Friday, May 1, 2020 7 Iyar 5780 Vol. 92 | No. 18 | Â©2020 $1.00 | jewishledger.com
ISRAEL at 72
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CONNECTICUT JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | MAY 1, 2020 | 7 IYAR 5780
14 Bulletin Board
18 Bonds of Life
The Hate Pandemic............................................................. 5 Jewish security insiders have been fretting since January that a pandemic-induced quarantine would spike online activity, bringing more people in contact with a toxic brew of antisemitism. They were right to worry.
A Shot in the Dark................................................................. 5 News of shots fired at the Westville Synagogue had New Haven’s Jewish community concerned, until it was learned that the bullets weren’t bullets at all. They came from a BB gun. And the ace wasn’t one of antisemitism.
OPINION.................................................................................10 In a recent study, Israel was ranked the safest place in the world to be during the pandemic. Much of its success may have to do with the Jewish state’s military culture.
Bonds of Life........................................................................18 Paying tribute to some of the Jewish lives lost in the COVID-19 pandemic.
19 Torah Portion
21 Business and Professional Directory
ON THE COVER:
On the evening of Monday, April 27 – 7 Iyar – the State of Israel will mark Yom Hazikaron, Israel Memorial Day. Fittingly, the next evening, April 28, begins Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israel Independence Day. Two important dates on the pro-Israel calendar. But with the Jewish state still locked down due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this year’s tribute to fallen heroes and celebration of Israeli statehood will look vastly different than previous years. PAGE 12 jewishledger.com
SHABBAT FRIDAY, MAY 1 Hartford: 7:24 p.m. New Haven: 7:24p.m. Bridgeport: 7:25 p.m. Stamford: 7:26 p.m. To determine the time for Havdalah, add one hour and 10 minutes (to be safe) to candle lighting time.
MAY 1, 2020
Seventy-one years after Israel fought for its independence, Magen David Adom is helping the country battle a different enemy. The coronavirus pandemic is indeed a war. Even if Israel can keep mortality rates for those infected to 1 percent, it will still mean the death of more than 30,000 people — more than all of Israel’s wars combined. Magen David Adom has been on the front lines against the coronavirus, but the fight has taken an extraordinary toll on MDA’s resources. We need your support to keep saving lives. Observe Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s independence day, by keeping the people of Israel strong. Give today to our Coronavirus Emergency Campaign at afmda.org/corona-campaign
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CONNECTICUT JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | MAY 1, 2020 | 7 IYAR 5780
With white supremacists driven online by the pandemic, antisemitism trackers watch for new threats BY RON KAMPEAS
ASHINGTON (JTA) – For the folks who monitor antisemitism, a pandemic-induced nightmare nearly became
real this month. A Massachusetts man was arrested for trying to set off a firebomb near the entrance of a Jewish home for the elderly. He got the idea, federal authorities said, from the internet. The incendiary device was planted near Ruth’s House in Longmeadow, in western Massachusetts, on April 2. That was a day before the date designated as “Jew killing day” on a thread on white supremacist social media allegedly read by the suspect. The preferred target, the thread said, was a “Jew nursing home.”
Jewish security insiders have been fretting since January about the possible dangers of a pandemic. Chief among them: that spiking online activity during quarantine would bring more people in contact with the toxic brew of racism, antisemitism and the glorification of violence that occupies the dark corners of the web. Jewish officials who track antisemitism are concerned that “a more captive audience, more people spending time online, the ability for these messages to resonate with certain people” could increase, said Oren Segal, the vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. Amy Spitalnick, who directs Integrity First for America, a group that litigates
against white supremacists, said a cohort of extremists with time on their hands posed the risk of increased and more sophisticated attacks. “All of these people are staying at home online and have all the time in the world to take part in these attacks and spread their hate and plan,” Spitalnick said. Michael Masters, who directs the Secure Community Network, the security arm of national Jewish groups, said the April 15 revelation of the arrest made concrete the worries his group had been relaying to its constituents across the United States since January, when SCN started considering the pandemic in its bulletins. “This incident goes exactly to our shortand long-term concerns: the increased CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE
A FBI OFFICER ARRIVES AT THE SCENE OF AN ACTIVE SHOOTING IN JERSEY CITY, N.J., DEC. 10, 2019.
Westville Synagogue shot at with BBs
BY ALLAN APPEL
he Westville Synagogue on West Prospect Street was shot at, not by bullets, but by projectiles from a BB gun. The incident likely occurred some time between April 10 and April 13. The police responded Tuesday, April 14 at noon, when someone associated with the congregation entered the building and reported the damage. No one was hurt as the building was empty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with congregants gathering only virtually at home to celebrate the eight-day Passover holiday. That news initially emerged in the report of Westville District Manager Lt. Elliot Rosa presented Wednesday night at the regular meeting of the Westville/West Hills Community Management Team. That virtual gathering, via the Zoom teleconferencing app, was hosted by the team Co-Chair Josh Van Hoesen. “One of our synagogues was attacked,” Rosa said in his report. “You may hear that it was ‘shot’ at,” he cautioned. “Yes, but it was [with] BBs.” Police spokesman Capt. Anthony Duff said on Friday, April 17, that several BB projectiles had hit three window panes on the West Prospect Street side of the synagogue. Cops have canvassed the neighborhood, speaking to several neighbors about what they had heard or seen in the previous days. One neighbor heard loud noises they thought was gunfire, Duff reported. Another neighbor thought the loud noises were not gunfire and so convinced the other witness, which is why the police were not called earlier. Another neighbor heard what they thought was the sound of glass breaking on April 12. Duff said detectives are also CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE
(KENA BETANCUR/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)
MAY 1, 2020
New threats CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
antisemitism, fomenting hatred and incitement to violence in online forums and on platforms that motivates, encourages or supports individuals to potentially take action against our community,” he said. “This is not conceptual.” While the volume of antisemitic expression has increased online, and in at least two cases has spurred white supremacists to action, Masters said that other manifestations of antisemitism, like vandalism and graffiti, have not increased since the pandemic. Here are some of the ways that the pandemic has changed, and potentially amplified, the threat of violent white supremacists.
Big, vulnerable targets Ten days before the attempted attack on Ruth’s House, Timothy Wilson was shot dead by FBI agents serving him with a warrant. The pandemic presented the known white supremacist, who blamed Jews for the coronavirus, with an opportunity. Most gathering places, including synagogues, have been closed because of the pandemic. But Wilson, the FBI said, was planning a truck bomb attack on a large hospital in the Kansas City area, in part because of the mass casualties the pandemic would guarantee. Wilson, who had contemplated attacking a synagogue among other targets, “decided to accelerate his plan to use a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in an attempt to cause severe harm and mass casualties,” according to the FBI’s alert. Segal said the same logic applied to the chatter allegedly heeded by the Massachusetts suspect, advising attacks on Jewish homes for the elderly. Senior homes have made news as coronavirus hot spots. “It’s doubling down,” he said. “Who are the most susceptible, the most threatened by this pandemic – it’s older people.”
The conspiracy contagion Ancient theories of Jewish responsibility for plagues are resurfacing and gaining wider exposure, Masters said. “Starting in mid-January, we were identifying on our duty desk a lot of historic antisemitic tropes related to viruses and disease, bubonic plague and post-bubonic plague,” he said. The tropes “from the Middle Ages were resurrected related to the coronavirus, and it broke down to ‘the Jews are spreading it, the Jews are responsible for it and intending to spread it for monetary gain.’” Accusations that Jews are profiting from the pandemic have been circulating for months on social media favored by white supremacists, like Telegram and Gab, 6
and then breaking through to mainstream platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Rick Wiles, a Christian pastor who runs a farright news site, TruNews, said last month that the pandemic was simultaneously God’s means of punishing the Jews and spread by them. Accusations that Jews spread contagion date to the centuries before Christ and flourished throughout the Black Plague in the 14th century. The preeminent targets of bias attacks during the pandemic have been Asians. Early on, an array of Jewish groups condemned the phenomenon.
Masters said that Jewish Americans may also be more susceptible to the fears stoked by expressions of antisemitism because the pandemic is keeping people in isolation. “Incidents of antisemitic vandalism and graffiti have been no more pernicious than normal,” he said. “We see that sort of harassment and antisemitism regularly. But it is psychologically impactive to the community because the community is closed and everyone is vulnerable and socially isolated.”
Weaponizing the virus
Jewish Americans already were facing “the most complex and dynamic threat environment we’ve ever seen facing the Jewish community in our nation’s history,” Masters said, describing the wave of violent attacks on Jewish community targets in the year or so before the pandemic hit, including two deadly assaults on synagogues. The social upheaval that undergirded those attacks will manifest at exponentially greater levels as we get out of the pandemic, he said, with massive increases in unemployment creating more alienation
There has been chatter on white supremacist social media suggesting attacks on Jewish and other sites using the virus by licking doorknobs or violating social distances to spread disease. “Go to synagogues, travel to Israel, wear a kippah and cough on people” were some of the scenarios that Masters said he has seen. Masters said the threats to weaponize the virus itself seemed to be more trash talk than actual planning. Nonetheless, he said, they were emblematic of how the association of the virus with Jews was metastasizing among white supremacists. “What we assess in our conversations with law enforcement [is that] rather than being indicators of what people were going to do, it’s a troubling narrative arc from white supremacists,” he said.
Uninvited guests Another facet of the pandemic landscape is “Zoombombing,” malicious intrusions of the online gatherings that have replaced in-person ones for now. White supremacists have interrupted online Jewish get-togethers, Torah study sessions and classes with Nazi slogans and obscenities. Just this week, a Holocaust memorial event organized by Israel’s embassy in Berlin ended after virtual intruders began displaying images of Hitler and shouting antisemitic slogans. National and local Jewish organizations and synagogues have held webinars instructing constituents and congregants on how to set up barriers to the intruders. The ADL has consulted with Zoom, which has added protections. Masters said the phenomenon was as much a manifestation of white supremacism as it was malign mischief-making. “It’s what they say about idle hands being the devil’s workshop, people will exploit weaknesses where they can – those who are trolling, and those who have a desire to scare the community,” he said.
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The pandemic may go but the sickness remains
and people who may look for scapegoats for their misfortune. At the same time, Jewish institutions will be cutting back expenses, possibly in security. “As we reconstitute services and open the doors to congregants, JCC members, and students get back on campuses, with that increase in online hate speech as an excuse to spread antisemitism and hatred, there is a real concern that the individuals susceptible to that message will see our community get back to work, and they will pick up that call to violence and take action,” Masters said. Spitalnick, whose group is suing the organizers of the deadly 2017 white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, noted that they were able to exploit online platforms to spread their message of hate ahead of the march. She said more must be done to prevent the current moment from magnifying those opportunities. “Our Charlottesville case shows social media enabled and allowed some of the violence to happen,” Spitalnick said. “There needs to be an approach that brings in the private sector instead of playing whack-amole in which we take them off from one site and they go to another.”
Synagogue CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
reviewing footage from video from several locations near the synagogue. One section of footage from Friday afternoon “showed there were some young people teens playing on the street, Friday afternoon early evening, running and playing. About an hour after those teens, someone thought they heard gunfire on an adjacent street, but that was not confirmed … The vandalism is obviously not gunfire.” There is “nothing to indicate any motivation other than vandalism,” Duff said. He said the estimate of the damage is $5,000 “We’re taking the incident very seriously,” said Rabbi Fred Hyman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader. “And we are planning additional security measures when we reopen” after the pandemic.
Rabbi Hyman also confirmed there were no signs or graffiti of an antisemitic nature. The synagogue has no history of that or any kind of vandalism, he said. “The police have been very responsive,” he added, The Westville Shul is an Orthodox synagogue established in the 1950s. This article is reprint with permission of New Haven Independent (www. newhavenindpendent).
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MAY 1, 2020
Mitchell Silk is first Hasid to hold senior position in a US administration
Trump’s health spokesman tweets about Soros, Rothschild family ‘control’ (JTA) – The man President Donald Trump just named to speak for the Health Department accused George Soros and the Rothschild family of seeking to exploit the pandemic for control and to advance their agendas. Michael Caputo, who advised Trump’s 2016 campaign, two weeks ago became the spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, reportedly in part because of Trump’s dissatisfaction with how the department secretary, Alex Azar, was handling communications during the crisis. Caputo, known for his pugilistic style, deleted tens of thousands of tweets just before the appointment. CNN on April 23 uncovered dozens of the tweets, including attacks on the Chinese tinged with racially charged imagery, accusations that Democrats wanted people to die so Trump would not be reelected and disparagement of the media. On March 17, responding to David Rothschild, an economist who often is caustically critical of Trump and accused Trump of “wanting to murder” people to stay in power, Caputo said that Rothschild “is an inbred elitist sphincter whose family craves control. That’s one reason why he constantly lies about President Trump.” The New York economist is not related to the European family, which for centuries has been the target of antisemitic slanders that it is seeking world dominance. On March 15, Caputo responded to a far-right figure, Jack Prosobiec, who wondered on Twitter why George Soros, the liberal philanthropist was ready to give to his favored political causes but not to efforts to combat the coronavirus. “Are you kidding? Soros’s political agenda REQUIRES a pandemic,” Caputo said. Soros has given tens of millions of dollars to coronavirus relief. On March 27, Caputo tweeted a photo of Soros captioned “The real virus behind everything,” and added skulls and crossbones. CNN said it was unable to obtain comment from the Trump administration or Caputo.
(JTA) – Mitchell Silk, a Hasidic Jew from the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, made history with his confirmation by the Senate as assistant secretary of the Treasury for International Markets. Silk becomes the first Hasid to hold a senior slot in a U.S. administration, the Yeshiva World News reported. He was confirmed on April 21 by a voice vote for the position he has held in an acting role since July. Silk previously served as deputy assistant secretary for international affairs in the Treasury Department. “My grandparents immigrated to this country from hardship and persecution in Eastern Europe. Their life experiences were chilling,” Silk said during his nomination hearing in November. “My maternal grandfather, the guiding light of my life, grew up in abject poverty, witnessed Cossacks brutally murder his family members and struggled to cope with the extermination of his family in the Holocaust. “For my family, this country represented freedom, security and immense opportunity. They worked hard as tradesmen and laborers.” Silk, who speaks two dialects of Chinese, according to his biography, has a certificate of advanced studies in law from Beijing University and a law degree from the University of Maryland. While working for a New York law firm, he was posted in Beijing in 1986-87 and in Hong Kong from 1993 to 2005. Silk also taught in China.
Bloomberg puts up $10 million to develop COVID19 tracing program (JTA) – Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will fund a plan to help develop and implement a regional contact tracing program in the effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in hard-hit New York and neighboring states, it was announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 22. Bloomberg will fund the initial plan at a cost of $10 million. The program will be developed in partnership with researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the home of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and be coordinated with the states of New Jersey and Connecticut. As part of the effort, the Johns Hopkins school will build an online curriculum and training program for contact tracers. Bloomberg Philanthropies also will work with New York state to establish an expert panel to review the work of the program and create a model that other states can use for contact tracing, according to a statement from Cuomo’s office.
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“We’re all eager to begin loosening restrictions on our daily lives and our economy,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “But in order to do that as safely as possible, we first have to put in place systems to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus and support them as they isolate.”
Ohio pol’s wife compares health chief’s support for reopening to Nazi Germany (JTA) – The director of Ohio’s health department offered her enthusiastic support for issuing a certificate to those who can prove immunity to COVID-19 in order to reopen their businesses. The wife of a Republican Ohio state senator compared the idea to Nazi Germany. And her husband, Andrew Brenner, said “We won’t allow that to happen in Ohio.” Sara Marie Brenner posted April 21 on Facebook. “With a German accent, in your head say ‘show me your papers’ … This is downright scary!” she wrote. “You don’t issue people certificates to be able to function outside their home. … This actually feels like Hitler’s Germany where you had to have blonde hair and blue eyes to be able to function anywhere, and you were damned otherwise. When are people going to say enough is enough?” The post was removed the next day amid criticism from both Democratic and Republican officeholders in Ohio. Sara Brenner also posted and later deleted a photo of an apparent Nazi concentration camp with the message: “If people were told to get in cattle cars to be taken to virus protection camps, most of you would rush to get in line …,” the Ohio Capital Journal reported. On Saturday, an anti-lockdown protester at a rally at the state capitol held an antisemitic sign that showed the head of a Jewish man on the body of a rat with the words “The Real Plague.” Gov. Mike DeWine in a statement also posted on Twitter, condemned the protester’s sign and the Brenners’ posts. DeWine called the sign “vile and disgusting.” He said the Brenners’ posts showed “a complete lack of understanding of the Holocaust – made even more offensive by posting on Holocaust Memorial Day – and was a slur on a good, compassionate, and honorable person who has worked non-stop to save lives and protect her fellow citizens.” Andrew Brenner in a statement Wednesday, April 22, said “What I actually said was not the same as what is being reported,” and apologized to Acton “because I’m sure she was offended by the comments as they were reported.” On Thursday, he also apologized to the Jewish community.
London’s Jewish Chronicle saved from extinction (JTA) – The Jewish Chronicle of London, the world’s longest running Jewish publication, has been saved from liquidation and transferred to new owners. A consortium from the Jewish community and beyond has reached an agreement with the paper’s former owners, the Kessler Foundation, to take over The Chronicle “with the ultimate goal of establishing a charitable trust to ensure its long term stability,” editor-in-chief Stephen Pollard wrote in a statement Thursday, April 23. Pollard’s statement is the latest twist in a story that began earlier this month when the Kessler foundation revealed their plans to dissolve the Chronicle due to the economic crisis prompted by the coronavirus. Leo Noe, the owner of the Jewish News, a competing publication that was supposed to merge with the Chronicle before the crisis hit, also announced that he planned to liquidate his paper. Both papers were rescued by the consortium led by Robbie Gibb, the BBC’s former head of political programming and a former adviser to former prime minister Theresa May. Other members include BBC journalist John Ware; broadcaster Jonathan Sacerdoti; Rabbi Jonathan Hughes; John Woodcook, a spokesman for former prime minister Gordon Brown; and former Charity Commission chairman William Shawcross, the Press Gazette reported Tuesday. The new owners have promised not to interfere with the Chronicle’s editorial independence.
Jewish groups launch fund to help communities struggling with COVID-19 (JTA) – Three Jewish groups have teamed to launch a $10 million fund to provide no-interest loans to Jewish communities around the world that are struggling due to the coronavirus crisis. Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Hayesod (United Israel Appeal) started the COVID-19 Loan Fund for Communities in Crisis after Jewish communities and communal organizations in several countries sought assistance to ensure their survival. The communities and organizations – including in Italy, Spain, South Africa and countries in South America – were financially stable before the onslaught of the pandemic but are now unable to finance basic communal services, according to the Jewish Agency. Essential welfare services are in danger of being closed, the group said in a statement. The fund will provide immediate working capital loans to communities in danger outside of North America. In its initial phase, the fund will provide loans of up to $350,000 to each community or organization to help
them continue functioning throughout the coronavirus crisis. The loans will be provided for up to four years. Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Isaac Herzog said in a statement, adding, “the Jewish people are responsible for one another, now more than ever. And we welcome the support of all those that believe in Klal Yisrael.”
Conference of Presidents nominates Dianne Lob as new chair (JNS) The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella group with 53 member organizations, announced this week that it is nominating Dianne Lob, a former chairwoman of HIAS, to be the new chair of its executive board. Lob, who has worked as head of global business development for AllianceBernstein, an investment management firm, would succeed Arthur Stark, who served as a past chairman of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. In a press release, the Conference noted that, “If elected, Ms. Lob will be the third woman to Chair the Conference, following Shoshana Cardin (1991-1992) and June Walker (20072008).” The appointment has stirred objections from members and supporters who are uncomfortable with the political positions of HIAS that have clashed repeatedly with the Trump administration over recent U.S. immigration policies. “Ms. Lob was recommended by a splintered Nominating Committee, and her nomination has caused a serious rift in the Conference of Presidents,” said Roberta Goldstein, former national chairwoman of State of Israel Bonds. Founded in 1881 as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the organization played a vital role throughout the 20th century in providing services for Jewish refugees to settle in the United States and elsewhere. In recent decades, the organization re-branded itself as HIAS and shifted its focus “to protect and assist refugees of all faiths and ethnicities.” The Conference of Presidents, established in 1955 to provide a unified voice for the American Jewish community, serves as a liaison to the U.S. president and executive branch. Its mission is “to strengthen all aspects of the U.S.-Israel relationship and to protect and enhance the security and dignity of Jews at home and abroad.” A roll-call vote of member organizations to approve Lob’s nomination is scheduled to take place via Zoom on April 28.
UJA-Federation of NY will give $9 million more to protect Jewish life (JTA) – The UJA-Federation of New York has announced nearly $9 million in COVID-19 relief grants to strengthen Jewish life. The grants announced April 22, are on top of more than $34 million in grants and loans already announced to assist vulnerable New Yorkers most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, including organizations providing food relief and social service agencies. The new grants will support newly vulnerable families seeking to access Jewish life, front-line workers and needy Jewish congregants in the New York region. Some $6 million will be allocated to support Jewish overnight and day camps to assist with budget shortfalls, though it is still unclear whether or not the camps will be able to operate. A new $2 million scholarship fund for Jewish day school students will be created for families facing significant financial need as a result of COVID-19. In addition, some $600,000 will be provided to four local rabbinical associations to be distributed to congregants in need. UJA-Federation also granted $300,000 to the Afya Foundation for a month’s supply of gloves and masks for its nonprofit partner agencies and $50,000 to the Hatzalah ambulance service to purchase personal protection equipment for their more than 1,000 volunteers and 100 crews.
Religious leaders in Jerusalem recite joint prayer composed (JTA) – In unison, Israel’s multi-faith leaders prayed April 22 in Jerusalem for the end of the coronavirus crisis, reciting an appeal composed by the nation’s chief rabbis for the pandemic. In their own liturgical language – including Hebrew, Arabic and English – the chief rabbis along with Muslim and Christian leaders came together on the balcony of the King David Hotel overlooking the Old City. “Hundreds of thousands died, millions have fallen sick. Save, we beseech thee, O Lord. We entreat thee, O Lord, send prosperity! Send complete recovery to the sick, avert the plague from Your world,” they prayed. “Please – God, You who have nourished us in famine and provided us with plenty, You have removed us from pestilence, and freed us from severe and long-lasting disease – Help us.” The prayer by Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, the Sephardi and Ashkenazi chief rabbis, respectively, also quoted from Psalm 121. The three-minute event was livestreamed.
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L IKE U S ON
MAY 1, 2020
Military culture is key to Israel’s handling of the coronavirus
EDITORIAL Stacey Dresner Massachusetts Editor firstname.lastname@example.org • x3008 Tim Knecht Proofreader
BY YOEL HAR-EEN
EL AVIV (JTA) – Military service is a rite of passage in Israel. Those who have served in the Israel Defense Forces – approximately two-thirds of Israeli citizens – learn a common language, a common set of procedures and a common understanding of what it takes to prevail in difficult situations. These tactics have been central to Israel’s fight against the novel coronavirus. Around the world, medical professionals say they feel like they are in a war. In Israel, nearly all of us have been – and that is making us more equipped to battle this new and formidable foe. Israel is a tiny country and we have had no choice but to rely on strategy and preparedness to protect ourselves from enemies big and small. With limited personnel, whether they be dressed in army fatigues or medical scrubs, our victories ultimately depend upon the spirit of our people. At Sheba Medical Center, where I head the international division after serving in the military for nearly three decades, our people are unparalleled. So are the ways in which our national health agencies, intelligence agencies, defense ministry, military research and development agencies are working together to combat the coronavirus and make sure Israel has the supplies it needs to sustain the fight. We are able to manage many different players through this constantly shifting high-stress situation by calling upon the accumulated military experience shared by the hospital’s leadership, physicians, nurses and personnel. The hospital’s leader is a former Israeli army surgeon general, Yitshak Kreiss. Nearly all top Sheba staff are former Israeli soldiers, with many having served as senior officers. We call on shared values of discipline and order and an understanding of how things are best accomplished in times of great stress. This is how we are applying those elements to this fight: It starts with an understanding of time, the most valuable commodity of all. Our morning and evening staff meetings are run with military precision. The hospital, like our military, has units fighting in the field such as frontJEWISH LEDGER
STAFF AT THE SHEBA MEDICAL CENTER IN TEL AVIV (COURTESY OF SHEBA)
line doctors and nurses. At the same time, others are assembling plans that put us two or three steps ahead at every turn. These strategists find solutions to problems we are expected to face such as sourcing ventilators, finding room for an influx of patients, safeguarding nursing homes and planning for how to effectively transition our hospital into post-coronavirus crisis routine operations.
Israel was recently ranked the safest place in the world to be during the pandemic. Planning is impossible, however, without a clear and reliable flow of information. Our hospital is set up with dashboards that aggregate constant data across our operations, updated by a staff that understands how important data is to success. We are able to conduct rapid and constant evaluation of current and expected patient loads, availability of beds and equipment, quantities of medical supplies and many other data points that impact strategy. Underpinning it all is a culture of nonstop preparation and a bias toward action. Just as armies run war games, Israel’s medical professionals have been conducting drills for large-scale triage scenarios for years. We conduct these simulations often, and we always keep our staff at the ready. That readiness also means being prepared for the future by developing
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moonshot technologies and innovating new cures and treatments. Israel is at the forefront of medical innovation, with much of it taking place at Sheba’s ARC Innovation Center. This lab has been addressing COVID-19 by introducing new telemedicine techniques and developing a way to convert BiPAP machines, used to treat sleep apnea, into ventilators that can be used to treat COVID-19 patients. We have also invested millions of dollars in the Israel Centre for Medical Simulation. Run by a veteran combat pilot and instructor in the Israeli Air Force, the customized medical simulation technology developed there, which allows physicians to practice procedures such as intubations, is now helping hundreds of medical professionals learn how to treat coronavirus patients while wearing extreme and cumbersome protective gear including gowns, face shields and two layers of gloves. We also rely on simulation exercises to convert physicians and nurses into ICU resuscitation teams – this requires rapid evaluation and education techniques best learned through medical simulation training. Data has shown that Israel’s approach is working. Even as we endure devastating losses, Israel recently was ranked the safest place in the world to be during the pandemic, according to a study conducted by the venture fund Deep Knowledge Ventures, which assessed countries based on 76 parameters. This week, the Israeli government began relaxing some restrictions, having determined that small-scale gatherings, with appropriate distancing, can now be considered safe. As in the army, we are already taking steps for how we will pivot at the end of the crisis and when the fight winds down. We have already begun work on our “exit strategy” and how we will shift gears not back to the old normal, but a new reality with conditions that are forever changed. Yoel Har-Een is the head of Sheba Medical Center’s international division. He served in the IDF for 28 years, beginning as a frontline combat nurse and ascending to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
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YOM HA’ATZMAUT 5780: CELEBRATING ISRAEL’S 72ND BIRTHDAY Crossing Continents – A Connecticut family with their heart, soul…and children, in Israel BY STACEY DRESNER
ARTFORD – When Anat and Etan Markus’s three children made aliyah to Israel, the couple were a bit surprised. Both Anat and Eitan were born and raised in Israel, but they have lived in Connecticut for 30 years. All three Markus children are American born. “I don’t think I expected them all to make aliyah,” says Anat. “I definitely expected they would spend some time in Israel.” “I think it was interesting for us to see that happen,” adds Etan. “And to see it happen with all three. It wasn’t going to be a surprise if one did it, or maybe two. But all three was definitely a surprise.” The Markus’ son, Dror, 30, is getting his doctorate in Big Data polling at Hebrew University; Hadar, 29, lives in Tel Aviv with her husband, Netanel, and recently gave birth to her first child; and Talya, 27, is a fourth-year medical student at Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, married to Menachem. All three children attended the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy (now part of New England Jewish Academy) and Hall High School, in West Hartford, where the family lived until the kids made aliyah and Anat and Etan moved to Mansfield, to be closer to the University of Connecticut, where Etan is a professor and researcher. Over the years, the family spent a lot
of time in Israel where nearly all of their family still lives. “Our parents always made sure that we had a strong connection to Israel, whether by visiting Israel in the summer, living in Israel while my dad was on sabbatical, eating Israeli food at home or being active in organizing or supporting any activity in our community that was related to Israel,” Talya told the Ledger in an email. “That strong connection, together with my two siblings’ great examples of making aliyah and joining the army before me, strengthened my desire to make aliyah.” “I think the key is they enjoy life there,” said Anat. “Israel is a fun place to be.” “They find it socially, much more enriching. They talk about the rich social relationships they have there, which are much deeper than anything they ever had here in the U.S.,” Etan explains. “When you go to the army, you have a different situation. You bond with the people you work with and live with and you develop trust. There is a lot of cohesion that happens.” Living far away from your children can be difficult under normal circumstances. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, extended families are left wondering when they will be reunited. Still, like typical Israelis, the Markuses are stoic and philosophical, refusing to panic, even though Talya is among a group
HADAR AND NETANEL, AND NETANEL’S FATHER, AT THE BRIT MILCH OF THEIR NEWBORN SON, MAAYAN, WHO IS HELD BY HIS GRANDFATHER, ETAN MARKUS, AND ATTENDED TO BY THE MOHEL.
| MAY 1, 2020
of Israeli med students volunteering to man the drive-through COVID-19 testing site set up by Magen David Adom in Teddy Kollek Stadium. She also helped out in a COVID unit, taking temperatures and assisting the overextended nurses. “Regarding Covid, I have seen what it can do to a country/population if not dealt with seriously enough,” Talya explains. “I think it is every person’s duty to do what they can do to help avoid such a catastrophe, whether it be by working in the hospital, creating a support system so that those at risk can stay home, or even just staying home in order to slow the spread and not overwhelm the health system. If as a medical student I am given the opportunity to help by testing for Covid and by working in the corona ward, then I feel strongly that I must do so to my best ability.” Despite Talya’s proximity to the frontlines, Etan says that they are not worried about their kids contracting coronavirus. “Israel’s got one of the lowest death rates. They are dealing with it very well,” he says. “My mother is in assisted living – the first assisted living that had the COVID virus in Israel, and there was a lot of concern when that happened. But they have done a phenomenal job there [at the assisted living center], both preventing the spread and taking them shopping…Israel has really been on the ball when it comes to this.” The only family member who has come down with coronavirus has been Talya’s father-in-law, who lives in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. Although he was hospitalized with COVID19, he is now healthy. In January, Hadar and her husband Natanel had their first child, a son, named Maayan. Luckily, the baby was born just before Israel was hit by the coronavirus, so both Anat and Etan were able to spend time in Israel with their new grandchild. (Anat was unable to be there for the bris, but arrived soon thereafter.) “We got to see him; got to change diapers; got to see them through those first three horrible weeks,” Etan laughs. Back in the U.S. forPassover, Etan and Anat had no plans this year to spend the holiday with their children, who remained in Israel. Instead, they had invitations to seders from friends. But, ironically, due to the coronavirus, which left them confined to their home, and the advent of Zoom, which made it possible
MEDICAL STUDENT TALYA MARKUS DRESSED IN THE PROTECTIVE GEAR SHE WORE WHILE VOLUNTEERING AT A DRIVE-THROUGH COVID19 TESTING SITE IN ISRAEL.
for them to spend “quality time” with their children, the Markuses had the seder with the kids. “This year we were going to be without them, but we ended up doing a Zoom seder actually before the chag [holiday],” Etan says. “We wouldn’t have seen them if not for this, and it was wonderful. They didn’t want to do it during Passover, so we started it at 5 p.m. their time. The funny thing with this was, 5 in the afternoon their time is 10 in the morning our time. One of them mentioned the fact that Anat and I could still eat bread.” “We showed them a photo of us burning the chametz as we were doing the seder,” says Anat, with a laugh. With Yom Hazikaron, the day of remembrance for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, on the calendar this week, Anat and Etan reflected on what the commemoration means to them as sabras – native Israelis – living in America. “We are very thankful that the community in West Hartford always holds jewishledger.com
And the winner is…?
5 key takeaways about the Gantz-Netanyahu deal and Israel’s new government BY BEN SALES
(JTA) – Israel finally has a government. On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and chief rival Benny Gantz signed an agreement to form a coalition government together. The deal ends more than a year of deadlocked elections and political stalemate. Since March 2019, Israelis have gone to the polls three times and, on each occasion, essentially delivered a tie between Netanyahu and Gantz. Neither of the first two elections resulted in a governing coalition and ended up triggering yet another vote. With no end in sight to the politicking following the latest election, in early March, and the coronavirus crisis weighing on the country’s citizens, Gantz made the shocking move to join Netanyahu – someone he has called unfit for office due to corruption allegations – and break apart his own centrist political group, Blue and White. Their deal is multifaceted and involves an agreement that Gantz would become prime minister in 18 months – but Netanyahu got his competitor to accede to many political demands. Here are five main takeaways from the new government.
The Israeli government is back in business – and wants to tackle the coronavirus.
a memorial event or service,” Anat says. “It comforts us to see them commemorate a unique day that is important to Israelis that Americans also appreciate. And it is very meaningful to us to see the rabbis and the community leaders show up. Israeli’s are very sensitive to Yom Hazikaron. When you are mourning and in pain, you want to know that you are not the only one.” In Israel, Talya said she doesn’t feel any different from other Israelis during Yom Hazikaron. “That is, I don’t feel ‘American’ or like an outsider. I served in the IDF, my family served in the IDF, my friends served in the IDF, and even today I have friends and family who are or will soon be serving in the IDF and in the reserves. “I remember my anxiety while friends were taking part in Operation Protective Edge and can’t imagine what it would be like to lose them. Thankfully, I don’t personally know someone who died fighting for Israel but I have friends who do and on Yom Hazikaron I try to hear their stories.” jewishledger.com
Gantz ran his entire campaign, for more than a year, on the need to unseat Netanyahu. He’s reneging on that promise, he says, so that Israel can overcome a more urgent challenge – the coronavirus pandemic. Coordinated action on the pandemic has been forestalled until now because Netanyahu, as caretaker prime minister, did not command a majority in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. That rendered the government unable to pass and enforce major legislation. According to Monday’s deal, the new government was formed to solve that problem. It will dedicate its first six months to passing legislation related to the coronavirus. Any other legislation would require the approval of both Netanyahu and Gantz to advance. “We left our comfort zone to work from the inside,” Gantz said in a speech Tuesday. “We would rather beat the coronavirus than win on social media.” Gantz’s move has split his supporters. Some, including his former second-incommand, are calling him a cheat. But other voices in Israel and abroad say he demonstrated leadership in the face of crisis.
Netanyahu is still prime minister, at least until next year.
On paper, the deal looks like a win for Netanyahu. For more than a year, Gantz came extremely close to unseating the longtime leader through maneuvers and deals with various parties to form a coalition. Now Netanyahu gets to keep the job he’s held for more than a decade. That’s especially significant because Netanyahu is under indictment for fraud, bribery and breach of trust, with his trial set to begin in May. He’s the first sitting prime minister to be indicted. The coalition agreement says Gantz will take over in 18 months, and mandates that the Knesset pass legislation to that effect. To prevent Netanyahu from breaking up the coalition and calling new elections prior to that time frame, the legislation will state that if new elections are called, Gantz automatically becomes prime minister in the interim. In the meantime, Gantz will be defense minister and deputy prime minister. His allies will head the Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry, while Netanyahu’s Likud party choices will get the Finance Ministry and the speakership of the Knesset.
There’s a small Gantz win in there: Netanyahu had sought the Justice Ministry because he’s under indictment, and it would have given him a measure of influence over the judicial system. The agreement also makes it difficult for Netanyahu to avoid handing over power to Gantz, one way or another. But 18 months is a long time in Israeli politics and Netanyahu is still in the top job. He’s also a historically savvy political operator who has weathered all kinds of challenges to remain in power, so this is no guarantee for Gantz. In the meantime, Gantz’s former coalition is in tatters. He once commanded the largest bloc of lawmakers in the Knesset, but that party is now split and the subgroups are at odds with each other. His former No. 2, Yair Lapid, called the coalition agreement a “deceit” and said “I apologize to everyone who I convinced over the past year to vote for Benny Gantz.”
But Netanyahu is still going on trial. One thing that hasn’t changed is Netanyahu’s trial date: May 24. In the past, the prime minister has sought legislation that would give him immunity while in office. That does not appear to be on the table now. But Netanyahu did improve his position a bit in the coalition deal. He gets veto power over the appointment of the next attorney general and state prosecutor, and can choose half the committee to appoint judges. And if the Supreme Court disqualifies Netanyahu from remaining prime minister due to his indictment, the agreement automatically triggers new elections.
Israel is now preparing to annex parts of the West Bank.
Another significant result of the agreement: Israel will now likely annex parts of the
West Bank, beginning as soon as this summer. One of Netanyahu’s key campaign promises was to extend Israeli sovereignty to portions of the territory, which most of the international community views as illegally occupied. Last year, Netanyahu promised to annex the Jordan Valley, a wide swath of territory on the eastern edge of the West Bank, and the peace plan released by the Trump administration in January greenlights Israeli annexation. Gantz also praised Trump’s plan. Palestinian leaders uniformly oppose any Israeli annexation of the West Bank, which Palestinians view as the territory of their future state. But the coalition agreement allows Netanyahu to put annexation of portions of the West Bank up to a vote beginning July 1, provided the United States still supports the move. If Netanyahu can get a majority, annexation would likely move forward.
We’re still in uncharted territory.
The biggest thing to remember, amid all of this political wrangling, is that this entire situation is unprecedented. Israel has never held three consecutive rounds of elections. It has never had a sitting prime minister about to stand trial for corruption. It has never faced a pandemic like this. There have been unity governments before, where the two largest parties form a coalition, and they’ve yielded mixed results. The most famous example occurred from 1984 to 1988, when the Labor and Likud parties successfully shared power and split the prime minister’s office. In 2012, a shortlived unity government under Netanyahu broke apart after a couple months. Israeli politics is famously tumultuous, and it’s soared to a new level in the past year. So as the new coalition takes shape and begins to govern, prepare to be surprised again. Somehow.
A TV SCREEN BROADCASTS THE EXIT POLL RESULTS OF THE ISRAELI ELECTION IN TEL AVIV, LEDGER | YEAR MAYOF 1, POLITICAL 2020 13 MARCH 2, 2020.JEWISH AFTER MORE THAN A DEADLOCK, BENJAMIN NETANYAHU AND BENNY GANTZ HAVE AGREED TO FORM A GOVERNMENT TOGETHER. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)
BULLETIN BOARD Online talk focuses on the rise of antisemitism during the COVID-19 pandemic
U.S. Assistant Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ellie Cohanim will discuss antisemitism as a global and local phenomenon amidst COVID19, on Wednesday, May 6, 7 p.m., The online talk is hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. As assistant special envoy, Cohanim helps inform and carry out policies and related initiatives that aim to counter global antisemitism at the U.S. Department of State. Cohanim arrived as a child refugee to the U.S., after she and her family fled the escalating antisemitism in Iran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Fluent in Hebrew and Farsi, she received her B.A. in Political Science, Cum Laude, from Columbia University and her M.A. in Jewish Professional Leadership from NYU. Prior to her appointment, Cohanim served as senior vice president at the Jewish Broadcasting Service (JBS). She also served on the boards of AJC (New York region), New York Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Ester Chapter of Hadassah, which recognized her as a “Young Leader” in 2010. For more information on registering for this talk, or to send in questions in advance, contact Eliraz Shifman Berman at email@example.com
JTConnect hosts program to help teens explore colleges while campuses are closed JTConnect, a program that engages teens from across Greater Hartford in interactive experiences grounded in Jewish learning and values, will host “College Visits from Your Couch” on Thursday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. Led by college admissions specialist Dr. Carolyn Sorkin and Hillel International Student Cabinet Member Jonah Levitt, College Visits from Your Couch is intended to help Jewish teens and their parents research schools while campuses are closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. The presentation will outline six substantive ways to research schools that allow students to explore academics, campus activities, research and internship support, and Jewish student life. The more research students do, says JTConnect Associate Program Director Cara Levine, the better they will be able to identify colleges that fit their preferences, qualifications, and goals. For more information contact Cara Levine at firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for this program visit: https://jtconnect. 14
CoronaCrush and JScreen partner to promote love & health during quarantine JScreen, a national non-profit public health initiative dedicated to preventing Jewish genetic diseases, and CoronaCrush, a Facebook group with more than 10,000 followers, designed to help Jewish singles continue their search for love while quarantined at home, have partnered. “We thought this is the perfect combination of helping people find their soulmate while caring about their future families,” said Hillary Kener Regelman, national director of outreach for JScreen. In addition to the partnership, JScreen will sponsor a CoronaCrush King and Queen of the Week, a “coronation” for the woman and man who receive the most ‘likes’ in the group. The winners will each receive a JScreen swag bag. In addition, JScreen will give any couple who gets engaged from CoronaCrush a free screening kit. “We started CoronaCrush because we wanted to provide our single friends with a fun and supportive environment to continue to meet and date,” said CoronaCrush co-founder Ian Mark. “We’re excited to partner with JScreen because they’re providing a very serious and crucial service to new couples and while our group is meant to be fun, we encourage all the dating in our group to be done in the framework of serious dating.” JScreen is a national online genetic screening program based at Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Human Genetics. JScreen is uniquely equipped, to provide at-home genetic testing and TeleHealth services during this time of social distancing. For more information, please visit JScreen.org.
JFS of Greater Hartford launches free emotional support hotline Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford is now offering a FREE and confidential emotional support hotline. JFS ONCALL is not a crisis line, nor is it a replacement for therapeutic telehealth appointments. Rather, JFS ONCALL is an outlet for community members to express their worries, be heard, and gain support. “Feelings of fear, stress, and worry are normal in a crisis,” says JFS CEO Anne M. Danaher. “The coronavirus pandemic significantly affects mental health for everyone, but especially for those with an existing mental illness.”
| MAY 1, 2020
Both the anxiety of contracting COVID19 and mandatory social-distancing rules may cause an increase in isolation and feelings of loneliness and despair; existing feelings may also worsen and trigger symptoms, says Danaher. Myriad mental health concerns, including depression, self-harm, suicide, substance abuse, and domestic violence will also escalate. Parents face challenges in helping their children to feel safe at a time when the world no longer feels safe. “It is our obligation to provide these services and it is our honor to embrace possibility for all in need in our community,” says JFS President Pia Rosenberg Toro. “JFS is on the forefront of responding to persons impacted by this outbreak in many different ways and we are prepared to provide the requisite services as the needs increase.” To speak with a JFS ONCALL social worker, call (860) 613-5429 on Wednesdays, 1 - 3 p.m.; and Thursdays, 6-8 p.m.
New program brings entertainers into homes of children with disabilities In the new reality of self-isolation, certain populations, like children, people with disabilities and youth-at-risk, who rely on interactive therapy for cognitive stimulation, are currently stuck at home with much less access. In response, as part of its new TakeAction program and in partnership with website-building company Wix, the Jerusalem College of Technology’s (Machon Lev) LevTech Entrepreneurship Center has launched Artists TakeAction – an online platform for virtual shows in which musicians and other artists interact live with audiences of all types. As part of the new initiative, artists donate their time to do live interactive shows like music, storytelling, magic, animal shows and more to engage children, people with disabilities, and the general public stuck at home during the coronavirus crisis. Artists who are already set to do live shows through other platforms are also invited to publicize their events on the site, so that, for example, a parent can see all the events listed in one place. Artists TakeAction has partnered with organizations such as Shalva, which works with individuals with disabilities, Zichron Menachem, which helps children and families with cancer and Kav L’Noar, which provides support and guidance for youthat-risk. Artists TakeAction is part of the larger TakeAction project, a special program which leverages the talents of JCT’s
students, graduates and faculty to develop technological solutions for emerging needs in social service and emergency relief due to COVID-19. These software solutions and products will enable emergency services and nonprofits to serve the people they normally help but with whom they now have limited contact – including the elderly, children with disabilities, the sick, people in need of food and medicine, and any population whose existing vulnerabilities are amplified during this era of self-isolation. To encourage more artists to donate their time, please visit ArtistsTakeAction. org.il. You can learn more about the larger TakeAction project for technological solutions for vulnerable populations at TakeAction.org.il
“Thursday Song Swap” goes virtual Local musicians who enjoyed entertaining audiences at the JCC in Sherman’s popular weekly Open Mic Night, but were sidelined by the coronavirus shutdown are back in business! The JCC is now hosting a virtual “Thursday Song Swap,” weekly at 7 p.m. Musicians are invited to participate and the entire community is invited to log in and listen in. To access “Thursday Song Swap,” download Zoom (www.zoom.com). Meeting ID is 709 376 670; Password is 187838.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage offer virtual programs through May The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is offering several virtual programs. For links to the programs below, as well as other virtual programs, visit www.mjhnyc.org and scroll down to Virtual Museum Experiences. May 4, 2 p.m.– “Invisible Years: Opening the Holocaust Drawer” Book Launch Daphne Geismar and scholar Robert Jan van Pelt discuss her new book, Invisible Years: Opening the Holocaust Drawer, that tells, through interwoven letters, diaries, and interviews, the story of nine of Geismar’s family members in their own words. May 14, 2 p.m. –“Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America” Book Talk Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Debbie Cenziper discusses her new book – the story of the search for the SS trainees who helped murder 1.7 million Polish Jews, and later hid in plain sight in towns across America. An audience Q&A to follow. jewishledger.com
These are fearful and difficult days for everyone. In honor of mental health month, all gifts made in May will be matched dollar for dollar.
To make a donation or volunteer, visit JFSHartford.org or 860.236.1927 jewishledger.com
MAY 1, 2020
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BEKI hires youth and family programming director
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NEW HAVEN – Anne Norman-Schiff, who is completing a Ph.D. in religious studies at Yale, has joined the professional staff of Beth El-Keser Israel (BEKI) as youth and family programming director, it was announced recently by BEKI President Yaron Lew. She will take up her new post on June 1. “BEKI is a thriving and growing community with many young families,” Lew explained. “Our youngsters represent our synagogue’s future. Even in these tough times, BEKI is committed to serving our congregants and enriching our children and young adults. We committed the funds to make it happen.” “Given the extraordinary influx of young families with children at BEKI, we are thrilled to have found such a warm, deeply learned professional as Annie to support our community,” parent Mark Oppenheimer added. Norman-Schiff will coordinate and support the children’s Shabbat and High Holiday programs, which are led by parent volunteers, and will serve as advisor to BEKI’s Kadima and USY youth groups. “She is passionate about Judaism, comfortable working with people at all levels of learning, and has seen in her own life what synagogues, youth groups, and Hillels can do to foster Jewish engagement,” Oppenheimer explained. “I’m so excited to learn from her. And, as a dad, I am so excited that she will be working with my kids.” “BEKI is such a warm community with an incredible spirit of volunteerism and learning,” Norman-Schiff said. “I love the idea of making meaningful Jewish experiences for kids of all ages, and teaching
and supporting our parent volunteers. “If we are able to gather in person for Shabbat,” she explained, “I will be singing and praying my heart out in every service! If we are not able to do that yet, I will be on every family’s computer screen with fresh ideas for Jewish life at home.” Norman-Schiff is especially excited about working with our USY and Kadima youth groups. “For me, youth group was the first time I got to make Jewish life for myself: it’s how my friends and I went from being kids to being leaders. I am so excited to support BEKI’s young people in building their communities into what they want them to be.” “We are thrilled to have Annie join our staff,” Lew added. “We see her as a fountain of knowledge and energy that will help propel our younger generation into a future of great deeds for our synagogue and the Jewish community at large.”
Learn to drum this summer! Online Zoom lessons All ages and levels BA Music Performance 20+ years private instruction References available
| MAY 1, 2020
KOLOT Cooking away the pandemic
THE KOSHER CROSSWORD MAY 1, 2020 “Kosher Cartoons”
By: Yoni Glatt
Difficulty Level: Easy
Sweets for your sweet!
BY CHARLOTTE “BLU” BERMAN
s the worldwide pandemic came to almost every city and town in the nation, I – an older woman living in an independent living facility in Rockville, Maryland – realized that we’d be quite the target that every news personality was talking about. To pass the time of day, I now avoid any news programs, or “breaking news” interruptions. I now watch cooking shows hosted by famous and not-so-famous cooks. Today, for instance, Martha Stewart taught me how to make veal schnitzel, how to prepare a whole fish, and how to make my favorite dish, liver and onions. And she makes it look so very easy. Lidia, an Italian restauranteur and cook extraordinaire, showed me how to serve a beautiful fresh fruit dessert, topped with light ricotta cheese. This afternoon, I visited the kitchen of a New Orleans chef, who made my mouth water as he showed us how to make a New Orleans rub for baby back ribs. Oh goodness, I could almost taste the deliciousness there in my armchair in the middle of my small living room. If it’s sunny outside, I steal an hour or two sitting six feet
BLU BERMAN AT HOME, WHERE SHE IS USING HER QUARANTINED TIME PERFECTING HER COOKING SKILLS.
away from the nearest person, trying to “catch some rays.” I used to never miss watching Rachel Maddow, but she has become so involved with the details of the pandemic, that I have switched to Rachel Rae and her cooking show. The days go by quickly. I pray they go by with the health emergency slowing down, and things getting better every day. One thing I know. When things are back to normal, I will certainly be ready to open my little eatery, with all I learned on the cooking shows. I think I’ll call it…”Blu’s Yummery.” Former West Hartford resident Charlotte Berman now lives in Rockville, Md.
ANSWERS TO APRIL 24 CROSSWORD
PARVE store-made candy including gluten-free and vegan!
Across 1. Something that might be in, for a time 4. Charlie horse, e.g. 9. Conquers 14. One way to spell “Mom” in Israel 15. Island with a disproportionate number of NFL players 16. Void legally 17. 2017 movie about a bull 19. Item on a kosher fish 20. Not for 21. Young NBA star? 23. Joke (around)
24. 2015 movie about a lamb 29. San Antonio athlete 30. Hobbit land, with “The” 31. Dine 34. Hook’s first mate 36. Golan trip 39. Kind of Torah 41. 1942 movie about a deer 44. Penny 45. Fox’s “Back to the Future” co-star 47. Cleveland’s b-ball team 49. Help letters 50. Word with fire or word 53. Singer India.
55. 2005 movie about a hatchling 59. Average grade 60. Martinez of the 1996-2001 Yankees 61. One who can speak to Hashem 63. “___ Man” (Village People hit) 65. 1990 movie (and TV show) about fowl 69. Schindler of “Schindler’s List” 70. Shemoneh ___ (prayer lso known as the Amidah) 71. “Wheel of Fortune” buy? 72. Wasp homes 73. Brief summary 74. Ozs., lbs., etc.
Down 1. World Cup org. 2. Blessing followers 3. Sith title 4. TV show with several spinoffs 5. Emulated Forrest Gump 6. “I ___ Rock” (Simon & Garfunkel hit) 7. Shvat or January 8. Tony Gwynn’s former San Diego team 9. Success at the plate for Tony Gwynn 10. Britannica, for one: Abbr. 11. Dice deuce 12. Flower associated with Holland 13. “Rosebud,” for one 18. “Buenos ___!” (“Good day!”)
22. Campground residue 25. Pkg. deliverer 26. Feeling nothing 27. Nationals star Turner 28. A Trump 31. Sun, in Seville 32. Link letters 33. Bi-monthly income receivers, for some 35. Letters in Einstein’s equation 37. Game with Wild, Skip, and Reverse cards 38. “The Blind Side” lineman and others: Abbr. 40. “A League of Their Own” actor Petty 42. Biblical idol 43. “___ Anochi”
46. Some hospital residents? 48. Fill a chair 51. Do a Vail trail 52. One using 25-Down 54. Mount in Sicily 55. “Desist” companion 56. “It’s ___!” (“I give up!”) 57. Hit TV legal drama, 1986-94 58. “Main” or “blessed” thing 59. “Hurry up!” 62. Terrorist org. 64. Cap 66. Letters inside a triangle on an Illinois kosher symbol 67. Mauna ___ (Hawaiian peak) 68. What you give a waiter in America, but not Australia
MAY 1, 2020
Bonds of Life:
MEMORIALIZING THOSE WE LOST TO COVID-19
raditional Jewish mourning practices are largely impossible to observe during the coronavirus pandemic. But we can still come together to mourn those in the Jewish community we’ve lost in recent days to COVID-19. To celebrate their lives, JTA is partnering with the Forward and local Jewish newspapers around the world to share the lives of those felled by the pandemic.
Noach Dear, 66, former NYC councilman and State Supreme Court judge (JTA) – Noach Dear, a longtime New York City Council member representing largely Orthodox areas of Brooklyn, died April 19 in New York of complications related to COVID-19. He was 66. Dear was elected to the council in 1983 representing sections of Midwood, Bensonhurst and Borough Park that were heavily populated with Orthodox Jews. Dear was active on behalf of Jewish causes, including the fight for Soviet Jewry. In 1990, he opposed granting bail to the accused killer of Rabbi Meir Kahane, a decision that ultimately was reversed. A Democrat, Dear nevertheless opposed abortion rights and gay rights, according to an obituary in The New York Times. And he was a vocal critic of David Dinkins, a fellow Democrat and the city’s first AfricanAmerican major, for his handling of the Crown Heights riots in 1991. After a black youth was acquitted of murder in the killing of Yankel Rosenbaum, a Jewish man killed early in the rioting, Dear introduced a resolution in the City Council condemning the verdict. Dear unsuccessfully sought higher office on multiple occasions, including a bid for the congressional seat vacated by Chuck Schumer in 1998. He finished third in the Democratic primary behind Anthony Weiner, who went on to win the seat in the general election. After term limits forced him from the council in 2001, Dear became a civil court judge. He was elected to a 15-year-term as a State Supreme Court judge in 2015. Dear was born in Brooklyn and attended Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Law School.
Mark Steiner, 77, celebrated philosopher of mathematics (JTA) – While Mark Steiner may have been one of the most important philosophers of mathematics of the past half century, it was his warmth, humor and love of Judaism that most endeared him to his colleagues. The Hebrew University professor died of COVID-19 on April 6. He was 77. Born in the Bronx in 1942, Steiner received an Orthodox day school education before entering Columbia University, where he graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1965. After a Fulbright Fellowship at Oxford University, Steiner went on to receive his doctorate from Princeton before returning to Columbia as an instructor for most of the 1970s. Steiner moved to Israel in 1977 and became the chair of the philosophy department at Hebrew University in the 1990s. “He was a bit of a character,” recalled Hebrew University historian Reuven Amitai. He was “a good man and well respected by his colleagues.” In his most famous book, The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem, published in 2002, Steiner argued that man’s ability to discover natural laws means that the universe is innately “user friendly.” Steiner used rabbinic anecdotes to illustrate his points. His religious inclination also led to a series of studies, including a research project in which he drew parallels between the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides and the 18th-century Scottish thinker David Hume. Steiner also translated a series of previously unknown Jewish philosophy books from Yiddish to English.. Steiner is survived by his wife and five children.
Mindella Lamm, 88, wife of former Yeshiva U president (JTA) – To those she met accompanying her husband on university business, she was the elegant woman known simply as Mrs. Lamm. To her four children and 17 grandchildren, she was a loving mother who took them on regular outings to Broadway shows and the opera. For years, Mindella “Mindy” Lamm had a subscription
| MAY 1, 2020
to the Metropolitan Opera. One year she brought her daughter, Sara, to see Tosca. Opera was not one of Sara’s loves, and during the death scene she laughed so loudly she was escorted out by staff. Rabbi Mark Dratch, the executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America who was married to Sara until her death in 2013, said Lamm wasn’t embarrassed by the incident. “She was amused,” he recalled. Lamm, the wife of former Yeshiva University President Norman Lamm, died on April 16 of COVID-19. She was 88. Raised in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, Lamm studied education at Hunter College. She married Norman Lamm in 1954 and soon became deeply involved in the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization, which provides financial support to university undergraduates. Joshua Lamm recalled the help his mother provided to a single mother and her son who had emigrated from the former Soviet Union. Her help so impacted the boy, now in his 40s, that he sat in his car outside the cemetery during her burial April 17, just to pay his respects. “She was a tremendous mother, and a second mother to her many nieces and nephews,” Joshua Lamm said. Lamm is survived by her husband, Norman Lamm, three children, 17 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
Fred Pressner, 73, led Venezuelan Jews during the Chavez era (JTA) – Fred Pressner, a former president of the Venezuelan Jewish community, died April 17 of COVID-19. He was 73. Born in Romania in 1947 to survivors of the Holocaust, Pressner emigrated to Venezuela in 1960. He would go on to assume the presidency of the Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela, the country’s umbrella of Jewish organizations, and serve on the board of governors of the American Jewish Committee. Pressner found himself in a sensitive position as the leader of CIAV during reign of Hugo Chavez, the leftist strongman who came to power in 1999 and cultivated closer ties with Iran and took a hard line against Israel. Pressner was measured in his criticism of the regime in what many observers understood as a strategy to guarantee the safety of the Jewish community. In 2006, Chavez recalled his top
diplomat in protest of Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon, which he compared to Nazi war crimes. “We have to categorically reject the comments for attempting to make the Holocaust banal,” Pressner told the New York Times. And in 2009, when a resolution was floated in the U.S. Congress urging Venezuela to protect its Jewish community, it was opposed by several Jewish congressman at the urging of Venezuela’s Jewish leaders. “All of our institutions are protected by the police, we cannot complain about that,” Pressner told JTA at the time. “Freddy became the courageous and nuanced global face of Venezuelan Jewry at the height of the Chavista state sanctioned anti-semitism during the first decade of this century,” Dina Siegel Vann, the American Jewish Committee’s top official on Latin American affairs, told JTA. Presser is survived by his wife, Irene, three daughters and four grandchildren.
Gabriel and Roberto Yabra, leaders in Argentina’s kosher food industry (JTA) – Rabbi Gabriel Yabra was an expert in kosher supervision – not just in the religious laws around Jewish dietary practices, but in the chemical processes of modern food production. For decades, he was the director of UK Kosher, a Buenos Aires-based kosher certification agency that is the largest is the Spanish-speaking world. He was inspired in this line of work by his father Roberto, a pioneer in the kosher food market who brought many kosher food products from the United States and Israel to Argentinean Jews. A father of eight, Gabriel Yabra died April 1 of COVID-19 at a private medical center in Buenos Aires. He was 55. Just over two weeks later, his father Roberto Yabra also succumbed to the disease on April 17. He was 85. The men were buried side by side at the Bene Emeth Sephardic cemetery outside Buenos Aires. Roberto’s wife Teresa, 79, is also in the hospital battling COVID-19. After Roberto’s death, stories emerged of the people he had quietly helped during his life. His son Claudio recalled a phone call his father had once received about a young couple who sought to marry but didn’t have the means to furnish a home. Roberto hung up the phone, called a truck and packed it with furnishings from his own home. “We slept on the floor and some days later we received new furniture,” Claudio recalled. jewishledger.com
BY RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB
am proud of my large library of Jewish books. My collection, which my wife half-jokingly refers to as my addiction, began on my 11th birthday with a gift from my maternal grandparents, may they rest in peace. They bought me the then recently published Shulzinger edition of the Five Books of Moses surrounded by numerous traditional commentaries. Those volumes became the cornerstone of my personal library of many hundreds of Judaic works on the Bible, the Talmud, philosophy, history, and codes of law. These books line the walls of my private study from floor to ceiling. Over the years, I have had many visitors who were struck by the overwhelming number of books and who reacted with awe and curiosity. Some, particularly non-Jews, would ask, Why are so many books necessary just to explain one religion?” They could not fathom why so much commentary was written on just a few basic biblical texts. Often, as I responded to their inquiries, I found myself resorting to an old story of one of our greatest sages, Hillel. In this story, Hillel, known for his scholarship and commitment to Torah study but particularly famous for his patience, is provocatively challenged by a heathen who demands to be taught the entire Torah while standing on one foot. Hillel accepts the challenge and says, “What is hateful to you do not do unto others. That is the entire Torah, the rest is but commentary. Now go out and study the commentary.” I would then explain to my inquisitive visitors that Hillel’s remark was based upon a verse in this week’s double Torah portion, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim. There, in Leviticus 19:18, we read, “...and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Now, loving one’s neighbor as oneself is no easy task. We are likely to have numerous and diverse neighbors in the course of a lifetime, and myriad circumstances arise which pose great barriers to our love for them. And so, Jewish scholars throughout the ages have recorded their advice, suggestions, and guidelines for just how to love one’s neighbor in every conceivable context and condition. That’s what all these books are about, and that’s why we need so many of them. Note that Hillel himself does not choose to use the Torah’s original phrase to explain the essence of Judaism to the heathen. He does not say, “Love your
neighbor.” Rather, he says, “Do not harm your neighbor.” Perhaps this is because, as the medieval commentator Ramban suggests, loving one’s neighbor as oneself is an exaggerated expectation, just too tall an order, and the most Hillel could do was to urge the heathen to do no harm. Either way, the essence of our Torah is this ethical imperative. And the many hundreds of volumes in my personal library, and the hundreds of thousands of similar tomes written throughout the centuries, can all be understood as the constant and perpetual struggle of our sages to develop a “database” sufficient to enable us to realize this ethical imperative. One such commentary deserves mention, particularly in our age and culture, which has been diagnosed as narcissistic. This commentary takes the form of a story about a disciple of Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk who eavesdropped upon his master as the latter was reviewing this week’s Torah Portion aloud. Rabbi Mendel read, “...and thou shalt love thy neighbor...as yourself? Yes, as yourself!” First as a question, and then as a forceful declaration. The disciple was puzzled by the manner in which his master read the passage. He asked the master’s chief disciple, Reb Hershel, for an explanation. This was his answer: “The master first asked a question. Can it be that we are asked to love our neighbor as ourselves? Are we to understand that it is permissible to love oneself? Is it not a basic teaching here in Kotzk that one dare not love oneself, lest he thereby become blind to his own faults?” In our terminology, Rabbi Mendel could not accept the slightest suggestion that narcissism was acceptable. “Then the master realized a deeper meaning of the verse. Namely, we ought to love our neighbor to the same extent that we are critical of ourselves. The mitzvah is that we put in as much effort loving our neighbor as the effort that we should be investing in our own personal spiritual and moral perfection.” In an age of “me first,” it is even more important that we direct our love outwards to-wards the other, and not inward toward ourselves. We must, at all costs, avoid self-adulation and selfworship. That is just one small sample of the vast treasure of commentary that is in our Jewish library. No wonder that our Sages refer to the “ocean of the Talmud,” and to our Torah as deeper than the sea.
MAY 1, 2020
OBITUARIES BERMAN Phyllis Lorraine Selzer Berman, 80, of Simsbury, died April 13 after a brief battle with Covid-19. She was the wife of Barry Berman. Born in the Bronx, N.Y., she was the daughter of Sol and Shirley Selzer. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her sons, Jeff Berman and his wife Kerri of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Garry Berman and his wife Marianne of Simsbury, and Eric Berman and his ex-wife April Berman, of Wayne, N.J.; and her grandchildren, Benjamin, Samantha, Jackson, Zoe, Samuel, Camden and Wesley. BERNSTEIN Myron (Ron) Ronald Bernstein, 87, of Boca Raton, Fla. and New London, died April 14. He was the husband of Merle Parker Roth Bernstein. Born in East Haddam, he was the son of Charles Bernstein. He served in the U.S. Army in Army Intelligence as a 1st lieutenant during the Korean Conflict. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, David and Susan Roth, Brian and Kim Roth, Kevin and Angie Roth, and Kelly Wilson; and nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. CARPLES Florence Land Carples, 94, of Delray Beach, Fla., has died. She was the widow of Charles Carples. Raised in Bristol, she was the daughter of the late Hyman and Rose Land. She was also predeceased by her son Jeffrey Carples, and her sisters Marion Dodd and Ruth Sachner. She was a longtime member of Temple Beth Israel. She is survived by her sons, David Carples and his wife Amy Snyder, Steven Carples (and his wife Joan, and Richard Orient; her grandsons, Jeremy Carples (Julia McLean Carples), and Matthew Carples (Monique Lloyd); and her great-grandson Casper Carples.
FINE Morton Fine died April 19, six weeks shy of his 104th birthday. He was the widower of Frances Kaufman. Raised in Worcester, Mass., he was the son of the late Mary Savatsky Fine and Jacob Fine. He served with the Hartford Army Corps of Engineers. He was an active member of Congregation Beth Israel. He is survived by his children Paula Ridge and her husband Dave, and Philip Fine and his wife Sue; his grandchildren, Kim Jackson, Alison Fine, Carolyn Pellicone, Sara Kirschner, Ted Rones and Evan Ridge and their spouses; and five great-grandchilden. GOODMAN Mildred Goodman of West Hartford, also of Douglaston, N.Y. and Tamarac, Fla., died April 18, one month shy of her 101st birthday, from complications due to Covid19. She was the widow of Roland Goodman. Born in Jersey City, N.J., she was the daughter of the late Max and Lena Cohen. She was also predeceased by her daughter, Carole Goodman. She is survived by her son Joel Goodman and his wife Claudia (Goldstein) of West Hartford, CT; her sonin-law Jerome Blum of New York, N.Y.; her grandchildren, Joshua and Tamara (Goodman) Stein of West Hartford, Lon Goodman of Northampton, Mass., Alex and Julie (Goodman, Jastremski) Morisano of Canton, and Michelle Goodman, of New York, N.Y.; and her great-grandchildren, Caroline, Emily, and Sarah Stein and River Jastremski. GORDON Betsey Abigail (Auerhaan ) Gordon, 78, of Farmington, died April 18. She was the widow of Barry Gordon. She was the daughter of the late Alfred and Nancy Auerhaan. She is survived by her children, Amy Hirschberger and her husband Steven of Harwich, Mass., David Gordon and his wife Ruta of Iselin, N.J;. her sisters,
Janice Rosen and her husband Hank of Englewood, Colo., and Paula Frant and her husband Roger of Amherst, Mass.; and her grandchildren, Jenna, Anjali, Jacob, Kavita, and Austin.
of Betty and Julius Lipsett. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughters, Robin and Debbie; and his grandchildren, Hannah and Benny Berggren, and Abigail and Charlie Mottur.
KATZ Sarah Katz, 96, of West Hartford, died April 13. She was the widow of Abraham Katz. Born in Hartford, she was the daughter of the late Isaac and Molly (Kaminsky) Goldberg. She is survived by her daughters, Marcia Mizrahi and Debbie Katz, both of West Hartford, and Cheryl Hollm and her husband Steve of Berlin; her grandchildren, Irit Tratt (Jonathan) of Scarsdale, N.Y., Michal Mizrahi of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Tamar Schneider (Bryan) of Paradise Valley, Ariz., and Coby Mizrahi (Katie) of Madison, Wisc.; eight great-grandchildren; her brothers, Louis Goldberg and his wife Marilyn of West Hartford, and Perry Goldberg and his wife Linda of Boca Raton, Fla. She was also predeceased by her brothers, Charles and Luzzy Goldberg.
MILLER Barbara (Dachs) Miller, 65, of West Hartford, She was the wife of retired Judge Grant H. Miller. She was the daughter of the late Martin R. Dachs and Janet N. Dachs. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her children, Eric Miller and his wife Jennifer of Glastonbury, and Lauren Cohen and her husband Jonathan of New Haven; her sister Leslie Viaggio and her husband Vincent; her brother Steven Dachs and his wife Nancy; and her nephews. She was also predeceased by her daughter Sarah, who died at birth.
KRAUSS Michael Alan Krauss, 75, of Milford, died April 19. Born in New Haven, he was the son of Jack and Alice Simons Krauss. He is survived by his ex-wife and life partner, Katherine Rogers Murphy; his daughters, Heidi Domingue of Milford, Jill Krauss and her husband Ben Max of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Sarah Krauss of Brooklyn, N.Y.; his. grandchildren, Allie Domingue, Ethan Domingue, and Elijah Max; his brother Ronald Krauss and his wife Janey of Milford; several nephews and a niece; his former son-in-law Gregory Domingue; and several cousins. LIPSETT Shelly Michael Lipsett, 81, of Westport, died April 17. He was the husband of Susan Lipsett. Born in Jamestown, N.Y., and raised in New York City, he was the son
ROSS Douglas S. Ross, 38, died April 18, the result of an auto accident. He was the husband of Jillian Loos Ross. In addition to his wife he is survived by his son Connor Aston Ross; his sister Sarah E. Ross; his father Thomas S. Ross; his grandparents Kenneth S. Ross and Frances M. Ross; his step-mother, Nancy Mendel; his step-sister Michele Myers; and his step-brother Joshua Halickman; and many other family and friends. RUDERMAN Barbara Peshkin Ruderman, 83, of West Hartford died April 15. Born in Asbury Park, N.J., she was the daughter of Gershon and Addise Peshkin. She was also predeceased by her brother Stephen. She is survived by her children, Eric Ruderman and his wife Stacey Empson, and Lisa Ruderman Chen and her husband Bernard Chen; and her grandchildren Lucy and Nora Ruderman, and Jason, Michael, and Adam Chen.
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Here’s the information you requested on Dental insurance
Product not available in all states. Includes the Participating Providers and Preventive Benefits Rider. Acceptance guaranteed for one insurance policy/certificate of this type. Contact us for complete details about this insurance solicitation. This specific offer is not available in CO, NY; call 1-888-7994433 or respond for similar offer. Certificate C250A (ID: C250E; PA: C250Q); Insurance Policy P150 (GA: P150GA; NY: P150NY; OK: P150OK; TN: P150TN). Rider kinds B438/B439. 6154-0120
| MAY 1, 2020
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MAY 1, 2020
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| MAY 1, 2020