Friday, March 5, 2021 21 Adar 5781 Vol. 93 | No. 10 | ©2021 $1.00 | jewishledger.com
. . . E M O D N IRO r e t a l s r a e y 10
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FILM Mandell JCC | VIRTUAL
FEBRUARY 28-APRIL 2 | TICKETS $12
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CONNECTICUT JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | MARCH 5, 2021 | 21 ADAR 5781
7 Camp Laurelwood
17 Bulletin Board
Hate on Campus............................. 5 Lawyers for a Tufts junior say university administrators sat idly by while school senate members subjected the Jewish student to an ongoing campaign of antisemitic harassment and discrimination.
On the Road...................................... 5 A South Windsor couple set out on a month-long road trip in their RV, visiting communities around the U.S. – both Jewish and secular – to learn about their urgent needs…and help meet them.
Arts & Entertainment................... 8 NBC pulls an episode of the TV show “Nurses” that portrayed Hasidic Jews using antisemitic stereotypes. Plus...does the release of “The Vigil” signal the rise of an entire Jewish horror genre?
22 Torah Portion
24 In Memoriam
25 Business and Professional Directory
“Who Are We?”....................................................................12 Two young women who found themselves craving a way to get to know other people whose identities overlapped with their own launch an innovative film project that brings young Asian American Jews together in conversation.
Meeting of the Minds.......................................................14 When Joe Biden finally called Bibi Netanyahu four weeks into the U.S. President’s term, everyone seemed to breathe easier. But beyond their momentous call, where do the two world leaders really stand on the critical issues they face?
ON THE COVER:
Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system has successfully intercepted more than 90 percent of projectiles headed for built-up areas in Israel since 2011 and has become an essential element of national security – even as it had to overcome resistance before its initial arrival. Photo by Israel Defense Forces via Wikimedia Commons. PAGE 13 jewishledger.com
SHABBAT FRIDAY, MARCH 5 Hartford: 5:28 p.m. New Haven: 5:28 p.m. Bridgeport: 5:29 p.m. Stamford: 5:30 p.m. To determine the time for Havdalah, add one hour and 10 minutes (to be safe) to candle lighting time.
2471 Albany Ave., West Hartford 860.236.1965 • thecrownmarket.com
MARCH 5, 2021
Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival Spring 2021
Free Admission/ Open to the Public Live online multimedia presentation with Q&A session with the audience A link to the film will be provided to registrants 48 hours before the talk To register for this virtual film screening, please visit our website at iff.site.wesleyan.edu Sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies Organized by Dalit Katz, Director Co-Sponsored by the College of Film and the Moving Image
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HERE WE ARE
SCREENING AND CONVERSATION WITH FILM’S DIRECTOR, NIR BERGMAN Directed by: Nir Bergman Speaker: Nir Bergman Thursday, March 4, 2021, 4:00 PM Aharon has devoted his life to raising his son Uri. They live together in a gentle routine, away from the real world. However, Uri is autistic, and now as a young adult it might be time for him to live in a specialized home. While on their way to the institution, Aharon decides to run away with his son and hit the road, knowing that Uri is not ready for this separation. Or is it, in fact, his father who is not ready?
CONNECTICUT JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | MARCH 5, 2021 | 21 ADAR 5781
Following ‘incessant antisemitic harassment,’ Tufts student calls on university to intervene
South Windsor rabbi and his wife embark on ‘Tour to the Wonderful’
BY MEIRA SVIRSKY AND SEAN SAVAGE
(JNS) A Jewish student at Tufts University who claims that he has been the subject months-long campaign of antisemitic intimidation, harassment and discrimination is calling on the university to intervene. Max Price, a junior who is a member of the Tufts Community Union Judiciary (TCUJ), which is tasked with fact-checking and removing bias student government legislation, has been outspoken against an SJP proposal to include its “Deadly Exchange Campaign” referendum in the student election ballot. “Mr. Price has been subjected to antisemitic harassment targeting him on the basis of his ethnic and ancestral Jewish identity,” stated a letter written by Price’s lawyers to Tufts University president Anthony Monaco, Tufts general counsel Mary Jeka and Tufts provost Nadine Aubry. The referendum blames Israel and American Jewish supporters of Israel for fueling what they call “racist conduct” by law enforcement in the United States and seeks to link Israel to white supremacy and police brutality. The campaign was initially launched by SJP in the spring of 2018 to demand that the university end military training trips for the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD), according to The Tufts Daily, the student newspaper at the university. The paper quotes SJP member Molly Tunis, who said that the group started the campaign after it learned that Kevin Maguire, executive director of public safety and chief of TUPD, attended a training trip with the Israeli military in December 2017. Price’s lawyers, who are from the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, claim that Price endured a months-long campaign of intimidation, harassment and discrimination for speaking against SJP’s attempt to include the referendum on the ballot.
‘They wanted to silence me’ The harassment included Price having to sit through meetings by Tufts studentgovernment leadership questioning his personal beliefs and identity as a pro-Israel Jew, according to the lawyers. Even after jewishledger.com
the TCUJ determined that there was no evidence of bias and no need for Price to recuse himself, he was placed on “mute” for the entire final Zoom meeting when TCUJ members considered the referendum. “My job as a Senate judiciary member is to remove bias from any student body referendum. When I tried to do that with the ‘Deadly Exchange’ referendum, SJP launched a months-long campaign of harassment, slander and intimidation against me as the only Zionist Jew on the judiciary,” Price told JNS. “They wanted me to back down and to silence me, and when I didn’t, SJP expanded their campaign to slander me in the student newspaper, had me interrogated numerous times as to whether I was fit to hold office, attacked me with age-old anti-
thorough investigations into allegations of discrimination and determines when policy violations have occurred. ” Collins added that the TCU “creates its own internal rules and has established procedures to be followed when it receives complaints about the TCU and students who are in leadership positions. TCU, like all student organizations, is subject to the university’s non-discrimination policies and OEO investigation process.” “We are not at liberty to discuss specific student cases or allegations,” he stated. Alyza Lewin, president of the Brandeis Center that is representing Price, told JNS that “this is the worst case of incessant, continuous, non-stop harassment of a Jewish student that I have seen on campus.” She continued: “Max happens to be a
Semitic tropes about money and power, threatened me with impeachment, and now, I’m being denied a fair trial,” he said. Price’s lawyers also charge that members of the TCU Senate, which is set to preside over Price’s hearing, have made statements that utilize antisemitic tropes about money and power; indicate explicit support for SJP and its referendum; and demonstrate personal bias against Price. Patrick Collins, a spokesperson for Tufts University, told JNS that the university “takes very seriously any allegation of discrimination and has adopted policies and procedures to protect members of our community who feel they are the subject of discrimination. This policy is enforced by the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) which conducts
strong young man, and I commend him for his strength, but no student should have to go through this. That is why there are federal laws and university policies to prevent this type of ongoing and persistent discrimination and harassment.” Lewin called on the university to intervene on Price’s behalf. “We have brought all of this to President Monaco’s attention, and he and his administration have done absolutely nothing. They’ve abandoned Max and the Jewish community. They have abdicated their responsibility. It’s shameful. The university should reverse course, intervene immediately and start taking effective measures to address the antisemitism on campus.”
BY STACEY DRESNER
“Have you ever in your life felt called to do something?” Asks Rabbi Jeff Glickman of Temple Beth Hillel in South Windsor. Rabbi Glickman and his wife, Mindy Radler Glickman, have. The couple felt that call late last year when they embarked on “The Tour to the Wonderful,” a month-long road trip in their RV to communities around the U.S. – both Jewish and secular – to learn about the communities’ needs, and to help meet those needs. On their tour, Rabbi Glickman, who is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Hillel in South Windsor, and Mindy, travelled 12,000 miles from Connecticut, down the eastern seaboard, spending time in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and making their way out to Texas, Arizona and California. In each community – always following Covid-19 protocols – they visited Reform synagogues, United Way offices and National Public Radio stations – organizations the couple passionately support. Along the way, the Glickmans also visited 20 Beth Hillel members who have moved to other states and a former Connecticut rabbi who now works with refugees on the border between Texas and Mexico. They documented their tour via newsletters, blogs and Facebook live. “At its core, this Tour To The Wonderful is about expanding our circle of awareness – going to new communities and asking to be included as a member,” Rabbi Glickman says. “Now that we are more aware, we bear responsibility to not stand idly by.” The Glickmans came up with the idea for their tour during their stay with the rabbi’s parents at their home in Portland, Maine last year. “We were sheltering with my in-laws…and we were there for six months. We went up with no clothing, thinking we were going home,” Mindy CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE
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Glickman CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
RABBI JEFF AND MINDY GLICKMAN IN FRONT OF THEIR VAN, WHILE ON THEIR TOUR TO THE WONDERFUL CROSS-COUNTRY TRIP.
recalls. “And the next day we realized, nobody was going anywhere.” “I viewed it absolutely as a call,” says Rabbi Glickman, who continued to stay in touch with his congregants, teach classes and lead Temple Beth Hillel services while in Maine. “There was a lot of isolation and a lot of hurting. It was the fact that there are huge divides in our country. And people not even talking to one another or looking at each other. There’s an epidemic of COVID but there’s also a greater epidemic of loneliness. And loneliness also kills.” It was while listening to a program on NPR that things really clicked for Rabbi Glickman. “I heard something on NPR, about a restaurant owner saying, ‘We’re not looking for a handout, we don’t need a tax break. What we really need is customers.’ I thought, that’s really deep; there’s a lot to that. I thought, How can I be a really good customer? …How do you become a customer of NPR, well, you join the station, become a member. So I thought, what would happen if we joined every single NPR station in the United States? And I love Reform Judaism, but how do you become a member? You don’t just make a donation; you join. And what if you love United Way because they have their ear to the ground in communities and they are all over the United States? What if we made donations to every United Way? Surprisingly, it’s [doesn’t take] that much money to make a difference,” Rabbi Glickman says. The couple decided to visit these organizations around the country to see their work and to contribute to them in person. So, after returning to South Windsor in the fall, the Glickmans purchased a camper van, mapped out a 6
route and on Dec. 27 hit the road. First stop: the homes of Beth Hillel members who had moved away from South Windsor and were clustered along the east coast. “We visited every single one of them. Many of them leave because they get a little older and they need a little care from their children. And they’re alone,” Mindy says. “ In all they visited 20 congregants in New Jersey, Florida, Alabama and the Carolinas. Among those they visited was June Silver, a native of South Windsor who now lives in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey. Silver, who along with her late husband was a founder of Beth Hillel, was made an honorary lifetime member of the synagogue when she moved to New Jersey to be closer to her son and daughter-in-law. “They stopped here and I was thrilled,” Silver says. “Of course, they wouldn’t come in, so we went outside and chatted for almost a half hour with our masks on. … It was joyful.” During the second week the Glickmans began meeting the representatives of some of the non-profits they had contacted. “Every day we met with several different synagogues in small towns, mostly Reform or members of the URJ [Union of Reform Judaism],” Rabbi Glickman says. “We met with the heads of the United Way and NPR, and one ACLU affiliate in Mississippi. “Many of the days we were up at 3:30 and started driving to the next place. We would drive at night and early in the morning to cover the miles that we did, so we could devote the days to meet with fascinating people,” he says. The Glickmans remained flexible, meeting their contacts whenever they could – sometimes late at night. And some times
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digging in to help when and where they were needed. In Century, Florida, for example, they stopped to help with a sidewalk-painting and reading project for the town’s parks. “So, we got our hands wet with some paint. While I was painting the sidewalk… Jeff was interviewing Larry the guy, the head of parks,” Mindy says The Glickmans later spent time in three cities on the Texas-Mexico border – Brownsvile, McAllen and Harlingen. Rabbi Claudio Kogen, formerly a rabbi in Guilford, now serves Temple Emanuel in McAllen. “He is doing Herculean heroic work there,” says Rabbi Glickman. “He’s helping families directly,” Mindy adds . “He helps asylum-seekers, and he helps the community at large. And he speaks Spanish which is huge.” The Glickmans scheduled a 10 a.m. meeting one day with the United Way head in the small town of Harlingen, Tex. They invited the leaders of organizations that United Way supported to come meet them as well, and offered $100 donations. “An hour and a half later, 70 heads of all the major organizations were right on the front porch of the small house that is the headquarters for the United Way,” Rabbi Glickman says. Those organizations included The Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army, the Crisis Relief Center, a food bank and a local soup kitchen. During these visits, Rabbi Glickman interviewed many about the needs in their communities and what is being done to meet those needs. These interviews, and others conducted along the way, were taped and are now available on the tour website. Using their cell phones, the Glickmans live-streamed videos of the people they met, hoping to share their trip with their South Windsor congregants and others who followed their footsteps. The also did broadcasts every day at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. “I opened up a Zoom Room to start the day with a moment of breathing – I called it 100 blessings – where people could join me in the morning for just a spiritual five minutes,” recalls Rabbi Glickman. “And at five o’clock each day we also did five minutes, but that we did that live on Facebook, and we continue to do that. When something really interesting happened we just opened up a live stream,” The Glickmans both also wrote about the tour in newsletters for the website and entries to their blog. On the road, the Glickmans came up with an initiative they called “GLeE” – “Giving Local Everywhere.” “As part of making the trip a little bit fun for the virtual participants we had a couple of games. One of them was for them to tell us what that little ‘e’ in GLeE stands
for. Some suggestions were “everywhere,” “energetically” “enthusiastically,” Mindy said. To encourage those following the duo to “Give Local Everywhere” they listed on their website the locations of all the United Ways, NPR stations and synagogues they visited. Most of the funds that the Glickmans donated around the country were from their own coffers, but some people familiar with the journey gave them funds to donate before they left and along the way. “As I was saying goodbye to the Glickmans I handed them a cash donation so that they would become my shaliach mitzvah - a messenger to do a good deed,” said Eric Maurer, director of the West Hartford teen program JT Connect. “There is a Jewish tradition to give money to someone who is about to embark on a dangerous journey that they will donate to tzedakah at their destination. By appointing them as your messenger to do a mitzvah, we hope that God will provide them extra protection to successfully complete the act.” Different days brought unexpected experiences. While getting an oil change in Boulder, Colo., the Glickmans took a walk around town and came upon a food pantry. They spent two hours there, talking with the director learning about the work done for the area’s homeless population. When they asked if a barber in Phoenix could set up chairs outside to give them a haircut, the Glickmans engaged him in conversation and learned that he had once been homeless and now volunteers with an organization that helps women seeking employment improve their appearance. Visiting the development person for Mississippi Public Radio, they found out that she was a rabbi with a part-time pulpit at a local Reform synagogue, who is the former director of the Institute for Southern Jewish Living. They also met the rabbi’s husband, a lawyer representing death row inmates in that state. They had dinner in the backyard of these new friends and talked for hours. “Every day was unbelievable,” Rabbi Glickman says. The Glickmans returned home to Connecticut on Jan. 27. “Looking back, I think this is one of our greatest findings,” Rabbi Glickman said. “We grow as persons when we grow in awareness and then act responsibly on that awareness. We discovered that spiritual growth comes from both awareness and acting on it. Perhaps that is why we were put here.” For more on the Glickman’s Turn to the Wonderful tour, visit turntothewonderful.com/ us-tour-2021
This summer, Camp Laurelwood returns to nature BY STACEY DRESNER
ADISON – There is some good news for families hoping to send their children to Connecticut’s only Jewish overnight sleep away camp this summer. On June 27, Camp Laurelwood in Madison plans to once again open its popular seven-week camp program to young campers who were forced to stay home last summer due to Covid-19 pandemic. “We are expecting that [state] guidance is going to come in and we’re going to be able to open it up this summer,” says Rabbi James Greene, Laurelwood’s executive director. “We often say, our campers wait 10 months for two months of camp. Now they’ve been waiting 22 months for the two months in camp. And we think this summer camp is going to be exceptional. One of the idioms that we’ve been using during this last year is that ‘the comeback is always better than the setback.’” Of primary concern will be keeping campers safe and healthy. “What we learned from camps that did open and operate last summer around the country, by and large, is that they did so extremely safely. They had very low rates of COVID exposure,” he said. “This camp is a really safe place, and we already knew that because we invest a significant amount of resources in health and safety. “We will have a robust testing program… we expect that we will be testing both before campers arrive at camp, as well as while they’re here, some amount between weekly, and every other week. And we will also be operating in smaller groups.” This summer Laurelwood will feature two new activities with an emphasis on the outdoors. One is a social justice project created in partnership with Jessie’s Community Gardens, in which campers will tend a garden and donate its produce to a local food bank. “Having a garden at Camp Laurelwood is very appropriate to our family because all four of my children went to camp at Camp Laurelwood and enjoyed the experience very much. And now three of my grandchildren go to Camp Laurelwood, so the camp is very special to us,” says Dane Kostin, the father of the last Jessica Kostin in whose memory Jessie’s Community Gardens was established. “Teaching kids the necessity of helping others is a critical part of why we started Jessie’s Gardens. …These campers are taught about tzedakah and tikkun olam so this is a perfect opportunity to use the jewishledger.com
THE WATERFRONT AT CAMP LAURELWOOD.
garden as part of a lesson,” he adds. In addition to the new garden, plans are also afoot to build a chicken coop on the camp grounds. campers will tend to the chickens and collect eggs that will also be donated to the local food bank. Laurelwood’s bucolic campus will also be the site of a new nature program. Rabbi Greene, who serves as a volunteer wilderness guide and homesteader in the town of Suffield, where he lives, will lead campers on hikes – something he did this past January for the New Haven Jewish community’s PJ Library Tu B’Shevat program. Now, says Greene, “My hope is we’ll see synagogues using the campus for retreats. We’ll see Federations, JCCs and day schools partnering with us… [using] the ropes course or the pool or maybe boating on the lake, or for Jewish activity and engagement for religious schools.” The idea to open Laurelwood’s sprawling 140-plus campus to community-wide programs stems from last summer, when the overnight camp was forced to close and instead opened up for three weeks of ‘Family Camp.’ “We heard from our families that they wanted a place to come and get away. And so we opened up family camp programming for three weeks,” Greene said. During that time, 30 families stayed at Laurelwood, each enjoying the privacy of their own cabin and bathroom. The program was so successful that Laurelwood was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Jewish camp, becoming a cohort in the foundation’s inaugural JFAM initiative. The grant will help Laurelwood provide meaningful Jewish experiences for families with young children. Now, family camp weekends are scheduled for the next five years, beginning with one planned for early June 2021. The experience will give families from throughout the region the opportunity to experience Shabbat as they explore Laurelwood’s sprawling 140 acre campus and all the activities it has to offer.
Kosher Fresh Glatt Kosher Chicken Glatt Kosher Beef (frozen) Expansive Deli Selection Fresh Kosher Pastries Kosher Wine Shop the New Britain Costco for Passover
MARCH 5, 2021
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Horror film ‘The Vigil’ brings Jewish demonology to the big screen BY GABE FRIEDMAN
(JTA) – When Keith Thomas set out to write and direct a Jewish horror movie, he knew he wanted to go beyond the two most well known Jewish monsters. Golems, creepy creatures usually formed out of mud or clay found in Jewish stories, were played out, he thought. So were dybbuks, a type of ghostly spirit mentioned in Jewish mythology. So he drew on what he learned from writing a master’s thesis about Jewish monsters at Hebrew Union College over a decade ago and turned to a lesser-known demon: the mazzik. In “The Vigil,” Thomas’ directorial debut, a mazzik provides the spooks for one of the most uniquely Jewish mainstream horror films ever made. The movie hit home streaming platforms on Friday, Feb. 26. Mazziks are invisible, low-level demons that, Thomas explains, were created with little “sparks of life” left over from the days of creation.
DAVE DAVIS AS YAKOV RONEN IN “THE VIGIL.” (COURTESY OF IFC MIDNIGHT)
“Animals have a spark of life in a body, and then a little tiny bit of a soul. And the more advanced the animal gets, the larger the soul pieces, until you get humanity, which has a spark of life, a soul and a body. Demons are entities that have a spark of life, no body, and no soul,” he said. “They’re not malicious in the sense that they’re necessarily out to get us, it’s more that if you encounter one of them, it can be dangerous.” In the film, that encounter comes through a Jewish ritual that shares some elements with horror stories even under ordinary circumstances. The story centers on a young ex-Hasidic man named Yakov who is struggling to find his way in secular society. In desperate need of some money, unemployed Yakov agrees to spend a night as a “shomer,” watching over the body of a recently deceased old man in an apartment in an Orthodox neighborhood of Brooklyn. Yakov begins to perceive strange sounds and movements, leaving him to wonder whether his anxiety medication is making him hallucinate. Eventually, he is forced to confront the source of evil torturing the house. Thomas uses the words “distorted 8
memory” and “trauma” often in talking about his film, which – without giving too much away – is rooted in the generational aftereffects of the Holocaust. “Trauma is kind of like these ripples on the surface of water – you drop a giant rock and you’re going to get all these ripples. But even a tiny pebble has ripples. And so what I was interested in was how one man’s trauma, even just for 30 seconds – just an event that takes 30 seconds – can impact the rest of his life,” Thomas said about a moment the dead man in the film had experienced during the Holocaust. Yakov (played by Dave Davis, a Jewish actor who has appeared in shows such as “The Walking Dead” and “True Detective”) is a trauma victim himself, having endured violent antisemitism on the street as a member of Brooklyn’s haredi Orthodox community, and an intense family tragedy stemming from that. He is also a member of a group fashioned after Footsteps, a real organization that helps transition people from the haredi world into broader society. The film’s first scene mimics a meeting of Footsteps members in conversation with a counselor, and all of the actors in it are real Footsteps alumni. Keeping things authentic was challenging. Thomas knew bringing his large crew into haredi neighborhoods in Borough Park and Williamsburg would be disruptive, so the team set up real Orthodox rabbis around the perimeter of the set to explain the movie to passersby. Several members of the cast – including Menashe Lustig– also feature in the Netflix series “Unorthodox.” Even the soundtrack has Orthodox influence – the “neo-Hasidic” band Zusha provided a song for the closing credits. The product is unlike anything else in its genre – a mix of Jewish ritual, yiddishkeit, and gripping indie horror. Jason Blum, the Jewish producer behind the influential Blumhouse company, which has helped make horror films such as “Get Out,” “Paranormal Activity,” and many many, excitedly jumped on the film, in part because of its Jewish themes. Thomas said he and Blum have talked about the potential of a whole Jewish horror subset genre, which could build off of the popularity of Jewish themes in recent mainstream film and TV. Beyond the realm of ultraOrthodox tradition, Thomas said the world of mysticism and kabbalah is ripe for the horror treatment. In fact, Thomas, who is 45 and on his third career – he started out on the track to become a Jewish day school educator and then conducted clinical medical
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research – is currently working on another Jewish-themed horror flick. That’s after a remake he is working with Blumhouse on of “Firestarter,” a Stephen King story that was made into a 1984 film. Thomas was mum on whether his new film would feature Orthodox Jews, but he agreed that viewers are fascinated by them. “People are very interested in cultures that they’re not that familiar with. And I think the ultra-Orthodox in New York in particular are fascinating. Because they are living in the biggest city in the United States, they’re in the middle of like this cultural capital surrounded by the most advanced tech and booming industries, and
yet they live this sort of very 19th-century lifestyle in the middle of the city,” he said. “[People] are also kind of fascinated by a religious community that lives according to certain doctrines. … They’re living in a very different sort of path.” He wouldn’t say whether a mazzik would feature in his future movies. But he said that even though Judaism lacks a hellish “birthing place” for demons, there is room for more horror to be made out of its traditions. “It’s not a very superstitious religion overall,” Thomas said. “But I still think there’s definitely room to mine material from it.”
NBC under fire for portrayal of Orthodox Jews on TV series ‘Nurses’ BY ANDREW LAPIN
(JTA) – NBC pulled an episode of the show “Nurses” that aired on the channel on Feb. 9, responding to pressure from Jewish groups that said it contained an antisemitic storyline about Orthodox Jews. An NBC source told Variety that it had consulted with “leading Jewish organizations” before making the move on Thursday, Feb. 25. The objectionable storyline occurred on an episode of “Nurses,” a Canadian hourlong drama following a group of nurses in a Toronto hospital. In the episode, a young Hasidic patient is told he will need a bone graft to heal his broken leg, leading his devout father to recoil at the possibility of a “dead goyim leg from anyone. An Arab, a woman.” The incident occurs in the series’ eighth episode, “Achilles Heel,” which originally aired on NBC on Feb. 9. The episode’s initial U.S. broadcast attracted nearly 2 million viewers, and NBC also made it available for viewing on its website and its streaming network, Peacock. Jewish groups such as StopAntisemitism and JewishOnCampus have tried to mobilize online pressure campaigns against NBC for airing the episode, and the American Jewish Committee tweeted that the depiction was “disgusting.” The AntiDefamation League was among those calling for NBC to pull the episode and “review their standards for approving dramatic content so that this doesn’t happen in the future.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center also expressed outrage, arguing that it portrays haredi Jews in a false light. Allison Josephs, who blogs about
Orthodox life as the founder and director of Jew In The City, also harshly criticized the episode. “The idea that such a surgery would be problematic in general or problematic because of where the bone came from not only is categorically false according to Jewish law, it is a vicious lie that endangers men who walk around with curled side locks and black hats,” Josephs wrote. Some critics of the episode have also linked it to a controversial joke made on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” last weekend, in which comedian Michael Che suggested that Israel has only vaccinated its Jewish residents. Although NBC produces “SNL,” it did not produce “Nurses”; the network acquired the series’ U.S. broadcast rights as part of a broader international acquisition strategy from American television networks whose content mills have run dry due to COVID-19-related production difficulties. The episode originally aired on Canada’s Global Television Network in February 2020. The show has already been renewed for a second season in Canada, where it attracted around one million viewers per episode. Canada is home to an estimated 392,000 Jews, of which around 44% affiliate with the Orthodox or Modern Orthodox movement, according to estimates from a 2018 joint study from the Berman Jewish Databank. Requests for comment to NBCUniversal, as well as to a representative for the episode’s credited writer, Laura Good, were not returned. jewishledger.com
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What Jewish comedians made of Michael Che’s Israel Joke
EDITORIAL Stacey Dresner Massachusetts Editor firstname.lastname@example.org • x3008 Tim Knecht Proofreader
BY ANDREW SILOW-CARROLL
(JTA) – It’s almost Purim, which means I am busy writing jokes that poke fun at the stuff we do and obsess about as Jews without offending too many people. Not always easy, and that’s when I am writing for an audience that I know extremely well. Now imagine writing Jewish jokes outside the bubble. “Saturday Night Live” found out the hard way after a joke about Israel went viral for the wrong reasons. Here’s the joke Michael Che told on the Feb. 20 show: “Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population, and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.” David Harris of the American Jewish Committee said the joke “accuses Israel of vaccinating only Jews” and “spreading an antisemitic lie.” The Reform movement’s Rabbi Rick Jacobs said that the joke “was in poor taste” and that “Israel is a world leader in Covid vaccinations, protecting Jewish and Arab citizens alike.” Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, demanded an apology, tweeting that “perpetuating antisemitism is just not funny.” These critics don’t really explain what makes the joke antisemitic: It’s not antisemitic to be wrong about Israel, although the constant negative attention starts to feel suspicious. I heard the joke as a comic riff on the idea that any ethnic state would of course take care of its own before others. (I’m reminded of the old joke about the American Jew who goes to a brothel in Tel Aviv and asks for a family discount.) But clannishness can be seen as an antisemitic trope: When the Anti-Defamation League surveys antisemitic attitudes, it includes “Jews stick together more than other Americans” as an anti-Jewish stereotype. I don’t know if Che or whoever wrote the joke was aware of this trope, but that doesn’t absolve them. The other possibility, seized upon by the critics, is that the joke is about an actual controversy: accusations that Israel hasn’t done enough to get vaccines to Palestinian non-citizens living in the West Bank or Gaza. In which case the joke may be harsh and inaccurate criticism of Israel, but is it antisemitic? A lot of Israelis and left-wing American Jewish groups have criticized 10
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MICHAEL CHE MAKES A JOKE ABOUT ISRAEL’S VACCINE ROLLOUT ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE ON FEB. 20, 2021. (SCREEN SHOT FROM YOUTUBE)
Samuel Neusner, Founder (19291960) Rabbi Abraham J. Feldman, CoFounder and Editor (19291977) Berthold Gaster, Editor (19771992)
Israel for not getting more vaccines to the Palestinian Authority. (Israel says that it immunizes its own citizens, Jewish and Arab; that it is under no obligation to assist the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, and that the P.A. didn’t want the help anyway.) Che’s defender’s say the joke is fair criticism of a country that recently passed a nation-state law that privileges its Jewish population over other groups; a Haaretz columnist writes the joke was “a humorous exaggeration of Israel’s open and systemic discrimination against non-Jews.” Ilana Glazer, the co-star and co-creator of “Broad City,” praised Che, retweeting activists who said the joke told the truth about the “separate and unequal treatment” of Palestinians under occupation. My hunch is that “SNL” wasn’t aware of any of this discourse, and Jews are attaching their own agendas to a throwaway joke. To me it sounds like a one-liner written by a roomful of writers who live and work in a city with the world’s largest population of Jews outside Israel. It is a joke Jews and even Israelis might tell each other, but which becomes uncomfortable and even anti-Jewish when released into the wild.
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But that is just me. For a gut check, I reached out to comedians and entertainers who specialize in Jewish material or often work Jewish events. I asked if the critics are overreacting, and whether these comedians tell jokes in front of Jewish audiences that they wouldn’t share with a wider public. “I don’t think the writers were thinking about it nearly as much as we think they were,” said Benji Lovitt, a U.S.-born, Israel-based comedian. “The most obvious interpretation is by far the most likely to me and the only reasonable one: that [Che] thinks Israel oppresses Palestinians and that if you’re not Jewish, you’re ‘less than.’ Do I think this joke was a fair and logical expression of that? No, because the premise is flawed. There’s a lot to criticize with Israel but its distribution of vaccinations isn’t one of those things. “And on top of that, even if the joke was a smart, biting critique on Israeli policy regarding settlement growth, let’s say… what’s it doing on ‘SNL’?” Joel Chasnoff, a comedian, author and creator/host of the forthcoming podcast “Interesting Jews,” says the joke may or may not be anti-Semitic – but it’s certainly anti-comedic.
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“Ultimately, I think it is antisemitic… but I’m on the fence,” said Chasnoff, who recently moved to Israel from New Rochelle. “What bugs me most about the joke is that it’s not creative. It’s just so freakin’ easy to put Israel down, make Israel seem like colonialist oppressors, and feed into that whole narrative. So not only is it not true, it’s not artistically inventive. ‘Israel isn’t nice to Palestinians’ – there’s absolutely nothing brave or exploratory in that.” Talia Reese, a comedian from Great Neck once dubbed “the raunchiest Orthodox mom doing stand-up,” agrees with Chasnoff that the “SNL” joke felt lazy. “Do I think Michael Che is antisemitic? No. I think what he did was irresponsible and to be honest, I didn’t even get the joke at first,” Reese said. “When I heard it, I scratched my head like, ‘The vaccine is available to every Israeli citizen, don’t they know that?’ Then on a second listen, I thought, ‘Ohh they’re trying to make it like the Jews in Israel are hoarding the vaccine for themselves.’ That’s crazy!” As far as apologizing, “I’m against comedians apologizing for jokes. It’s awkward and absurd,” she said. “The backlash speaks for itself, and bravo to watchdog groups. That’s a job I wouldn’t want. That said, I don’t care if ‘SNL’ apologizes. I do think they should joke responsibly in the future.” I also reached out to Rami Even-Esh, who leans hard into his Jewish identity as the rapper Kosha Dillz. He thought Che’s joke failed because it lacked context, leaving
room for the audience to draw the worst conclusions about its target. “People can do antisemitic things and not inherently be antisemitic just as people can uphold white-supremacy/racism and not be white supremacists/racist. We need to educate people like Michael. That is our job. We should never cancel.” Of the people I contacted, Dani Zoldan, who owns the Stand Up NY comedy club, was one of the few willing to defend the “SNL” joke. “I believe that funny is funny no matter how uncomfortable or offensive. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves,” said Zoldan. “You can replace the players in a joke to address underserved communities anywhere. It’s not antisemitic because it uses Israelis and Palestinians for this version.” But Chasnoff says the “SNL” joke failed, in part because it violated a cardinal rule of comedy: It wasn’t true. “I can honestly say that when I perform, I don’t have any jokes in my act that I’d only tell in a safe space of Jews, but not in public. Because my attitude toward comedy is that if it’s true, you should say it. That’s the point of smart comedy – to challenge the common wisdom by presenting truth, even if it’s uncomfortable to hear. If it makes you squirm but it’s true, then good! But this ‘SNL’ joke isn’t opening our eyes to some unspoken truth we’re afraid to discuss. It’s just lazy – going to the ol’ reliable stereotype, and an untrue one, in an effort to get the laugh.”
Sacha Baron Cohen says his days of disguise pranks are over (JTA) – Sacha Baron Cohen says his days of dressing up as characters such as Borat Sagdiyev, the antisemitic Kazakh journalist that made the Jewish actor a star, are behind him. He said he has been sued and nearly arrested over the course of filming his movies and shows, most of which involve a disguised Cohen tricking the people around him into saying or doing absurd things. “At some point, your luck runs out. And so I never wanted to do this stuff again,” he told NPR’s Terry Gross on Monday, Feb. 22. While filming the sequel to the massively popular 2006 “Borat” film last year, he said he feared for his life when told that he should wear a bulletproof vest to a gun rally because there was a chance he could get shot. “I was very aware that once the crowd realized that I was a fake, that it could turn really ugly and it could be really dangerous,” he added. In one lawsuit involving “Borat 2,” the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who was featured in the film but who died before it debuted sued Cohen, claimed that her mother was “horrified” that he tricked her into appearing in a comedy. In the movie, the survivor, Judith Dim Evans, tells part of her Holocaust story and helps point out Borat’s misplaced antiSemitism. Long afraid to show his face much in public, Cohen has made more regular media appearances in recent years. In 2019, he spoke at an ADL conference and called social media “the greatest propaganda machine in history.” He has since singled out Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as an enabler of Holocaust denial and other forms of antisemitism online in multiple interviews.
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MARCH 5, 2021
‘Who are we?’ Asian American Jews explore their identities in a new video project BY GABE FRIEDMAN
(JTA) – When Maya Katz-Ali saw the ad on Facebook recruiting Asian Jews to participate in a new video project about identity, she scrolled through her list of friends to figure out who might be a good fit. The daughter of a Jewish mother from New York and a Muslim father from India, it didn’t occur to Katz-Ali that she fit the bill herself. Though she grew up connected to both parents’ cultures – especially the food – she always saw them as distinct. When her mother wanted to hire Indian dancers for her bat mitzvah, she shot the idea down. “I remember specifically saying, ‘Mom, no, that’s Indian. That’s not Jewish,’” said Katz-Ali, who now works for the Shabbat programming organization OneTable. “So obviously, in my head, I had this big kind of divorce of these two identities.” After her epiphany that she would be a good candidate for the video initiative she saw advertised on Facebook, Katz-Ali reached out to its founders. That’s how she ended up in “Taste of Connection,” the food-focused first episode of Lunar: The Jewish-Asian Film Project, a series of videos of young Asian American Jews in conversation with each other that launched this week, to coincide with the lunar new year, a holiday celebrated in multiple Asian cultures. The series – which is on YouTube and also lives on the website of Be’chol Lashon, a group promoting Jews of color that helped support the project – will tackle a new theme in each episode. “[It’s] really fun to break the stereotype of ‘You want Jewish food? Ok, it’s a bagel,’” Katz-Ali says in the video, after describing how she blends Indian cuisine with Jewish tradition. The series is the brainchild of two recent college students who found themselves craving a way to get to know other people whose identities overlapped with their own. One of them is founder Gen Slosberg, who was raised without religion in China and moved with her Ashkenazi father and Chinese mother to the U.S. as a teenager. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, she joined multiple groups for students of color – where to her surprise she discovered Jews of color like herself. “Everybody I knew who was Jewish was white,” said Slosberg. But even after 12
learning from those student groups, she had never been in or heard of a space for Asian American Jews in particular. “I would for example hear one of the people at one of my JOC [Jews of color] Shabbats go ‘Oh yeah, my Chinese grandmother, this, this and this,’” Slosberg said. “And I’m like, what if we were in a space and we could all understand what it’s like to have an Asian grandma. Wouldn’t that be cool?” So last spring Slosberg reached out to a few other Chinese Jews through connections and social media, hoping to create that space for herself. She found Jenni Rudolph, a Berklee College of Music graduate who was featured in a widely viewed YouTube video about interracial identity. Rudolph had grown up in Huntington Beach, a predominantly white city in southern California’s Orange County, where she struggled to feel at home in white, Asian or Jewish spaces. She had attended a Jewish preschool, but after it closed, her two younger sisters didn’t get the same Jewish foundation, and her family wasn’t very religious. “That was just a really exciting moment for me,” Rudolph said of her initial virtual meet-up with Slosberg’s group, “of meeting others and being able to talk in a group and decide – so this is a community, what do we stand for? Who are we? And what does it really mean to be these things?” Slosberg and Rudolph decided to take the concept – bringing Asian American Jews together to talk openly and casually about their identities and experiences – and branch out with it. Beyond just ChineseAmericans, they found Jewish people with what was for them an unexpectedly diverse array of different Asian backgrounds, from Indian to Thai to Filipino and more. One thing they quickly realized was that all of them felt that they had not seen their identity represented in American Jewish spaces. The American Jewish community has begun to pay more attention to the experience of Jews of color in recent years, as highlighted by the rise and expanded profile of groups such as Be’chol Lashon and the Jews of Color Initiative, and the increasing number of Jews of color in organizational leadership roles. An analysis
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THE LUNAR PROJECT BROUGHT OVER 20 ASIAN AMERICAN JEWS TOGETHER IN CONVERSATION. (COURTESY OF LUNAR)
by researchers from 2019 found that Jews of color have been slightly undercounted in broad surveys on American Jews. But there has not been much research done on Asian American Jews in particular. Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt – who are also a married couple – have published two landmark research papers on Asian Jewish families, one in 2012 and another in 2015. Besides that, Slosberg and Rudolph did not have previous projects like theirs to turn to for inspiration. “We saw a gap in the media that could be filled,” Rudolph said. She and Slosberg remained mindful throughout their project of how broad the term “Asian American” can be a flattening term. “The Asian diaspora is just so huge and diverse that it feels weird to kind of lump ourselves in, but also – white America lumps us all in together anyways,” Rudolph said. “So that’s kind of a common thread that we’re all relating on. We have a lot of very common experiences.” For participant Jacob Sujin Kuppermann, born to a Brazilian Ashkenazi father and Thai mother, the project’s diversity was an important selling point. “That’s kind of what made me excited about this project – that there was a very diverse range of different Asian experiences,” Kuppermann said. “Obviously there’s not a huge amount of discussion about mixed race Jews [in American
society]. But usually when it comes up, it’s tiny. It’s Chinese American.” In the inaugural video, participants talk about how their knowledge of both Jewish and Asian foods helps them feel like they “have stake in” each broader cultural community, in the words of one person. Another said that that knowledge helps her “prove” her Jewishness in Jewish spaces that are predominantly white. Some pointed out the ways in which Asian and Jewish flavors go well together, while others talked about the difficulty of eating Asian dishes while trying to keep kosher – stemming from the fact that multiple Asian staples, such as shellfish and pork, are not allowed in Jewish dietary law. Katz-Ali shares in a clip that Ashkenazi Jewish food doesn’t always “feel like home” for her, but she’s always excited when finding Indian restaurants that are kosher. After participating in the project, in December she inaugurated “pakoras and menorahs,” her name for a new Hanukkah tradition that incorporates a traditional Indian fried food into the Jewish holiday that celebrates oil. Now she’s trying to keep the Lunar group together, in part by planning OneTable Shabbat events for them. “I’m so excited that this is taking off,” she said. “I think this is also going to give more permission to people to create and find that place of belonging and community that they can gather within.” jewishledger.com
One decade since its appearance, Iron Dome has intercepted 2,500 enemy rockets … and counting
AN IRON DOME AIRDEFENSE BATTERY SET NEAR THE SOUTHERN ISRAELI CITY OF ASHDOD, FIRES AN INTERCEPTING MISSILE ON JULY 14, 2014.
BY YAAKOV LAPPIN
(JNS) Ten years have passed since the Iron Dome air-defense system, produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, made its first revolutionary interception of a Gazan rocket in Israeli skies in 2011. Since then the system has conducted more than 2,500 successful real-world interceptions, preventing large-scale carnage in Israeli cities. It has achieved an interception rate of more than 90 percent and is considered an essential element of Israeli security, on standby against enemy arsenals threatening the Israeli home front from north to south. While Iron Dome is indispensable today, it had to overcome some preconceived notions about the role of air defense in security before first making its appearance. “A soccer team that goes to the field without a goalkeeper loses,” Brig. Gen. (ret.) Shachar Shohat, Rafael vice president and marketing and business development manager of the company’s Air and Missile Defense Division, told JNS. Shohat, who previously served as commander of the Israel Air Force’s Air Defense Array, described Rafael as the national combat laboratory that has become a “symbol of innovation” in the world of Israeli security, winning 50-plus Israeli defense prizes for significant contribution to state security. “Employees at Rafael, who go to work in jeans and sandals, are creating true added value to Israel’s national security,” he said. “They do it with a spark in their eyes from the founding of the state until this day.”
‘The right solution’ The Second Lebanon War of 2006 served as a “wake-up call” for the need to acquire air-defense systems against short-range and mid-range rockets, explained Shohat, following the launch by Hezbollah of some 4,000 projectiles at northern Israel throughout 30 days of combat. Israel had no air-defense response to this threat, despite the fact that the IAF maintained total air supremacy over Lebanese skies and despite its ability to destroy Hezbollah’s stockpile of mid-range rockets that placed central Israel in range at the very outset of the conflict. “The short-range rocket array of Hezbollah remained almost unaffected during the ensuing war,” recalled Shohat, saying Israel realized it had to find solutions against this type of threat – and quickly. Still, leaders in Israel were also influenced by notions that made them resistant to defensive solutions. “Until that time, the search was on for an offensive solution only. The doctrine was jewishledger.com
attack and less about defense,” recounted Shohat. Other objections included doubts over technological capabilities to shoot down short-range rockets, while others claimed that the costs would be prohibitive. Yet the effects of the 2006 conflict and the damage it inflicted on northern Israel made it clear that this thinking had to change. The government realized that it could not tell the Israeli public to continue absorbing mass rocket attacks, as well as the destruction, deaths and injuries that they incur when the home front is left without defenses. Major companies from around the world began arriving in Israel, offering a plethora of solutions to shoot down rockets, including cannons, lasers and missiles. “Rafael, with its ability to achieve a breakthrough in short timeframe, managed to justifiably succeed in convincing decision-makers that Iron Dome is the right solution,” said Shohat. Shohat, who served on a committee that examined air-defense solutions at that time, said a total of 14 options were presented. At that time, even a system that would have accomplished a 70 percent interception rate would have been considered a success, he said, “since 70 is much more than zero.”
‘This is something that protects our home’ From 2007, when the decision was made to go with Iron Dome, the first battery was operational within four years, breaking development records. Rafael, the prime contractor, partnered up with other defense companies to develop the system, including Israel Aerospace Industries-Elta, which made the radar, and mPrest, which designed its command and control system. “It was the start of a race to create the system – before the next conflict begins,” said Shohat. “Its performance surprised the expectations of even those who had planned it.” “We believe in our technological capability. We understand the operational need, and many Rafael personnel served in IDF combat roles,” said Shohat. “We are geographically close to the operational user. Rafael’s personnel were doing this for the Israeli people – and for their own families. This is something that protects our home. Rafael knew it would be tested very soon after development–that it would not sit in a warehouse for 30 years.” The company’s senior management
pushed engineers and programmers to make rapid progress, alongside the Israeli Defense Ministry. Shohat described a development process that saved time by conducting states simultaneously to one another, rather than one stage after the other. “Usually, when industries complete the development of a system, they conduct a test and then pass it on to the client, who begins training. After a lengthy time, the client announces operational readiness. Here, because of the sense of urgency, we took a different approach,” he said. IAF air-defense personnel were involved in the shaping of the system from day one, working with developers to study the system as it was still under development. “The man-machine interface, built by mPrest, was majorly influenced by soldiers, whose feedback was used to make it easy and comfortable for operation,” explained Shohat. “There was partnership in the development stage and in debugging during development, not only after delivery.” The first battery was delivered to the IAF in the first half of 2011, just as southern Israeli cities towns and villages were being hit with a “drizzle” of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip fired by multiple Palestinian terror factions. In April 2011, the system conducted its very first interception. “From there, the rest is history,” said Shohat. “The understanding sunk in that this system works and works in an excellent manner. Its performance surprised the expectations of even those who had planned it.”
‘A system that has received newer capabilities’ In the subsequent years, ongoing upgrades to Iron Dome have been continuous as Rafael looks at new needs while the system conducts real-life interceptions on a regular basis. “The Iron Dome of today is not the Iron Dome of 2011. It is a system that has received newer capabilities – higher-altitude and lower-altitude interception ranges, and the ability to intercept more than rockets. Today, it is an air-defense system in every sense. It can assist a maneuvering military force; it can work at sea on a naval platform. Its image of being only used to protect large population centers has changed. It can protect key strategic sites, deal with drones and handle fast-flying low targets,” he rattled off, adding that the system is affordable in global defense terms. “Because of these qualities, it was chosen by the U.S. Military for a deep examination as
a future air-defense system.” Iron Dome is an inseparable part of Israel’s ability to attack, said Shohat, since it protects critical military bases which, if attacked by enemy rockets or missiles, could not be used by the IDF to attack enemy targets. “A soccer team that goes to the field without a goalkeeper loses.” Shohat also paid tribute to American generosity in the form of assistance funds for the production of batteries – assistance that has helped Israel deploy batteries that provide simultaneous defenses against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iranian-backed forces in Syria, and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Adversaries have, over the years, attempted to probe and challenge Iron Dome, including by saturating it with heavy rocket fire. “I can say with certainty that in all of the operational scenarios it was placed in, including attempts to saturate it, it never failed,” attested Shohat. “Its robust design, which includes launchers with many interceptors, its computing power, and its radar and tracking abilities enable it to really deal with unprecedented quantities of projectiles with success.” As worldwide interest in Iron Dome grows, the system has turned into a brand. “It is something that people understand has proven capabilities, and that it is best to have them on your side,” said Shohat. Looking ahead, he said, artificial intelligence technology will mean that Iron Dome won’t only learn to improve through the work of engineers and programmers, “but also by itself. It will learn how to recognize new things on its own.” Rafael is also planning on adding new detection abilities that go beyond radar, such as camera sensors, and is thinking of augmenting it with laser technology. The challenge, said Shohat, is “always to remain a step ahead of the threats that are coming our way.”
MARCH 5, 2021
Joe and Bibi talked, but wha BY RON KAMPEAS
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ASHINGTON (JTA) – Four weeks into his presidency, Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the “scandal” over the new U.S. leader’s failure to pick up the phone came to a quick and cheerful close. The end of the “will he call?” controversy on Wednesday, Feb. 17, was evident in Netanyahu’s grin in the photo his office sent to the media to announce the phone call, which lasted an hour. But the scrutiny of the Biden-Israel relationship is just beginning. How the two sides summarized the call was evidence of where they stand on critical issues, including Iran and the peace process. Netanyahu’s summary spoke of peace in broad strokes. Biden mentioned the Palestinians, while Netanyahu did not. Netanyahu celebrated his long personal friendship with Biden. The president spoke of his longstanding friendship with Israel. Netanyahu said they chatted for an hour. Biden’s team did not list a time. Netanyahu attached a photograph to his statement. Biden did not. More subtly, the readouts, and a series of statements by top Biden officials, depict a tentativeness on all sides: Netanyahu seems eager to show that he is at ease with a Democratic president after being one of Donald Trump’s most eager boosters for four years. Biden seems intent on differentiating himself on Middle East policy not only from Trump but from his predecessor, Barack Obama, who Biden served as vice president. Notable, too, are the differences in tone, with Biden officials showing a greater willing-
ness to adopt the language that pleases Netanyahu and the center-right pro-Israel community in the United States, including robust rejections of the boycott Israel movement. There is agreement on advancing the normalization agreements that Trump brokered between Israel and four Sunni Arab states, the so-called Abraham Accords. There are sharp differences, however, over whether and how the U.S. should rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Netanyahu detested and Trump left in 2018.
Israeli-Palestinian peace: Not now – who knows when? Biden has plenty on his plate, his defenders say, but even once he gets it clean, reviv-ing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is not likely to be a priority. His team emphatically embraces the twostate outcome, whereas Trump and his Middle East team equivocated on whether their endgame included Palestinian statehood. But the likelihood of a Washington-led push for Israeli-Palestinian talks is remote. Biden has stacked his team with Obama alumni, and privately they say they were burned by the two failed peace pushes made by the former president, in 2009-10 and 201314, and aren’t eager to play with fire again. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a deputy secretary of state and a deputy national security adviser under Obama, said the initiative this time around has to come from the parties rather than Washington. “We need to engage on that. But in the first instance, the parties in question need to engage on that,” Blinken said Feb. 8 on CNN,
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LIKE US ON PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SPEAKS TO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN IN HIS OFFICE IN JERUSALEM, FEB. 17, 2021. (TWITTER)
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PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, SPEAKING FROM THE WHITE HOUSE, SAID THE U.S. AND ITS ALLIES MUST ADDRESS IRAN’S DESTABILIZING INFLUENCE, FEB. 19, 2021. (ANNA MONEY-MAKER-POOL/GETTY IMAGES)
at does it all mean? referring to the Israeli-Palestinian con-flict. “Look, the hard truth is we are a long way I think from seeing peace break out and seeing a final resolution of the problems between Israel and the Palestinians and the creation of a Palestinian state.” That won’t stop Biden from reestablishing relations with the Palestinians mostly sev-ered by the Trump administration, although there are logistical challenges. Biden wants to reopen the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, D.C., as well as discrete office for Palestinian interests in Jerusalem. He also wants to restore U.S. assistance to the Palestinians through nongovernmental groups in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and through the Palestinian relief arm of the United Na-tions, UNRWA. Trump shut down all those areas of U.S.-Palestinian interaction. Except when it comes to UNRWA, Biden faces obstacles. A recent law forbids the PLO office from reopening unless the Palestinian Authority drops its criminal complaints against Israelis in the International Criminal Court. Reo-pening a dedicated consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem may face opposition from the Israeli government. And in order to deliver assistance to the Palestinians, Biden must work around U.S. statutes that ban assistance to the P.A. as long as it compensates the families of Palestinians who killed Israelis or Americans – what Is-raelis call “pay for slay.”
The Abraham Accords: Yes please, but pass the carrots The Biden administration has embraced the pact, but has frozen some of the incen-tives Trump proffered to the Sunni Arab states, including the sale of stealth combat jets to the United Arab Emirates. Warnings that such freezes would undercut the accords have not borne out: The UAE last week named its ambassador to Israel.
The tone: Words matter During the Obama years, Netanyahu and his backers in the United States wanted not only to see robust assistance to Israel – which came, unstintingly, in generous de-fense packages – but to hear robust defenses of Israel. Those at times were hard to come by. In 2011, for example, the then-ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, vetoed a resolution that would have condemned Israel’s settlement policies, but also spoke at length about why the United States opposes jewishledger.com
Israel’s settlement policy. Israel welcomed the veto, but felt her remarks undid the goodwill. Biden’s tone is notably different. Unlike Trump, his team will comment on Israel’s set-tlement moves, and it restored the Obamaera practice of calling on Israel and the Palestinians to “refrain from taking unilateral steps.” But there’s a Biden-era twist to the boilerplate. Biden officials routinely warn against “annexation of territory, settlement activity, demo-litions” on Israel’s part, and “incitement to violence, and providing compensation for individuals imprisoned for acts of terrorism” on the Palestinian side. Obama officials did not include such specifics when warning against unilateral moves. Specifying “pay for slay” is a particular nod to the Israelis and how galling they find the practice. Similarly, Obama administration diplomats made clear in private with other countries that it was opposed to Israel boycotts, but less so in public. Biden appears set to make his opposition to the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement public in a big way, at least according to his nominee for U.N. ambassador. “The actions and the approach that BDS has taken toward Israel is unacceptable,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in her Senate confirmation hearing. “It verges on antiSemitism and it is important that they not be allowed to have a voice at the United Na-tions.”
Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights: Definitely, maybe Trump recognized Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its capital and its claim to sovereignty in the Golan Heights. The peace plan released a year ago byTrump aide Jared Kushner recognized Israel’s claim to parts of the West Bank. Biden is walking some of it back – but not all the way. He’s warning Israel not to unilaterally change the status of the West Bank, but on other issues his team is treading light-ly. Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem; asked on CNN if he regards Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Blinken replied, “I do, yes. And more importantly, we do.” That dis-tinguishes Biden from other candidates in the Democratic primaries who depicted the embassy move more as a fait accompli than something to be embraced. Blinken equivocated slightly when asked the same question about Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
PHOTO COURTESY: ONLINE
“Look, leaving aside the legalities of that question, as a practical matter, the Golan is very important to Israel’s security,” Blinken said. “As long as Assad is in power in Syria, as long as Iran is present in Syria, militia groups backed by Iran, the Assad regime it-self – all of these pose a significant security threat to Israel, and as a practical matter, the control of the Golan in that situation I think remains of real importance to Israel’s security. “Legal questions are something else. And over time, if the situation were to change in Syria, that’s something we’d look at. But we are nowhere near at that.” A number of right-wing eyebrows were raised by Blinken questioning the legality of Is-rael’s claim, but the bottom line is that Israel’s control of the strategic plateau was not an issue for now. Another notable element of Blinken’s reply: the hint that Israel’s secu-rity concerns would be a priority in considering Syria policy. That was not explicit with Trump or Obama.
Iran deal: Heading back, with a heads up On Thursday, Blinken met with his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany. They issued a joint statement calling for talks with Iran to order to return to the 2015 Iran nu-clear deal. Netanyahu, who opposed the deal, immediately voiced concern. “Israel believes that going back to the old agreement will pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal,” he said. “Israel is in close contact with the United States on this matter.” The second sentence may have been the more significant and explained why there oth-erwise were no fireworks: Netanyahu and Biden had discussed Iran in their Wednesday call, and Biden likely gave him a heads up. Those advance warnings were missing during the two years leading up to the 2015 deal, greatly exacerbating the ObamaNetanyahu tensions. Biden officials say they will keep Israel informed. Unlike Obama, Biden also seems ready
to tie a nuclear deal to other issues: The new president wants to reenter the ’15 pact because he sees it as the best means to keep Iran from going nuclear, but Biden also wants to simultaneously roll back Iran’s missile program and decelerate its regional adventurism, which includes sponsoring terror groups and proxies throughout the Middle East. “We must address Iran’s destabilizing activities across the Middle East,” Biden said Friday in an address to the Munich Security Conference. “We will work with our Euro-pean and other partners as we proceed.”
International forums: The room where it happens Thomas-Greenfield is promising a robust proIsrael defense as ambassador to the Unit-ed Nations. “I look forward to standing with Israel, standing against the unfair targeting of Israel, the relentless resolutions that are proposed against Israel unfairly,” she said in her Senate testimony. Biden scored pro-Israel points early for swiftly rejecting an International Criminal Court decision to move ahead with prosecutions of Israelis. “We have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,” the State Department said in a statement. But hawks are wary of the administration’s emphasis on reengaging with the international community, especially its intention to rejoin the U.N. Human Rights Council, which Trump quit in part because of its anti-Israel bias. Biden officials are citing the Obamaera rationale for being inside the room: It’s easier to roll back some of the bias, and the forum also is useful for holding bad actors accountable. “The best way to improve the Council, so it can achieve its potential, is through robust and principled U.S. leadership,” Blinken said on Twitter.
MARCH 5, 2021
| MARCH 5, 2021
BULLETIN BOARD Attention 10th-12th graders in Stamford, New Canaan and Darien
THE KOSHER CROSSWORD MARCH 5, 2021 “Emoji Holidays”
By: Yoni Glatt
Difficulty Level: Easy
Curbside pick up and local home delivery available!
Applications are now open for the 2021 Cohort of the Kuriansky Teen Tzedakah Corps – a program of United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien. Directed by Jonathan Fass, this elite leadership training program explores the fundamentals of philanthropy, preparing teens to become communal leaders. The program will begin March 21 and applications will be accepted until March 10. To learn more about this high impact program visit ujf.org or contact Diane Sloyer at email@example.com, (203) 321-1373.
SHABBAT DINNER TRADITIONAL DAIRY LUNCHEON DELI SANDWICH PLATTER DINNER MENU
Massachusett’s school board member uses antisemitic slur on live TV BY BEN SALES
(JTA) – A school board member in Lowell, Massachusetts, called a former school district leader a “kike” on live television, spurring calls for his resignation. Bob Hoey should step down from the Lowell School Committee, the mayor of the Boston suburb said. “We lost the kike, oh, I mean, the Jewish guy,” Hoey said Wednesday, Feb. 24, on “City Life,” a news opinion show. “I hate to say it, but that’s what people used to say behind his back.” Hoey, an elected official in the city of 111,000, was referring to Gary Frisch, the former CFO of the Lowell Public Schools. According to the Lowell Sun, the comment followed a lengthy discussion in which Hoey and the show’s host, George Anthes, complained about or denigrated undocumented immigrants, diversity in the local high school’s student government, the concept of “equity,” Indian-American families and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat. Hoey used the slur amid a discussion of school budgets. Anthes did not react when the slur was uttered, but 15 minutes later, according to the Sun, Hoey said, “I just mentioned something about Gary Frisch, I said a bad name.” Hoey went on to disparage an ArabAmerican local official and called himself an “Archie Bunker,” a reference to the bigoted TV character from “All in the Family,” then asked whether “white guys” matter. Mayor John Leahy called the remark “offensive and repulsive” in a statement Wednesday, and said he would call a joint meeting of the Lowell School Committee and City Council in order to formally call for Hoey’s resignation.
ANSWERS TO FEB. 26 CROSSWORD
Across 1. Censor’s sound 6. One busy at the start of 8-Down 9. Sprint 13. Wayne Gretzky, at the start of his career 14. Zurich peak 15. Megillah read on Tisha B’Av 16. 18. Potok protagonist 19. Word with “Cone” or “Cat” 20. Letters asking for help 21. Princess Leia’s adopted last name 22.
25. King in “The Iliad” 28. Gal, in Scotland 29. 31. Play clay 32. Like King Saul or Amar’e Stoudemire 36. Tel Aviv to Hebron dir. 37. 40. Eden in Miami 41. Caffeinated drinks that can be cold or hot 43. Trip up 44. 46. Important no. for newspapers 48. Skyy, for one
49. 55. He turned the Nile to dam 56. Newsworthy time 57. Brew that often has a bitter aftertaste, for short 60. Took sudden notice 61. 64. Yak, yak, yak 65. Animated dad of Edith, Margot, and Agnes 66. Harry Potter’s protector (to Potter’s surprise) 67. With it 68. Violated 16-Across 69. Bad spellings?
Down 1. They become men 2. Animal that didn’t harm Daniel 3. Friend of Mr. Noodle 4. Cry upon seeing a mouse 5. Israeli fruit? 6. Bars for guitars 7. Like a thick carpet 8. 44-Across usually starts in this mo. (but not this year) 9. Revulsion 10. After, b’Ivrit 11. Rishon follower 12. Bad Boko 15. Lawman Wyatt and his brothers 17. Nittany Lions’ sch. 21. How some baseballs are fielded 22. Cinch ___ (Hefty bag brand)
23. Coverage options, briefly 24. Baseball’s Felipe, Matty, or Moises 25. “Hey! You!” 26. Fiendish plan, perhaps 27. Furniture chain from Scandinavia 30. AKA Rabbi Nissim of Gerona (whose name looks like he did a marathon) 31. TV Device that might come with a monthly fee 33. City in southern Israel 34. Secure 35. ___ Dodi 38. Rainbows, for example 39. Big name in Israeli footwear or drugs 42. Dwight often pranked by (Jim)
Halpert 45. ___-CAH-TOA (trig mnemonic) 47. “G-d willing!” 49. Speaks gratingly 50. Tara’s Scarlett 51. Job’s Biblical tester 52. Cold people might lack one? 53. Verbally fight 54. Capture 57. Theater giant? 58. Skunk seeking amour 59. One of Zeus’s sons 61. Letters on some NYC-bound luggage 62. Tough timber tree or fire residue 63. Word on both sides of “on” and “by”
MARCH 5, 2021
Briefs Netanyahu: Children under 16 likely to be vaccinated by summer (JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expects Israel’s current vaccination campaign to reach its successful completion by the end of March/beginning April. “Then, vaccines for children will start arriving,” Netanyahu told Israel Hayom. “I assume that [regulators] will approve them in April and May, and we will get them immediately afterward,” he said, adding that Israel is already in talks about this phase with the two major manufacturers. Currently, the vaccines being used in Israel are only approved for those 16 or older. But the international scientific community expects that age to be lowered in the coming months as more studies are conducted. “The vaccines [for children] may be a special version, or the same one [used for adults]. There will also be doses that target the evolving mutations. The talks we are holding are on the supply of tens of millions of doses,” he said, adding that there is a good chance Israeli children will be inoculated by summer. Netanyahu said that masks will continue being part of our lives for a significant amount of time because of the phased vaccination drive. “We are living in the age of a virus, and I have made sure that Israel leads the world in this vaccination effort, not just in the purchase of doses, but also in trying to make Israel a place for producing them. I am in touch with the CEOs of the two vaccine manufacturers [currently being used], Pfizer and Moderna. I want Israel to be a critical point in the supply chain.”
Netanyahu calls Pelosi to discuss Israel’s COVID response (JTA) – Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House of Representatives speaker, spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel’s COVID-19 response at a time that Israel is under pressure to extend its vaccination program to Palestinians in the West Bank. “Today, I spoke with [the Israeli prime minister] to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations and Congress’s unwavering support for a safe and secure Israel,” Pelosi said Wednesday on Twitter. “We discussed COVID response and our shared hope for regional peace, including a just, stable and enduring two-state solution.” JTA has learned that Netanyahu initiated the call, and that it was lengthy and friendly. It comes just a month before Israel’s elections. Pelosi’s tweet is illustrated 18
with a photo of Pelosi in her office, taking notes at a desk that overlooks the National Mall. It’s notable that Pelosi singled out COVID response; Israel is garnering international criticism for leaving out Palestinians in the West Bank from its successful vaccine rollout. Among the critics have been leading Democrats in the House. Netanyahu this week ordered the delivery of thousands of vaccines to the Palestinians, reportedly after pressure from the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, but the likelihood is that U.S. pressure will not let up until Netanyahu delivers a more comprehensive vaccine rollout for the Palestinians. Israel says that prior agreements and international law do not oblige it to vaccinate Palestinians living under the Palestinian Authority. Also notable is Pelosi’s mention of a “just, stable and enduring two-state solution.” With Democrats now controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, Israel will be under pressure to abandon the Trump administration peace plan, which was vague about whether the Palestinians would achieve statehood, and included the prospect of Israel annexing parts of the West Bank. Pelosi’s affirmation of the “unbreakable bond between our nations and Congress’s unwavering support for a safe and secure Israel” comes as Israel and pro-Israel groups are apprehensive at the ascent within the Democratic congressional caucus of lawmakers who have been sharply critical of Israel. Last week, Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota who has proposed conditioning aid to Israel on its treatment of Palestinian minors in detention, was named chairwoman of the influential defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.
Pro-Palestinian activist accosts mayoral candidate Andrew Yang (JNS) New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, also a former Democratic candidate for president, was confronted over his strong opposition to BDS by a group that included Malik Hassan from the Muslim American Society New York and the Democratic Socialists of America while touring businesses in Brooklyn, N.Y. According to a video published on Twitter by Politico reporter Joe Anuta, Hassan, who has defended the Hamas terrorist organization in the past, accused Yang of comparing the Palestinians to the Nazis. “Saying that it is akin to fascist boycotts of Jewish businesses, that completely disappoints many Palestinian activists, many Arabs and many Muslims,” said Hassan. Yang replied that he had “never made comments to that effect.” When he attempted to walk away, he was temporarily prevented from leaving. In a piece in The Forward last month,
| MARCH 5, 2021
Yang strongly denounced the BDS movement, saying “a Yang administration will push back against the BDS movement, which singles out Israel for unfair economic punishment.” He also said that BDS is “rooted in antisemitic thought and history, hearkening back to fascist boycotts of Jewish businesses.” “Strong ties with Israel are essential for a global city such as ours, which boasts the highest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel,” he wrote. “Our economy is struggling, and we should be looking for ways to bring back small businesses, not stop commerce.” Yang is leading the crowded Democratic field of mayoral candidates, according to a recent poll ahead of the June 22 primary.
Left-wing Jewish groups urge Biden not to enforce ‘Made in Israel’ label policy (JNS) Six left-wing Jewish organizations asked the Biden administration on Tuesday, Feb. 23, to revoke a policy by the former Trump administration to label goods from Judea and Samaria, more commonly known as the West Bank, as “Made in Israel.” In a letter sent to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that was shared with The Huffington Post, the groups claimed that former President Donald Trump’s policy is “harmful to essential interests of Israelis and Palestinians alike” and will increase tensions in the region if it goes into full effect. Signees of the letter were J Street, the New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. In December, weeks before Trump left office, a policy went into effect requiring products manufactured in Israeli-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, known as “Area C,” to be labeled as “Israel,” “Product of Israel” or “Made in Israel” when exported to the United States. Companies have until March 23 to comply with the new guidelines. Israel controls all of “Area C,” which comprises some 60 percent of the West Bank, under the Oslo Accords. “Area A” and “Area B” are under Palestinian selfgovernance. The groups that signed the letter said: “By inaccurately and misleadingly treating settlement and other products from Area C of the West Bank as if they were made in Israel, the [Trump-era notification] attempts to reverse decades of U.S. policy that makes a firm distinction between Israel and the West Bank. It runs counter to the Biden administration’s policy of opposing settlement activity and unilateral annexation of territory as harmful to the prospects for the peaceful, just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” U.S. President Joe Biden has the option to rescind Trump’s policy or decline to enforce it.
‘I’m Jewish now’: Rapper Azealia Banks ignites social media storm (JTA) – Incendiary rapper Azealia Banks announced her engagement to artist Ryder Ripps by posting a photo on Instagram of a ring with a menorah on it and writing “I’m Jewish now. MAZEL TOV BITCHES!” in the caption. Some social media users took issue with the proclamation, implying that Banks could not assume a Jewish identity by marrying a Jewish person or that wearing a symbol of Judaism was disrespectful. Banks – who is known for getting into feuds with public figures on Twitter – shot back. Here’s one representative exchange, which ends with Banks declaring, “I’m a jewcy diva now.” In another exchange, Banks likened her connection to Judaism to the gender identity of transgender people, in an analogy that some decried as transphobic. Ripps is a 34-year-old art director and conceptual artist who has not made a Jewish identity part of his public persona. His father Rodney, also an artist, once showed some of his art in an exhibit at New York City’s Jewish Museum on “Jewish Themes.”
California Jewish Caucus joins lawmakers to promote slate of hate-crime bills (JNS) Members of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus joined a coalition of state lawmakers on the Capitol steps in Sacramento on Monday in support of legislation aimed at combating hate crimes and hate-motivated violence against minority groups. The Jewish Caucus advocated for three bills and one policy proposal that address hate crimes in California, according to The Jewish News of Northern California. Assembly Bill 57, unveiled in December by Jewish Caucus chair Jesse Gabriel, calls for increasing law-enforcement training and education regarding hate crimes; improving data collection and reporting related to hate crimes; and “enhancing statutory prohibitions against online hate and harassment, including against members of vulnerable communities.” Gabriel told lawmakers that he is also pushing for California Gov. Gavin Newsom to include in the upcoming 2021-22 state budget proposal $50 million to be put towards the state’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which helps improve safety at nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. AB 1440, first introduced earlier this month by Jewish Caucus member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, would give district attorneys permission to charge domestic-terrorist threats as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and push for higher bail and longer pretrial jewishledger.com
detention. AB 1126, introduced this month by Jewish Caucus member Richard Bloom, would establish a state commission to monitor, report and make policy recommendations to lawmakers about hate crimes.
After spat over Trump, Young Israel council replaces board (JTA) – The National Council of Young Israel has replaced its entire executive board, a stark move away from its vocally pro-Donald Trump leadership, whose statements had led to controversy in the Orthodox synagogue association. The council represents more than 100 Orthodox synagogues across the country. It is more than a century old, and in recent years its national officers had sparked backlash from some member synagogues over their embrace of right-wing politics in the United States and Israel. In 2019, 23 member synagogues objected when the movement was the first Jewish-American organization to defend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu working with a far-right political party. One of those synagogues, in Atlanta, ended up leaving the movement. Later that year, the national Young Israel gala had the feel of a Jewish Trump rally, with a lineup of Republican officials speaking and red MAGA-style hats on the tables. Member synagogues elected the new board as a slate last week. The new council president, Rabbi David Warshaw, said the group will place less of an emphasis on political advocacy. “We will continue to speak out on Israel,” Warshaw told Jewish Insider, “but the purpose of NCYI is not to be an advocacy organization.”
Genesis Prize Foundation to honor Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (JNS) The Genesis Prize Foundation announced plans to honor the late prominent scholar, theologian, philosopher and former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom Lord Jonathan Sacks. In 2020, the foundation for the first time invited the public to nominate laureates for this year’s award. Sacks, one of the seven finalists, passed away on Nov. 7 in the midst of the voting campaign, during which tens of thousands of Jews throughout the world cast their votes for him. On Feb. 10, director, producer and philanthropist Steven Spielberg was announced as this year’s recipient of the Genesis Prize. Sacks served as a member of the Genesis Prize Selection Committee from its founding until 2015. Stan Polovets, co-founder and chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation, said, “No one in the world was as adept at explaining jewishledger.com
Judaism to both Jews and non-Jews as Lord Sacks, always emphasizing the religion’s focus on justice, morality and tolerance. We plan to honor this great Jewish voice by paying tribute to his life’s work, and supporting the preservation of his intellectual and spiritual legacy, to ensure it continues to live on for future generations.” Sacks was the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth for 22 years between 1991 and 2013. He gained international renown as a teacher of Jewish values and proponent of inter-religious dialogue. An internationally prominent and admired figure, he was also a trusted and influential adviser to the heads of government and members of the British Royal Family. The Genesis Prize Foundation plans to honor his life and global impact at an event in London on Nov. 14, shortly after the first anniversary of the rabbi’s passing. As part it, the foundation will produce a documentary on Sacks. Israeli statesman, human-rights activist and 2020 Genesis Prize Laureate Natan Sharansky said: “Rabbi Sacks represents the ancient wisdom of our people, embodied in modern times; a contemporary voice unmatched in its moral clarity, profound knowledge, and love of his people and of the State of Israel. His universalisms were deeply rooted in Jewish tradition; his Jewish teaching opened arms to all cultures and religions. I know Rabbi Sacks took pride helping the Genesis Prize in its early stages and am deeply inspired by the foundation’s decision to celebrate his legacy, ever so relevant today.”
Israeli government allocates $13.8 million to oil-spill cleanup (JNS) Israel’s Cabinet on Tuesday, Feb. 23, approved the allocation of 45 million shekels ($13.8 million) to help deal with a massive oil spill that has polluted some 100 miles of Israel’s coast. Approximately $20,000 will be advanced as immediate assistance to local authorities and the Nature and Parks Authority, according to an official statement. “This was a major ecological disaster in which 1,000 tons of petroleum and tar were piled up on our beaches,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, together with Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel, proposed the allocation plan. “We must act quickly, before it sinks into the ground, especially in rocky areas, and this would be damage that would be with us for many years,” he added. The cause of the spill, which the Nature and Parks Authority has called one of the worst environmental disasters in Israel’s history, is still under investigation. Israel’s Kan news reported that the Greek-flagged oil tanker Minerva Helen was a suspect. The vessel’s Greek owner has denied any connection with the spill, according to
Kan. Gamliel said that the investigation was “complex,” but vowed that Israel would “apprehend and severely punish” those responsible. The Cabinet tasked the environmental protection minister with submitting draft legislation on readiness and response to maritime oil pollution events within 30 days. It was also decided that the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Finance Ministry would discuss budgeting some $8 million for the Maritime Pollution Prevention Fund, to better prepare it to respond to future crises.
Prisoner’s photos depicting life in Lodz Ghetto donated to Boston museum (JTA) – Henryk Ross risked his life to take surreptitious photographs of the brutal life in Poland’s Lodz Ghetto. Now a cache of nearly 50 of those photos taken by the Jewish prisoner has been donated to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston by a collector, Howard Greenberg. They are the first Ross photographs in the museum’s collection and among the few owned by a U.S. museum. The ghetto Jewish Council’s Department of Statistics had pressed Ross into service to shoot identification photos, as well as images of the factories there used as propaganda. Ross, however, took hundreds of other photos, often with the help of his wife, Stefania, that documented the horrid conditions. The Lodz Ghetto, which existed for more than four years, was the second largest set up by the Nazis. Thousands died of starvation and illness. Tens of thousands of its prisoners were deported to death camps. After liberation, Ross unearthed the canisters of his photos that he had buried before the camp was liquidated in 1944. He gave a selection of 48 prints made before 1945 to Lova Szmszkowic, later Leon Sutton, a fellow ghetto prisoner who survived the Holocaust, according to a release by the Boston museum. Ross, who resettled in Israel, died in 1991. Sutton brought the photos with him to New York City when he immigrated and stored them safely in an envelope for more than 60 years. Following his death in 2007, his son Paul discovered the envelope. He realized the significance of his father’s collection after seeing a landmark 2017 exhibit of Ross’s photographs at the museum. Greenberg purchased the photos from the younger Sutton. “As the first-generation Jewish American son of two Polish Holocaust survivors I do strongly feel that we must never forget,” Paul Sutton said in the museum statement.
Syracuse tables resolution to adopt IHRA definition, citing Palestinian rights
Association tabled a resolution on Monday, Feb. 22, to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism after several members expressed concern regarding the definition’s language. SA president Justine Hastings, along with others, said antisemitism should not be equated with anti-Zionism and worried about how the IHRA definition affects Palestinian rights. “Due to the widespread critique and the wording used by the IHRA and its implications on limiting academic freedom, and potentially doing harm to Palestinians and questions of Palestinian human rights, I personally did not feel it was SA’s place to endorse this definition,” Hastings said after the meeting, according to the university’s student-run publication The Daily Orange. “The resolution equates antisemitism with anti-Zionism, which is not only false but dangerous for the reasons described above.” Some members were also concerned about a clause in the bill that denounces the BDS movement. The bill was introduced last week by SA member Noah Wagner. Hastings and SA members suggested that the bill adopt only certain parts of the IHRA’s definition, but Wagner and the bill’s co-author, Kate Berman, co-president of the Chabad House at Syracuse University, were unwilling to change the language. “Anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Not denouncing BDS is antisemitism,” said Wagner. “We just have concerns about what is going on around the country, and I think that it is especially important to adopt this and that we have a stance against this.” The bill will be tabled until May, which is when the next legislative session begins.
Kentucky set to become first state to adopt IHRA definition (JNS) Kentucky is expected to be the first state to officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism after the measure was included in a state resolution to condemning anti-Semitism. The measure was introduced by State Sen. Ralph Alvarado, and State House Reps. Dan Fister and Kelly Flood. It passed the Kentucky State House on Wednesday with no objections and the state Senate with every member present signing on as a co-signer. Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, is expected to sign the measure on Friday. The recognition comes after a series of antisemitic incidents across the Bluegrass State in the past year, including hate-filled flyers being left in various neighborhoods, vandalism at a Jewish center, a car attack and threatening phone calls made to Rabbi Shlomo Litvin of Chabad of the Bluegrass.
(JNS) Syracuse University’s Student JEWISH LEDGER
MARCH 5, 2021
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| MARCH 5, 2021
WHAT’S HAPPENING Jewish organizations are invited to submit their upcoming events to the our What’s Happening section. Events are placed on the Ledger website on Tuesday afternoons. Deadline for submission of calendar items is the previous Tuesday. Send items to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Turkish-American composer, sound artist, and educator; and Rebecca S’manga Frank, an actor, writer, director. The performance is part of the ALEPH Institute learning initiative sponsored by the Mandell JCC and UConn Judaic Studies. For more information, visit judaicstudies.uconn.edu or mandelljcc.org.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust continues to bring live music to audiences at home through the Live from Edmond J. Safra Hall concert series, presented from its state-of-the-art theater. Next up in the series: A live performance by the celebrated klezmer musician Michael Winograd & The Honorable Mentshn on March 4 at 8 p.m.. The group will play hits from Winograd’s 2019 LP Kosher Style, classics from the golden age of Yiddish theater and Klezmer music. Winograd will lead the concert on the clarinet, joined by trombonist Daniel Blacksberg, accordionist Will Holshouser, pianist Carmen Staa, bassist Zoe Guigueno, and drummer David Licht. For more information, visit mjhnyc.org.
Creating Meaningful Experiences and Moments With Grandchildren Jewish educator, Diana Gaber, MSW, a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Foundation and a recipient of the 2008 Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, and director of Ideal 18 a nonprofit bringing generations together through creative experiences, will discuss “Creating Meaningful Experiences and Moments With Grandchildren,” on March 3, 7 p.m., is the inaugural FREE event of the United Jewish Federation’s PJ Grandparents Group, hosted by United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford and PJ Library. To register and receive Zoom link, contact email@example.com, (203) 321-1373 x109. Email questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. Two women talking: A rabbi and a pastor sit down for coffee The Open MINDS Institute of Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts present “Women Who Transform Tradition: Or, What Happens When a Female Rabbi and a Female Pastor Sit Down for Coffee,” on March 3 at 1 p.m. Rabbi Sarah Marion of Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport and Reverend Vanessa Rose of First Church Congregational in Fairfield, talk about about women who serve as religious leaders: their history, opportunities, and challenges. No registration is required for this FREE virtual program. For more information, visit quickcenter.com or call (203) 254-4010.
THURSDAY, MARCH 4 ALEPH presents: “Performing Judaism and Social Justice” How to both teach and deconstruct the dominant stereotypes that Jews reinforce when teaching about Jews and Judaism is the focus of “Performing Judaism and Social Justice,” will be presented on Zoom on March 4 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the 2021 series of virtual lectures surrounding the theme of “The Jewish Roots of Social Justice.” The Zoom-theatrical performance will feature Kendell Pinkney, a Brooklyn based theater-maker, Jewish-life consultant, and JTS rabbinical student; Avi Amon, a jewishledger.com
Klezmer musician Michael Winograd & The Honorable Mentshn in concert
MARCH 3 – APRIL 11 For more information or to register, visit ctvoicesofhope.org.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10
Voices of Hope Winter Speaker Series: Esther Safran Foer, author of I Want You to Know We’re Still Here. will speak on March 15 at 7 p.m. For more information or to register, visit ctvoicesofhope.org.
The Word Mavens A riotous virtual adventure with The Word Mavens, two Jewish women who will have you on the floor reminiscing and craving rugelach and so much more on March 10 at 7 p.m. Suggested donation of $18 for nonSisterhood members of Congregation Beth Israel. For moer information or to register, contact Rabbi Tami Elliott Goodman at email@example.com.
FRIDAY, MARCH 12 Organ Sounds Concert Series: A Tribute to J.S. Bach Congregation Beth Israel’s monthly concert series features “A Tribute to J.S. Bach” featuring renowned organist Christa Rakich playing Beth Israel’s historic 1934 Austin 1934 organ. To be held March 12, 6:30 pm. For more information or to register, visit cbict.org/calendar.
TUESDAY, MARCH 16 Jewish and Christian Women as Allies in Anti-Racism 15th Annual Lecture in Jewish Christian Engagement: “Lift Every Voice and Sing: Jewish and Christian Women as Allies in Anti-Racism,” with guest speaker Ann Millin, PhD, historian, Ida E King Distinguished Visiting Professor of Holocaust Studies, Richard Stockton University. A FREE webinar presented March 16 at 7:30 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies and the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University.Registration required at fairfield. edu/bennettprograms. For information: firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 2544000 x2066.
THURSDAY, MARCH 18 Short Story Coffee Break: The Wind
Short Story Coffee Break: The Wind A Zoom discussion of the story Apple Cake by Allegra Goodman. Hosted by Congregation Beth Israel, March 4 at 11 a.m. To register and receive a copy of the next short story and a link to the Zoom discussion, email email@example.com.
SUNDAY, MARCH 7 Budapest and Vienna: In the Footsteps of Herzl (A Two-Part Series) Mark Hollander will lead this two-part session exploring the achievements of the Jewish communities in these Budapest and Vienna; their complex search for identity in the 50 years leading up to World War II; the two very different stories of how antiJewish policies and the Shoah developed in these cities; and a discussion of Jewish life post-1945. Focus will be placed on a number of key personalities, including Theodor Herzl, Hanna Szenes, Raul Wallenberg, Sigmund Freud, Stefan Zweig and Viktor Frankl. Sessions will be held March 7 and April 11 at 1 p.m. For more information or to register, visit cbict.org/calendar.
MONDAY, MARCH 8
SATURDAY, MARCH 13 The Tribe/Super Tribe Havdalah Havdalah followed by a meet and greet for both of Tribe groups, ranging in age from 20-50. Hosted online by Congregation Beth Israel on March 13, 6:30 p.m. For more information: email Tracy Taback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUNDAY, MARCH 14 The legal status of the Reform Movement in Israel Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) and founder of Women of the Wall will discuss “Does the Jewish State Treat All Jews Equally? The legal status of the Reform Movement in Israel on March 14 at 11 a.m. Hosted by Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, the webinar will address the challenges of having Reform conversions and weddings recognized; equal governmental funding; and the challenges facing Reform congregations win Israel. Anat was selected as “Person of the Year” by Haaretz in 2013 and chosen as one of the 50 most influential Jews by the Jerusalem Post in 2014. For more information or to register, visit cbict.org/calendar.
Voices of Hope Winter Speaker Series Voices of Hope Winter Speaker Series: Ruth Rotkowitz author of Escaping the Whale will speak on March 8 at 7 p.m.
A Zoom discussion of The Wind by Lauren Gross. Hosted by Congregation Beth Israel, March 18 at 11 a.m. To register and receive a copy of the next short story and a link to the Zoom discussion, email kbeyard@cbict. org. Blacks, Jews, and Black Jews Susannah Heschel, The Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, will explore the intertwined dimensions of relations between African Americans and Jewish Americans, Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, Jewish memory of the Civil Rights Movement in recent decades in light of the rise of white nationalism, and scholarship on racism and what they might contribute to our understanding of antisemitism, in her lecture “Blacks, Jews and Black Jews,” to be held on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is part of the 2021 series of virtual lectures surrounding the theme of “The Jewish Roots of Social Justice,” presented by the ALEPH Institute learning initiative and sponsored by the Mandell JCC and UConn Judaic Studies. For more information, visit judaicstudies.uconn.edu or mandelljcc.org.
SATURDAY, MARCH 20 Virtual Tot Seder Little ones prepare for Passover with our Tot Seder program. We’ll celebrate Shabbat
MONDAY, MARCH 16 Voices of Hope Winter Speaker Series
CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE
MARCH 5, 2021
through story and song and experiment with different ways to observe Passover. For more information or to register, visit cbict. org/calendar.
THURSDAY, APRIL 1
SUNDAY, MARCH 21
Short Story Coffee Break: The Wind
The Kosher Capones: A History of Chicago’s Jewish Gangsters Explore the lives and criminal careers of “Zuckie the Bookie” Zuckerman, last of the West Side Jewish bosses, and Lenny Patrick, head of the Syndicate’s “Jewish Wing,” on March 21 at 5 p.m. Joe Kraus, author of The Kosher Capones: A History of Chicago’s Jewish Gangsters, will take a fascinating in-depth look inside a hidden society and the men who ran Chicago’s Jewish criminal community for more than 60 years. Joe Kraus teaches creative writing and American literature at the University of Scranton. His grandfather and great-uncles, the notorious Miller Brothers of the Jewish West Side, were among Chicago’s early Jewish gangsters. For more information on this virtual event: cbict.org.
A Zoom discussion of flash fiction and short stories by the renowned Israeli writer Etgar Keret. Hosted by Congregation Beth Israeal, April 1 at 11 a.m. To register and receive a copy of the next short story and a link to the Zoom discussion, email email@example.com.
THURSDAY, APRIL 8 Short Story Coffee Break: A Scrap of Time A Zoom discussion of short stories from A Scrap of Time by Polish-Israeli Holocaust survivor Ida Fink with Rabbi Andi Fliegel. Hosted by Congregation Beth Israeal, April 1 at 11 a.m. To register and receive a copy of the next short story and a link to the Zoom discussion, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THURSDAY, MARCH 25
FRIDAY, APRIL 9
Voices of Hope Winter Speaker Series
Organ Sounds Concert Series
Voices of Hope Winter Speaker Series: Ewa Callahan, author of Holocaust and Film, will speak March 25 at 7 p.m. For more information or to register, visit ctvoicesofhope.org.
Organist Scott Lamlein, director of music for St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford, will perform, April 9 at 6:30 p.m.. Program will be announced. For more information or to register, visit cbict.org/ calendar.
MONDAY, MARCH 29
FRIDAY, APRIL 10
“Hitler’s American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States”
The Tribe/Super Tribe Havdalah Havdalah followed by a meet and greet for both of Tribe groups, ranging in age from 20-50. Hosted online by Congregation Beth Israel on March 13, 6:30 p.m. For more information: email Tracy Taback at email@example.com.
Bradley Hart, PhD, author and associate professor, California State University, Fresno, will discuss “Hitler’s American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States” at a FREE webinar presented March 29 at 7:30 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Judaic Studies program and the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University.Registration required at fairfield.edu/bennettprograms. For information: bennettcenter@fairfield. edu or (203) 254-4000 x2066.
SUNDAY, APRIL 11 Seeking Refuge: Shanghai & Beyond
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31 Normalizing Nazism on the Internet The Open MINDS Institute of Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts presents “Normalizing Nazism on the Internet” with guest speaker Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, PhD, on March 31 1t 1 p.m. Rosenfeld will explore the ways in which the internet offers new possibilities for educating people about the Nazi legacy, while simultaneously promoting its trivialization and “normalizing” the history of the Third Reich in contemporary culture. 22
No registration is required for this FREE virtual program. For more information, visit quickcenter.com or call (203) 254-4010.
The 4th Annual Henny Simon Remembrance: “Seeking Refuge: Shanghai & Beyond” featuring guest speakers Laurence Tribe, Carl M. Loeb Professor of Constitutional Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School, and teacher Helen Elperina. This program will ex-plore the desperate search for refuge from persecution and impending death faced by Jews during the Holocaust through the experiences of Ludwig Rosenbaum z”l (father of Henny Simon), Prof.Tribe and Helen Elperina, whose stories converge in 1941. Hosted by Eastern CT chapter of Hadassah, the presentation will be held April 11 at 2 p.m. For more information and to receive the Zoom link to the program, contact Karen Bloustine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
| MARCH 5, 2021
BY RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB
ust a few short weeks ago, in the Torah portion of Yitro, we read of how the Children of Israel experienced the most momentous occasion in human history. The Almighty revealed Himself to them at Mount Sinai in an awe-inspiring atmosphere of thunder and lightning. They heard the voice of God, and they were spiritually elevated by His revelation. They were, almost literally, on a “high.” Moses then ascends Mount Sinai and remains there for 40 days and 40 nights. During that time, the people come down from their “high.” His disappearance mystifies them, they become impatient and irritable. We can empathize with their sense of emptiness, although we are shocked by the manner in which they choose to deal with that emptiness. “When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people came together unto Aaron, and said unto him: ‘Up, make us a god...’ And all the people broke off all the golden earrings which were in their ears and brought them unto Aaron...he...made it a molten calf and they said: ‘This is thy god, O Israel...’He built an altar before it...And the people sat down to eat and to drink and rose up to make merry.” (Exodus 32:1-6) How can one explain a process of spiritual deterioration as drastic as this? Just weeks ago, the Jewish people were on the highest possible level of religiosity and commitment to the one God. Now they are dancing and prancing before a golden idol. Is this not inexplicable? Yes, it is inexplicable, but it is a common human phenomenon. People are capable of attaining greatness, but they are not as capable of sustaining greatness. They can achieve “highs” of all kinds, but they cannot maintain those “highs.” There is an inevitable “comedown.” This concept is so very well expressed in the following verse: Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place?” (Psalms 24:3) Homiletically, this has been interpreted to mean that even after the first question is answered, and we learn “who may ascend the mountain,” the question still remains: “Who can continue to stand there?” It is relatively easy to ascend to a high level; much more difficult is remaining at that high-level and preserving it. My revered colleague, one of the most insightful spiritual thinkers of our age, the late lamented Rav Adin Steinsaltz zt”l, believed that the best example of
deterioration following an exciting climax is the experience of childbirth itself. He pointed to the phenomenon known as “postpartum depression.” A woman, a mother, has just experienced what is probably the highest of all “highs,” the emergence of a child from her womb. But quite commonly, that experience is followed by a sense of depression, which is sometimes incapacitating, and sometimes even disastrous. The physiological process of giving birth calls upon the utilization of every part of the mother’s body, from her muscles and nervous system to her hormonal fluids. Her body has exerted itself to the maximum. In the process she has achieved the greatest of all achievements, the production of another human being. But soon afterwards, when the body, as it were, has nothing left to do, she feels depleted and empty. She can easily sink into a depression, sometimes deep enough to merit a clinical diagnosis of “postpartum depression.” This is an important lesson in our personal spiritual lives. Often, we experience moments of intense spirituality, of transcendence. But those moments are brief, and transitory. When they are over, we feel “shortchanged,” and we despair of ever returning to those precious experiences. We must take hope in the knowledge that almost all intense human experiences are transitory, and are followed by feelings of hollowness. We can ascend the mountain, but we cannot long stand there. We must humbly accept our descent, our frustrating failures and limitations, and persist in climbing the mountain. Ups and downs, peaks and valleys, are to be expected in all aspects of our life. We will experience “highs,” but we must expect the inevitable “comedown.” And we must hang in there and try and try again to recapture those “highs.” This is the lesson of this week’s parsha. Our people ascended a spiritual mountain. They then descended into an orgy of idolatry. But then they persisted and with the assistance of God’s bountiful mercy and, as we read later in the Torah portion, received this divine assurance: “And he said, behold, I make a covenant: Before all Thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth...And all the people...shall see the work of the Lord…” (Exodus 34:10) Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb is executive vice president, emeritus of the Orthodox Union.
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MARCH 5, 2021
OBITUARIES GERBER Glenn R. Gerber, 73, of Tariffville, died Feb. 19. He was the husband of Beth (Gruber) Gerber. He was the son of the late Harry and Mollie (Mollen) Gerber of Bloomfield. In addition his wife, he is survived by his brother Scott Gerber and his wife Marilyn of Long Island, N.Y., and his sister Lisa Darling and her husband Bruce; and his brothers-in-law, Lawrence Gruber of West Hartford, and Joel Gruber and his wife Rivka of Monsey, N.Y. SAPORTIN Charlotte Rosenberg Saportin was born in 1923 in Hartford, Conn. and she died Jan. 28 and was buried Feb. 8 in Beth Israel Cemetery in New Haven, Conn. by Shure Funeral home. She is the widow of George Saportin of Hamden, Conn. She is survived by a daughter Carol and her husband Chuck, and three grandsons, Michael, Scott and Brian of Vermont. A donation in her memory can be made to Crohns and Colitis foundation.
Honor the memory of your loved one... Call 860.231.2424 x3028 to place your memorial in the Ledger.
Shlomo Hillel spearheaded mass aliyah of Iraqi Jews BY RON KAMPEAS
(JTA) – Shlomo Hillel’s life spanned the length and breadth of Israel’s immigrant story and he played a critical role in many of its chapters. Hillel, who died Feb. 8 at 97, helped smuggle Iraqi Jewish immigrants into prestate British Mandate Palestine and then brought more in in the state’s first years. His family fled Iraq’s horrors and he married a woman fleeing Europe’s horrors. A New York Times obituary on Sunday detailed how Hillel, who was born in Baghdad, executed at least four undercover operations in the pre-and post-state years in various guises – including as a British businessman – to spirit out Iraqi Jews. In one instance, negotiating with the then-Iraqi prime minister, Tawfiq al-Suwaidi, a cousin of Hillel’s joined the meeting. The cousin did not recognize Hillel. Altogether, Hillel was responsible for the aliyah of at least 120,000 Iraqi Jews, saving an ancient community from predations that would follow when Saddam Hussein became dictator in the late 1960s and targeted the tiny remnant with persecution and executions. There are fewer than 100 Jews left in Iraq. “He came from a great generation, a generation that fought with its hands for Israel’s independence and its existence as a safe haven for the Jewish people,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, as saying. “He worked to bring immigrants to Israel from the Middle East in varying and many ways, both openly and in secret, and many owe them their immigration and ensuing lives in this country.” In the first few decades of Israel’s existence, Hillel was one of the few Mizrahi Jews who climbed the ranks of Israel’s
ruling party and become a cabinet member. In Golda Meir’s government, he served as minister of police. Because the bulk of Israel’s Jewish citizens were Mizrahi at this point, Hillel appeared to critics as an ethnic token that belied the lack of proportionate representation in government. As the country’s minister of police through the early 1970s, Hillel happened to be serving when Israel’s Black Panther movement emerged to challenge the hegemony of Ashkenazi Israelis. He presided over the police’s repression of the movement. The Black Panthers repeatedly attacked Hillel in the press, including through an open letter that called him the government’s “black collaborator.” Hillel moved to prestate Palestine in the 1930s after his father witnessed troops celebrating the massacre of hundreds of Assyrian Christians and wondered whether Jews would be next. They soon were: A Nazi-inspired pogrom in 1941 murdered hundreds of Jews. Hillel married Temima Rosner, a refugee from Vienna. His son, Ari, married an Ethiopian immigrant, Enatmar Salam, whose aliyah Hillel had greenlighted when he was interior minister in 1977. Hillel is survived by his son and three granddaughters. His wife died in 2011 and his daughter Hagar, a noted researcher into the Arab Jewish press, died in 2005. Even not taking into account his critical role in bringing Iraqi Jews to Israel, Hillel’s career placed him at every juncture of Israel’s birth and growth. He was at various times spy for the Mossad, a founder of a kibbutz, a member of the Knesset, the Knesset’s speaker, a member of the prestate Haganah militia, and an ambassador to a number of African countries.
His thirst for public service was never quenched. Merav Michaeli, the recently elected head of the Labor Party, asked him not long ago to take an honorary slot on its list ahead of the March elections – parties traditionally reserve unrealistic spots for elder statesmen. Hillel accepted on Feb. 4. “Last Thursday, Shlomo Hillel joined the party list to close it out ahead of the next Knesset election, and tonight he is gone,” Michaeli wrote on Twitter on Feb. 8. Asaf Shalev contributed to this report.
FORMER KNESSET SPEAKER SHLOMO HILLEL IN HIS OFFICE IN JERUSALEM IN AN UNDATED PHOTO FROM THE MID-1980S. (DAVID RUBINGER/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES)
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CHAUFFEUR, WEST HARTFORD will drive you to New York, Boston, New England tri-state area. Reasonable rates. References. Call Jeff 860-7124115.
CNA - Five or Seven Days - Live In - Seventeen Years Experience - References Available - 860938-1476. Mary and Alex Housecleaning. We have experience and references. We are an insured company. Please call or Txt for a free quote. 860-328-1757 or email@example.com. NURSE SEEKING POSITION: GETTING BETTER TOGETHER! Adult care only. Live-in, days or nights and weekends. Responsible and dedicated caregiver with medical education. Leave message: 860229-2038 No Text or Email. Caregiver - Willing to care for your loved ones overnight - Excellent local references Avoid nursing home or hospital in light of Covid 19. Call 860550-0483. Tricia’s Cleaning Service - Residential & Commercial Detailed cleaning for Home & Office - For Free Quote call 860477-8636. Polish certified nursing assistant. Twenty years experience in hospitals, nursing homes and private home settings looking to help your loved ones. Please call 860-803-6007. Certified Home Care Aide - Live-in - HHA Certficate Experience with dementia, stroke, alzheimer’s - Driver’s License - References - Lydia 718864-7600.
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CT SYNAGOGUE DIRECTORY To join our synagogue directories, contact Howard Meyerowitz at (860) 231-2424 x3035 or email@example.com. BLOOMFIELD B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom/ Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning Conservative Rabbi Debra Cantor (860) 243-3576 office@BTSonline.org www.btsonline.org BRIDGEPORT Congregation B’nai Israel Reform Rabbi Evan Schultz (203) 336-1858 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cbibpt.org Congregation Rodeph Sholom Conservative (203) 334-0159 Rabbi Richard Eisenberg, Cantor Niema Hirsch email@example.com www.rodephsholom.com Jewish Senior Services Traditional Rabbi Stephen Shulman (203) 396-1001 firstname.lastname@example.org www.jseniors.org CHESHIRE Temple Beth David Reform Rabbi Micah Ellenson (203) 272-0037 office@TBDCheshire.org www.TBDCheshire.org CHESTER Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek Reform Rabbi Marci Bellows (860) 526-8920 email@example.com www.cbsrz.org
COLCHESTER Congregation Ahavath Achim Conservative Rabbi Kenneth Alter (860) 537-2809 firstname.lastname@example.org
Temple Sholom Conservative Rabbi Mitchell M. Hurvitz Rabbi Kevin Peters Cantor Sandy Bernstein (203) 869-7191 email@example.com www.templesholom.com
EAST HARTFORD Temple Beth Tefilah Conservative Rabbi Yisroel Snyder (860) 569-0670 firstname.lastname@example.org
HAMDEN Temple Beth Sholom Conservative Rabbi Benjamin Edidin Scolnic (203) 288-7748 email@example.com www.tbshamden.com
FAIRFIELD Congregation Ahavath Achim Orthodox (203) 372-6529 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ahavathachim.org Congregation Beth El, Fairfield Conservative Rabbi Marcelo Kormis (203) 374-5544 email@example.com www.bethelfairfield.org GLASTONBURY Congregation Kol Haverim Reform Rabbi Dr. Kari Tuling (860) 633-3966 firstname.lastname@example.org www.kolhaverim.org GREENWICH Greenwich Reform Synagogue Reform Rabbi Jordie Gerson (203) 629-0018 email@example.com www.grs.org
MADISON Temple Beth Tikvah Reform Rabbi Stacy Offner (203) 245-7028 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tbtshoreline.org MANCHESTER Beth Sholom B’nai Israel Conservative Rabbi Randall Konigsburg (860) 643-9563 Rabbenu@myshul.org email@example.com www.myshul.org MIDDLETOWN Adath Israel Conservative Rabbi Nelly Altenburger (860) 346-4709 firstname.lastname@example.org www.adathisraelct.org
NEW HAVEN The Towers at Tower Lane Conservative Ruth Greenblatt, Spiritual Leader Sarah Moskowitz, Spiritual Leader (203) 772-1816 email@example.com www.towerlane.org Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel Conservative Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen (203) 389-2108 office@BEKI.org www.BEKI.org Orchard Street ShulCongregation Beth Israel Orthodox Rabbi Mendy Hecht 203-776-1468 www.orchardstreetshul.org NEW LONDON Ahavath Chesed Synagogue Orthodox Rabbi Avrohom Sternberg 860-442-3234 Ahavath.firstname.lastname@example.org Congregation Beth El Conservative Rabbi Earl Kideckel (860) 442-0418 email@example.com www.bethel-nl.org NEWINGTON Temple Sinai Reform Rabbi Jeffrey Bennett (860) 561-1055 firstname.lastname@example.org www.sinaict.org NEWTOWN Congregation Adath Israel Conservative Rabbi Barukh Schectman (203) 426-5188 email@example.com www.congadathisrael.org
NORWALK Beth Israel Synagogue – Chabad of Westport/ Norwalk Orthodox-Chabad Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht (203) 866-0534 firstname.lastname@example.org bethisraelchabad.org
Temple Shalom Reform Rabbi Cantor Shirah Sklar (203) 866-0148 email@example.com www.templeshalomweb.org ORANGE Chabad of Orange/ Woodbridge Chabad Rabbi Sheya Hecht (203) 795-5261 firstname.lastname@example.org www.chabadow.org Congregation Or Shalom Conservative Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus (203) 799-2341 email@example.com www.orshalomct.org SIMSBURY Chabad of the Farmington Valley Chabad Rabbi Mendel Samuels (860) 658-4903 firstname.lastname@example.org www.chabadotvalley.org Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation, Emek Shalom Reform Rabbi Rebekah Goldman Mag (860) 658-1075 email@example.com www.fvjc.org SOUTH WINDSOR Temple Beth Hillel of South Windsor Reform Rabbi Jeffrey Glickman (860) 282-8466 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tbhsw.org
WALLINGFORD Beth Israel Synagogue Conservative Rabbi Bruce Alpert (203) 269-5983 info@BethIsraelWallingford. com www.bethisraelwallingford. org WASHINGTON Greater Washington Coalition Rabbi James Greene (860) 868-2434 email@example.com www.jewishlife.org WATERFORD Temple Emanu - El Reform Rabbi Marc Ekstrand Rabbi Emeritus Aaron Rosenberg (860) 443-3005 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tewaterford.org WEST HARTFORD Beth David Synagogue Orthodox Rabbi Yitzchok Adler (860) 236-1241 email@example.com www.bethdavidwh.org Beth El Temple Conservative Rabbi James Rosen Rabbi Ilana Garber (860) 233-9696 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bethelwesthartford.org Chabad House of Greater Hartford Rabbi Joseph Gopin Rabbi Shaya Gopin, Director of Education (860) 232-1116 email@example.com www.chabadhartford.com
SOUTHINGTON Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation Reform Rabbi Alana Wasserman (860) 276-9113 President@gsjc.org www.gsjc.org TRUMBULL Congregation B’nai Torah Conservative Rabbi Colin Brodie (203) 268-6940 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bnaitorahct.org
Congregation Beth Israel Reform Rabbi Michael Pincus Rabbi Andi Fliegel Cantor Stephanie Kupfer (860) 233-8215 email@example.com www.cbict.org Congregation P’nai Or Jewish Renewal Shabbat Services Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener (860) 561-5905 firstname.lastname@example.org www.jewishrenewalct.org
Kehilat Chaverim of Greater Hartford Chavurah Adm. - Nancy Malley (860) 951-6877 email@example.com www.kehilatchaverim.org The Emanuel Synagogue Conservative Rabbi David J. Small (860) 236-1275 firstname.lastname@example.org www.emanuelsynagogue.org United Synagogues of Greater Hartford Orthodox Rabbi Eli Ostrozynsk i synagogue voice mail (860) 586-8067 Rabbi’s mobile (718) 6794446 email@example.com www.usgh.org Young Israel of West Hartford Orthodox Rabbi Tuvia Brander (860) 233-3084 firstname.lastname@example.org www.youngisraelwh.org WESTPORT Temple Israel Reform Rabbi Michael S. Friedman, Senior Rabbi Rabbi Danny M. Moss, Associate Rabbi Rabbi Elana Nemitoff-Bresler, Rabbi Educator (203) 227-1293 email@example.com www.tiwestport.org WETHERSFIELD Temple Beth Torah Unaffiliated Rabbi Seth Riemer (860) 828-3377 firstname.lastname@example.org templebethtorahwethersfield. org WOODBRIDGE Congregation B’nai Jacob Conservative Rabbi Rona Shapiro (203) 389-2111 email@example.com www.bnaijacob.org
MARCH 5, 2021
ORDERING DEADLINE 3/17 @ 4PM! This is a HARD deadline. Choose Thursday 3/26 or Friday 3/27 As Your Pickup Date Local Home Deliveries Are Only Available Thursday 3/26 Whether ordering a returning favorite food or trying something new, celebrating together, as much as we’re able, is always the joy of any holiday! Chag kasher v’sameach! The Crown Market 2471 Albany Ave West Hartford, CT 06117
We Also Offer An Extensive Array Of A La Carte Items, Custom Butcher Department, KFP Groceries And Baked Goods And So Much More! Order Deadline For In-Store Or Curbside Pickup is 3/17! Order Deadline For Out Of Town Local Pickups is 3/8!
www.crownmarketonline.com HKC supervises the Bakery, Five o’clock Shop, Butcher Department and Catering. We’re not JUST kosher...we’re DELICIOUS! 28
| MARCH 5, 2021