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AnniversAry Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

Supplement to Jewish News, November 17, 2014 jewishnewsva.org | 10th Anniversary | November 17, 2014 | Jewish News | 17


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

AnniversAry Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

Dear Readers, The journey to the moment in the summer of 2004 when the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus began operations was the culmination of many years of diligent pursuit by a host of people who had vision and a commitment to the future of Tidewater’s Jewish community. Volunteers and professional staff united to plan, raise and contribute funds, and then divide the tasks and monitor every detail— from construction to marketing—to achieve the dream of bringing the Jewish community together. A decade later, the Campus continues to evolve and build on its successes. And that is what we cover in this issue. After all, 10 years ago, we published an issue of Renewal that attempted to tell the story of the Campus’ origins and all who made it happen. (I say ‘attempted’ because, fortunately, so many people were involved on so many levels, that sadly, we couldn’t include all of the stories.) But, back to today. Gardens and monuments have been added, art collected and displayed and procedures to enhance economy and be environmentally considerate enacted. These are the stories we tell with this issue. In future issues of Jewish News, we plan to highlight those on the Campus: United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, The Simon Family JCC, Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, Jewish Family Service and Tidewater Jewish Foundation. These organizations will each have an opportunity to tell their “Campus Story” in their own way. The first decade has been eventful. Here’s to the start of the next!

Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 200 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462-4370 voice 757.965.6100 • fax 757.965.6102 email news@ujft.org www.jewishVA.org Terri Denison, Editor Germaine Clair, Art Director Hal Sacks, Book Review Editor Sandy Goldberg, Account Executive Mark Hecht, Account Executive Beth Weiner Gross, Account Executive Marilyn Cerase, Subscription Manager Reba Karp, Editor Emeritus Sherri Wisoff, Proofreader Miles Leon, President Stephanie Calliott, Secretary Harry Graber, Executive Vice-President 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. © 2014 Jewish News. All rights reserved. Subscription: $18 year For subscription or change of address, call 757-965-6128 or email mcerase@ujft.org.

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AnniversAry Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

Vic Pickett’s The Minyan (photograph by Steve Budman)

The art of call and response


by Sherri Wisoff

s the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus celebrates its 10th anniversary, it is interesting to note that this coming January will mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In art school one is often told that to create new perspectives, you need a

vantage point and a horizon line. These art principles are also useful in appreciating how far the community has come and offers a chance to reflect on some of the artistic voices, both past and present, housed within and around the Campus. Walk directly out the front door of the building toward the “goose pond” and stand on the top point of the Star of David paved bricks and then turn toward the

facility, armored in desert, rough hewn, Jerusalem stones. From this vantage point you will view the vibrant 10-year-young community ark—not floating, but grounded firmly on the horizon line seen through the shining steel arches of Victor Pickett’s, Holocaust Memorial. The modern sculpture’s reflective arm-like forms seem to reach up to the heavens only to finally succumb to its own embrace. It does offer a

powerful perspective. The 10 slightly bowed sculptural forms of Pickett’s, The Minyan, solemnly daven nearby, perhaps spirits of ancient rebbes, offering a silent bracha for the community center and its inhabitants. Every tribal people have a creation story, a vantage point, a beginning. Lorraine Fink’s, The Seven Days of Creation offers a continued on page 20

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AnniversAry Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

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chance to muse about the mysteries of the universe in her 27 paintings, inspired by her study of philosophies and myths of many cultures. Her inclusion of quotations from many literary and religious writings, offers the opportunity to revisit one’s place in a more encompassing human tribe. Fink’s collection is displayed in the Cardo. Religious artifacts call out from various vantage points within the building, offering paths to the sacred as in the ancient calligraphy of the Torah housed in a wooden ark on the Fleder Multipurpose Room stage or in contemporary objects of ritual such as Betsy Karotkin’s ceramic Blue Menorah tucked in the second floor hallway of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s offices. Objects of intellectual contemplation and games delight visitors in the lamp glass worked chess set created by Italian master glass artist, Gianni Toso, an orthodox Jew currently living in Baltimore. The set, donated to the community in memory of Sylvia Rose Jason, of blessed memory, depicts a humorous battle between Catholic and Jewish clergy. It sits in a protective case in the Kramer Board Room. Mezuzahs of various artistic expression tilt in doorways throughout the building. Songs of life celebration are felt in the joyful faces of children candidly depicted in Elizabeth Leeor’s 26 photographs that line the halls leading to the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. Reitha Fival Sedel’s oil pastel, Rejoicing the Fruits Thereof, reminds us daily of our abundance as we head to the Cardo Café. From this vantage point, The 12 Tribes of Israel, a small, carefully embroidered tapestry draped on the side wall of the Cardo by an unknown artist speaks to a time of Biblical innocence and begs to be protected. Reoccurring themes of biblical exodus that fuel the collective consciousness of Jewish experience throughout the millennia can be discerned in Israeli artist, Sharga Weil’s, Gates of Sinai, a serigraph triptych—Pillar of Fire, The Burning Bush and The Pillar of Clous. Displaced, uprooted

from his own native land, Czechoslovakia, imprisoned for much of WWII, Weil produced his first graphic works during this tragic period of world history. Several examples of his work hang in the Campus. The trio near the front desk is indicative of his richly layered graphics. Here, the story of exodus from Egypt is depicted; the tribe of Israel represented by a one, lone bearded figure, hunched over, griping a cane, wanders in jagged and shifting fields of color and form, offering an artistic metaphor of Weil’s immigrant experience struggling to cope with the constantly shifting political climate of Eastern Europe. Color field gates appear again and again as if symbolizing the path to freedom and hope. Weil, himself, sailed on an illegal immigrant ship eventually celebrating his own arrival to the Promised Land, Israel, in 1947, where he spent the rest of his life as a member of Kibbutz Haogen, creating graphic work that continues to illustrate the haunting themes of displacement and renewal. Upstairs in the entrance of UJFT, one can now find his lithographs, Phoenix Legend, his prayer for the Jewish people, to rise up like a phoenix from its own ashes and fly toward a new horizon. Three large canvases, copies of Marc Chagall’s are displayed in the building. Two of these compositions are found on Chagall’s tapestries that currently hang in the Knesset Parliament building in Israel. They call out in celebration for the creation and journey to Zion. Firmly rooted in memories of his Hasidic community outside Belarus, Chagall’s whimsical iconography depicts King David floating with his lyre, above a swirling, dancing community. In the canvas on the second floor, the artist’s beloved bride Bella is rendered in his own embrace, returning her symbolically to the homeland, in spite of his grief with her passing in 1944. Above a cacophony of figures some wearing clothes typical of the shtele life that he so adored, and some dressed as pilgrims armed for the state of Israel protecting a blood stained tree of life; Chagall, in 1965, created this

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Chess set by Gianni Tosco (photography by Laine Mednick Rutherford).

mystical somewhat visionary depiction of Jerusalem. The city is seen floating within a shimmering oval, slightly out of focus, as if a dream, still waiting to be realized, foreshadowing the arrival of the Six Day War. Next to Chagall’s canvases, loud prayers for the resilience to transform suffering and tragedy can be heard in artistic symphony. Born in 1933 in Vilna, Poland, Samuel Bak’s works ache with the themes of lost childhood and broken connections. His family was marched into the Vilna Ghetto, later to a labor camp from which he was eventually smuggled and given refuge in a monastery. Surviving the war and finally immigrating to Israel, he spent his life creating powerful visual landscapes that haunt and remind of unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust. This painful call to remember is joined by Edna G. Lazaron, a Norfolk native, in her touching mixed media work, Prague, created in 1997, after a tour of Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Constructed as a collage of acrylics and photos taken while visiting Jewish cemeteries and synagogues

in Prague, Lazaron reminds us of the creative power of art and image. David Katz’s bold photography of the Holocaust Memorial Garden can also be found on the second floor. Nearby, contemporary works from community artists continue to offer much needed respite from the despairing reminders of World War II. Arlene Berman Kesser refreshingly offers hopeful optimism and poetic beauty in her abstract color field watercolor. Telsa Leon’s Community, addresses her love and commitment to the Jewish peoplehood. The multi-colors and vibrant shapes on her canvas reflect the many different people and organizations that worked together to bring the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus to fruition. Rebecca Danker’s oil painting, Lag B’Omer II, is a colorful and painterly interpretation of the 33rd day after Passover, offering a comforting reminder that Jewish traditions of honoring the dead can coexist within the larger context of world community. The open strip of wall space on the second floor, the Leon Family Art Gallery,

over the last 10 years has continued to showcase many notable artists that offer unique vantage points to survey our history and celebrate our artistic gifts. The One Foot in America show in 2010, offered an unparalleled visual record of Jewish emigrant experience as recorded by Belgium artist Eugeen Van Mieghan, along with the companion exhibit of the historic role of the Red Star Line, the shipping company that aided the great migrations of Jewish refugees from Central and Eastern Europe to the U.S. between 1880 and 1920. Paul Schutzer, lauded Life magazine photographer, tragically killed during the first day of the 6 Day War, artfully from 1956 to 1967, captured compelling images of Israel during her early days of statehood. He left a legacy of powerful historical images witnessing the building of the Berlin Wall, the earthquake in Iran, the Algerian War and Kennedy from his campaign to his funeral, Cuba, Castro, Lebanon and Vietnam. A sampling of these images were exhibited in the Leon Family Gallery.

Art, at its best, does offer moments to appreciate that elusive literacy of the heart, the magic of metaphor and understanding that can occur when one is open to converse with the fragile and delicate landscape of our humanity. Much has been written and argued about art and the human experience of it. The tomes of philosophical discussion about the nature of art rival the volumes of rabbinical discourse written throughout the centuries. However, from this vantage point, the 10th anniversary of our cherished Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus, to view its collection of art as prayers might offer a fresh perspective. Can you hear the call and response that has been heard by generations? In taking the time to engage and respond to their call, our voices will continue to join the collective consciousness of our rich Jewish heritage celebrating our history as a people and reminding us of our commitment to our future shining on the horizon line.

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CONGRATULATIONS to the Sandler Family Campus on its First Decade

AnniversAry Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

Gardens honor Holocaust Survivors and liberators and Jewish War Veterans


irectly opposite the main entrance to the Sandler Family Campus are two special gardens, one dedicated in 2009, and the next in 2010, which pay homage to the community’s past, and in some aspects, to its’ present and future. The Helen G. Gifford Holocaust Memorial Garden and the Jewish War Veterans Monument were created to honor many and to establish permanent places on the Campus for reflection. Both required the efforts of a multitude of people and the professional expertise of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Tidewater Jewish Foundation.

Congratulations to the

Sandler Family Campus 10 YEARS AND GOING STRONG!


The Helen G. Gifford Holocaust Memorial Garden

n an exceptionally sunny and hot Sunday in May 2009, the dedication of The Helen G. Gifford Holocaust Memorial Garden took place. A host of speakers recalled Gifford’s philanthropy and her love of the arts and Jewish community. But mainly, they spoke of how proud they knew she’d be of the legacy she left with her children and grand-

children, and the permanent place for the community to come together to remember those who resisted and those who perished during the Holocaust. Gifford’s brother-in-law, Bernard Rivin, of blessed memory, said at the ceremony, “we owe it to Jews everywhere never to let the world forget…let us never forget the horrific magnitude of the Holocaust.”

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Wall displays names of Holocaust Survivors from the former Soviet Union who settled in Tidewater.


AnniversAry Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

In her remarks, Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg of Ohef Sholom Temple noted that although the Garden is based on some of the dark experiences those in the community suffered, the dedication is a celebration of all that is now flourishing. Abbey Horwitz, then president of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, said he believed that Gifford would be pleased with the lovely garden, dedicated to those who survived the Holocaust and then rebuilt their lives in Tidewater. He

noted that, “Memory is a dynamic act that both honors and inspires individuals, communities and a nation of people.” The Garden uses quotes of local survivors and liberators as originally recorded in the book To Life, as a chronological narrative of Holocaust events and experiences. Moving along the beautifully designed walkway built of Jerusalem Stone while reading the firsthand accounts, visitors are able to absorb the pain, courage, despair, hope and faith emanating from each letter, word and phrase.

Jewish War Veterans Monument


12-year dream became a reality when the Jewish War Veterans of Post 158 chose Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11, 2010 to dedicate their long awaited Jewish War Veterans Monument on the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus. Festivities began with more than 100 veterans and their families at a luncheon, during which veterans Philip Rovner and Hal Sacks presented an interesting program on Jewish Veterans of World War II provided by Jason Steinhauer of the Library of Congress Veterans’ History Project. After lunch the attendees, joined by other members of the community, assembled at the site, adjacent to the Holocaust Memorial Sculpture and the Helen Gifford Holocaust Memorial Garden. Emotions mounted as a smart looking color guard

from the Little Creek Amphibious Base Fort Story presented the colors and the band played the National Anthem and Hatikvah. Veterans rose in turn as the band played the service anthems of their particular branch of service. The memorial was created with significant donations, as well as by the sale of pavers inscribed with the names of Jewish veterans who served in the past, as well as those currently serving in the Armed Forces. Veterans from Russia, Canada and Israel are also honored. Pavers are still available for sale. The project was made possible by Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Sonny Werth, of blessed memory, and Hal Sacks, along with contributions of many donors.

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AnniversAry Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

Green initiatives help environment and bottom line at Sandler Family Campus


eing green can also save green. Glenn Saucier, Sandler Family Campus facility director, has managed to make changes on the Campus that do both. In fact, he maintains that environmentally friendly changes work best when they ultimately cost the building less. Consider the Campus trash, for example. When the Sandler Family Campus

opened 10 years ago, 100% of the building’s trash went to the dump. Today, 50% is recycled. Great for the environment, it’s also good news for the Campus budget, because the waste disposal fee went from approximately $31,000 per year to about $14,000. Remember being told to “Turn the lights out when you leave the room?” Well,

not everyone remembers. Tired of wasting all of that electricity, Saucier installed motion sensors in about 35 locations on the Campus that turn the lights on when someone enters a room or area and then off when the room is empty for a period of time. The power bill immediately was reduced, as was the building’s carbon footprint. Switching the lights in the Jaffe Gymnasium from metal halide to LED is projected to save $14,000 each year in energy bills. Plus, the new lights require no maintenance and light bulbs no longer have to be changed. That’s a win-win. Plans call for making similar lighting changes throughout the Campus, in the pool area and the parking lot, for instance. The Cardo has already seen its lights switched to a combination of LED and fluorescents. This summer, the Campus planted its first vegetable garden. Working with what

Saucier calls “absolutely terrible soil,” the yield wasn’t much for its first harvest. But, what grew—tomatoes, squash and herbs— were used by the Cardo Café. Talk about eating local! Composting, says Saucier will help. And where is the material coming from for the compost? Why the Campus of course! The Cardo Café’s waste along with leaves from the grounds’ trees are contributing today to next year’s, hopefully, more bountiful crop. Whenever equipment requires replacement, Saucier says he looks for ways to be more energy-efficient. For example, a new roof top unit uses natural weather conditions, when feasible to cool, rather than electricity. Oh! And remember those old metal halide lights from the gym? Instead of sending them to a landfill, local artist Lorraine Fink recycled them into sculptures that have already been exhibited in Norfolk Academy’s Perrel Art Gallery. Waste not, want not.

Discarded lights turn into art The Tribes. By Lorraine Fink 2014


s 90-year-old Lorraine Fink took down her art show at the Leon Family Gallery and loaded it into her car, she was drawn by “a silent vibrant cry from a small mountain of metal, transformers and ceramics at the edge of the loading dock. Strong and stout, and somewhat intelligent looking, these identical pieces stood paralyzed before the jaws of the garbage truck, which was soon to crush them into a mangled heap and toss them to a future as landfill pollutants. I could not ignore them,” she says. After loading her paintings, she also loaded the found objects and took them home, where they began their journey to their new and rightful destiny: The Tribes. A series of sculptures created from the retired Jaffe Gymnasium’s metal halide light fixtures, adorned and enhanced with discarded, no-longer-needed, no-longer-usable relics of today’s age of immediate obsolescence. At home in Fink’s artist’s studio, they began to attract others like them. From waste bins, offices, the sides of highways and backs of attics—architects’ rendered samples, construction workers’ offloaded wire, drywall bead, strapping and carpet edging, 50-year-old penicillin bottles, remote controls, used cds, letterpress, telephone coils, switches, plugs, computer circuit boards, MP3 players, earphones, photo slide magazines, nuts and bolts, washers and nails, air conditioning filters, lighting accessories, springs, foam core and plastic newspaper delivery bags—were all about to be one with the cast-off lights. The Tribes emerged with headpieces, facial features, decorative ornaments, weavings and whimsy. They acquired body paint, feathers and unique markings. Each became its own tribe with its own passions, history, and future to create. And now, delighted with other discards they have saved, and ensconced in the satisfaction of the souls they have become, The Tribes are ready to face the world. They stand alone. They stand as a group. They stand as a statement. Members of The Tribes, formerly metal halide lights from the Jaffe Gymnasium.

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AnniversAry Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus: 10 years and counting Ten years ago, in June 2004, the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus opened its doors to a flourish of activity.


ome to the Marilyn and Marvin Simon Jewish Community Center, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, Tidewater Jewish Foundation and Jewish Family Service, Tidewater’s Jewish community was now situated in a central location. Today, the Campus’ Cardo is nearly always filled with children moving from activity to activity, adults eating at the café, people hustling to meetings, the gym or the pool, as well as to receptions and community-wide events. From infants to seniors, a constant bustle takes place everyday on the Campus. These photos offer but a glimpse of some of that action.

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Mazel Tov to the Sandler Family Campus from Jay, Susan and Steve

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Happy Anniversary

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