Friday, October 30, 2020 12 Cheshvan 5781 Vol. 92 | No. 44 | Â©2020 $1.00 | jewishledger.com
Hope in a Bag
| OCTOBER 30, 2020
Thanksgiving Order Deadline For For In-Store, Curbside Pickup Or Local HomeDelivery Is Wednesday, November 18th, 4PM (New Haven And Norwich Local Pickup Deadline Is Monday 11/16)
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• Choose One Appetizer: Chopped Chicken Liver Mini Beef Stuffed Cabbage (Entire online store shuts down 11/20 @ 3pm Traditional-Style Swedish Meatballs and there will be no further orders accepted for the holiday week. Please bear this in mind Mini Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Package Serves 6 when you are getting your order ready.) • Choose One Soup: All-Inclusive Traditional Chicken Soup This is a HARD deadline. No Substitutions Butternut Squash Bisque Ready-To-Heat & Serve Mushroom Barley Soup • Choose Any Combination Of Four Accompaniments: Apple Fennel Challah Stuffing Corn Bread Stuffing With Cranberries and Walnuts Delivered To Our Central Locations In The Following Locations: Wild Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing Braised Butternut Squash and Apples th Apricot-Ginger Roasted Sweet Potatoes Whipped Potatoes New Haven 10 - 10:30 AM “Retro” Sweet Potato Casserole Norwich - 12:00 - 12:30 AM Classic Green Bean Casserole Savory Spinach Kugel Baked Corn Casserole Local Home Deliveries Oven Roasted Vegetable Medley Tuesday 11/24 Only Whipped Turnips & Carrots Maple Brown Sugar-Glazed Baby Carrots Parve “Cream”ed Spinach • Rich Turkey Gravy Check out Our Full • Cranberry Orange Chutney 2471 Albany Ave Thanksgiving Menu • 1/2 Dozen Large Dinner Rolls West Hartford, CT 06117 • Pumpkin Pie (And Everything Else!) • Gourmet Apple Crisp www.thecrownmarket.com
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CONNECTICUT JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | OCTOBER 30, 2020 | 12 CHESHVAN 5781
ELECTION 2020...................................................................... 5 According to an Oct. 19 poll by the American Jewish Committee, Joe Biden is set to garner 75% of the Jewish vote.
Arts & Entertainment
19 Bulletin Board
The Era of Change............................................................... 5 Last week, Sudan became the third Arab country in the past two months to normalize ties with Israel. In the coming weeks, the two countries will begin to discuss economic and trade relations, with an initial focus on agriculture.
21 Business and Professional Directory
ON THE COVER:
In April 2019, a team of local women active in the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s Women’s Philanthropy, launched an initiative aimed at empowering women in need – and thereby changing the trajectory of their lives – by providing them with essential hygiene supplies. The project caught fire with women all across the country. Now, “Dignity Grows” is branching out nationwide – with the help of the Hartford team and the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA). PAGE 12 jewishledger.com
Count Down...................................... 8 According to a landmark new study, Jews’ share of the population of Europe is as low now as it was 1,000 years ago – and the future doesn’t look good.
All the News Unfit to Print......... 10 Last week, The New York Times drooled over the notorious anti-semite Rev. Louis Farrakhan in a piece defending him against accusations of sexism. It made no mention of his legacy of anti-Jewish or anti-gay remarks.
In the Kitchen.................................. 4 The Great British Baking Show is entertaining and so much fun to watch. But what it doesn’t know about Jewish baked goods could fill a chocolate babka.
SHABBAT FRIDAY, OCT. 30 Hartford: 5:29 p.m. New Haven: 5:29 p.m. Bridgeport: 5:30 p.m. Stamford: 5:30 p.m. To determine the time for Havdalah, add one hour and 10 minutes (to be safe) to candle lighting time.
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OCTOBER 30, 2020
IN THE (KOSHER) KITCHEN ‘The Great British Baking Show’ has a Jewish dessert problem BY SHANNON SARNA
hat is going on with “The Great British Baking Show”?! For the past two weeks of its eighth season, it has featured a Jewish baked good, and I am not complaining. Well, not entirely. Last week: a true abomination in the form of rainbow bagels. And this past A BABKA, A TRADITIONAL JEWISH ENRICHED BREAD week: chocolate babka. (GETTY IMAGES) Jewish baked goods have been featured I was particularly surprised that none of several times on “The Great British Baking the bakers were familiar with babka, since Show”: challah in season five, which they it has gained such widespread internet called a plaited loaf (outrageous); and renown; you can see beautiful swirled babka bagels last week, which they also didn’t in every flavor variety from around the reference as being Jewish, though, of world with a quick Google or Instagram course, they are. So I appreciated that this search. was the first time they actually referenced Consequently, the shaping seemed to that babka is Jewish in origin. challenge them the most, having no visual Over here at The Nosher, we are kind of reference. The #1 mistake: rolling out the experts in babka. After all (humble brag), dough too long, making it impossible to fit I did write a book that featured an entire into the pan. chapter about how to make babka. But I Despite some shaping challenges, most digress. of the bakers’ babka looked pretty good in A brief recap: Babka is a sweet, the end. They may not all have had that enriched, yeasted dough hailing from perfect swirl, but they were gooey and Eastern Europe. Jews brought it to America, chocolaty, and that’s the most important making it popular. Traditionally, American part in my book. babkas are either chocolate or cinnamon. Perhaps the most insulting moment In fact the chocolate vs. cinnamon babka of the episode: Prue’s comment that the debate featured prominently on a beloved babka on the show was much better than episode of “Seinfeld.” the variety she had tasted in New York City. Babka has exploded in the U.S. and Hmm. around the world over the last seven or so One person on Twitter called “The Great years, ever since Breads Bakery revived British Baking Show” babka “goyishe.” I will the yeasted cake, dusting it off for a new neither defend nor support that comment, generation and helping inspire bakers and though I will assert there are just some bloggers around the world to embrace the foods New York City has perfected: pizza, cake, adding their own spins. It is a very bagels and babka, to name just a few. Paul visual dessert, with a coveted signature and Prue, let me officially invite you to swirl that’s basically made for Instagramcome taste the wonders New York City can worthy food porn. offer. Unlike the bagel challenge, which had And in case you missed it, the best some egregious recipe errors, I didn’t take comment of the entire episode came from issue with the recipe itself. The challenge newish host Matt Lucas, who suggested was to create a chocolate and hazelnut to one of the bakers that maybe the babka babka glazed with a sugar syrup at the end “will get bigger if you stroke it.” I’ll have to (true to a good babka recipe). try that sometime. But the technique was all wrong. An enriched babka dough should be left to rise Shannon Sarna is editor of “The before filling and shaping. And since an Nosher” for MyJewishLearning and enriched dough is made with butter, milk, author of the cookbook “The Modern and eggs, it can be on the heavier side, Jewish Baker.” weighed down by all that (delicious) fat. The dough should rise again after being shaped This article originally appeared in The to give it air and ensure it’s not too dense. Nosher. 4
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CONNECTICUT JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | OCTOBER 30, 2020 | 12 CHESHVAN 5781
Sudan will normalize ties with Israel, Trump announces
ELECTION 2020 Poll finds American Jews set to vote overwhelmingly for Joe Biden
BY RON KAMPEAS
(JTA) – Sudan will become the third Arab country in the past two months to normalize ties with Israel, continuing the trend of Arab states’ willingness to advance ties with the Jewish state even without a peace agreement with the Palestinians. President Donald Trump announced the agreement on Friday. According to a joint
statement released by Israel, Sudan and the U.S., the two countries will “end the state of belligerence between their nations.” The statement also noted that the countries will “begin economic and trade relations, with an initial focus on agriculture.” In the coming weeks, the statement says, they will meet to discuss
“agriculture technology, aviation, migration issues and other areas.” “The Arab-Israeli conflict is moving towards an end,” said Brian Hook, the top State Department official who helped broker the deal, on Friday at an Oval Office presentation. CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE
BY RON KAMPEAS
(JTA) – Jewish voters are set to vote 75% to 22% for Joe Biden, according to a poll by the American Jewish Committee. The poll released Monday, Oct. 19, shows the Democratic nominee expanding his support among Jewish voters from a 67-30 split in a poll last month and it includes other signs that President Donald Trump is faring poorly among Jewish voters.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP AND FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN SQUARE OFF DURING THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN OHIO, SEPT. 29. (CREDIT: JIM WATSON/SAUL LOEB)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP AND SENIOR MEMBERS OF HIS ADMINISTRATION IN THE WHITE HOUSE OVAL OFFICE AS SUDAN AGREES TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL.
(CREDIT: MICHAEL CROWLEY/THE NEW YORK TIMES FOR WHITE HOUSE/POOL)
Trump’s record on bigotry may be the animating factor in his poor performance: Asked which candidate in the Nov. 3 presidential election would better handle antisemitism, respondents produced identical results, with Biden scoring 75% and Trump 22%. The survey was conducted by SSRS from Sept. 9- Oct. 4, reaching 1,334 American Jews by phone; some respondents would have answered questions after Trump once again equivocated when asked to condemn white supremacists in the Sept. 29 debate with Biden. The poll has a margin of error of 4.2 percent. Biden, the former vice president, has made Trump’s record on bigotry a central focus of his overall campaign and particularly of his Jewish CONTINUED ON PAGE 7
OCTOBER 30, 2020
Sudan CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
Sudan has been ruled by a Sovereignty Council, led by military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and prime minister Abdalla Hamdok, since a military coup last year deposed longtime Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was subsequently convicted of corruption. He presided over the country during the Darfur ethnic conflict, which involved what the International Criminal Court has deemed war crimes by the Sudanese government. Earlier in the day, Trump informed Congress of his intent to remove Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, which reportedly is part of the agreement. Sudan will get new leadership in 2022, when the state’s agreed-upon transition period ends. The north African country’s state religion was Islam until earlier this year. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have in recent weeks launched fast tracks to open up diplomatic affairs, trade and tourism with Israel, but Sudan is especially significant because it is by far the largest of the three countries, in land mass and in population. It is also symbolically significant because its capital, Khartoum, is where the Arab League met in 1967 after the Six-Day War and issued its “three no’s” to reject any engagement with Israel whatsoever and to continue the state of war. Like the UAE and Bahrain, Sudan has not been in a war with Israel and has over the years enjoyed a degree of secret ties with the country. In 1984, the Sudanese authorities assisted in an airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Sudan’s leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in February met openly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Uganda. There are also thousands of refugees from Sudan’s military conflicts living in Israel. Trump also said at the Oval Office event on Friday that the process of solidifying the deals with the UAE and Bahrain “is moving along.” He said he is in talks with the United Arab Emirates to sell the country advanced F-35 stealth combat jets. Israel objects to the sale, as do Democrats in Congress. Bahrain signed a number of cooperative agreements with Israel this week and the UAE and Israel agreeing to travel between the countries without a pre-arranged visa. A government-linked Bahraini institute on Thursday signed an agreement with the U.S. State Department to combat antisemitism and delegitimization of Israel.
Could Lebanon’s first negotiations with Israel in decades lead to normalization? BY ISRAEL KASNETT
(JNS) For the first time in three decades, Israel and Lebanon held the first of what is expected to be a series of negotiations over the next few months regarding the two countries’ shared maritime border. Both countries, Lebanon in 2007 and Israel in 2010, delimited their respective exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in the eastern Mediterranean with Cyprus. But a 330-square-mile section of the Mediterranean Sea between Israel and Lebanon remains in dispute. U.S. officials mediated the negotiations, which took place at a base belonging to the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the Lebanese town of Naqoura. Lebanese officials reportedly refused to speak directly with the Israeli representatives. The meeting lasted only an hour, but both sides agreed to meet again on Oct. 28. The question now is whether or not they can reach a compromise and whether these talks hint of the possibility for broader talks over normalization. Alan Baker, director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS that the talks are significant since the disagreement has lasted for 10 years already, and every time Israel offered to sit and negotiate, Lebanon has refused. Why all of a sudden has Lebanon relented to negotiating? “It is connected to the Gulf states and the normalization of relations with Israel,” said Baker. “The Lebanese have realized they have everything to benefit from coming
to an agreement with Israel,” especially when it comes to gas revenues, and possibly “some form of arrangement for cooperating with Israel for utilizing the resources of the sea.” “The Lebanese government would not be able to do this without getting a green light from Hezbollah,” he added. What is clear, according to Baker, is that Hezbollah is in dire financial straits, and if Lebanon benefits from this economically, then the terror group will as well. Israel and Lebanon have had a volatile relationship since both countries were established in the 1940s. While Lebanon did not formally take part in the succession of Arab-Israeli wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973, a more turbulent period of relations began between them during the Lebanese Civil War in the 1970s and ’80s. Israel has had warmer relations with Lebanon’s Christian community, especially during the civil war, where it openly backed Christian leaders and occupied southern Lebanon as a buffer zone until 2000. However, as the balance of power in Lebanon has shifted in the ensuing decades towards its Shi’ite Muslim community dominated by Hezbollah, relations have become increasingly hostile with the two sides fighting a war in 2006. Hezbollah has continued to threaten Israel with crossborder raids with as many as 150,000 rockets and missiles pointed directly at the Jewish state. Nevertheless, since the August 4 multiple explosions in the capital city of
THE TEL AVIV MUNICIPALITY ON RABIN SQUARE IS LIT UP WITH THE LEBANESE FLAG ON AUG. 5, IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE CIVILIANS KILLED IN MULTIPLE EXPLOSIONS IN BEIRUT THE DAY BEFORE, ON AUG. 5, 2020.
Beirut that decimated buildings and led to nearly 200 civilian deaths, the world has increased scrutiny on Lebanon’s government and internal corruption, in addition to Iranian influence through Hezbollah. As such, there may be a shift away from an overtly hostile approach to Israel. Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, also noted Hezbollah’s relaxed stance regarding negotiations with Israel. “It’s clear that Hezbollah removed its veto over the talks,” he said. “It tried to flex its muscles and prevent Israeli government officials from partaking in the talks, but it relented. This reflects its reluctance to be seen as not making a contribution to the rebuilding of Lebanon.” Inbar agreed with Baker that Hezbollah has an ulterior motive for the talks to succeed, as a deal would mean money ending up in its coffers. Whether this will lead to a broader agreement akin to normalization by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Baker remained skeptical. “It’s a beginning, and if it works out, it can lead to wider discussions on the land boundary, where the dispute is not so large, but there are points which need to be negotiated and agreed upon,” he said. “This, of course, depends on what the future government of Lebanon will look like,” he added. Speaking at the Knesset on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at the possibility of broader negotiations when he called on the Lebanese government to continue and conclude talks with Israel regarding mutual maritime borders. “It might be a first sign for peace that could maybe happen in the future,” Netanyahu said. But he warned that “there will be no peace with Lebanon as long as Hezbollah is in control of it.” Inbar said he believes that it would be wrong to see the talks as an indication of expanding the normalization process. “It is a Lebanese development, and has to do with the economic and political crisis within Lebanon,” he emphasized. Inbar said he wouldn’t read too deeply into the talks at this point: “I am a skeptic, and I am waiting. We will see what happens.” “In the Middle East, talks can go on forever,” he forewarned. “And we shouldn’t forget that even if we have an agreement, there is no assurance that it will be respected.”
(CREDIT: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
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Election 2020 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
campaign. Biden launched his campaign in April 2019 saying that he was coaxed into running by Trump’s failure to unequivocally condemn a deadly white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. The AJC poll shows Biden besting Trump on every other issue including handling the coronavirus pandemic, 78%19%; combatting terrorism, 71%-26%; and uniting the country, 79%-15%. Trump fares poorly even on those issues he has sought to draw strong contrasts with Biden: dealing with Iran, 71%-27%; handling crime, 72%-24%, and strengthening U.S.-Israel relations, 54%42%. A central plank of the Trump campaign’s campaign in the Jewish community has been his decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear, deal, which Trump has repeatedly emphasized was finalized when Biden was serving President Barack Obama as vice president. Another plank has been Trump’s closeness to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump has moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, cut funding to Palestinians, recognized Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights, advanced an Israeli-
Palestinian peace formula that would allow Israel to keep chunks of the West Bank, and most recently, brokered a normalization deal between Israel and two Gulf Arab nations. Trump has expressed frustration that his Israel decisions have not garnered greater support in the Jewish community. Another sign in the poll that Trump has alienated Jews is that just 16% of respondents admitted to voting for him in 2016; exit polls at the time showed 24% voting for him. The gap suggests that some respondents might have convinced themselves that they never voted for Trump. The poll showed Jewish voters tend to rank foreign policy low on their list of priorities heading into the voting booth: The top two ranked issues are the pandemic and health care, at 26% and 17% respectively, with foreign policy ranked last among six issues, at 5%. The other issues respondents were asked to rank were the economy at third, 13%; race relations at fourth, 12% and crime at fifth, 6%. David Harris, the American Jewish Committee CEO, identified a number of
areas of concern for his group, which seeks to achieve a consensus among American Jews to better represent them to overseas governments and in international forums. One was the gap between Orthodox Jews, of whom the poll showed 74 percent favoring Trump, and others in the community. “For those of us in the Jewish world who want to focus on unity, on outreach, on bridge-building within the Jewish community, I think this is a very compelling reminder of how wide some of the differences are,” he said. Other concerns, Harris said, included the seeming gap between American and Israeli Jews, who overwhelmingly approve of Trump, and the shrinking interest in foreign policy among American Jews.
Ivanka Trump visits the tomb of the Lubavitcher Rebbe as election nears BY RON KAMPEAS
Mendel Schneerson, as an election approaches that could oust her father from the presidency or give him another four years. Smartphone video posted on social media captured President Donald Trump’s daughter emerging, masked, on Thursday night from the “ohel,” a modest structure in Queens where Schneerson is buried with his father-in-law. The structure is adjacent to a cemetery. Trump had just completed his second debate with Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, in Tennessee. Ivanka Trump was praying for her father’s reelection, according to Yeshiva World News, which did not give attribution for the claim. In 2016, she and her husband, Jared Kushner, visited the ohel to pray for her father’s election. Ivanka Trump and Kushner are Orthodox Jews. Praying adjacent to the tomb of Schneerson, who died in 1994, is considered by many Jews to be especially powerful.
(JTA) – Ivanka Trump visited the tomb of the Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem
1 4 T H A N N U A L “Odd Nansen not only saved my life. He also
COMMEMORATION Sunday, November 15, 2020 - 9 a.m.
ALL ARE WELCOME ON ZOOM Congregation Or Shalom orshalomct.org
Odd Nansen jewishledger.com
enriched it with his philosophy of life”
Professor Thomas Buergenthal, Nansen Rescuee
Please join us for our Annual Community-Wide Kristallnacht Commemoration.This year, we will honor the conscience and heroism of Odd Nansen, who financed and operated an orphanage in Oslo, Norway for Jews and all facing imminent death in Nazi-occupied Europe. Sent to a concentration camp by the Nazi Gestapo, Nansen kept a secret diary there which later became an important testimony to the realities of the Holocaust. In the camp, Nansen risked his life in order to save inmates.
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: • U.S. Senate Commendation presented by Senator Richard Blumenthal to the Nansen family. • Comments by Timothy Boyce, Esq., re-publisher of “From Day to Day,” the secret diary of Odd Nansen.
Sign up at: jewishnewhaven.org/RSVP JEWISH LEDGER
OCTOBER 30, 2020
The global proportion of Jews living in Europe BY CNAAN LIPHSHIZ
MSTERDAM (JTA) – Jews’ share of the population of Europe is as low now as it was 1,000 years ago and is declining even further, according to a landmark new demographic study. The study published Wednesday, Oct. 21, by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research found 1.3 million people who describe themselves as Jewish in continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Russia. That figure has declined by nearly 60% since 1970, when there were 3.2 million Jews in the same area, wrote the report’s authors, Daniel Staetsky and Sergio DellaPergola. That decline, which follows the death of about six million European Jews in the Holocaust, owes mostly to the emigration of more than 1.5 million people following the collapse of the Iron Curtain, their data shows. But Western Europe, too, has lost 8.5% of its Jewish population since 1970. It is home to just over a million Jews today compared to 1,112,000 in 1970. In particular, the Jewish community of Germany is in a “terminal” state because more than 40% of its 118,000 Jews are above the age of 65, whereas less than 10% are under 15, the study says. This
reality, which exists also in Russia and Ukraine, “foreshadows high death rates and unavoidable future population decline,” according to the study. The project is arguably the most comprehensive survey of Jewish demographics ever completed in Europe, more far-reaching than a 2018 European Union survey – although the new survey uses some information from the 2018 EU project. It is also based on official census data and figures provided by individual Jewish communities, which are often organized into organizations with official membership tallies. “The proportion of Jews residing in Europe is about the same as it was at the time of the first Jewish global population account conducted by Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish medieval traveler, in 1170,” the authors wrote. The study also notes that there are an additional 2.8 million people in Europe today who are entitled to immigrate to Israel based on their ancestral Jewish roots – at least one Jewish grandparent – but who are not necessarily Jewish themselves or identify as such. The demographics of European Jewry would have been “totally different” without the impact of the Holocaust, DellaPergola told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview about the report. “But that was
PROTESTERS AGAINST ANTISEMITISM PARTICIPATE IN A RALLY AT REPUBLIQUE SQUARE IN PARIS, FEB. 19, 2019. (CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
| OCTOBER 30, 2020
75 years ago, and some of the trends we’re seeing today, which are driving the decline, have little to do with the genocide,” he added. Among those trends is an increasing intermarriage rate and a decline in the reproduction rate of Jewish couples, which is part of the broader drop in birthrate throughout Europe in recent decades. Jews in Europe had grown to constitute 83% of world Jewry in 1900. They now account for merely 9% of the total number of Jews worldwide, according to the study. The new report’s figures diverge significantly from membership numbers provided by organizations such as the European Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress, which are often cited in research and reporting. The European Jewish Congress’ website speaks of 1,929,650 Jews in Europe today – nearly 33% more than the number arrived at in the new report. The World Jewish Congress counts 1,438,000 Jews in Europe. France, which has the second largest Jewish diaspora population after the United States, is responsible for much of the decline In Western Europe. France currently has 449,000 Jews compared to 530,000 in 1970, according to the report, and since 2000 alone, 51,455 French Jews have moved to Israel, by far more than any other Western European nation. Belgium is at a very distant second, with 2,571 making that move. At the current rate of decline, Canada – which according to the World Jewish Congress currently has about 391,000 Jews – will soon overtake France as home of the world’s second largest Jewish diaspora community behind the United States, DellaPergola said. The well-documented reasons for the French Jewish exodus include economic opportunity and fear about antisemitism. “France today is a place where a history teacher can get beheaded on the street,” DellaPergola said, noting a suspected Islamist’s alleged actions near Paris on Friday, Oct. 16. “Of course many Jews, including French ones, find Canada more hospitable.” The report also shows that Turkey, which used to have 39,000 Jews in 1970, now has only 14,600 of them. That drop is the product of a low reproductive rate and a high emigration rate amid what many local Jews call the rise of government-supported antisemitism.
Turkey is not alone: “Low fertility is characteristic of Jews in Europe, with the exception of those countries possessing large populations of strictly Orthodox Jews. Intermarriage, operating on the back of low fertility, complements the picture – these two factors in combination create a situation where the reproductive capacity of many European Jewish populations is low and conducive to future numerical decline,” the report states. Intermarriage rates are lowest in Belgium, where just 14% of Jews are estimated to be married to non-Jews. They are highest in Poland, where the equivalent proportion is 76%. The figure was 24% in the United Kingdom, 31% in France and above 50% in Hungary, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. The report’s findings on Germany are remarkable because it had seen an influx of about 200,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union following its collapse in 1990. That wave, as well as the immigration of about 10,000 Israelis, had revitalized German Jewry. But the newcomers have failed to change the community’s demographic trajectory because many of them and their children intermarried, stopped considering themselves Jewish, emigrated elsewhere or died, the study shows. There are some exceptions to the picture of decline, and all are occurring in countries where the Jewish community has a large Orthodox contingent. The Jewish populations of Austria, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, all with sizable strictly Orthodox communities, “may be growing, or at least, not declining,” according to the report, which is based on official census data, community figures and the 2018 EU survey. In Belgium, where more than half of the country’s 29,000 Jews are Orthodox, 43% Jewish households have at least four children, the study shows. In the Netherlands, where Orthodox Jews make up only a tiny minority of that country’s similarly-sized Jewish community, only about 18% of families have that many children. Still, Belgium is seeing what some Jewish community leaders there are calling a “silent exodus,” which is marked by the sale of former synagogues and the closure of Jewish educational institutions in Brussels. In the United Kingdom, the Jewish minority has declined by 25% from 1970,
e is as low as it was 1,000 years ago down to 295,000 members, the study said. But the community is displaying potential for growth, as 33% of its households have at least four children. (For comparison, that figure is 26% in Germany and France, 25% in Hungary and 21% Denmark.) The report’s findings on the number of Israelis living in Europe are also surprising, and they contradict estimates that there are tens of thousands of them living in Berlin alone. The survey claims there are only about 70,000 Israel-born individuals living on the entire continent, with more than half residing in the United Kingdom (18,000), Germany (10,000), France (9,000) and the Netherlands (6,000). Still, Israelis have been a stabilizing
force for the Jewish communities of countries with very small Jewish communities – for example, they account for over 40% of all Jews in Norway, Finland and Slovenia; 20–30% in Spain, Denmark, Austria and the Netherlands; and over 10% in Luxembourg. Overall, though, the declining trend reshaping European Jewry is not likely to be reversed, according to the study. “Only under exceptional circumstances do demographic trends radically modify their course,” the authors wrote. But, they added, “such modifications have actually occurred more than once in European Jewish demography during the last hundred years alone.”
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A MAN CELEBRATES SUKKOT IN ROME, ITALY, OCT. 9, 2020. (CREDIT: STEFANO MONTESI/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES)
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OCTOBER 30, 2020
Farrakhan, Hitler, and the NY Times: Here We Go Again BY RAFAEL MEDOFF
he New York Times is under fire for publishing an article about one of the world’s most notorious antisemites, without any mention of his antisemitism. Sadly, it’s not the first time; the Times did something similar with Adolf Hitler. In an October 17 essay in the Times, Professor Natalie Hopkinson of Howard University portrayed Rev. Louis Farrakhan as an admirable leader, who planned his 1995 “Million Man March” on Washington as a men-only event but then recognized the need to bring African-American women into the organizing process. “Amid critiques that the [march] was exclusionary and sexist, he took the advice of the women,” Hopkinson wrote. As a result, women
played an important behind the scenes role in Farrakhan’s “great feat.” Hopkinson made no mention of the fact that antisemitism is one of the central themes of Farrakhan’s ideology. Nor did Hopkinson acknowledge that Farrakhan has called Jews “termites,” “bloodsuckers,” and “Satanic.” She did not even note the impact of antisemitism on the march itself–that is, the refusal of African-American civil rights leaders such as Congressman John Lewis to attend because of what Lewis called Farrakhan’s “divisive and bigoted” statements. Challenged on Twitter about these omissions, Hopkinson responded that CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE
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THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES ON JULY 10, 1933.
| OCTOBER 30, 2020
“Ppl who have become white” – seemingly a euphemism for Jews – “should not be lecturing Black ppl about oppression.” She urged her critics to focus their ire on President Trump, since after all, “Hitler never had more than 38% of popular vote.” Funny she should mention Hitler. In 1933, he, too, was the beneficiary of a puff piece in the New York Times. During Hitler’s first months in power, there was extensive coverage in the American press of his anti-Jewish policies, such as the mass firing of Jews from their jobs, public burnings of books by Jewish authors, and sporadic antisemitic mob violence. To counter this negative attention, Hitler in July 1933 granted Anne O’Hare McCormick of the New York Times his first exclusive interview with an American reporter since becoming chancellor of Germany. McCormick was a Pulitzer Prize recipient (the first woman to win the prize in a major journalism category) with a reputation for landing big-name interviewees. But snagging an interview is not the same as making the best use of it. There is no evidence that McCormick harbored any sympathy for the Nazi leader’s views. But her choice of questions, nonconfrontational manner, and flattering description of his appearance and demeanor contributed to a generally positive portrayal of Hitler. “Hitler Seeks Jobs for All Germans” was the headline of McCormick’s page one, top-of-the fold interview. Here’s how she introduced Times readers to the Fuehrer: “At first sight the dictator of Germany seems a rather shy and simple man, younger than one expects, more robust, taller. His sun-browned face is full and is the mobile face of an orator.” She continued: “His eyes are almost the color the blue larkspur in a vase behind him, curiously childlike and candid. He appears untired and unworried. His voice is as quiet as his black tie and his doublebreasted black suit….Herr Hitler has the sensitive hand of the artist.” It got worse from there, as McCormick lobbed soft ball question after soft ball question, giving Hitler a platform from which to expound his views in a reasonablesounding tone without any serious challenges. Just as Natalie Hopkinson portrayed the role of women in Farrakhan’s march in glowing terms, Anne O’Hare McCormick gave Hitler several paragraphs to explain the positive role of women in the Third Reich. “Women have always been among my most sta[u]nchest supporters,” he boasted. “While our aims encourage women to marry and stay home, unmarried women are in free competition with men. Only military service, service on the bench and certain political posts are closed to women.” No follow-up on that from McCormick. Unlike Hopkinson, McCormick did not completely ignore the question of the Jews, jewishledger.com
although she badly mishandled it. In her 29th paragraph (out of 41 total), she asked: “How about the Jews? At this stage how do you measure the gains and losses of your antisemitic policies?” She then gave the Nazi leader four uninterrupted paragraphs in which to explain – in what she called “his extraordinary fluency” – that the reports of his anti-Jewish persecution were all exaggerated, that many other people were enduring hardships, and that the Jews’ suffering was all their own fault anyway. From there, McCormick pivoted to what she evidently felt was a more pressing question: “What character in history do you admire most, Caesar, Napoleon, or Frederick the Great?” Although McCormick did not set out to soften the Nazi leader’s image, her interview may have had that effect. Improving Hitler’s reputation in the United States was important to the Nazis. Germany sought to postpone repaying of its World War I wartime debts to the U.S. and its allies. Hitler also hoped to dissuade American companies from joining the growing boycott of German goods. And he was anxious to keep the United States from interfering as he rebuilt the German military. That’s also why Hitler authorized an American publisher, Houghton Mifflin, to omit the most extreme and violent passages from his autobiography, Mein Kampf, when it published English-language editions of the book in the 1930s. Farrakhan is not another Hitler, although he might like to be. He has praised the Nazi dictator as “a very great man” and asserted that “there’s a similarity” between the two of them in that “he raised Germany up from nothing [and] we are raising our people up from nothing.” Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam has, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “earned a prominent position in the ranks of organized hate,” and its leader is, in the words of the Anti-Defamation League, “the leading anti-semite in America.” Tens of thousands have attended his rallies in recent years; he has more than one million Facebook followers, and nearly half a million followers on Twitter. That makes him a dangerous figure, whose antisemitism should be taken seriously by the most influential newspaper in the world. Natalie Hopkinson was wrong to omit it, and the editors of the New York Times were wrong to let that omission stand. Dr. Rafael Medoff is director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington DC, and author of more than 20 books about the Holocaust and Jewish history. This article first appeared in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal (Oct. 20, 2020) and is reprinted with permission of the author.
THE “B” FOUNDATION Now accepting grant applications from Internal Revenue Service qualified 501(C) (3) organizations which seek assistance consistent with the goals of the “B” Foundation to help feed, care, or educate society. The grants will range from $1,000 to $10,000 and will be awarded by the end of the calendar year. Please submit your written request by November 15, 2020 to: The “B” Foundation P.O. Box 3709 Woodbridge, CT 06525 JEWISH LEDGER
OCTOBER 30, 2020
HOPE in a bag BY STACEY DRESNER
EST HARTFORD – When Jessica Zachs of West Hartford watched the 2018 documentary “Period. End of Sentence” about women in India with no access to monthly menstrual supplies, she was shocked. “These women in India, literally, were still in the’ Red Tent,’” Zachs says, referring to the tent where women in biblical times were sent during menstruation and childbirth. “I started Googling and found out in very short order that in America [due to] ‘Period poverty’ – which is a recognized term – 20 percent of women can’t afford personal feminine hygiene products,” Zachs says. “My reaction was, ‘This is wrong…This just can’t be!’” Feeling that something had to be done, Zachs, a member of Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s Women’s Philanthropy, and fellow Women’s Philanthropy member Linda Levin, founded Dignity Grows, an innovative non-profit effort to provide monthly personal and menstrual hygiene products to women and girls who cannot afford them. Since its inception some 18 months ago, Dignity Grows has distributed Dignity Totes – filled with menstrual and hygiene products assembled by an army of volunteers – to 14 “Distribution Partners” in the Greater Hartford area, all of them local non-profit organizations. The Distribution Partners, in turn, disseminate the totes to those in need among their constituents. Earlier this month, after motherdaughter teams of volunteers packed 1,500 totes at socially-distanced packing parties held at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford, the number of Dignity Grows totes that have been packed and distributed has grown to 5,000. Now the effort has the potential to grow even more, given the national launch of Dignity Grows on Wednesday, Oct. 28. The expanded initiative includes the debut of a new website, www.dignitygrows.org, designed to inspire Women’s Philanthropy divisions of Jewish Federations around the country to start their own Dignity Grows chapters. That, says Zachs, would be a giant step towards lessening the toll “period poverty’ takes on the self-esteem and economic and educational well-being of women and girls. “Most of the women who can’t afford these products are hourly wage workers. If you can’t go to work because you don’t have menstrual supplies, you don’t get paid 12
which heightens the cycle of poverty. So you have to then decide if you’re feeding your kids or if you are buying sanitary products. It’s someone’s economic wellbeing and we know that affects everything else,” says Zachs.
A grassroots effort
In 2019, even before watching “Period. End of Sentence,” Zachs and her friend Linda Levin had been seeking an impactful project for women in the Hartford Jewish community to participate in together. “And we wanted to get women together to do something – not listen to a speaker, not read a book, but do something that would begin a conversation and awareness about an important issue.” It was not long after that that Zachs and Levin the documentary, which shed light on the lack of hygiene products in India, and also detailed the inspiring grassroots efforts of a group of Indian women who created and distributed sanitary pads with the help of a local cotton farmer. “This gentleman in their community said, ‘We’re going to get together and we’re going to start making pads that you women can use,” explains Zachs. “And this gentleman, who was a cotton farmer, got women together; they built machinery and created their own sanitary pads. Then they brought them to markets. People were against them, but this grassroots business took off.” As did Dignity Grows. Zachs and Levin grassroots effort began when she met with the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford to discuss the idea of a one-night program in which women from the community would come together to fill bags with feminine hygiene products for those in need. “We got a small grant of $1,500 through a donor-advised fund to start. Linda Levin used $1,000 to purchase totes at a buck a piece and we were in business,” Zachs said. “The products, at that point, were donated by the women who came to the event. They were incredibly generous. I think 50 people came to Linda’s house to pack these totes. It was wonderful.”
THE DIGNITY GROWS TEAM (L TO R) JESSICA ZACHS, JENNIFER TOLMAN SCHWARTZMAN AND JESSICA SLATER.
Dignity Grow’s first distribution partners were the Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford and its Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry, and Mikveh Bess Israel in West Hartford. “A committee member who goes to the mikveh said the woman in charge knew women who were in need of these products.
| OCTOBER 30, 2020
VOLUNTEER TYLER LITTMAN HELPS PACK A DIGNITY GROW TOTE BAG AT A PACKING EVENT.
toothpaste, deodorant – it becomes hard to get a job. These fundamental things are the basis upon which we build the rest of our lives. For those of us who can afford it, we may complain about how expensive it is, but still we can buy it. For people who don’t have the money [to purchase these items], it can really undermine their getting ahead in the world. It’s very significant and it can have a tremendous impact on the quality of somebody’s life.”
JESSIE BERMAN (LEFT) AND HER DAUGHTER REBECCA MADE A GREAT MOTHER-DAUGHTER TEAM, AS THEY PACKED TOTE BAGS AT A DIGNITY GROWS PACKING EVENT.
So they took about 10 bags,” Zachs says. “In short order, we gave all the bags away, and then everyone said, ‘What about next month?’” That’s when the women involved knew that the project had to be ongoing. After months of searching for a strategic purchasing partner, Dignity Grows began a relationship with Dollar Days, a large bulk goods supplier of non-profit and charitable organizations, businesses and schools, from which it began getting all of its products. Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford soon became Dignity Grow’s third distribution partner. “Jessica and I were just talking and she was telling me about this program,” recalls Rabbi Donna Berman, executive director of Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford. “You know, people with some privilege take for granted that everybody can afford [these products] even if they are somewhat expensive, so I thought this was really great.” Berman hooked up Dignity Grows with Susan Mazer who runs Charter Oaks’s Youth Arts Institute, which serves 1,000 low-income kids. “We talked to the families and said, ‘If anybody wants to, you can take advantage of this opportunity.’ And there were a lot of people who wanted to. And because we do so much work with homeless people, we asked them as well and they too wanted to take advantage of this great thing,” Berman says. “If you know [these type of necessities] are paid for, your money can go elsewhere– you can buy food, you can buy medicine and you can buy other things. If this is paid for you can use your money for other things that you need. We’ve handed out these bags quite a few times now.” After Charter Oak, even more people in the community learned about Dignity Grows. jewishledger.com
“Before we knew it people were calling us and saying, ‘We hear you have this project. Can we get bags for our clients?’” Zachs said. In addition to the sanitary pads, the Dignity Grows totes now also always contain shampoo, soap, deodorant, handwipes and toothbrushes and toothpaste. All of the products are full size, giving recipients a month’s supply. Each bag costs Dignity Grows just $10. “I think one of the really exciting pieces for me is realizing that Dignity Grows isn’t just the name of the program, it’s really the vision of the program. It’s not just getting the supplies to people who need them, it’s also the way in which they’re delivered,” says Jennifer Schwartzman, director of community connections for Federation and director of operations for Dignity Grows. “We don’t give anything that is unwrapped. We don’t give leftovers from hotels. We do that to respect the dignity of the recipients. They should be able to carry the bag that looks just like a school bag or a workbag, and that there should be no stigma attached to receiving the product either.” Each Dignity Grows chapter connects with Distribution Partners in its own community. In Hartford, Dignity Grows has 14 local Distribution Partners, including Asnuntuck Community College Food Pantry, Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford, Brownstone Clinic at Hartford Hospital; COMPASS Youth Collaborative; the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund; Grace Lutheran Church Food Line; Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective; Hartford Public Library; Hartford Public Schools; and Manchester Community College Food Pantry. “Poverty is like quicksand,” says Berman, “because when you’re not able to get simple things that we take for granted – like the items in this bag: sanitary napkins,
Zachs, who sits on the National Women’s Philanthropy Board of the Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA), was asked by to present Dignity Grows as a ‘best practice’ at the organization’s annual board retreat in June 2018. “At the time, they had just really launched this initiative in Hartford,” says Jenna Corman Mandel, associate vice president of JFNA’s National Women’s Philanthropy. “When Jessica spoke about the program, you could see in the women’s faces and reactions just how much it immediately resonated, because everyone sitting there could put themselves in that position and know just how different their lives would be, how there lives would be altered by this level of poverty.” This summer, after speaking with Zachs further, JFNA endorsed Dignity Grows and prepared to help launch it nationally. “We hired a branding agency and a web designer, and we have an educational video,” reports Zachs. “We’ve also put together an amazing website that [JFNA] has seen and approved of, and they are fully endorsing this. They are the launch pad for our chapter.” A national coordinator, Jessica Slater, has also been hired. “I think other communities should benefit from what Hartford has learned,” says Slater. Jessica and Jennifer have done such a great job of reaching, not just the Jewish community, but many members of the greater Hartford community. The other Federations in the state of Connecticut are starting to do the same thing and lots of different communities will have that opportunity, so I think it’s going to be fantastic.” In fact, using the Hartford model, the Greenwich Federation launched the program in their community last winter. While Dignity Grows is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, it does not receive Federation funds. According to Zachs, the goal is for Dignity Grows to become a 501©3 organization and for new chapters to do their own fundraising. In Hartford, those who want to contribute money to Dignity Grows can make a local donation on their website. Hartford has also been hard at work seeking grants; a grant from Bank of America recently paid for 750 totes for Hartford public school students.
“The real beauty of this is that it is such a low barrier program in terms of investment,” says Corman Mandel. “In Hartford, it’s just $10 a bag. So you can really be fundraising from all different kinds of people and at all kinds of different giving levels. It’s not a major investment and, in addition, you can choose to also be handson by taking part in the packing of the bags. It’s a real engagement opportunity.” According to Corman Mandel, following Jessica Zachs’ presentation at the National Women’s Philanthropy annual retreat last year, some of the women went back to their communities and coordinated a one-off Dignity Grows program. Others are interested in beginning an ongoing program like Hartford’s chapter. “We began to see it start to spread a bit organically throughout the country,” Corman Mandel says. “The combination of that and of Jessica launching this sort of umbrella organization that gives people the tools to launch it in local communities – making it a turn-key operation of sorts – the more we felt that National Philanthropy could really help push it out and give Jessica that support. “We’re not in a position to take it national. But what we’re in a position to do is share it nationally with local professionals and encourage them to launch it,” says Corman Mandel. “JFNA has been so wonderfully supportive in endorsing it,” Zachs said. “Their enthusiasm has been overwhelming.” On Oct. 28, JFNA invited its community organizations to a Zoom presentation at which Zachs and her team discussed Dignity Grows and unveiled the program’s new Dignity Grows website, which includes information on the project, as well as guidance on how to launch a new chapter. a “[JFNA is] obviously happy to support Dignity Grows in whatever way we can,” says Corman Mandel. Of course, she adds, “Jessica now has her own team, so I think that more than anything we’re the cheerleaders and sort of the hechsher (the stamp of approval) for the program, because we really have witnessed its success. There are so many positives to this program and we really just wanted to help encourage communities to take it on.” Says Schwartzman: “This is a chance to really live up to our values. We can talk about our place as Jews and the world around us, but this is such a simple way to just live it, and really bring it to action.” To find out more about Dignity Grows, or to start a chapter or make a donation visit www.dignitygrows. org. Local donations may also be made at jewish hartford.org/dignity-growsdonations.
OCTOBER 30, 2020
Briefs TikTok becomes latest social network to crack down on antisemitism
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| OCTOBER 30, 2020
(JTA) – Following the lead of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the video platform TikTok announced that it is expanding the range of hate content that it will ban from the network. The move comes less than two weeks ahead of the American election and amid official warnings of potential violence by extremist groups during and after the vote. It also comes following complaints that TikTok users were demeaning the Holocaust by portraying themselves as concentration camp inmates in videos. TikTok said in a blog post Wednesday, Oct. 21 that it already bans Holocaust denial and works to remove neo-Nazi and white supremacist content. Now it will remove posts advocating similar ideologies like white nationalism, male supremacy and “white genocide theory,” which falsely claims that there is a conspiracy to eliminate white populations with a flood of immigrants. The site also said it would ban “misinformation about notable Jewish individuals and families who are used as proxies to spread antisemitism.” It did not specify names, but figures such as George Soros and the Rothschild family are common avatars for antisemitism. The site also said it will ban anti-Muslim and antiLGBTQ content. In recent weeks, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have all announced steps to ban Holocaust denial, hate groups and posts advocating QAnon, a growing conspiracy theory with antisemitic overtones. The measures come following campaigns by activists charging that the platforms were not doing enough to combat hate.
Arab-Israeli travel blogger Nas Daily denies he is a tool of Israelis (JTA) – Arab-Israeli travel blogger Nuseir Yassin denied that he receives support from the Israeli government to spread pro-Israel propaganda. In a video posted Oct. 20 on his Facebook page, Nas Daily, which has more than 17 million followers on the social network, Yassin said that the satellite news network Al Jazeera had falsely portrayed him as trying to “make Israel look good” using tools provided by the Israeli government. Yassin described the report as “fake news” and denied that his Nas Academy educational program works with the Israeli government. Yassin, who grew up in Israel but moved to Singapore last year, has gained millions of social media followers through his travel videos. He has previously been the target of the Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, which called for a boycott of Nas Academy. In the video, the Yassin also accuses the Qatari state-owned news network of altering its coverage in English to be more progressive than its Arabic-language coverage. He referenced an Arabic-language video in which two journalists seemed to question the Holocaust. The journalists were later suspended. He also referred to claims by activists that the network ignores LGBTQ issues in its Arabic-language coverage.
35-year-old Jewish deli in Denver closes due to pandemic (JTA) – A 35-year-old family-owned Jewish deli in Denver has closed, seven months after the pandemic began pummeling restaurants. Zaidy’s Deli, located in Cherry Creek, a neighborhood that is home to many of Denver’s Jewish institutions, announced its decision in a Facebook post Wednesday night. “We’ve hosted many life-cycle events, your son’s Bris, your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, and we’ve celebrated love by catering your weddings. We’ve remembered and mourned those you’ve lost and provided sustenance for your Shiva. And we’ve loved every moment,” wrote Gerald and Jason Rudolfsky, the father-and-son team behind Zaidy’s. “It’s with a heavy heart that we’ve made the decision to stop compromising the integrity and quality of our renowned Jewish comfort food in order to stay open, no matter how much we wish we could,” they added, before thanking Denver’s Jewish community and others who had shown support for the beleaguered deli. The Facebook post drew more than 100 comments from locals describing their favorite Zaidy’s meals and memories, including one who said Zaidy’s offered “by far the best Jewish deli food in town.” Denver, with about 90,000 Jews in the metro area, boasts several delis, including two that are kosher. Among the many restaurants to fold during the pandemic have been several kosher restaurants in New York City and Seattle’s only certified kosher dining option, a vegan Chinese restaurant called Bamboo Garden.
A large Hasidic wedding was canceled but a tweet made it look like it happened (JTA) – Reports of a large wedding planned for last week in the Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, were met with fury over the weekend. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo even issued a special order blocking the event at which 10,000 guests were expected, which was later curtailed to include family only. jewishledger.com
So when a Twitter account with the handle @SatmarStrong posted a video of a large wedding with thousands of people not wearing masks, it quickly racked up thousands of views and dozens of retweets. Except it wasn’t real. The video was taken at the wedding of Satmar Grand Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum’s grandson in 2006, according to Abby Stein, a transgender activist, and Meyer Labin, a writer and translator. Both were at the wedding, they said, and called out the tweet for spreading disinformation. The @SatmarStrong Twitter account was created this month and had only 19 followers as of Oct. 20. Multiple users said they would report the tweet for containing lies, and it was later deleted. The account has no other tweets. The tweet, and the suggestion that Orthodox Jews were continuing to flout public health recommendations during the pandemic, also struck a nerve with Orthodox Jews who feel targeted because of upticks in COVID19 cases in several Orthodox neighborhoods in New York City. Incidents of assaults and verbal attacks on Orthodox Jews have increased in recent weeks as some blamed Orthodox Jews for the city’s increasing case numbers.
Hadassah and others block right-wing takeover of WZC positions (JTA) – A coalition of Jewish groups including the likes of Hadassah and B’nai B’rith International has temporarily blocked a plan by Orthodox and rightwing parties to take over top positions throughout the World Zionist Congress, the Jewish National Fund and other crucial groups that spend $1 billion annually on international Jewish causes. Under the plan reported this week in Israeli media, the Likud and Orthodox parties of the World Zionist Congress would have reserved for themselves top positions at these groups, including the Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal. On Oct. 20, Sheila Katz, the National Council of Jewish Women CEO and a member of the Hatikvah slate in the Congress, said on Twitter that legacy groups including Hadassah, Naamat, Maccabi, B’nai B’rith International, the Women’s International Zionist Organization and Emunah stepped in to delay the vote on the right-wing plan until Thursday to renegotiate how the professional leadership will be selected. The top positions have until now been filled in consultation with all constituent bodies, allowing liberal groups a say on spending related to religious pluralism in Israel, minority communities in the country and settlement activity in the West Bank. The right-wing coalition believed it had a chance to take sole control of WZO spending because of its strong showing in this year’s election of the U.S. portion of the World Zionist Congress. jewishledger.com
The liberal groups who stood to be disenfranchised include affiliates of leftleaning Israeli parties, the Reform and Conservative movements, and Hatikvah, a slate of prominent U.S. liberal Zionists. They pressed a cadre of legacy Zionist groups that rarely participate in the partisan political fray to step up and vote to keep the takeover from taking place. Many of these groups share donors and members with the liberal groups. This year’s World Zionist Congress is taking place online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: I regret how I handled that Orthodox funeral in April (JTA) – With tensions high between Orthodox Jews and New York officials, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed regret Tuesday, Oct. 20 for how he handled a large Hasidic funeral in the pandemic’s early days. Back in April, after a large funeral for a local rabbi in Brooklyn drew thousands of Orthodox Jews into the streets of Williamsburg, de Blasio visited the scene himself and called out “the Jewish community.” His tweet was widely criticized and damaged what had been a relatively close relationship between the mayor and the city’s Orthodox community. Now, with Orthodox neighborhoods again among the city’s virus hotspots and residents chafing at restrictions imposed to curb the disease’s spread, de Blasio says he regrets what he said – and how he said it. “I look back now and understand there was just more dialogue that was needed,” de Blasio said during a press conference Tuesday. The comments came in response to a question about a call he held with Orthodox leaders from Brooklyn and Queens Monday night, which he said was meant as a “reset” in the relationship between city government and Orthodox communities. De Blasio noted that he had previously expressed remorse over his reaction to the gathering, but he said he would seek to improve communication going forward. “That one night in Williamsburg I let my frustration and concern get away with me and I should have been more careful in my language and I’ve expressed my apology for that before,” de Blasio said Tuesday. He added, “The No. 1 takeaway from the meeting is more dialogue. More communication is the way forward.”
Top Palestinian official in ‘critical’ condition with COVID-19 in Israeli hospital (JTA) – Saeb Erekat is in “critical” condition at an Israeli hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Erekat, who has served as the chief negotiator for the
Palestinian Liberation Organization for decades, was admitted to Hadassah Ein Kerem in Jerusalem on Sunday, Oct. 18, after a Palestinian Authority request. A Monday statement from the hospital said the 65-year-old was in “critical” condition and that he was on a ventilator, the BBC reported. On Sunday, the hospital said he had been in “serious but stable” condition. “Because of the chronic health problems in Erekat’s respiratory system, he is being transferred to a hospital in the 1948 areas [Israel], because his condition requires special medical attention and supervision,” the PLO Negotiation Affairs department said in a Sunday statement, according to the Times of Israel. Erekat, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month, is considered especially vulnerable because he received a lung transplant in 2017.
Jewish Journal of Los Angeles ceases print edition (JTA) – The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, the largest American Jewish weekly west of New York, has ceased print production as of its Oct. 16 issue and become an onlineonly publication. In an announcement to staff, readers and advertisers, publisher and editor-in-chief David Suissa said he hopes the print version of the paper will return once synagogues open again. As a free community paper, the Journal has been distributed primarily through the area’s network of far-flung synagogues, where congregants could pick up the paper on Fridays, its day of publication. “I’m excited about the possibilities of online, but I haven’t forgotten the power of paper. There’s role for both. That means the next time you show up at your favorite synagogue on a Shabbat or holiday, expect to be greeted again by your favorite Jewish paper,” Suissa wrote in his announcement note. In post-World War II Los Angeles, Jewish residents had a reading choice of four Jewish weeklies. Of these, only the latecomer Jewish Journal, founded in 1985 and initially subsidized by the local Jewish federation, has survived. According to recent figures, the Jewish Journal had a pre-pandemic circulation of 50,000 printed copies, shared by an estimated 150,000 readers.
Reprisal of Simon Wiesenthal play streams online (JTA) – It is indicative of the reverence still held for Simon Wiesenthal, who hunted some 1,100 war criminals to the ends of the earth, that a play on his life can now be viewed simultaneously all over the globe. In keeping with the times, the play, titled “Wiesenthal,” is digitally available anywhere in the world until Oct. 28. Reviving the play
is the Wallis Theatre in Beverly Hills, which presented a live version of the play in 2015, written and performed by Tom Dugan. He is reprising the role in the current revival. “My father was a World War II veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He helped liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945. Although I’m an Irish Catholic, I married a Jewish woman, and now we are raising two beautiful Jewish boys, so Simon Wiesenthal’s message of tolerance has a deep resonance for me,” Dugan said. “Wiesenthal was not only a Jewish hero, he fought for the rights of all Holocaust victims, including Soviet, Polish, Gypsy and homosexual victims as well.” Following the war, during which he survived five concentration camps, Wiesenthal founded and headed the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna and dedicated his life to the search for and legal prosecution of Nazi criminals and the preservation of Holocaust memory and education. Tickets to view the streamed version of the play anywhere in the world are on sale at $50 per household and can be purchased at www.The wallis.org/ Wiesenthal.
Argentine Football Association adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism (JTA) – The Argentine Football Association adopted the definition of antisemitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Oct. 15. The AFA governs all soccer activity in Argentina. A day earlier, the University of Buenos Aires, the country’s most prestigious university, did the same. “We consider extremely important that UBA and AFA have adopted the definition of antisemitism. In the case of soccer, there are lots of precedents of concrete discrimination by religion and by nationality, among others, and this decision represents a tool to fight against hate in our main sport,” Victor Garelic, vice president of the Argentine Jewish political umbrella organization DAIA told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The IHRA definition calls antisemitism “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews” that is “directed toward Jewish or nonJewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” But it also includes “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination … by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour,” and “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” Argentina’s soccer culture has had its share of antisemitism controversies in recent years. In 2018, fans of the Atlanta team were bombarded with chants
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OCTOBER 30, 2020
MILESTONES Hartford’s Jewish Community Foundation announces new board chair and members HARTFORD – Three community leaders were elected to the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (JCF) at the organization’s recent annual meeting.
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Gayle Temkin of West Hartford was elected chair of JCF’s Board of Trustees. Temkin is immediate past president and current chairwoman of the Board of the Mandell Greater Hartford Jewish Community Center. She also serves as vice president of Connecticut Voices of Hope and a board member of Jewish Family Services. At Solomon Schechter Day School, she serves as vice president and chair of the Development Committee. She also was recently elected to the board of Beth El Temple in West Hartford. She also serves on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, for which she has held positions as past co-chair of the Presidents Council and is a Lion of Judah. Temkin earned her B.A. in Industrial Psychology and her M.S. in Social Work with a focus on community organization at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Ethan Goldman of West Hartford was elected a trustee of JCF. Goldman is chief financial officer at FLEXcon Holdings Trust, an international pressure sensitive materials manufacturer.
A retired Major in the United States Army Reserve, he previously served as treasurer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and as an instructor at JTConnect, where he taught Israeli military history. For the last 15 years, he served as treasurer of the West Hartford Soccer League, and as a coach. A Certified Public Accountant, Goldman earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He holds a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.S. in Accounting and Taxation from the University of Hartford. Rachel Rubin of Bloomfield was also elected a trustee of JCF. Ms. Rubin is deputy director of Athletics/Chief of Staff at the University of Connecticut and executive secretary to the University’s Board of Trustees. She previously served as chief of staff to the university’s president and was a member of the higher education subcommittee of the Governor’s Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group. Rubin served on JCF’s Center for Innovative Philanthropy Advisory Committee, and on the Board of UConn Hillel. A member of B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom in Bloomfield, she earned a B.S in Business from the University of Connecticut and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. In addition to Board of Trustees Chair Gayle Temkin, JCF’s executive officers for 2020-2021 include Vice Chair Merrill Mandell, Treasurer Elysa GraberLipperman, and Secretary Gerald Goldberg.
New England Jewish Academy teen named Commended Student by National Merit Scholarship Program WEST HARTFORD – Liya Simon, a senior at New England Jewish Academy (NEJA) in West Hartford, has been named a Commended Student in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program, it was announced last week by NEJA principal, Dr. Richard Nabel. Simon is among approximately
34,000 Commended Students nationwide recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2021 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2021 competition by taking the 2019 jewishledger.com
Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. “Those being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” read a statement released by the National Merit Scholarship Program. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.” Formed in 2019, as a result of a merger between the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy of Greater Hartford and Hebrew High School of New England, the New England Jewish Academy is a comprehensive preschool through grade 12 dual-curriculum Orthodox school.
THE KOSHER CROSSWORD OCT. 30, 2020 “Jewish Monsters”
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about “killing the Jews to make soap,” likely a reference to the unsubstantiated claim that Nazis made soap out of dead Jewish bodies. Earlier this year, a player made an antisemitic gesture while leaving the field during a game. The University of Buenos Aires has more than 300,000 students spread out into several different schools. Five Nobel laureates and 16 Argentine presidents are among its graduates. “The adoption of the IHRA definition by UBA will be a beacon for other universities across the entire continent and serve as a bulwark against intolerance and incitement to hatred,” stated Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations. Since 2002, Argentina has been the only Latin American member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The country’s foreign affairs ministry adopted the IHRA definition in 2018.
Friday, August 7, 2020 17 Av 5780 Vol. 92 | No. 32 | ©2020 $1.00 | jewishledger.com
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ANSWERS TO OCT. 23 CROSSWORD
Across 1. Geshem alternative 4. Big maker of small trucks 9. Og, for one 14. Kind of brew 15. Chasing 16. Sky bears 17. Huge creature in Genesis 19. Israeli singer whose last name is Barzilai 20. Ivy League member, briefly 21. Son of Seth, in Genesis 23. Place for a plug 24. Scary creatures only mentioned twice in Tanach, but several more times in Jewish lore
26. The Talmud says Adam might have sacrificed this equine 29. Kind of pole 31. Locale of a famous last stand 32. Sets of points, in math 36. “Parks and ___” 38. Hernandez or Richards 41. She brought Samuel back from the dead (apparently) 45. Pat behind the Heat 46. Like one needing a refuah 47. 1040 IDs 48. Bring into law 51. Univ. offering 53. Vampires in Jewish lore
55. Ghost in Jewish lore 60. Purchase for Wile E. Coyote 61. Tools with teeth 63. Meek and timid 64. Ehrich ___ a.k.a. Harry Houdini 67. Aptly named large monster in the Book of Job (et. al.) 69. Raging 70. Parah ___ 71. Start of Torah? 72. Prague’s famous Jewish monster 73. “Make sense?” 74. Drop the ball, e.g.
Down 1. Ankle bone 2. A as in “Ashkenazi”? 3. Embankment to ward off floods 4. Esther preceder 5. Commonly, to poets 6. “Boyz ___ Hood” 7. He plays Ted, John, and Neo 8. Upscale neighborhood in southern Jerusalem 9. A London cop is unlikely to carry one 10. Rage 11. Space objects in belts 12. Palindromic prophet 13. Unseen “Fiddler” menace 18. Colts, on a scoreboard 22. The “S” in “RSVP”
25. Vending center 27. Pan or birthday 28. Seers see them 30. Mo. that often falls out with Kislev 32. 8 1/2” x 11” page size: Abbr. 33. “___ just can’t wait to be king” 34. Like angels or 11-Down, in a sense 35. Dylan’s “As ___ out One Morning” 37. Midwest city, for short 39. Heavy weight 40. Time segs. 42. Lag BaOmer month 43. Jerusalem, compared to Jacksonville 44. Hurried off
49. Some give cops the 411, for short 50. It may land in hot water 52. Wrestling practice need 53. Ano nuevo starter 54. Stockholm inhabitant 56. Common sound on October 31 57. Montana city named after a kind of hill 58. One near a chuppah 59. Big bandleader Kay whose name sounds like a roll 60. Little stick 62. Close 65. ___-Foy, Quebec 66. Where a girl might learn Talmud, for short 68. Longtime U.K. record label
OCTOBER 30, 2020
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
As “Borat,” Sacha Baron Cohen mocks coronavirus antisemitic conspiracy theories BY GABE FRIEDMAN
(JTA) – Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest appearance in character as Borat was heavy on the bathroom humor – and on satirizing conspiracy theories that target Jews. On “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Monday night, Cohen showed up as Borat – the anti-Semitic, misogynist journalist from Kazakhstan who starred in a blockbuster 2006 film and is set to star in a sequel out this week. Right away, Borat said the coronavirus comes from “a place called Wuhan, which is in Israel.” “It is no surprise, they are spreading everything,” he said. When Jimmy Kimmel asked if he really thought that the virus originated in Israel, Borat said “Yes, it spread from the you-know-who’s,’” making a gesture that mimicked having a long nose.in your browser. Cohen’s upcoming film, which premieres on Amazon Prime on Friday, tackles antiSemitism and a range of other hot-button topics, in the same way that the original Borat movie did – by tricking real people into making incriminating comments. Cohen reportedly interviewed a real Holocaust survivor for the new film in order to mock Holocaust deniers. (After filming, the now late survivor’s family claimed that she was “horrified” with the end result.) Anti-Semitism was a central theme of the original Borat film as well; some scenes, including the fake “Running of the Jew” event, have become some of the zeitgeist’s most memorable parodies of Jew hatred. The Anti-Defamation League criticized Cohen in 2006 for perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes in pop culture, regardless of his intentions. But Cohen repaired that relationship and last year received an award from the ADL for his efforts to fight disinformation. In his acceptance speech, Cohen called social media the “greatest propaganda machine in history,” and he has since grown only more outspoken in his criticism of Facebook and other social media companies for their role in facilitating the spread of false and dangerous information. He has focused much of his satirical energy to mocking conspiracy theories about topics ranging from the coronavirus to George Soros, the right-wing bogeyman who features in many false and anti-Semitic narratives. He pilloried those ideas on Kimmel’s show, when, as Borat, he subjected the host to a fake medical questionnaire and asked if he had been in the presence of any Jews 18
Holocaust survivor’s daughter wants late mother’s interview out of ‘Borat’ sequel BY CNAAN LIPHSHIZ
SACHA BARON COHEN AS BORAT SAGDIYEV ON “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE,” OCT. 19, 2020. (SCREEN SHOT FROM YOUTUBE)
“for more than 15 minutes” in the past week. Kimmel said “Yes, all of our writers and none of our camera guys are Jews.” The theory that Jews were the source of the coronavirus pandemic has gained some momentum in far-right circles, most notably in parts of Europe, such as France and Germany. Some German protesters have also used Holocaust language and imagery to rail against their government’s strict coronavirus lockdown protocols. But Borat didn’t stop at coronavirus anti-Semitism. In the questionnaire, he also asked Kimmel: “As a member of Hollywood elite, have you recently drunk any unpasteurized children’s blood?” When Kimmel said no, Borat added “Really? Not in any pizza parlors recently?” Cohen hit on three different conspiracy theories: the term “Hollywood elite,” which has been tossed around in everything from
decades-old anti-Semitism about Jews in the media to the more recent QAnon theory; the concept of drinking the blood of children, part of the centuries-old blood libel that accuses Jews of killing Christian children for their blood; and the 2016 “Pizzagate” theory, which had some believing that Hillary Clinton and other high-ranking Democratic officials were involved in a sex trafficking ring at a pizza parlor. The Kimmel appearance has made headlines today for some of Cohen’s on-stage antics – which included prodding Kimmel’s crotch with a long rod and getting Kimmel to trade pants with him. As he clipped one of his devices onto Kimmel’s pants, he got a last anti-Semitic trope in: “Normally it is the Jew who controls the media, now it is the Kazakh who controls the late-night host!”
HBO Max to air Israel’s Yom Kippur War drama ‘Valley of Tears’ BY CURT SCHLEIER
(JTA) – HBO Max has bought the rights to “Valley of Tears,” a drama about the 1973 Yom Kippur War that is being touted as Israel’s biggest-budget TV series to date. The 10-part series depicts the war through the eyes of young soldiers through four different plot lines. No premiere date has yet been announced. It stars Lior Ashkenazi, familiar to international audiences from his role in Israel’s acclaimed film “Foxtrot” and his work opposite Richard Gere in “Norman:
| OCTOBER 30, 2020
The Moderate Rise And Tragic Fall Of A New York Fixer.” There is significant talent behind the scenes as well: It was created and co-written by Israeli-American writer Ron Leshem, who wrote HBO’s “Euphoria,” and Amit Cohen, who wrote the popular Israeli thriller series “False Flag.” The pair are also already at work on another Israeli series called “Traitor,” a thriller currently in post-production.
(JTA) – The daughter of a late Holocaust survivor is suing to have her mother’s appearance in Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming “Borat” sequel removed from the film, stating that the comedy mocks “the Holocaust and Jewish culture.” Cohen, who is Jewish, interviewed Judith Dim Evans earlier this year “under false pretenses with the intent of appropriating her likeness,” reads the lawsuit, which was filed this week with the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Cohen approached Evans for an interview in what he called a documentary earlier this year, the lawsuit states. Her daughter said that Evans, who passed away this summer, was “horrified and upset” upon learning that the film was a satirical comedy. The attorney representing Evans’ estate declined to tell the Journal-Constitution if Evans had signed a waiver before participating in the interview. In the original “Borat” film, which premiered in 2006, Cohen tricked several people into participating in a similar fake documentary to mock them. The film also satirizes the antisemitism present in the Borat character’s home country of Kazakhstan. Sources told Deadline that Evans was included to mock Holocaust deniers, not herself, and she was “clued in on the gag” right after it was shot. The sequel, full title “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” premieres on Amazon Prime on Oct. 23. Amazon has yet to comment on the Evans lawsuit.
BULLETIN BOARD Israeli screenwriter Ron Leshem to speak Nov. 12 The 18th annual Contemporary Israeli Voices series, hosted by the Center for Jewish Studies at Wesleyan University, will close on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. with award-winning screenwriter and author Ron Leshim, who will discuss “Why Hollywood Loves Israeli TV Shows.” Live online multi-media presentation will be followed by a Q&A session with the guest speaker. Admission is free.
The Mandell JCC Virtual Book Festival All the following Zoom Webinar Author Talks are followed by Q&As. Presented in partnership with the JCC Literary Consortium. For more information, visit mandelljcc.org/bookfestival. Oct. 27, 8 p.m. Nancy Grace, author of Don’t be a Victim: Fighting Back against America’s Crime Wave. In conversation with John Lemley, Sirius radio host. $11/ticket; $36/ticket and copy of book. Oct. 29, 8 p.m. Mike Leven, author of Can’t Do It Yourself: How Commitment to Others Leads to Personal Prosperity. $11/ticket; $36/ ticket and copy of book. Nov. 8, 8 p.m. Joan Lunden, author of Why Did I Come Into This Room? A Candid Conversation About Aging. In Conversation with Holly Firfer, CNN Journalist. $11/ticket; $36/ ticket and copy of book Nov. 10, 8 p.m. Dale Berra, author of My Dad, Yogi $11/ticket; $24/ticket and copy of book. Nov. 11, 3 p.m. John Grisham, author of A Time for Mercy. $11/ticket; $37/ticket and copy of the book. Nov. 11, 8 p.m. Cameron Douglas, author of Long Way Home. $11/ticket; $24/ticket and copy of book. Nov. 18, 8 p.m. Michael Ian Black, author of Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son Cleo Stiller, author of Modern Manhood. $11/ticket; $32/ticket and copy of either book; $50/ticket and copy of both books.
Nov. 19, 8 p.m. Michael J. Fox, author of No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality. In Conversation with author Harlan Coben. $36/ticket and copy of book. Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. Ina Garten, author of Modern Comfort Food. In Conversation with Michael Ian Black, comedian, actor, and author. $45/ ticket and copy of the book.
Lectures at the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies All lectures in this year’s Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University are virtual and free of charge. Registration required at fairfield.edu/bennettprograms. For information: bennettcenter@fairfield. edu or (203) 254-4000 x2066. Wednesday, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m. “Cantor Azi Schwartz in Concert: From Bimah to Broadway.” (see below) Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. “Goring’s Man in Paris: The Stry of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World,” with guest speaker Jonathan Petropoulos, PhD, Jonn V. Croul professor of European History, Claremont-McKenna College. Ticket required. Open VISIONSs/espresso, in affiliation with the Bennett Center and the Judaic Studies Program.
Azi Schwartz to headline Daniel Pearl World Music Days Concert, Oct. 28 On Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m., Cantor Azi Schwartz will headline the Daniel Pearl World Music Days virtual concert entitled, “Cantor Azi Schwartz in Concert: From Bimah to Broadway.” Sponsored by Fairfield University’s Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, the performance will take place on Zoom webinar. Daniel Pearl World Music Days Concert is a network of over 6,000 musical performances held annually in October, to honor the life of the slain Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl, who believed that music is a powerful force that can bring people together. Born and raised in Israel, Azi Schwartz graduated from Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute, then earned a masters degree in Classical Singing and Conduction from the Mannes School of Music at the New School in New York City. He currently serves as senior cantor at the Park Avenue Synagogue, the largest conservative Jewish community in New York City, and the flagship of Jewish liturgical music in North America. According to Bennett Center Director
Ellen Umansky, PhD, “This year’s concert will be our opportunity to honor the Bennett Center’s founder, Carl Bennett, on the occasion of his 100th birthday. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a man who has given so much to further Jewish causes and culture over the years.” In addition to honoring Carl Bennett, the concert will honor the memory of Harry D. Haims and Dr. Alfred Wolfsohn. Admission to the cancert is free. To register, visit fairfield.edu/ bennettprograms.
Museum of Jewish Heritage upcoming virtual programs The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will host the following programs: Sunday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m. A live concert featuring Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars, actor and Yiddish singer Eleanor Reissa and percussionist Deep Singh. Broadcast from Edmond J. Safra Hall, the event will stream live to a virtual audience via the Museum’s website. The Klezmer Brass Allstars, Eleanor Reissa and Deep Singh will perform songs about love, protest, political commentary, the Holocaust, and liberation, drawing on their previous collaborations “Vilde mekhaye-Wild Ecstacy” and “Mir geyen nisht tsurik/No Looking Back.” Sir Frank London is a Grammy awardwinning trumpeter-composer, co-founder of The Klezmatics and founder of the Klezmer Brass Allstars. He was knighted for his work celebrating multi-cultural Jewish music and honoring those killed in the Holocaust in Hungary. He has worked with many renowned artists across a variety of genres and musical traditions, and has recorded over 500 CDs. His latest release is the poetry/music extravaganza Salomé: Woman of Valor, with Adeena Karasick. Suggested donation: $20. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit mjhnyc.org. Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m., A book talk on Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present Moderated by Jason Stanley, author of How Fascism Works. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, American historian and cultural critic, is the expert on the “strongman” playbook employed by authoritarian demagogues from Mussolini to Putin – enabling her to predict with uncanny accuracy the recent experience in America. In her new book, she lays bare the blueprint these leaders have followed over the past 100 years and empowers us to recognize, resist, and prevent their disastrous rule in the future. This program
will be The program has a suggested donation of $10 but can be accessed for free.
Multi-Cultural, Interfaith Commemoration of Kristallnacht, Nov. 5 & 7 On Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 8 at 5:30 p.m., Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford will host a virtual community gathering to remember Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass – when over the course of two nights in 1938 the terror of the Holocaust began in the streets of Germany. All are invited to join in this program of music, dance and innovative ritual. Register at charteroakenter.org/events.
Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy to host virtual Lower School and Upper School open houses The Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy of Connecticut (BCHA) invites parents to attend the school’s first-ever virtual Open House for prospective Lower School families on Monday evening, Nov. 9, 7:45 to 9 p.m. A comprehensive pre-k through grade 12 Jewish community school located in North Stamford, the open house is specifically designed for families with children in pre-K through 8th grade. A separate virtual open house for high school students will be held Sunday Nov. 8, 10 - 11 a.m.. Parents attending the pre-K through 8th grade open house will have the opportunity to hear from Bi-Cultural’s Head of School, Jackie Herman, and to learn more about Bi-Cultural’s award-winning inter-disciplinary, dual curriculum from the school’s outstanding teachers. “Nonetheless, we are excited to welcome parents to a virtual showcase of the many dynamic and innovative academic and community-oriented programs that make Bi-Cultural the outstanding educational institution it is. It confirms why Bi-Cultural was the only Jewish day school in the country to be designated a 2017 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education,” says Bi-Cultural’s Director of Admissions Miriam Sperber. For information or to register for the Lower School open house and receive a Zoom link, contact Miriam Sperber at (203) 883-8968 or email@example.com. For information or to register for the Upper School open house visit bhaupperschool.org/open house or call (203) 883-8970.
OCTOBER 30, 2020
OBITUARIES CHOLDEN Sue An Cholden of Stamford, died Oct. 17. She was the wife of Larry Cholden. Born in Queens, N.Y., she was the daughter of Billie and Aaron Sachs. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her children, Ken and his wife Jennifer and Amanda and her husband Stephen; her grandchildren, Nike, Brady, Daisy, Benjamin and Story; her sister Merrily Lewis and her husband Frank; and manyextended family, nieces and nephews.
LAMPEL Jeanette Lampel of Avon, formerly of Wayne, N.J., died Oct. 16. She was the wife of Neil Lampel. in Avon CT. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. She was a member of Temple Beth Tikvah in Wayne. She is survived by her two sons, Keith Lampel and his wife Sheila and Jay Lampel; her grandchildren, Josh and his wife Erin, Jamie and her husband Anthony, Avi and Noah; and her great-grandchildren, Corduroy, Sophie, and Darcy.
HEIMANN Walter Heimann, M.D., 91, died Oct. 17. He was the widower of Rita Krim. Born in the town of Beuthen, then in Upper Silesia, Germany, he escaped Germany in 1939 and went to Palestine, where he joined the Hagana, serving in the Israeli army from the 1940s to 1950. He continued his service until 1950. He is survived by his daughter Gail Heimann McMillan and her husband Robin McMillan of New York; her granddaughters, Madeleine and Lily McMillan of New York; and his sister Shulamit Kaplan of Givatayim, Israel. He was also predeceased by his sister Gerda Matthias of Tel Aviv, Israel.
SACK May (Hatten) Sack, 96, died Oct. 18. She was the widow of Harry Sack. Born in New York City, she was the daughter of the late Ambram and Louise Hatten. She is survived by her children, Louise (Sack) Cote of California, Jeffrey Sack and his wife Donna, of Naperville, Illinois, and Norman Sack and his partner Laurie Kritzer of West Hartford; her grandchildren, Lisa Cote of Florida, Adam Cote and his wife Stephanie of California, Rebecca Sack and Melissa (Sack) Rehn and her husband Eric of Illinois; her great-grandchildren, Kayden Rehn of Illinois, and Elise and Emmett Cote of California; her sisters, Jeana Press and Sandra Satell of Florida; her sisterin-law Marie Hatten of Connecticut and Florida; and many favorite nieces, nephews, and other family members. She was also predeceased by her brother Charles Hatten and her son-in-law Donald Cote.
HOFFMAN Lawrence (Larry) Harold Hoffman of Branford, formerly of New Haven, died Oct. 16, 11 days before his 91st birthday. He was the husband Deborah (Fellner) Hoffman. Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was the son of the late Selma and Samuel Hoffman. He served in the U.S. Army from 1951-1953. He was a member of Congregation B’nai Jacob in Woodbridge In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Karen Zeid and her husband Ira, Judy Goldberg and her husband Howard, and Shari Hoffman; his grandchildren, Emily Schimelman and her husband Ben, and Josh Zeid and his wife Stephanie; and his great-grandchildren, Gabriel and Laila Schimelman, and Parker and Barrett Lawrence Zeid.
VOLMAN Carole Edith (Grossman) Volman, 80, of Weston, Mass., formerly of West Hartford and East Haven, died Oct. 20. She was the wife of Stephen Volman. Born in Chelsea, she was the daughter of the late Bella and Harry Grossman. She was also predeceased by her sister Eileen Grossman. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her sons, Josef Volman and his wife Dana, and David Volman and his wife Melissa; and her grandchildren, Justin, Adam, Skylar, and Dylan.
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TORAHPortion Lech Lecha
BY RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB
omewhere back in the late 19th century, my great-grandfather Tzvi Hersh Kriegel, for whom I am named, made a decision. He chose to leave the Eastern European shtetl where he was born and raised and made his way to the United States. Because of that decision, he and his descendants escaped the fate of most of the rest of his family. Had he not made that decision, I myself would have been one of the millions of Hitler’s victims. In my case, I cannot go back more than three generations. It remains true, however, that all Jewish people can trace their ancestry much further back than a couple of centuries. I am reminded of the retort uttered by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe to a disciple who proudly reported that he was tutoring several “Jews with no Jewish background.” The Rebbe insisted that there was no such thing. “Those Jews,” he exclaimed, “have the same Jewish background as you do. They are all children of Abraham and Sarah.” Indeed, we are all children of Abraham and Sarah, and we remain influenced by the consequences of their decisions. Study the weekly Torah portions beginning this week, and you will discover the extent to which we remain influenced by the decisions made by our patriarchs and matriarchs millennia ago. This week’s parsha, Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27), begins with one such decision: Abraham and Sarah’s resolve to leave their “native land and father’s house” and proceed to the “land that I will show you,” the land of Canaan. That decision which reverberated across the generations still sustains our commitment to the Holy Land. There are some lesser-known decisions made by Abraham in this week’s Torah portion. The first was his decision to personally intervene in a war conducted by four great world powers against five other kingdoms. What prompted Abraham to do so was the report that his kinsman, Lot, was taken captive by the invaders. Unlike some contemporary world leaders, Abraham immediately sprang into action. He enlisted the help of 318 of those who had been “born into his household,” raised and educated by him. He made the decision to draft his disciples into military service. Was that a good decision? Not according to one view in the Talmud, Tractate Nedarim 32a: “Rabbi Avahu said
in the name of Rabbi Elazar: Why was Abraham punished so that his children were enslaved in Egypt for 210 years? Because he used Torah scholars as his army!” In Abraham’s judgment, enlisting 318 of his disciples to help rescue innocent victims was a no-brainer. For Rabbi Avahu, however, Abraham’s decision was a disaster of historical proportions. There is no doubt that Abraham’s decision remains relevant down to this very day, perhaps even more urgently than ever before. Our Torah portion continues with the narrative that describes the offer of the King of Sodom (whom Abraham defended and who had Abraham to thank for his survival) to “give me the persons, and take the booty for yourself.” Abraham, meticulously ethical, declines the booty but also yields the persons to the king of Sodom. A wise decision? Not according to another opinion in that Talmudic passage: “Rabbi Yochanan said that [Abraham’s children were eventually enslaved in Egypt] because he impeded the ability of those persons from taking refuge under the wings of the Shechinah.” That is, had Abraham insisted that the King of Sodom yield those “persons” to Abraham’s care, they would eventually have converted to Abraham’s monotheistic way of life. Abraham had a dilemma. Was he to insist on his ethical principles and take no reward whatsoever, not persons and not booty, from the king of Sodom? Or should he have engaged in spiritual outreach and taken those prisoners into his own household? For Abraham, his ethical principles trumped his goal of encouraging pagans to convert to monotheism. For Rabbi Yochanan, on the other hand, Abraham missed a critical opportunity. This is yet another of Abraham’s decisions with great implications for us today. We are all children of Abraham and Sarah. In so many ways, their dilemmas remain our dilemmas. Rabbi Avahu and Rabbi Yochanan taught us that we cannot merely emulate their choices. We must assess their decisions, determine their validity, and then consider the extent to which our circumstances conform to theirs. As we study the parsha each week, we must remember that we are not just reading Bible stories. We are studying ancestral decisions which continue to affect our daily lives in an uncanny way.
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