Southern New England Jewish Ledger • January 14, 2022 • 12 Shevat 5782

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JEWISH LEDGER January 14, 2022 | 12 Shevat 5782 Vol. 94 | No. 1 | ©2022

A Lost Jewish History Reclaimed


Southern New England Jewish Ledger

January 14, 2022






Southern New England Jewish Ledger


January 14, 2022











January 14, 2022


INTRODUCING… THE NEW! SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND JEWISH LEDGER A new day has dawned at both the Connecticut and Massachusetts Jewish Ledgers — and we couldn’t be more excited! On January 1, 2022, the two venerated New England publications joined forces to create the Southern New England Jewish Ledger. The first of its kind in New England, the new global Ledger publication will serve the Jewish communities of Connecticut, and Western and Central Massachusetts, covering Jewish news throughout the region, North America, Israel and the world. The launch of the Southern New England Jewish Ledger is made possible by 20/20 Media, a new full-service publishing and marketing concern based in West Hartford, Connecticut that, as of January 1, 2022, acquired the Connecticut Jewish Ledger and the Massachusetts Jewish Ledger. Tom Hickey, president of 20/20 Media and a founding partner of, welcomed the Ledger to the 20/20 Media family with open arms. “For almost 93 years, the Ledger has been a strong voice for the Jewish communities of Connecticut and Massachusetts,” said Tom in announcing the purchase. “It has invigorated and supported Jewish life locally, throughout North America and around the world, and it has opened and reinforced lines of communication with other local communities and communities of faith, helping to unite us all. We are grateful for this opportunity to now be a part of that long and distinguished legacy.” Of course, there’s more to the Southern New England Jewish Ledger than just a name change. In the coming months readers will see a slew of improvements designed to enhance the paper and further serve the community. A quick flip through the pages of this issue reveals the first of those improvements: An updated and stylish new look. In addition, the Ledger will switch from a weekly to a bi-weekly schedule, publishing online every other Tuesday. Of course, for those who will miss their weekly dose of Jewish news — not to worry! This month the Ledger introduces JL TODAY — a weekly online update of breaking news of interest to the local community, designed to complement the Ledger. In addition to Tom Hickey, who takes over as publisher, the new publication will be headed up by the same accomplished team of experienced professionals who have guided the Connecticut and Massachusetts Jewish Ledger. They include: Judie Jacobson (Editor-in-Chief), Stacey Dresner (Associate Editor), Hillary Pasternak Sarrasin (Digital Media Manager) and Chris Bonito (Creative Director/Graphic Designer), as well as a team of advertising representatives and event coordinators. “These are exciting times at 20/20 Media. We’ve got all sorts of exciting projects in the works that aim to enrich our community, and the new Southern New England Jewish Ledger is now among them. We encourage everyone to stay tuned,” says Tom, who take over as publisher of Southern New England Jewish Ledger. In purchasing the Ledger, 20/20 Media ensures the continued publication of Connecticut’s only statewide Jewish newspaper. Founded in April 1929 by the late Sam Neusner and the late Rabbi Abraham Feldman, the Ledger is one of the oldest Jewish weekly newspapers in North America. 20/20 Media purchased the Connecticut and Massachusetts Jewish Ledgers from Hartford area businessman and philanthropist Henry Zachs, who has owned it for the past seven years eight years. The community is invited to share thoughts and comments with the Ledger by emailing Southern New England JL Editor-in-Chief Judie Jacobson at judiej@ Southern New England Jewish Ledger


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JEWISH LEDGER January 14, 2022 | 12 Shevat 5782 Vol. 94 | No. 1 | ©2022

A Lost Jewish History Reclaimed

JANUARY 14, 2022 • 12 SHEVAT 5782


A Lost Jewish History Reclaimed


Southern New England Jewish Ledger

January 14, 2022


On Monday, Jan. 10, YIVO announced the completion of a landmark international project to digitally reunite materials nearly destroyed by the Nazis and then the Soviets. The 7-year $7 million international project reunited YIVO’s pre-war archive located in New York and Vilnius, Lithuania. It makes available 4.1 million pages of documents and books free online to people around the globe. The project’s completion represents an epic milestone in the preservation of Jewish history.

Astronomy manuscript, 1751, by Issachar Ber Carmoly (also known as Behr Lehmann). Credit: Courtesy of Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York. (Photo: Getty Images/Thos Robinson)






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In Memoriam

Greenwich philanthropist Carl Bennett, together with his wife Dorothy, was founder of the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University — just one example of his generous spirit. Bennett died Dec. 23 at the age of 101.

comedy as a rebellious Hebrew school student at Temple Israel in Norfolk, Virginia.

14 Arts & Entertainment

“Licorice Pizza” is the first film with a female Jewish protagonist who is not only played by a Jewish actress, but is also portrayed as a sex symbol. It’s about time. For more Arts & Culture” see page 29.



What’s Happening


Bulletin Board


Obituaries January 14, 2022




Leave ‘em Laughing

The Jewish Future

Bob Saget, who died last week at the age of 65, honed his

commitment to philanthropy, the Mandell JCC has created JNext, a group of young JCC members working to raise funds and awareness for the organization’s philanthropic causes.

In a move to instill in the next generation a

Tu B’Shevat —

Tu B’Shevat begins at sundown on Sunday, Jan. 16 and ends at sundown on Monday, Jan. 17. Known as the “birthday” of the trees, Tu B’Shevat is Hebrew for the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat.

CANDLE LIGHTING TIMES SHABBAT FRIDAY, JAN. 14 Hartford New Haven: Bridgeport: Stamford:

4:26 p.m. 4:26 p.m. 4:27 p.m. 4:38 p.m.

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Carl Bennett, founder of Caldor and Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, dies at 101

Comedian/actor Bob Saget was ‘Jewish and proud to be’




REENWICH, Conn. – Carl and Dorothy Bennett were at Fairfield University’s President’s Gala for donors at the Waldorf Astoria in 1987 when they began chatting with Philip Eliasoph, one of the few Jewish faculty members at the private Jesuit Catholic university. Eliasoph, a professor of Art History and founder of the college’s Visions Lecture Series, took the opportunity to suggest inviting a “Jewish speaker to our little Catholic campus” and calling it the Bennett Lecture. Carl Bennett instantly opened his wallet, took out his business card and handed it to Eliasoph, saying, “Call my secretary Connie at the office on Monday.’” That exchange was one of the sparks that eventually led to the

creation of Fairfield University’s Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, now a renowned center for academics as well as Jewish cultural events for the entire community, both Jewish and Christian. The Center is just one example of the philanthropic generosity and foresight of Carl Bennett, who died on Dec. 23 at his home in Greenwich at the age of 101. The founder of Caldor Department Store, known for building his company from one small store in 1951 to a chain with $1 billion in sales by 1983, was, along with Dorothy, who died in 2008, dedicated to their community, education, health, medical research and the State of Israel. “Judaism teaches that we have three names,” said Rabbi


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Daniel Cohen of Congregation Agudath Shalom, Bennett’s longtime synagogue. “The first we are given when we are born, the second is the name given by our friends and the third is the most important which is the name we acquire in our lifetimes. Carl Bennett, of blessed memory, possessed a shem tov, a good name in the truest sense. “He was an astute, successful businessman who offered wise counsel to shul leadership. He was a generous and kind person, a mensch, with a warm smile and twinkle in his eye. He will not only live on within his family, community, Stamford hospital and much more but also within the walls of our shul as he was very much a part of our history and growth.” The son of Mayer and Rebecca Bennett, Carl Bennett was born in Greenwich and raised above his father’s grocery store, Bennett Grocers on Steamboat Road. Bennett credited his father for his love of retailing. After graduating from Greenwich High School and attending New York University, he served during World War II in the 466th Quartermaster Battalion. When he returned home from his tour of duty, he became a wholesale liquor salesman for Connecticut Distributors in Norwalk. He met Dorothy Becker of Forest Hills, New York, and they soon married. According to Bennett’s obituary, the couple

(JTA) — Bob Saget, the comedian and actor famous for playing a wholesome sitcom father figure but who never lost his flair for raunchy comedy, has died at 65. Saget was found dead in his hotel room in Orlando, where he was performing on tour. At press time, the cause of his death was unknown but police did not suspect drugs or foul play. As a performer, Saget alternated between the raunchy standup comic known for darkly funny bits peppered with curse words and the wholesome dad that he played on the sitcom “Full House,” bringing together his audiences of children and adults in his role as host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Even before he got to Hollywood, Saget honed his comedy as a misbehaving Hebrew school student at Temple Israel in Norfolk. “Well, a lot of it was rebellion,” Saget told the Atlanta Jewish Times in 2014. “In my Hebrew school training, I would spend more time trying to impress the girls in the class. I remember the rabbi taking me up to his office and saying ‘Saget, you’re not an entertainer; you have to stop doing this.’ I couldn’t stop.” He never did. After a short stint contributing to CBS’ “The Morning Program,” Saget was cast to play a morning show host on TV. As Danny Tanner on “Full House,” Saget played a widowed dad and morning show

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Southern New England Jewish Ledger



was shopping together at E.J. Korvettes Department Store one day when Carl came up with the idea to open his own discount store, combining his name with Dorothy’s to form Caldor. With $8,000 saved from his military duty, and $50,000 more borrowed from a local bank, the Bennetts opened their first store, soon expanding to Stamford, Norwalk and Riverside. In 1981, the 120-store chain was sold to Associated Dry Goods for $313 million. He retired as chairman and CEO in 1984. Over the years, the Bennetts donated to a variety of organizations in lower Connecticut and beyond. Besides the Bennett Center at Fairfield University, they also endowed the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital and gave generously to Greenwich Hospital, Jewish Senior Services in Bridgeport, The Weitzmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel and Yeshiva University. The Bennett’s became involved with Fairfield University through their daughter, Robin Bennett Kanerek, who graduated from Fairfield’s School of Nursing. Dorothy became an active member of the university’s board of trustees. And that is how Carl and Dorothy ended up at the Waldorf-Astoria in 1987 at the President’s Gala given by Father Aloysius Kelly, who had become a good friend. After getting Carl’s business card that evening, Prof. Philip Eliasoph did end up calling Bennett’s office a few days later. Eliasoph told Bennett that they could get Israeli author Amos Oz to speak at Fairfield for $2,500. Bennett had other ideas. “He said, ‘Look, professor, if we are going to do a Lectureship in our name – it has to be the very top Judaic speaker in the world right now,” Eliasoph recalled. Bennett’s pick? Ambassador Abba Eban.


Bennett had already spoken to the agency representing Eban and he told Eliasoph it would cost $12,500, which he would fund. “This was his genius,” Eliasoph said. “He knew how to make something happen and he knew how to do it the right way.” The next year, Abba Eban stood before a crowd of students, faculty and members of the local Jewish community, giving what would become the first in the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Judaic Lecture Series. Several Jewish speakers later, in 1993, the Bennetts agreed to give $1.5 million to Fairfield University to endow a senior chair in Judaic studies with the Department of Religious Studies. That chair was Ellen Umansky, who created the university’s undergraduate minor in Judaic studies, and has served as the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor of Judaic studies and director of the Bennett Center since 1994. “I was just so proud and still am proud to be the Carl and Dorothy Bennett professor because both Dorothy and Carl were just wonderful people, and really philanthropic in the best sense of the word,” Umansky said. “In addition to that initial endowment he has continued to make a substantial financial gift to the Bennett Center every year which has enabled us to continue the quantity and quality of the programming that we have had.” “There are some people who have an endowed professorship and they don’t even know the person, they just give them the money, but Carl wasn’t someone who just gave money to the university.” Umansky worked with Bennett every year on who to bring in to give the Bennett Lecture. “He would send me his ideas and little notes on pieces of paper, or he would clip things out of the newspaper about high profile scholars he had heard of. He would send me these notes until maybe three years ago. He usually wanted me to bring in

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someone on the level of Abba Eban, if Abba Eban was still around.” Umansky also called Bennett a good friend and advocate. She recalls that when she first arrived in Fairfield, Bennett asked his good friend Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz z”l if she could give the sermon on the bimah at Congregation Agudath Sholom on Shabbat morning. “This was, and is, a modern Orthodox synagogue. And it shows you the high regard in which Carl was held that Rabbi Ehrenkranz said yes,” Umansky said. “I sat with Dorothy in the women’s section and then after the Torah reading I got up to speak. My [now] ex-husband said that there were several men who walked out when I started to speak, and there were a few that buried their heads in the prayer book. But I thought it was incredible. First of all it said something about Agudath Sholom, but also just the fact that this was important to Carl, that I was a woman, yes, and this was an Orthodox synagogue, yes, but he felt it was important for me to share my knowledge on the parsha with his congregation.” “He was a dear friend and pillar of Agudath Sholom for decades,” said Rabbi Cohen. “Carl was a longtime dedicated and strong supporter of our shul. He loved yiddishkeit. He looked forward to chanting his Haftorah on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. He sponsored many Cantor concerts and Jewish musical groups. He and his wife, Dorothy made the building we have enjoyed for so many years, a warm and welcoming place. The Bennett Simcha room prior to renovation was the home of so many events and memories in our shul. They lived their lives with purpose and harnessed their blessings to truly leave our community and world a much better place.” In recent years, Bennett began attending services at the Temple Sholom in Greenwich which was closer to his home. He still attended events at the Bennett Center even in his later

years when he was wheelchair bound. Because of his love of Jewish music, his daughter Robin and Umansky planned a Zoom concert for his 100th birthday in 2020, led by Cantor Avi Schwartz from New York’s Park Avenue Synagogue and its choir performing a special program of Bennett’s favorite Jewish songs. “Carl loved it and it was so great that we were able to celebrate his 100th birthday in a way that would prove to be very meaningful for him,” Umansky said. Always a supporter of Israel, Bennett received Israel’s Prime Minister Award for distinguished service in 1973. He was awarded Discounter of the Year in 1982 and was inducted into the Retailer Hall of Fame in 1983 along with his good friend, Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart. Through the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Foundation, Bennett made sure that even after he was gone that the organizations he and Dorothy loved would continue to be supported, including the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies. “The Bennett Center has been a wonderful gift to the community and a gift to our students,” said Prof. Eliasoph. “What could be greater than to bring light to Jewish students, to Catholic students by teaching them Jewish history, culture and faith? It’s a mechiah [a delight]. And it’s a legacy that would be hard to match.” Carl Bennett is survived by his three children, Marc Bennett of Stamford, Robin Kanarek and her husband Joseph of Greenwich, and Bruce Bennett and his wife Jennifer of Rochester, New York, and five grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife Dorothy in 2008 and his grandson, David Kanarek.

January 14, 2022


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An American Muslim leader said Zionist Jews can’t be trusted allies. Not so. BU YEHUDA KURTZER

(JTA) — A long-simmering conflict between CAIR, the Muslim-American civil rights organization, and the AntiDefamation League has now reached the boiling point: A Bay Area CAIR leader dismissed the ADL and groups like it as “polite Zionists” who could not be trusted as allies. The ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, fired back, calling her comments “textbook vile, antisemitic, conspiracyladen garbage.” It would be a mistake to see this as a mere spat between two organizations. It reflects what could be an alarming turning point in Jewish-Muslim relations in America, and a symptom of how polarization can undermine civil society. All of us who care about what Muslims and Jews could do together should take note and work to repair the damage that is being done. In late November, Zahra Billoo — CAIR’s San Francisco director — delivered a blistering

address at the conference of American Muslims for Palestine. First, Billoo drew a straight line between support for Israel and a wide array of American social ills, including the killing by police of innocent Black and brown Americans. Those charges play on tropes that have become commonplace in far-left criticism of Israel and the Israel-America relationship. But Billoo went much further, directing her listeners to be cautious about “polite Zionists” — naming Jewish federations, “Zionist” synagogues and Hillel chapters whose civil society world she said masks an Islamophobic agenda. Similarly, American Muslims for Palestine had just published a report that neatly divides the Jewish community between those to avoid – including the organizations listed above, as well as my organization and others — and those it was “safe” to work with. Both AMP and

Billoo placed Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow as the only Jewish organizations on the “good” list. For those of us familiar with interfaith work, this separation of “good” and “bad” groups is a familiar and pernicious rhetorical and political strategy. It happens to American Muslims all the time, especially since 9/11, when others who are suspicious of them and their motives demand they pass litmus tests. Such tests are understandable: It is hard to engage with “the other,” so we often try to understand others through the prism of our own commitments and categories. Interfaith engagement, meanwhile, can be a strategy for building political power. And when the goal is to amass power, it is not surprising that groups would instrumentalize “the other” towards that end. Doing so is very, very dangerous. To divide American



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Jews this way — between the vast majority of American Jews who identify with Israel and are thus characterized as dangerous and duplicitous, and the small dissident minority who are “kosher” — has two major problems. The first is that Jews, no less than anyone else, should have the right to narrate the complexities of our own identities. We American Jews do overwhelmingly support Israel in one way or another, and most of us are comfortable with identifying as Zionist. Yet we exhibit enormous diversity concerning what those attachments mean to us and how they obligate us. The overwhelming majority of Jews in the world see the emergence of a Jewish state as something that changes the meaning of being Jewish, and see ourselves attached to that story in one way or another. Our interfaith friends need to approach this aspect of Jewish identity with curiosity, rather than dismissing it out of hand through a predetermination of what Judaism is “supposed to be.” Secondly, this caricature of American Jews and our commitments strips us of the capacity to build relationships with our Muslim friends and neighbors — relationships that could be rooted in compassion and could even lead to us interrogating our own commitments. Urging American Muslims to write off the majority of American Jews as enemies from the start is to foreclose any possibility of serious interfaith work, and undermines relationships that could be politically valuable for American Muslims. The strategy is as counterproductive as it is

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dehumanizing. I am not primarily concerned with CAIR, but rather hope that this kind of thinking does not become normative in Muslim spaces (which at present, I do not believe it has). I am grateful to know Muslim leaders, like my friend and colleague Imam Abdullah Antepli, who are speaking out to rebuke CAIR, AMP and their leaders for misrepresenting American Islam, and instead are trying to forge new paths forward. After all, the best critiques of any group or movement comes from leaders inside their own communities. This has been the approach of our Muslim Leadership Initiative program at the Shalom Hartman Institute since it began: to invite Muslim leaders into the internal conversation of the Jewish people, and especially our debates about Israel and Zionism. Resilient relationships are built through trust and character witnessing rather than through demarcating red lines at the outset.

What I fear most, however, is how we as a Jewish community act in a moment like this. Some of my ire is reserved for the Jewish organizations named by AMP and the Billoo speech as “good” Jews and who are relishing the designation. I mean, sure: Everyone wants to be liked, and I understand the political logic of using external allies to help fight battles inside your community. Allies are allies, I suppose, but these groups are welcoming endorsements from those who are actively and dangerously delegitimizing the majority of world Jewry. In doing so, these “good” Jews are giving aid to an antisemitic stratagem. I desperately hope the mainstream Jewish community — those of us named as the bad Jews — will not allow the focus on CAIR and its failings to thwart the work we absolutely must continue doing to build stronger and more resilient intergroup relationships. This is how polarization works: Extremists exploit fear to create divisions,

and then they reap the returns when the massive middle is scared away from the important work of seeking common ground. I appreciate that organizations like the ADL need to confront CAIR in a moment like this and call out the antisemitism, but I would hate to see this incident undermine years of patient work — by the ADL and many other organizations — in reckoning with the past and building trust. It would be catastrophic if positive Muslim-Jewish engagement in America were to be sabotaged by individuals and organizations unable to imagine alternatives to acrimony. There is so much work to be done. Muslim-Jewish relations took on extra political significance with the rise of antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred since the 2016 election. The Israel-Palestine conflict continues to be exploited not just by marginal Jews and Muslims but by other Americans,

including in Congress, to divide us. This is especially sad and ironic since America could genuinely be one of the few places on earth where Jews and Muslims might forge an extraordinary bond. Even in Israel-Palestine, a future for peace and justice for all its inhabitants will need to be built by Jews and Muslims together. If, like me, you are a member of the Jewish community alarmed by the CAIR story, don’t let it undermine your efforts in realizing such a future. Let their leaders navigate their own leadership failures, and let’s not make it harder for them by drowning them out. Instead, let’s lead our communities, and ask: What can we do to strengthen the relationship with American Muslims? Yehuda Kurtzer is the president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and host of the Identity/Crisis podcast. In this week’s episode, Abdullah Antepli responds to CAIR and AMP.

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‘A lost Jewish history reclaimed’: New dig BY MIKE WAGENHEIM

(JNS) A lost Jewish history has been reclaimed and is set to be unveiled on Monday. For the first time, more than 4.1 million pages of original books, artifacts, records, manuscripts and documents—cultural survivors of the Holocaust—have been digitally reunited through a dedicated web portal and now accessible worldwide. It includes everything from copies of the rarest sermons of 18thcentury Chassidic rabbis to a singular collection of Yiddish pornography. The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (YIVO) announced that it has completed the Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Online Collections Project (EBVOCP)—a

seven-year, $7 million initiative to process, conserve and digitize YIVO’s divided pre-World War II library and archival collections. According to YIVO, the project is the first of its kind in Jewish history, and sheds new light on prewar Jewish history and culture throughout Eastern Europe and Russia. “It’s very difficult to understand how little we truly know, especially in the United States, of what that past was. For most of us, what we know is handed down from our grandparents or greatgrandparents who may have come from Eastern Europe,” Jonathan Brent, CEO of YIVO, told JNS. “That is to say that

most of us know a family history. And even that, in my case for instance, was confined to the fact that I knew my one set of grandparents came from Zhytomyr and another from Chernigov. They lived basically in mud holes and were humiliated most of the time, and that was it. That was the culture that I came from.” “And so, now comes the fact that we now can reveal for Jewish people of Ashkenazi descent all over the world what the real splendors of that civilization were for 1,000 years—a civilization that took pride in itself, a civilization that had aspirations, that had ambitions, that had tremendous

driving force and a civilization that encompassed not just the pious and not just the victims of antisemitism, and not just the poor and impoverished people from whom so great a proportion of America Jewry derives, but rather, a people that spanned the entire gamut of human experience,” said Brent. This project is an international partnership between YIVO and three Lithuanian institutions: the Lithuanian Central State Archives, the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. In 1941, the Nazis ransacked the YIVO Institute in Vilna,



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January 14, 2022


gital archive reveals pre-Holocaust world destroying countless documents. A group of Vilna ghetto workers were forced to sift through the rest, sending select materials to Frankfurt, Germany, for review at the Nazi Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question. Those materials were largely recovered by the U.S. Army and sent to YIVO in New York. Other documents were secretly smuggled out by the ghetto workers and then saved again in 1948 from the Soviets by the Lithuanian librarian, Antanas Ulpis. They remained hidden in the former Church of St. George until they were uncovered in 1989. Five years ago, approximately 170,000 additional documents were also discovered in the National Library of Lithuania, including rare and unpublished works. Even with some 4 million documents digitized, Brent believes that much more will be discovered. “We thought the totality of all this had been compiled in 1991,” he explained. “Then, in 2014, a friend of mine in Vilnius told me that I might be interested in stuff in the booklet of Wroblewski Library, which is a library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. So I go there and there is a long table, and on the table are boxes. And in the boxes are documents that are stamped ‘YIVO Institute.’ We thought all of our materials were in the National Library. “This is all brand-new stuff,” he stated. “So, I look at the director and I say, ‘You’ve had these since 1948, and you’ve kept them secret? What were you doing with these materials?’ She said, ‘We were waiting.’ I said, ‘Well, what were you waiting for?’ She said, ‘We were waiting for you.’ And it sent a shiver up my spine. They were waiting for us, and there are still more materials that are waiting for us. And what we have to do is discover them and come and find them,” said Brent. January 14, 2022


‘The conservators looked at every page … ’ Stefanie Halpern, YIVO director of archives, told JNS that as recently as 2019, completing the project on time seemed insurmountable. The institute decided then that it was time to open an in-house digital lab rather than contracting out the work. The move coincided with the coronavirus pandemic, giving YIVO staff the opportunity to continue their work from home with fuller control over the process. In July 2020, small rotating teams came into the archives to continue the work until everyone came back in regularly in January of last year. “The conservators looked at every page—cleaning dirt, mending rips, flattening creases. Then the processing archivists read every document, put them in order, create a description, digitize and upload them, making everything available on the Internet,” Halpern told JNS, explaining that the archive wasn’t built simply for scholarly work but to make everything

accessible for the layperson without being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the collection. “There is a ton of visual material, so you don’t need knowledge of any of the dozen languages featured. There are hundreds of thousands of photographs that really show you what everyday Jewish life was like. They can be found using the keyword search in our database. Just type in ‘photographs,’ and a list of collections pops up. It is difficult and daunting if you’ve never navigated an archive before, so we also have guides available for how to look through our databases, and the YIVO archivists walk individuals through step by step how to actually do research,” said Halpern. She said those struggling are encouraged to contact the archives directly, and Zoom research sessions organized by YIVO help those looking for information to find it in real time. “This project has to do with building the Jewish future,” she

said. “I came from a family in which the past and Eastern Europe was a matter of legend. It was Sholem Aleichem and a few recipes that Bubbe would cook in her pot. As opposed to that, this project has to do with how the future is built on the past and how young people, as they begin to become acquainted with these materials, will discover a world of accomplishment, a world of ambition, a world of excellence, a world of dreaming, a world of scheming. Brent emphasized the completion of the project further, saying the discoveries depict “a world of everything, and it fortifies your sense of what it means to be a Jewish person. We were not simply the beat-up remnants of a civilization, the victims of antisemitism. It was a dynamic, thriving, self-reflective and ambitious culture.” For more information on the Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Online Collections Project, visit


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Arts & Entertainment

‘Licorice Pizza’ captures the moment when pop culture finally started to see Jewish women as beautiful BY STEPHEN SILVER

(JTA) — This year, everyone seemed to have an opinion about how the entertainment industry views Jewish women. The comedian Sarah Silverman and others openly inveighed against what she deemed “Jewface,” or the trend of casting non-Jewish actresses as (Ashkenazi) Jewish women; a plotline on this year’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” season mocked

the 20th century, show business and popular culture considered stereotypical “Jewish” traits — curly hair, olive skin, a prominent nose — either “exotic,” comic or worse, inspiring countless Jewish women to undergo rhinoplasty. It wasn’t until Barbra Streisand flaunted her “Jewish” looks beginning in the late 1960s — as Bette Midler would a few years later — that the culture began

The film is “Licorice Pizza,” the latest from acclaimed writerdirector Paul Thomas Anderson, and it opened wide in theaters on Christmas after several weeks of limited release. And the character is Alana Kane, played by singer Alana Haim of the band Haim, making her screen debut. In the film, Alana is an aimless, guileless San Fernando Valley twentysomething


a similar idea by having Larry David cast a Latina actress as a Jewish character on a show about his childhood. Whether you agree with Silverman or not, it’s hard to hear a term like “Jewface” and not think about the way Jewish characters have historically looked onscreen. For much of


to shift. Streisand, writes her biographer Neal Gabler, “had somehow managed to change the entire definition of beauty.” Now, at the end of 2021, along comes a film set in the 1970s with a female Jewish protagonist who is not only played by a Jewish actress, but is also portrayed as a sex symbol.

Southern New England Jewish Ledger

who gains maturity and an entrepreneurial spirit after befriending Gary Valentine, an overconfident child actor (Cooper Hoffman, son of Philip Seymour Hoffman) who enlists her in various business schemes and convinces her to make a go at acting. The two of them enter a teasy, flirty codependency –

Gary, not even 16, makes his attraction to Alana known early and often, especially when the two open a waterbed business together and he instructs her to “act sexy” when selling the kitschy relics over the phone. But it’s not just Gary. Seemingly everyone in the movie, from lecherous older industry veterans to upstart young politicos, is obsessed with Alana — not in spite of her obviously Jewish appearance, but because of it. Anderson plays up Haim’s physical parallels to the Jewish beauties of the era: a casting director (Harriet Sansom Harris) gushes over her “Jewish nose,” which she notes is a very in-demand look, while real-life producer Jon Peters (played by Bradley Cooper as a manic, sexcrazed lunatic), gets very handsy with Alana — after pointedly bragging that Streisand is his girlfriend. “Licorice Pizza” is in line with ideas espoused in Henry Bial’s 2005 book “Acting Jewish: Negotiating Ethnicity on the American Stage and Screen,” particularly its chapter on the ’70s, which Bial described as the period when “Jews became sexy.” Streisand, at the time of her Broadway debut in the early ’60s, was described in reviews as a “homely frump” and “a sloe-eyed creature with folding ankles.” But by the ’70s, bolstered by her immense charisma and no-apologies attitude toward her own stardom, she was one of popular culture’s greatest sex symbols, even appearing on the cover of Playboy in 1977 — the year after starring in and producing her own “A Star is Born” remake. Her physical appearance didn’t change in

January 14, 2022


the intervening time; only the public’s reactions to it did. Anderson himself was born in 1970, so the teenaged adventures in the film aren’t his memories specifically — they’re mostly those of his friend Gary Goetzman, a former child actor who lived through many of the episodes depicted in the movie. And Anderson himself is not

Jewish, though his longtime partner Maya Rudolph, who has a small part in the film, is. Yet perhaps by virtue of being born into a world in which Jewish women were suddenly being considered sexy, Anderson seems to innately understand the period-specific sexual, cultural and spiritual dynamics that would lead to someone like


Alana being celebrated for her looks. Anderson wasn’t immune to those dynamics. As a child he had a crush on Alana Haim’s mother, Donna Rose, who was his art teacher: “I was in love with her as a young boy, absolutely smitten,” he told The New York Times, waxing rhapsodic about her “long, beautiful, flowing brown hair.” For much of the film, Alana is unsure whether or how to leverage her sex appeal, as she also tries to figure out what she wants to do with her life. An attempt to respect the wishes of her traditional family (the other Haims, including their real parents, play the Kane clan) by dating a nice, successful, ageappropriate Jewish guy ends in disaster at a Shabbat dinner when the guy himself, Lance (Skyler Gisondo), refuses to say the “hamotzi” prayer. The scene also touches on

the debate over “religious” vs. “cultural” Judaism that has been raging in American Jewish circles since at least the time period when the film is set. While acknowledging he was “raised in the Jewish tradition,” Lance cites “Vietnam” as the reason why he now identifies as an atheist and can’t bring himself to recite a blessing. In response, Alana gets him to admit he’s circumcised before declaring, “Then you’re a f–king Jew!” The moral of the scene might be the movie’s biggest lesson to impart about Judaism: It’s not just a belief system. It’s an innate part of you, affecting everything from your hair to your nose to your genitals. It can make you be perceived as ugly in one decade, and a bombshell in the next.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone.



Date: Wednesday, January 19, 2022 Time: 12:00 Welcome & Update 12:15-1:15 Presentation, Q&A, Raffle & Virtual Tour. RSVP: Mary-Anne Schelb 413-935-1791 or Zoom: After registration, a Zoom link will be sent.

For more info visit January 14, 2022


Scan for more information

Southern New England Jewish Ledger


News and Jewish Community Update


Assessing COVID in the New Year

OVID-19 descended upon the world like an enveloping toxic fog. It has exacerbated pre-existing challenges and created novel, severe ones across the globe. Institutions like the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts were particularly impacted. Our organization at its core relies upon strong relationships both with our donors and those who are serviced by us. In our hyper-connected, modern, and largely secular world, an organization like Jewish Federation is already challenged STEVEN SCHIMMEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR even in “normal times.” Almost every Federation faces an aging donor base, apathy and disconnect from the younger generations, and increasing threats from antisemitism and anti-Israel activists, among a host of other issues. All of these everyday challenges were compounded by COVID-19. For several months we were unable to meet face to face with those who we rely on and who rely on us. Our partners at our congregations and JCC’s shuttered their doors, and with their revenue streams greatly diminished, they turned to Federation for financial assistance. The educational and social gatherings we use to develop and foster Jewish identity and connection, especially among our young leaders, were curtailed. The tension and pressures of COVID have led to more division and turmoil in our society, which has in turn, fueled antisemites and anti-Israel activists. All of these issues will likely continue as the pandemic continues. We must plan for this future, while also working tirelessly to confront these challenges. At the same time, COVID has also presented us with the opportunity to reevaluate and to engage in approaches and activities to make Jewish


Federation more relevant. In some ways the changeover into virtual programming was beneficial; it has allowed us endless opportunities to meet the interests of new donors and retain old ones by linking virtual events from Jewish communities everywhere. These small advantages can continue. More importantly, COVID has given us the chance to help those in need, for example, by providing phone calls or grocery deliver to the elderly who were trapped at home during the height of the pandemic. These are opportunities to reach clients in new ways -- through tangible support. The Zoom programming we offered also opened new participation opportunities for the disabled and non-driving members. We’ve proven and reinforced Federation’s role as the community safety net. We have ensured that our organizations and families have the resources they need every time there was a crisis, and will continue to do so next time. COVID also changed the way we plan and strategize. COVID is what historian and economist Niall Ferguson refers to as a “gray rhino” -- an event our political leaders saw coming but did nothing about. Going forward at Federation, we will be more keenly astute to potential crises, and we will be better equipped to handle them with the experiential knowledge we’ve gained. We’ve also become more adept at operating with flexibility, we may have a strategic plan that we hope to follow- but when a challenging situation arises we must have a way to navigate for that particular crisis, this new approach of planning for different potential scenarios should enable us to handle the next issue when it surfaces.

Southern New England Jewish Ledger

Israeli Culture Series with our Shaliach, Aviv Jerbi

Sunday Jan 23rd 2:00 PM For more information:

Aviv, our Shaliach will facilitate a discussion about the Jews in North Africa during World War II together with Saint Paul MN's Shaliach, Hadar Pe'er!

To register please click here:

January 14, 2022


Briefs Jewish groups rally for victims of Bronx fire (New York Jewish Week via JTA) — New York’s Jewish community is rallying for victims and first responders after the city’s deadliest fire in 30 years. Nineteen people, including nine children, were killed in the blaze in the Bronx, which raged through a 19-story high rise on East 181st Street, home to a large African immigrant community. In the hours after the fire, the Masbia network of kosher food pantries set up a relief tent near the scene of the tragedy, serving food to survivors and responders. Masbia also teamed up with Boro Park Shomrim, the Jewish neighborhood patrol in Brooklyn, to purchase and distribute emergency supplies, beverages and snacks. SAR Academy, the Jewish day school in Riverdale, announced it is is raising funds to help the victims. The Riverdale Jewish Center is also accepting monetary donations, and drop-off boxes will be available at the synagogue on 3700 Independence Ave. UJA-Federation of New York tweeted, “Our hearts ache for the victims of this horrific tragedy and their loved ones. We’re in touch with government officials and our partner agencies in the Bronx to assist in any way possible.” The Jewish Community Relations Council of NY issued a statement, saying it is in “active discussion about how to best help the victims with this trauma.”

Deborah Lipstadt may be asked to apologize to senator before confirmation (JTA) — Last July, President Joe Biden formally nominated Deborah Lipstadt to serve as the State Department’s antisemitism envoy. But Lipstadt has yet to be confirmed by the Senate. According to a New York Times report, Lipstadt may be asked to apologize to a Republican January 14, 2022


senator for a tweet in which she accused him of white supremacy before Republican members of Congress will agree to confirm the noted historian of the Holocaust. On March 14, 2021, Lipstadt tweeted an article about a statement by Republican Senator Ron Johnson in which he said he would have been more concerned by the events of Jan. 6, 2021 had the rioters been “Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters” instead of Trump supporters. Lipstadt tweeted the article, saying “This is white supremacy/nationalism. Pure and simple.” Other Republican lawmakers have faulted her for appearing in an ad during the 2020 presidential race likening former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric to those of the Nazis in the 1930s, before the Holocaust. But speaking to CNN in December, Senator Bob Menendez, the Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which would move Lipstadt’s nomination forward, told said, “If calling out antisemitism in the past is somehow an obstacle to this nomination, and that would be an amazing set of circumstances, because that’s what we want this person to do.” Lipstadt, 74, has long been a go-to expert for the media and for legislators on issues related to the Holocaust and antisemitism. In November, three Jewish organizations called on the Senate to confirm Lipstadt for the appointment “without further delay.” Lipstadt would be the first antisemitism envoy to be confirmed by the Senate after Biden raised the post to the level of ambassador, which requires Senate approval.

Brazilian court fines American Airlines for denying passengers kosher food (JTA) — A judge in Brazil fined American Airlines $1,759 for not providing kosher meals for two passengers who had been assured they would receive it on long-distance flights.

One of the passengers had gone without food for 10 hours from New York to São Paulo. The other fasted for a total of nine hours on two flights, first from Madrid to Philadelphia and then again from Chicago to London, the Brazilian law news site ConJur reported Wednesday. American Airlines “failed to provide the services” it had promised to render, the judge of the 23rd Chamber of Civil Court of the Justice Tribunal of Sao Paulo, José Marcos Marrone, wrote in his ruling. Marrone also wrote that, beyond the failure to live up to the agreement, the firm caused the plaintiffs “emotional suffering” by serving food to virtually everyone else on the flight. Airlines are not legally obligated to provide food of any kind in the United States or Brazil. However, both countries have consumer protection laws that can lead to penal action against service providers once they commit in a transaction to deliver a certain product. On its website, American Airlines offers 15 of what it calls “special meals,” including kosher food. In the fine print for the kosher food option, the airline stipulates that passengers from Brazil can only get kosher food if they’re leaving from Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. The only other stipulation is that the airline is unable to provide kosher meals to passengers leaving from India.

Former Dutch prime minister accuses Israelis of poisoning Palestinians (JTA) — A former prime minister of the Netherlands, Dries van Agt, said in an interview for a recently aired documentary that Israeli settlers poisoned their Palestinian neighbors in 2015, drawing criticism from Dutch Jews who say he is perpetuating a centuries-old antisemitic blood libel. B’Tselem, the leading Israeli organization devoted to documenting alleged human rights violations, said it is not aware of the incident described by van Agt. “The colonizers who

conquered the hill a week or two earlier came each night to pound on their door at night, to achieve maximum intimidation, to tell them to go away and they refused,” Van Agt said in the interview for a documentary on antisemitism that was aired in November by the KRO-NCRV broadcaster. “And then one morning something terrible happened: The olive grove and the vegetable garden below — the colonizers always take to top hills – were strewn with poison. And a three-year-old child became very ill. The only explanation was that she drank the milk of a poisoned goat. She was poisoned.” Van Agt, 90, then began crying and apologized for his emotional state. The incident occurred in 2015 near Nablus, he said. His interviewer, Frans Bromet, asserted: “These things, they’re not unusual.” Van Agt replies: “Oh, no. That’s what the wonderful people from the peace organization say. This happens all the time in the occupied territory.” CIDI, the Netherlands’ main watchdog on antisemitism, accused van Agt, who served as prime minister from 1977 to 1982, of spreading a blood libel. Chairman Ronnie Eisenmann criticized KRO-NCRV for airing the documentary “without checking the basic accuracy” of van Agt’s claims. Van Agt has fought accusations of antisemitism since the 1970s. In 2008, he compared Israel to Nazi Germany and spoke at a rally in Rotterdam that featured a televised address by a leader of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel and others. Van Agt has also said that the Jews “should have been given a piece of land” in Germany instead of Israel. In 2017, he praised the Dutch Labour party for being “good for the Palestinians despite the strong Jewish lobby” in its ranks. As justice minister in the 1970s, he cited his “Aryan” roots in explaining his plan to pardon Continued on page 26

Southern New England Jewish Ledger


The Mandell JCC’s JNEXT instills a commitment of philanthropy in the next generation of Jewish leaders



manda Katzman, 36, has been a member of the Mandell JCC her whole life. “I went to the nursery school and I’m still friends with people who I met there,” she says. Today, Katzman’s two small children attend the JCC’s Early Childhood Center that she attended as a child. This year, she joined the JCC’s Board of Directors, which her father Mark Seltzer sat on for many years and is now a life director. “As I got older, I wanted to get involved and was kind of waiting for the right time. So I’m new to the board this year. It’s kind of

cool to have this JCC continuity full circle with my family,” she notes. But not all people in Katzman’s age group – the millennials – are necessarily as focused on giving to JCCs and other Jewish institutions as she is. Now, in a move to instill in the next generation a commitment to philanthropy and empower them to become Jewish community leaders, the Mandell Jewish Community Center has created The JNext, a group of young JCC members working to raise funds and awareness for the organization’s philanthropic causes.

Co-chaired by Katzman and Josh Feldman, JNext is a group of mostly millennials – 30 to 45 years old – who are dedicated to giving back to the Mandell JCC community by contributing their resources, skills, digital literacy and innovative thinking to spark new forms of engagement and philanthropy in their demographic. “The Mandell JCC recognized that millennials are an important group to engage,” says David Jacobs, executive director of the Mandell JCC. “They represent about half of the U.S. workforce and have immense purchasing power. Most importantly, they are focused on creating positive

impact in their communities. But it was critical to understand that they engage in fresh new ways. Because of this, the JCC created an advisory committee comprised of Millennials and we listen deeply in order to understand these current approaches to philanthropy.” And those fresh new approaches to Jewish philanthropy may be different than their parents’ and grandparents.’ “I think it used to be in this community that if your parents gave, you gave. It was just automatic. It wasn’t questioned… The way this generation wants to give and the way they want

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January 14, 2022



to engage is very different. Just because their parents or grandparents gave didn’t mean they were going to,” Katzman says. “So, we knew we had to take a completely fresh approach and be more deliberate about it if we really wanted to attract this generation.” A strategic plan undertaken by the Mandell JCC and completed during the pandemic confirmed differences in generational involvement. “As part of the strategic plan, one of the things we identified was the fact that younger cohorts, our age group, was not really participating philanthropically in any meaningful capacity really,” says Josh Feldman, 33, Katzman’s co-chair. “So, the idea was broached to do something different to engage the younger generation.” The group’s committee has been working on how to do that since the first JNext meeting was held last July. The result is a number of social, educational and volunteer events for members and their families as well as networking events for young professionals in the group. A number of events have been scheduled through 2022. January 14, 2022


The first event, held in October, a Fall Fest with beer and cider tasting was attended by 70. “That’s a lot of people on a Sunday night. We kept it fun,” Feldman says. Other JNext events include a Family-Fun Day in January; a “Javanese” Purim Spiel in March; a Networking event; A Food Truck Fest; a family event at the JCC Swim Club; and even a gala celebration set for March of 2023. To be a member of JNext, donors must give at the JCC’s Pacesetter level – a minimum of $365. JNext members receive a set of benefits specifically targeted toward this age group, including discounts on family programs, babysitting services, and birthday parties. Both Katzman and Feldman says it has been pretty easy to attract JNext members. So far JNext counts 60 families as members and the number is growing. “The nice part for us is we’ve been able to show that our generation is willing to get involved. We just need to do the work to get these people to the table. We’ve been expanding our group through people’s social circles and using Facebook and Instagram to try and get the

word out since that’s where our age group is plugged in all the time,” Feldman says. “We’ve had 100 percent participation from everybody in the group…We’ve raised $30,000.” “It was super easy for all these people that we called to join because they were getting benefits from the JCC, they’re getting the opportunity to meet all these new people or do all these new things,” Katzman adds. “We can be part of this blank canvas and shape the way young people start giving to the JCC. Our age group has such high earning potential and we’re such an untapped resource in this community. Already we’ve raised $30,000 literally by talking to our friends.” Non-members – and potential recruits – will be invited to some JNext events, but more exclusive special events will be only for members who have made the $365 contribution. “We’re having a virtual event on a Saturday night, post-kids bedtime in a couple of weeks, a trivia night. So for that you have to be an a member which means you will have made your gift to the campaign,” Feldman says. But these young adults are interested in more than just

social events – they want to know more about where their philanthropic dollars are going. “So one of the things we knew we have to do is really talk about impact and where their money is going; impressing upon them that JNext money is helping not just the JCC the institution – but the people, like the special needs adults and the seniors. And it’s talking to them about sustaining this community,” Feldman says. “The idea is to create a pipeline for the JCC of people who will become future leaders. I think I think it’s nice that our group is a mix of people like Josh and me, who grew up here and came back to raise our families. That connection is really great to continue. But I think it’s also really important that we have fresh new blood in the mix,” Katzman said. “Not only are they going to help, hopefully, financially contribute to the JCC. But the idea is they might be future Jewish leaders in the community.” For more information about JNext, please visit the

Southern New England Jewish Ledger


HARTT 100 presents

Frank London

Klezmer Brass Allstars and the


Eleanor Reissa Saturday, February 26 | 7:30 PM Herbert & Evelyn Gilman Theater Tickets: $20/FREE for students of all ages





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An Evening with

MONIQUE FAISONROSS Author of Playing Dead – A Memoir of Terror and Survival

Wed. Feb 9 | 7:00pm | via Zoom Co-presented by

FREE AND OPEN TO THE COMMUNITY Registration required -


The Arts at the Mandell JCC Zachs Campus | 335 Bloomfield Ave. | West Hartford, CT 06117 | 860-236-4571 |

Zachs Campus | 335 Bloomfield Ave. | West Hartford, CT 06117 | 860-236-4571 | Everyone 12 and over, must be vaccinated to enter the JCC. All programming involving children under 12 will require masks be worn by everyone.


Wayang Esther A Javanese Purim Spiel

March 12, 7:30 pm & March 13, 2:00pm

Herbert & Evelyn Gilman Theater | Mandell JCC To purchase tickets visit


An Evening of LIVE Ethio-pop, R&B Funk, Jazz and a Deep Soulful Feeling! TUESDAY, APRIL 26 | 7:00 PM

Herbert & Evelyn Gilman Theater | Mandell JCC

Gili Yalo performs a rich medley of contemporary soul, funk, psychedelic rock and traditional Ethiopian music, drawing inspiration from his experience as an Ethiopian Jew who fled Sudan in 1984 and re-settled in Israel. The expression of his story through a modern, cutting-edge music production, represents his own personal triumph. Tickets: $25 | $15 Students


Southern New England Jewish Ledger

Co-sponsored by

January 14, 2022


The Ledger Scoreboard Yeshiva University’s 50game winning streak ends with 73-59 loss at home BY PHILISSA CRAMER

(JTA) — Yeshiva University’s history-making, record-breaking basketball winning streak came to an abrupt end Thursday night, Dec. 20, as the Maccabees suffered a bruising 73-59 loss at home. The Maccabees entered the game against Illinois Wesleyan University ranked No. 1 in Division III, a position it reached Nov. 30 when it was 44 games into its winning streak. The streak stood at 50 as the team tipped off against No. 4 Illinois Wesleyan in front of a packed house at Yeshiva’s Max Stern Athletic Center. Hundreds of fans were shut out. Thursday’s game was the first time Yeshiva faced a top-25 opponent since its streak began two years ago, and it became clear early on that the team was outmatched. Yeshiva players didn’t hit a single three-pointer in the first half of the game, while Illinois Wesleyan nailed nine of 14 attempts beyond the

arc. Illinois Wesleyan nabbed 21 rebounds, compared to just seven for the Maccabees. At halftime, Yeshiva was down 49-29. Illinois Wesleyan led by more than 20 for a good chunk of the second half, as Yeshiva struggled to get back in the game. Even when the Maccabees got their trademark motion offense on track for a few possessions in the second half, they were unable to cut the lead to single digits. The loss was the team’s first since Nov. 9, 2019. It comes after an unprecedented swell of national attention to the Orthodox university’s basketball program, helmed by a head coach, Elliot Steinmetz, who sought to take advantage of Yeshiva’s unique recruiting potential to turn the school, which last had a winning season in 2007, into a powerhouse. Students at Yeshiva University said they were excited about their team’s unprecedented success. But for some at Yeshiva and its women’s college, Stern, the streak was clouded by an anonymous allegation of rape against an unnamed player that appeared in the student newspaper, and by the university’s response to it. Yeshiva will have to wait longer than expected for a second chance to prove itself


January 14, 2022



against top-tier competition. Shortly after Thursday night’s defeat, the school announced that its Sunday game at home against Williams College, the 17th-ranked team in Division III, was being postponed. No new date has been announced.

Int’ll Olympic Committee: Countries that ban Israeli athletes won’t be allowed to host competitions BY SHIRA HANAU

(JTA) — Countries that bar athletes from other countries will not be allowed to host international sports championships, the International Olympic Committee said in a letter this week. The statement followed the cancellation of the men’s squash world championship last month, which was set to be held in Malaysia Dec. 7, after the country refused to allow Israeli athletes to participate in the contest.

Israel and Malaysia do not maintain diplomatic relations and Israelis are barred from visiting the South Asian country. Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad once said he was “glad to be labeled antisemitic.” “We urge all [international federations] to be extremely vigilant when allocating and organizing international sports competitions,” leaders of the International Olympic Committee wrote in a letter, according to the Jerusalem Post. The International Olympic Committee leaders said that international sports associations must receive written confirmation from countries hosting championship games that all countries will be allowed to participate and treated equally. Those countries that do not ensure equal participation will “exclude themselves from the right to host international sports events until all the necessary assurances can be obtained and respected.”

Southern New England Jewish Ledger


Around SNE CT Humanities awards grant for film about Colchester’s Henny Simon NEW LONDON, Conn. – Connecticut Humanities awarded a $24,999 Implementation Grant matching grant to the Garde Arts Center in support of the production of the documentary film “Henny and Hannover.” The film will premiere in 2023 at the Garde Arts Center and will be aired on CPTV. The movie will highlight the life of the late Henny Simon, a survivor of the Holocaust and a refugee from Hannover, Germany, who came to America and purchased a chicken farm in Colchester, Conn. After years of silence, Simon began to speak in public schools and universities about her experience, often doing so with companion Ben Cooper, a World War II veteran, who helped to liberate the Dachau concentration camp. The Eastern CT Cultural Coalition’s Funding Booster Program provided technical support and helped prepare the grant application. Shannon Saglio, former Social Studies teacher and now Districtwide Technology Instructional Coach at East Lyme High School who worked for years with Henny, was thrilled with the award, “This documentary is an important project. Henny and Ben’s story is a reminder to all about the importance of being an ‘upstander’ in our communities,” said Saglio. “Their story of courage, perseverance, empathy and love will touch all those who watch, a message so needed during these trying times. I am thrilled that CT Humanities is supporting it and look forward to its broadcast, local showings, and use in schools throughout the region and the state.” The film will be produced by Southeastern Connecticut resident Jerry Fischer, who produced the film “Harvesting Stones” for CPTV in 2017. It is co-directed and filmed by Award-


winning National Geographic photographer/documentarian/ cinematographer Todd Gipstein. Cooperating with the film are government officials in Germany, Frank Fischer of the World Jewish Congress, and Professors Jefferson Singer of Connecticut College and Laurence Tribe of Harvard University. For more information, including how to make donations, visit the film’s website or by writing to info@henny- themovie. org.

Sen. Eric Lesser to run for Massachusetts Lt. Governor SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Massachhusetts State Senator Eric Lesser has declared his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. “I know the job,” Lesser wrote in a letter to supporters, “it’s to partner with our next Governor to make sure she is the most successful governor in the country. What I bring is the perspective of a parent of three young children, the experience of living far from Beacon Hill, and a proven record of standing up for the forgotten corners of Massachusetts.”

The four-term state senator from Western Massachysetts has been a champion of the Commonwealth’s nonprofit security funding program for area Jewish and other nonprofit agencies. He has worked to see security funding grow from $75,000 in 2018 to $1.5 million in 2021. When COVID-19 hit, Lesser led passage of rescue legislation to help thousands of small, often minority-owned businesses

Southern New England Jewish Ledger

survive the pandemic. At the height of the opioid crisis, his legislation closed the pharmacy shopping loophole for highlyaddictive narcotics and reduced the price of Narcan, a lifesaving drug that reverses overdoses. Lesser, who hold a bachelors and law degree from Harvard, was one of the first staffers on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. He later served in the Obama White House, working as the special assistant to Senior Adviser David Axelrod. In the Massachusetts State Senate, he chairs the Joint Committee on Economic Development & Emerging Technologies and the Committee on Ethics. He also serves as vicechair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and as a member of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. He was appointed to the Joint Committee on COVID19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management in the 2021-22 session. He also worked as a script consultant for HBO’s hit comedy Veep. Lesser lives with his wife and three children in his hometown of Longmeadow.

Applications for Schoke JFS camp scholarships now available. Applications for the Joan and Ben Zinbarg–Schoke Jewish Family Service Camp Scholarship Program are now available for summer 2022. The program was created to assist families from Stamford, Westport, Bridgeport, and Upper Fairfield County to send their children to a Jewish sleep-away or day camp program. Studies show that attendance at Jewish

camps helps to strengthen youngsters’ Jewish identities and involvement in Jewish communities, now and into the future. The Joan and Ben Zinbarg– Schoke Jewish Family Service Camp Scholarship Fund is supported by the Zinbarg Family, the United Jewish Federation of Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, and the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County. Schoke JFS awarded 50 camp scholarships in 2021. Applications are available to download at www.ctjfs. org/joan-and-ben-zinbargcamp-scholarship-program/. Completed applications should be returned to the Schoke Jewish Family Service office, or may be emailed to Maria McNulty at, along with the required attachments. Deadline for applications is Friday, April 15. Scholarships will be awarded through email, so be sure to include your email address. Child must be entering first grade or above in September 2022 to qualify for a scholarship. For more information, contact Maria McNulty at the Schoke Jewish Family Service office at 203-921-4161 or

B’Nai Mitzvah ZOE KATZ, the daughter of Julie and Samuel Katz, celebrated her bat mitzvah on Jan. 8 at Congregation Beth El Keser Israel in New Haven. January 14, 2022


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host raising three daughters in San Francisco with the help of his brother-in-law and his best friend. Saget played the role until the show ended in 1995 and reprised it in the “Fuller House” reboot that premiered in 2016. In 1989, Saget started hosting “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” which he continued until 1997. Saget was born in Philadelphia in 1956 to Jewish parents but spent much of his childhood in Norfolk, Virginia. His father, a supermarket executive, and his mother, a hospital administrator, probably would have preferred to see their son follow through on his original plans to become a doctor. But Saget’s plans changed in high school when his English teacher, Elaine Zimmerman, encouraged him to become a filmmaker. “To the next Groucho-Fellini,” she wrote in his yearbook. After studying film at Temple University, Saget moved to Los Angeles and became a regular at the Comedy Store, the legendary comedy club famous

for launching the careers of comedians like David Letterman and Jay Leno. His comedic role models included Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield and Don Rickles, who, as Saget recalled in 2017, once said of him: “He comes out like a Jewish Clark Kent.” At the same time that Saget was becoming the most recognizably beloved father in America, he experienced his own share of tragedy within his real family. Saget lost both of his sisters relatively young; Andrea died of a brain aneurysm in 1985 and Gay of systemic scleroderma in 1994. Throughout his career, Saget frequently performed at events to benefit charitable causes and served on the board of the Scleroderma Research Foundation. In 2021, Saget participated in a Purim spiel, or comedic reading of the Purim story, to benefit the Met Council, in which he played the villain of the story, Haman. “I’m self-loathing, too,” he quipped as he and other members of the cast sounded groggers to drown out Haman’s name. Saget recalled his Jewish upbringing, including his

Hebrew school experience and the Jewish foods his bubbe cooked, in the foreword he wrote for the 2011 book, “Becoming Jewish: The Challenges, Rewards, and Paths to Conversion,” by Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben and Jennifer S. Hanin. “I was born a Jewish boy. I was circumcised. Thank God by a professional. That is not something you want done by a novice. Or someone doing it for college credit. So I ‘became Jewish’ instantly upon birth,” he wrote. As a teenager and in college food was an important part of Saget’s Jewish upbringing, especially his bubbe’s stuffed cabbage and mandelbread cookies. Speaking to Jay Sanderson of the “Jay’s 4 Questions” podcast in 2018, Saget recalled the time he almost got fired from his job at a deli counter after he stuck a half-smoked cigarette in a carp’s mouth and showed it to a customer who wanted to be sure the carp was fresh. Despite the years he spent grinding carp, Saget never lost his taste for gefilte fish, though he couldn’t stomach the jarred variety. His preferred combination for gefilte

fish, he told Sanderson in 2018, was a mix of carp, pike and whitefish. “The food of the Jewish people stays within me. It is still within me. I am writing this with a matzah ball inside me from 1975. It is next to the kishka,” he wrote in the foreword to “Becoming Jewish.” Saget did not consider himself to be very observant. But he did feel sense of spirituality on a trip he took to Israel with his parents in the 80s or 90s. “It was quite a gift and there were many spiritual things that happened throughout and that I think is still the closest I’ve felt, because you can actually see it and feel it in the air in Israel,” he said. Having lost his sisters and both of his parents — his father in 2007 and his mother in 2014 — at the time of his conversation with Sanderson, Saget talked about the difficulty in feeling spirituality or belief in God after experiencing so much loss. “I go back and forth with my belief system, by the way. I’m not the best, most observant Jewish person you’ve ever met or talked to and yet I’m Jewish and proud to be,” he said.



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January 14, 2022

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four Nazi war criminals due to health reasons.

Ocasio-Cortez staffer calls Israel ‘racist European ethnostate’ (JNS) The Zionist Organization of America has asked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to “immediately” dismiss legislative assistant who made anti-Semitic comments targeting Israel on social media. “Hussain Altamimi has made false, hateful, anti-Semitic, antiIsrael accusations on Instagram,” ZOA national president Morton Klein said in a letter sent to Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday. He added that Altamimi’s “vitriolic posts are likely to add to the atmosphere of anti-Semitism and hatred that has fueled increasing, frightening, violent attacks on Jews in New York and throughout the United States.” Fox News reported that Altamimi, who joined OcasioCortez’s office in November, shared on his Instagram story on Dec. 24 a post from an account called “Let’s Talk Palestine,” which falsely accused Israel of “apartheid” and of having a “racial hierarchy.” Altamimi accompanied the post by writing: “Israel is a racist European ethnostate built on stolen land from its indigenous population!” In his letter to Ocasio-Cortez, Klein insisted that “the racist dictatorship in the area is the Palestinian Authority. …The Palestinian Authority states that no Jews will be allowed to live in their entity; condemns Arabs to death for selling property to Jews; and pays Arabs’ lifetime pensions to murder Jews and Americans. The P.A. also names schools, streets and sports teams after Jew-killers.” Klein said the ZOA urges Ocasio-Cortez to fire Altamimi, as well as “publicly condemn these hateful odious remarks” made by him.


Lapid and Macron talk about return to Iran deal, among other topics (JNS) Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid talked with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday evening, specifically discussing the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna surrounding a possible return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry. “The conversation dealt with regional challenges, the nuclear talks and Israel’s demand to put pressure on Iran,” the ministry said in a statement. Their conversation builds on Lapid’s visit to Paris on Nov. 30, in which the Israeli foreign minister said that only a credible military threat would stop Iran from continuing its race to a nuclear weapon. The two also discussed relations between Israel and the European Union, with Lapid congratulating Macron on France’s assumption of the presidency of the Council of the European Union, the statement said. Lapid stressed the importance of strengthening ties between Israel and the E.U. Macron said he remains committed to Israel’s security and places importance on the relationship between the two countries.

Israeli population reaches 9,449,000 at start of 2022 (Israel21c via JNS) Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) estimates Israel’s population at 9,449,000 as of Dec. 31, 2021. Of that number, 6,982,000 are Jewish (73.9 percent of the total population), 1,995,000 are Arab (21.1 percent) and 472,000 identify as “other” (5 percent). Approximately 184,000 infants were born, 73.8 percent to Jewish mothers and 23.4 percent to Arab mothers in 2021. The most popular names for new babies (as of 2020) are David for Jewish boys and Tamar for and girls. Overall, approximately 160,000 people were added to the Israeli population, an increase of 1.7 percent. Most of the increase (83 percent) was due to natural growth and the rest (17 percent) to the international

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migration balance. Some 25,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel during 2021–30 percent from Russia and 14.6 percent from France—as well as approximately 9,000 other migrants, including returning citizens. That number increased from 2020 when 20,000 immigrants arrived. The CBS also estimated that 7,500 Israelis are residing abroad for more than a year.

Israel approves fourth COVID jab; Moderna booster also being tested (Israel21c via JNS) Tens of thousands of Israelis made appointments on Jan. 3 to get a fourth shot of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine after the government authorized the booster for health-care personnel, people with compromised immune systems and anyone over the age of 60. The decision was made with the aim of preventing severe COVID-19 cases in light of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant even before data has come in from a study examining the effects of a fourth dose in 150 employees at Sheba Medical Center. All subjects had received three Pfizer doses five or more months ago and now have insufficient antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The study, led by the director of Sheba’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, is now expanding. According to a hospital spokesman, Sheba will now start using the Moderna vaccine on another group of test subjects to ascertain its impact against the Omicron variant in people who previously had three Pfizer injections. Both of these American-developed vaccines are based on mRNA technology. Sheba workers who already got the fourth jab a week ago have been found to have a five-fold increase in antibodies. Meanwhile, Israeli Ministry of Health data was critical of the decision of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Jan. 3 authorizing a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages

12 to 15. An FDA statement said the agency had “reviewed realworld data from Israel, including safety data from more than 6,300 individuals 12 through 15 years of age who received a booster dose of the vaccine at least five months following completion of the primary twodose vaccination series. These additional data enabled the FDA to reassess the benefits and risks of the use of a booster in the younger adolescent population in the setting of the current surge in COVID-19 cases.”The FDA further stated, “No new safety concerns have emerged from a population of over 4.1 million individuals 16 years of age and older in Israel who received a booster dose at least five months following completion of the primary vaccination series.”

Honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968


January 14, 2022


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Arts & Entertainment Golden Globes: Andrew Garfield, and Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story,’ win big



(JTA) — Golden Globes fans may have noticed something different this year: The annual entertainment awards were not announced on TV, and not for COVID-19 reasons. NBC dropped the broadcast over the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s diversity problem — none of the 87 members of the Globes’ awards body are Black. But the winners were still announced Sunday night, Jan. 9, mostly via Twitter and press releases. And they still may offer a hint at the likely winners at this year’s Oscars, set to take place March 27. If that’s the case, a few big Jewish winners padded their Oscar resume Sunday. Here’s the list: Steven Spielberg didn’t add to his crowded shelf of best director awards, but his remake of “West Side Story” won best comedy or musical film, and multiple actresses from the movie won Globes, too. A now-deleted tweet from the Globes declared, “If laughter is the best medicine (‘West Side Story’) is the cure for what ails you” — even though the musical is, famously, a tragedy. Andrew Garfield, the Jewish star of “tick, tick…BOOM!”, won best actor in a comedy or musical for his portrayal of Jonathan Larson, the Jewish musical theater writer behind “Rent”, who died the night before the show’s first performance. Jewish composer Hans Zimmer, a perennial award winner, won best original score for his music for the science fiction blockbuster “Dune,” which starred Jewish heartthrob Timothée Chalamet. The Israeli Philharmonic threw a Zimmerthemed Chanukah event in 2020. January 14, 2022


HBO’s “Hacks,” about a young comedy writer who ends up working for a Joan Riverstype comedy legend, won best TV comedy or musical series. Hannah Einbinder, the proudly Jewish actress who stars as the young comedienne, was nominated for best actress in a comedy or musical show — but lost to her co-star Jean Smart. Also on the losing front, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film “Licorice Pizza,” which celebrates a turning point in how pop culture views Jewish women, had scored several nominations — including one for breakout Jewish actress Alana Haim, of the pop band Haim — but lost in each category.

Jon Stewart says he was joking when he called ‘Harry Potter’ goblins antisemitic BY GABE FRIEDMAN

(JTA) — Jon Stewart thinks we all missed the joke. Following a recent podcast in which he suggested that goblin characters in the “Harry Potter” series resembled antisemitic

caricatures, the Jewish comedian posted a follow-up video to Twitter on Wednesday, Jan. 5, saying that he did not mean to accuse the series’ author J.K. Rowling of antisemitism. “Let me just say this, super clearly, as clearly as I can… I do not think J.K. Rowling is antisemitic,” Stewart, responding to articles in Newsweek and elsewhere, said about the conversation he had on a late 2021 episode of the podcast tied to his Apple+ show, “The Problem With Jon Stewart.” “I did not accuse her of being antisemitic. I do not think that the ‘Harry Potter’ movies are antisemitic. I really love the ‘Harry Potter’ movies, probably too much for a gentleman of my considerable age.” In his earlier podcast episode, Stewart talked about the series’ goblin JON STEWART (SCREENSHOT) characters, who run the wizarding world’s bank and covet gold. Stewart compared the movie version of the characters to stereotypes found in the infamous antisemitic tract “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” “It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen

and I was expecting the crowd to be like ‘holy shit, she did not in a wizarding world just throw Jews in there to run the f—ing underground bank,’” he said. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s sister site Alma published an article on Stewart’s comments on Monday, and several other outlets have covered the podcast episode since. In his video on Wednesday, Stewart insisted that he was only describing his experience watching the first film in the series “as a Jewish guy,” and how “some tropes are so embedded in society that they’re basically invisible even in a considered process like moviemaking.” “There is no reasonable person that could’ve watched it [the podcast] and not seen it as a lighthearted conversation,” he said. Stewart was far from the first commentator to point out perceived antisemitic stereotypes in the goblin characters, especially as criticism of Rowling’s social media posts has snowballed in recent years. An English high school dropped Rowling’s name from one of its houses this week in response to demands from students critical of some of the author’s past comments about transgender people.

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January 14, 2022


A marketing firm working with Jewish groups nixes a potential client because of Israel ties BY RON KAMPEAS

(JTA) — A marketing firm that has worked extensively with Jewish nonprofits has declined to work with one because of growing concerns among its staff members about groups with “significant programming in Israel.” The Shalom Hartman Institute, a leading Jewish educational think tank, reached out to Big Duck, a Brooklyn-based worker-owned cooperative, because of Big Duck’s history of working with Jewish organizations in the past. But Farra Trompeter, Big Duck’s co-director, told Dorit Rabbani, Hartman’s North America communications director, last week that the firm would not work with Hartman because Big Duck staff had concerns about the Hartman Institute’s activities in Israel, both officials said. Hartman, which has headquarters in Jerusalem and New York, has a broad ambit of advancing Jewish education and promoting dialogue among Jews and between Jews and other faiths. It is expressly Zionist. Big Duck’s past clients have included the Jewish Theological Seminary, the National Council of Jewish Women, and Keshet, a Jewish LGBTQ group. Hartman would not be among them. “Being more vocal and committed to fighting oppression has led us to more active questioning of working with organizations with significant programming in Israel, among other issues, and in those cases, we have mutually agreed that it does not make sense to work together,” Trompeter said in an email to the JTA. Trompeter said the firm does not have a hard and fast rule against working with groups with ties to Israel. “Big Duck does not decline work with organizations solely January 14, 2022


due to their position on BDS or presence in Israel,” she said. “But we do ask if they are open to working with a team and company that is questioning Israel’s policies and practices among other issues, and consider that in evaluating whether we will be a good fit for creating their communications and fundraising materials.” Rabbani, who took notes soon after her 21-minute conversation with Trompeter, described a considerably less nuanced conversation and said the decision was not mutual, but rather Big Duck’s alone. According to Rabbani’s notes, Trompeter asked whether Hartman defines itself as Zionist and whether it opposes BDS, the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. According to Rabbani’s notes, Rabbani confirmed that Hartman is a Zionist institution and that it opposes BDS and Trompeter said that in that case, Big Duck would decline the commission. Trompeter disputed the characterization. “We did not decline to work with the Hartman Institute because it is Zionist and do work with other Jewish groups,” she said in a follow-up email. “Big Duck does not use litmus tests.” Rabbani recalled that Trompeter explained that staff must be committed to a product in order to market it, and Big Duck’s staff would have trouble bringing passion to work with Hartman. “I said, ‘I wish you could talk to people at Hartman and hear about why our work is actually so important furthering coexistence and peace,’” Rabbani said. In addition to working with Jews to promote pluralism and Israeli democracy, the Hartman Institute works with Muslims in America through its Muslim Leadership Initiative, which


promotes Muslim American engagement with Jews and with Israel. Some Muslim figures who have participated in Hartman programming have found themselves censured by others in their community. Rabbani had come to Big Duck because she had worked with the shop in a previous job at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative movement institution that is also an expressly Zionist outfit with a presence in Israel. “JTS is not currently working with Big Duck,” JTS said in a statement to JTA. “We are disheartened to hear about the company’s concerns over working with the Shalom Hartman Institute because of its commitment to the state of Israel, a commitment that we share. We worked on projects with the agency under its previous ownership, without them ever questioning our views on Israel.” NCJW and Keshet also have partnerships with Israeli organizations. “When Keshet contracted with Big Duck in 2017 and 2018 for an extensive rebranding project, the firm never asked about Keshet’s position on Israel and Zionism,” said Idit Klein, Keshet’s president and CEO.

“I’ve spoken directly with Farra Trompeter, co-director of Big Duck, who assured me that Big Duck has not endorsed BDS as a firm.” Trompeter in her email said that the firm would continue to work with Jewish groups. “We have many clients who are fighting for justice, providing much-needed community services, and improving people’s lives with roots in Jewish values, traditions or culture,” she said. Yehuda Kurtzer, Hartman North America’s president, said he would not go so far as to accuse Big Duck of antisemitism. But he said the firm’s decision was “dangerous” given the large share of American Jews with an affinity for Israel. “To boycott American Jewish institutions who are Zionist is a really dangerous activity given the fact that it is a predominant idea among American Jews and an essential part of our Judaism,” he said. Kurtzer commented before Trompeter had emphasized that Big Duck does not boycott Zionists. “It’s especially disappointing given that many of us, including my organization, are working to advance the causes of democracy and human rights and pluralism in Israel.”

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eaching young children has always been a joy for me. One of teaching’s special advantages is the clarity that emerges from conversation with people under the age of ten. A cute and oft-told story describes the reaction of one fourth grader to the lesson in which he first learned the difference between poetry and prose. He remarked, “Wow! I have been writing prose all of my life and didn’t even know it!” I guess it was in the fourth grade when I first learned the distinction between prose and poetry, and when I became aware not only that I was writing prose, but that much of what I was studying in Jewish day school was prose, not poetry. We were taught that prose is ordinary writing, language which portrays everyday events. Poetry, on the other hand, is the language of the extraordinary. Poems are for special events and rare emotions. Poetry is a song, and we only sing when special feelings well up within us. In this week’s parsha, Beshalach, we finally encounter poetry. From the beginning of the book of Genesis until this week’s portion, we have been reading prose. Surely, much of what we have been reading has not been ordinary, and we have even read about some miracles. But the language, with the possible exception of Jacob’s blessings to his children, has been prose. It is only in this week’s narrative of the crossing of the Red Sea that the poetic bursts forth. One of the lesser differences between poetry and prose is that the words of the former are surrounded on the page by much blank space. Prose, on the other hand, consists of written or printed words with a minimum


of space between them. You will notice that in the Torah scroll too the prose of all of Genesis and of Exodus until this week’s portion consists of words written by the scribe with only minimal space between them. Look at the Torah scroll for this week’s portion, and you will see long columns of white space parallel to the holy written words. These white spaces are found wherever the language of the Torah or of the Prophets makes use of poetry and song. It has been said that these blank spaces are symbolic to feelings so deep and inexpressible that they cannot be reduced to words of black ink and are, instead, wordlessly conveyed in the white empty spaces. It is with the crossing of the Red Sea that the powerful feelings of the redemption experience emerge from the hearts of the former slaves. Words of poetry come to the surface. Song and music demand expression. These feelings have no precedent in all that has come before in the biblical narrative. Today, many of us live lives of prose. Day fades into the night, and even years seem to march along uneventfully with only rare episodes of drama. Few of us sing, and even fewer would feel capable of poetry. That is what is so amazing about the Song of the Sea in this week’s Torah portion. Everyone sang. All of Israel joined in the expression of poetic exultation. Our sages tell us that even the “lowly maid servant on the sea saw more than the prophet Ezekiel” and sang! Moses led the all the men in the song, and Miriam, all the women. Perhaps it was the contrast between centuries of oppressive slavery and the sudden experience of utter freedom that evoked song in everyone. Perhaps it was the release from the deadly fear of the

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approaching Egyptian army that gave vent to unanimous poetry. Or it might have been the sight of the hated and dreaded enemy drowning under the waves that inspired all present to sing out triumphantly. Most likely, it was all of the above. As readers of the weekly Torah portion, each of us struggles to relate what we study to our daily lives. It is, therefore, important that we use this week’s narrative to nurture our own poetic urge. The Talmud compares the miracle of the Red Sea to quite ordinary processes, such as finding a spouse and earning a livelihood. The Talmud does this to inspire us to see the miraculous even in everyday events. Our sages realize the importance of poetry and soul and wish to motivate us to respond with poetry and song

even to mundane events. They want us to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Of all the many Torah portions that we have read this year, beginning with Genesis and continuing until Beshalach, no biblical text is fully incorporated into our daily liturgy. Finally, from this week’s portion, the Song of the Sea was made part of the daily Jewish liturgy, recited every single day of the year, weekday or Sabbath, ordinary day or holiday. The message is clear: Poetry and song are vital for you. They are evoked by the experience of something very special. Every living moment is very special. Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb is the executive vice president, emeritus of the Orthodox Union.

January 14, 2022




THE KOSHER CROSSWORD JAN. 14, 2021 “Automobile Issues?”

By: Yoni Glatt

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Vol. 93 No. 52

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Publisher’s Statement Editorial deadline: All calendar submissions must be received one week prior to publication. Advertising deadline: Tuesday noon one week prior to issue. 20/20 Media and Jewish Ledger shall not be liable for failure to publish an ad for typographical error or errors in the publication except to the extent of the cost of the space which the actual error appeared in the first insertion. The Publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising for any reason and to alter advertising copy or graphics deemed unacceptable. The publisher cannot warrant, nor assume responsibility for, the legitimacy, reputability or legality of any products or services offered in advertisements in any of its publications. The entire contents of the Jewish Ledger are copyright © 2022. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. 20/20 Media also publishes All Things Jewish CT, All Things Jewish MA and WeHa Magazine.

January 14, 2022


Across 1. Y alternatives? 5. Jewish knowledge 9. Cowboy Prescott, and others 13. Aliyah maker 14. Europe’s most popular capital in crosswords 15. Genesis victim 16. Not having a hot meal? 18. Perry of “American Idol” 19. Enter uninvited 20. King David, e.g. 21. Slalom down a slope 22. It should certainly work better than one that is overheated? 25. Rabbit, to an eagle

27. Recent “Curb Your Enthusiasm” breakout character Kostroski 28. Lunch box cookies 30. ___ Yisrael 31. QBs pass for them 34. Godiva for one 35. What the start or end of 16, 22, 42, and 53-Across means in Hebrew? 36. Unit of measurement 37. It can make white into black 38. Not his 39. High maintenance Muppet 40. Prime rating 41. Actress Gilpin of “Frasier”

42. Phrase from Oprah when giving out viruses? 46. Pasture sound 49. Had outright 50. Pure red ones are holy 52. Read Torah (Var.) 53. Some winter weather alerts? 55. Lacing issue 56. Adopted dad of Loki 57. Homerun hitter’s gait 58. 1040 IDs 59. One can be hard to swallow 60. Some are corny?

Down 1. Picoult and Benson 2. Jingling sound 3. It may have up to 354 legs 4. Hebrew song 5. Lumet’s “___ Afternoon” 6. Question popper 7. “King” or “carte” preceder 8. Major Can. city 9. North or South place 10. Back off 11. A Torah or melech might have one 12. Cunningly 17. Microwaves, in slang 20. Code used in web design 23. Many are paid online 24. City near the Dead Sea

26. Half of a big Vegas draw, once 28. “... and honour the face of the ___ man” (Lev. 19:32) 29. Laser shot 30. Pyeongyang’s peninsula 31. He said “Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.” 32. Retriever, e.g. 33. Hog home 35. Lincoln is on it 36. Plywood source 38. Prepared soil for planting 39. Risk or danger 40. Real estate employees 41. Cousins of Psalms 42. Mayonnaise ingredients

43. Jesse who ran like the wind 44. Civil War side 45. NBA star Middleton 47. Jouster’s outfit 48. D.A.’s helpers 51. It’s bashert 53. Haolam or Yisrael preceder 54. Uproar Answers to Dec. 17, 2021 puzzle on page 26.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING A calendar of events throughout Connecticut and Western & Central Massachusetts.

caringsoul. For information:, (203) 321-1373 x104.

Local Jewish community organizations are invited to submit events to the calendar. Events must be received one week prior to the bi-weekly publication of the Ledger. Send submissions to Ledger editor in cheif Judie Jacobson at judiej@jewishledger. com. We reserve the right to edit calendar items.


January MONDAY, JANUARY 17 Greenwich (Zoom) — “Sublime Slime!” UJA-JCC Greenwich will host “Sublime Slime!” For children ages 3 and up on Zoom, 10:30 a.m. Led by Jaden of Jaden’s Craft Shack, kids will be able to customize slime color and scent. RSVP by Jan. 5 to ujajcc. org. Fee: $25/includes complete slime kit (pick up kits Jan. 10-14 during business hours at UJAJCC office.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 19 Stamford (Zoom) — “Cultivating A Caring Soul,” three authors share how we can create a better world by caring for each other. Hosted by United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford and JCRC. First session: “Humankind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time,” with Brad Aronson, 7 p.m.;. See also Feb. 28. To register:

Worchester (Zoom) — Temple Beth El in Springfield will present a film: Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, 7-9 p.m.Register: communications@tbespringfield. org. Worcester (Zoom) – Jewish Federation of Central Mass’s Young Adult Division/LEAD and B’nai B’rith Lodge 600 present “World Ort: Current Challenges in the Jewish World, with Dr. Conrad Giles, president of World Ort; 7:30 p.m.; For link to Mhall@

SATURDAY, JANUARY 22 Greenwich (Zoom) — “Oy Vey to Broadway: A Night of Music and Memory,” a magical musical singalong and tour of the unforgettable music the Great White Way and beyond. The evening will include favorites from the Great American Song Book created by Jewish composers and lyricists and their friends. Performers will include Cantor Jill Abramson, Rabbi Emerita Vicki Axe, and soloists from the Broadway stage and Shir Ami. Havdallah service and singalong on Zoom, hosted by Congregation Shir Ami at 6:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 23 Springfield (Zoom) —As part of


its Zoom “Stories of Israel” series, hosted by Rabbi Josh Weisberg, Temple Beth El in Springfield will present the story of Noa Har Zahav, born into a secular Israeli kibbutz family and her journey to deepen her connection with Judaism, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. To register: communications@ Worcester – Israeli Culture Series with Jewish Federation of Central Mass. Shaliach Aviv Jervi, facilitating a Zoom conversation about the Jews of North Africa during World War II, along with St. Paul, Minnesota’s Shaliach Hadar Pe’er, 2 p.m., to register: https:// register/tZcqdOqtrz0jE9wcncXYZBLRpe8kj5fxLaU

MONDAY, JANUARY 24 West Hartford —“A Conversation with Rebecca Frankel,” author of Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph and Love. The book tells the story of Ruth Lazowski’s Holocaust experience; hosted by Voices of Hope; 7-8 p.m. To register: FREE




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Greenwich — “Men’s Paddle & Beer Night” hosted by UJAJCC Greenwich at the Fire Pit at the new Innis Arden Paddle Hut in Greenwich. Proceeds will help fund the presence of the community’s new security adviser. For more information or

to register: $350

SATURDAY, JANUARY 29 Sherman — The silent film “The City Without Jews” will be screened at 7 p.m., at the JCC in Sherman, 9 Rte 39 South. The silent film will be accompanied by live music featuring worldrenowned musicians Alicia Svigals and Donald Sosin. The film, based on the satirical novel by Hugo Bettauer, tells the story of Jews in Vienna who are hounded by mobs and driven from their homes. Produced in 1924, it was rediscovered in 2015. It is a chilling premonition of the Holocaust and cost Bettauer his life. Presented with commentary by film scholar Noah Isenberg (UT Austin) and a recently restored soundtrack, it is one of few surviving Austrian Expressionist films. Reservations required. Email jccinsherman. org. $20/members; $25/ nonmembers. (Masks required)

SUNDAY, JANUARY 30 Connecticut (Zoom) — 12th Annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day event, hosted by Voices of Hope and JFACT; The program includes: the presentation of the 2022 Chesed Award to Andy Sarkany, which is bestowed on individuals who demonstrate exemplary “acts of loving kindness”; presentation of The Simon Konover Recognition for Excellence in Holocaust Education to educators: Kimberly Ballaro, Ian Lowell, Jessica

January 14, 2022


Palliardi and Lauren Thompson; also recognized will be the Classical Magnet and the three Fairfield Middle Schools with the first HERO Center Award for Schoolwide Excellence in Teaching Holocaust and other Genocides; 7 p.m. For more information: ctvoicesofhope. org, (860) 470-5591, info@ Reservations required. FREE

February THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3 Springfield (Zoom) — “Literatour,” the Springfield JCC book festival presents a talk and Q&A with Andrew Feiler, author of A Better Life for Their Children; 7-8 p.m. To register: rtncm991b2631i/ Worchester/Florida– The Annual Worcester Florida Party at the Delray Beach Golf Club; a chance to visit old friends from Worcester to reconnect; 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Register: worchesterfloridaparty.

play’s April 2019 opening, when COVID hit, leading to the long shutdown. Now, the play is back on schedule. At B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Rd., Woodbridge. For tickets and more information, email barbaragoldstein@ , or call (203) 3892111. Springfield – “Carol’s Beit Café,” a Temple Beth El event showcasing the musical talents of its members; 7-8:30 p.m., at TBE, 979 Dickinson St., For reservations or information, contact TBE at (413) 733-4149 or (snow date: March 26) Worcester – Chaverim Night Out at the Jewish Film Festival; 7 p.m. For more information: mhall@

SATURDAY, FEB. 12 Springfield– “A Taste of the Lower East Side,” a Temple Beth El program sharing a taste of the Jewish world through food and film; 6-7:30 p.m.; To register: communications@tbespringfield. org.



Longmeadow– Purim Katan Movie Afternoon/Ice Cream Party and Emtza Food Drive Launch, 4-7 p.m., at B’nai Torah, 2 Eunice Drive, Contact Andrea Olkin:, or (413) 519-5328; Fee: $5 per person, $10 max/2+ siblings.

Worcester– LEAD/YAD program with Shaliach Aviv Jerbi, 2 p.m.

THURSDAY, FEB. 17 Springfield– Temple Beth El Film: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, 7-9 p.m., Zoom. Register: communications@tbespringfield. org.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 20 Northampton – LGA “Fiber Art for Passover: Learn to Wet Felt,” Zoom program from 10 – 11:30 a.m., Create spring blooms out of soft wool for the Passover table with fiber artist Natasha Lehrer Lewis; for 3-6-year-olds and their grownups; Registration fee of $12 includes one kit from Esther’s Place which will be available for pickup. Registration: https://

MONDAY, FEBRUARY Stamford (Zoom) — “Cultivating A Caring Soul,” three authors share how we can create a better world by caring for each other. Hosted by United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford and JCRC. Second session: “Be A Mensch: Unleash Your Power of Be Kind and Help Others,” 7 p.m.;. See also Jan. 19. To register: For information:, (203) 321-1373 x104.

March TUESDAY, MARCH 8 Springfield– “Literatour,” the Springfield JCC book festival, presents a talk and Q&A with Jan Eliasberg, author of Hannah’s War, at Springfield JCC, 1160 Dickinson St.; 7-8 p.m., To register: https:// rtncm991b2631i/; FREE/JCC members; $10/general public.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4 Storrs — Urban Dor and UConn Hillel are co-hosting “A Winter (Jewish) Experience” for adults ages 21 to 39; 7-9 p.m.; at UConn Hillel at UConn Hillel, 54 N Eagleville Rd, Storrs. Optional spiritual prayer service at 6 p.m. Dinner at 7 p.m.; at 8 p.m. guests may enjoy socializing and/or playing pool and ping pong. Guests may join at any point during the course of the evening. Must be vaccinated to attend. Dress is business casual. Reservations: https://www. FREE

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 5 Woodbridge — The B’nai Jacob Players (BJP) present the hit Broadway musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The cast and crew were only two weeks away from the January 14, 2022


Bulletin Board “PJ Library Presents” – A new podcast network for kids


GAWAM, Mass.— PJ Library, a program that provides free books that celebrate Jewish values and culture to children worldwide, will launch PJ Library Presents, a podcast network featuring two new free podcasts for kids this fall. “Afternoons with Mimi” and “Beyond the Bookcase” both bring wellknown stories of all types to life in a fun new way that connects them to Jewish traditions, culture, holidays, and values. Kids 2 to 5 and their

families can spend “Afternoons with Mimi” — joining everyone’s favorite spunky grandmother, Mimi, for an afternoon of snacks and stories from PJ Library books to Jewish folktales and new original fables that will capture the imaginations of young and old alike. “PJ Library Presents: Afternoons with Mimi”premieres on Oct. 4 at and your favorite podcast streaming platforms. Next, PJ Library Presents “Beyond the Bookcase.” Developed for kids ages 6 to

12, “Beyond the Bookcase” features the serialized adventures of intrepid siblings Micah and Miri and their friends as they explore the magical land of Mashal, where familiar fairy tales come to life in unexpected and hilarious ways – weaving Jewish holidays and traditions with an exciting mystery that unravels week after week, “PJ Library Presents: Beyond the Bookcase” premieres October 18, also on and your favorite podcast streaming platforms.

Southern New England Jewish Ledger



Rosalie Saffer Abrahams, 91, of Enfield, Conn., formerly of Longmeadow, Mass., died Dec. 23. She was predeceased by her husband Kenneth Abrahams. Born in Springfield, Mass., she was the daughter of the late Mae and Moses Saffer. She is survived by her children Beth Abrahams Cyr and her husband Bryan Coombs, Lynn Bertsche and husband Rob, and Mark Abrahams and his husband Scott Wechsler; her grandchildren, Joshua, Rebecca, and Jeremy; her sister-in-law, Janice Reisman of Longmeadow; and her niece and nephew.


Richard Berkowitz, 80, of Westport, Conn., Lenox, Mass, and Naples, Fla., died Dec. 31. He was the husband of Carole (Chasnoff) Berkowitz. Born in New Haven, Conn., he was the son of the late Elihu and Ruth Berkowitz. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his sister Jane Brandwein and her husband Eddie of Chicago, Ill.; his children, Jody and Joel Beck of Westport, Emily and Ken Sandberg of Woodbridge, Conn., Suzy and Michael Weksel of Edgemont, N.Y. and Adam Berkowitz of New York City; his grandchildren, Sam, Zack, Rachel, John, Jack, Mia, Henry, Carina and Ben; his cousin/ brother Judge Stanley Novack of Stamford, Conn.; and countless family. He has classrooms named in his honor at the Roth Center for Jewish Life at Dartmouth and at Temple Israel in Westport.


Ethelyn (Cohen) (Goldstein) Bessel of Longmeadow, Mass., 97, has died. She was the widow of Harold Goldstein and Jack Bessel. Born in Springfield, Mass., she was the daughter of the late Max and Daisy (Horowitz) Cohen. She was an active member of the Beth El Temple Sisterhood. She is survived by her sister Ruth Katz and her husband David; her children, Jill, Robert and his wife Faith, and Patti; her granddaughters, Hannah and her husband Josh, Sarah, Emma, Hallie, and Danielle; her greatgranddaughter Bella; and several nieces and nephews. She was also predeceased by a sister, Irma Goldsmith.


Howard Fish, 90, of Worcester, Mass., died Dec. 18. He was the husband of Ceril (Hodes) Fish. Born in Worcester, Mass., and raised in Whitinsville and Webster, Mass., he was the son of the late Joseph and Jeanette (Lubin) Fish. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughters, Gayle Fish and her partner Phillip Gut of Upton, Mass., Leslie Fish and her husband Jerry Gurwitz of Worcester, and Melanie Amir and her husband Michael of Worcester; his sister, Natalie Mangini and her husband Bernard of California; and his grandchildren, Benjamin, Sarah and Hannah Schwartz, Samuel, Jonathan and Ethan Gurwitz, and Guy, Nili, and Sivan Ami; and his great-grandson Noah.

Honor the memory of your loved one... Email to place your memorial in the Ledger.


Southern New England Jewish Ledger


Ada Goldberg Leff, 98, of Los Angeles, Calif., formerly of Colchester and Westport, Conn., died Dec. 30. She was the widow of Ernest Leff. Born in Colchester, she was the daughter of the late Daniel (Zadel) and Rose Goldberg. She is survived by her children, Laurel Leff and and her husband Jeremy Paul of Newton, Mass., and Andrew Leff and his wife Shellie Elkind-Leff of Calabasas, Calif.; her grandchildren, Jason Paul, Russell Paul and his fiancé Leslie Diaz, Rebecca Leff and Jennifer Leff; her sister-in-law Marilyn Goldberg; her brother-in-law Sanford Leff; and many nieces and nephews. She was also predeceased by her brothers, Bernard, Harold and Nathan Goldberg, and her sisters, Thelma Magun and Belle Rosenblum.


Mildred (Cutler) Malkin, 95, of Vernon, Conn., died Dec. 28. She was the widow of Dr. Meyer (“Mike”) Malkin. Born in New Haven, Conn., she was the daughter of late Frank and Pauline (Fabricant) Cutler. She was an active member of B’nai Israel Synagogue. She is survived by her sons, Dr. Frank Malkin and his wife Janice of Sudbury, Mass., Dr. Neil Malkin and his partner Terri Kramer of Ellington, Conn., and Dr. Robert Malkin and his wife Dr. Julie Malkin of Avon, Conn.; her grandchildren, Daniel Malkin and his wife Sarah of Brooklyn, N.Y., Elise Malkin of Brookline, Mass., Dr. Melissa Malkin Rubin and her husband Dr. David Rubin of Philadelphia, Penn., Peter Malkin of Arlington, Va., and Caroline Malkin of New York City; and her great-grandson Noah Malkin of Brooklyn, N.Y. ; and her special friend Mr. James Tierney of West Hartford, Conn. She was also predeceased by her brother Dr. Henry Cutler, her daughter in-law Tamra Malkin, and several brothers and sisters in-law.


Harvey Eugene Seltzer, 90, of Newington, Conn., died Dec.25. He was the widower of Sydelle “Dellie” (Bernstein) Seltzer and Arline (Fine) Seltzer. Born in Hartford, he was the son of the late Hyman and Sophie Seltzer. He was a member of Temple Sinai of Newington. He is survived by his son Jeffrey Seltzer and his wife Dorann of Delray Beach, Fla.; his grandchildren, Jared David Seltzer of Florida, and Leah Mollie Eversole and her husband Sean of Florida; his great-grandchildren, Isaac Mark Eversole and Ian Robert Eversole of Florida; his brotherin-law Manuel Fine and his wife Leah Fine of Westport; several nieces and nephews; and many other family members. He was also predeceased by his son and daughter-in-law, Gregg and Kate Seltzer; his grandson Justin Abraham Seltzer; and his four sisters and brothers-in-law, Leah and Jim Giordano, Ann and Ike Kunik, Bae and Charles Brown, and Mollye and Robert Wiener


Darlene (LaPier) Sternberg, 68, of Vernon, Conn., formerly of Manchester, died Jan. 2. Born in Hartford and raised in East Hartford, she was the daughter of the late Arthur and Vivian (Avery) LaPier, She was an active member of Temple Beth Hillel in South Windsor. She is survived by her children, Jason Smith and his wife Jill of South Windsor, and Nikki Burinskas and her partner Tim Mulligan of Vernon; her sister Robin Borek of Enfield, Conn.; her grandchildren, William Swain, Cianan Mulligan, Saige Mulligan, Brooke Burinskas, Zachary Smith and Makayla Smith; and numerous cousins. She was also predeceased by her former husband Steven Sternberg, and her brother-in-law Allan Borek.

January 14, 2022


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