Southeastern Virginia | Vol. 54 No. 03 | 22 Tishrei 5776 | October 5, 2015
Second Annual Mitzvah Day
10 2016 Annual Campaign Kick-off
32 Glen Campbell I’ll be Me Sunday, Oct. 11
33 —page 28
Dennis Ross and Alan Dershowitz Sunday, Oct. 18
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Supplement to Jewish News October 5, 2015
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Learning from the Iran nuclear deal discussion
Jewish news jewishnewsva.org
uch in Himmel translated from the Yiddish, “a Hole in the sky,” the equivalent of the Chicken Little story about “the sky is falling.” When I was a kid and a major catastrophe struck, such as “my yo-yo broke” or “my coloring book got wet,” my grandmother would exclaim, Oy Gevalt, luch in Himmel. This is not to imply that that the recent “strurm” and “drang” over the Iranian nuclear negotiations was a trivial matter. It was not; however, what can we learn from the experience? And is there still a hole in the sky? Pundits have prophesied a grave diminution of AIPAC. This is very unlikely as AIPAC is still greatly needed and will continue to receive financial support especially from the growing cohort of conservative American Jews. More serious is the growing danger of the politicization of our relationship with Israel wherein Republicans are 100% behind and the Democrats are perceived as being less knee-jerk in their support of Israel in all of its imperfections. On a more local basis, what have we learned? We fell in line in swallowing the AIPAC position lock, stock and barrel and actually were among the leaders in the movement against the deal. In essence we adopted a politically charged position just because everybody else was doing it. And that might have been the right thing to do; but there was no process involved, no opportunity for any discussion or dissent. Now we learn that many American Jews failed to buy-in to the AIPAC position. What does this portend for the future relationship between Israel and American Jewry. The Federated system is itself in danger and the recent brouhaha could only weaken it further. In our community we must not harken to vitriolic emails distributed by unqualified ideologues. Let us take this as a learning moment and resolve not to be totally dominated by an elite few.
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Abe Foxman takes position at Israeli think tank
braham Foxman, the former longtime head of the AntiDefamation League, has accepted a role at an Israeli policy think tank. Foxman will be a distinguished nonresident fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, the organization announced in a release. He will work on “issues of combating anti-Semitism and assaults on the state of Israel,” according to the release. Foxman will perform research on Israeli-American relations, as well as the ties between Israeli and Diaspora Jews. “I’ve always seen Abe as an undeclared leader of the American Jewish Community and a leading global figure on matters of human dignity and moral conduct,” said Amos Yadlin, the institute’s director and a retired Israeli army general. Foxman stepped down as national director at the ADL in July after serving in the post for 28 years. He worked at the agency for 50 years. “Abe’s broad array of relationships, which includes senior government officials in the United States, senior religious officials at the Vatican, and heads of state from around the world will greatly strengthen our ability to engage in and promote vital public policy research,” Yadlin said. “He brings to INSS a ‘battle-tested’ toolbox for countering anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Israeli organizations.” The Institute for National Security Studies, which is affiliated with Tel Aviv University, focuses on military and other strategic affairs, including counterterrorism and cyber warfare. It is independent and claims to be nonpartisan. Foxman will join several other prominent figures at the institute, including Knesset member Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Saar and Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh. (JTA)
Contents Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Upfront. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Torah Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Election 2016: Iran Deal and GOP. . . . . . . 6 Federation’s 2016 Annual Campaign. . . . 10 Op-Ed: Pope Francis gives religion a good name. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
About the cover: Members of the 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day Planning Committee: Marcy Mostofsky, Brenda Kozak, Shari Berman, Rebecca Tall, Robin Herbol, Marilyn Johns and Tracey Weinstein. (See full list of members on page 29.) Photograph by Laine Mednick Rutherford
Week of Extraordinary Deeds: 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day. . . . . . . . . . . 28 Planners behind Mitzvah Day. . . . . . . . . 29 Camp Scholarships at JCC. . . . . . . . . . . . 30 What’s Happening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Who Knew?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Obituaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Global Surges of Anti-Semitism. . . . . . . . 12 Iran Nuclear Deal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Mazel Tov—Special Section. . . . . . . . . . . 15
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jewishnewsva.org | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 3
Briefs Jewish studies professors are struggling, survey finds Student enrollment in Jewish studies classes is declining, and newly minted Jewish studies professors are having a significantly harder time finding tenure-track positions, a new survey found. More than half of those who earned their doctorates since 2010 are looking to change their employment situation, according to the online survey of some 2,800 professors, graduate students, scholars and Jewish studies teachers worldwide. The study, which received responses from 60 percent of the membership of the Association for Jewish Studies, was conducted by sociologist Steven M. Cohen of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and sponsored by the American Academy for Jewish Research. According to the survey, nearly four out of five of those who earned a doctorate before 1980 found a full-time, tenure-track position within one year, compared to only about half of those who finished between 1995 and 2009, and about onethird of those who finished since 2010. While working in academia remains the overall preference of graduates (86 percent would consider working in academia), 55 percent of graduates are open to working in research institutions, 36 percent each in higher education administration and nonprofit institutions, 32 percent in museums and 31 percent at charitable foundations. The survey found that 30 percent of respondents reported some decline in enrollment in their classes, and 21 percent some increase. The survey was conducted in 2014. Overall, women comprise 48 percent of the Jewish studies field, but generally earn less than men—at their jobs and in supplementary outside income—the study found. The most widely taught Jewish studies courses are in modern Jewish history, Bible, Holocaust studies, ancient Jewish history, Jewish thought and theology, and Jewish literature. The teaching of Jewish social sciences is declining. “Some of these challenges parallel what
we see in other humanities disciplines; others are unique to Jewish studies,” said Brandeis professor Jonathan Sarna, president of the Association of Jewish Studies. “All need to be addressed.” (JTA)
British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn: Osama bin Laden was framed for 9/11 Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected leader of Britain’s Labor Party, claimed more than a decade ago that Osama bin Laden was framed for 9/11. Corbyn wrote in a 2003 article for the London-based Morning Star newspaper that the United States and Britain made it look like bin Laden, the head of al-Qaida, was responsible for the attacks in order to allow the West to go to war in Afghanistan, the British daily newspaper The Telegraph reported last month. “Historians will study with interest the news manipulation of the past 18 months,” Corbyn wrote in 2003 in the Morning Star, a Socialist publication. “After September 11, the claims that bin Laden and al-Qaida had committed the atrocity were quickly and loudly made. This was turned into an attack on the Taliban and then, subtly, into regime change in Afghanistan.” Corbyn, who has been accused of being anti-Israel, was criticized in the days before winning the Labor leadership on Sept. 12 after saying it was a “tragedy” that bin Laden was killed before he could be put on trial for the 9/11 attacks. He has called Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah “friends,” and recently defended an Anglican minister who posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories online. Corbyn also has publicly endorsed a blanket arms embargo on Israel and the boycott of Israeli universities involved in weapons research. The publication of Corbyn’s comments came as the Labor Party prepared for its annual conference last month. A number of Labor Party lawmakers have publicly stated that the party is unelectable under Corbyn, according to the Telegraph. He succeeded Ed Miliband, who is Jewish, as the opposition party’s leader. (JTA)
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Jewish coalition for Syrian refugees awards $148K to groups working in Hungary, Turkey The Jewish Coalition for Syrian Refugees has awarded $148,000 in new grants to address the welfare of refugee women and children and to ensure psychosocial support for first responders. The coalition of Jewish organizations, which last month expanded to address the needs of refugees and migrants in Europe (including Turkey), as well as in Jordan, announced grants on Sept. 24 to World Jewish Relief, working in partnership with the International Blue Crescent, and to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, working in partnership with the Turkish Jewish Community and IBC as well as with two local Hungarian NGOs, Menedek and the Student Counseling Center of Szeged University. Since expanding its efforts, the coalition, a subgroup of the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief, has raised more than $200,000, on top of the more than $500,00 it had raised for its work in Jordan since 2013. “While the Jewish humanitarian response to this crisis emerges from the Jewish people’s historic experience of displacement, our focus on vulnerable refugee women and children and the care of first responders represents our desire to provide immediate relief for those whose burdens are be disproportionately felt in a situation of this magnitude,” Will Recant, who coordinates the coalition, said in a news release issued by the coalition. Recant is also JDC’s assistant executive vice president. Among the services the grants will cover are providing winter clothing and sleeping bags to refugee children, a mother-child health care unit at a refugee camp and psychosocial support for hundreds of humanitarian first responders working with refugees in Hungary. The Jewish Coalition for Syrian Refugees previously aided thousands of Syrian refugees through more than $500,000 in grants for humanitarian aid in Jordan, helping spur the founding of an interfaith movement advocating for the needs of the Syrian refugee populations.
Coalition member organizations include North American groups like the American Jewish Committee, the JDC and the AntiDefamation League, as well as the umbrella groups for the Reform and Conservative movements, and international groups like the World Jewish Congress. For a full list of members or to make a contribution, visit: www.jcdr.org. (JTA)
Jewish publication may drop Coulter over ‘F-ing Jews’ tweet A conservative Jewish publication may drop conservative political pundit Ann Coulter’s column in the wake of her tweet slamming Republican candidates for pandering to “f---ing Jews.” The founder of the online Jewish World Review, Binyamin Jolkovsky, told the Daily Beast that he has reached out to Coulter but that she had not responded. Her column which appeared on the website on Sept. 17, a day after the CNN Republican debate and her infamous tweet and follow-up tweets, included an editor’s note reading: “This column was prepared before the author’s anti-Semitic rant. JWR reached out to her and awaits her reply.” Her column has been appearing on the website since 2000. “She could have been drunk, she could have been high, I don’t know, I have to give her the benefit of the doubt…but I don’t have to delude myself,” Jolkovsky told The Daily Beast. “Pandering to Jewish money is about as anti-Semitic a stereotype as you could put forth. Her ‘eff-ing Jews’ comment is not identifying Israel—it’s identifying Jews, plural, and all Jews. There is no excuse for that. You can’t just wiggle out of something that vile and hateful.” Jolkovsky said it was the first time that Coulter has not emailed him back in a timely manner. He said he has not yet decided whether to pull her column, but that many readers would like to see that happen. Coulter defended her “f---ing Jews” tweet saying “It’s not about Jewish people; it’s about Republican panderers.” She later called her comments “proSemitic. Where is all the GOP pandering on Israel getting us? US becoming Mexico very bad for Israel.” (JTA)
Lech-Lecha (Genesis 12:1–17:27)
oah was not destined to be the father of the Jewish people, nor the founder of our faith. Though the most righteous one in his corrupt generation, he failed to reach out and save human lives besides those of his own family. Thus, the rabbis who were aware of Noah’s disturbing limitations in the terse Biblical text turned to instructive Midrashic fancy. They suggested that Noah did warn the people while building the ark of survival to take heed and mend their ways, but to no avail. The flood itself was conceived of as an educational process to
gradually awaken human repentance and transformation, averting disaster. Abraham was chosen to begin the chain of Jewish life, learning and love, for he proved to possess, unlike Noah, that healthy dose of surging chutzpah that challenges even and particularly God when necessary. This confrontational response for the sake of heaven and earth has allowed Jews ever since to heroically transcend limiting boundaries and smash the idols of every age, of stifling and dehumanizing convention. The thundering divine call and command to Abraham, echoing still, LechLecha, to venture forth from his familial and familiar environment—physically, spiritually and psychologically—both pushed and permitted him to depart from the world he had received in order to usher in a new one. Not an easy transition, there is pain involved. Isaac was ultimately
discover the divine potential within spared on the altar of the practiced them, and us, to grow and change pagan custom of child sacriand mature. fices, because his father dared God’s God’s fulfilled promise embrace, in spite of his backwas that all the members of ground and not without fulfilled promise Abraham’s fractured family divine intervention, the facing the threat of fratriprecious yet precarious cide will be blessed, each in gift of life and call it holy. was that all the a distinct and unique way The members of our with restored dignity and first family of Abraham, members of Abraham’s hope though with lasting Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, historical consequences. and Ishmael proved to be complex and confractured family facing This proud foundational legacy remains our coveflicted individuals. Their nantal Jewish charge and very touching humanity reflects the courageous the threat of fratricide awesome human challenge to turn pain into promise, approach of our sacred violence into vision, hurt into literature to be faithful to will be blessed. healing, and blemishes into reality’s truth. But the flawed blessings. humaneness of our heroes, —Rabbi Israel Zoberman, as well as our own, becomes a Congregation Beth Chaverim. noble opportunity and invitation to
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Does Iran deal rift mean Jews will go GOP in 2016? by Ami Eden
(JTA)—One conspiracy theory making the rounds is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s various Iran-related confrontations with President Barack Obama are part of a Sheldon Adelson plot to turn American Jews into Republican Party voters in 2016. Even if one rejects this theory out of hand, the question still stands: Will Obama’s championing of the Iran deal trigger a significant realignment, with Jews jumping to the GOP in 2016? The answer is maybe—but probably not, judging from the latest annual Jewish survey from the American Jewish Committee. (Before jumping in, keep in mind that the survey’s margin of error is 4.7 percent—more than some of the shifts discussed.)
Let’s start with Obama and the Iran deal. The survey would seem to give Jewish GOPers reason for optimism. Yes, the majority of American Jews back the deal, but only by a sliver—50.6 percent approve and 47.2 percent disapprove. And the level of disapproval is much more intense: 16.4 percent approve strongly and 34.2 percent approve somewhat, versus 27.4 percent disapprove strongly and 19.8 percent disapprove somewhat. About 63 percent of American Jews are not confident that the deal will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and 42.8 percent believe Israel will be more threatened because of the deal. The numbers get really small when it comes to seeing a best-case scenario: Only 4.9 percent are very confident that the deal will prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and 17.9 percent believe Israel will
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be less threatened. About 53 percent approve of the way Obama is handling United States-Israel relations, with only 8.9 percent saying they approve strongly—low numbers in light of the 70 percent or so of the Jewish vote that he won in 2012. You’d think all that would open the door to big Republican gains in 2016. Sure enough, AJC’s 2015 survey found 37.4 percent of American Jews backing a Republican presidential candidate. So if that number holds, GOP Jewish donors and activists will have plenty to smile about— that would amount to the best Republican showing since Ronald Reagan took 39 percent of the Jewish vote against Jimmy Carter in 1980. On the other hand, that’s not much of a GOP boost considering Obama and Netanyahu are in the middle of a full-frontal, existential slugfest. Obama won’t be on the ticket. Odds are it will be Hillary Rodham Clinton, with her deep bench of longtime Jewish backers, validators, donors, etc. She talks tougher on Israel than Obama. If you believe Michael Oren, her chemistry with Netanyahu is better. Ditto on all counts for Vice President Joe Biden. Clinton was by far the most popular presidential candidate among Jews—39.7 percent identify her as their first choice. Next up was Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with 17.8 percent. The socialist in the race almost doubled the top Republican, Donald Trump, who registered 10.2 percent. (Side note: The Donald is in a tighter race when it comes to Jewish Republicans than Republicans overall—Jeb Bush is a close second in the Republican field with 8.7 percent.) Dig a little deeper and you find that the underlying data hasn’t shifted much. In the 2013 survey, 47 percent of American Jews identified as liberal, 35 percent as moderate/middle of the road and 20 percent as conservative. This time around it was 45.1 percent liberal, 33.8 moderate/middle of the road and 20.9 percent conservative. There is a little more movement on the Democratindependent-Republican question, with those identifying with the GOP jumping
from 15 percent to 19 percent. Those identifying as Democrats dropped from 52 percent to 48.6 percent and independents stayed the same at about 32 percent. (The more pertinent question behind all of these numbers—for a future column—is how much any Republican Jewish gains are attributable mainly to the growing numbers of Orthodox Jews and their gradual two-decade shift to the GOP column as opposed to a wider Jewish realignment.) The survey data also suggest that IsraelIran issues are unlikely to be the main decision point for Jewish voters. About 75 percent identified a domestic issue as their top concern, with nearly 42 percent citing the economy. National security finished second at 12.3 percent, barely beating out health care (12 percent) and income equality (11.6 percent). U.S.-Israel relations (7.2 percent) edged out Supreme Court appointments (5.6 percent). Republicans can hope that they can make inroads via these various domestic issues. But previous polling results suggest that Jews skew relatively liberal on these issues—hence why previous Republican efforts to flip the Jewish vote have generally focused on Israel and the Middle East. Assuming that the GOP nominee is someone with solidly conservative positions, once again a domestic-based case to Jewish voters will likely be a hard sell. One final survey topic that might shed light on where the kishkes of American Jews stand: anti-Semitism in Europe. About 90 percent said it was a problem, with 45.5 percent calling it a very serious problem. Where it gets interesting is the follow-up question, about the extent of the problem on the far right versus the far left. Twenty percent agreed that most people on the far right were anti-Semitic—double the 10 percent who said the same about the far left. In short: There is just enough here to fuel another election cycle-worth of speculative articles on whether this is the year that Republicans finally make major strides with Jewish voters. But if you’re looking to bet some money, you’re better off playing the odds at one of Adelson’s casinos.
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Election 2016 Trump rally incident, Carson anti-Muslim remarks spur civility call by 2 Jewish groups
WASHINGTON ( JTA)—Two Jewish groups pleaded for greater civility in political discourse after the loyalty of American Muslims was called into question during the Republican presidential campaign. The Anti-Defamation League in a statement cited an interview with Ben Carson, a physician candidate for the nomina5113 Crystal Point and Drive tion, in which he said that a Muslim should not be president. The ADL also noted that Donald Trump, the front-runner in the GOP race, failed to condemn a man at a rally who disparaged Muslims. “Dr. Carson’s statement directly contradicts the Constitution and the values embodied in it,” ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said. “In America, personal characteristics— whether race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion— should have no bearing on a person’s ability to serve.” A number of Republican candidates did call on Carson to walk back his remarks and on Trump to forcefully repudiate the
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anti-Muslim statements made at his rally. The Carson interview and the incident with Trump, the billionaire real estate magnate, took place last month. “As the campaign season advances, we urge all presidential candidates to avoid innuendo and stereotyping of all sorts, including against people based on their faith, particularly American Muslims and, instead, to confront all forms of prejudice and bigotry,” Greenblatt said. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella body for Jewish public policy groups, did not specify incidents in a separate statement but spoke more broadly of bigotry. “The JCPA believes that civil political discourse is the key to having a knowledgeable electorate,” the statement said. “The deterioration of political disagreement into personalized attacks and bigoted statements diminishes the electoral process and discourages and alienates potential voters.”
Biden regrets making ‘Shylock’ reference WASHINGTON ( JTA)—Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that he made a “poor choice of words” in using the term “Shylock” to describe unscrupulous lenders. Biden was reacting to remarks by Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s former national director, in response to the vice president’s use of the term. Speaking to the Legal Services Organization, a group that funds legal assistance for the poor, Biden referred to the experience of his son Beau, the Delaware attorney general who has served in Iraq. Beau Biden, the vice president said, had been approached by service members who had been preyed upon by unscrupulous lenders. “People would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of
8 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
bad loans that were being — I mean, these Shylocks who took advantage of these women and men while overseas,” he said. Foxman, in a statement to Yahoo News, said the term was “offensive.” “When someone as friendly to the Jewish community and open and tolerant an individual as is Vice President Joe Biden uses the term ‘Shylocked’ to describe unscrupulous moneylenders dealing with servicemen and women, we see once again how deeply embedded this stereotype about Jews is in society,” Foxman said. In a statement emailed from his office to JTA, Biden agreed with that characterization. “Abe Foxman has been a friend and advisor of mine for a long time,” Biden said. “He’s correct, it was a poor choice of words, particularly, as he said, coming from ‘someone as friendly to the Jewish community and open and tolerant an individual as is Vice President Joe Biden.’ He’s right.”
Election 2016 Jeb Bush’s Jewish team includes brother’s backers, staffers WASHINGTON (JTA)—Jeb Bush named a “Jewish leadership team” for his campaign that includes a number of Jews who were prominent in campaigning and working for his brother, the former President George W. Bush. Bush said that among his supporters since his days as Florida governor are “members of the Jewish community who have welcomed me into their homes for Passover Seder, taken me as a travel companion to Israel and worked with me on issues of shared concern, such as religious freedom, school choice and economic opportunity,” according to a statement issued by the campaign. “Having their support has meant so much, and we are looking to build that team,” Bush said. A number of the 75 listed supporters are Floridians, but a substantive portion is also associated with the presidency of his brother. They include Joshua Bolten, the
Bill O’Reilly: DNC’s Wasserman Schultz should resign after using Holocaust to smear Rubio
former president’s chief of staff; Michael Mukasey, his attorney general; a number of liaisons to the Jewish community during the Bush presidency; and major George W. Bush fundraisers, including Mel Sembler and Fred Zeidman. Also included is Eric Cantor, the former congressman who until last year was the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. Earlier this year, some conservatives raised concerns when Jeb Bush named as advisers officials in the administration of his father, President George H. W. Bush, who had clashed with Israeli governments in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His statement said, “We will defend the institutions of faith and civic engagement, which are this nation’s glory. We will confront anti-Semitism wherever it exists. We will restore our alliances around the world, especially with the brave and democratic State of Israel.”
olitical commentator Bill O’Reilly called for Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign for criticizing a Marco Rubio fundraiser held at the home of a donor who collects Nazi memorabilia. Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida, said on Sept. 22 that Rubio should cancel a fundraiser that was held at the Texas home of Harlan Crow, a multimillionaire real estate developer whose collection includes paintings by Adolf Hitler, a signed copy of Mein Kampf and other historical objects. The event was held on Sept. 22, the eve of Yom Kippur. On Sept. 24, in a closing segment of his show The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly called Wasserman Schultz’s critique “insane” and said that she should subsequently resign immediately. “I have been to Harlan Crow’s home
and I have seen his collection of history,” O’Reilly said. “It is amazing, and any museum would be proud to display what he has. Both good and evil are represented in an educational way. “By attacking Rubio using the Holocaust, the head of the DNC has shamed herself and her party. She should immediately resign.” Wasserman Schultz had called Rubio’s decision to hold the fundraiser in Crow’s house “the height of insensitivity and indifference.” “There’s really no need for such a gross act of disrespect,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. On The O’Reilly Factor, Rubio called Wasserman Schultz’s claims a “despicable attack” and pointed out that Crow’s mother, Margaret, survived an attack in England from a German U-boat during World War II. (JTA)
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jewishnewsva.org | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 9
Impactful start to Federation’s 2016 Annual Campaign fundraising season article and photography by Laine Mednick Rutherford
s diverse as the speakers and special guests were at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s 2016 Annual Campaign Kickoff event on Thursday, Sept. 17, they all passionately imparted two similar messages. First, this community’s financial support of the UJFT Annual Campaign changes lives, in more ways than people could ever imagine. Second, they were glad for the opportunity to say, “thank you” to the audience gathered for the event. Jay Klebanoff, UJFT president, provided welcoming comments. Annual Campaign chair Karen Jaffe followed. Both community leaders emphasized the challenges facing the Jewish community locally, nationally, and abroad, and how contritions to the Annual Campaign meet those challenges and help secure the future. Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, provided a sobering message about increasing challenges facing Jews in Israel and overseas communities, while at the same time lauding the Tidewater community for its generosity and commitment to Jewish values. Special guest speakers at Kickoff spoke about how the Federation’s support of local partner agencies, schools, and programs
Julie Byers and Jill Haverson.
Jay Klebanoof, UJFT president, Karen Jaffe, 2016 Campaign chair and Jerry Silverman, president and CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America.
Mattie Lefcoe spoke about the education she receives at BINA High School. Jeff and Amy Brooke and Reuben Rohn.
Community leaders get a special briefing from Silverman at dinner. Amy and Mattie Lefcoe and Tehilla Mostofsky.
Miriam Seeherman spoke about her experience with rehab at Beth Sholom Village and home health care from JFS.
had an impact on their lives. Brief, but moving, statements were made by Betty Ann Levin, Miriam Seeherman, Julie Byers, Danial Watts, Mattie Lefcoe, Betty Berklee,
10 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
Eliot Weinstein and Ashley Zittrain. Visit www.JewishVa.org to learn more about the 2016 Annual Campaign and how to make a difference. Want to see videos of the
presentations? Like UJFT on Facebook, and sign up for the Tzedakah Box Enewsletter on the website to find out when they’ve been posted.
Why Pope Francis has given religion a good name again by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism
NEW YORK (JTA)—This is a momentous time—not only because it is Judaism’s most sacred season, but also because as we welcome 5776, we in North America are also welcoming Pope Francis, one of the most inspiring religious leaders of our time. Rather than hiding in medieval liturgical texts, this pope has made his home in the modern world. From day one, he has been stripping away centuries of unbending and encrusted rules to uncover a living spark of godliness in an ungodly age. His words are as refreshing as they are unsettling, but his heart is always open, always ready to embrace those who have been driven from the church by morally corrosive scandals and unyielding strictures. Rather than offering abstract sermons on human dignity, Pope Francis washes the feet of the prisoners and kisses those whom society casts out. He’s the real deal, not some carefully scripted religious bureaucrat. People feel the authenticity and depth of his faith, making us take notice, and enabling us to put aside our differences. Without changing one single doctrine, he’s changed everything. Early in his papacy, he refused to wag his finger at LGBT members of his flock, asking rhetorically, “Who am I to judge?” The answer might have been, “You’re the pope, and traditionally one of your jobs has been to judge everyone and everything.” But not this pope. Although he could have chosen to sit in papal splendor high above his flock, instead he chooses simplicity and modesty. The word “pontificate” comes from all the traditional associations with his high ecclesiastical office; nonetheless, Pope Francis has yet to pontificate. In his first interview after his election as pope, he expressed a stunning humility about his own belief and leadership: “If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for
the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.” Imagine if Pope Francis had presided over the Catholic Church during World War II. How many more Jewish refugees might have found shelter in Catholic houses of worship and homes? Just days ago, as Europe’s train stations teemed with refugees from Syria and elsewhere, this pope didn’t need to convene the church’s vast hierarchy to weigh the options. He knew instantly that religious faith requires welcome, love and care. As an imperative from his clear, genuine faith, Pope Francis’s advocacy is incredibly gutsy. Unafraid to take on the gods of Western civilization on behalf of the poor and voiceless, he connects the plagues of modern society to the systemic causes of poverty by confronting climate change, consumer capitalism and human rights violators. By inviting us all to take up these causes, he not only demonstrates his recognition that taking action is a necessary result of speaking truth, but also that together, we can have greater influence. Don’t get me wrong. I pray that after redirecting the trajectory of his church, he will update many of the doctrines and practices that seem so out of touch with the spiritual yearning of those who would otherwise be faithful. In time, he will need to do more than set a new tone. Deep structural change is no doubt required. His critics are not wrong that Pope Francis has not offered specific proposals. Of course, the world does not need another policy wonk; it needs a religious leader. Is it possible that he will usher in a new era of Reform Catholicism? Although that may sound like a contradiction in terms or a recreation of the Protestant Reformation, we haven’t yet seen the full effect of this pope’s vision for the church. Pope Francis articulates a religious agenda that is far more profound and elemental than the intricacies of church doctrine. And because he has opened the heart of the church widely to focus on what matters most, he has won the admiration of the faithful and the previously faithless. In so doing, he is giving religion a good name.
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jewishnewsva.org | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 11
Global surges of anti-Semitism Chicago TV station sorry for Nazi symbol in Yom Kippur report
Chicago television station apologized for using a graphic of a yellow badge that the Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust to illustrate its report on the start of Yom Kippur. WGN aired the report on Tuesday, Sept. 22, hours into the Jewish Day of Atonement. The badge—shaped like the Star of David and featuring the word “Jude,” German for “Jew”—appeared atop concentration camp-uniform stripes and above the caption “Yom Kippur.” Viewers quickly responded on social media. Holy crap, @WGNNews, this is your stock photo for a Jewish holiday?? Nobody thought that’s a bad choice of photo? pic.twitter.com/ z7BNuvGybS —Marc Karlinsky (@MarcKarlinsky) September 23, 2015 WGN sought atonement for the graphic the next day. The anchor who delivered the Yom Kippur report said on air: “Major correction tonight: We couldn’t see this from the set here, but in our story about Yom Kippur we apparently used a symbol that is extremely offensive to the Jewish community. We mistakenly showed a symbol used by Nazi Germany to identify Jews. We deeply apologize for that error.” The station also apologized on Twitter:
We are truly sorry for inadvertently using an offensive image in our Yom Kippur story. We apologize and deeply regret the error. —WGN TV News (@WGNNews) September 23, 2015 And at length on its website, WGN wrote: “Regrettably, we failed to recognize that the image was an offensive Nazi symbol. We are extremely embarrassed and we deeply apologize to our viewers and to the Jewish community for this mistake. “Ignorance is not an excuse. “Please know we are reviewing our in house policies and changes have already been made to make sure a hurtful oversight like this never happens again.” The Nazis began compelling Polish Jews to wear identifying badges following the German invasion of the country in 1939. By 1942, Germany and the states under its control were requiring Jews to wear the badges. The sole exception was Denmark, where King Christian X is said to have threatened to wear the badge himself if it were imposed on his country’s Jews. Holocaust scholars say the badges were a means of isolating and dehumanizing European Jewry—a step toward the Final Solution. The practice of making Jews wear identifying clothing dates back to the Middle Ages. Buzzfeed has posted videos of the original broadcast and the apology. (JTA)
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Greek government minister resigns over anti-Semitic, homophobic tweets ATHENS, Greece (JTA)—A minister in the new Greek government has resigned less than 48 hours after being appointed over an outcry about a series of anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets. Dimitris Kammenos of the Independent Greeks Party had been appointed deputy transport minister following last month’s election. The Independent Greeks are the junior coalition partner in the government of the far-left Syriza party. Among the tweets on his page, which have since been deleted, were some that referred to a conspiracy theory alleging that Jews did not show up to work at the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11. Another mocked the Athens pride parade. Kammenos resigned Wednesday, Sept. 23 reportedly following pressure from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, saying he was doing so to allow the government to “function in an orderly way.” He also released a statement denouncing anti-Semitism and
homophobia, and claimed his social media pages were hacked. This is not the first time Kammenos has been in trouble for social media posts, however. Earlier this year he sparked outrage by posting a picture on Facebook of the Auschwitz death camp gates with the pro-Europe slogan “We stay in Europe” replacing the sign on the gate, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” a German phrase used during the Holocaust that translates to “work makes you free.” The post came as Greece was locked in crisis talks with the European Union. Kammenos is not related to party leader and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who also caused an outcry last year when, during an election campaign, he said Jews don’t pay taxes. A recent ADL poll found that anti-Semitic stereotypes are widespread in Greece and that the country had the highest percentage of anti-Semitic views in Europe.
Ex-deputy subjected to Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant must be reinstated
he sheriff’s deputy who arrested actor Mel Gibson and was subjected to his anti-Semitic rant in 2006 must be given his job back, a commission ruled. The Los Angeles County’s Civil Service Commission ruled that James Mee, who is Jewish, should never have been fired from his position following a 2011 incident involving a drunk driver who crashed into a Santa Clarita gas station, the Los Angeles Times reported. Mee was accused of violating the department’s rules on pursuits. Mee has said he was subject to religious discrimination and a hostile work environment after arresting Gibson in 2006 in Malibu, Calif., for driving while intoxicated. He claimed he was passed over for promotions because he complained about purging the report on Gibson’s arrest of the slurs, as directed by his superiors, ultimately ending in his firing in 2012. “It has been a long three-year fight,”
Richard Shinee, Mee’s attorney, told the Times. “This is 100% just because of that day he arrested Mel Gibson for drunk driving.” Shinee said the department fired Mee after the county paid him $50,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit that Mee brought over his treatment following Gibson’s arrest. Mee will receive back pay and benefits from the day of his firing. When Gibson was stopped on the Pacific Coast Highway on suspicion of driving under the influence, he asked Mee, “Are you a Jew?” and then ranted, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Mee included Gibson’s remarks in his initial report to illustrate how drunk the actor was, but said that superiors told him to put the Gibson slurs in a separate report not available to the public. (JTA)
IRAN nuclear Deal After Iran deal battle, 53 Jewish groups declare their unity The battle ended Sept. 17, the last day WASHINGTON ( JTA)—More than 50 Jewish groups signed a statement saying for Congress to reject the deal; it did not. At times, the rhetoric in the Jewish that despite differences over the Iran community was heated, with accusanuclear deal, the community was tions of being anti-Israel directed united about the dangers posed Across at those who backed the deal, by Iran. and insinuations of dual “Deliberations over this the spectrum loyalty directed at its agreement have evoked of support or opponents. deep passions and difis regrettable that, ferences befitting such opposition to the deal, at “Ittimes, the debate a critical and complex was marked by irrematter,” said the stateit was recognized that sponsible assertions, ment signed by 53 our community shares including ad hominem groups under the aegis of the Conference of serious concerns for the attacks and insinuations of dual loyalty, Presidents of Major security of the United maligning the intenAmerican Jewish tions of the opposing Organizations. States and the world side,” the statement “There were those posed by Iran’s said. who saw the agreement A handful of Presidents as deeply flawed, while nuclear program. Conference constituents others endorsed it as the did not sign on, among them best among limited alternaAmericans for Peace Now, which tives,” said the statement released backed the deal. Ameinu, a liberal Sept. 21, noting that it came out on the eve of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of group also backing the deal, did sign the statement. J Street, which backed the deal, Atonement. “Across the spectrum of support or was rejected last year for membership in opposition to the deal, it was recognized the Conference of Presidents and so was that our community shares serious con- not involved in the statement. Many of the signatories opposed the cerns for the security of the United States and the world posed by Iran’s nuclear deal, or expressed skepticism about it, program,” it said. “The safety of Israel and although some major groups, chief among its citizens is of special concern, as Iranian them the Reform movement, were agnostic. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical leaders continue to threaten the annihilation of the Jewish State as they do the College, which at one time was an adjunct to the Presidents’ Conference, was not United States.” The community, the statement said, was included. A spokeswoman for the college said it was not asked to join the stateunited going forward. “As we celebrate the High Holy Days, ment. Malcolm Hoenlein, the President’s inspired by the spirit and message of our Conference executive vice chairman, said prayers, we rededicate ourselves to our the Reconstructionists are no longer affilshared commitments to our country, to iated with the conference. The other three our community, and to the security and major streams, the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative movements, all were well-being of Israel,” it said. The two-month battle over whether represented. The Obama administration said the Congress should reject the sanctions relief for nuclear restrictions deal reached in July deal was the best means of keeping Iran between six major powers and Iran led from acquiring nuclear weapons. Israeli to tough debates in Jewish communities Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says across the country and anguished state- the deal leaves Iran a nuclear threshold state. ments by Jewish lawmakers.
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jewishnewsva.org | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 13
Come join October us! “Jews & Baseball” theme of 2nd Saturday Shabbat. Share your memories & anecdotes. 11:00 a.m. – noon. Kiddush lunch
IRAN nuclear Deal Saturday
9:00 a.m. services Shemini Atzeret 10/5 Simchat Torah 10/6
10/5 5:30 pasta dinner then Simchat Torah services with KBH at Temple Israel at 6:15
Zoo in Norfolk, honoring Noah, will be venue for younger Sunday religious students at 10 a.m.
Traveling to Hampton w/Rodef Shalom will teach Sunday religious students “Genizah”, the ritual of burying sacred books. 10:00am.
Cancer Awareness Shabbat. Guest speaker: [to be announced] 9:30 a.m. Kiddush luncheon Sisterhood membership Dinner. New members are welcome. 5:30 p.m. Covet/Membership $36
Kerry and Iranian counterpart meet on nuclear deal, Mideast issues
WASHINGTON (JTA)—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in his first meeting with his Iranian counterpart since reaching a nuclear deal, said achieving regional peace was on the agenda. “We have a lot of issues to talk about,” Kerry said Saturday before his meeting with Javad Zarif in New York during the annual United Nations General Assembly opening. “I view this week as a major opportunity for any number of countries to play an important role in trying to resolve some of the very difficult issues of the Middle East. We need to achieve peace and a way forward in Syria, in Yemen, in the region itself.” One of the principal fears of opponents of the sanctions relief for nuclear
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restrictions deal reached in July between Iran and six major powers was that it would pave the way toward legitimating Iranian influence in the region, particularly in Syria, where it has backed the Assad regime in its repression of an uprising. Zarif emphasized that the major item on the agenda was implementing the nuclear deal, due to formally kick in on Oct. 18. “We are going to concentrate in this meeting on the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” he said, using the deal’s formal title. “That is the project that we started together, and we hope that by its full implementation–its good-faith implementation–we can vent some of the mistrust that has existed over the past many decades.”
Former Israeli military chief praises Iran nuclear deal
srael’s most recent military chief of staff called the Iran nuclear deal an “achievement.” “I do agree a better deal could have been reached,” one that more extensively restricted uranium enrichment, Benny Gantz said of the sanctions relief for nuclear restrictions deal reached in July between Iran and six major powers. “But I see the half-full part of the glass,” he said. “I see the achievement of keeping the Iranians, 10–15 years into the future, postponing their having a nuclear capability at the right price.” Gantz, a retired lieutenant general whose five years as military chief of staff ended in February, spoke at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank with close ties to the U.S. and Israeli governments.
Gantz is the latest—and perhaps most significant—retired Israeli security official who has suggested the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has overstated the dangers of the deal. “I am not worried, as far as Israel’s security situation,” he said. “We know how to take care of ourselves.” The ex-chief of staff hinted that relations with the United States, frazzled this year by open hostility between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations, needed repair. The U.S. commitment to maintaining Israeli’s qualitative military edge in the region is “unheard of, it needs to be appreciated.” Gantz, who recently joined an Israeli technology start-up, flatly said he had no political ambitions. (JTA)
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Supplement to Jewish News October 5, 2015
Mazel Tov Dear Readers, Fortunately, there is always a reason to exclaim, “Mazel Tov!” With our 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day just
Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 200 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462-4370 voice 757.965.6100 • fax 757.965.6102 email email@example.com
around the corner and our Federation’s Campaign kickoff primed for success, it is fruitful to remember that we do not need to look very far or too hard to find an excuse to celebrate. After all, we just spent the past few weeks wishing everyone “A
Terri Denison, Editor Germaine Clair, Art Director Hal Sacks, Book Review Editor Sandy Goldberg, Account Executive Mark Hecht, Account Executive Marilyn Cerase, Subscription Manager Reba Karp, Editor Emeritus Sherri Wisoff, Proofreader
Happy New Year!” Mazel Tov wishes abound in our Op-Ed story about marriage equality or visit page 20 to learn how thousands are again choosing to join the Jewish people. Who knew? Mazel Tov to all the Bar/Bat Mitzvahs of the past year and we hope you enjoy our tongue-and- cheek article covering the vast creative and hip landscape of our beloved coming-of-age ceremony. Mazel Tov to our amazing technology that allows us to experience via satellite the thoughts and ideas of Dennis Ross and Alan Dershowitz on October 18 at
Jay Klebanoff, President Alvin Wall, Treasurer Stephanie Calliott, Secretary Harry Graber, Executive Vice-President www.jewishVA.org The appearance of advertising in the Jewish News does not constitute a kashrut, political, product or service endorsement. The articles and letters appearing herein are not necessarily the opinion of this newspaper. © 2015 Jewish News. All rights reserved. Subscription: $18 year For subscription or change of address, call 757-965-6128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beth El to help explain what’s next for the Middle East. Mazel Tov to our capacity to continue to evolve as a people and to rededicate ourselves to our traditions and our community. Will you be joining the First Tidewater Shabbat Project in Ghent? Do you feel like celebrating? We hope so. Gratitude is the foundation for all life abundance. Just thumb through this section and discover delicious vendors and services to create your next “Mazel Tov” event. May all your celebrations be joyful. Sherri Wisoff, Jewish News staff
16 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | Mazel Tov | jewishnewsva.org
About the cover: Photo of Iced Borscht from Affairs to Remember, a new cookbook by Sandy Axelrod that includes tips for easy entertaining. QR code generated on http://qrcode.littleidiot.be
Upcoming Special Features Issue Date
Holiday Entertaining Oct. 23
Sprucing up the modern simcha process full of seen-it-befores or tried-thatonces. With the help of creative kosher catering professionals—or by simply lookf the words “kosher catering” ing within yourself—your special day can conjure up visions of bland and be one of a kind. By including yourself in the process of unhealthy food, and memories of creating (not just planning) your simcha, bar and bat mitzvahs past still haunt you, remember that planning your upcoming the event itself automatically creates a more simcha doesn’t have to be a monotonous personal feeling. One way to do this is by making invitations by hand, which allows control over color scheme, font, and design; you can make the invitation an extension of your celebration’s theme or personal interests. Imbuing the invitation with your personal style makes the atmosphere both more memorable and more meaningful. Rebecca Friedman of Asheville, NC-based Farmer’s Daughter Catering suggests crafting your own table centerpieces as a way to infuse personality into the event’s ambiance. She also mentions that many clients want to work with the party planner, rather than allowing the planner to have total control. Others may break from the traditional style of first having a cocktail hour and then a formal dinner for weddings, or from having separate meals for adults and kids. “When working with a client, I always ask them what they’re envisioning with regards to the flow of the celebration,” Ellen Vaknine, vice president of sales & marketing Soup shooters in egg shells from New York City kosher caterer by Diana Burmistrovich/JNS.org
Tiny ice cream sundaes make for passable treats to save sit-down time at your simcha. Credit: Farmer’s Daughter Catering.
for New York City’s Espirit Events kosher caterer, says. Vaknine notes that she is seeing more people “opt for the extended cocktail [hour] with passed hors d’oeuvres and stations,” without having a formal sit-down dinner. That way, children, young adults, and adults have the option of spending more time together, and kids don’t have to face the ubiquitous schnitzel and pigs-in-ablanket offered at so many simchas. Even for the parents who do choose to have “kid food,” Vaknine suggests updating the presentation with funky touches. Soup can be served in eggshell bowls, and kebob skewers can be made from bamboo. Customizing menus to include today’s culinary trends is another way to modernize an event. Friedman—who specializes in catering using only organic and local ingredients, and typically provides farmto-table food options—notes the growing trend in using vegan, gluten-free, soy-free,
and dairy-free foods as part of the simcha menu. “Although kosher food is usually unhealthy, it is slowly getting on board with foods that are more environmentally friendly and healthier,” says Friedman. “I’ve had a bride who grew her own herbs and greens to incorporate into my catering menu. It took a year in advance [to plan], but everyone remembered that part.” Friedman suggests looking into old family recipes that can be used as part of the catering menu. That will create a catering menu that many guests haven’t seen before, and relatives will enjoy the sentiment. Whether it is through personalizing decorations or bypassing traditional kosher fare, party planning doesn’t have to be dreaded and stressful. With just a little bit of creativity, and by recognizing exactly what you want for your special day, you can make your dream simcha a reality.
Espirit Events. Credit: Ellen Vaknine.
Jewishnewsva.org | Mazel Tov | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 17
Mazel Tov Op-Ed
L’Chaim to marriage equality, but our work isn’t finished by Idit Klein
BOSTON (JTA)—Four years ago, I stood under a chuppah with the woman I was about to marry overlooking a valley in Massachusetts. I have an emotional memory of sweetness and joy from my wedding day, but I can’t recall many specific moments. What I do remember vividly is the end of our ceremony, when Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld declared, “I’ve said this many times before as an act of civil disobedience, but today it gives me great joy to say as an act of civil obedience: According to the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you married.” I still feel sudden elation when I remember that moment and surprise that it mattered as much as it did. It mattered that my marriage was seen as valid and equal
in the eyes of the law in Massachusetts. And thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling this summer, my marriage, and the marriages of countless others, are valid and equal in all 50 states. For the young children of many of my colleagues and friends who have attended same-sex weddings and know many gay and lesbian couples, the excitement is unremarkable, even bewildering. But of course, the road to achieving legal marriage equality in this country was long and arduous. This summer’s victory is, indeed, remarkable. As the leader of Keshet, an organization working for the equality and inclusion of LGBTQ Jews in Jewish life for the past 14 years, I remember the many conversations with rabbis and other Jewish community leaders who initially did not support civil marriage rights.
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18 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | Mazel Tov | jewishnewsva.org
I remember the questions: What message will we send to children if they see a rabbi officiate at gay weddings? Isn’t it inappropriate for children to see two men standing under a chuppah in a synagogue? How can I support something that so many people in my congregation aren’t comfortable with? As these questions continued to bubble up, Keshet led a statewide campaign in Massachusetts in which gay Jewish couples told their stories at synagogues, Jewish community centers and federations to help dispel these concerns, clarify answers and mobilize the Jewish community to support equal marriage rights. I was proud when the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston became the first JCRC in the country to declare its support for equal marriage. I saw the impact of this support in the faces of many LGBTQ Jews who had felt rejected by their Jewish communities. At a time when the majority of faith leaders spoke out against our civil rights, it was powerful to see Jewish leaders demand equality because of—not in spite of—our tradition. Suddenly, a full and equal place in community and society was a possibility, at least in Massachusetts. After the Supreme Court decision, couples in every state in this country can publicly declare their love and commitment and participate in the institution of marriage. As many have noted, we no longer have gay marriage, same-gender or samesex marriage; we simply have marriage. This is a tremendous victory for all who care about equality. The relationships and families of LGBTQ people have gained critical legal protections that have long been available to heterosexual married couples. Most importantly, though, gay couples have gained recognition from the highest court in the land that our relationships, our commitments, our love are equal to all others. So we celebrate. We savor the sweetness of this hard-fought win. We rejoice knowing that our children will never know a world where their families are unequal in the eyes of the law. Some cheer Dayenu! It is enough, this thrilling victory. And yet I know the
crippling effects of bias and discrimination persist, so we must say “Lo Dayenu”—It is not enough. Marriage equality is not enough. It is far from enough. Because in 29 states in this country, people can be fired from their jobs or refused housing because of their sexual orientation. Because in 32 states people can be fired because of their gender identity or expression. Because youth who are (or are perceived to be) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer are twice as likely to be bullied at school. Because in 21 states people can refuse to serve LGBTQ people in places of business if they think doing so would violate their religious beliefs. Because transgender people are particularly vulnerable to violence and discrimination, with 90 percent of transgender respondents to a recent survey reporting workplace discrimination or harassment. Because people can live in a country with superb laws yet still be treated poorly by their peers. All of these statistics have stories. I think of the 44-year-old lesbian who was fired from her job as a synagogue family educator after she came out. I think of the 70-year-old gay man who has worked in Jewish communal life his entire career and never felt comfortable being out. I think of the 16-year-old trans teen who wasn’t permitted to return to his Jewish summer camp as a CIT in his affirmed gender identity. I think of the 32-year-old woman whose parents wouldn’t join her on her wedding day when she stood under a chuppah with another woman. I think of the road ahead in order to pass federal non-discrimination legislation that protects all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. I think of the even longer journey of cultural change following legal progress. I think about the role that our Jewish communities can play in accelerating the pace of change. And so, with our Facebook newsfeeds still ablaze with rainbows, we get back to work. —Idit Klein is the executive director of Keshet, a national organization working for LGBT inclusion in Jewish life.
Lists, lists, lists
lanning an event? Wondering where to begin? After saying “yes” or years of B’nai Mitzvah preparation, the first step is to choose a date. Then comes the fun or perhaps challenging part—depending on circumstances and attitude—of making decisions about an event. These vendors are on lists compiled by various area synagogues and might offer a good starting point. Good luck and Mazel Tov!
Event Planners Events by Design. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-361-2480 Reva Stein. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-422-1331 Uniquely Yours (Pearl Taylor). . . . . . . . . 757-499-9454 Premiere Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-340-2212
Judaica (kippot, tallit, ketubot) Synagogue Judaica Shops Source for Everything . . . . . . Jewishjewishsource.com Yofah Religious Articles. . . . . . . . . . . . . yarmulka.com Mazel Skull cap. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kippah.com Zion Judaica. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Zionjudaica.com
Caterers Baker’s Crust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-625-3600 Bite Catering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-486-0035 Brutti’s Catering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-735-4360 Catering Concepts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-425-5682 Chesapeake Bay Catering757-213-5021 Cinema Café. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-747-1393 Cuisine and Co.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-428-6700 Doubletree Virginia Beach. . . . . . . . . . . 757-437-2022 East Beach Catering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-480-3003 Einstein Bros Bagels. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-410-3646 Gourmet Gang. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-857-6100 Il Giardino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-422-6464 Party’s Etc. (Sue Adler). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-588-2276 Route 58 Delicatessen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-227-5868 Ruth’s Chris. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-705-5251 Smithfield Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-356-9939 Sweetwater Cuisine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-403-7073 Taste Unlimited. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 757-425-0977
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Jewishnewsva.org | Mazel Tov | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 19
Mazel Tov Op-Ed
If you marry a Jew, you’re one of us by Steven M. Cohen and Joy Levitt
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husband, born Protestant, raised their chilNEW YORK (JTA)—Millennia ago, before dren as Jews. He never converted, but he rabbis existed or conversion was invented, did learn to read Hebrew, say Kiddush on thousands who were not born Jewish Friday nights, and fully participate in all became part of the Jewish community the Jewish holiday preparations and cerethrough a very simple act: They married monies. According to his wife, if asked if he is Jewish, partially Jewish or non-Jewish, a Jew. Sarah was the first, followed in turn he’d answer, “Jewish!” This seemingly novel phenomenon of by Rebecca, Leah and Rachel. Thousands more followed—both biblical characters joining the Jewish people without rabbinic and many more whose lives as Jews were formalities should not be surprising. In never explicitly recorded in the Bible. In today’s America, more and more social effect, our ancestors said to them, “If you identities are personally chosen and socially constructed. Religious identities marry us, you’re one of us.” Centuries later, at a time when the have become among the most fluid, with more intermarriage and number of American more people changing Jews marrying nontheir religious identities Jews has reached an than ever before. all-time high—80 perHere’s an added cent of Reform-raised appeal to newcomers: Jews who married in people in America Jews have become the 2000-2013 married who identify as Jews, most admired religious non-Jews—thousands but report group in America, are again choosing to no Jewish parents a Pew center study join the Jewish people, and reported last year, but nowhere near as have not converted having risen from the many as we would like. least socially desirable Unbeknownst to ethnic group in the even keen observers of early 1960s, according Jewish life, about half to a study at the time. of those who identify as Jews but were not born Jewish never Or as Matthew 20:16 puts it so well, “Those underwent formal rabbinic conversion. The who are last now will be first.” Even more significant may be those who 2013 Pew survey of American Jews found 79,000 adult Jewish converts, but another marry Jews who think of themselves not 83,000 who identify as Jews even though as Jewish but as “fellow travelers,” like the they reported no Jewish parents and had biblical category of “ger toshav,” or “resident supporter.” Some become part of our comnot undergone conversion. How did they become Jewish? Many munity because they sense an opportunity married Jews. Others have Jewish grand- to feel part of something important and parents or more distant Jewish ancestry meaningful. And they often do this despite and are reclaiming their roots. Some do call the fact that we don’t exactly put out the themselves fully Jewish, but many say they welcome mat for them. We know that where both parents are “partially Jewish,” a newly burgeoning group first documented in the Jewish identify as Jews, nearly all their children identify as Jews as well. And when only Community Study of New York: 2011. To take a real example: One of us is one parent sees himself/herself as Jewish, good friends with a well-known scholar only a minority of their children grow up in Jewish life. She (a born-Jew) and her as Jews. Aside from raising the inmarriage
Mazel Tov rate, how can we create more households where both partners see themselves as part of the Jewish people? One answer is for all of us to change the way we think of, and treat, those who love and marry our children, family members and friends. Basically we should agree and fully internalize the idea: If you marry a Jew, you’re fully part of our community until proven otherwise. The default option is that you’re in. If you don’t want to be seen as part of the community, you need to opt out, or “unsubscribe.” (And if you do, unlike those pesky email lists, we’ll respect your choice.) In other words, born Jews would undergo a subtle but critical shift in the way they relate to family members and friends not born Jewish. It would mean fully including them in holiday practices, life-cycle ceremonies, and Jewishly centered social action and political activities. It would mean concretizing (if not promoting) the social reality that rabbinic
conversion is not the only way to join the Jewish people or function Jewishly in a Jewish family. It would also mean that more intermarried couples would come to see themselves—and be seen by others— as inmarried. The widespread presumption of Jewishby-marriage will set many couples on upward Jewish journeys. Most critically, their children will see themselves far more often as Jewish, if for no other reason than both their parents see themselves as members of the Jewish people. This is going to take some work. We have overdeveloped muscles of defense when it comes to who’s in and who’s out. These muscles have been strengthened by anti-Semitism, to be sure. For much of the 20th century, as the Jewish community in America both acculturated and tried to maintain deep connections to Jewish tradition and culture, there was an ongoing struggle about how and if it was possible to engage fully in American life and still
preserve high inmarriage rates. Jews today are facing an unprecedented opportunity to share our rich tradition with thousands who are searching for meaning and looking to raise healthy and happy children with a deep connection to community. Certainly, some who marry us will decide to officially “join” the Jewish people through rabbinic conversion. Our arms should be wide open and encouraging to those on this path. Conversion classes and experiences need to be excellent, accessible and, frankly, more affordable in order to attract larger numbers. Our community needs to set this as a priority.
But for those who choose to be part of our community without formal conversion—who come to the Passover seder and drive their children to Hebrew school, who sit shiva with us, or who bring their sons into the community at a brit milah, who shep naches at their daughters’ bat mitzvah and who go to Israel on vacation—we say welcome. It’s a pleasure to know you. Come learn. You’re one of us if you want to be. —Steven M. Cohen is a research professor at Hebrew Union CollegeJewish Institute of Religion and director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive. Rabbi Joy Levitt is the executive director of the JCC Manhattan.
us will decide
to officially “join” the Jewish people through rabbinic conversion.
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Jewishnewsva.org | Mazel Tov | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 21
Autumn is a season to behold nature’s palette. Mazel Tov!
Mazel Tov Bar mitzvah-themed storytelling events seek to prompt reflection on the ritual
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www.bakerscrust.com The Reboot non-profit’s “reBar Mitzvah” event in Los Angeles last November. Credit: Reboot.
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www.garyallen.net 22 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | Mazel Tov | jewishnewsva.org
by Julie Wiener
NEW YORK (JTA)—A. J. Jacobs is not one to forego a big project. The journalist and author spent 18 months reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, a year “living biblically” and another subjecting himself to every health regimen he could find. Most recently, Jacobs conducted a massive family history project. One conspicuous gap in his catalog of experiences: a bar mitzvah, the widely observed, celebrated (and at times reviled) rite of passage for Jewish 13-year-olds. As a result, Jacobs told a group of youngish (mostly under-40) Jews at a recent event in Brooklyn, he suffers from “bar mitzvah envy.” Jacobs was not the only un-bar mitzvahed person to take the stage this summer at New York’s debut “Rebar” event, a sort-of The Moth: True Stories Told Live gathering focused on bar/bat mitzvah memories. Several performers—among them a convert to Judaism, a Catholic writer-actor and a novelist raised by a secular Jewish mother and lapsed Catholic dad—had not had a bar or bat mitzvah. In fact, those who had—including Vanessa Hidary, aka the
Hebrew Mamita, and Daily Show writer Jena Friedman—were in the minority. A project of Reboot, a Jewish nonprofit that, according to its website “engages and inspires young, Jewishly-unconnected cultural creatives, innovators and thought-leaders,” Rebar is an effort to “grow the number of people who are mindful about” the bar/bat mitzvah experience and “get them to think about what it means to grow up and be part of a community,” Robin Kramer, Reboot’s executive director, says. Kramer says she hopes that people who participate in Rebar will go on to plan more meaningful bar and bat mitzvahs for their own children. The coming-of-age ceremony, in which the celebrant generally reads from the Torah on Shabbat, is often, to the chagrin of synagogue leaders, viewed by parents as the sole reason for enrolling their child in Hebrew school. For many children it’s seen as a sort of Jewish graduation — and a good excuse to make a viral video invitation. With the motto “Rewind to 13. Fast Forward to Today,” the Rebar project encourages adults to reflect on their bar/
Mazel Tov bat mitzvah experiences, think about what they might do differently today, and consider what it means to come of age and enter adulthood. Consisting of storytelling events like the one held in a hip, intimate event space in Brooklyn’s gentrified Prospect Heights neighborhood, the initiative also includes an online, crowdsourced collection of bar/bat mitzvah photos and reflections as well as a “DIY kit” to guide would-be participants and organizers. Reboot—whose other projects include National Day of Unplugging, a modern spin on Shabbat—is hardly the first Jewish group to turn its attention to the bar/bat mitzvah. Since 2012, the Reform movement has overseen a pilot project called B’nai Mitzvah Revolution for congregations experimenting with the standard services-and-aparty model. In 2013, the New York-based Jewish Education Project devoted its “Jewish Futures” conference to the topic, with a recurring theme being that the entry-into-Jewish-adulthood ritual is plagued by widespread ambivalence about just what Jewish adulthood should be. New York’s Jewish Journey Project, an alternative Hebrew school program in which kids get to choose the classes they take, offers an alternative called Brit Atid (Covenant of the Future) in which kids study their Torah portions but then, rather than chanting them and delivering a typical d’var Torah, choose a creative way of presenting it in a group ceremony. The Brooklyn Rebar event seemed to do more rewinding than fast-forwarding. There were lots of humorous anecdotes and awkward photos—particularly of the overthe-top b’nai mitzvah parties attended and themes witnessed—and less emphasis on what the storyteller/participant might do differently today. Friedman, the comedy writer, confesses to having a “super racist” Chinese New Year-themed bat mitzvah, while Libby Lenkinski, U.S. director of strategic initiatives for the New Israel Fund, recalls attending multiple bar/bat mitzvah
parties each weekend of seventh grade with themes ranging from Wall Street (replete with a wind tunnel blowing dollar bills) to rainforest to Monte Carlo night. (A self-described socialist, Lenkinski says her own bat mitzvah skipped the gifts, instead inviting guests to plant trees in Israel.) Hidary contrasted the lavish parties on Long Island—hosted by friends from Jewish summer camp who had “QuickBat” crash courses beforehand—with her own three-days-a-week-of-Hebrew-school servitude and the low-budget party in her family’s Manhattan apartment. Kate Scelsa, a young-adult novelist, says she did not have a bat mitzvah and had never “stepped foot in a temple” until seventh grade, when her classmates from private school invited her to their bar and bat mitzvahs, and “I was in temple at least once a month.” Her overthe-top experiences? A party in which the host rented out South Street Seaport and hired vendors to make guests an array of personalized souvenirs, including fake vanity license plates. Instead of talking about his bar mitzvah, Chris Farber, a photographer and co-founder of the Rebar project, talks about his conversion to Judaism (after which his friends threw a “Farb Mitzvah” party for him). The son of a secular Jew and non-practicing Christian, Farber explains that until he converted—a process that culminated in a mikvah immersion and symbolic circumcision—“because my mom wasn’t Jewish, Jews didn’t consider me a Jew, and because my dad was [Jewish], everyone else did.” Sadly, he never addresses the question this writer is dying to know: What is it like to be Jewish and named Chris? As for the bar mitzvah-envying Jacobs, one of his regrets at not having had the lifecycle event is his lack of Hebrew literacy and missed “executive training.” Plus, he says, “Having a bar mitzvah forces you in some small way to think about others, and I was a selfish little bastard.”
Jewishnewsva.org | Mazel Tov | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 23
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Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli marries under no-fly zone
sraeli supermodel Bar Refaeli married Adi Ezra in a traditional Jewish wedding at the Carmel Forest Spa Resort in northern Israel. Refaeli, 30, and Ezra, 40, a businessman whose family owns the Israeli food importing company Neto ME Holdings, wed Sept. 24. Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman officiated at the ceremony, which according to some reports had 300 guests. (Others placed it at 400.) Refaeli wore a gown designed by Chloé. Israeli singer and The Voice Israel judge Shlomi Shabbat sang his popular song The Beginning of the World, according Israeli websites Walla and Mako. The wedding was preceded by conflict over whether or not it was permissible to impose a no-fly zone over it. On Sept. 22, Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority announced that it would override the transportation minister, Israel Katz, reinstating the no-fly zone in the four-square-mile airspace over the site of the wedding. In canceling the order two days earlier, Katz said he objected to the special treatment for Refaeli and Ezra. “As the person responsible for civil
aviation and setting policy, I expect you to fully implement my instructions on the matter,” Katz told Feldsho, the Israeli business daily Globes reported. “I look gravely on attempts to operate against the instructions and policies that I have set. The skies belong to the public at large and exclusivity should not be granted for commercial reasons to relevant organizations. Justice must be done and seen to be done.” Five drones, two helicopters and an observation balloon circled the area as part of the wedding—including to photograph the affair and to transport the couple to the site, according to Israeli reports. The reports suggested that the request to close the area to other aircraft was a safety issue. (JTA)
Michael Douglas gives surprise Yom Kippur speech at Reform temple NEW YORK (JTA)—Film star Michael Douglas delivered a speech at a temple in a New York City suburb on Yom Kippur. Douglas, who this summer received the Genesis Prize, informally known as the “Jewish Nobel,” spoke to more than 1,000 worshippers on Tuesday night, Sept. 22 at Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford, the New York Post reported. In his 20-minute unannounced speech at the Reform congregation, Douglas described how he was “reconnecting” with Judaism and recalled how his famous father, Kirk Douglas, experienced anti- Semitism when he first began working in
24 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | Mazel Tov | jewishnewsva.org
Hollywood. Much of the speech was about the need for the Jewish community to be inclusive, according to the Post. Douglas’ wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and their children, Dylan and Carys, also were on hand. Dylan Douglas celebrated his bar mitzvah at the temple in May 2014, and Carys is preparing for her bat mitzvah. (Douglas reportedly joked that he hopes his latest film performs well at the box office because he is in the midst of party planning for the bat mitzvah.) Shaaray Tefila’s senior rabbi, David Greenberg, invited Douglas.
Mazel Tov Young artist paves the way for 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day
by Laine Mednick Rutherford
t 12-years-old, Dani Byers is a polite young woman who is as comfortable in front of adults as she is climbing the tree in her front yard. Her attentive demeanor and coltish movements give no indication of the artistic talent she possesses, which has been manifesting itself most recently through photography, specifically nature photography. Flipping through the album of landscape and macro photography stored on her home computer, Dani points to the images. She matter-of-factly says that what’s on the screen is exactly what she captured at the moment the shutter was pressed on her camera. “I don’t edit any of my pictures,” says Dani, a seventh grader who will become a Bat Mitzvah this spring at Ohef Sholom Temple. “They’re originals, just the way I took them.” The photos stand out for their color, skillful composition, and, in many, an evocative beauty. Dani will be sharing the images, freely and willingly, to help promote the upcoming community-wide 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day on Sunday, Oct. 25. She’ll combine her photos with typography to create posts for the United Jewish
Federation of Tidewater’s social media pages. Her motivational messages are intended to remind people to sign up for the event, while at the same time suggesting they try out a daily good deed based on a Jewish value, for a unique 18 Day Countdown to Mitzvah Day. Julie Byers, Dani’s mother, is a member of the volunteer committee organizing Mitzvah Day. When she heard there would be a social media component to Mitzvah Day, she immediately thought of Dani’s
artistic abilities, and offered her daughter’s assistance, without hesitation. “I knew Dani would want to help, and when I asked her, she said: ‘Sure!’” says Byers. “It’s fun for us to do good things for other people. It’s part of the foundation of our family.” Having a creative project to work on is exciting to Dani, who enjoys combining her art with different font styles, and coming up with words to complement her images. “I’ve been creating this kind of art for a while, and it’s something I like to do,” says Dani, an International Baccalaureate student in Norfolk, who sells some of her work online at Zazzle.com. “One of the Jewish values I’ll definitely use for a post is gemilut chasidim, which is acts of loving-kindness,” she says. “It makes me feel good when I help out in the community. I like to brighten people’s days.”
To see Dani Byers’ 18 Day Countdown to Mitzvah Day artwork, like the UJFT’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/UJFTidewater, and check for daily posts beginning Wednesday, Oct. 7. For more information, and to sign up for Tidewater’s 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day, visit www.JewishVA.org/mitzvah-day.
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Jewishnewsva.org | Mazel Tov | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 25
JBolt strikes the Jewish dating community with a dating app that incorporates matchmakers
he creators of SawYouAtSinai, the largest Jewish matchmaking company in the world, recently introduced JBolt, the first Jewish dating app with matchmakers. “We created JBolt to simultaneously bring the human touch to the dating app world, and bring the efficiency of the smartphone to the matchmaking world,” says Marc Goldmann, founder of JBolt. This innovative hybrid of matchmaking and smartphone app caters to the new generation of Jewish singles. JBolt’s priority is to create long-lasting relationships. While it uses matchmakers such as SawYouAtSinai (now boasting more than 2,300 members married), it gives the singles a more active role in the dating process. Singles choose for themselves who they would like to date from
a series of “Bolts,” or possible matches, automatically sent to their phone every day. They can check out the singles’ profiles and swipe right when interested, and left when not. Once two singles mutually approve each other, the matchmaker enters the scene to review the match and make sure the two singles are compatible with one another. “The matchmaker review prevents futile dates, which will only be a waste of time, mone, and energy,” says Danielle Jacobs, C.O.O. of JBolt. Once the matchmaker approves the match, he or she will be available to the singles for advice and general guidance throughout the dating process, thus providing a blend of professional assistance and personal independence. “For the first time, matchmaking has
been given the ease and efficiency of the smartphone,” says Goldmann. This technology allows singles to accept matches and contact matchmakers more quickly than ever before. Plus, the simplicity of the app, with its sliding profiles and matchmaker chat functionality, makes JBolt incredibly easy to use. JBolt members can also join a partner site, such as SawYouAtSinai or JMatchmaking. The partner site’s singles database is independent from JBolt’s database, which gives the JBolt member even more dating options. A Gold user on JBolt will automatically also be a Gold member of the partner site, upon signing up with a profile there. With access to two separate databases, the JBolt user doubles his chances of finding the right person, for no extra cost.
Created in December 2003, SawYouAtSinai benefits Traditional, Conservative, Yeshivish and Modern Orthodox Jewish singles from Jewish communities throughout the world JBolt is now available on IOS through the Apple Store or Android through Google Play.
Mazel Tov! May all your celebrations be joyous!
26 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | Mazel Tov | jewishnewsva.org
Congregation Beth El welcomes new cantor by Linda Samuels
antor Wendi Portman Fried joined Congregation Beth El on August 1 and has been in constant motion since her first day. Cantor Wendi, as she is best known, most recently served the Congregation of Shaare Tefillah and the community of Olney, Md. for 10 years. Originally from Houston, Texas, she was brought up through the Conservative movement. Being involved in the leadership of Kadima, USY, and her local synagogue Youth Chorale, Cantor Fried found a love and passion for Judaism and all forms of Jewish, Israeli and Sacred music. Love of Jewish music is engrained in her family as both of her parents and two siblings also sang in their synagogue choirs. Fried is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a major in Middle Eastern Studies, and also spent a year on the USY NATIV program in Israel. Upon graduation, she launched her lifetime dream of becoming a cantor, graduating from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2004.
Fried and her Israeli husband, Giora (Gigi) Fried, have three boys, Nadav, 6, and nearly one-year-old twins, Rafi and Yoni. Wherever she has been—college, camp, New York City, etc—Fried has involved herself in music. She also has been a frequent guest speaker and performer for Hadassah and Women’s League and serves on the executive board of The Cantor’s Assembly. Fried brings a depth of experience creating programs to balance the needs of many generations with the use of traditional and modern approaches to prayer and spirituality. She has already established a choir at Beth El, coordinated a wonderful Selichot Service with the other area Conservative Synagogues, and has begun working with the B’nai Mitzvah students. In the future, she plans to hold classes in “Shabbat Skills” and to begin a “Yad Squad,” which will teach readers for all sacred texts. “We feel very blessed to begin our next chapter here at Beth El and are very excited to be part of helping to bring ruach, joy, and music to our new community!” says Fried.
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Performing arts at the J presents
Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center
8pm • Sat
10.24 C n Fa m il y JC A t t h e Si m o
Three-year-olds in the Strelitz class put their coins in the tzedakah box each Friday for Shabbat.
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Come out for an evening of fun and interactive entertainment. The high quality dueling pianos involves two piano players, two baby grand pianos and an all request show. You will be laughing, clapping, singing and dancing.
Call 757-321-2338 for tickets or visit www.SimonFamilyJCC.org jewishnewsva.org | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 27
week of extraordinary deeds
Abundant opportunities to “do good” at 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day Sunday, Oct. 25, 1:30–4:30 pm, Sandler Family Campus All ages. Free and open to the community. Register at www.JewishVA.org/mitzvah-day by Laine Mednick Rutherford
ast year’s inaugural Mitzvah Day attracted more than 300 community members who leapt at the opportunity to do mitzvot (good deeds or commandments). Projects such as a cleanup of the Beach Garden Park and the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes were held in various areas of Virginia Beach, in addition to several that took place at the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community. With the conviction that even more community members would want to volunteer this year, planners decided to choose a central, handicapped-accessible location for the 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day. All projects will take place at the Sandler Family Campus. The day of service is scheduled to begin after local synagogues’ Sunday School classes, and are suitable for the very youngest, and most senior, of community members. Kosher food will be available for purchase at the event. Community Service hours are available for helping Five very diverse Mitzvah projects are planned for the 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day: Blankets for the Homeless, Thank Israeli Soldiers, Havdalah at Home, A Gift of Music, and the Children’s Art Project.
Mitzvah Day Details Blankets for the Homeless: Mitzvah Day volunteers will cut, tie and roll no-sew fleece blankets that will provide warmth and comfort for hundreds of Hampton Roads homeless residents. Additional items such as food and clothing are also being collected for distribution by the Virginia Beach-based non-profit of the same name.
28 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
Thank Israeli Soldiers: Specific, often-requested items will be collected and packaged for shipment to Israel where they will be distributed in care packages to active duty soldiers. Mitzvah Day volunteers will create and write thank you cards to send in the care packages, showing support for the young men and women risking their lives to defend Israel. Havdalah at Home: Create a braided candle and an aromatic spice packet to use at home for your family’s Havdalah (end of Shabbat) ceremony. Do a mitzvah and learn a mitzvah when you participate in this project; you’ll come away with handcrafted Judaica, a copy of Havdalah prayers, and a better understanding of this beautiful service. (Space is limited. Preregistration is recommended.) A Gift of Music: Donate and help package gently used or new musical instruments to ship to Pardes Katz, Israel where children, who have passion and talent, but no means, will cherish the opportunity to learn and express themselves musically. Sheet music brass, wind, string, electronic, and most percussion instruments, with the exception of drums, are wanted. Children’s Art Project: Our youngest Mitzvah Day participants can exercise their creativity to make placemats that will brighten the tables and trays of residents at Beth Sholom Village. To ensure adequate supplies are on hand for volunteers, and for participation in the Havdalah at Home project, organizers encourage participants to register as soon as possible. For more information, and to register for the 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day, visit www. JewishVA.org/mitzvah-day, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 757-965-6136.
Donations needed for Mitzvah Day Projects Blankets for the Homeless: • Fleece: two yard increments • Thermal: underwear, undershirts, hats, gloves, socks (especially needed) • Tents and tarps • Gas Cards to help offset the cost of delivering the blankets. • Day of: bring fabric scissors to help Thank Israeli Soldiers: *New items only, please
• T-shirts (ex: sports teams, Virginia is for Lovers, and Dri-fit) • Portable phone battery chargers • Head flashlights • Hats (ex: sports teams or city logos) • Socks • Disposable cleansing wipes • Stick deodorant • Toothbrush and toothpaste • Insect repellent • Lip Balm (ex: Chapstick) • Medicated Body Powder (ex: Gold Bond) A Gift of Music: • New or gently used musical instruments (everything but drums, please) • Sheet music And packing materials: • Boxes for packing (medium and large) • Packing tape • Bubble wrap Donations and supplies can be dropped off now at the Simon Family JCC or brought on Mitzvah Day. (Leave your name so you can be thanked!)
week of extraordinary deeds First Person
The passionate planners behind Mitzvah Day
THURSDAY 22 OCT 2015
Sunday, Oct. 25, Sandler Family Campus by Jen Adut
wo summers ago, I was lucky enough to be one of nine Tidewater women chosen to go to Israel with the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP). The “Birthright trip for Moms,” as it’s sometimes called, was a life-changing experience. After an amazing 10-day journey in Israel, my new friends and I came home feeling a deeper connection to our religion, heritage, and to our community. So, when past participants of JWRP were asked to chair this year’s community-wide Mitzvah Day, everyone enthusiastically agreed. The 2nd Annual Tidewater Mitzvah Day will be a day of service which allows everyone to get involved in performing mitzvot (good deeds), reach out to our community, as well as to communities in Israel that need our help. Volunteers of all ages are invited to get involved in a variety of projects of hesed (kindness) and service. Amy Lefcoe, Tidewater’s JWRP coordinator, says our involvement and enthusiasm are an extension of who we’ve become since returning from Israel. “On their journey, the JWRP women see first-hand the power of women to change the world,” Lefcoe says. “It is a desire we bring home with us, and that is why Mitzvah Day resonates with this group.” We are excited to come together again, here in Tidewater, and work on a project to help our local community and Israel at the same time. I am personally involved,
because how could I give up the chance to make a difference in people’s lives? Plus, I’ll do anything to hang out with these women. Mitzvah Day gives us the opportunity to not only do something good, but to do something good together. Mitzvah Day Committee Members Jen Adut Wendy Auerbach Mara Bates Karen Bennet Shari Berman Pam Blais Marcia Brodie Mindy Brown Julie Byers Lisa Cohen Tanya Conley Heather Evens Barb Fernandez Robin Herbol Marilyn Johns Melissa Kass Karen Kendall Brenda Kozak Cindy Krell Amy Lefcoe Lesa Leiden Kara Molin—co-chair Marcy Mostofsky Linda Sinowitz Rebecca Tall Tracey Weinstein Deb Yarow—co-chair Jay Kossman, a member of the UJFT’s 2014 ATID leadership group
Area women roll up sleeves for the 2015 BOOK NOW Great Big Challah Bake Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus
5000 Corporate Woods Dr. | Virginia Beach
Please register by 10/16/15. Space is limited. This is a free, women’s-only event!
#KEEPING IT TOGETHER
Thursday, Oct. 22, 7–9 pm, Sandler Family Campus, free by Gedalia Schwartz
oin hundreds of area women for Tidewater’s inaugural Great Big Challah Bake. Mothers, daughters, sisters and girlfriends from all over Tidewater will gather to mix, knead and braid the traditional Shabbat bread. Each participant will leave with two challahs ready to be baked for Friday night’s Shabbat dinner. While the dough is rising, participants will have the opportunity to learn new braids and more about the importance of challah. Those who are already challah baking mavens are invited to help show other women the beautiful art involved. Ingredients and equipment will be provided. Get more information and reserve a spot by visiting www.JewishVA.org/ challah-bake. The Great Big Challah Bake is part of a global weekend event, The Shabbos Project, www.theshabbosproject.org, as well as one of the events planned for the Tidewater Jewish Community’s Week of Extraordinary Deeds, which culminates on Sunday, Oct. 25 with the 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day.
jewishnewsva.org | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 29
Camp Scholarship Tzedakah box at the JCC for 2016 Campers Scholarship Recipient Ciara Egan “Without
scholarship funds provided to us by the JCC, Ciara would miss out on her fabulous summers, which
have added so much to her camp and overall Jewish experience,” says Jaime Egan, Ciara’s mother. A fifth-grader, Ciara has been at Camp JCC since Kindergarten, and talks about becoming a CIT in a few years.
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30 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
by Leslie Shroyer
“I didn’t know until recently that some families can’t afford the full tuition of Camp JCC each summer,” says Linda Spindel, active JCC board member. “I just took it for granted that all kids who wanted to come to Camp JCC could attend.” Reading recently that the number one thing that binds Jewish adults to their heritage is their early experience at a Jewish day or overnight camp, Spindel felt compelled to speak out. “There’s something so special about that week of immersion,” she says. “Children start singing Jewish songs, partake in Jewish rituals. They ask questions, and ultimately identify.” “I asked what dollar amount it would take to send a child to Camp JCC, and decided to help out,” says Spindel. The cost to send one child to camp for a week at the JCC ranges from $260 to $460, as many of the campers who need scholarships use the JCC’s extended care option. Spindel wrote a check to send a child to camp for one week. Every time she went swimming, she’d think about the child she helped be able to swim at Camp JCC. She thinks others can assist in this effort too. “So many of us in this community could either give this amount for a camp scholarship, or could go in on a week of camp with a group of friends,” Spindel says. “It can make a kid’s summer.” The Simon Family JCC now has a camp-designed tzedakah box in the front lobby so that donations of all kinds from $1 up can accrue before next spring. These funds will be used for camp scholarships, supplies, and provisions. Even a small gift can make a change for a child and impact their families. To donate $1 or more, write a check to the Simon Family JCC and designate it for CAMP in the memo, or contact Evan Levitt at 321-2337 (email@example.com). Contributor’s names will be in the 2015-16 annual donor report.
what’s happening Diary of Anne Frank stars Elizabeth and Dorothy Hughes Peninsula Community Theatre in Newport News, through Sunday, Oct. 18 Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm; Sundays at 2:30 pm
o stranger to the stage, 13-yearold Elizabeth Hughes has appeared in professional and community theater, school, dance and summer camp performances throughout Tidewater since she was a toddler. In January 2011, a video of Elizabeth singing the national anthem for the Norfolk Admirals at Scope when her microphone died, went viral on youtube. The poise of the tiny eight-year-old, who kept on singing, and the support of the crowd that sang with her, moved viewers all over the world, and resulted in numerous television, radio and newspaper interviews and segments, as well as dozens of invitations to sing the anthem, including at a sold out NHL game in Tampa for a crowd of more than 20,000. But her upcoming performance, playing the title role in Peninsula Community Theatre’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank, is meaningful beyond anything Elizabeth has ever done. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, is based on the diary that tells the story of Anne and seven other people who hid in Amsterdam in July 1942 in an attempt to escape the Nazis. They remained hidden, aided by friends of Anne’s father, Otto, until they were betrayed in August 1944 and deported to the death camps of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen. Otto was the only survivor. A Hebrew Academy alum, now an eighth grader at Norfolk Collegiate School, Elizabeth is the granddaughter of two Holocaust survivors, and her mother, Dorothy Hughes, a former HAT teacher and United Jewish Federation of Tidewater Holocaust Commission member, is performing with her, playing Anne’s mother, Edith Frank. Involved in Holocaust education and awareness since high school, Dorothy has shared her family’s story with Elizabeth from age of five or six, as Dorothy’s parents did with her. Elizabeth’s passion for theater, combined with the opportunity to tell the story of Anne Frank, has resulted in a profoundly moving and memorable experience for both mother and daughter.
“When we saw the audition notice, we knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to play these parts—Elizabeth is 13—the exact age that Anne was when she went into hiding in 1942—and I am still young enough to play Edith Frank,” says Dorothy. “We performed in the Sound of Music together at Peninsula Community Theatre in 2014, and know what a wonderful organization it is. And while this is the fifth show we have done together, and even the second time we have played mother and daughter, we had never done anything that has had such a deep, personal connection for us. “When I watched Elizabeth at the auditions, she simply embodied Anne’s spirit-the combination of an outgoing, vibrant young girl with a reflective, mature soul. I knew at that moment she was born to play Anne. When our wonderful director, Linda Marley Smith, called to tell us the news that we were both cast, she said she had been looking for actors who truly understood the characters and what made them tick. Based on my discussions with Elizabeth, this was the case—and of course, she is 13, going through many of the emotions and changes that 13-year old Anne was experiencing, especially in her relationship with her mother. We definitely have some art imitating life moments on stage together. And combine all of this with Elizabeth’s and Anne’s undeniable physical resemblance—well, I think Elizabeth’s performance is going to take the audience’s breath away.” The cast and crew that have accompanied Dorothy and Elizabeth on this journey have approached the material with love, compassion and respect. The play is demanding in many ways, with most cast members on stage for most of the time. The four-level set places them in cramped quarters to replicate the sense of confinement experienced by those in hiding, and requires intricate “choreography” to ensure that the cast can move from one area to another without bumping into or blocking one another. And for many involved, it has also been an educational experience, as
Dorothy and Elizabeth Hughes as Edith and Anne Frank.
they have taken it upon themselves to research to inform and enrich their understanding of their characters and tragic events of the Holocaust. With fewer and fewer survivors to tell their own stories, Dorothy believes that sharing Anne’s story is even more important than ever, especially given the rise in anti-Semitism taking place in the world today. “This is truly a labor of love for Elizabeth and me, a way to pay tribute to my father, a partisan fighter who passed away at the age of 91 on Yom HaShoah 2012, and my mother, too, who is 89, but too frail to make the trip from N.J. to see the show, as well as all of the victims, survivors, rescuers and liberators. I think it has become a labor of love for everyone in the show. I have never worked with a cast so emotionally invested in their performances. When we did our first rehearsal of the scene in which the Nazis break down the door to the hiding place, the emotions were so raw and intense we could hardly move. I
looked over at Katy Feldl, who plays Mrs. Van Daan, and I think she was crying even harder than I was. Linda, the director, told us that she got choked up so badly that she could barely get out her final blocking directions to Elizabeth, something that had never happened to her before. And Elizabeth came over to me, overcome and inconsolable, crying softly that she missed her Grandpa so much and wished that he were alive to see this play.” On Fridays and Sundays, there is a Q and A with the cast after the show. Tickets can be purchased at www.pctlive.org. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and students 22 and under, and $17 for military and their dependents.
jewishnewsva.org | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 31
what’s happening Stop & Shop…and Support a Great Cause Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s Helping Hearts project
Opens October 30th!
Sunday, Oct. 11, 1–5 pm, Simon Family JCC, free Screening of I’ll Be Me, 2 pm
hopping and a free movie? Sounds like a great day! Jewish Family Service of Tidewater is hosting the 2nd Annual Holiday Stop & Shop, featuring numerous direct sales and community vendors, as well as a free showing of Glen Campbell’s movie, I’ll Be Me. The day is free and open to the public. At the Holiday Stop & Shop, more than 25 vendors and crafters will display their wares, including Holding Onto Memories Wreaths, Norwex, Arbonne, Miche Bags, LuLa Roe clothing and Plexus Worldwide. Vendors will also sell jewelry, and household and cooking products. For a complete list of vendors, visit www.jfshamptonroads. org/miscellaneous-events. Proceeds from vendor fees and door prize tickets will benefit JFS’ Helping Hearts project. Now in its 11th year, the Helping Hearts project provides indigent adults with gifts for the holidays. Dorothy Salomonsky, director of JFS’ Personal Affairs Management program, says, “Many of the recipients live off of $30 per month, and have little or no family or friends to see during the holiday months. This year, we hope to provide
1,000 adults with these gifts to let them know they are not alone and to spread a little cheer.” A number of the individuals served by this project are part of the JFS Personal Affairs Management (PAM) program for incapacitated adults. JFS also treats many of its clients to a special dinner out during the holiday season and recently treated more than 100 clients to a picnic at Red Wing Park in Virginia Beach. In 2011, the music legend Glen Campbell set out on an unprecedented tour across America, thinking it would last five weeks; instead it went for 151 spectacular sold out shows over a triumphant year and a half across America. Campbell had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and was told to hang up his guitar and prepare for the inevitable. Instead, he and his wife went public with his diagnosis and announced a “Goodbye Tour.” The film documents this journey as he and his family attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of Glen’s progressing disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice. Special appearances include Bruce Springsteen,
Holiday Stop & Shop
Jewish Family service oF TidewaTer’s helping hearTs proJecT
The Edge, Paul McCartney, Blake Shelton, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Steve Martin, Chad Smith and Bill Clinton among many others. After the movie, the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions of medical professionals who specialize in Alzheimer’s and dementia, including Dr. Hamid R. Okhravi of the Glennan Center at EVMS. The movie will also be shown on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7 pm. Both showings are free but registration is required by calling 757-452-6944. Movie presented by Beth Sholom Village; EVMS Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology; Freda H. Gordon Hospice & Palliative Care of Tidewater; Jewish Family Service of Tidewater; and the Simon Family JCC.
Cutting Edge Dueling Pianos Saturday, Oct. 24, 8 pm, Simon Family JCC
ear favorite songs performed at the Simon Family JCC’s first ever Dueling Pianos evening. Formed in 2011 by Jacob Wolfson in Baltimore, Cutting Edge Dueling Pianos now has approximately 10 performing pianists. Two of these pianists will play an all request performance at the JCC. “Be ready to sing along, clap along and listen to your favorite songs of any variety,” says Wolfson. While studying trumpet as an undergraduate at Peabody Conservatory, Wolfson worked as a bouncer at a nearby dueling pianos bar. Intrigued, he taught himself to play piano. He soon learned enough songs
32 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
for a happy hour routine, and eventually a much larger repertoire by the time he graduated with a master’s degree. A few years later, Wolfson started his own dueling pianos company. “We’ve performed for all kinds of special occasions, from weddings to shows at JCCs and BBYO conventions,” he says. “By having two pianos, there’s a larger song knowledge, and the energy level is very high. Together, a couple performers put on a better show than they would alone.” Tenille Whitten, who organized a recent performance at a convention in Philadelphia says, “they play such a great range of music and do a wonderful job
getting everyone dancing and enjoying the fun. They didn’t take one break…and people were not ready for the night to end.” Tickets are $20 or $10 for JCC members and include one free drink; cash bar available. Purchase tickets by calling 321-2338, by visiting the JCC front desk, or online at SimonFamilyJCC.org.
what’s happening Tricksters from Virginia Opera aim to engage young listeners Tricksters Trilogy cast members.
by Leslie Shroyer
hen members of the Virginia Opera’s Herndon Emerging Artist program perform Trickster’s Trilogy this year’s traveling fall show, their goal is to inspire young ones in the audience. Three little operas in one, Tricksters Trilogy is an original piece by Glenn Winters, Virginia Opera’s community outreach musical director. “The repertoire for children’s opera shows is limited, and most are fairy tales,” says Winters, who has worked on arrangements for children’s works, including last year’s show The Empress and the Nightingale, which was performed at many schools and venues including the JCC. “The idea of a trickster came to me as an appealing theme for kids, like the Joker in Batman.” He decided to take on three tricksters in his show—a Tom Sawyer spin off, a German trickster tale, and a retelling of the Emperor’s new clothes. The artists who will perform for the Simon JCC’s Children’s Culture Arts series event—three vocalists and one pianist—are from across the country and were chosen from hundreds of applicants. Along with about 10 others, they perform as chorus members and understudies in Virginia Opera’s productions. Soprano Danielle Messina, the understudy for Virginia Opera’s Romeo and Juliet later this season, says the performer’s goal s
are simply to make music lovers out of the audience. “If we can open up their creative side and expose young children to the world of Opera, then we consider ourselves to be successful.” The world of opera is changing, says Messina. Now there are venues such as IMAX theaters for watching opera, where people can casually view it as one would a movie. These stars think casual opera is great, and that it is the way of the future. “Just like hip hop or rap has become part of the young culture, Opera should be that way too,” says Arthur Bosarge, pianist. His cast mates agree that it doesn’t have to be a three-hour long production requiring formal attire, and that performances can be more interactive. “We know that kids today aren’t used to trained voices,” says Winters, “so we want this new exposure to be a memorable one.” For some, it will just be another performance they attend with their families. “For a few kids, they will be amazed, touched, and maybe a couple will even be inspired to be a part of the future of Opera.” Tickets may be purchased at the JCC Customer Service Desk, by calling 321-2338 or visiting simonfamilyjcc.org. Adults (ages 11 and up): $8/$6 for members; Children (ages 10 and under) $6/$4 for members; Family ticket (Two adults, plus children): $27/$22 for members.
U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama—and What’s Next for the Middle East Live via Satellite from the 92nd Street Y in NYC
Sunday, Oct. 18, 7:15 pm, Congregation Beth El
hey’re from opposite sides of the aisle, but equally expert when it comes to setting the record straight on Israel. Dennis Ross, who has been a direct participant in shaping U.S. policy towards Israel and the Middle East for nearly 30 years—in President George H. W. Bush’s administration, as President Bill Clinton’s Middle East Peace envoy, and then as a special assistant to the president under Barack Obama. His new book is Doomed to Succeed. Alan Dershowitz has been a consultant to several presidential commissions and has advised presidents, U.N. officials, prime ministers, governors, senators and members of Congress. His latest book is
The Case Against The Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran from Getting Nukes? Ethan Bronner, senior editor for international news at Bloomberg, will be the moderator. This event is offered to the community by the Milton “Mickey” Kramer Scholarin-Residence Fund of Beth El, and in partnership with the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and through a grant from the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. To attend and participate in the conversation, RSVP to the Beth El office at 757-625-7821 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost to attend is $5. Dessert and beverages will be served at the welcome at 7:15 pm. The broadcast begins at 7:30 pm.
FOUNTAINS OF ROME
Experience a digital photo exhibition, by local photographer, David Beloff, of Rome’s beautiful fountains that inspired Respighi while the orchestra performs Fountains of Rome.
JoAnn Falletta, conductor
FRI., OCT. 16 | 8PM
Ferguson Center for the Arts
SAT., OCT. 17 | 8PM
L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center
Tidewater Chavurah Friday Night Service Friday, Oct. 9, 7 pm
he Tidewater Chavurah is holding a Shabbat service, led by Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill, at the home of Hal and Elaine in the Great Neck Meadows area in Virginia Beach. An Oneg will follow the service. A congregation without walls, events are held in members’ homes or at other locations. Everyone is invited.
Tidewater Chavurah usually holds Shabbat services on the second Friday of the month. For more information and location address, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call 468-2675 or 499-3660.
SUN., OCT. 18 | 7PM
Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
Charles Robert Austin
Sunday, Oct. 18, 2:30 pm Simon Family JCC
Dennis Ross and Alan Dershowitz
Buy today for the best seats VirginiaSymphony.org or 757.892.6366
jewishnewsva.org | October 5, 2015 | Jewish News | 33
what’s happening First Tidewater Shabbat Project to take place in Ghent Saturday, Oct. 23—Saturday, Oct. 24
ewish people will gather in hundreds of cities around the world for the second international Shabbat Project next month. The concept is simple: Jews of all walks of life, from across the spectrum—religious, secular and traditional; young and old, from all corners of the globe—uniting to experience one full Shabbat. A global, grassroots movement that brings Jews together to keep one full halachic Shabbat the Shabbat Project initiative was introduced in South Africa in 2013. Nearly 75 percent of the country’s 75,000 Jews kept Shabbat in full, many for the first time. In 2014, the idea of an international Shabbat Project was born. The global edition met with an astonishing response. An estimated one million Jews in 460 cities and 64 countries took part—not just in unique Shabbat programmes, but in city-wide pre-Shabbat Challah Bakes and post-Shabbat Havdallah concerts. People observed Shabbat in full for the first time in their lives. “Even in our most optimistic moments, we could never have imagined the depth and breadth of the response,” says the project’s architect, South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein. “It was thrilling
and inspiring to witness Jews from across every conceivable divide—language, culture, ethnicity, geography, observance—viscerally embrace the Shabbat Project and make it their own. “Ultimately, the Shabbat Project showed us new, glorious possibilities for what we as a people and as individuals can attain— that we can overcome the divisions of the past, reclaim our spiritual heritage, even become better people. “The beauty of this is that it is so practical and manageable. After all, it’s only one Shabbat,” he says. Locally, the Tidewater Shabbat Project will be based in Ghent and includes a committee with members from Ghent synagogues. The weekend kicks off with a Great Big Challah Bake at the Simon Family JCC (see page 29) on Thursday, Oct. 22. Shabbat will begin with a communal Shabbat dinner on Friday, Oct. 23 and include all day programing on Saturday, Oct. 24. Hosting in Ghent for anyone who does not live locally and would like to experience the full Shabbat Project is available. To participate in the first ever Tidewater Shabbat Project, email email@example.com and visit www. theshabbatproject.org.
New Business Directory available
he Business & Legal Society of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater recently launched the new Business & Legal Directory, a source for Jewish professionals in Tidewater. This online directory may be found by visiting JewishVA.org/ businessandlegaldirectory. Featuring more than 80 professional services from members of the Business & Legal Society, the directory is online-only for easy access and can be downloaded or printed for convenience. “I am excited to be able to use the directory to find businesses in our community that provide services
that fit my needs,” says Jody Balaban, a member of the Business & Legal Society who also chose to be listed in the new directory. With the directory, it is easier to support local businesses, legal professionals and the Jewish community. The Business & Legal Society offers networking, social and philanthropic opportunities for Jewish professionals. For more information about being listed in the directory and membership in the Business & Legal Society, contact Alex Pomerantzat 757-965-6136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
34 | Jewish News | October 5, 2015 | jewishnewsva.org
October 8, Wednesday Living Waters: Wading In, an interfaith summit at Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach. 9 am–4:30 pm. A day of interfaith prayers, music, inspiring speakers and lively, collaborative workshops. cbf.org/LivingWaters for more information and to register OCTOBER 11, SUNDAY Jewish Family Service’s Stop & Shop. 1–5 pm. Sandler Family Campus. See page 32. Glen Campbell’s I’ll Be Me. Sandler Family Campus. 2 pm. October 15, Thursday Glen Campbell’s I’ll Be Me at Beth Sholom Village. 7 pm. Film is free; reservations are required: 757-452-6944. See page 32. October 18, Sunday The Children’s Cultural Arts Series of the Simon Family JCC presents The Tricksters Trilogy by Virginia Opera. A collection of stories focusing on three “tricksters” from around the world. This piece is sure to entertain with its very imaginative and fun approach. Includes some audience participation and is suitable for all ages. 2:30 pm at the JCC. 321-2338 for tickets or simonfamilyjcc.org. Join the 92Y, live via Satellite at Congregation Beth El, in partnership with the Community Relations Council for a discussion with Dennis Ross and Alan Dershowitz on the U.S.-Israel relationship. $5 to attend and participate in this timely conversation, RSVP to Beth El at 757-625-7821 or to email@example.com. Dessert and beverages 7:15 pm; the broadcast begins at 7:30 pm. See page 33. October 18 and 25, Sundays Youth Volleyball Clinic for boys and girls ages 7–14 at Simon Family JCC. Participants will be divided into two age groups: 7–10 and 11–14, and taught basic and fundamental aspects of the game (serves, hits, bumps, sets, rules, and sportsmanship) through drills, coaching and games. 1-4 pm. $60 / $40 JCC members. To register, visit the JCC or call 757-321-2338. Call 757-321-2308 with questions. OCTOBER 21, WEDNESDAY J.C.C. Seniors Club board meeting at 10:30 am; lunch at 12 noon; general meeting at 12:45 pm. Guest speaker is Mary Lovell Swetnam, a reference librarian at MEO Central Library, who enjoys doing genealogical research and organizing anything. She will speak about geneology. For further information, Call 757-497-0229. October 22, Thursday Great Big Challah Bake. Sandler Family Campus, free 7–9 pm. See page 29. October 24, Saturday Performing Arts at the J presents Cutting Edge Dueling Pianos. Whatever songs the audience wants to hear, the players are sure to know—whether it’s classic rock, current songs, rap or country. Cash bar available. 8 pm at the Simon Family JCC. Detailed information at SimonFamilyJCC.org or contact Michele Goldberg at 757-321-2341. $20 or $10 for JCC members. See page 32. October 25, Sunday Annual Mitzvah Day at Sandler Family Campus. 1:30 – 4:30 pm. Free and open to the community. Register at www.JewishVA.org/mitzvah-day. See page 28.
Send submissions for calendar to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to note “calendar” in the subject. Include date, event name, sponsor, address, time, cost and phone.
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Who Knew? seven Jewish pop culture moments from 5775 by Gabe Friedman
( JTA)—Last year, as always, Jews contributed to the worlds of art, music, literature, film, television, comedy—and even Instagram modeling. Here are some of the moments that made members of the tribe stand out in the increasingly bizarre, fastpaced whirlwind of American pop culture. 1. Jon Stewart’s montage of his Jewish moments on The Daily Show In July—two weeks before Jon Stewart left the show he transformed into a cultural cornerstone—Sen. Chuck Schumer made a surprise appearance, prompting the comic to show a video of some of the program’s most Jewish moments (which include his pronunciation of several Yiddish phrases and his famous comparison of Easter candy to the items on a seder plate). Warning: Longtime Daily Show fans might get tearyeyed with nostalgia. 2. Lena Dunham’s New Yorker piece about her Jewish boyfriend—or was it her dog? Among her many talents, Lena Dunham, the Jewish creator of HBO’s Girls, can safely count a knack for offending large numbers of people. In March, Dunham penned “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” a humor piece in the New Yorker that jokingly compared the two subjects in its title. We don’t know if her real-life Jewish boyfriend (Fun! guitarist Jack Antonoff) was offended, but several Jews (and non-Jews) took issue with the piece, citing old stereotypes that perniciously compared Jews to dogs. 3. Matisyahu playing at a festival he was disinvited from Matisyahu may no longer sport a large beard or be affiliated with the Chabad movement, but his Jewishness was front and center once again in August. European BDS protesters successfully forced a Spanish festival to disinvite him from playing for his refusal to declare his support for a Palestinian state. After a wave of public backlash to the decision, Matisyahu eventually was invited back and defiantly played the song Jerusalem in front of a crowd that flew Palestinian flags. “Let music be your flag,” he said during his set.
4. Lil Dicky climbs the Billboard charts From the Beastie Boys to Drake, the music industry has seen its share of Jewish rappers. But none have tackled the humor of white (and Jewish) suburban America quite like David Burd, aka Lil Dicky. After creating a series of music videos with millions of views, Burd, a former advertising writer, released a full album, Professional Rapper, in July. The album peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart—and hints that Lil Dicky’s ambition in the industry goes far beyond white-boy comedy. 5. Black Lives Matter activists interrupt Bernie Sanders—and cause a social media sensation Bernie Sanders, the only Jewish, 73-yearold from Brooklyn in the 2016 presidential race, had drawn record rally crowds all summer. But on Aug. 8, two activists who claimed to be affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement interrupted a Sanders rally in Seattle, taking over the microphone from the Vermont senator. The incident reverberated through social media for several days and brought the movement’s racial message back into the spotlight. 6. JDate sues over the letter “J” After a successful rise in the Jewish dating game, the matchmaking app JSwipe was sued by older (and larger) competitor JDate for its usage of the letter “J.” Though the suit began in fall of last year, the case stayed under wraps until this summer when a Forbes writer unearthed it for the public, causing a wave of ridicule and commentary. JDate also claimed to own the patent to the matching technology used by a host of other dating apps. 7. Amy and Chuck team up for gun control Comedian Amy Schumer found herself involved in the gun control debate in the wake of a violent shooting at a Louisiana theater that was showing her movie Trainwreck. (This happened just weeks after her childhood rabbi called her a “sweet, funny kid who often asked probing and humorous questions” at Hebrew school.) Sen. Chuck Schumer, her second cousin once removed, joined her in launching a campaign for gun control shortly after the shooting in late July.
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obituaries Leonard Myron DiamondsteiN Virginia Beach-HAMPTON—Dr. L. Myron Diamondstein, 83, passed away on Thursday, September 17, 2015. He was a resident of Hampton Roads for most of his life and was a doctor of optometry in a private practice. He was a U.S. Army Veteran of the Korean Conflict. He was a member of Rodef Shalom Temple in Hampton, as well as a member of the Monitor Lodge 197 AF & AM and was also a part of the Alpha Club of Virginia Beach. He was preceded in death by his sister, Sophie Diamondstein Levinson in 2001. Survivors include his daughter, Andra Beth Luke of Blue Spring, Mo.; son, Marc Ian Diamondstein and wife, Sharon of North Brunswick, N.J.; three grandchildren, Landon, Eric and Jason; long-time friend, Maria Farano of Virginia Beach; and his former wife of 25 years, Abby Stahl Diamondstein. A graveside service was held at the Jewish Cemetery of the Virginia Peninsula. Donations to Beth Sholom Village, 6401
Auburn Way, Virginia Beach 23464. Peninsula Funeral Home. Harvey L. Horne Norfolk—Harvey Lewis Horne, 45, died Monday, September 21, 2015. Harvey was born in Norfolk to Stanley Horne and Jo-Ann Hollenbeck. He worked for Norfolk Parks and Recreation for over 25 years. Harvey was also a Norfolk CERT Trainer. He was an avid swimmer and Pittsburgh Steelers fan, enjoyed teaching senior aqua aerobics and above all spending time with his family, especially his girls. Through his involvement with the community and serving others Harvey touched many lives in a positive way. He will be remembered as a great family man, mentor, teacher and loyal friend. Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife, Sarah and his daughters Hannah and Holley; parents, Stanley Horne (Diane) of Virginia Beach, and Jo-Ann Hollenbeck of Chula Vista, Calif.; and sister, Hope A. Horne (Regina Ray) of Norfolk. A graveside service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Israel Zoberman officiating. Memorial donations to a charity of one’s choice. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www. altmeyerfh.com. Dorna Lee Isaacs South Orange, N.J.—Dorna Lee Isaacs of South Orange, N.J. died on September 13, 2015. Born in New York, N.Y., she was a graduate of Livingston High School and received her BA from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1974. She retired
five years ago as vice president of Hammill & Gillespie in Livingston after a 29-year career. Ms. Isaacs has lived in South Orange for the past 30 years. She was also an avid member of the Embroiderers Guild of America for many years. Dorna Lee Isaacs is survived by her mother, Patricia B. Isaacs and her brother, Howard Isaacs. A graveside service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Israel Zoberman officiating. Charles L. “Chick” Kaufman, Jr. Virginia Beach—Chick Kaufman passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, September 10, 2015. Chick was born September 30, 1927 in Norfolk, Va. He is pre-deceased by his parents, Doris Broh and Charles “Chuck” Kaufman, his sister Barbara Rosenwald, and his brother, George Kaufman. Chick attended Blair Junior High School, Stanton Military Academy, University of Michigan and Harvard Law School. Chick served in the U.S. Army at the end of World War II stationed in Korea as a communications officer and radio jockey. Chick was married to Carol Lampl for 58 wonderful years who pre-deceased him in 2011. Throughout their lives, Chick and Carol were most charitable to friends and to the local Hampton Roads community at large. Chick practiced law briefly with Kaufman Obendorfer before turning to his professional passion of business and investments, which he was actively engaged until his final days. Chick worked for Southern Materials and served on its board prior to establishing Kaufman Brothers, an investment brokerage firm, with his late brother, George.
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Chick served on community and corporate boards, including serving as chairman of Cenit Bank. After selling Kaufman Brothers at age 50, Captain Chick with his first mate, Carol, enjoyed many years of incredible friends and often while happily navigating the Chesapeake Bay and Intracoastal Waterway. Despite his accomplishments, Chick was a humble man who lived life simply, fully and generously. Above all, Chick was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend. He is survived by two children, Carolyn Kaufman of Chattanooga and Virginia Beach, David Kaufman of Virginia Beach; daughter-in-law, Kay Darby Kaufman; brother-in-law, Steve Lampl of Waynesville, N.C., his wife Sandy; sister-in-law Linda Hofheimer Kaufman (George); four grandchildren: Erika Kaufman Powell Yost (Andy); Jack Kaufman Powell; Carl Darby Kaufman and Kara Darby Kaufman, and nieces and nephews. A graveside memorial service to honor the life of Chick Kaufman was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg officiated. In memory of Chick Kaufman and his generosity, the family invites you to contribute to a charity of the donor’s choice. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be sent to the family at hdoliver.com. Mattox, Mary Elizabeth Stone Daleville, Va.—Mary Elizabeth Stone (Betsey) Mattox, of Glade Hill and more recently of The Glebe, died peacefully Thursday, September 3, 2015. She was the daughter of Crispin Clack Stone and Julia Gatewood Cooper Stone. Her husband, Calvin Bryant Mattox, her son-in-law, Malcolm Rosenberg, her brother and sister-in-law, James and Wilda Stone, and her sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and Henry Perdue, predeceased her. Betsey was independent, an avid sports fan, and loved the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She enjoyed golf for over 40 years as a member of Willow Creek, The Waterfront and The Water’s Edge Country Clubs. In 1988, she was the Ladies Club Champion at The Water’s Edge. Betsey was a charter member of Christ Community Church in Penhook. She was a loving mother, a true and loyal friend and an inspiration and role model to many. She
obituaries will be missed by those who knew and loved her. She is survived by her loving daughter, Diane Rosenberg of Roanoke. Affectionately known as Granny Bet, she is also survived by Rick and Rebecca Rosenberg of Chapel Hill, N.C., their children Sarah, Lake, Abby and Gabe and Stephen and Eliane Rosenberg of Atlanta, Ga., and their children Talia and Lucas. Dana Uzelac, whom she called her second daughter, also survives her. Graveside services were held at Franklin Memorial Park with the Rev. Gerald Carter officiating. Contributions in her memory to the charity of your choice. Arrangements by Flora Funeral Service & Cremation Center, Rocky Mount. Eugena “Jean” Pearl Chesapeake—Eugena “Jean” Pearl, 73, passed away on September 21, 2015. She was the loving wife of Daniel for 54 years. Jean was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on the eve of World War II. She and her family
moved to Long Island when Jean was a teenager. There, she met Dan at her Sweet 16 and they were married three years later. Dan’s job took them all over the world, including living in Paris for two years. Jean was a tough, feisty lady. Protective of family and friends, and doting on those in her life, especially her grandchildren and family pets, Jean was a wonderful, loving, caring and giving woman. She will be desperately missed by everyone who came into her life. Left to cherish her memory are her daughter, Dina Jorgensen (Erik), son, Ira (Leslie), daughter, Gayle Pearl (Susan Evans) and her grandsons, Ryan Jorgensen (Sarah) and Alex, and granddaughter, Sydney Pearl; as well as her much younger sister Abbey Eckelmann (Paul). Graveside services took place at Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Israel Zoberman officiating. Donations to a favorite charity in Jean’s memory. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences at hdoliver.com.
At end of life, Oliver Sacks craved gefilte fish, and Judaism by Brian Schaefer
(JTA)—On Aug. 30, at age 82, noted neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks succumbed to a cancer that first plagued him nearly a decade ago, paused, and recently reappeared. One of his last essays, published posthumously, appears in the Sept. 14 issue of The New Yorker and is, surprisingly, an ode to gefilte fish. “Our gefilte fish was basically carp, to which pike, whitefish and sometimes perch or mullet would be added,” he wrote of his mother’s recipe. “The fish had to be skinned, boned, and fed into a grinder— we had a massive metal grinder attached to the kitchen table, and my mother would sometimes let me turn the handle. She would then mix the ground fish with raw eggs, matzo meal and pepper and sugar.” Sacks first shared his cancer diagnosis in a February article in The New York Times.
Over the next six months the writer, who was best known for his compassionate studies of patients with rare afflictions, turned his keen eye on himself, reflecting on his life through several essays and a memoir, On the Move, published in April. Gefilte fish has long inspired both passionate defense and ire. It is also having something of a cultural moment, thanks to a recently surfaced, cryptically titled email from Hillary Rodham Clinton, which was revealed to refer to a shipment of carp facing Israeli tariffs in 2010. But for Sacks, the traditional Eastern European dish represented the taste and smells of his Orthodox Jewish childhood in northwest London, and the full circle of life. Though Sacks was not religiously observant as an adult, this food, it seemed, served as an unbroken tie to his Jewish identity throughout his life. He recounted in The New Yorker essay, titled “Filter Fish,” the successful efforts continued on page 38
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of his late housekeeper, Helen Jones, an African-American Baptist woman, to fashion a homemade gefilte fish that rivaled his mother’s. He also found himself craving the food in his last days: “Deliveries now arrive daily from one shop or another,” he wrote, naming a number of well-known New York delis. A newfound appreciation for Jewish tradition defined much of Sacks’ final writings. He articulated this most explicitly in an Aug. 14 article in The New York Times called, simply, “Sabbath.” Sacks recounted the rituals of his childhood Shabbat in a household headed by two surgeons who, though they didn’t work or drive, kept the phones operational in case of a medical emergency. Though he wrote fondly of these times, Sacks’ homosexuality was not received well by his parents, and their reaction pushed him away from Judaism.
Over the next several decades, he studied medicine in Los Angeles, dabbled in body building in Venice Beach, struggled with drugs and gained international recognition for books such as 1973’s Awakenings and 1985’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. In 2014, Sacks visited family in Israel, his first visit to the country in 60 years since spending a few months on a kibbutz as a 22-year-old. In the Times essay, he recounted a Shabbat meal during that trip in which he finally felt embraced by his faith and contemplated what he may have missed by keeping it at a distance. “The peace of the Sabbath, of a stopped world, a time outside time, was palpable, infused everything,” he wrote, “and I found myself drenched with a wistfulness, something akin to nostalgia, wondering what if.…”
Best-selling novelist Jackie Collins Jackie Collins, whose steamy novels sold more than 500 million copies, has died following a six-year battle with breast cancer that she never divulged to the public. Collins, the daughter of a Jewish father and an Anglican mother, died Saturday, Sept. 19 in Los Angeles. She was 77. Her best-selling novels, mostly depicting the lives of women in Hollywood, have been sold in 40 countries throughout the world. Her 1983 novel Hollywood Wives, which sold more than 15 million copies, spawned several sequels and a television miniseries. Collins’ work spawned controversy. Her first novel, The World Is Full of Married Men published in 1968, was banned in Australia and South Africa. Romance novelist Barbara Cartland called it “nasty, filthy and disgusting.” Collins had her last interview with People magazine, which first reported her
death. She said her breast cancer diagnosis came more than six years ago, but she only told her three grown daughters, Tracy, 54; Tiffany, 48; and Rory, 46 about it. “Looking back, I’m not sorry about anything I did,” she told People. She was the younger sister of actress Joan Collins of Dynasty fame. Collins “lived a wonderfully full life and was adored by her family, friends and the millions of readers who she has been entertaining for over four decades,” the family said in a statement posted on the novelist’s website. “She was a true inspiration, a trail blazer for women in fiction and a creative force. She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words.” Collins was born in London and moved to the United States in the 1980s. (JTA)
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In 2011, music legend Glen Campbell set out on an unprecedented tour across America. They thought it would last 5 weeks; instead it went for 151 spectacular sold out shows over a triumphant year and a half across America. What made this tour extraordinary was that Glen had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was told to hang up his guitar and prepare for the inevitable. Instead, Glen and his wife went public with his diagnosis and announced that he and his family would set out on a “Goodbye Tour.” This film documents this amazing journey.
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