Friday, May 14, 2021 3 Sivan 5781 Vol. 22 | No. 5 | ©2021 $1.00 | majewishledger.com
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MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
| MAY 14, 2021
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | MAY 14, 2021 | 3 SIVAN 5781
4 Bulletin Board
10 Jewish Federation of Central Mass.
16 Around Mass
Bean-to-Bar...................................6 Northampton’s Tangle Chocolate is an organic, kosher and provides opportunity to Amazon cacao farmers
Rising tide of hate ...............................................................................................5 Anti-Israel sentiment at UMass Amherst
20 What’s Happening
Art & Soul.........................................8 Cindy Kornet spreads inspiration through art exhibit at Leavitt Family Nursing Home
Bountiful Bowls...............................7 Rachel’s Table to honor community activists who step up to fight hunger
A Reminder From
Gary M. Gaffin
Accounting services for all size businesses ON THE COVER: The holiday of Shavuot commemorates the Israelites receiving the Torah after wandering in the desert. It begins the evening of Sunday, May 16 and ends the evening of Tuesday, May 18. PAGE 12 majewishledger.com
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The Jews of Morocco.................18 Moroccan Jews reflect on their traditions post-normalization with Israel
A Reminder From
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MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
| MAY 14, 2021
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Briefs Jewish Biden supporters back Robert Wexler for ambassador to Israel (JTA) — At least three top Jewish Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have made representations to the White House to name Robert Wexler, a former Florida congressman, to be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. The push, which has been joined by figures who led Joe Biden’s presidential election campaign in the Jewish community, intensified this week when it appeared that Biden had settled on Tom Nides, a former deputy secretary of state who is Jewish but whose Israel record is a relative blank slate. Underpinning the pressure to name Wexler is the hope that Biden names an ambassador who understands the sensitivities of the country and of the American Jewish community. Also a factor is Wexler’s familiarity with Arab players in the region, including the Palestinians. The three Jewish Democrats who have been pressing the issue are Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Jerry Nadler of New York. Deutch, who chairs the House Middle East subcommittee, replaced Wexler when Wexler quit Congress in 2010. Michael Adler, a Florida-based donor who has backed Biden presidential campaigns going back to the 1988 race, is, according to sources, leading the push for Wexler. Wexler has longstanding and deep ties to Israel and the pro-Israel community. He was the first Jewish member of Congress to back then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential bid in 2007. He left Congress in 2010 to lead the Center for Middle East Peace, a group that works behind the scenes to advance the two-state outcome to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. He currently heads the Tel Aviv office of a major American lobbying outfit, Ballard Partners, but has not been a registered lobbyist for more than two years. Recently, Deutch told Haaretz, “He knows the issues, he knows the players, he’s well respected across the political spectrum and he understands the many challenges that come with that position. Hadar Susskind, the CEO of Americans for Peace Now, said he was hearing broad support for Wexler in the pro-Israel community, encompassing backers of liberal groups like his, but also backers of AIPAC, the powerhouse lobby: “In 48 hours I’ve heard from many members of Congress and Jewish community leaders, and they are a politically diverse group. APN supporters, AIPAC people, federation leaders, Jewish members of Congress, nonJews, progressives and centrists. There is a lot of support for Robert out there.” The announcement is expected to be made by the end of May.
Senator Schumer at Shiva for Meron Victim, Pinchos Menachem Knoblowitz Z”L Senator Chuck Schumer paid an unannounced shiva call to the home of Reb Dovid and Tova Knoblowitz whose son Pinchos Menachem z”l lost his life in the Mount Meron tragedy on Lag B’Omer. During Schumer’s visit, a conversation ensued regarding the incredible power of faith that was constantly emphasized over and over by Pinchos Menachem’s father, which prompted Senator Schumer to share his perspective on faith and the centrality to one’s ability to go on with life saying “ there is a greater wisdom a reason we cannot understand; I have a deep faith in Hashem--I pray all the time.” Upon leaving the house the Senator said “ May Menachem Knoblowitz’s memory be a blessing. This was an absolute tragedy, and the family – and the families of all who lost loved ones -- are in my prayers.”
US takes ‘principled decision‘ in skipping antisemitic Durban conference (JNS) Jewish leaders on Wednesday, May 5, praised the Biden administration for announcing that the United States will not participate in upcoming events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations chair Dianne Lob, CEO William Daroff and vice chair Malcolm Hoenlein issued a joint statement in support of the administration’s decision. “We applaud the Biden administration’s decision to refuse to participate in commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the U.N. World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, which openly embraced antisemitism and anti-Israel extremism,” the statement read. “In declining to participate in celebratory events, the United States is rightfully rejecting the despicable hatred that was leveled against the Jewish state and the Jewish people 20 years ago. We encourage other nations to join the [United States] in continuing to fight racism, bigotry and antisemitism while rejecting and not participating in such odious proceedings.” The event is scheduled to be held on Sept. 22 and be called Durban IV. The move by the United States continues its policy of boycotting the event, which began after Israel and America dropped out of the original World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001, which created the Durban Declaration singling out Israel as racist. It did not participate in Durban II in 2009 or Durban III in 2011, along with a growing list of nations also boycotting the conferences for its virulent antisemitism.
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
| APRIL 16, 2021
A U.S. State Department spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post about the decision on Monday. “The United States stands with Israel and has always shared its concerns over the Durban process’s anti-Israel sentiment, used as a forum for antisemitism and freedom of expression issues,” the spokesperson told the Post.
German Jewish leaders alarmed by rise in politically motivated antisemitic crimes (JTA) – The number of politically motivated crimes rose sharply in Germany last year, including a 15% rise in antisemitic offenses. The total documented by the country’s federal police force is the highest since contemporary record-keeping began in 2001. German officials said new efforts are underway to help police officers identify antisemitic crime. The annual report by the Federal Criminal Police Office released last week showed an 8.54% increase in political crimes over 2019, to 44,692 crimes, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. Within that total, the number of antisemitic crimes reported to police across the country rose to 2,351 from 2,032. The vast majority — 85 % — fell into the categories of incitement to hate, insults and propaganda, including Holocaust denial and glorification of Nazi ideology. Fifty-five were violent crimes. The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, called the news “absolutely alarming and evidence of Germany’s failure” to deal with the problem. According to the German media, Schuster said that anti-Jewish harassment is found “everywhere, on the street and on the internet.” Several antisemitism watchdogs noted that many cases are not reported to police. “A large darkfield study by the criminal investigation unit of the state of Lower Saxony [in the former West Germany] in 2017 showed that only 12% of hate crimes are reported overall,” Alexander Rasumny, a spokesperson for the Berlin-based Federal Association of Departments for Research and Information on Antisemitism, or RIAS, which monitors and analyzes antisemitism, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Rasumny said the state’s criminal investigations department is preparing a follow-up study. Violent crimes with a political motivation jumped by 18.82% over the previous year. There were 11 murders in this category – nine in a right-wing extremist attack in February 2020 on a shisha bar in the city of Hanau. Right-wing extremism remains Germany’s largest domestic security threat, Seehofer said. The report found that 23,604 crimes were linked to right-wing perpetrators, an increase of 5.6%, while crimes linked to left-wing political ideologies rose 11.4%, to 10,971.
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MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | MAY 14, 2021 | 3 SIVAN 5781
Jewish students at UMass Amherst fear rise of antisemitism BY STACEY DRESNER
MHERST – When Noam Borensztajn began attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst two years ago, he was looking forward to having interesting and thoughtful discussions with people who have different opinions on different subjects. But he has found that having thoughtful conversations about Israel and antisemitism hasn’t been that easy. “I really thought I would come to college and people would be open and you know, empathetic, and it's just not the case,” Borensztajn said. Last month Borensztajn, now president of the Student Alliance for Israel (SAFI) and fellow student Ben Alvarez Dobrusin wrote a letter to UMass’s Daily Collegian to reflect on the atmosphere at UMass one year after the word “Palestine” was spray-painted on the UMass Hillel building on Holocaust Remembrance Day. “One year since the vandalism at Hillel, the Jewish community at UMass still feels afraid of rising antisemitism,” the letter stated. “While we greatly appreciate the university administration speaking out against this hatred, we need tangible actions to help Jewish students feel safe.” Just one week after their letter was published, the messages “From the River 2 the Sea” – known to be a call for the destruction of Israel – and “Palestine will be free” were spray-painted on a tunnel on campus. The graffiti was painted over and the vandalism is being investigated, according to the UMass administration. UMass Hillel posted a statement on Facebook regarding the vandalism. “While we support free speech, we condemn the use of inflammatory language and the defacement of public or private property. And we continue to call for a constructive approach to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict through promotion of dialogue, working for peace and affirmation of the humanity of both Israelis and Palestinians.” While calling for dialogue and peace is important, Borensztajn told the Jewish Ledger that he and many Jewish students at UMass are concerned, if not downright afraid, when it comes to these incidents, majewishledger.com
which they see as not only anti-Zionist, but also antisemitic. “I'd say it's a combination between fear and anger, because we're not sure what the next thing is going to be, or when it's going to come. But we know that it's going to happen. And we don't feel like there's anything really being done to stop it and I think that makes
say who I am without it having this added political connotation. Yes, I understand that there's all this political stuff but I also just can't change where I was born and where my name comes from.” Tamar Stollman, a rising senior at UMass, will serve as vice president of UMass’s J Street club next fall, and she is the founder
ANTI-ISRAEL GRAFFITI SPRAY PAINTED ON A TUNNEL AT UMASS AMHERST LATE LAST MONTH. CREDIT: STOPANTISEMITISM.ORG
us very nervous,” he said. “At the same time, all of these things have been sort of a rallying cry and I think the Jewish community has also come together, and we want to be active and do something about it.”
DEFINING ANTISEMITISM Besides the vandalism and some pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) events hosted by UMass in recent years (Mass. Jewish Ledger, Nov. 25, 2019), some Jewish students have also met with disapproval from fellow students on campus for supporting or having ties to Israel. “I have this Jewish identity, which is an amazingly complex identity and a huge part of that is being from Israel,” said Borensztajn, who was born in Jerusalem and came to the United States when he was two years old. “So, when I see this stuff exists all over campus, it makes me nervous to, for example, tell people my name. My name is an Israeli name and when people ask me where I’m from, I feel like I can't even tell them because who knows what kind of reactions I’m going to get. “I’ve had bad experiences where people decide to just walk away and not talk to me anymore. It just makes it harder for me to be a student on this campus because I can't just
of “Jew Talk,” a club where Jewish students get together “to talk about Jewish life and being Jewish.” Stollman describes herself as progressive. “I was pretty involved with progressive student groups on campus until I started to feel like I was unwelcome because I was Jewish. It was just very uncomfortable to be a Jew in a progressive space,” she said. “I’m not directly offended by this graffiti, but I feel like it shows a bigger picture of what it means to be a Jew on a college campus. It’s just uncomfortable and unsafe. “It is okay to be anti-Zionist and respectful of Jews,” Stollman added, “but I think the line is really thin, and it has crossed the line very often on college campuses because I think students are not the most well-versed in Jewish history.” And when the line is crossed and discussion about the subject gets heated, that’s when antisemitic sentiment grows on college campuses, including UMass. “The more intense it gets,” Stollman said, “the more antisemitic it gets as well.” Stollman was one of the students who helped to organize an April Zoom meeting of various representatives of UMass.’s Jewish student community and the Student Government Association (SGA) focusing on antisemitism. The meeting was open to
the public and members of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) joined the Zoom event. “We were able to kind of have a conversation, which didn't go well,” Borensztajn said. “We wanted to have a conversation about antisemitism generally and talk about how we can combat antisemitism at UMass. And we were explicitly not just talking about Israel. Israel was a part of it, but we also wanted to talk about swastikas that had gone up on campus before and Jews not feeling safe on campus. And some of the SJP students came on and basically said ‘we can't have this conversation on antisemitism unless you acknowledge that antisemitism and anti-Zionism are different.’ It was super frustrating for non-Jews to come in and say that they should be able to define this conversation on antisemitism. It sort of derailed from there.” “Jews should be deciding what antisemitism is,” Stollman said. “You never see any other marginalized group not deciding what their oppression looks like. So, it is like a slap in the face to have people who don’t experience antisemitism come and say, ‘well this isn’t antisemitism’ -- to say, ‘we don’t believe Israel should exist, but that isn’t antisemitism. It’s not antisemitism because I said it’s not antisemitism.’ That’s not how it works.” One of the steps Borensztajn hopes to take as president of SAFI next fall is working with the UMass student government to officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism -- “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” “That's something that started brewing this semester and we're hoping to find an opportunity in the next semester to really pick it up. I think that is a good first step in really addressing the crisis,” Borensztajn said. n
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
MAY 14, 2021
Suzanne Forman’s bean-to-bar chocolate is an organic kosher treat BY STACEY DRESNER
ORTHAMPTON – Suzanne Forman has always been a chocolate lover. But her relationship with the confection changed when she took a trip to a cacao farm in Belize 10 years ago and learned about bean-to-bar chocolate. Forman has now founded Tangle Chocolate, premium, ethical chocolate which she produces – bean-to-bar -- at her home in Northampton. “Bean-to-bar chocolate means that the maker started with cacao beans, did all of the roasting and refining in house, and ended up with the finished chocolate. That describes Tangle Chocolate,” Forman said. “Very large companies technically can be bean-tobar chocolate makers too, but the term is generally used to describe small chocolate makers like us.” Named for the wild, vine-like vegetation that covers the Amazon rain forest, Forman’s Tangle Chocolate is not only a more rich and complex chocolate than American taste buds may be used to, but it also helps support the livelihoods of Guatemalan farmers who produce ethically grown cacao beans. The thin 9-calorie Tangle slivers, which are 70 percent cacao, have only two ingredients – the chocolate produced from permented cacao beans and some sugar. “The beans are organic, the sugar’s organic. And that’s it,” Forman says. “I don’t add any extra cocoa butter or anything, so you’re really just tasting the chocolate.” Tangle Chocolate is vegan and now also kosher, recently certified by the Massachusetts Kosher Commission. “We gave a hechsher. We did a full kashering and we’re very excited about it, because it’s all organic, with very high-quality simple ingredients,” said Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, head of the SKC. “It’s all pareve. It would be a great thing after a fleischig meal.” He added that Tangle Chocolate is just the kind of gourmet product the SKC has been seeking to include on their list of local kosher items. “It’s organic and natural. We deal with small companies and want to increase the number of kosher producers, especially the niche artisanal ones in the Connecticut River Valley.”
FAIR TRADE Tangle is available only online at tanglechocolate.com. Forman says she has no interest in selling it wholesale. “I really enjoy having contact with my actual customers.
SUZANNE FORMAN WITH SOME OF THE FERMENTED CACAO BEANS SHE USES IN HER TANGLE CHOCOLATE.
And I also get to have control over how it’s handled, how it’s stored, how fresh it is all of that stuff, which I wouldn’t if I were wholesaling it.” Tangle Chocolate is available in various sizes, from the smallest “Act of Kindness,” a $9.90 box with one ounce of the slivers; the “Language of Love” with 2.7 ounces of the chocolate for $29.90; and the 5.4-ounce “Spirit of Generosity” for $49.90. Forman also offers Tangle hot chocolate and other goodies, that are all available in several gift sets. Tangle Chocolate’s cost may be a bit steeper than treats in the candy aisles, but Forman says the higher cost means that the cacao farmers she purchases from in the Cahabón region of Guatemala can make a good living. “My beans are pooled by about 64 family farms, each small. They pool their beans together so that they have enough to sell,” she explained. “That is really gratifying. I pay way more than the fair-trade price for these beans and the families have been able to do basic things, like have all their kids in school, have a budget that they can count on, buy a new piece of equipment. “I really like this group of farmers also because they recognize and respect the labor of women that are involved, and that’s not always the case,” she added. “So, some women
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
| APRIL 16, 2021
are on the board. Some have even started a little side business making some things with Guatemalan fabric, so that they are really opening up possibilities, for their kids as well. The kids are able to stay on the farm now or have the choice of whether or not they’re going to stay, which is a real problem with such poverty -- kids leave. If people can’t
make a living growing cacao, they’re not going to do it.” Forman regularly receives bags of the fermented cacao beans, sent to her from farmers. Forman roasts the beans straight from the bag, then winnows them – taking the thin outer husk off. She grinds the leftover pieces for several days in a stone grinding machine. She then tempers the chocolate and forms it into her delicate slivers. “The chocolate is very pure. The cacao beans are amazing. Cacao is a fruit…It has all of these flavors when it’s not adulterated and diluted. To me it’s very fruity. It has some citrus…some kind of cherry notes. “It’s like wine – it has terroir, and depending on elevation, rainfall, the soil, and how the beans are fermented, the flavor can vary from year to year a little bit. So, in small companies like mine, there might be a variation in batches of chocolate, or you know, from harvest to harvest. And I love that. That’s what I celebrate.” Forman says that she is basically producing Tangle Chocolate all of the time. “Something is always in some stage of being produced. The batches that I make are very small. I make about five pounds at a time. I also do all the packaging myself.” A body-mind therapist for several years, Forman’s foray into the world of chocolate after her first trip to Belize, resulted in Boho Chocolate, which she and partner Charlie Burke founded. A year and a half ago they “parted ways” and Forman began to build Tangle Chocolate. “It took a long time, getting my formulas down, getting the trademarks going, getting labels and the packaging going, all of that stuff was time consuming,” she said. But to Forman, it’s a labor of love – a love of chocolate and a love for tikkun olam – repairing the world. “It can be almost overwhelming to find a little area to help make the world better. I mean, we’re in a mess right now,” Forman said. “But chocolate is something that so many people already love; it brings so much joy to so many people already that it seemed like just a really natural, joyful place to do my little part.” n
Bountiful Bowls honors community members who ‘step up’ to fight hunger
We meet the 3rd Thursday of each month from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Now plus also going forward
BY STACEY DRESNER
ESTERN MASS. – This year the theme of Bountiful Bowls, the premier fundraising event of Rachel’s Table, is inspiring others to “step up” and participate in the fight against hunger. The May 20 event will honor three antihunger activists from the community who have definitely stepped up – Suze Goldman, and Bob and Roberta Bolduc – each of whom have worked tirelessly in the Pioneer Valley community to provide access to healthy food. This virtual Bountiful Bowls event will feature appearances by Rep. Jim McGovern,
State Sen. Eric Lesser, as well as video presentations sharing the stories of the honorees and other volunteers who make Rachel’s Table’s work possible. The event will be hosted by Barry Kriger, anchor emeritus of 22 News WWLP, a longtime supporter of Rachel’s Table. “Every other year we honor people who have really stepped up with regard to food and hunger, said Jodi Falk, director of Rachel’s Table. “Suze in particular has stepped up in a number of ways. First, in helping us initiate Feeding the Frontlines, and she also started the Lily’s Fruit Fund Initiative. That’s why we are honoring her, not only for her longstanding service to
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Caregiver Support Group 3rd Thursday 4:30PM
JGS Lifecare is happy to announce they have brought back their monthly caregiver support group. This month we will be featuring guest speaker Brenda Labbe from GSSSI !!!
Greater Springfield Senior Services (GSSSI) Community Programs Supervisor will highlight and provide in-depth details for programs and services that support family caregivers. GSSSI will also share information about a program that has recently received limited grant funding for additional short-term support for family caregivers. We encourage questions so make a list of your questions and we will do our very best to answer them all. Please reach out to facilitator Mary-Anne Schelb at mschelb@JGSLifecare.org or call 413-567-6211 x 3571 to register. A Zoom link will be emailed to you.
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A to Z Moving & Storage, Inc.
Owner operated and proudly serving the community and greater New England for over 25 years Robert Zeller “Happy feet move faster” SUZE GOLDMAN, RIGHT, DELIVERING RACHEL’S TABLE’S FIRST BATCH OF GROCERY GIFT CARDS AS A TOKEN OF APPRECIATION TO THE HEALTH CARE TEAM AT CARE ONE IN EAST LONGMEADOW ON JULY 22 OF LAST YEAR.
413-736-4440 visit us on the web at:
find us online at wmassjewishledger.com ROBERTA AND BOB BOLDUC WILL BE HONORED AT BOUNTIFUL BOWLS FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO FIGHTING HUNGER.
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
MAY 14, 2021
INSTALLING INSPIRATION Cindy Kornet’s art exhibit at Leavitt Family Jewish Home Inspired by the Love of her parents
ONGMEADOW -- For Cindy Kornet the past year of uncertainly and isolation due to Covid-19 was a year of immense introspection and creativity. During the Covid lock-down, Kornet committed herself to creating one new piece of art each day and over the year amassed a varied collection of inspirational images. In April, Kornet installed representational pieces of her art in a new gallery located in the connector building that bridges The Leavitt Family Jewish Home with Sosin Center for Rehabilitation, through Michael’s Café. The exhibit is entitled, “Repair the World.” “Tikkun Olam is one of our reasons for being here in this world,” Kornet said. “We have an opportunity to do the mitzvahs or good deeds daily. This has been a difficult time for all. There was much loss and suffering and that cannot be overlooked. Being home more has also offered its own silver linings. Hopefully, we all are able to search within, evaluate, make healthful decisions, and will emerge better versions of ourselves.” It is fitting that Kornet’s art is the first installation in the new gallery. She, her husband, Lou and their son, Nathaniel, donated the gallery system that has converted the long and brightly lit connector building into a gallery. It is dedicated in memory of her parents, Phyllis (Barr) and Arthur Lutz. “My mother was, and loved all things, beautiful. My father loved my mother and anything she loved. They both loved our family dearly. It really is that simple. I hope this exhibit will be the first of many in the JGS Gallery, that still has an opportunity to be named. If one really looks, one can see the beauty in everything,” said Kornet. A local multi-media artist, Kornet explores Jewish values and biblical history, spirituality and inspiration themes, mixing abstract painting, encaustics (painting with wax and carving into it), collage, and uneven perspectives with realism. She describes her art as “spiritual, uplifting and hopeful.” “Cindy’s work is spiritually elevating, the jewel tones are soothing and create a sense of warmth and calm,” said Susan Kimball Halpern, director of development and communication at JGS Lifecare. “I am excited about this show and having Cindy’s loving and warm energy in our Home for our residents, staff and visitors to enjoy. This installation is also a sign that we are hopefully 8
CINDY KORNET IN FRONT OF SOME OF HER WORKS IN THE “REPAIR THE WORLD” EXHIBIT AT JGS LIFECARE.
turning the corner on Covid and planning for a return to social activities. As more people are vaccinated and restrictions on family visitations and social gathering lift, we look forward to scheduling a gallery opening for the community - hopefully this summer. In the meantime, we look forward to scheduling artist talks with our residents and staff, to explore the symbolism and meaning one can take away from ‘Repair the World.’”
CAN CAN DANCER
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
| APRIL 16, 2021
MILESTONES B’NAI MITZVAH JENNA BARR, daughter of Paul and Marja Barr, will celebrate her bat mitzvah on Saturday, May 22. They are members of Temple Beth El in Springfield. ROBIN CRESSOTTI, daughter of Laura and Stefan Cressotti, will celebrate her bat mitzvah on Saturday, June 5. They are members of Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough. SAMANTHA FINKLE, daughter of Michael and Jill Finkle, will celebrate her bar mitzvah on Saturday, May 22. They are members of Temple Emanuel Sinai in Worcester.
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TALYAH GREENE, daughter of Rabbi James and Jenn Greene, will celebrate her bat mitzvah on Saturday, June 5. They are members of Temple Beth El in Springfield. MARCUS McCOY, son of Julie and Brett McCoy, will celebrate his bar mitzvah on Saturday, May 29. They are members of Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough. CARTER MOORE, son of Marna Bronfen and Ivan Moore, will celebrate his bar mitzvah on Saturday, May 22. They are members of Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough. NOAH ORLOFF, son of Howard and Joelle Orloff, will celebrate his bar mitzvah on Saturday, May 15. They are members of Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough. BETSY POWELL, daughter of Andrew and Jennifer Powell, will celebrate her bat mitzvah on Saturday, May 15. They are members of Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough. LJ ROSE, son of Howard and Kathryn Rose, will celebrate his bar mitzvah on Saturday, June 12. They are members of Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough. LEVI WILK, son of Saul and Lindsay Wilk, will celebrate his bar mitzvah on Saturday, June 12. They are members of Temple Emanuel Sinai of Worcester.
DR. JEFFREY S. KRESS NAMED PROVOST OF THE JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
he Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) has announced the appointment of Dr. Jeffrey S. Kress as its new provost. Kress has served as a member of the JTS faculty since 2000, where he is currently the Dr. Bernard Heller Chair in Jewish Education. He has taught classes such as Social and Emotional Learning in Jewish Education and Empirical Research Methods to students, as well as conducted valuable academic research through the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education in the field of social, emotional, and spiritual development in education. He earned his BA from University of Pennsylvania, and his MS and PhD in clinical psychology from Rutgers University. He presents regularly at academic and professionaldevelopment conferences and has published numerous journal articles. He has also authored several books, including Development, Learning, and Community: Educating for Identity in Pluralistic Jewish High Schools, which received a National Jewish Book Award, and his most recent book Nurturing Students’ Character: Everyday Teaching Activities for Social and Emotional Learning, written with Dr. Maurice Elias. Dr. Kress served on the leadership team for the Fellowship in Educating for Applied Jewish Wisdom, as the chair of the Network for Research in Jewish Education, and a Dr. Jonathan Woocher Fellow at Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah. “Teaching, learning, and scholarship at JTS sit at the intersection of academic expertise, professional development, and personal growth. All of this takes place within a community of Jewish learning and living. It is an honor to be able to be in a position to help this work continue to grow and flourish,” said Kress. Dr. Stephen Garfinkel, acting provost, will retire when Dr. Kress assumes the role on July 1, 2021.
For more information or a personal guided tour, please contact us. 463 Summer Hill Rd. Madison, CT PART OF THE 2018-19 BEMA CONCERT SERIES www.laurelwood.org 2626203.421.3736 ALBANY AVENUE • WEST HARTFORD • 860.233.9696 MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
| MAY 14, 2021
News and Jewish Community Update
FOUR YEARS OF LIFE & LEGACY
ur community recently gathered for a virtual celebration commemorating our fourth year in the LIFE & LEGACY® program. LIFE & LEGACY is a capacity-building partnership program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation providing training, support, and monetary incentives to help Jewish organizations secure meaningful afterlifetime legacy gifts. It was so nice to celebrate the successes of this wonderful program among the community STEVEN SCHIMMEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR leaders who have committed to securing a better future for Central MA. Those who have joined the program have ensured that decades from now, we will still enjoy the vibrant synagogues, organizations, and the Jewish Federation and its family of agencies that make our community so special. LIFE & LEGACY is hosted locally by Jewish Federation, and 10 other local community agencies and synagogues are partners. Jewish Federation recognized how important this initiative is and our board has invested $260,000 over the past four years in the program, just one of the many ways we have kept our promise to support our community today and into the future. The program has already proven to be a great success and return on this investment. Over the past four years, 416 legacy commitments were made. These are personal commitments to provide future financial stability totaling an anticipated $10.9 million. These promises are the heart of this collaborative endowment building effort. Two million dollars have already been placed into the endowment which has provided $140,000 in return income to support local programs this year alone.Think about how beneficial this will be going forward- the gifts that are placed into
the endowment will support Jewish life for years to come. Thank you to the many visionaries who have generously joined this program and to the community leaders who have guided Central MA’s efforts along the way; especially Sharon Krefetz, who was an early advocate for LIFE & LEGACY; Steve Sosnoff; the Federation Board; Leah Shuldiner; the countless volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make sure Central MA reached our potential; and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, an organization that has been remarkable, generous, thoughtful, and strategic in every way to make all this possible. Going forward there is still room to do more. This program gives each of us the opportunity to ensure that the services and organizations we cherish will be available for future generations. Each of us should join! There is no question, a legacy gift is the best way to be part of the chain from generation to generation. It is a recognition that this community was able to embrace us when we arrived and with our help will be a vibrant Jewish community for the future. We hope that every person will join us in making this commitment. Jewish Federation of Central MA is among 70 other communities participating in this national Jewish legacy program. To date, LIFE & LEGACY has secured afterlifetime commitments with an estimated value of more than a 1.1 billion dollars for communities across North America.
STAY CONNECTED YAD (YOUNG ADULT DIVISION) Shavuot Ice Cream Outing, Tuesday, May 18th, Time and locale TBA Virtual Game Night, May date TBA June Hike and Picnic at Lake Chauncey, Westborough, Sunday, June date and time TBA Socially Distant Picnic at Tower Hill, July, Date TBA YAD in the Dean Park, August 15th, 11:00 am Keep up with ongoing events via YAD Private Facebook Group
PJ LIBRARY & PJ OUR WAY Rockin’ Havdalah Outdoors at Haskell Playground Pavilion, Westborough, Saturday, May 15th, 4:00 pm Picnic in the Park, June date and locale TBA
COMMUNITY Community Jewish Heritage Day at the Woo Sox, Sunday, August 1st Please keep in touch with all ongoing virtual events by visiting our Facebook pages or contacting Mindy Hall, email@example.com
BREAKING BREAD AT YAD’S VIRTUAL APRIL SHABBAT
BREAKING PASSOVER WITH A VIRTUAL YAD CARBFEST
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
| APRIL 16, 2021
News and Jewish Community Update
CENTRAL MASS CELEBRATES 4 YEARS OF LEGACY GIVING PROGRAM
n Sunday, April 11 over 100 Central Massachusetts LIFE & LEGACY donors gathered on Zoom to celebrate the 4th year of the program. 287 people in Central Mass have made 409 legacy commitments valued at over $10 Million! Below are Leah Shuldiner’s remarks at the event. As Jews we refer to ourselves as “the people of the book.” The Torah is many things, and it is easy to identify it as a book of rules and lessons, but it’s more a book of history. It is the book of our collective ancestry. We recognize the people in the Torah as our people in a real and direct way. When we use our Hebrew names in a formal setting, we tack on our parents’ names to ours. We acknowledge our parents, the people who brought us to Judaism. As a convert, I use Abraham and Sarah as my “Jewish parents”. For Jews, the connection to our ancestors is intimate, not distant. When we read Torah, their trials and blessings, the lessons they learn and teach, are handed down l’dor v’dor. They are our stories. We are the People of the Book, but we are also the People of Remembering. In fact, we have a responsibility to remember. We remember the Exodus. We remember the Holocaust. We remember our immigrant stories. We will remember COVID. SUNDAY MORNING YAD BRUNCH, STITCH AND B*TCH
We build the future by connecting to the past, over and over again. But the stories aren’t enough. It’s not enough to hand our sons and daughters a copy of the Torah. We want to teach them how to worship together. We want them to hear the teachings of a rabbi. We want them to have Hebrew teachers, volunteer opportunities, a synagogue building in which to feel at home. Jewish camps to spend the summer. We want Jewish-centered healthcare for our parents and trips to Israel for all ages. And as a people, we create all these things. Especially dedicated people like you – you create all these things – we together create these things. And that is what legacy is: Taking the legacy of our ancestors, combining it with our personal legacy and leaving something real and substantial for those who will shape the future after us. When Kahlil Gibran wrote about giving, he wrote: They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space. I love the image of the flowering tree giving its fragrance to the winds, never knowing who will smell it or if it will be appreciated. Legacy giving is like that too. It is a leap of faith that those who come after you will steward your gifts wisely for the good of the community.
It is giving for the joy of giving, not for the control of knowing how it will be spent. It is trust in the future, faith in the children, love for what you will never know. It is mystery and action and building foundation and adventure all rolled up into one. I truly get giddy when I talk about legacy giving. This isn’t my profession because it’s a job that was available. It’s my profession because I am constantly inspired by the stories of you who give. I am constantly awed by you who as volunteers put so much loving effort into creating the future. I am truly excited to watch communities come alive when you give with joy and we receive
with pride and commitment. I made my first legacy commitment when I was 27 and wrote my first will. It was a simple remainder statement, and I never told anyone, but it filled me with pride to know it was there. It was my secret gift to the world. We have accomplished so much for the Central Massachusetts Jewish community in just 4 short years. Thank you, Harold, for creating this amazing program. Thank you, Arlene, for your training and guidance over four years. Thank you, Sharon, Steven and the rest of the executive committee for the vision in bringing this program to Central Massachusetts. Thank you to all or our amazing volunteers and staff who work with such joy and passion to make this program a success. Thank you to you for your loving gifts. Thank you for letting me be a part of all of this. I look forward to the future of this program with all of you.
JFED’S CHAVERIM AND BOROUGHS HADASSAH MEET UP FOR A JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL DISCUSSION GROUP
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD AND STAFF OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF CENTRAL MA, WE WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY HEALTHY AND SWEET NEW YEAR.
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
MAY 14, 2021
SHAVUOT 5781 ‘Your people will be my people’: A Shavuot shout-out to Ruth’s ‘daughters’ BY DEBORAH FINEBLUM
(JNS) “You shall love the convert for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” — Deuteronomy 10:19
here was a moment some 2,500 years ago when a recently widowed Moabite princess refused to abandon her aging mother-in-law and return home—a moment that made history by becoming the first convert in recorded Jewish history. Ruth’s words —“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried”—have echoed down through the generations, as powerful now as the day they were spoken. The biblical woman is recalled each
spring as Jews everywhere read the story of devotion and love during the holiday of Shavuot (beginning at sunset on Thursday, May 28, it lasts two days in the Diaspora and one in Israel). It’s a time when Jews the world over remember that awesome morning 3,332 years ago when God revealed Himself to a ragtag bunch of escaped slaves at Mount Sinai and gave them a lasting gift: the Torah. It’s an event now marked by late-night Torah study, confirmations, and dairy foods such as blintzes and cheesecake. But honoring Ruth doesn’t just have to be limited to Shavuot. There are echoes of her legacy every time a woman steps out of her conversion mikvah, having promised to make the Jewish faith her own. For Ruth—and for them—this means adopting not just a Jewish identity but a Jewish destiny, pledging that their descendants will keep the faith. In her
case, Ruth’s great-grandson would be no less than King David, and his son, Solomon, inheriting the throne of Israel after him. “Hers is a story of great love,” says Rabbi Moshe Miller, author of Rising Moon: Unraveling the Book of Ruth. “She leaves her homeland after suffering terrible personal losses and is reduced to grinding poverty in a foreign land, only to discover love and become the mother of the royal house of her adopted country.” Miller says since “Ruth embraced a new identity and a new future,” then her spiritual “daughters” are certainly following her lead. ‘This is their place’ At a time of continued intermarriage (the 2013 Pew report revealed that 44 percent of American Jews’ marriages are to non-Jews, with the percentage increasing to 58 percent when counting those wed after 2005), of the roughly 17 percent who become Jews through conversion, most are female. At least if the students at the Route 613 conversion preparation program are any indication, women represent some 80 percent of the Manhattan-based conversion program. Director Rabbi Maury Kelman says the prospective converts he has taught in the last 16 years include spiritual searchers chafing under birth religions that don’t fit, those with Jewish fathers, others whose Jewish friends took them to Shabbat and other celebrations, and those in a romantic relationship with someone Jewish. “Many tell me they always felt an affinity with Judaism, and then maybe in college they took a course in world religions and BOOM! It hits them that this is their place.” And although Kelman says it’s hard to generalize, he’s convinced that “women tend to have a more spiritually seeking side than men,” and they’re often drawn to Judaism’s positive focus on marriage and the family, especially reflected in the observance of Shabbat when families, freed from technological distractions, “focus on each other for 25 hours—eating, praying and playing together.” Also, while most of his students are not dating a Jew and are interested in converting for various other reasons, says Kelman, “in the situations where a couple does approach me, it’s usually a Jewish man dating a nonJewish woman.”
More women joining the Jewish people makes sense when it comes to affecting the next generation. So says Rabbi Manis Friedman, longtime Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in Minnesota, author of Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore? (1990) and dean of the Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies, where he’s worked with countless women converts. “The mother’s influence is simply stronger than the father’s,” says Friedman. “And we’re not talking about chromosomes here; we’re talking about a mother’s greater influence on her child’s developing soul.” One huge bonus: Many on the path to conversion pull their Jewish partners in with them, which is why they’re asked to attend Route 613 class and gatherings. “With the student often really getting really into it,” says Kelman, “this is a journey they really need to take together.” That’s what happened with Allison and Paul Holzer, who met back in 2002. When they began to get serious, Allison, a Kentucky native, says, “I knew it was part of his identity, so at first, I just I wanted to understand what Judaism was all about.” Indeed, Holzer says she in no way expected to be “so intrigued and so engaged.” And, taking an Introduction to Judaism class a couple times, her enthusiasm both grew and became contagious. “Paul didn’t grow up religious, but he started engaging more as I was engaging.” Moving to West Hartford, Conn., in 2012, she relates that “we discovered Passover and really embraced it.” They married and had their first son (they’ve since had their second), and Holzer joined a mother’s circle at the local Jewish Community Center. “Eventually,” she says, “it was becoming clear to me how much Judaism was aligned with my own values.” But though she says she “felt Jewish long before I went into the mikvah,” the ritual itself—which she did as part of a ceremony with her sons and husband—turned out to be a watershed event. “I had thought I was already there, but afterwards; I felt a much greater sense of the commitment that we were collectively owning as a family.” As their older son, Adrian, now 9, told them: “Before that we were half-Jewish, and now we’re all Jewish.” But Holzer herself sees it a little differently. “I feel I’m not really a different CONTINUED ON PAGE 14
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
| APRIL 16, 2021
SHAVUOT in the KiTCHeN
he holiday of Shavuot commemorates the day when the Israelites received the Torah after wandering in the desert and is famous for its dairy dishes. For those who can finally bring friends and family together for the holiday, and also for those who can’t, here are some recipes that are just perfect for the holiday.
FETA CHEESE & CHARD BUREKAS Brought to the Israel by Sephardic immigrants, Israelis have a serious love affair with the bureka – a savory stuffed pastry that originated in Turkey. It doesn’t matter where you are – in a coffee shop, a market, a high-tech conference, a kindergarten party, or even a wedding, you’ll find burekas on the menu. Traditionally filled with bulgarian cheese, spinach, potato, or meat, Israel’s burekas tend to use puff pastry, rather than the more traditional filo pastry used by the Turks. They’re also surprisingly easy to make. Ingredients
8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until deep golden and cooked on the bottom. 9. Place on a plate, cut into squares and garnish with zaatar, peeled hardboiled egg and pickles on the side.
ISRAELI CHEESECAKE What does the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the Exodus from Egypt have to do with cheesecake? Different theories abound, but all we can say for sure is that cheesecake is the dessert of choice for this late spring festival. And what better way to enjoy cheesecake than Israeli-style? Ingredients CRUST Crumbs from 1 package Lotus cookies (250 grams; 31 tea cookies) ¼ cup butter
BATTER 1.5 kilos 9% white cheese (or 1 kilo sour cream plus ½ kilo ricotta cheese) 1¼ cup sugar
1 package of butter puff pastry
1 package of feta cheese (250 g)
1 tub of cottage cheese (250 g)
Pinch lemon zest
Large bunch of chard leaves, washed and torn into chunks
4 tablespoons corn flour (cornstarch)
Salt/pepper/granulated garlic to taste
Warmed strawberry jam for glaze
For garnish, hardboiled egg, pickles and zaatar
4 tablespoons flour
Directions 1. Combine cheese(s) and sugar. Mix well.
Directions 1. Heat oven to 400° F (200° C).
2. Add eggs, vanilla extract and lemon zest, and mix to combine.
2. Make filling (pulse all ingredients – except the beaten egg — together in food processor), put in piping bag, cut the tip, and set aside.
3. Sift corn flour and flour over the cheese mixture, and whisk into the mix.
3. Flour the work surface and roll out the dough. 5. Pipe a line of cheese, roll dough up over the filling twice into a jellyroll shape, and cut. Shape as desired and put on tray. 6. Continue with the rest of the cheese and dough. 7. Brush the top of the burekas with beaten egg.
4. Pour into a paper-lined 9×13-inch baking pan and bake at 180C (350F) in a water bath for 40-50 minutes until the middle has just set. 5. Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature, then cool in the refrigerator 4-6 hours. 6. Once completely chilled, decorate as desired and serve. You can use whipped cream and sliced strawberries or garnish with fresh glazed fruit. MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
MAY 14, 2021
Shavuot 5781 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12
person now that I’m Jewish. Maybe I’m just more me.” ‘Part of a people, tradition and history’ It took Gayle Berman 17 years after her first date with the Air Force Band’s principle clarinetist Harold Berman in 1989 to take the plunge. But she will tell you, the process began years before. Growing up on a farm in Illinois, Gayle Redlingshafer was working as choir director for a Texas megachurch when she met the clarinetist in question. But it wasn’t until after they married and moved to Boston for law school (his) and a Doctor of Musical Arts program (hers), and after they adopted baby Micah from the former Soviet Union that Berman began thinking of herself as raising her child as a Jew. In fact, it began the day she picked up Micah from preschool, and he was saying, “I am the Pharaoh, and I will not let your people go.” “Seeing him so comfortable in this world, I felt something blossoming inside me,” she recalls 18 years later. Much of this transformation is recorded in the Bermans’ memoir Doublelife: One Family, Two Faiths and a Journey of Hope.
Between Micah’s arrival and that of their daughter Ilana, Berman took conversion lessons in Boston and, later, in Springfield, Mass., where she met with the beit din. The entire family immersed in the mikvah one autumn morning in 2006. “Harold had always said, ‘If you convert, I want you to do it only when it’s the right thing for you and not for me or my family,’ but by then, it was definitely my soul talking.” On that same day, the Bermans were married again—this time in a religious ceremony with their children under the chuppah with them. Moving to Israel was another step that appeared initially “impossible,” she says. Back in Springfield, having returned from a family trip to Israel, they noticed 4-yearold Micah counting his leftover shekels. When asked why, he casually announced his intention of living in Israel, and that he was saving them for that time. Four years later, they were on a flight back to Israel, this time as incoming new citizens. What does the potential convert actually see in Jewish tradition, belief and history? In Ruth’s case, says Miller, it was her mother-in-law. “Naomi was a person of extraordinary character. Ruth observed her and saw the light of goodness radiating from her, and she knew she wanted to be part of that light.” It was a yearning so powerful, he adds, “that she had no hesitation to leave everything
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she knew and become part of a tradition, a people, and eventually even its history.”
‘From the first Shabbat, I fell in love with it’
‘Just as Jewish as any of us’
Though Ruth neglected to say that, she certainly could have, since after the former Moabite princess’s child’s child (David) ascended the throne of Israel, as did his child (Solomon), Miller says it earned her the title as “mother of royalty.” The children of Ariella Aili Craven are also being raised a world away from their mother’s birthplace (Singapore) and far from the other places she’s called home over the years, including Hong Kong, London, and New York. In fact, Shabbat mornings now typically find her 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter in children’s services at their Jerusalem synagogue—services their mother happens to be leading. Hers was a Jewish journey that began nearly two decades ago back in Singapore when she met a Jewish fellow named Joseph Craven. “He wasn’t religious at all, but after I graduated, I wanted to go to Israel to see what Judaism was all about,” she says. “From the first Shabbat, I fell in love with it; all the questions Christianity couldn’t answer for me, Judaism did. I started wondering why everyone wasn’t converting to Judaism.” Craven’s conversion spanned many years and many countries but, in the end, she knew that Israel needed to be their home. “I wanted to make sure my kids have Yiddishkeit,” she says. “Raising them here, I know their foundation is strong, to be able to withstand the pressures of the outside world when they get older, whatever they will be.” And like Ruth, their spiritual mother, Craven, Berman, Lulu and Holzer are among those who are able to see their commitment to the Jewish people pass down to the next generation. It’s a future even more long-term for Sarah Katherine Schiffer of Freeport, Maine, a descendent of Mayflower stock who was recently able to witness her granddaughter’s moment under the chuppah. “Such nachas,” says Schiffer with a sigh. At 14, she got her hands on a copy of Herman Wouk’s This is My God, which launched a serious study of Judaism. That same year, when her grandmother died and was laid out in an open coffin, the teen was “appalled” and instructed her family that, should she meet an untimely end, “to bury me in a way as close to the Jewish tradition as possible.” By 18, she moved out of the house so she could set up a kosher kitchen; by 19, she was pummeling the rabbi who steadfastly refused to convert her with letter after insistent letter. “I wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and I got more and more aggressive,” she says. The following year, the rabbi relented, and she converted. “I am glad I was able to become Jewish and raise Jewish kids,” says Schiffer, now 69, “and even see my daughter marry a rabbi. “But to have Jewish grandchildren? That’s the icing on the cake.” n
Even when the original premise disappears, this new belonging often stays strong and unshakable. That’s what Irini Lulu learned. Born in Greece into the Greek Orthodox faith, in 2009 she found herself living between New York City and Philadelphia, involved in a serious relationship with a Jewish man and learning about Judaism in the Route 613 program. By 2011, that relationship became history, but her love affair with Judaism was in full swing, and she emerged from the mikvah as a Jew the following year. “Everything I heard in class, everything I read, made total sense to me, all of it,” she says. “After a while, I realized I didn’t have to be in love with the person anymore, but I could be completely in love with the Jewish religion. As a way of life, it just made sense to me.” Looking back on it, she says, “I think he was the messenger that brought me to it. And if anything comes too easily, you don’t appreciate it.” In 2013, she met Omri Lulu, the man she would marry (with Kelman conducting the wedding). They’ve now had three children together and live in Philadelphia. “I look at my conversion like it was my Ph.D.,” says Lulu. “I’ve learned you have to see the good in every difficult circumstance, that all the hard times happen for a reason—the Jews I’ve met and now being a Jew myself that taught me that.” Indeed, the Jews they meet have a profound impact on a convert or prospective convert—a lesson Miller reminds us that we can learn from how Naomi took Ruth under her wing. Indeed, with much emphasis and numerous programs designed to help people prepare for this life translation, there is a risk of neglecting the after-support, agrees Kelman. “They need to be able to turn to us throughout the entire adjustment period, including being sensitive to feelings of their family.” For Holzer, this support was crucial. “My friends, my rabbis and teachers, the whole community have been there for me throughout,” she says. “Never pushing, but always available when I need to talk.” It helps to remember that in a spiritual sense, the Jewish world is simply welcoming these folks home, says Friedman. “When we consider that their souls were already Jewish—and converts will say, ‘I don’t know why, I just had to be Jewish’—once they convert, they’re just as Jewish as any of us. It’s just that we had the womb to be born from and they had the mikvah water.”
Going a capella for the period of Jewish mourning For artist Chanale Fellig-Harrel, music during this time on the calendar is akin to “a treat that we get once in a while.” BY DOVID ZAKLIKOWSKI
(JNS) When comedian Mendy Pellin posted on Twitter that “Sefira music is the audio equivalents of Pesach cereal,” he was referring to the recent trend of Orthodox singers to produce albums and singles of a capella music to listen to during the more than a month of mourning between Passover and Shavuot, known as sefirah, when many religious Jews do not listen to instrumental music. In Israel, Chanale Fellig-Harrel, a popular singer who has produced several a capella singles, was not amused. Pellin’s comment was, she said, “stale and tasteless,” adding that “the amount of work and time that goes into a capella music is no joke.” In his office in Brooklyn, N.Y., Pellin, who The New York Times called “Stephen Colbert with a beard and a black hat,” explained that kosher-for-Passover baked goods and cereals, which have been able to imitate the real stuff from potato starch or almond flour, just don’t taste as good. “There are some really good Passover cereals out there that are very good, but you are not going to eat those cereals after the holiday.” He says the same is for the new trend to produce a capella music for sefirah, literally “the counting,” referring to countdown from Passover to Shavuot. “I don’t see any weddings that they suddenly switch to sefirah
music during the weddings,” he quipped. She says her fans loved it, and so she recorded another single, “Yom Echad” (“One Day”), that she released this week. FelligHarrel notes that a capella is returning back to soulful music, when during a farbrengen (a Chassidic gathering in Lubavitch tradition), soulful melodies are belted from the heart, “where someone is always off harmony.” For her, Jewish music during the two mourning periods on the Jewish calendar returns to those intimate moments—“it is more like a treat that we get once in a while.” Jewish music producer Doni Gross could not agree more, saying that he wanted to replicate his time in Rayim Camp in Parksville, N.Y., where he headed the choir. During the time that the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem is marked, they would perform a capella for the campers. “There was something just pure,” he says about singing without instrumental music, which he says was more like cantata without the instrument. “It was very meaningful; it put you in the zone,” he describes. Since 2011 when he started pioneering sefirah music, he has produced five “Kumzitz in the Rain” albums. He says that he wanted to be able to capture the emotions from camp “to do in on a global level.” The producer, who just released a second a capella album—“Whispers ELI MARCUS of the Heart” with singer CREDIT: LEVI TEITELBAUM Benny Friedman—says that this is his favorite Jewish music is a capella. ‘The brain is much clearer’ Chassidic singer Eli Marcus could not disagree more with the sentiment of Fellig-Harrel and Gross. “Singing a capella is not geshmak for me,” he says using the Yiddish word “enjoyable.” He adds that “it seems weird to me, it never appealed to me. It’s like pork made in a lab.” Marcus, whose first performance was at his third birthday, recalls “I got a Fisher-Price tape recorder with a microphone” and never stopped since, saying at this time period, there
is another plus for him and for many other Orthodox singers. During sefirah with no Jewish weddings or concerts, he explains, it’s a good time for his voice to rest. “It is a forced vacation,” he says. “The brain is much clearer, and I will be home in the evenings to spend quality time with my children.” While Fellig-Harrel and Gross have produced soulful a capella, others have produced more Jewish pop music, with voices replacing instruments. “A capella albums have begun to sound more and more like real music over the years,” writes Rochel Weber, who writes a column on Jewish music for Mishpacha magazine, saying the “vocal sounds are technologically manipulated to simulate instrumental sounds.” This is the reason that Rabbi Gavriel Zinner, a prominent rabbi in the Borough Park neighborhood in Brooklyn, says that any a capella music is not OK. On the flip side, there are rabbis who say that any recorded music is not like listening to live instrumental music. Most Orthodox rabbinical authorities rule that recorded music is like listening to live
instrumental music, though many will rule that it’s fine if someone just wants to listen in the background and not for enjoyment, like they do all year round. Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, the rabbinic administrator of the Star K Kosher supervision, says that deciding Jewish law does not depend on the feelings of people and one should not listen to any instrumental music, even recorded. “Even bananas could give you simcha,” he tells JNS, using the Hebrew word for joy. “Or even learning Torah could give you simcha.” However, he notes that once you say that if you enjoy something that Jewish law never said is prohibited, “then you don’t know where you are going, and it could never end,” and thus a capella, even if it sounds like real instruments, is permitted. Gross says that even if it is permitted, he would not produce such music for these days. When he makes music for this time of Jewish mourning, he does it with a purpose “to set the tone, to put you in a certain mindset, to feel the days. When you are inspired, there is a lot you can accomplish.” n
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
MAY 14, 2021
Around Massachusetts PROJECT R.I.D.E. TUNE-UPS
PRINGFIELD -- The Kehillah (Special Needs) Department at the Springfield Jewish Community Center hosted its annual Project R.I.D.E. bike tune-up days on April 25 and May 2 at the Springfield Jewish Community Center. “Project R.I.D.E is incredible,” said Tina Edwards, director of Kehillah, “There’s something magical about riding a bike, and watching the excitement and happiness on the faces of the participants and their families, and being part of the tune-up day is such a joy.” Now in its 14th year, Project R.I.D.E. (recreation, independence, development, and equipment) loans modified tricycles to children and young adults with special needs, in addition to providing information about adaptive sports programs in Western Massachusetts. From Massachusetts and Vermont to Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire, our recreational adaptive tricycles have traveled all across New England, offering hundreds of individuals with unique needs the opportunity to participate in bike riding with their friends and families.
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
| MAY 14, 2021
BARAK SWARTTZ’S TEAM WINS EUROCUP
arak Swarttz of Westborough, son of Rabbi Michael Swarttz and Rabbi Carol Glass, celebrated with Israel as his Ness Tziona professional men’s basketball team won the Final Four of the EuroCup competition last weekend. Swarttz is the strength and conditioning coach for the team, which defeated a team from Russia in the semi-finals, and then Poland in the final. “It was big news all over Israel, and it put the team ‘on the map’ in Israel. Needless to say, it was thrilling for us to watch the games and the celebration,” said Rabbi Swarttz.
SYNAGOGUE DIRECTORY Western and Central Massachusetts
Jewish Community of Amherst Reconstructionist Rabbi Benjamin Weiner (413) 256-0160 email@example.com www.jcamherst.org 742 Main St., Amherst, MA 01002
Temple Israel Unafﬁliated/Egalitarian Reb Sarah Noyovitz (978) 249-9481 firstname.lastname@example.org 107 Walnut Street Athol, MA 01331
Congregation Beth El Reconstructionist Rabbi Micah Becker Klein (802) 442-9645 cbevtofﬁce@gmail.com www.cbevermont.org 225 North St., Bennington, VT 05201
Congregation Shaarei Zedeck Conservative Lay Leadership - Elena Feinberg (978) 501-2744 email@example.com www.shaareizedeck.org 104 Water St., Clinton, MA 01510
Beit Ahavah, The Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton Reform Rabbi Riqi Kosovske (413) 587-3770 firstname.lastname@example.org www.beitahavah.org 130 Pine St. Florence, MA 01062
Temple Israel of Greenﬁeld Unafﬁliated Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener (413) 773-5884 ofﬁce@templeisraelgreenﬁeld.org www.templeisraelgreenﬁeld.org 27 Pierce St. Greenﬁeld, MA 01301
Congregation Rodphey Sholom Orthodox Rabbi Tuvia Helfen Religious Leader (413) 534-5262 email@example.com 1800 Northampton St., Holyoke, MA 01040 Congregation Sons of Zion Conservative Rabbi Saul Perlmutter (413) 534-3369 ofﬁce@sonsofzionholyoke.org www.sonsofzionholyoke.org 378 Maple St. Holyoke, MA 01040
Congregation Agudat Achim Conservative Rabbi Eve Eichenholtz (978) 534-6121 ofﬁce@agudat-achim.org www.agudat-achim.org 268 Washington St., Leominster, MA 01453
Congregation B’nai Torah Orthodox Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe Rabbi Yakov Wolff (413) 567-0036 ofﬁce@bnaitorahma.org firstname.lastname@example.org www.bnaitorahma.org 2 Eunice Drive Longmeadow, MA 01106 Neighborhood Minyan 124 Sumner Avenue Springﬁeld, MA 01108
Congregation B’nai Israel Conservative Rabbi Justin David (413) 584-3593 ofﬁce@CBINorthampton.org www.CBINorthampton.org 253 Prospect St. Northampton, MA 01060
Temple Anshe Amunim Reform Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch (413) 442-5910 email@example.com www.ansheamunim.org 26 Broad St., Pittsﬁeld, MA 01201
Sinai Temple Reform Rabbi Jeremy Master (413) 736-3619 firstname.lastname@example.org www.sinai-temple.org 1100 Dickinson St., Springﬁeld, MA 01108
Temple Beth El Conservative Rabbi Amy Walk Katz (413) 733-4149 ofﬁce@tbesprinﬁeld.org www.tbespringﬁeld.org 979 Dickinson St., Springﬁeld, MA 01108
Beth Tikvah Synagogue Independent Rabbi Michael Swarttz (508) 616-9037 email@example.com www.bethtikvahsynagogue.org 45 Oak St., Westborough, MA 01581 Congregation B’nai Shalom Reform Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz/ Rabbi-Educator Joseph Eiduson (508) 366-7191 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cbnaishalom.org 117 East Main St., PO Box 1019, Westborough, MA 01581
Congregation Ahavas Achim Unafﬁliated Cantor Colman Reaboi (413) 642-1797 email@example.com www.congregationahavasachim.org Ferst Interfaith Center, Westﬁeld State University PO Box 334, 577 Western Avenue, Westﬁeld, MA 01086 Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AhavasAchimWestﬁeld/
Central Mass Chabad Rabbi Mendel Fogelman, Rabbi Chaim Fishman, Rabbi Michael Phillips, Cantor Eli Abramowitz (508) 752-0904 firstname.lastname@example.org www.centralmasschabad.com 22 Newton Avenue, Worcester, MA 01602 Congregation Beth Israel Conservative Rabbi Aviva Fellman (508) 756-6204 email@example.com www.bethisraelworc.org 15 Jamesbury Drive Worcester, MA 01609 Congregation Shaarai Torah West Orthodox Rabbi Yakov Blotner (508) 791-0013 Brotman156@aol.com www.shaaraitorah.org 835 Pleasant St. Worcester, MA 01602 Temple Emanuel Sinai Reform Rabbi Valerie Cohen (508) 755-1257 firstname.lastname@example.org www.emanuelsinai.org 661 Salisbury St., Worcester, MA 01609
To join our synagogue directory, contact Howard Meyerowitz at (860) 231-2424 x3035 or email@example.com majewishledger.com
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
| MAY 14, 2021
THE JEWS OF MOROCCO
MOROCCAN JEWS REFLECT ON THEIR HERITAGE AND TRADITION POST BY ELIANA RUDEE
Introducing a new JNS series highlighting Jewish ethnic minorities, that aims to elevate their voices, and in turn, celebrate the beautiful mosaic that is the Jewish people. (JNS) In December 2020, the Kingdom of Morocco agreed to establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel, following the success of the Abraham Accords between three Arab countries – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan – and the Jewish state. The normalization of ties has already resulted in the reopening of Israeli and Moroccan liaison offices with the intention of opening reciprocal embassies in Rabat and Tel Aviv. The country has become the first to start teaching Jewish history and culture in its schools. Official contacts, economic cooperation, and direct and overnight flights between the two countries are also in the works. According to Moroccan Jewish leader Rabbi Gad Bouskila of the Orthodox Netivot Israel Synagogue in Brooklyn, New York (the first Moroccan Jewish community in the state), the recent normalization has made the Moroccan Jewish community in North America “very happy” for each of their homelands.
“We visit Morocco often, so this relationship will allow many young Moroccans born in Israel, who were not yet able to travel to Morocco, to see the roots of their grandparents,” he told JNS. The roots of the ancient Moroccan Jewish community date back more than 2,500 years, with many Jews settling in the city of Fez, bringing their economic capabilities that contributed to the “golden age” of Morocco from the ninth to 11th century, when Jews were numerous and powerful in the region. Following the establishment of modernday Israel in 1948, many Jews of the 238,000-strong population of French Morocco (in addition to the 15,000 in Spanish Morocco and 12,000 in the international zone of Tangier) were forced to leave. In January 1961, following the death of King Mohammad V, Morocco tightened its restrictions on Jewish immigration, causing nervousness among its Jewish community. Many left for Israel and French-speaking areas in Europe and Canada, and for those who had family there, the United States. Following the mass exodus, Jewish institutions in Morocco, including schools, yeshivahs and synagogues closed, and antiJewish propaganda increased. Today, the Jewish population in Morocco stands at just 2,100 people, while there are one million Moroccan Jews living in Israel. Le Monde estimates that 40,000 Moroccan Jews reside in France and 27,000 in Canada,
JEWISH COMMUNITY MEMBERS AT SYNAGOGUE IN AGADIR CITY, MOROCCO. (ABIR SULTAN/FLASH90)
with approximately 25,000 in the United States, according to the American Sephardi Federation, and other dispersed populations in South America and Europe. According to a Central Bureau of Statistics report in December 2011, Moroccans constitute the second-largest Israeli Jewish community after Russian Jews. Among Moroccans who left their birthplace suddenly, their story is that of regained confidence and pride in retaining their culture.
Jewish Moroccans in the United States “Thirty-five years ago, I witnessed a big assimilation of Moroccan Jews to the tri-state area, and I opened the first-ever synagogue for Moroccan Jews in the area,” recounted Bouskila. “That gave them an identity and helped bring back their confidence, and now they are proud to transmit their heritage and tradition to their children.” In the North American community, explained Bouskila, he teaches classes for children and adults, as well as traditional piyyutim (Jewish liturgical poems) and traditions to retain Moroccan culture. “A majority of the Moroccan Jews follow the traditions,” he added, noting that Moroccans hold family and food to be central to their heritage. Moroccan Jews enjoy success in “every field and profession, and especially real estate and in Hollywood” with no particular challenges as 18
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a result of their heritage, according to Bouskila, and are considered in “good standing, wellrespected and accepted” among other Jewish and non-Jewish communities in the area. They are especially successful in promoting interfaith dialogue, Holocaust education and promoting the IHRA definition of antisemitism among African and Arabic nations, he added. Many Moroccan Jews in North America, even second and third generation, still speak some French, though Bouskila noted that “some are too American for it,” and only a few still speak Arabic.
Jewish Moroccans in Canada Dan Illouz, 34, was born and raised in Montreal and now lives in Jerusalem, where he is a member of the Jerusalem City Council. “In Montreal, I was part of the Moroccan community that came to Montreal starting in the 1960s,” he said. “At the time, there was a cocktail of reasons for Jews to leave Morocco, including fears because of the change in political leadership in Morocco, economic reasons and a general feeling that the establishment of Israel might bring the frictions between Jews and Arabs to Morocco.” Today, explained Illouz, the strength of the Moroccan Jewish community in Montreal can best be explained by the language barrier that “encouraged the Moroccan community to establish its own institutions from the getgo,” as well as Canada’s encouragement of
T-NORMALIZATION WITH ISRAEL
multiculturalism. With more than 20,000 Jews in Montreal, he related, “Montreal is a bilingual city, and while Ashkenazi Jews were mostly Anglos, Moroccan Jews were Francophones. When they arrived in Montreal, they established French-speaking synagogues, schools and community centers. The relationship between the communities was positive, but the language barrier created these different institutions. The result is that the Montreal community kept authentic Moroccan traditions in a way that is hard to find in any other country, including Israel.” Illouz spoke of being raised with a “high level of Moroccan pride, understanding the richness of our culture.” He learned about Fez, the city where his father was born, where Maimonides lived and where there is, according to The Guinness Book of Records, the oldest university in the world. “I knew about Safi, the city where my mom was born, that is considered a world-leader in ceramic arts. At school, we learned piyyutim, and we would hear Andalusian music at home.” “I think the source of strength for Moroccan culture was that it was always a window for Western Europe into both Africa and the Arabic world, and this created a situation where local culture was enriched by diverse sources of inspiration,” he said. Because Canada is a multicultural society, he continued, “this allowed us to keep our culture while feeling Canadian. I remember the TV being on during Mimouna” – a traditional North African Jewish celebration to mark the end of Passover and the return to eating leavened bread and flour products; this year it starts on the evening of April 4 and lasts through the evening of April 5–“showing the hockey game of the Montreal Canadians, and that memory pretty much says it all.” While noting that “Canada is a great country, and I did not flee it,” Illouz said he decided to move to Israel as a result of his Zionist beliefs. “I wanted to end my family’s 2,000-year exile and come back home, to a land I love deeply, and to take part in the greatest Jewish project of history. I did not run from anything but rather ran to something, and I have since not regretted it for even a second.” “While Canada is a great country, there is no country like Israel for Jews,” he said.
Jewish Moroccans in Israel Once Illouz made aliyah, he learned that during the early years of the State of Israel, like other Mizrachi Jews, Moroccans were
discriminated against in a society that was run by Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern and Western Europe, and experienced “deeper challenges that had to do with disdain for Moroccan culture, probably because it was associated with our Arab enemies,” said Illouz. Many of the Jews who emigrated from Morocco were placed into immigrant absorptions centers, development towns and ma’abarot in the Negev Desert and along Israel’s borders – areas that Illouz noted have “now grown into cities with a vibrant culture.” Moroccan culture continues to be a part of the great mosaic Israel offers, he added. In the context of expanded diplomatic relations between Morocco, Illouz claimed in a speech to the city council that “this is not only a diplomatic agreement but also a cultural revolution.” “After all these years in which Moroccan culture was shunned by mainstream Israel, it can now receive proper appreciation because it is not the culture of an enemy but of a friend,” he said. “Israelis will get to know Morocco in a different way and will get to appreciate things that were not appreciated enough. The day the agreement was announced was a day of great happiness for the whole community, and I think this is the deeper reason for that happiness.” Where Moroccan heritage used to be associated with a “lower culture” and nonMoroccan Israelis encouraged Moroccan Jews to assimilate into the new identity of the “New Jew,” because of their strong culture that “includes culinary and artistic aspects, but also a sense of solidarity that exists between people who are part of the same community,” emphasized Illouz, adding that was a reason Moroccan Jewish culture was largely retained. “While the language has not been preserved, almost every other aspect has been,” he said. “I actually think that Moroccan culture has become a large part of Israeli culture, and I think we will see this even more clearly when Ashkenazi Jews go to Morocco and realize how similar the cultures are.” Illouz shared his vision for an Israeli culture where each demographic that made aliyah from the Diaspora “can retain its roots and make them a part of a mosaic that we can all enjoy.” “This enriches Israeli culture,” he said. “I love learning about Persian, European and Ethiopian culture from my fellow Israelis and am sure I can offer some of my Moroccan heritage. In the long term, this will create a much richer Israeli culture than an artificially created melting pot.” n
Yom Hazikaron ceremony pays tribute to victims of the sinking of the ‘Egoz’ (JNS) The Jewish Agency for Israel’s annual Yom Hazikaron ceremony – Israel’s Memorial Day – held on Wednesday, April 14, honored a tragic event in Jewish history, as well as fallen soldiers, terror victims and those injured or killed in antisemitic attacks. In 1961, during a secret mission intended to bring Jewish Moroccan immigrants to Israel, the Egoz ship sank, resulting in the loss of 44 people. Among those on the ship were 43 immigrants, half of whom were children, in addition to Mossad operative Haim Tzarfati. Authorities were able to locate 22 bodies, which were then buried in a Jewish cemetery, but the rest were lost at sea. In 1992, the bodies were moved to Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, where they were given a ceremonial burial. “Our hearts are heavy with grief for every man, woman and child who died simply because they dared to be part of the miracle that is Israel,” said Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog. “Today, we unite behind and honor their individual stories. We especially remember those tales of hardship and sacrifice in order to become Israeli. “In that vein,” he continued, “we pay tribute to the victims of the Egoz ship and Haim Tzarfati. They set sail from Morocco on a stormy winter night 60 years ago and never reached their destination. Some 44 people lost at sea – children, women, men – Jews whose only desire was to start a new life in the Land of Israel. The ship sank but did not drown the longing for Zion.” Herzog and Gila Gutman Azulay, who lost the majority of her family on the ship, both lit a torch to commemorate the victims and the men and women who died defending Israel.
“The tragedy of the drowning of the Egoz ship is a national and a personal tragedy. At home in Casablanca, I was always given the feeling that life in Morocco was temporary. We all longed for the Land of Israel, it was our soul’s desire,” said Azulay. “My sister Penny and I joined a local underground organized group of children set to immigrate to Israel and were told that the rest of our families would join us later. We did not say goodbye to my mother and my siblings. I couldn’t have imagined that we’d never see them again. A few days later, my mother and five brothers and sisters perished in the disaster.” The memorial event was organized with the participation of the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod, Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Federations of Canada. A memorial wall of worldwide victims of antisemitism was also unveiled at the ceremony. According to data from the Jewish Agency, since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, some 200 Jews have been killed in antisemitic incidents and terror attacks around the globe. “Our demand from every state and government is clear and unequivocal: The Jewish citizens living in your country are equal citizens. It is your responsibility to keep them safe,” said WZO chairman Yaakov Hagoel. “The World Zionist Organization is committed to battling antisemitism around the world and will stand its ground as one of the leaders in the fight against this horrid phenomenon. We embrace Jewish families from around the world for the precious loss and the endless dedication they have given us as a country.”
JEWISH AGENCY CHAIRMAN ISAAC HERZOG AND GILA GUTMAN AZULAY LIGHT A TORCH TO COMMEMORATE THE VICTIMS OF THE “EGOZ” SHIP, AND THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO DIED DEFENDING ISRAEL, APRIL 13, 2021. (THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL)
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
MAY 14, 2021
WHAT’S HAPPENING FRIDAY, MAY 14
TUESDAY, MAY 25
Western Mass. – Jewish Family Zoom! A weekly Jewish musical class with Felicia Sloin for kids 0-5 and their caregiver, 9-9:30 a.m., Pre-register: www.jfswm.org/jewish-familyjam; ALSO May, 21 & 28
Central Mass. – Legacy Donor Appreciation Day; online evening of gratitude and storytelling to thank the 18,000 individual donors of LIFE & LEGACY initiative, 7:30 p.m., RSVP: https://www.surveymonkey. com/r/2021LegacyDonorEvent
SATURDAY 15 Westborough – Rockin’ Havdalah: Outdoor Edition, a fun-filled afternoon outside, celebrating Havdalah and featuring Josh of Josh and the Jamtones and a family activity; families encourage to bring blanket (set 6 feel apart from other families) and their own snacks and beverages; 4 p.m., Haskell Playground Pavilion, 73 Haskell St., an event by PJ Library and PJ Our Way/ Young Jewish Families of Central Mas., and the Jewish Federation of Central Mass., RSVP: Alissa.firstname.lastname@example.org; event is FREE
SUNDAY, MAY 16 Northampton – CBI Annual Shavuot Shabloom baby welcoming ceremony at Abundance Farm, 10 a.m.; Come ready to share your child’s name (and Hebrew name, if they have one), and one thing that is special to you about them or their name; open to the public and you do not need to be a member of CBI to attend, and interfaith and blended families are welcome to participate. Northampton – Story, Songs and Yoga with Felicia, virtual free program for 3-5 yearolds and their caregivers; Register: https:// docs.google.com/forms/d/1yviQ0jUnWeW_ aR4ES4ZGrqqgn0mNhi9hYu20031WQ_U/ edit
FRIDAY, JUNE 5 Springfield – Virtual Tot Shabbat with Marlene Rachelle, Temple Beth El, and PJ Library, Grab an instrument and a favorite stuffy as we welcome Shabbat together and fill our homes with music and fun; 5:30-6:15 p.m.; Register: https:// us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/ tZIldOGtrjIjG93LsyTK8ANSe6VKaVF50Myj;
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9 Western Mass.– “Compassion and Parenting: Looking toward a New Season,” a workshop for parents of babies and toddlers, 8-9 p.m., Contact: ebarber@ jewishwesternmass.org or call (413) 7374313.
THURSDAY, JUNE 10 Springfield – Springfield JCC Annual Meeting at JCC, (Covid precautions will be followed), with installment of officers and new board members and a tribute to retired CEO Michael Paysnick; 5:30 p.m., 1160 Dickinson St., RSVP: email@example.com
Central Mass. – YAD (Young Adult Division) Ice Cream for Shavuot; Contact: mhall@jfcm. org
THURSDAY, MAY 20
FRIDAY, JUNE 18
Springfield – Rachel’s Table Virtual Bountiful Bowls Fundraiser to fight food insecurity, with the theme of inspiring others to step up; honoring anti-hunger activists Suze Goldman and Bob Bolduc; https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/ tZwsfuGgqDgtE92e9uQF-j2L3H6v1SdcPkDl
Yiddish Book Center programs offer a rich tapestry of culture and history
he Yiddish Book Center has announced its virtual public programming lineup for spring 2021. A rich tapestry of art, history, and language, the series features presentations from preeminent authors, artists, scholars, and more. All programs are free and air on Facebook and Zoom. Registration is required and audience members may submit questions in the Q&A. All programs are archived on the Yiddish Book Center website at yiddishbookcenter.org/vpp-recordings. For more information and to register, visit the Yiddish Book Center programs calendar at yiddishbookcenter.org/virtualprograms-calendar. SPRING 2021 (subject to change) Ideals and Contemporary Realities Sunday, May 16, 2 p.m. Professor and author Jonathan Sarna discusses presidential elections from the Civil War to the present, demonstrating that “Jewish politics” has a long and significant history that has shaped both Jews and American politics for over 150 years.
Jews and Jazz: Before the Beginning Thursday, June 3, 7 p.m. Author, producer, and performer Henry Sapoznik examines the nascent “jazz” offerings of pioneering performances of recording klezmorim, the earlier generation of European-born Jewish musicians. Modicut Yiddish Puppet Theater, 1925–1933 Thursday, June 17, 7 p.m. This lecture from scholar Eddy Portnoy, featuring photos, illustrations, and a short film, will detail the compelling history of this unusual Yiddish puppet theater. Cooking in Yiddish: Highlights from the Yiddish Book Center’s Collection Thursday, June 24, 7 p.m. Yiddish cookbooks tell fascinating stories about their authors, publishers, and intended readers. Drawing on gems in the Yiddish Book Center’s collection, this talk with scholar and cookbook collector Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett will explore what this unique literary genre can reveal about Jewish life.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16 Springfield – JALSA 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, 5:30-6:45 p.m.; join Boston’s corporate, legal, real estate and nonprofit communities for an evening to celebrate honorees and pursuit of respect and dignity for all; $75/ticket Registration: https://jalsa.kindful. com/?campaign=1102656
TUESDAY, MAY 18
MAY 14 – JUNE 18
Springfield – Virtual Tot Shabbat with Marlene Rachelle, Temple Beth El, and PJ Library, Grab an instrument and a favorite stuffy as we welcome Shabbat together and fill our homes with music and fun; 5:30-6:15 p.m.; Register: https:// us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/ tZIldOGtrjIjG93LsyTK8ANSe6VKaVF50Myj;
Pick Your Own at Abundance Farm
ORTHAMPTON – Beginning Thursday, May 20 Abundance Farm and Congregation B’nai Israel, 257 Prospect St., invite the community to “Pick Your Own” free seasonal, fresh, organic produce straight from the farm. Community Harvest days will be held every Monday and Thursday, from 3-6 p.m. This activity, appropriate for all ages, is inspired by ancient Jewish justice laws that say that the land is owner-less and that this food already belongs to those who pick it. Come harvest and connect to community! For more information, contact Rose Cherneff; firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRIDAY, MAY 21 Springfield – Virtual Tot Shabbat with Marlene Rachelle, Temple Beth El, and PJ Library, Grab an instrument and a favorite stuffy as we welcome Shabbat together and fill our homes with music and fun; 5:30-6:15 p.m.; Register: https:// us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/ tZIldOGtrjIjG93LsyTK8ANSe6VKaVF50Myj; 20
MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
MAY 14, 2021
Bountiful Bowls CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7
the community, but particularly for those programs that she initiated that helped us during this time.” Goldman’s initative Feeding the Frontlines provided essential health care workers with meals from local restaurants and grocery gift cards throughout Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin County during some of the most critical and difficult stages of Covid-19. Bob Bolduc, owner of Pride Stores, first began working with Rachel’s Table when board member Judy Yaffe walked into one of his stores and the two began talking about food waste. This encounter resulted in Pride becoming one of Rachel’s Table’s many food donors. Together, Bob and his wife Roberta, make a committed team of philanthropists in the community. Bob has worked to support efforts in education, hunger, homelessness, and community policing. Roberta is a board member of the Ronald McDonald House and Bay Path College. The Bolducs have also supported Christina’s House, one of Rachel’s Table’s recipient agencies. Over the past year, as Covid-19 has affected so many in the community in terms of job loss and food insecurity, the work of Rachel’s Table has work became even more necessary. “During Covid the increase in hunger was unspeakable, with the lines at all the shelters and food pantries, said Sarah Maniaci, associate director. “So Rachel’s Table rose to meet the need. We did a lot of food purchasing. We worked very hard with our longstanding partners in order to continue our food rescue and delivery. And we are finding, the need is still out there.” Rachel’s Table’s main model is food rescue. But during Covid, that model had to be modified a bit. “We work with 200 volunteers who are also mainly over the age of 60, so when Covid hit, we wanted to make sure everybody was safe. Not only our volunteers, but those in the community,” said Falk. Rachel’s Table took those voluneers off pick-up and delivery duty for a short time and instead began working with partners who have trucks of their own, such as Salvation Army. “We partnered with our agencies to deliver food or worked in other ways to get food to people while still maintaining safety for our volunteers,” Falk said. These partnerships include the Healthy Community Emergency Food Fund, in which Rachel’s Table partners with local food businesses to purchase and deliver healthy basics such as protein and produce to the soup kitchens, pantries and newly established homeless shelters in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties. Another partnership has been with Farmers to Families, a federal initiative started during majewishledger.com
the pandemic that works with farmers and other food producers to provide the hungry with fresh and wholesome food. Rachel’s Table received boxes of produce and other food from Farmers to Families and shared them with their agencies, including Home City Pantry of Housing Management Resources Properties in Springfield and the Project Hope Pantry of the House of Refuge Church in Chicopee. One of its most important and enduring partnerships has been with the local community which continues to donate funds for Rachel’s Table work. “We couldn’t have done it without the community stepping up,” Falk said. But while there is hopefully a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to Covid-19, Rachel’s Table’s fight against hunger is far from over. “People see that things are getting back to ‘normal’ with the vaccine and the economy getting better, all of which are true, but it’s also true that there are people who lost jobs who are not getting their jobs back. It’s also true that the need is still great and we can’t let those things be forgotten. Covidrelated programs need to continue or they need to find programs to fill the gap. The need is not going away,” Falk explained. “People say we are going to get back to normal, back to where it was. But ‘where it was’ was not acceptable,” said Maniaci. “There are 40 million people who are still hungry in our country, and so many tons of food still going to waste. It’s not acceptable and it’s not a normal we should aspire to return to.” One way to change things is through public policy. Rachel’s Table’s teen board members, known for their Outrun Hunger 5K run, have been working on ways to advocate for hunger relief by learning how to talk with and lobby legislators. The teens are also key members of the new initiative Growing Gardens, which supports and mentors Rachel’s Table agencies who want to grow their own gardens. Some of the teen board members recently went to seven agencies with 640 donated starter plants. They helped two of the agencies to begin planting their gardens. “These agencies will be able to grow their own food no matter if they in are rural, urban or suburban areas, in order to have choice and access to fresh, really good food.” “We our doing our best, in the ways that we can, to support change,” Falked continued. “so that someday we won’t need these programs; so everybody has access.” n
TEEN BOARD MEMBERS PLANTING ON THE OPENING DAY OF THE GROWING GARDENS PROGRAM.
TEEN BOARD MEMBERS EVIE HUMPHRIES AND HANNAH ROONEY WITH SOME OF THE 640 STARTER PLANTS THE BOARD DONATED TO AGENCIES PARTICIPATING IN GROWING GARDENS.
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OBITUARIES BROVERMAN Allan A. “Charlie” Broverman, 88, of Delray Beach, Fla., formerly of Longmeadow, died peacefully surrounded by his family April 11 at the Jewish Nursing Home in Longmeadow. He was the widower of Ruth Cohen Broverman. Born in Westfield, he was the son of Earl Broverman and Sadie Milstein Broverman. He graduated from Springfield Technical High School and was an alumni of American International College. Following graduation, he served with the U.S. Army as a Corporal in Korea during the Korean War. He was the owner of Chapin Baby Specialties, a family owned business, on Main Street in Springfield for more than 55 years. He is survived by a son, Mark Broverman and his wife, Denise, of Longmeadow; a daughter, Nancy Dagenhart and her husband Richard, of Atlanta, Ga.; grandchildren Andrea Cassidy (Robert), Shelley Shorette (Brett), Seth Retchin (Kelsea), Matthew Retchin (Cait), and Nathan Broverman; and greatgrandchildren, Tadhg and Dara Cassidy, Jackson and Jordan Shorette, Claire Retchin, and Viviani and Valantina Millett. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzeimers Association. ASCHER-ZIMMERMAN FUNERAL HOME
BURWICK Carl E. Burwick, 72, of Worcester, died April 21 at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston after an illness. Born in Worcester, he was the son of I. Tutter and Muriel (Kirschner) Burwick and was a lifelong resident. He graduated The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania. He was formerly the president and co-owner of Prime Value Mart of Worcester for many years. Later, he was a partner in commercial real estate brokerage with his brother, David Burwick. He is survived by a son, Joshua Burwick of Worcester; a brother, David Burwick of Millbury; and three grandsons, Luke, Jake and Tyler Burwick. He was predeceased by a daughter, Jennifer Burwick; and two brothers, Douglas and Jeffrey Burwick. Memorial contributions may be made to I. Tutter Burwick Memorial Fund at Jewish Healthcare Center, 629 Salisbury St., Worcester 01609; or to The Robin Burwick Memorial Fund at The Jewish Community Center, 631 Salisbury St., Worcester, MA 01609 RICHARD PERLMAN OF MILES FUNERAL HOME OF HOLDEN
DOLINSKY Evelyn Dolinsky, 92, of Milford, formerly of Worcester and Shrewsbury, died April 16. Born and raised in Winsted, Conn., she moved to Worcester in 1947 after graduating from Gilbert High School. She worked at Com Gas (now known as Eversource) for 37 years. She was the director of their credit union for many years as well as the secretary. After a long residence in Shrewsbury, in 2015 she moved to Cornerstone at Milford where she continued to enjoy good friends and pursue her favorite activities. She is survived by several cousins, including Karen Kraez and her husband, Dennis, of South Easton, and Michael Rose and his wife, Carolyn, of San Antonio Tex. She was predeceased by a brother, Gerald of Winsted, Conn. Memorial contributions may be made to the Jewish Health Center 629 Salisbury St., Worcester MA 01609, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.
GREENE Marcia Greene, 68, of Wilbraham, died May 3. She was the wife of Mandell Greene. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, she was the daughter of Ronna and Marvin Dienstfrey. She attended high school in Lincoln and was a 1975 graduate of the University of Nebraska. She was a special educator for more than 20 years, then served as a Jewish educator in Iowa, Florida, California and Western Mass., where she and her husband had moved to be near their grandchildren. In addition to her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Horizon (Cooper) of Seattle, Wash.; a son, Rabbi James Greene and his wife, Jen, of Stafford Springs, Conn.; two grandchildren, Talyah and Kol; and a sister Sherri and her husband, Bob, of Pocatello ID. Memorial contributions may be made to Sinai Temple or Temple Beth El of Springfield, or Temple Or Rishon in Orangevale CA. ASCHER-ZIMMERMAN FUNERAL HOME
FINE Ina Fine, 88, of Longmeadow died April 25 at home. She was the widow of Harold Fine. Born Springfield, she was the daughter of Samuel and Goldie Davidson. She started college at the University of Vermont and ended at American International College pursuing a degree in business. She later went on to work with elementary students and retired from the Springfield public school district. She was a lifetime member of Hadassah, a member of the B’nai B’rith, a board member of the American Jewish League for Israel, and volunteered at Rachel’s Table. She is survived by two children, David of Longmeadow, and Cynthia and her husband, Adam, of West Hartford, Conn.; and two grandchildren, Rachel, and Joshua. She was predeceased by a sister, Wilma Eisner. Memorial contributions may be made to The Alzheimer’s association; Temple Beth El, JGS Lifecare, and Glenmeadow. ASCHER-ZIMMERMAN FUNERAL HOME
HESS Eric Hess, 71, of Leominster, died peacefully April 10. Born in Tiberias, Israel, he was the son of the late Hans and Ruth (Fichmann) Hess. He moved to the United States at the age of 9. He graduated from Leominster High School and received an associate degree from Worcester Junior College. He worked with his father developing land and property in the North Central Mass region. He is survived by a sister, Jennie “Yael” Savage; and a nephew, Michael Savage and his family. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701; or Congregation Agudat Achim, 268 Washington St., Leominster, MA 01453. MILES FUNERAL HOME OF HOLDEN
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Education. Early in her career, she was an elementary school teacher in Springfield’s inner city public schools, teaching in the city’s first bilingual classroom. She also was a Hebrew school teacher for 35 years. In 2007 she received the Western Massachusetts Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for her work at the Sandi Kupperman Learning Center at Temple Beth El. She was a member of B’nai Jacob, Sons of Zion and Temple Beth El, as well as the National Council of Jewish Women. She was a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). She ran the book club for Jewish organizations throughout Western Massachusetts. In addition to her husband, she is survived by three daughters, Sylvie Juliet Shaffer (Miriam Quintal) of Takoma Park, Md., Molly Shaffer Parr (Richard Parr) of Northampton, and Amanda Chorowski Katz of Gaithersburg, Md.; a brother, Dr. Marcel Halberstadt (Lucille) of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; and five grandchildren, Becca, Lynx, Lilli, Leo, and Beatrix, and her nieces Lisa and Lori. Memorial contributions may be made to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund at Temple Beth El (979 Dickinson St., Springfield, MA 01108); or to the Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy (1148 Converse St., Longmeadow, MA 01106). ASCHER-ZIMMERMAN FUNERAL HOME
HALBERSTADT-CHOROWSKI Suzanne Halberstadt-Chorowski, 75, of Longmeadow, died April 16 from complications relating to breast cancer. She was the wife of Max Chorowski. Born in the South of France, she was the daughter of Professor Manfred and Lilli Halberstadt. Her German-Jewish family hid in La Seyne-sur-Mer for the duration of the second World War, then moved to Inwood/Washington Heights section of Upper Manhattan, where they lived within the Breuer’s Orthodox German Jewish community, later relocating to Springfield. She attended Forest Park Junior High and Classical High School, from which she graduated in 1963. She attended American International College for college and graduate school, where she received her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Early Elementary Education and Special majewishledger.com
IN MEMORIAM Walter Mondale was a liberal icon who championed Israel BY RON KAMPEAS
(JTA) – Walter Mondale, the former vice president who represented a time in American history when being pro-Israel and progressive were often synonymous, died Monday, April 19, at his home in Minneapolis. He was 93. From the launch of his political career, Mondale was close to the national Jewish and pro-Israel communities. He found in those WALTER MONDALE IN 1976. organizations JOHN SUNDERLAND/ willing partners in THE DENVER POST VIA GETTY IMAGES his endeavors to expand civil rights, and they found in him an avid advocate of Israel. Mondale acted as a buffer between President Jimmy Carter, under whom he served as vice president, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and when the talks that culminated in an Israel-Egypt peace deal turned tense. Begin was said to favor the company of the affable Mondale over Carter, who was standoffish. Mondale was one of three U.S. lawmakers present at the dedication of Israel’s Knesset building in 1966 – he was a Minnesota senator at the time. Israel policy was one of the few areas where Carter and Mondale differed. (The other was Mondale’s impatience with what he believed was Carter’s tendency to scold the American public.) In 2007, appearing with Carter on CNN in an interview marking 30 years since they assumed office, he gently pushed back at his friend’s book published not long before, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, in an exchange that was otherwise all mutual admiration. “I have read the book,” Mondale said. “I think there’s a lot of good materials in there. I do have a few problems with it, but if I might, I’d like to talk to the president about it first.” In 1981, Mondale broke with Carter – and with Reagan, the incumbent president – on selling advanced spy aircraft to Saudi Arabia. Both Carter and Reagan favored the deal – a major contention point with AIPAC. Mondale lobbied his former Senate colleagues to oppose the deal. Mondale’s 1984 campaign to retake the White House from Reagan brought in major Jewish support in the form of both donors and endorsements. Mondale made freeing Soviet Jews an issue in his campaign and slammed his rival Jesse Jackson for consorting with majewishledger.com
Louis Farrakhan, the antisemitic leader of the Nation of Islam. He was endorsed by the leaders of the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative Jewish communities. Arab Americans said Mondale excluded them from his campaign out of deference to proIsrael supporters. Mondale, who came to Washington in 1964 as Hubert Humphrey’s handpicked replacement as a Minnesota senator when President Lyndon Johnson named Humphrey to be vice president, set multiple precedents in his long career. When Carter tapped Mondale to be his running mate in ’76, Mondale was the first vice president to negotiate an active vice presidential role that placed him next to the president. That set the tone for almost every vice president to follow, and some of his successors, including Al Gore and now-President Joe Biden, said as much in mourning Mondale’s passing. Mondale set another precedent in 1984 when he named a woman, Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, D-N.Y., as his running mate in the presidential race he lost to Ronald Reagan. Mondale suffered one of the most decisive defeats in modern times, winning only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia. But he restored the close relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party, earning 70% of the Jewish vote in an election in which almost 60% of the ballots were cast for Reagan. In 1980, Carter had been the first Democrat in two generations to lose the majority of the Jewish vote. It would not be Mondale’s last electoral defeat. In 2002 he stepped in 11 days before the election to run for Minnesota senator after Paul Wellstone, the well-liked Jewish incumbent, died in a plane crash. He lost narrowly to Norm Coleman, a Jewish Republican. Mondale never flagged in his good cheer and his self-deprecation. Fulfilling his constitutional duty in 1981 to announce the results of the Electoral College, Mondale noted that George H. W. Bush had received 489 votes to be vice president and “Walter F. Mondale of the state of Minnesota has received 49 votes.” He cracked up laughing, and added “A landslide!” and the entire chamber – Republicans and Democrats – rose to applaud him. Mourning Mondale were the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, AIPAC and the Democratic Majority for Israel. Mondale is survived by two sons. He was predeceased by his wife, Joan, and by a daughter.
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OUR NEXT DELIVERY Troughtout MA IS 5/26! Continuing our tradition of bringing delicious kosher foods, expertly butchered meats and delicious baked goods throughout Massachussetts!
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MASSACHUSETTS JEWISH LEDGER
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