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Friday, January 22, 2021 9 Shevat 5781 Vol. 93 | No. 4 | ©2021 $1.00 | jewishledger.com

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| JANUARY 22, 2021

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ALEPH 2021: On Jews, Judaism, and the Pursuit of Social Justice

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What’s New at the Mandell JCC Zachs Campus | 335 Bloomfield Ave. | West Hartford, CT 06117 | 860-236-4571 | www.mandelljcc.org

Jan. 14 | 8:00 pm

Jan. 17 | 8:00 pm

Jan. 27 | 8:00 pm

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The Boys’ Club: A Novel

Hungry Girl Fast & Easy

The Last Trial

American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and The Shadow History of Adoption

Erica Katz Thank You Mandell JCC Partner

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JEWISH LEDGER

| JANUARY 22, 2021

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INSIDE

this week

CONNECTICUT JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | JANUARY 22, 2021 | 9 SHEVAT 5781

8 Briefs

10 Opinion

16 Around Connecticut

17 Crossword

18

On the Grow.................................................................................................................5 Despite a low birthrate and ‘experts’ portending our demise, American Jews actually are growing in number, primarily due to three factors: immigration, intermarriage and education.

Time Machine................................. 5 Hartford’s Jewish historical society has joined Massachusetts Jewish historical societies to form a collaborative aimed at advancing and promoting the study of New England’s rich Jewish history.

What’s Happening

Celebrate Tu B’shevat!

19 Torah Portion

20 Obituaries

21 Business and Professional Directory

22 Classified Hate on Display............................. 11 For those unable to decipher the myriad emblems and slogans representing conspiracies and far-right militias that were seen in the crowd of Trump supporters at the Capitol rally gone wild on Jan. 6, we’re here to help.

ON THE COVER:

With the launch of “Operation Tzur Israel” – Rock of Israel – in 2020, the Jewish state has committed to right a wrong by bringing in the last wave of the Ethiopian Jewish community, many of whom were left behind after “Operation Solomon” and have been waiting for decades to reunite with their families in Israel. For those who arrived and those still scheduled to come, it is the fulfillment of a 2,000-year-old dream of returning to the Jewish homeland. PAGE 12 jewishledger.com

Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of Trees, falls on the 15th day of the month of Shevat – this year from sundown Jan. 27 to sundown Jan. 28. Tu B’Shevat – the 15th day of the month of Shevat – is the beginning of a new cycle for the tithe on fruit trees. Before the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E., 10 percent of all produce was set aside for the support of the priestly class and the poor. While the temple is no longer standing, the principles that lie at the foundation of the practice of tithing are eternally relevant. According to Jewish tradition, the land is not ours do to with as we please. According to the biblical tradition, we are required to share the bounty of the land with those in need, allowing the land to rest during the sabbatical year, redistributing land every 50 years (the Jubilee) and maintaining the integrity of the land so it will sustain future generations. Today, Jewish communities have continued to celebrate the New Year of Trees as a minor festival. In the 1600s, Jewish mystics in Safed created a Tu B’Shevat seder modeled after the Passover seder. Participants eat four different categories of fruit and drink, symbolizing the four seasons and the mystical “four worlds.” The early pioneers of the State of Israel began the practice of celebrating Tu B’Shevat by planting trees. In recent years, Jewish communities around the world have begun to celebrate Tu B’Shevat as a “Jewish Earth Day” – organizing seders, tree-plantings, ecological restoration activities and educational events, all of which provide an opportunity to express a Jewish commitment to protecting the earth.

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| JANUARY 22, 2021

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UP FRONT

CONNECTICUT JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | JANUARY 22, 2021 | 9 SHEVAT 5781

JEWISH LIFE Immigration, intermarriage and education making U.S. Jewry larger and more diverse

S

Hartford joins New England Jewish Historical Collaborative

BY STEWART AIN

ince the publication more than half a century ago of a landmark article that referenced the “vanishing American Jew,” it’s been hard to shake that idea as the dominant narrative of American Jewish life. Yet the U.S. Jewish community is the largest in the world, with an estimated 7 million Jews – slightly more than Israel’s 6.8 million. And despite a low birthrate, American Jews actually are growing in number, primarily due to three factors: immigration, intermarriage and education. Over the past three decades, Jewish immigrants have come in large numbers from the former Soviet Union, Latin America and Israel. Intermarriage, rather than acting as a net negative for Jewish population, actually has resulted in more Jews, as the children of intermarried parents increasingly identify as Jewish and some spouses convert. And Jewish

education has helped retain the numbers of Americans who identify as Jews – and drawn some “Jews by choice” into the fold. “The narrative of the Jewish community that we are a disappearing people – Look magazine famously referred to us [in 1964] as the ‘Vanishing American Jew’ – is not true,” said Leonard Saxe, a demographer at Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. “What we know is that the American Jewish population is growing substantially, and we know where they are living, how old they are and their political attitudes. We also know that American Jews are increasingly diverse, both in their demographic characteristics and how they enact their Jewish identities.” The increasing diversity of American Jewry is apparent in myriad elements, including national origin, race and ethnicity. “We are not just descendants of European Jews,” said Arnold Dashefsky, director of the University of Connecticut’s

W

BY STACEY DRESNER

Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. “Therefore, planners need to reflect on how their policies can accommodate the diverse nature of American Jewry.” Dashefsky estimates that 10% of American Jewry is Sephardic and another 5% is comprised of “nonwhite Jews” from Poland, Russia and Ukraine, such as Bukharian Jews. Jews of color – a broad term that encompasses African-American Jews, Ethiopian Jews and others – may constitute 12-15% of American Jews, according to researchers at Stanford and the University of San Francisco who in 2019 examined 25 population studies of American Jews and found that most likely undersampled nonwhite Jews. “The Jewish community has consistently been inconsistent with respect to how it attempts to account for Jews of color within the American Jewish community,” Ari CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE

CAMPERS AT CAMP BE’CHOL LASHON, A SUMMER CAMP FOR YOUNG JEWS OF COLOR.

hat is the New England Jewish experience? A collaborative of experts will join together to discuss that question during the first-ever webinar of New England Jewish historical societies on Sunday, Jan. 24. The New England Jewish Historical Collaborative, which is organizing the free webinar that is open to the public, is headed up by the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center in Boston, and includes a representative from each of the New England states, including Elizabeth Rose, executive director of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, and reps from the Jewish Historical Society of Western Mass., Documenting Maine Jewry, the Jewish Cemetery Association of North America, Jewish Communities of Vermont, Jewish Federation of New Hampshire the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, and the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Society. During the Zoom webinar, the directors of the historical societies will hold a panel discussion in which they will each talk about the Jewish history of their state, share information about the resources available within their organizations and discuss developing partnerships and programs on the New England Jewish experience. Michael Hoberman, Ph.D., a professor at Fitchburg State University will give a keynote talk. This event was originally slated for March 2020 as an in-person conference of historical society directors, but as with most everything, Covid-19 forced its postponement. Elizabeth Rose had just succeeded the retiring Estelle Kafer as head of the Jewish Historical Society when the March conference was put on hold. She took over where Kafer left off in helping to organize the event and to plan Connecticut’s contribution to the panel

(COURTESY OF BE’CHOL LASHON)

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CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE

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JANUARY 22, 2021

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Immigration

Hartford

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5

Kelman, an associate professor of education and Jewish studies at Stanford, told JTA last year. The United States also has an increasingly vocal, visible and vibrant Israeli population. A landmark study of the nation’s Jewry in 2013 by the Pew Research Center estimated that 100,000 Israeli-born Jews are living in the U.S., similar to the estimate of the National Jewish Population Survey in 2000-01. But according to an analysis of American Community Survey data conducted by Ira Sheskin, director of the University of Miami’s Jewish Demography Project and author of dozens of Jewish population surveys, there actually are some 350,000 Jews with Israeli roots in America. Many are concentrated in communities with large Hebrew-speaking communities, including Northern and Southern California, New York and New Jersey, South Florida and Boston, but plenty of Israelis are scattered elsewhere across the country. America has other sizable Jewish communities where the native tongue is not English. Russian-speaking Jews live in large concentrations in New York City. Spanishspeaking Jews reside in large numbers in South Florida, including immigrants from Argentina and Venezuela who have arrived during the past two decades. Los Angeles has a large Persian-speaking community, the result of an exodus of Iranian Jews following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The increase in America’s Jewish population comes despite the low fertility rate among American Jews, which has been in decline since the 1970s and generally is lower than Americans. During the baby boomer generation of 1946 to 1964, most Jewish households had two or three kids, according to Sheskin. “But now, Jewish women are averaging 1.9 children each and not all are raising them as Jews,” he said. “As a result, the effective Jewish fertility rate is 1.4 per

woman.” The majority of U.S. Jews live in four states: New York, California, Florida and New Jersey, according to the American Jewish Year Book. The states with the fastest growing Jewish population are Florida (up 200,000 in the past 40 years) and New Jersey (up 100,000 over 40 years). U.S. Jews are highly educated: About 60% have a college education, compared with 32% of the general public, according to surveys. And among those aged 25 to 34, Sheskin said, 85% either have a college degree or have started college. One major factor contributing to American Jewish growth is changes in attitudes toward intermarriage. “Intermarried families are, for the most part, accepted in the community,” Saxe observed. “I like to say that intermarriage no longer requires that they have to give up their Jewish passport.” After the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey alarmed Jewish leaders with its finding of an intermarriage rate of 52% among American Jews (subsequent scholarship revised the figure down to 43%), the community was galvanized into action. Jewish education programs were revamped. Jewish summer camps, hailed as a highly successful Jewish engagement mechanism, multiplied. Philanthropists created Birthright Israel, which has provided free trips to Israel to more than 700,000 young American Jews. Such initiatives and investments have helped Jews develop greater interest in their Jewish identity, Saxe observed. Improvements in demographic methods for finding and counting American Jews also have helped researchers acquire a more accurate picture of the Jewish community, he added. “We are better able to study Jews. We have the ability to find them – including those who are not part of the formal

Join our email list for the latest updates! Contact Howard Meyerowitz howardm@jewishledger.com 860.231.2424 x3035 6

JEWISH LEDGER

| JANUARY 22, 2021

Jewish community,” Saxe said. “We are applying new statistical tools to understand it and we are looking at different ways people are Jewish – not just membership in synagogues but culturally, through membership in Jewish community organizations, advocacy groups and the study of Jewish literature and texts.” About 60% of American Jews identify with one of the three main U.S. Jewish religious denominations: 35% as Reform, 18% as Conservative and 10% as Orthodox. Orthodox Jews comprise the fastestgrowing of these denominations, owing largely to their birthrate of 4.1 children per family, according to the Pew Research Center. A landmark 2011 study of Jews in New York, by far the country’s largest community, found that 61% of all area Jewish children were being raised in Orthodox households. When it comes to politics, a large majority of American Jews vote Democratic. An election-eve survey of 1,334 Jews released in October by the American Jewish Committee found that Jews planned to vote for Joe Biden over Donald Trump by a margin of 75% to 22%. In 2016, Hillary Clinton took most of the Jewish vote: 62% to Trump’s 16%, according to an AJC survey. October’s AJC survey found that the most pronounced differences among Jews were based on religious affiliation: Trump’s support among Orthodox Jews was 74%, compared to 23% of Conservative Jews, 20% of Reform and 14% of self-identified secular Jews. Biden was favored by 18% of Orthodox Jews, 72% of Conservative, 78% of Reform and 83% of secular Jews. As with Americans generally, the number of American Jews who identify as political independents is growing. In the October survey, 53% of respondents identified as Democrats, 14% as Republicans and 25% as independents. As for Americans generally, 2020 was a year of great change for the country’s Jews. Because of their heavy concentrations in the Northeast, American Jews are estimated to have suffered disproportionate numbers of fatalities during the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic also has taken a heavy financial toll: 43% of Jewish households lost a job or experienced a pay cut, compared to 42% of all U.S. adults. The full scope of the pandemic’s impact on American Jews, as on Americans generally, has yet be determined. This article was sponsored by and produced in partnership with the Z3 Project and the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, California, as part of Z3’s 2020 virtual conference, “Visions for a Shared Future: Reimagining DiasporaIsrael Relations.” This article was produced by JTA’s native content team.

discussion. “We’ve had some great meetings and a lot of discussions about themes in New England Jewish history and the best way to connect with our audiences,” Rose said. “When it was going to be a conference it was going to be more internal networking for Jewish history organizations and now it’s really turned into more of an event for the public. I think that that is a nice outcome. And the discussions that we had over the months have been nice. We’ve gotten to know each other and each other’s perspectives on Jewish history around New England as well. It’s been interesting to think about the questions of identity, and our similarities and differences across the different states in New England.” Hoberman, author of New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America and How Strange it Seems: Cultural Life of Jews in Small-Town New England, says that in his keynote talk he will give an overview of the Jewish experience in New England, starting with the Colonial period and ending with present day. “I’ll address some of the bigger questions of what is of value in the study of Jewish history specific to New England and whether there’s anything unique about Jewish life in New England as opposed to Jewish life elsewhere in the United States or elsewhere in the world,” Hoberman said, adding, “I’m trying to address some of the patterns with respect to the Jewish historical experience in the six states of New England.” The idea to form an entire New England Jewish historical collaborative began nearly two years ago when the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center was approached by Harris Gleckman, one of the founders of Documenting Maine Jewry, an in-depth online archive of the history of Jewish families in Maine. Gleckman brought up that some other regions around the United States have actively promoted the study of their Jewish history. For example, the Southern Jewish Historical Society, head quartered in Marietta, Ga., has held annual conferences since the 1970s and has a website and extensive online archives from the Jewish communities of Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. “The archives of some these historical societies and their academic resources are pretty well known and documented whereas there is so little awareness of New England Jewish history and the resources and organizations dedicated to the study of it,” said Rachel King, director of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center. “So the original concept for the conference was more of an academic one. We really wanted to organize ourselves so that we could highlight this history, and attract more scholars to use our resources when doing their research.” Those resources include two million historical documents, mostly from Jewish organizations in Massachusetts. Work is jewishledger.com


ELIZABETH ROSE, DIRECTOR OF THE JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF GREATER HARTFORD.

ongoing to digitize the Jewish Heritage Center’s archives – 700,000 of the two million historical documents there have been digitized so far. A few years ago, Ken Schoen, director of the Jewish Historical Society of Western Massachusetts (JHSWM), and a member of the team organizing the conference, began sending boxes of his collected materials to Boston’s Jewish Heritage Center. “We had accumulated so much material here and we didn’t have the staffing, really, to fully archive it for the public and to put it online,” Schoen explained. The JHSWM’s first shipment to the Jewish Heritage Center in 2016 was 30 legal boxes chock full of Western Massachusetts Jewish history. He and his board continue to send more boxes each year. As director of the small independent historical society that he and his late wife, Jane Trigere built themselves from the ground up, Schoen said he appreciates the goals of this new New England collaborative. “They want to create a unified body that so we can help each other, support each other,” he said. Indeed, as the organizers have been planning the conference, they have realized that there are several advantages to the staffs of various historical societies coming together. “As we started the talk, we also realized that there was just a great opportunity for us all to get to know each other,” King said. “We also just didn’t know what other organizations were out there in other states and even in some cases our own states. We didn’t know what each other had, in terms of collections and resources. So it just made sense to get to know each other and start talking about potential partnerships and collaboration that we can do together.” The postponement of the conference gave jewishledger.com

the organizers more time to work on another goal – creating a new website with information about Jewish history in the various New England states, as well as a resource guide. The resulting resource guide, which will be showcased at the conference, features listings of all of the local Jewish historical societies, genealogical and other organizations, publications, collections and exhibits and more, state by state. For the both the conference and the resource guide, Rose included information not only from the Hartford’s Jewish historical society, but from other areas of the state. “I reached out to the Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven and the Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County, which are the two other organizations in this state. And I have been in touch with the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford and the University of Connecticut archives to make sure I was listing all of the collections each of those institutions have on Jewish history,” she said. After the debut of the resource guide and website on Jan. 24, the collaborative will continue to work together on more projects. “We are really seeing this as a launch,” King said. “I’m excited to get started… We plan to stay in contact with each or any other groups or individuals who jump on board to talk about projects we can do together, perhaps organizing a more academic conference down the road. We want it to be the location where scholars and those in the public who are interested in learning more about New England Jewish history can visit and find what they are looking for.”

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Briefs CNN’s Wolf Blitzer describes pain of seeing ‘Camp Auschwitz’ T-shirt (JTA) – Longtime CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said Thursday, Jan. 14, that he was happy that his late parents, survivors of the Holocaust, did not live to witness the resurgence of antsemitism in the United States – particularly in the wake of antisemitic symbology appearing at last week’s deadly Capitol riot. “I’m happy that they’re not seeing what’s going on now in the United States,” Blitzer said after his cable news station screened video of his 2014 visit to Auschwitz, where his grandparents perished. “It’s always hard for me to believe that in this country which gave my parents freedom” has witnessed such a resurgence, he said, naming events that occurred during the Trump presidency but not mentioning President Donald Trump. “To a certain degree, I’m happy that [my parents are] not seeing what’s going on here,” @WolfBlitzer tells @brikeilarCNN after a rioter wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt was arrested. Blitzer’s grandparents were killed in Auschwitz. “It was so painful for me to see.” Blitzer referred particularly to the rioter last week during the pro-Trump raid on the U.S. Capitol wearing a T-shirt emblazoned “Camp Auschwitz” and “Staff.” Photos of the man, who was arrested this week, have triggered traumatic episodes for Holocaust survivors worldwide. “They were the most patriotic Americans I ever knew,” he said of his parents, who immigrated to Buffalo, N.Y., where Blitzer was raised. “It would have been so painful for them to see even these words ‘Camp Auschwitz.’”

Biden names Samantha Power to top post (JTA) – President-elect Joe Biden named Samantha Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to a top foreign aid post on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Power – notable during her U.N. tenure in part because of her role in allowing through an anti-settlements resolution at the tail end of the Obama administration – was tapped as the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Biden elevated her position to include a seat on the National Security Council, a reflection of his determination to roll back President Donald Trump’s diminishment of U.S. assistance overseas, including to Palestinians. Power, an expert on genocide, had a good relationship with the pro-Israel community during President Barack Obama’s first term, when as a member of 8

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the National Security Council she forcefully advocated for a robust U.S. presence in the international community. That soured during Obama’s second term when she was U.N. ambassador and took a more central role in the increasing tensions between the administration and the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Power became a locus for pro-Israel anger when she would not veto a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements policy, although she would not vote for it either. Biden has said he wants to restore the assistance to the Palestinians, part of it administered through USAID, that Trump all but eliminated. Jewish groups praised Power during her U.N. stint for raising the Israeli delegation’s profile, convening a conference on antisemitism and pushing through the recognition of Yom Kippur as an official holiday. Some of those who applauded Biden’s choice of Power included the American Jewish Committee, a group that had vigorously criticized the 2016 U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements; Liz Schrayer, the president of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a foreign aid advocacy group that has close ties with the Israel lobby AIPAC; J Street, a liberal Jewish Middle East policy group; and Halie Soifer, a onetime policy adviser to Power who now leads the Jewish Democratic Council of America. Conservative groups are expected to pan the pick, though they had yet to pronounce by Wednesday evening.

Trump elevates status of U.S. special envoy on antisemitism (JNS) President Trump signed a bill into law on Wednesday, Jan. 13, to elevate the status of the U.S. special envoy on antisemitism. The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act, which was one of the last bills to pass the 116th Congress, upgrades the status of the special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism, a position at the U.S. State Department, to an ambassadorship, thereby requiring U.S. Senate confirmation. The president will be required to fill the position within 90 days. Having been vacant at the start of the Trump administration, the special envoy was designated in February 2019 with the appointment of Iraq war veteran and attorney Elan Carr. Biden will have the first opportunity to fill the role. Hadassah advocated for the passage of what is now law. “Future ambassadors will surely benefit from today’s action, which affords the Office of the Special Envoy the tools, resources and gravitas necessary to apply much-needed pressure on foreign governments to address anti-Semitism as part of their relationships with the United States,” the organization said in a statement.

| JANUARY 22, 2021

Jerry Nadler brought ‘a babka and the constitution’ to the impeachment hearing (JTA) – As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler was busy last week creating impeachment history. But he hasn’t gone hungry, apparently. C-SPAN caught Nadler carrying a bag from Zabar’s, the famed New York grocery and appetizing store located in his Upper West Side congressional district, as he took his seat on Wednesday. The bold orange logo would be unmistakable to anyone familiar with the store. Multiple news organizations – including New York Magazine and West Side Rag, a hyperlocal blog – reached out to Nadler’s office to find out what was inside the bag. The response, from Nadler’s deputy press secretary Julian Gerson: “A babka and the constitution, what else?” Nadler is one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nine chosen managers for the impeachment process, along with fellow Jewish Reps. David Cicilline, Jamie Raskin and Adam Schiff.

Fitch affirms Israel’s ‘A+’ rating, stable outlook (Israel Hayom via JNS) The Fitch agency has affirmed Israel’s “A+” credit rating, giving the local economy a stable outlook despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. The move echoes the positions of international credit rating agencies S&P and Moody’s, which have also given Israel positive forecasts. Fitch cited Israel’s strong external finances, diversified, high-value-added economy and solid institutional strength as the basis for its projection, but warned of the ongoing political uncertainty and security risks as potential undermining factors. Fitch said it expects the budget deficit, which reached 11.7 percent of GDP at the end of 2020, to remain high in 2021, at about 9 percent of GDP, and for the debt to GDP ratio to rise from 76 percent in 2020 to 80 percent in 2023. Fitch further projected the deficit will narrow to 4.3 percent of GDP in 2022. The agency noted that Israel’s financing terms remain comfortable, due to among other things the Bank of Israel’s bond purchasing program that has resulted in nominal returns in 10-year government bonds of lower than 1 percent annually.

Biden Civil Rights nominee says she erred in inviting antisemite to Harvard (JTA) – Kristen Clarke, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to head the civil rights division at the Justice Department, said it was a mistake to have invited the author of an antiaemitic screed to speak at Harvard when she headed a black student group

there. In 1994, Clarke as the leader of a Black Student Association invited Tony Martin, author of a book called The Jewish Onslaught, to speak and defended him afterward. Jews on campus at the time were appalled by the invitation. “Giving someone like him a platform, it’s not something I would do again,” she told the Forward on Jan. 14. Clarke, the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, has worked closely in recent years with Jewish groups in combatting white supremacists. Biden announced his choice of Clarke on Monday, which earned praise from the Anti-Defamation League. The following day Tucker Carlson, a Fox News Channel host, Subsequently, statements from liberal Jewish groups backing Clarke were more pointed in rejecting the bid to stigmatize her with actions she took as a student. Praising Clarke for her work combatting antisemitism were the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, and Joel Rubin, the American Jewish Congress executive director. Rabbi Jill Jacobs, who directs T’ruah, a rabbinical human rights group, said in an interview that Clarke’s statement this week was a “model of teshuvah,” or repentance, and derided those on the right who would stigmatize someone for something they said as a teenager.

Sheldon Adelson to be buried on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire who died last week and was a major funder of proIsrael causes, will get the distinct honor of a Mount of Olives burial. The Las Vegas Review-Journal, a newspaper Adelson owned, reported that Adelson would be buried in the venerated and ancient cemetery overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City. Jewish families have buried their dead on the Mount of Olives since time immemorial. An estimated 150,000 people are interred there. In 2012, the authorities who run the cemetery said there is barely any room left. The Las Vegas-based casino magnate, one of the world’s richest men, was a major giver to an array of Jewish causes, as well as a Republican kingmaker. His May 2016 endorsement of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy was seen as making it legitimate for the GOP faithful to back the reality show star’s outlier bid. Adelson was a principal backer of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which during his years of association with the group helped expand the Jewish Republican voting base. The Journal reported on Adelson’s arrival in Israel and a brief moment at the airport that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a beneficiary of Adelson’s largesse, spent with the casket draped in the U.S. and Israeli flags. “This is a feeling of great emptiness and loss, but also a sense of comfort, knowing that he is no jewishledger.com


longer suffering and that he will soon lie in the Mount of Olives, in Zion, next to some of the greatest people of our nation,” his widow, Miriam, said in a statement. Adelson was buried Friday, Jan. 15.

Fake journalists spread anti-Israel disinformation, may be part of Iranian plot (JTA) – Three fake journalists who seeded dozens of anti-Israel and anti-American stories on social media may have been part of an Iranian disinformation plot, a report said. A Daily Beast investigation published Jan. 12 identified three purported journalists as posting stories on social media that seemingly came from reputable news outlets but were fake. Other fake stories were posted by accounts impersonating real people. Some of the fake stories eventually made it to legitimate news sites. Characteristics of the fake news blitz were consistent with a known Iranianaligned disinformation campaign, according to the Daily Beast, which reported that Facebook and Twitter were removing the fake postings. Among the fake stories were an account of the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency visiting with U.S. troops in Iraq; a phony threat of a Yemen-based terrorist group attacking an Israeli peace initiative launched in Bahrain; and a conspiracy by Israel and the United Arab Emirates to win President Donald Trump a second term. Some of the stories were bizarre: One impersonated a French politician and claimed he got the coronavirus infection from chicken McNuggets.

Food courier in France arrested for allegedly refusing to serve Jews (JTA) – French police have arrested an Algerian man they say declined to serve Jewish-owned businesses because of antisemitic discrimination while working as a food courier in Strasbourg. The man, Dhia Edine D., is an illegal immigrant, the French lawmaker Meyer Habib wrote Wednesday, Jan. 13, on Twitter. Earlier this week, Edine D. allegedly told staff from two kosher restaurants that he does “not serve Jews” and thus is canceling their order with Deliveroo, the online delivery service for which he was working. A Deliveroo France spokesperson told JTA that his firm is looking into the case, which was reported to police, and working with police. If the employee, whose employment has been suspended, is found to have violated the firm’s “zero tolerance policy to racism and antisemitism” or French law, he will be terminated permanently, the spokesperson said. Both incidents happened last week amid a partial lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic, which has limited restaurants jewishledger.com

to offering only meals delivered by couriers. The case was widely reported in the French media and internationally. Across Europe, denying service to Jews is especially reviled because it echoes Nazi policies. France and most other EU member states have laws that make it illegal to deny commercial service on the basis of race, ethnicity, faith, appearance, gender and other characteristics.

Man seen wearing ‘Camp Auschwitz’ T-shirt during Capitol riot is arrested (JTA) – A man seen wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” T-shirt during the Capitol insurrection was arrested Jan. 13. Federal authorities took Robert Keith Packer, 56, into custody in Newport News, Virginia. Authorities throughout the country are seeking to arrest dozens of people identified on video and Iphotos of the riot last week. His shirt also said “Work Brings Freedom,” a rough translation of the phrase that greeted Jewish prisoners arriving at the Nazi death camp. The back said “Staff.” A number of retailers, including Etsy, have removed clothing with similar slogans after the riots.

Jewish civil-rights group protests Twitter CEO for not banning Holocaust denial (JNS) The grassroots Jewish civil-rights movement End Jew Hatred protested outside the California home of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Monday, Jan. 11, blaring audio recordings of Holocaustdenying tweets that have not been removed from Twitter. The group said Dorsey has been quick to edit content deemed to be “misinformation” when it comes to politics, the coronavirus pandemic and other issues of consequence. But when users on his platform spread harmful lies about the systematic murder of six million Jews, he does nothing. Among the tweets the group broadcasted outside of Dorsey’s home: “The holocaust is fake to distract from the truth. 6 million jews did not die”; “Joe Biden’s win is as fake as the holocaust”; “The holocaust is fake and gay.” Brooke Goldstein, executive director of the Lawfare Project, as well as the founder of End Jew Hatred, said Dorsey has banned politicians he deems hateful, such as President Trump, but has not banned neoNazi material. “What kind of message does that send? That he endorses Jew-hatred? That Jew-hatred is socially acceptable? If denying COVID and its 1.6 million victims is wrong, then denying the Holocaust and its 6 million victims is wrong,” she said. “Jack Dorsey: It’s time for you to end Holocaust denial and end Jew-hatred on Twitter.”

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9


Opinion Rioters at the Capitol and in Charlottesville followed the same playbook. Hold them all accountable. BY ROBERTA KAPLAN, KAREN DUNN, AMY SPITALNICK

(JTA) – The Jan 6 terror attack on the U.S. Capitol followed a playbook we’ve seen before. We know because we’re bringing the federal lawsuit against the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and hate groups responsible for the Charlottesville violence. With each new bit of information, the parallels between Unite the Right and Stop the Steal become more alarming. A straight line can be drawn from Charlottesville to the Capitol – and it is imperative, for our safety and for our democracy, that we all understand how to connect the dots.

results of the 2020 election. One person on the far-right TheDonald forum asked, “What if Congress ignores the evidence?” “Storm the Capitol,” was the response, with hundreds of users liking the post. There were countless similar posts across various sites. These posts eerily echo the Discord chats in which the Charlottesville violence was planned, where there was explicit discussion of hitting protesters with cars nearly a month before the attack that took Heather Heyer’s life and grievously injured our plaintiffs.

LEFT: TRUMP PROTESTERS AT THE CAPITOL, JAN. 6, 2021 (JON CHERRY/GETTY IMAGES) RIGHT: PETER CVJETANOVIC (RIGHT) ALONG WITH NEO NAZIS, ALT-RIGHT, AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS ENCIRCLE AND CHANT AT COUNTER PROTESTORS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA., AUGUST 11, 2017. (SAMUEL CORUM/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES)

In August 2017, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists descended on Charlottesville. As the evidence in our case details, the violence that ensued was no accident. It was meticulously planned for months in advance in private chat rooms: a racist, violent conspiracy that will finally be held accountable in court later this year. Don’t be fooled: Much like with the Charlottesville attack, what happened at the Capitol was no accident. No one should have been surprised by the violence on Jan. 6. These were not lone wolves who spontaneously decided to storm the U.S. Capitol building. Rather, for weeks in advance, on both mainstream and fringe social media sites, these extremists organized, making clear that there would be violence if lawmakers, media, law enforcement and others did not reject the 10

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Much like in Charlottesville, the Capitol insurrectionists showed up with weapons and in tactical gear, prepared for a violence. And violence is, of course, what followed. When these extremists say they’re going to do something, we must believe them. Of course the parallels with the Charlottesville violence don’t end with the fact that both were violent conspiracies planned online. At the core of both Unite the Right and Stop the Steal is a vile, pervasive white supremacy that includes palpable antisemitism. From Camp Auschwitz shirts to Confederate flags and other white supremacist imagery, to the noose hung outside the Capitol, the motivation for these extremists’ violence is their bigotry. Much of this hate is predicated on the idea of the country being “stolen” from white people. “Jews will not replace us” was a direct callout to the vile Great

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Replacement theory, which argues that the white race is being replaced by people of color, with Jews as the puppet masters. In fact, some of the same white supremacists who terrorized Charlottesville showed up at the Capitol, such as “Baked Alaska” and Nick Fuentes who were photographed ransacking Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. One of the chief cheerleaders of the Capitol attack was neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, a central player in the Charlottesville violence and a defendant in our suit. And just like in Charlottesville, within hours of the violence, perpetrators defaulted to the same excuse for the Capitol attack as they used in 2017: blame Antifa, even though there is zero doubt that this was a premeditated far-right extremist attack. Now, these same extremists are back online, using last week’s attack to recruit and planning a new wave of violence. So where do we go from here? The only path forward is one of accountability and justice. We know that it matters. Our Charlottesville case heads to trial this year – and even before trial, there has been true accountability for the leaders of the violence, from large financial penalties to an extraordinary evidentiary sanctions decision and even jail time. It has deterred many of these extremists from participating in subsequent actions. Richard Spencer recently complained that he has been “financially crippled” by the case, while other defendants have had to halt plans for new buildings or events. But beyond our case and a handful of individual prosecutions, there has generally been little accountability for violent extremism. There is now an opportunity to make clear the severe consequences for this terror. The federal government has started to bring charges against individual insurrectionists. The Department of Justice can also take on the full conspiracy that orchestrated the violence, just as we’re doing with our Charlottesville suit. As a new administration takes office, it has an opportunity to bring the full weight of the federal government to bear against these extremists – and ensure that the playbook seen in Charlottesville and at the Capitol can never be used again.

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A guide to the hate symbols and signs on display at the Capitol riots BY LAURA E. ADKINS AND EMILY BURACK

(JTA) – The sweatshirt, spotted amid the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, seemed designed to provoke fear. “Camp Auschwitz,” it read, along with the message “Work brings freedom” – a rough translation of the message that greeted Jewish prisoners at the infamous Nazi concentration camp. The back of the shirt said “Staff.” A photo of the man wearing the sweatshirt was just one of the images of hateful symbols that have circulated from the mob, whose violence led to four deaths and wreaked havoc on Congress. Confederate flags and nooses were among the overt hate signs that the insurrection brought into the Capitol. Other slogans – on flags, clothing or signs – were code for a gamut of conspiracy theories and extremist ideologies. Here’s what you need to know about them and the far-right movements they represent.

QAnon slogans Several members of the mob wore or carried signs invoking the pro-Donald Trump QAnon conspiracy theory, which is laced with antisemitism. QAnon, which began in 2017 and has gained millions of adherents, falsely alleges that an elite cabal of pedophiles, run by Democrats, is plotting to harvest the blood of children and take down Trump. Trump has praised the movement and espoused its baseless ideas. Here are some of the QAnon symbols present in the Capitol on Wednesday. “Q” – “Q” represents the purported high-ranking government official who shares inside information with QAnon

followers through cryptic posts on fringe websites. QAnon followers often wear T-shirts emblazoned with a huge Q – and several of them were part of the Capitol mob. Trust the Plan – As Q’s supposed predictions have proven false over the years – including the election of Joe Biden, which Q predicted would not happen – many QAnon followers became disillusioned. Others told them to “trust the plan” and place their faith in QAnon’s theories. The phrase has become one of the conspiracy theory’s slogans. “Trust the Plan” logos were also visible in the Capitol, referring to the “plan” QAnon followers believe is happening. Save the Children – Messaging related to saving children is a core tenet of QAnon because it alleges a global pedophile ring. Rioters carrying signs saying “The children cry out for justice,” referencing children who QAnon conspiracists falsely believe have been abducted by Democrats and progressives, including the Jewish billionaire financier George Soros.

Neo-Nazis Prominent Holocaust deniers and neoNazis were part of the Capitol mob. A far-right activist known as ‘Baked Alaska’ livestreamed from inside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Another extremist, Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist who leads the far-right Groyper Army, was said to be in the room with him. The Neo-Nazi group NSC-131 also joined the insurrection, according to reporter Hilary Sargent. NSC stands for Nationalist Social Club and has small regional chapters in the United States and abroad. The 131 division is from New England. In a video, one participant can be seen brandishing a flag with what some Twitter users identified as a swastika, though it isn’t entirely clear.

Confederate flags and nooses Other flags on display also were associated with long histories of white supremacy. At least one protester carried a Confederate battle flag into the Capitol building. Meanwhile, nooses – a prominent symbol of racist violence – were placed outside. In one instance, after members of the mob started destroying camera equipment from The Associated Press, they made a noose out of the cords, according to BuzzFeed News reporter Paul McLeod. QANON 1972 JACKET

(SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES)

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Anti-government militia symbols Flags bearing the phrase “when tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty” (a version of a quote dubiously attributed to Thomas Jefferson) and the Roman numeral III also were seen. Three Percenters use the logo “III.” They are also known as the III% militia, an anti-government militia founded in response to the election of President Obama. The ADL defines the Three Percenters as “extremists who are part of the militia movement.” Another symbol favored by militias is a coiled snake above the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me,” known as the Gadsden flag, which symbolizes support for gun rights and individual liberties. The Boogaloo Bois also use the symbol, emblazoned on a flag. The Boogaloo Bois is a loose affiliate of anti-government militias that comes armed to protests. They are known to wear Hawaiian shirts (not as yet seen at the march) or camouflage (which was very much on display). The Boogaloo movement, which aspires to start a second Civil War, gained prominence last year when its members showed up to anti-lockdown protests and racial justice marches. At least one man wearing a shirt advocating for a civil war was present at the Capitol, though it’s unclear if he was an adherent of the Boogaloo Bois. The Oath Keepers, an antigovernment group like the Three Percenters, according to the ADL, were in D.C. and at a similar protest in Arizona on Wednesday.

Other far-right groups...

It was reported that Proud Boys protesters were also seen wearing “6MWE” shirts, which stand for “Six Million Wasn’t Enough,” a reference to the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. However, JTA was not able to substantiate this claim.

Kek flags “Kek,” a phrase that has roots in online gaming, has taken on new meaning on the far right. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Kek is the “‘deity’ of the semi-ironic ‘religion’ the white nationalist movement has created for itself online.” The word is used alongside the meme of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character that has been appropriated as a mascot of white nationalists. The Kek flag resembles a Nazi war flag, with a Kek logo replacing the swastika and the color green in place of red.

Crusader crosses The shooter who committed the 2019 massacre at a New Zealand mosque appropriated symbols of the Crusades, and they’ve become popular with other far-right, ethno-nationalist groups. The symbols, such as medieval-style helmets or Templar and crusader crosses, are meant to harken to an era of white, Christian wars against Muslims and Jews.

The Punisher The Marvel comic anti-hero The Punisher has been adopted in recent years by white nationalists and neo-Nazis, to the dismay of its creator. “The fact that white nationalists and Nazis embrace it is a tragic misunderstanding,” Gerry Conway told Inverse. “It’s a misappropriation of the character and a blatant disregarding of reality.”

Intactivists

Proud Boys Members of the Proud Boys, the violent far-right group that Trump told to “stand back and stand by” during a September presidential debate, wear black-and-yellow Fred Perry polo shirts along with red Make America Great Again caps. (Fred Perry, a U.K. brand, has said it would stop selling the shirts because of their association with the group.) Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, who said he quit the group in 2018, was spotted in the D.C. crowd. The group’s current leader, Enrique Tarrio, was ordered to leave the city earlier this week after being arrested on weapons charges.

Anti-circumcision activists, also known as “intactivists,” support banning all forms of circumcision, and the intactivist movement often features anti-Jewish imagery. An intactivist comic book called “’Foreskin Man” portrays blonde Aryan superheroes fighting Jewish mohels, who perform circumcision. The above image shows a protester in front of the Supreme Court in October, and similar signs and outfits were seen this week in D.C. The Capitol demonstration featured protesters carrying anti-circumcision signs reading “circumcision is the mark of the beast of satan” and “outlaw satan’s circumcision.”

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JANUARY 22, 2021

11


The long journey home of Ethiopia BY ELIANA RUDEE

(JNS) A total of 930 new Ethiopian olim – new immigrants – landed in Israel in 2020, most immigrating as a part of family reunification initiative “Operation Tzur Israel” (“Operation Rock of Israel”). The immigrants fled malnutrition, poverty, extreme conditions and a tense security situation in Ethiopia–aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic–to fulfill a 2,000-year-old old dream of arriving to the land of Israel and to Jerusalem. The flights, coordinated by the Jewish Agency for Israel, Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, and Israel’s Ministry of Interior, followed the Government of Israel’s decision in October to approve the immigration of 2,000 members of the Ethiopian community, many of whom were left behind after “Operation Solomon” and have been waiting for decades to move to Israel and reunite with their families. Bringing the immigrants home, said Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata, is correcting a “horrendous and immoral mistake” by the State of Israel, which “instead of bringing a family–an entire family unit–families were separated, parents from children, grandfathers and grandmothers.” The complex history of Ethiopian Jews dates back at least 15 centuries. According to Ethiopian Jews, inhabitants of the Jewish kingdom of Beta Israel (later called the kingdom of Gondar) arrived in Ethiopia between the first and sixth centuries, coming to work as merchants and artisans. The community refused to convert to Christianity when Ezana was crowned Emperor in 325 C.E., causing a civil war between the Jewish and Christian populations of the region, and resulting in the Jews creating an independent state so they could continue their Jewish practice. Their practice–based on oral traditions and a nomadic lifestyle that existed until the 20th century–continued through various rulers, wars and forced conversions. Since the establishment of modern-day Israel in 1948, the government has brought 95,000 immigrants from Ethiopia. In the mid-1980s, 8,000 immigrants arrived with “Operation Moses” through Sudan. As part of “Operation Solomon” conducted in 1991, an airlift brought 14,000 immigrants to Israel. In the summer of 2013, the Jewish Agency concluded “Operation Doves Wings,” which brought 7,000 immigrants from Ethiopia to Israel. Today, approximately 13,000 Jews currently reside in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, and in Gondar in the northern part of the African country. According to the Jewish Agency, most live 12

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in poverty and are waiting to be taken to Israel, which they consider their homeland. “My goal is to hasten this aliyah, eventually leading to the closing of the camps in Gondar and in Addis Ababa,” Tamano-Shata told JNS. The minister, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia as a three-year-old with “Operation Moses,” declared the 2020 operation “one of the greatest deeds and one of the best decisions made by the unity government … a moment that transcends the controversies and debates, a moment of saving lives, and most importantly, a moment of national duty that reminds us who we are as a people, and that we are privileged to return home after thousands of years of exile.”

A drawn-out process Compared to other immigrant populations of Israel, the Ethiopian community’s immigration has been one of the most drawn out, partially because diverse groups exist within Ethiopia’s Jewish community. Many also believe that there have been economic and religious-based pressures that have kept the government of Israel from bringing the remaining Ethiopians to Israel. Some 8,000 Falash Mura (a Jewish Ethiopian community whose ancestors converted to Christianity under pressure in the early 1900s) are waiting to make aliyah from Ethiopia with their immigration previously approved in 2015 by a government decision. But just as soon as their immigration was again approved in 2018, reports surfaced in the Jewish press claiming that because the Falash Mura “remain faithful to Christianity and do not adhere to Jewish law,” they should not be eligible to immigrate under Israel’s Law of Return, which dictates that any individual with one grandparent Jewish may make aliyah with a spouse and children as long as that individual “is not part of another religion.” “My goal is to hasten this aliyah, eventually leading to the closing of the camps in Gondar and in Addis Ababa,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata. Most Israelis consider these allegations to be ignorant and outright false. “There is no question that they are Jewish by law and practice,” said Aaron (A.Y.) Katsof, director of the Heart of Israel, an organization that is working with the Binyamin Fund to raise money to resettle these Ethiopian Jews in the biblical heartland. “There was very little

| JANUARY 22, 2021

intermarriage among the Falash Mura,” Katsof, who travels to Addis Ababa and Gondar on a monthly basis to report on their extreme poverty and living conditions, previously told JNS. “Almost all of them go to shul, go to the mikvah, keep Shabbat–eating cold food and sometimes losing their jobs because they do not work on Shabbat. Most have not touched meat or chicken in nine years, as there is no kosher meat available there,” he said, while “observant Jews in Israel and the U.S. have trouble not eating meat for just nine days during the month of Av.” According to Katsof, when the Falash Mura immigrate, most continue as Torahobservant Jews and send their children to religious schools at a rate higher than the rest of the Israeli Jewish population. The Falash Mura, he argued, are not accepted because of a mix of racist, financial and political excuses. “How can people say they are not Jews?” he pondered. “The Falash Mura are more Jewish than many of us are.” Tamano-Shata explained that in regard to the new immigrants who came with “Operation Tzur Israel,” many of these families were perceived as if “they decided to leave Beta Israel, the Jewish community, that decision applied extreme pressure on the community. Meanwhile, it needs to be known that in fact, most of them did not strike roots with others and are Jewish from their fathers. This is why there was a delay.” Tamano-Shata added that in addition to the misconceptions about their status as Jews, Israel was guided by economic considerations that has stalled their immigration. “I believe that it is time to look at these people in the eye and not through an economic prism which is what was done for many years,” she said. “On my part, as a member of this community, I will help stop their suffering and do everything to lead to an end to this humane and painful saga.” “It is very difficult for people to understand that the Ethiopian community are descendants of Avraham, Isaac and Yaakov,” said Rabbi Dr. Sharon Shalom, an Orthodox rabbi and captain in the Israel Defense Forces’ Reserves. “My friend at Princeton, Professor Ephraim Isaac, who is Yemenite and Ethiopian, once gave a speech about Ethiopian Jews, and many were in shock. An Ashkenazi Jew from Poland questioned the connection between Jews and Ethiopia, so Ephraim said to take the Bible and look for the word Ethiopia. At least 50 times, Ethiopia appears in the Bible. Now, he said, look for the world Poland. None. But the question isn’t about

if there is any connection between Poland and Jews.” According to Shalom, Ethiopian Jews descend from the 10 tribes of Israel. “Halachically and historically, there is no doubt in our Jewishness,” he said. Shalom expressed his challenges with hypocrisy to his being an Ethiopian Orthodox rabbi. When he suggested in his book, From Sinai to Ethiopia, that Ethiopian Jews should be allowed to continue their Jewish traditions and heritage, “immediately, I became a heretic [among haredi circles]. From their perspective, I was not authentic, but here I was talking to an Ashkenazi Jew wearing a shtreimel–the shtreimel came from Poland! It rose from the culture of Polish people, not Jews. Polish Jews adopted this tradition,” he said. “They put me on the blacklist,” he quipped. “How can you put an Ethiopian rabbi on the blacklist?”

Preparing for aliyah According to Shay Felber, director general of the Jewish Agency Integration and Aliyah Unit, the absorption of Ethiopian Jews begins even before they arrive, as “the Jewish Agency staff meets with the olim regularly and prepares them for the entire process–from the paperwork, to medical checkups, to the quarantine and then absorption. They learn about life in Israel, the absorption centers, the education system, employment prospects and what happens during their first year. A special team of volunteers is also set to travel to Ethiopia to work with the youth through a variety of informal educational programs aimed at preparing them for life in Israel.” Once in Israel, Felber said, they are transported to an absorption center, where staff speak Amharic and are familiar with the culture. “All staff involved with absorption undergo special training to ensure they are sensitive to the needs of the olim. While the staff at the absorption centers teach the new olim about life in Israel, they also take measures to ensure their existing traditions are preserved,” he said. “In addition to providing them with items like winter clothing and radiators for the cold weather, there is also a sensitivity to the food supplies provided–making sure to first begin with familiar foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes. Residents of the absorption centers welcome new arrivals with homemade injera and other Ethiopian foods.”

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an Jewry

A YOUNG ETHIOPIAN GIRL LANDED IN ISRAEL AS PART OF THE SECOND ARRIVAL OF “OPERATION TZUR ISRAEL,” DEC. 22, 2020.

ETHIOPIAN IMMIGRANTS TO ISRAEL, PART “OPERATION TZUR ISRAEL,” LAND IN ISRAEL DEC. 3, 2020. (OLIVIER FITOUSSI, COURTESY OF THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL)

(AVISHAG SHAAR YESHUV)

A challenging absorption All immigrants find some level of difficulty integrating into the Israeli culture and systems; however, Ethiopians often experience even greater challenges because of the disparities between culture, language and, some believe, because of their skin color. “I believe that the specific challenge of Ethiopian Jews is firstly the disparities between the two countries. I remember when we made aliyah to Israel in the 1980s, the challenges were much larger. Today, I think that olim that arrive are much more prepared, and yet, there are still gaps between the two countries that we have to bridge. We must remember that many of them arrive from villages,” related TamanoShata. “I can say that the challenge of the difference in skin color also poses a struggle with racism and discrimination; this is an issue that I’ve been dealing with for many years,” she added. The topic of racism within Israeli society has been prevalent for decades, though came to a head last year following the shooting of a young Israeli-Ethiopian man by an off-duty police officer. The violence of the riots, along with accusations that Israel’s police and government are racist, surprised many across Israel, raising concerns that organizations with political agendas were inflaming the protests for political gain. While most are quick to call any parallels between racism in Israel versus the United States “absurd,” when Ethiopian immigrants do arrive in Israel, continued the minister, they struggle with poverty, jewishledger.com

as they are “paved to specific cities and neighborhoods in these cities,” which Tamano-Shata said is detrimental to their absorption into Israeli society and equal opportunity to succeed. Moreover, she said, “the data shows that Ethiopian Jews are objectively living in higher rates of poverty and are subject to additional challenges. To my regret, this includes suicide rates; the rate of those committing suicide is higher. “Halachically and historically, there is no doubt in our Jewishness,” said Rabbi Dr. Sharon Shalom, an Orthodox rabbi and captain in the Israel Defense Forces’ Reserves. Though Shalom acknowledges that he doesn’t know why there is such misunderstanding and discrimination when it comes to Ethiopian Jews, he emphasized, “the roots are not around racism.” He further stressed that the challenges that Ethiopians face in Israel are significantly different than the challenges they would face in the United States, and their main struggle is not because of the color of their skin but because of misperceptions of who is Jewish. “Here in Israel, the question isn’t around racism,” he declared, calling the equating the experience of black people in Israel to black people in America “very superficial.” “You cannot compare the tension and challenges of Ethiopian Jews as what exists in America. In the States, the issue is racism,” he said, adding that within Israeli society, there is at present a 12 percent intermarriage rate between Ashkenazi and Ethiopian Jews (of course, it wasn’t that way in prior decades), whereas in the United States there is just a six percent

intermarriage rate. There is widespread awareness that Ethiopian Jews who immigrate to Israel are in need of larger comprehensive government support compared to other olim. “The different local authorities and the state bodies do everything in order to ease their landing into Israeli society. Even after they leave the absorption centers, of course, it doesn’t end,” said Tamano-Shata. “The local authorities receive support for absorption. They are accompanied, there are professionals who work in the local authorities on all matters to assist them, even with education, welfare and the comprehensive support that they need.” “In Israel, there’s a different education system, family structures change in Israel, and the economic situation is different. We take all this into consideration when preparing the olim so they can more easily adjust to life in Israel,” added Felber. One major breakthrough has been in the military. Ethiopian Jews, like the rest of the population, serve in the IDF, with many having risen to leadership positions, including Shalom. According to Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Jewish Agency, it accompanied the new olim on their journey–from pre-aliyah preparations in Ethiopia to the absorption centers spread throughout Israel–and will continue for two years to assist in their integration into Israeli society, including Hebrew learning and preparing for the Israeli education system and workforce. In Ethiopia, alongside preparing the olim for life in Israel and flying them to Israel, the Jewish Agency continues to operate in the humanitarian field among the community waiting in Ethiopia, including

medical care and daily nutrition programs for children and pregnant or nursing women.

The future of Ethiopian Jewry Tamano-Shata and Shalom are but two examples of many Ethiopian Israelis succeeding within society. Hundreds of programs exist in Israel to improve the lot of Ethiopian Jews. The minister, for one, has led a program of urban renewal in impoverished neighborhoods where members of the community live to enable young couples to receive subsidized mortgages, subsidized after-school activities and supervised the education for Ethiopian immigrants. “We still have a long way to go, but I am sure that you are able to see the achievements,” she said. “There are many breakthroughs in many fields in all spheres of life: medicine, law, entertainment, television and politics. It is a huge privilege for me to be the first Ethiopian minister sitting at the government table, and I always say that is a seat of honor for the members of my community, but not only. I want that each and every child will see and know that they can achieve and reach any arena they dream of,” she said. According to Tamano-Shata, what began with approximately 500 new Ethiopian immigrants in the fall will continue to “2,000 olim until the end of January.” Currently, she reported, there are approximately 10,000 potential olim in Ethiopia – “maybe a little more – and we need to answer to them.”

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JANUARY 22, 2021

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IN CONVERSATION WITH…COMMUNITY LEADER AND PHILANTHROPIST ANN PAVA We truly believe that sending children to Jewish day school is the most important decision a family can make.

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n 2019, the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy of Greater Hartford and the Hebrew High School of New England merged to create K-12 Orthodox Jewish day school in West Hartford. The merged school, renamed the New England Jewish Academy (NEJA), serves students in the Greater Hartford, Greater New Haven, and Greater Springfield communities . Thanks to the vision and generosity of community leaders Ann and Jeremy Pava, New England Jewish Academy now offers a transformative, subsidized tuition program, The Pava Tuition Initiative, for all students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The following is an excerpt of a recent interview with Ann Pava, conducted by Prizmah–The Center for Jewish Day Schools. Ann Pava is immediate past board chair of Prizmah. Tell us about the factors that led to the merger that created NEJA ? To be quite honest, our interest was initially in the Hebrew High School of New England.. We were founders of the high school 20 years ago (the first coed Jewish high school between Boston and New York). We watched it grow from 18 students in the first year to more than 80 students by year 10, with the promise of continued growth. And then the economy tanked, the demographics began to change and the school began to shrink. The high school’s six elementary feeder schools also began to shrink, and one of its largest feeder schools, Heritage Academy (in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, where my children went) closed. We worried that the high school would become too small to be attractive to teens and began to look at creative ways to turn around the decline in enrollment. The Hebrew Academy (located in the same area) had also gotten smaller. They were in an old, costly building in a town that was no longer convenient to the Jewish community. The Academy believed they needed to move into a state-of-the-art building in a better location to be able to attract new families and to retain current ones. At the same time, West Hartford’s modern Orthodox community was growing, in leaps and bounds. There were many, many young families with children in the pipeline for a K-12 day school education. Families moved to the community for both schools, even though their children were not 14

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yet of school age. The leadership of both schools recognized a win-win opportunity to grow. The high school had a beautiful new building on a campus in the heart of the Jewish community that could accommodate the Hebrew Academy. Both schools embraced the idea of bringing all their families (current and future), faculty and board members under one roof. And most exciting was the opportunity to give everyone in the day school community an opportunity to build a new, fantastic K-12 school together. This merger had all the right elements to create something new and exciting, to rally the entire community, and to maximize the resources of both schools. Jeremy and I thought the idea was brilliant and supported it 100%. And, we were thrilled that the Greater Hartford Jewish community, through the Federation and the Jewish Community Foundation, supported the merger process with significant funding to ensure a smooth merger. What are the goals or objectives of the Pava Tuition Initiative? We truly believe that sending children to Jewish day school is the most important decision a family can make. We know that day schools immerse entire families in exploring our tradition and sacred values and enable a knowledge and understanding of Judaism that can never be replicated anywhere. Our hope (goal) was that this gift would help the school to grow enrollment by making tuition affordable and accessible to a broader range of families while also ensuring that our school provides an academic program of the highest quality. There is something that has happened as a result of the tuition subsidy that I believe from a Jewish perspective is the most important. We are taught that the highest form of tzedakah is when the gift is given in a way that allows the recipient to maintain the utmost dignity. No matter how gracious, welcoming and confidential a scholarship committee may be, we know that applying for day school scholarship can be a very demoralizing and embarrassing experience. With this subsidy, new families applying to the school feel like mentshes. Many current families were able to go off scholarship and avoid the process as well. Almost every family in the school made a significant donation to the school in gratitude and were thrilled with the ability to give back.

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Nearly everyone who enters the New England Jewish Academy does so on equal footing, with their heads held high. As a result of a new, more affordable tuition level, the atmosphere has changed to one of pride and dignity for all the families. This was not really an original goal, but it is the result we are most grateful for. What is the relationship between affordability and excellence? I think schools need to be both affordable and excellent. You simply can’t have one without the other and expect to maintain or grow your enrollment. I also think excellence is an important differentiator when a day school is competing with a free public school. I believe that one of the mistakes we make in marketing ourselves is forgetting to include the value of a Jewish education, a values-based education, and an education that embraces an entire family. That is something that you will never get in public school or in a fancy private school. I think we focus too much on which Ivy League schools our graduates are attending. No matter where they go to school, smart kids will get into the top colleges. It’s the values and sense of community they get from a Jewish day school education that will make them better human beings once they’re there. What data convinced you to launch this initiative? The biggest piece of data that drove our decision to offer our school a tuitionincentive program came from the 2017 Nishma Research Profile of American Modern Orthodox Jews. The report had nearly 4,000 respondents. What stood out for us is that the number one issue of concern in the modern Orthodox community (89%) was the cost of Jewish day school education. That number certainly reflected the reality we were seeing as people we thought would be coming to the school chose public school instead. When my kids were little, there was no question that we and our friends in the modern Orthodox community would send our children to Jewish day school, no matter what it cost. (Of course, it was relatively more affordable 20 years ago!) My mother-in-law once told me that she and my father-in-law and a whole group of families in their day school took a second mortgage out on their homes (when Jeremy was little) to help the day school! But, it’s a

different world today. Day schools are much more expensive, college is prohibitively expensive and young parents are looking for other (less expensive) ways to supplement their children’s Jewish education and connection to the Jewish community. We began to research tuition models that might work here in our community. Jeremy and I were very inspired by two of our friends from Prizmah, Joel Segal from Montreal and Paula Gottesman from Metrowest, New Jersey. Both of them spearheaded and implemented tuition incentive programs in their communities that were very successful. Although both of their communities were much larger than ours, we were able, with the help of Prizmah’s Dan Perla and in partnership with our school’s leadership, to take pieces of each of those programs and create a plan tailored to West Hartford. Tell us about the early results of the program. Since enrollment opened under Covid, early results are difficult to gauge. Nevertheless, the tuition initiative brought 13 new families and three returning families. Thanks to the lower tuition, we have had a 22% decline in the number of families on scholarship and a 26% decline in financial aid dollars awarded. And parents are so grateful for the lower tuition. Is there a point at which the program will be self-sustaining? I believe that the school will always need philanthropic support. But if this initiative spurs more enrollment growth, they will need a lot less of it! This article is an excerpt of an interview with Ann Pava by Prizma, and is reprinted with permission. It has been edited for space considerations.

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JEWISH LEDGER

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JANUARY 22, 2021

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AROUND CONNECTICUT

650 vaccinated at The Towers BY COURTNEY LUCIANA

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hree hundred fifty staff members at The Towers senior assistedliving home received their Covid-19 vaccine shots on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Three hundred residents were delivered doses directly in their rooms a day earlier by Walgreens pharmacists and Tower Lane employees. Out of 320 residents, roughly 20 had opted out of the vaccine. “Mostly everyone said, ‘Please come in! We’ve been waiting.’ We had two of the pharmacists gently encourage everyone to get the vaccination to stay safe and protect the community,” Towers’ CEO Gus KeachLongo said. Isidor “Izzy” Juda, a 99-year-old Holocaust survivor, was one of the residents who received their vaccine on Tuesday, Jan. 12. “Taking the vaccine didn’t make me nervous. I’ve been through a lot more than that,” Juda said. “What worries me more than anything else is people who are selfish and don’t follow the orders. Why do you have to be selfish and expose yourself, and expose others?” Sixty percent of residents and staff at The Towers are Jewish. Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic from Temple Beth Sholom in Hamden opened up the routine of vaccinations throughout Tower One with the Jewish prayer, Shehecheyanu, which

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TOWERS RESIDENT IZZY JUDA, 99, GIVES A THUMBS UP AS HE RECEIVES THE VACCINE.

marks special occasions. “This is a prayer for life. If there’s anything that’s maintaining life it’s what we’re doing here today. Judaism above everything else believes that life is

WALGREENS PHARMACIST MEGAN PARSI VACCINATES RABBI BENJAMIN SCOLNIC AT THE TOWERS. (COURTNEY LUCIANA)

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HOFFMAN SUM VACCINE CLINI

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paramount,” Scolnic said. “Doing this today is almost like following a commandment. You should do everything that you can to sustain your life.” As Scolnic waited in line for his vaccine, he noted that as a rabbi he is called to go to death beds. “This vaccine will allow me to do my job without fear of getting infected or giving the virus to my family,” he said. Towers Board Chair Cindy Leffell said the isolation has been difficult for the elderly throughout the pandemic. “As soon as we can open up again a little bit, residents can come down from their apartments in small groups,” Leffell said. According to Keach-Longo said that the plan is to allow residents to gradually start group activities again. “My hope is that around the beginning of May, we might have opened a cafe with just a couple of tables and carefully, slowly grow that again so that people can spend time together. It’s so important here as a community,” Keach-Longo said. “Testing and vaccinations are making all of the difference in the world.” This is an excerpt of a story published in New Haven Independent (newhavenindependent.com) and reprinted with permission.

esidents of Hoffman SummerWood, a senior living community in West Hartford, received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Jan. 12. Nearly 98% of residents participated in the clinic, including one centenarian. Arnold Helfand, who will turn 101 on Feb. 5, making him the oldest Summerwood resident to receive the vaccine, saw the vaccine as a way of reconnecting with family. “I want to see my grandchildren and my great grandchildren, but more than that, I want them to see me!” he exclaimed. Joan Weinberg and her husband of 63 years, Leonard, waited in line together for the vaccine. “I’m a bit anxious as I have an appointment following this and I hope I am feeling well enough, but it’s all going to be worth it,” she said. After receiving her vaccine Shirley Goldman, who has lived at SummerWood for more than 7 years, had nothing but praise for the process. Said Goldman, “I thought that the vaccination clinic was run so efficiently; so beautifully; everything on time; everybody is moving along, and the people are very gracious. I am thankful that I am here at SummerWood, and that we are all getting our vaccinations!” All in all, it as a great day for Hoffman Summerwood, said Denise Peterson, RN, FACHE, president and CEO of Hebrew Senior Care, which operates the living facility.“The health, well-being and safety of our community continues to remain at the forefront of our mission,” she noted. “This has been a long-anticipated day and with this miracle of science we hope to once again allow our residents to see and hug their families, friends and loved ones.”

AT ALMOST 101, ARNOLD HELFAND WAS THE OLDEST SUMMERWOOD RESIDENT TO BE VACCINATED. (SOPHIA CANNAVO-OSTROSKI)

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MMERWOOD STAGES IC

THE KOSHER CROSSWORD JAN. 22, 2021 “Boys in the Hood”

By: Yoni Glatt

Difficulty Level: Challenging

Curbside pick up and local home delivery available! SHABBAT DINNER TRADITIONAL DAIRY LUNCHEON DELI SANDWICH PLATTER DINNER MENU

HOFFMAN SUMMERWOOD RESIDENT LILLIAN ROSENBERG RECEIVES THE VACCINE AT THE JAN. 12 CLINIC. (SOPHIA CANNAVO-OSTROSKI)

DAVID WOLANSKY WAS ONE OF THE FIRST OF SUMMERWOOD RESIDENTS TO RECEIVE HIS VACCINE ON JAN. 12. (SOPHIA CANNAVO-OSTROSKI)

ANSWERS TO JAN. 15 CROSSWORD

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Across 1. Dirty dwellings 6. Lein 10. Radiate 14. “Ad ___”, Pitt film 15. Lawyer’s project 16. N.Y. Giants’ founder and longtime owner Tim 17. Neighborhood of Rabbi Isaac Luria 19. Giant screen brand 20. Tragic king of literature 21. Dwarf warrior in “The Lord of the Rings” 23. Aussie college 25. It can run in the woods? 28. Well-___ machine

31. Neighborhood of Rabbi Weiss 33. Not as nerdy 34. It’s quite prestigious to get high with them? 35. Steven’s biopic protagonist played by Liam 37. Pilsner alternative 38. City of Mineo of “Exodus” where the neighborhoods in the puzzle are found 42. Harden, for one 45. Coatroom problem 46. Cooking abbr. 50. Produced for the theater 52. Neighborhood of writer/artist Lee 55. “I don’t have ___”

56. Legendary Tibetan manmonsters 57. What you give with full effort 58. Fancy way to say “as such” 60. “Clueless” protagonist Horowitz 62. Covenant 64. Neighborhood of a notable Chacham 69. Kind of act that doesn’t involve acting 70. Conquering it would be quite the task 71. Possible concert locale 72. They might call you (sigh) 73. Hits, for one 74. Speed checker

Down 1. Seuss title character 2. “The Waste Land” author’s monogram 3. Stressful letters? 4. Language which gives us “clan” and “bard” 5. Sandy Africa 6. Rival of JVC and LG 7. Hear here? 8. ___ of the times 9. “Ghost” star, with 22-Down 10. He will be playing Gordon again in “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” 11. Neighborhood of reporter Horowitz 12. Novelist Levin 13. Something added to a purchase, perhaps

18. Eve, to Jews 22. See 9-down 23. It might be filled before Shabbos 24. Teacher’s org. 26. Dakota Indians 27. “My expectation is...” 29. One that can mix water and electricity? 30. Dr. of sound 32. “The ___” (Uris novel) 33. Iron Man Ripken 36. Not working, as an engine 39. Arabian aristocrat (var.) 40. Devoid (of) 41. Harim: Abbr. 42. “Chatter”-monitoring org. 43. Yadda, yadda, yadda, in three letters 44. Neighborhood of sportscaster

Michaels 47. Like many a Jew right at the start of 11 Tishrei 48. Bro 49. Weekly late night letters 51. They’re needed for hachnasat orchim 53. Puerto follower 54. 1987 Beatty/Hoffman bomb 56. Challah need 59. Israeli party? 61. He convinced many to make aliyah long ago 62. “Hang on a sec,” to a texter 63. Kia model 65. Fjord relative 66. Shabbos wear, for some 67. ___ pinch 68. Render imperfect

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JANUARY 22, 2021

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WHAT’S HAPPENING Jewish organizations are invited to submit their upcoming events to the our What’s Happening section. Events are placed on the Ledger website on Tuesday afternoons. Deadline for submission of calendar items is the previous Tuesday. Send items to: judiej@jewishledger.com.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 19

SUNDAY, JANUARY 24

The COVID-19 Vaccine and Judaism “The COVID-19 Vaccine: The Intersection Between Jewish Law, Ethics and Public Policy,” second of a two-part talk presented on Zoom by Young Israel of West Hartford and led by Rabbi Tuvia Brander, on Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. Join at youngisraelwh. org/zoom. For more information or to submit questions in advance, email info@ youngisraelwh.org. Are Your Kids Naked Online? For parents of Elementary School students Elementary school parent can learn how to protect your children from the dangers of our digital world in this session, to be held Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m., that goes beyond the exploitative world of sexting and social media into darker and more concerning areas of the internet to which young people have free and easy access. Designed for parents and guardians who may not be particularly tech-savvy themselves, Lisa Good will discuss topics such as the dark web, online pornography, cyberbullying and more. For more information: jewishnewhaven.org.

“Bimah to Broadway” with Cantor Azi Schwartz The Beth El Temple 2021 Music Season presents a virtual concert featuring the world-renowned performer Cantor Azi Schwartz, senior cantor of Park Avenue Synagogue. His craft of Jewish liturgical music has been described as emotionally moving, spiritually uplifting, and artistically dynamic – and add to that the delights of the Broadway musical theater. With Cantor Joseph Ness. Limited viewers. FREE. Register now at: http://bit.ly/2LeoY0j Laugh your masks off at BSBI Comedy Night Beth Sholom B’nai Israel is hosting a virtual comedy night featuring several national touring comics on Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. The show is organized by Rhonda Corey, winner of the Clean Comedy Challenge 2018 and producer and host of the Live Stream sensation “Talk is Cheap,” Tickets: $20/per household. For tickets, visit myshul.org/ event/Rhonda.Corey

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21 Short Story Coffee Break: We love Anderson Cooper

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21 Teaching Jewish Diversity; Dismantling the “White, Male Jew Prof. Aaron Hahn Tapper of the University of San Francisco will discuss “Teaching Jewish Diversity; Dismantling the “White, Male Jew” on Jan. 21 at 7:30 on Zoom, as part of the 2021 series of virtual lectures surrounding the theme of “The Jewish Roots of Social Justice,” presented by the ALEPH Institute, a learning initiative sponsored by the Mandell JCC and UConn Judaic Studies. This session offers one way to both teach and deconstruct the dominant stereotypes that Jews reinforce when teaching about Jews and Judaism. For more information, visit judaicstudies.uconn.edu or mandelljcc.org. COVID-19 Vaccines: The Who, What, When, Where & Why

many, but with its arrival comes many questions. What does history tell us about previous mass vaccination efforts? Who gets the vaccine and when? When will herd immunity be achieved? Join us for a virtual panel at 8 p.m. discussion featuring eight distinguished health care professionals who will answer your questions who will answer your questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. For information or to register, visit jewishnewhaven.org.

Stories from We Love Anderson Cooper by R. L. Maizes is up for discussion at the next Short Story Coffee Break on Jan. 21, 11 a.m. Maize will be on hand to answer questions at the Zoom event. Hosted on Zoom by Congregation Beth Israel of West Hartford on the first and third Thursdays of each month “Short Story Coffee Break” is a discussion of short stories by Jewish authors led by Beth Israel’s Learning Center Director Karen Beyard. For more information or to register and receive a copy of the next short story and Zoom link, email kbeyard@cbict.org. Coming up: Feb. 4 – The Spinoza of Market Street by Isaac Bashevis Singer Feb. 18 – Purim Nights by Edith Pearlman

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Are Your Kids Naked Online? For parents of middle & high school students Parents of middle school and high school parents learn how to protect your children from the dangers of our digital world in this session, to be held Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m., that goes beyond the exploitative world of sexting and social media into darker and more concerning areas of the internet to which young people have free and easy access. Designed for parents and guardians who may not be particularly tech-savvy themselves, Lisa Good will discuss topics such as the dark web, online pornography, cyberbullying and more.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27 Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day Voices of Hope will mark the 11th Annual Greater Hartford International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorating the 76th anniversary of the January 1945 Liberation of Auschwitz on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. on YouTube. Designated by the United Nations General Assembly as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the victims of Holocaust by developing educational programs to help prevent future genocides. The Voices of Hope program includes the presentation of the 2021 Chesed Award to Bea Israel, z”l, who died this past November and a keynote address by Dr. Amy Weiss, director of The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies. FREE. For more information, visit www.ctvoicesofhope.org, or email info@ ctvoicesofhope.org or call (860) 470.5591.

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Reform Movement in Israel” on Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. She will address the challenges of having Reform conversions and weddings recognized, equal governmental funding, and the challenges facing Reform congregations. For more information, visit cbict.org/calendar.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1 TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2 Virtual Mission to Washington Join the first National Jewish Virtual Mission to Washington – an opportunity for communities across the United States to join together virtually with political leaders and policymakers to advocate for the future of the Jewish community. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and advocate for laws that fight antisemitism, ensure a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, and provide government resources to keep Jewish institutions flourishing. For more information: jewishnewhaven.org.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7 In the Footsteps of David and Goliath: A Virtual Tour Yoramm Preminger will lead a virtual tour of the Elah Valley, the site of the battle between David and Goliath, on Zoom, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. The biblical text aid in the exploration of the geographical setting for the battle, as participants look at some of the sites mentioned such as Azekah and Sha’arayim. The story opens a window into the important historical period of the early days of the Kingdom of Israel. For more information, visit cbict.org/calendar.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10 The power of unplugging on Shabbat

THURSDAY, JANUARY 28 Celebrate Tu B’Shvat! Celebrate with Rabbi Marisa James, Director of Social Justice Programming at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City, who leads the High Holiday services as visiting rabbi and cantor of Congregation Or Shalom in Orange will discuss Tu B’Shvat, and its universal message, on Jan. 28. Register at orshalomct.org.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 31 Israel and the Jewish Reform Movement Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) will discuss “The Legal Status of the

The COVID-19 vaccine provides hope to 18

TUESDAY, JANUARY 26

The 9th Annual Saul Cohen-Schoke JFS Lecture Series presents “Tech Shabbat,” with guest speaker Tiffany Shlain, Emmynominated filmmaker and author of 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day A Week, who will focus on regaining your inner calm and connection to people instead of screens. The free lecture to be held Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m., is co-sponsored by UJA/ JCC Greenwich, Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County and the UJF Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, in partnership with the Jewish Book Council. To register, visit www.ctjfs.org/saulcohen-jfs-lecture. For more info, contact Matt Greenberg at (203) 921-4161 or mgreenberg@ctjfs.org.

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JANUARY 19 – FEBRUARY 28 THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11 “Purim On Tap” for Young Adults The Tribe, a group for adults in their 20’s and 30’s organized by Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, and JewGood, a branch of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford that empowers young professionals to engage in philanthropy, are hosting “Purim on Tap,” a virtual discussion of the Purim story on Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m., with refreshments. For more information, visit cbict.org/calendar.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 “Before Fiddler – Live from Florence” with Hershey Felder “Before Fiddler – Live From Florence,” featuring actor, playwright and virtuoso pianist Hershey Felder as Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem, as well as performances by the Florence-based Klezmer music ensemble, Klezmerata Fiorentina. Filmed on location where events actually took place, this streaming production will feature the stories and characters of Sholem Aleichem, along with music that is sure to move the soul. This World Premiere production will be streamed live on Feb. 7 at 8 p.m., and will be available for on-demand streaming until Feb. 14 at 8:59 p.m. Proceeds will benefit over 20 national and international theaters, arts organizations and publications. Tickets: $55 per household, available at hersheyfelder.net.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18 Jewish Ethics, Social Justice, and the 21st Century Rabbinate Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay of the Jewish Theological Seminary will discuss “Jewish Ethics, Social Justice, Community Organizing and the 21st Century Rabbinate ” on Feb. 18 at 7:30 on Zoom, as part of the 2021 series of virtual lectures surrounding the theme of “The Jewish Roots of Social Justice,” presented by the ALEPH Institute, a learning initiative sponsored by the Mandell JCC and UConn Judaic Studies. Rabbi Ruskay will focus on raising the scope and profile of social justice work and community organizing skills in the role of the contemporary rabbi. For more information, visit judaicstudies.uconn.edu or mandelljcc.org. Beyond the Ghetto Gates with author Michelle Cameron The book Beyond the Ghetto Gates by Michelle Cameron is set in 1796-97, a rare happy epoch in Jewish life when Napoleon marched into Italy and demolished the jewishledger.com

ghetto gates, freeing the Jews who had long been trapped behind them. This virtual book discussion with Cameron on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., explores issues the novel raises issue that remain pertinent today, including antisemitism, the conflict between assimilation and religious tradition, intermarriage, and the struggle between love and familial duty. For more information, visit cbict.org/calendar.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28 Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy’s gala goes virtual Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy 65th Annual Celebration Dinner, to be held virtually on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m., will honor several community leaders, including: Guests of Honor Stephanie and Josh Bilenker; Young Leadership Award recipients Nicole and Jonathan Makovsky; Doris Zelinsky, recipient of the Morton G. Scheraga President’s Award; and the many school alumni who are currently serving in the Israel Defense Force. In addition, Jacqueline Herman, who will be retiring as Bi-Cultural head of school at the end of this academic year, will receive the inaugural Walter Shuchatowitz Award for Excellence in Education. For more information, call (203) 329-2186 or visit bchact.org. Looking for God in All the Right Places with author Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin will discuss his book Looking for God in All the Right Places, on Zoom, Feb. 28 at 4 p.m. Rabbi Salkin is well known for his writing, teaching and activism. He has written or edited three Torah commentaries – two of which are for teens. Several of his books have won national awards. His award-winning blog, “Martini Judaism: for those who want to be shaken and stirred,” is published by the Religion News Service. He is currently spiritual leader of Temple Israel in West Palm Beach, Florida. For more information, visit cbict.org/calendar.

BO

T

BY RABBI SHMUEL REICHMAN

here is a principle in Jewish thought that many of the most fundamental aspects of Torah are expressed in the most deceptively simple manner. Our job is to delve into these seemingly mundane topics and reveal their inner depth and meaning. One such example is Moshe’s mateh – his staff. It plays a pivotal role within the story of the Exodus from Egypt, and yet how often do we ponder its paramount significance? The mateh first appears at the burning bush, where it turns into a snake (Shemos 4:3). When Moshe confronts Pharaoh’s court, the mateh once again turns into a snake (Shemos 7:12). In Jewish thought, the snake represents evil and the yetzer hara (evil inclination), so it would appear as if the mateh represents evil. However, the mateh is also used to perform all the plagues in Egypt (Shemos 4:17), as well as the splitting of the Red Sea – the pinnacle of the miraculous, transcendent experience of the exodus from Egypt. Additionally, the midrash explains that Hashem’s name was crystalized into the mateh itself. It therefore appears that the mateh is a very spiritual object, the exact opposite of the evil it seems to represent. What, then, is the true nature of the mateh? In order to understand the meaning of the mateh, we must first develop a fundamental principle. The Maharal explains that nothing in the physical world is objectively good or evil. Rather everything has the potential to be used for either good or evil. The choice is solely up to us. For example: Electricity is neither good nor bad. An outlet can be used to charge your appliances, but it can also give you an electric shock. Everything in this world is merely potential waiting to be used. Evil, therefore, is the misuse of potential. Evil is the breakdown and corruption of good. Thus, Hebrew word for evil is rah, which means brokenness or fragmentation. Hashem created the world in this way so that human beings can have free will. We get to choose whether to use things for their true purpose, actualizing their potential, or to misuse them, getting pulled into the clutches of evil. And so, the mateh is neither good nor evil. Its nature depends solely on the one who holds it. It can represent the snake of evil, but it can also be used for spirituality, to carry out Hashem’s mission in this world. When in the form of evil, it causes Moshe to run away in abject terror, but when in the form of good, it enables the

world to witness Hashem’s miracles. While this alone is an essential point, we can develop this theme even further. The midrash compares Egypt and the snake to a “bent path,” while the mateh symbolizes a straight path. What is the deeper meaning behind the concepts of the bent and straight paths? Imagine you are walking along a straight path. At any point along the path, if you turn around, you can see exactly where you came from. However, if the path suddenly takes a sharp turn, bending off its straight course, then if you turn around, you can no longer see the starting point of your journey. The same is true of the physical world in which we live. Originally, the physical world faithfully and perfectly reflected its spiritual root. When you looked around, you saw and experienced Hashem, and you knew that He created the world; it was like looking back down a straight path. However, after Adam sinned, the entire world fell. The world became a bent path, and it is no longer clear where we come from. When we look around, we no longer see a universe that clearly and loyally reflects its Godliness. The snake bends and slithers, representing a bent path, a world of evil and brokenness, where you can no longer see Hashem. The mateh represents a straight path, through which you trace yourself back to your source. When Moshe first encounters Hashem, he is told to thrust the mateh to the ground, where it then transforms into a snake. When something is thrust to the ground, low and distant from its transcendent source, it becomes bent, it becomes evil. But when Moshe lifted it up, towards the sky, tracing it back to its source, straightening the bent path, it became a mateh, a source of good. Everything in our world is potential, having the ability to be used for good or for evil. The choice is ours. Just as we choose which of the two wolves to feed, we choose how to use the potential in this world. The pull and temptation of negative desire can be overwhelming, but the pursuit of truth, of the straight path, must prevail. We each get to choose who we will become. Let us be inspired to straighten the bent path, build clarity from confusion, oneness from brokenness, and bring the world to its ultimate destination. Rabbi Shmuel Reichman is an author, educator, and coach who has lectured internationally on topics of Jewish thought and Jewish medical ethics. Contact him at ShmuelReichman.com.

JEWISH LEDGER

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JANUARY 22, 2021

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OBITUARIES ALTER Leatrice “Chicky” (Perlman) Alter of West Hartford died Jan. 7, just days before her 84th birthday. She was the wife of Dr. Burton Alter. Born in New Haven, she was the daughter of the late Abraham and Sylvia (Brochin) Perlman. She is survived by her children, Elisa Alter Zenni and her husband Martin, and David M. Alter and his wife Allison; her sister of Maurice Perlman and his wife Lynne; her grandchildren, Alex, Michael, Aaron, and Hannah; a niece and many nephews and cousins and their families. GORDON Harriet Casman Gordon, 74, died Jan. 9. She was the widow of Michael Gordon. A longtime resident of New Haven County, she was the daughter of Anne and Philip Casman. She is survived by her children, Erica Grove and her husband Scott of Cheshire, Abby Gordon of Seattle, Wash., and Richard Gordon of Bethesda, Md.; her grandchildren, Zoe and Jeremy Bobruff; her six step-grandchildren; her siblings, Marilyn Weiner and her husband Peter, and Howard Casman and his wife Arlene; and many nieces and nephews. GOLDFARB Michale “Mickey” Goldfarb of Stamford died Jan. 5, less than two weeks before her 91st birthday. She was the widow of Jerry Goldfarb. Born in New York City, she was the daughter of Emil Koenig and Sidney Ruth Koenig. She was one of the founding members of Temple Sinai. She is survived by her children, Neal Goldfarb, and Jane Goldfarb Himmel and her husband Jeffrey; and her grandchildren, Eli Goldfarb, Jordan Goldfarb, David Himmel, Laurie Himmel, and Michael Himmel and his wife Leah. HEISS Betty (Lowenstein) Heiss, 89, of Storrs, died Dec. 23. Born in New York City, she was the daughter not Irving and Dorothy

(Marx) Lowenstein. In addition to her partner Bill Hines, she is survived by her daughters, Linda Heiss and her husband Fred Szymanski of New York City and Gallatin, N.Y., and Elizabeth Heiss and her husband Steve Karlin of Rhode Island; her grandchildren, Sam Karlin and Amelia Karlin; her sister-in-law Maxine Hein; and two nieces and their families. Her marriage to Jerry Heiss ended in divorce. KLAU Miriam “Miri” Klau, 26, died Jan. 9, of a drug overdose following a long struggle with addiction, narcolepsy and mental illness. Born in Boston, she was the daughter of Dr. Jennifer (Feldman) Klau and the Honorable Daniel J. Klau of West Hartford. Miri had proudly enjoyed more than a year of sobriety before her death and was planning on moving from Los Angeles to Hawaii with her boyfriend, who had taught her how to surf. A graduate of The Bess & Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy and William Hall High School, Miri was a passionate artist who loved glassblowing and metal work, especially wrought iron. She was a talented musician and vocalist who brought family and friends to tears whenever she performed. Classically trained on piano, Miri also taught herself cello, guitar and saxophone. She loved to paint, create digital art and sketch her friends. To the trepidation of her parents, who lost countless nights of sleep, the adventurous and friendly Miri hitchhiked and trainhopped her way across the United States several times after completing a gap-year program. At times she chose to live on the streets. Ever afterwards she admonished family and friends to show compassion for the homeless. Miri’s friends remember her loving spirit, genuineness and wideranging creativity. They recall that, despite her own challenges, Miri always put others’ needs before her own. In addition to her parents, Miri is survived by her younger siblings, Ari and Etan; her grandparents,

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David and Barbara “Bobby” Klau of West Hartford, and Wallace and Cecily Feldman of Brookline, Mass. and Delray Beach, Fla.; and an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins, and friends. SCHREIBER Sanford J. Schreiber MD, 89, died Jan. 12. He was the husband of Crol (Tropp) Schreiber. Raised in the Bronx, he was the son of the late Pauline B. Schreiber and Harry Schreiber. He was also predeceased by his sister, Helen Schreiber Heller. In addition his wife, he is survived by his daughters, Rebecca Mina Schreiber and her husband Alyosha Goldstein, and Madeline Eve Schreiber and her husband Blaine Curtis Keesee; and his grandchildren, Alia Schreiber-Goldstein and Jacob Curtis Keesee. SILVER Frederick (Fred) Silver, 89, of Newington, died Jan. 9. He was the husband of Bertha (Finkelstein) Silver. Born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., he was the son of the late Samuel and Francis Silver. He was also predeceased by his brother Robert Silver and his wife Susan. He served in the United States Air Force for four years, doing communications and code analysis during the Korean War. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, grandchildren

and great-grandchildren: Jay and wife Gerri, their two daughters Alexandra Silver and Samantha and husband Chase, and son Grayson Marshall; Bonnie and husband Joseph Salafia and their daughters Jessica and husband Frank, and sons Frank and Luca Antonacci, Brittany and husband JJ and sons Joey and Leo Alvarez; Shari and husband Sander and daughter Haley Feingold; Allyson Silver and fiance Jim Cyr and children, Alexis, Daniel and Nick Pestrichello. SKLAIRE Dr. Martin W. Sklaire, 86, of Madison, died Jan. 8. He was the husband of Barbara (Klein) Sklaire. He was born in the Bronx, N.Y. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Michael Sklaire and his wife Amy, and Karen Sklaire Watson and her husband Mark; his siblings, Naomi Gill and Daniel Sklaire; and his grandchildren, Elizabeth and Katie. The Ledger prints a basic obituary free of charge. Free obituaries are edited to fit the newspaper’s style. Obituaries that those submitting would like to run “as is,” as well as accompanying photos, may be printed for a charge. For more information: ­judiej@jewishledger. com, 860.231.2424.

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JANUARY 22, 2021

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CT SYNAGOGUE DIRECTORY To join our synagogue directories, contact Howard Meyerowitz at (860) 231-2424 x3035 or howardm@jewishledger.com. BLOOMFIELD B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom/ Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning Conservative Rabbi Debra Cantor (860) 243-3576 office@BTSonline.org www.btsonline.org BRIDGEPORT Congregation B’nai Israel Reform Rabbi Evan Schultz (203) 336-1858 info@cbibpt.org www.cbibpt.org Congregation Rodeph Sholom Conservative (203) 334-0159 Rabbi Richard Eisenberg, Cantor Niema Hirsch info@rodephsholom.com www.rodephsholom.com Jewish Senior Services Traditional Rabbi Stephen Shulman (203) 396-1001 sshulman@jseniors.org www.jseniors.org CHESHIRE Temple Beth David Reform Rabbi Micah Ellenson (203) 272-0037 office@TBDCheshire.org www.TBDCheshire.org CHESTER Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek Reform Rabbi Marci Bellows (860) 526-8920 rabbibellows@cbsrz.org www.cbsrz.org

COLCHESTER Congregation Ahavath Achim Conservative Rabbi Kenneth Alter (860) 537-2809 secretary@congregationahavathachim.org EAST HARTFORD Temple Beth Tefilah Conservative Rabbi Yisroel Snyder (860) 569-0670 templebetht@yahoo.com FAIRFIELD Congregation Ahavath Achim Orthodox (203) 372-6529 office@ahavathachim.org www.ahavathachim.org Congregation Beth El, Fairfield Conservative Rabbi Marcelo Kormis (203) 374-5544 office@bethelfairfield.org www.bethelfairfield.org GLASTONBURY Congregation Kol Haverim Reform Rabbi Dr. Kari Tuling (860) 633-3966 office@kolhaverim.org www.kolhaverim.org GREENWICH Greenwich Reform Synagogue Reform Rabbi Jordie Gerson (203) 629-0018 hadaselias@grs.org www.grs.org

Temple Sholom Conservative Rabbi Mitchell M. Hurvitz Rabbi Chaya Bender Cantor Sandy Bernstein (203) 869-7191 info@templesholom.com www.templesholom.com HAMDEN Temple Beth Sholom Conservative Rabbi Benjamin Edidin Scolnic (203) 288-7748 tbsoffice@tbshamden.com www.tbshamden.com MADISON Temple Beth Tikvah Reform Rabbi Stacy Offner (203) 245-7028 office@tbtshoreline.org www.tbtshoreline.org MANCHESTER Beth Sholom B’nai Israel Conservative Rabbi Randall Konigsburg (860) 643-9563 Rabbenu@myshul.org programming@myshul.org www.myshul.org MIDDLETOWN Adath Israel Conservative Spiritual Leaders: Rabbi Marshal Press Rabbi Michael Kohn (860) 346-4709 office@adathisraelct.org www.adathisraelct.org

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NEW HAVEN The Towers Conservative Ruth Greenblatt, Spiritual Leader (203) 772-1816 rebecca@towerone.org www.towerone.org Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel Conservative Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen (203) 389-2108 office@BEKI.org www.BEKI.org

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RIDGEFIELD Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester and Fairfield Counties Reform Rabbi David Reiner Cantor Debora Katchko-Gray (203) 438-6589 office@ourshirshalom.org

Congregation Beth El Conservative Rabbi Earl Kideckel (860) 442-0418 office@bethel-nl.org www.bethel-nl.org NEWINGTON Temple Sinai Reform Rabbi Jeffrey Bennett (860) 561-1055 templesinaict@gmail.com www.sinaict.org NEWTOWN Congregation Adath Israel Conservative Rabbi Barukh Schectman (203) 426-5188 office@congadathisrael.org www.congadathisrael.org NORWALK Beth Israel Synagogue – Chabad of Westport/ Norwalk Orthodox-Chabad Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht (203) 866-0534 info@bethisraelchabad.org bethisraelchabad.org Congregation Beth El-Norwalk Conservative Rabbi Ita Paskind (203) 838-2710 Jody@congbethel.org www.congbethel.org

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Temple Shalom Reform Rabbi Mark Lipson (203) 866-0148 admin@templeshalomweb.org www.templeshalomweb.org

SIMSBURY Chabad of the Farmington Valley Chabad Rabbi Mendel Samuels (860) 658-4903 chabadsimsbury@gmail.com www.chabadotvalley.org Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation, Emek Shalom Reform Rabbi Rebekah Goldman Mag (860) 658-1075 admin@fvjc.org www.fvjc.org SOUTH WINDSOR Temple Beth Hillel of South Windsor Reform Rabbi Jeffrey Glickman (860) 282-8466 tbhrabbi@gmail.com www.tbhsw.org SOUTHINGTON Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation Reform Rabbi Alana Wasserman (860) 276-9113 President@gsjc.org www.gsjc.org

TRUMBULL Congregation B’nai Torah Conservative Rabbi Colin Brodie (203) 268-6940 office@bnaitorahct.org www.bnaitorahct.org WALLINGFORD Beth Israel Synagogue Conservative Rabbi Bruce Alpert (203) 269-5983 richardcaplan@sbcglobal.net www.bethisrael/wallingford. org WASHINGTON Greater Washington Coalition Rabbi James Greene (860) 868-2434 admin@jewishlifect.org www.jewishlife.org WATERFORD Temple Emanu - El Reform Rabbi Marc Ekstrand Rabbi Emeritus Aaron Rosenberg (860) 443-3005 office@tewaterfrord.org www.tewaterford.org WEST HARTFORD Beth David Synagogue Orthodox Rabbi Yitzchok Adler (860) 236-1241 office@bethdavidwh.org www.bethdavidwh.org Beth El Temple Conservative Rabbi James Rosen Rabbi Ilana Garber (860) 233-9696 hsowalsky@bethelwh.org www.bethelwesthartford.org Chabad House of Greater Hartford Rabbi Joseph Gopin Rabbi Shaya Gopin, Director of Education (860) 232-1116 info@chabadhartford.com www.chabadhartford.com

Congregation P’nai Or Jewish Renewal Shabbat Services Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener (860) 561-5905 pnaiorct@gmail.com www.jewishrenewalct.org Kehilat Chaverim of Greater Hartford Chavurah Adm. - Nancy Malley (860) 951-6877 mnmalley@yahoo.com www.kehilatchaverim.org The Emanuel Synagogue Conservative Rabbi David J. Small (860) 236-1275 communications@emanuelsynagogue.org www.emanuelsynagogue.org United Synagogues of Greater Hartford Orthodox Rabbi Eli Ostrozynsk i synagogue voice mail (860) 586-8067 Rabbi’s mobile (718) 6794446 ostro770@hotmail.com www.usgh.org Young Israel of West Hartford Orthodox Rabbi Tuvia Brander (860) 233-3084 info@youngisraelwh.org www.youngisraelwh.org WETHERSFIELD Temple Beth Torah Unaffiliated Rabbi Seth Riemer (860) 828-3377 tbt.w.ct@gmail.com templebethtorahwethersfield. org WOODBRIDGE Congregation B’nai Jacob Conservative Rabbi Rona Shapiro (203) 389-2111 info@bnaijacob.org www.bnaijacob.org

Congregation Beth Israel Reform Rabbi Michael Pincus Rabbi Andi Fliegel Cantor Stephanie Kupfer (860) 233-8215 bethisrael@cbict.org www.cbict.org

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JANUARY 22, 2021

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CT Jewish Ledger • January 22, 2021 • 9 Shevat 5781  

CT Jewish Ledger • January 22, 2021 • 9 Shevat 5781