 757-321-2338. November 28–December 1 Free guest days at the Simon Family JCC. JCC members: Bring up to three friends and enjoy all that the Center has to offer, from pools to fitness center to group exercise classes. For more information, call 321-2338. December 2, Monday Latke Palooza. 7:30 pm. Simon Family JCC. See page 37. December 7, Saturday YAD Chanukah party. 8 pm. See page 37. December 9, Monday The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Congregation Beth Chaverim offer, “The Threat of the World-Wide Muslim Brotherhood Movement” with Kyle Shideler of Endowment for Middle East Truth. Beth Chaverim, 3820 Stoneshore Road, Virginia Beach. 7 pm. Free and open to the community with RSVP by Dec. 4 to LHenderson@ujft.org or 965-6107. See page 8. December 12, Thursday The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and community partners present Israel Today with Ishmael Khaldi, a Bedouin Israeli who holds the distinction of being the first Bedouin appointed as a diplomat in Israel’s Foreign Ministry. 7 pm at the Sandler Family Campus, RSVP is requested by Dec. 10 to LHenderson@ujft.org or 965-6107. See page 21. December 15, Sunday Jewish community genetic screening at the Simon Family JCC. 10 am–3 pm. See page 18.
Eric Kline Business Development Danny Kline Vice President
Andy Kline President
December 16–February 12, Mondays and Wednesdays Swim team winter and spring pre-season workouts and swim clinics. These 16-class clinics are off-season opportunities for swimmers to have the Swordfish coaching staff help them work on conditioning, swim stroke techniques, flip turns, and race strategies to prepare for the 2014 summer season, or as a great way to stay active and healthy during the winter (classes repeat early spring). 3:45–4:30 pm. Experienced swimmers (ages 5-18) are required. The swim team staff will make decisions regarding a swimmer’s ability to participate. Call 321-2308 for questions, register at 321-2338. No clinics on Dec. 25 or Jan. 1. Registration fee ($115/$85 JCC member) is for an entire session. December 23–December 31 (no Camp 12/25) Chill out during Winter Break at the Simon Family JCC. JCC Winter Camp is filled with adventure and fun in a supportive and enriching environment. Camp includes a variety of recreational activities: arts and crafts, specialty projects, active and quiet games, sports and swimming. $360/$280 JCC members, call 321-2342 to register.
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22 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
December 25, Wednesday Enjoy a pancake breakfast, 9:30 am–noon at the Simon Family JCC. Join for a delicious breakfast with all the trimmings: juice, eggs and fresh pancakes with special toppings. Come out to eat, create crafts, play games and have fun with family and friends. $7 child, $10 adult, $34 family; $5 child, $8 adult, $26 family for JCC members. Call 321-2338 to reserve.
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7/6/11 11:54 AM
Baron Cohen’s ‘deadly’ prank
acha Baron Cohen killed when he took the stage at the BAFTA Los Angeles Jaguar Britannia Awards Saturday, Nov. 9. Literally, he killed. An elderly woman. At least that’s what everyone there thought for a minute. The Jewish comic actor was presented the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy by Grace Cullington, an 87-year-old in a wheelchair billed as Charlie Chaplin’s oldest living co-star. Cullington bestowed upon Baron Cohen a cane she said belonged to Chaplin. Baron Cohen then proceeded to use the cane as a prop in an impromptu Chaplin impersonation. All very sweet until the cane broke, causing him to fall…into the wheelchair. Cullington was thrown off the stage and, supposedly, to her death. “Grace Collington is the oldest, sorry, was the oldest…I dedicate my award to her,” he said of his victim, according to Deadline. “It’s obviously a tragedy, but on the bright side, what a great way to go. She’ll probably make the Oscars in Memoriam section. Baron Cohen added, “Anyway tonight is not about her, it’s about me.” It was, of course, a prank. According to the Los Angeles Times: “The senior citizen was actually a stuntwoman, and the only Cullington from the silent era was Margaret Cullington, who had a small part in Chaplin’s A Dog’s Life. She died in 1925.” We’re not sure what’s more impressive, Baron Cohen’s envelope-pushing shenanigans or a senior citizen stuntwoman. (JTA)
Miley Cyrus to play Israel
ust out the foam fingers, Israel! Yep, Miley Cyrus is coming to town. The singer who got the term twerking into the Oxford Dictionary will perform in the Holy Land this summer, Israel’s Channel 2 reports. The details are still thin, but it looks like the show will be slated for June in a venue to be determined. While the performance is expected to be on a smaller scale than Rihanna’s recent performance, we have a feeling Miley won’t let RiRi outdo her on the controversy front. And who knows, she might just meet a nice (older) Jewish guy. (JTA)
Mazel Tov to Rabin’s granddaughter bringing show to U.S.
oa Rothman, the granddaughter of the late Yitzhak Rabin, just signed a deal to produce an American version of her Israeli show “The Prime Minister’s Children,” The Times of Israel reports. The series, which Rothman co-wrote, “focused on the public and private lives of a fictional Israeli prime minister, his wife and his two adolescent children,” according to The Times of Israel. “The U.S. version will follow a similar model but instead peer into the private rooms of the White House, making the audience privy to the inner workings of an American president.” Sounds good. And if it follows in the footsteps of fellow Israeli imports In Treatment and Homeland, it likely will be. (JTA)
Thanksgivukah episodes we want to see
hanksgivukah has already has bestowed upon us many gifts, including a great recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts with pastrami and pickled red onion, a rapping turkey and a Colbert Report bit so funny the host himself lost it. We have something else on our wish list for this holiday season, though, that only the network gods can deliver. We’re talking about the opportunity to watch our favorite TV characters engage in some ridiculous and hilarious holiday hijinks. That’s right, bring on the Thanksgivukkah episodes, TV-making people! We are ready. Our best hope for some Latkey Day representation is probably on The New Girl, The Big Bang Theory and—well, sadly— that’s really it. Which is why our imaginations have run wild with dreams of what could have been if these two celebrations collided more than once every 70,000-odd years. 1. Friends: We’re thinking it would have been called “The One with the Menurkey.” 2. The Goldbergs: C’mon, can’t they just fudge it and pretend Thanskgivukah was an ’80s phenomenon? They’ve been pretty loose with period accuracy as it is.
3. Seinfeld: How can one even begin to process a Festivus-Thansgivukkah mashup? There are just far too many comedic possibilities to handle. This is clearly a job for the folks over at Modern Seinfeld . 4. Curb Your Enthusiasm: Perhaps Larry might ask the owner of the Palestinian chicken restaurant to cater his holiday feast? 5. The O.C.: A shining moment surely for known Chrismukkah enthusiast Seth Cohen. 6. Will & Grace: A better merger than Thanskgiving and Chanukah? The merger of the sitcom’s classic Moveable Feast episode and Thanksgivukah. 7. Arrested Development: A celebration during George Sr.’s rabbi phase would have been pretty great. 8. Sex and the City: It’s all you, Charlotte York Goldenblatt! Unless, of course, the ladies would rather just skip the whole thing and do brunch. Or cocktails. 9. The Nanny: Thanksgivukah gets the Queens treatment. 10. Entourage: Thanksgivukah gets the Queens treatment, but this time at the Gold’s lair, where the boys come to celebrate. Vince hooks up with Ari’s barely legal niece, Turtle lights a joint off the menorah, Drama recounts the time he auditioned for the role of a Maccabee and Eric does nothing interesting. (JTA)
Paula Abdul bat mitzvah off the Western Wall
aula Abdul canceled her much-hyped bat mitzvah at the Western Wall, opting instead for a low-key ceremony in the town of Safed, The Times of Israel reports. Per Israel’s Tourism Ministry, which hosted the former American Idol and The X Factor judge, the switch was due to jet lag. But the officiating rabbi, Eyal Riess of the Tzfat Kabbalah Center, claims it was to avoid the media. Either way, the deed is done. Mazel tov! (JTA)
Achievement Norman David Soroko for being elected to the board of directors of the International Federation of Jewish Men’s Club in New York. He continues to serve as acting president of the Beth El Men’s Club and also on the board of directors of the Seaboard Region of the FJMC. Norman David Soroko on receiving an award from the American Cancer Society for being the second highest individual fundraiser for the City of Norfolk, Relay for Life 2013. This past year he raised $15,433 for cancer research and was presented the award at a dinner last month.
Mazel Tov submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with Mazel Tov in the subject line. Achievements, B’nai Mitzvot, births, engagements and weddings are appropriate simchas to announce. Photos must be at least 300k. Include a daytime phone for questions. There is no fee.
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My history with the family of Lee Harvey Oswald’s Jewish killer by Steve North
NEW YORK (JTA)—We were sharing a pastrami sandwich and pickles at the Los Angeles landmark Canter’s Deli. I was 24. She was nearly 50 years older, with a piercing voice as loud as her flaming red wig. Her name was Eva Rubenstein Grant, and she was a little-known nightclub manager the morning of Nov. 24, 1963, when her brother left the apartment they shared in Dallas and blasted his way into infamy by fatally shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. It was history’s first live televised murder. Eva worked and lived with Jack Ruby and spent the rest of her life defending him against various allegations. “I swear on my life, my brother was not three things,” Eva told me, her voice rising. “He was not a homosexual. He was not with the communists. And certainly not with the underworld.” I listened with fascination to Eva that day in 1977. (Years later she was perfectly portrayed in a TV movie by Doris Roberts, the high-decibel mom on Everybody Loves Raymond. She died in November 1992 at 83.) “But Mrs. Grant,” I said. “Jack had ties to the ‘syndicate,’ as you call it, as far back as your childhood in Chicago.” “Look,” she replied in exasperation. “We would see these people in the neighborhood and we’d ask, how’s your mother? How’s your sister? But that doesn’t mean Jack was connected with them. I grew up with a bunch of boys who turned out to be no good. Who knew?” It was a quintessentially Jewish response, albeit delivered in Eva’s hybrid Chicago-Dallas accent. And the Rubensteins were a staunchly Jewish family, a fact that may have played a role in Ruby’s killing of Oswald, President John F. Kennedy’s assassin. Ruby was born Jacob Rubenstein in 1911 to a family of Polish-Jewish immigrants. His parents, Joseph and Fannie, were a volatile couple. Joseph was a mean and abusive drunk. Fannie suffered from mental illness and at one point was committed to an Illinois state hospital. Their eight children had their fair share of problems, both before and after the parents separated. Ruby and three of his siblings were made wards of Chicago’s Jewish Home Finding Society and placed in foster homes for periods of time during the 1920s.
Despite their dysfunctional world, the Rubensteins kept a kosher home, observed the holidays, sent their boys to Hebrew school and attended synagogue. After World War II, Eva moved to Dallas and began managing nightclubs and restaurants. Ruby received an honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1946 and joined Eva a year later in Texas. It was in 1947 that Jack, along with brothers Earl and Sam, legally changed his last name to Ruby. As a young man in Chicago, Ruby reportedly ran errands for Al Capone’s cousin and henchman Frank Nitti. A former Dallas sheriff once testified that Chicago mafia figures told him that Ruby was sent to Texas to run nightclubs that were fronts for illegal gambling operations. According to evidence uncovered by the U.S. House of Representatives Assassinations Committee in the 1970s, Ruby was later linked to mobsters Carlos Marcello and Santos Traficante, who the panel considered prime suspects in a possible mob conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. Whatever he was doing behind the scenes, Ruby became known as a nightclub owner and at some point began attending services at Congregation Shearith Israel. Rabbi Hillel Silverman, who was the Dallas synagogue’s spiritual leader from 1954 to 1964, says Ruby came to say Kaddish for his father. Silverman, now 89 and still leading High Holy Days services every year, remembers Ruby well. “The day of the assassination, we had our regular Friday night service, which became a memorial service for the president,” Silverman said. “Jack was there. People were either irate or in tears, and Jack was neither. He came over and said, ‘Good Shabbos, rabbi. Thank you for visiting my sister Eva in the hospital last week.’ I thought that was rather peculiar.” Two days later, Silverman spoke to his Sunday morning confirmation class, expressing relief to the students that Lee Harvey Oswald was not Jewish or there might have been a “pogrom” in Dallas. He then switched on the radio and heard that a “Jack Rubenstein” had killed the assassin. “I was shocked,” said Silverman. “I visited him the next day in jail, and I said, ‘Why, Jack, why?’ He said, ‘I did it for the American people.’” I interrupted Silverman, pointing out that other reports had Ruby saying he did it “to
24 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
show that Jews had guts.” The rabbi sighed. “Yes, he mentioned that,” Silverman said. “But I don’t like to mention it. I think he said, ‘I did it for the Jewish people.’ But I’ve tried to wipe that statement from my mind.” Another person close to Ruby who tried, unsuccessfully, to block out the past is his nephew, “Craig” Ruby. (He asked that I not publish his real first name). His early memories are pleasant: Uncle Jack having a shot of whiskey with Craig’s father, doling out silver dollars to the kids, his flashy sports cars. Like millions of Americans, Craig watched Oswald’s murder live on television. Soon afterward, he and his mother heard the name of the gunman. My initial connection to the Ruby family was through Eva, who I convinced to appear on ABC’s Good Night America program in 1976. She introduced me to her brothers— Earl, who owned a dry cleaning store in Detroit, and Sam, who lived in the Los Angeles suburb of Sylmar. Sam showed me the one picture he had of their immigrant parents as well as the rusting car Jack drove to the Dallas police station the morning he shot Oswald. In 1991, Earl allowed me to rendezvous with him in Dallas on the day he retrieved Jack’s gun, which he won after a decadeslong legal battle. I later showed the weapon on television for the first time since 1963, shortly before it was auctioned off for $220,000. Some conspiracy theorists believe Ruby was ordered to silence Oswald by his organized crime contacts. Others, who think the murder was an impulsive act, point to Ruby’s fury over an anti-Kennedy advertisement in a Dallas newspaper the morning of the president’s visit. It was paid for by a right-wing Jewish activist named Bernard Weissman, which Ruby thought put Jews in a bad light. We will never know for sure. What Craig Ruby knows for certain is that he did not mourn his uncle’s death from cancer in 1967. His family had moved to Chicago by then and when he saw the headline announcing Ruby’s death, he felt like a weight had lifted. (Steve North is a broadcast journalist with CBS News who’s been reporting on the Kennedy assassination since 1976.)
obituaries Alfred Irving Horowitz Norfolk—84, Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Alfred Irving Horowitz died peacefully Nov. 6 at home surrounded by family and friends. He spent 64 years with the love of his life, Jeannette, who preceded him in death. They have two children who survive them, Ronnie (Tracy) of Baltimore and Diane (Peter) of Norfolk. They shared a love of travel, fine dining, and theatre. Edith I. Kenner Norfolk—Edith I. Kenner, 85, of the 500 block of Maycox Ave., died Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 in a local hospital. She was a native and lifelong resident of Norfolk, Va. and was the daughter of the late Abraham and Hannah Benenson Itzkowitz. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 44 years, Robert H. Kenner. Mrs. Kenner attended Maury High School and the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary. She formerly was employed with the Virginia State Police before leaving to raise her children. She later resumed her career and retired from ColorCraft which became Qualex in Norfolk. She was a lifetime member of Hadassah. Survivors include her children, Marybeth Saunders and her husband Kenneth and Debbie Pearl all of Virginia Beach, Michael Kenner of Los Angeles and Abbie DeVault and her husband Edward of Norfolk, four grandchildren; Eric DeVault and his wife Amy of Chesapeake, Kevin Pearl of Washington, D.C., Hilary Saunders of Miami and Robi Kenner of Los Angeles and one great-granddaughter, Danielle DeVault of Chesapeake; her sister, Marilyn Gross of Philadelphia and many nieces and nephews. Memorial donations to the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, The Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Fla. or to the charity of the donor’s choice. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be sent to the family at hdoliver.com.
obituaries Jeanette Goldberg Mink Norfolk—Jeanette Goldberg Mink, 96, passed away at Beth Sholom Village on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. She was the former owner of Sarah Cohen Dress Shop of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Born in Portsmouth, Va., she was the daughter of the late Anna Cohen Klein and Joseph Klein, and was the widow of Herbert Goldberg and Eugene Mink. Mrs. Mink was a member of Congregation Beth El in Norfolk. Left to cherish her memory are her two daughters, Judy G. Smith and husband Mannie of Norfolk and Sandy R. Schwartz and husband Alan of Franklin, MI; sister-in-laws, Jean G. Molofsky of Norfolk and Vita Klein of Pompano Beach, Fla.; four grandchildren, Stacey Smith of New York City, Lisa Sonenshine and husband Steve of Marietta, Ga., and David Schwartz and wife Jodi Cohen, and Mark Schwartz and wife Denise all of Chicago, Ill.; seven great grandchildren, Elena, Ian, Sam, Zack, Hannah, Harris, and Andrew; and a number of loving nieces and nephews, and Gene Mink’s family. Jeanette was preceded in death by her brother Paul Klein, brother-in laws Sheldon Molofsky and Elkin Goldberg, and sister-in-law Edna Goldberg. Her family would like to sincerely thank the staff at Beth Sholom Village for their loving care. A funeral service was conducted at the Norfolk Chapel of H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts., with Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz and Cantor Gordon Piltch officiating. Burial followed in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Memorial contributions to Beth Sholom Village, 6401
Auburn Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23464. Online condolences may be made to her family through www.hdoliver.com. Evelyn Jacobson Salasky Virginia Beach–Evelyn Jacobson Salasky, 95, died peacefully at the Terrace at Beth Sholom Village on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. Evelyn was an elegant woman who always acted and dressed like a lady. Her quick smile and easy laugh put others at ease. She will be missed by many who loved and cared for her. Evelyn was born in Portsmouth on February 6, 1918, to the late Ben and Rose Jacobson. She was predeceased by her parents, by her twin brother Edwin (Buddy) Jacobson, her brother Freddy Jacobson, and by her former husband, Stanley Salasky. She is survived by her daughter Ronnie Lynne Friedman and husband Marcus, son Martin Keith Salasky and wife Donna, brother Jack Jacobson and wife Suzanne, sisters-in-law Nancy Jacobson and Jerri Jacobson Wetsel, grandchildren Robert S. Friedman and wife Alicia, Leslie Jo Nossen and husband William (Bill), Rachel Salasky and Anna Salasky, great grandchildren Hallie Friedman, Jamie Friedman, Lily Ann Nossen and Samuel Nossen. She is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Evelyn married Stanley Salasky in 1940 and settled in Portsmouth, but soon moved to what was then the tiny resort town of Virginia Beach. They became part of a small, growing Jewish community where they helped found Temple Emanuel Synagogue and where Evelyn served as
president of the Sisterhood. Evelyn was a beautiful woman whose style and grace helped distinguish her in her social and business life. As one of Tidewater’s Best Dressed Women in the 1960’s she always presented a tailored, feminine appearance wherever she went. Her style and beauty made her a natural as the owner of Nicholson and Marks, where she sold the finest in women’s fashions for 17 years. The family wishes to thank the Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care of Tidewater for their loving care provided to Evelyn. A graveside funeral was held at Gomley Chesed Cemetery in Portsmouth by Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg and Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin. Contributions to Beth Sholom Village or the charities of the donor’s choice. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be made to the family at hdoliver.com.
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Armada of fans show up to support Hal’s Navy by Laine Mednick Rutherford
ike sailors rallying around their captain or destroyers protecting their carrier group, the audience that came to hear Hal Sacks speak about his memoir, Hal’s Navy, on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at the Simon Family JCC, showed up in full support of the newly published author. More than 100 friends, family and community members attended the special reading and reception that was presented by the Tidewater Jewish Foundation and the Simon Family JCC, as part of the 2013 Lee and Bernard Jaffe* (of blessed memory) Family Jewish Book Festival. Sacks is a longstanding member of the Tidewater Jewish community who has helped guide and lead the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, among many other Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. “I thank you all for coming,” Sacks said. “It means a lot to me that so many of you are interested in hearing and reading about my life. I was just this Jewish kid from the Bronx who joined the Navy because I didn’t want to get drafted into the Army—and at the time it seemed better than joining the Marines.”
Literally hot off the presses—the paperback editions were printed just the week before his JCC appearance—Hal’s Navy spans Sacks’ Naval career, from his initial intention to serve only a requisite threeyear period through his retirement 20 years later as a Navy Commander. “Hal is a great storyteller,” says Philip Rovner, president and CEO of TJF. “And a great guy. This book captures both of these qualities and we’re very fortunate that he wrote it.” Hal’s Navy originally was meant to be read only by Sacks’ family. Memoirs, by their nature, are self-serving says Sacks, who holds a masters degree in American Literature from Columbia University and has been the book reviewer for the Jewish News for more than 30 years. “I was writing this for my grandchildren, because of my experiences with my own grandfather,” says Sacks. “He and I were very close growing up, but did I ever ask him any questions about his life as a boy growing up in New York in the nineteenth century? No. And I wished I had. I realized my grandchildren might have the same regrets some day, so my motivation with this book was to give them the answers—what my life was like in the
Ed and Jane Stein, Hal Sacks, Joe McIntyre and John Patton at the book signing for Hal’s Navy.
The Sacks family: Nathan, Ellen, Hal, Skip, Judy and Annabel.
Miriam Seeherman, Hal Sacks, and Marie Torrans.
26 | Jewish News | November 25, 2013 | jewishnewsva.org
United States Navy.” Sacks intends for all of the proceeds of the book to go to the Jewish News Archives project, in which all past issues of the decades-old community publication will be digitized and made available to the public. At the end of the evening, Lynn Sher Cohen, co-chair of the Book Festival, surprised Sacks with the announcement that the 20 percent of Hal’s Navy book sales he
had contractually committed to the JCC would no longer be required. “We are returning those proceeds back to you for your Archives project,” Cohen said. “It is a pleasure for us to do that for you, because of all you have done for this community.” Hal’s Navy, by Cdr. Harold Sacks, USN (Ret.), is available on Amazon.com, or by contacting email@example.com.
jewishnewsva.org | November 25, 2013 | Jewish News | 27
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