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Page 3 Sweet and beyond! redemption ● Fresh off its merger with MyJew- ishLearning, which
Page 3
Sweet
and beyond!
redemption
● Fresh off its merger with MyJew-
ishLearning, which publishes Kvel-
ler, a Jewish parenting blog, JTA, the
one-time Jewish Telegraphic Agency,
has come out with one of its most
in-depth investigations in some time:
up so easily on “Onion-style respons-
es to the Forward 50 or Newsweek’s
late and not lamented ‘Most Influen-
tial Rabbis.’”
He proposed that the following lists
remain to be compiled:
“America’s Top Mohels.”
Uriel Heilman, JTA’s managing edi-
tor and author of the report, cautions
that “The list is not meant as a defini-
tive ranking.”
He writes:
• America’s Least-Empowered
Assistant Rabbis
● The Jerusalem Talmud teaches that
redemption will come for Israel like the
approach of the dawn.
Candy makers in Brooklyn, however,
seem to think it will crawl in like gummy
worms.
What else to make of the Geula —
meaning “redemption” — brand of can-
dy worms found in a Boro Park store?
LARRY YUDELSON
• The Nation’s Most Over-Qualified
Sunday School Teachers
“I did not inspect thousands of
• 36 Gabbais Who Are Making a
Difference
instances of their workmanship. I did
not rate them according to precision,
style or performance. I relied on some
tips (!) from insiders, with an eye to-
ward quantity and diversity.”
We offer one local entry below
Andrew Silow Carroll of Teaneck,
a former JTA managing editor and
now editor of the New Jersey Jewish
News, expressed concern on his blog
that the list “may mean the death of
Jewish satire as an art form.”
However, he said he would not give
• The NBA’s Least-Inspiring Jewish
Owners
The secret sharers
• New York Times Op-Ed Writers,
Ranked by How Much They Hate
Israel
• 13 Reasons We Love Aliza, recited
(shut up, you guys!) by (I mean it,
quit it!) Aliza Greenbaum’s best
friends (no, you go first) at her
recent (giggle) bat mitzvah (We
love you, Aliza!)
no idea where the gifts originated. It
distributed $65 million to charity in
2011 alone.
Businessweek reporter Zachary R.
Mider tracked down Mr. Shechtel at
the Jewish Funders Network confer-
ence in Miami in March.
Here’s how he tells the story:
“Shechtel stretched out on a hotel
Foreskin count: 20,000+.
Market niche: New York-New
Jersey area, with a focus on high-
end clients. I’ve been to Japan,
Hong Kong, Bermuda, Aspen. I do
everybody: religious, assimilated,
interfaith families, non-Jewish cir-
cumcisions. Most of my referrals
come from the medical community
— their kids, their grandkids, their
patients’ kids.
Time: 15-20 seconds, no prep.
Trademark: I wear a bow tie, and
because I’m a cantor I can sing. I
don’t tell jokes. I do not hand out
refrigerator magnets or business
cards. I try to make each bris warm,
meaningful, inclusive and spiritual.
Device of choice: A modified Mo-
gen clamp. I altered it so it doesn’t
close completely and stop the
blood flow if it’s on too long — that
was Rabbi Moshe Tendler’s sugges-
tion.
First bris: In Brooklyn during the
● There are some billionaires who
flaunt their charity by taking out full
page ads in the Los Angeles Times to
advertise their gifts.
And then there are those who
hide their generosity behind dummy
corporations and anonymous founda-
tions.
Not surprisingly, we tend to hear
less about the latter group.
This week, however, Bloomberg
Businessweek — yes, the magazine
now named after its billionaire owner
— outed three reticent donors.
Former partners in a pioneering
hedge fund, TGS Management, C.
Frederick Taylor, David Gelbaum, and
Andrew Shechtel have given billions
to causes such as fighting Hunting-
ton’s Disease and fighting landmines.
The three used a Roseland law firm,
Lowenstein Sandler, to cover their
tracks as they set about doing their
goodly work.
Among the foundations set up
for this quiet charity is the “Matan
B’Seter Foundation,” Hebrew for giv-
ing secretly.
The Matan B’Seter Foundation fun-
neled its donations to donor-advised
charities run by mutual funds, mean-
ing that recipients would have had
deck chair by a pool looking out over
the beach. Earlier that day, his wife,
Raquel, had given a presentation on
encouraging Jewish teens to donate
to charity. The hotel was crawling
with fundraisers, but when I asked
half a dozen conference attendees
about Shechtel, none had heard of
the guy. They didn’t know they were
in the presence of one of the coun-
try’s biggest Jewish philanthropists.
“Shechtel leaned forward and
smiled when I approached. His col-
lar was open, and he had a round
face and a close-clipped black beard
flecked with white. He wore bright
orange socks. When I introduced
myself, his expression changed. He
didn’t want to talk. He dismissed me
with a few words and turned away. He
just wanted to be another guy by the
pool, watching the shadows stretch
out over the sand.”
LARRY YUDELSON
blizzard of February 1978. We knew
it was coming, so I stayed over
in Brooklyn the night before. The
snowstorm brought the city to a
standstill, and only about six people
made it, including the parents and
the baby.
Anesthesia: No. Many parents want
to use products that are not ap-
proved, formulated or tested for use
on infants of this age.
Price: $800
Candlelighting: Friday, May 16, 7:49 p.m.
Shabbat ends: Saturday, May 17, 8:55 p.m.
Most memorable bris: My record is
11 in one day — a pair of twins and
seven others. I once did a bris in
Long Island where the family built a
4-foot platform across the swim-
ming pool. One wrong turn either
way and you’re in the pool.
Entourage: I’m a solo act, but
sometimes my son drives me
around so I don’t have to find park-
ing.
PUBLISHER’S STATEMENT: (USPS 275-700 ISN 0021-6747) is
published weekly on Fridays with an additional edition every
October, by the New Jersey Jewish Media Group, 1086 Teaneck
Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666. Periodicals postage paid at Hackensack,
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The appearance of an advertisement in The Jewish Standard does
not constitute a kashrut endorsement. The publishing of a paid
political advertisement does not constitute an endorsement of any
candidate political party or political position by the newspaper, the
Federation or any employees.
CONTENTS
What you do when you’re not
circumcising: I’m in the Screen Ac-
tor’s Guild, and I have a motorcycle.
I’ve been in commercials, movies,
TV. I did a film with Paul Rudd and
Rashida Jones, “Our Idiot Brother.”
I played a mohel, but the scene was
cut. How ironic.
NOSHES
OPINION
COVER STORY
FLASHBACK 1954
GALLERY
HEALTHY LIVING &
ADULT LIFESTYLES
TORAH COMMENTARY
CROSSWORD PUZZLE
ARTS & CULTURE
CALENDAR
4
18
22
34
36
Inspiration: My grandfather was a
rabbi, a dayan (religious judge), a
shochet (ritual slaughterer) and a
mohel – he did it all. I’m just a can-
tor and a mohel.
38
The Jewish Standard assumes no responsibility to return unsolicit-
ed editorial or graphic materials. All rights in letters and unsolicited
editorial, and graphic material will be treated as unconditionally
assigned for publication and copyright purposes and subject to
JEWISH STANDARD’s unrestricted right to edit and to comment
editorially. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without
written permission from the publisher. © 2014
47
48
Website: emoil.com
49
50
JTA WIRE SERVICE
OBITUARIES
CLASSIFIEDS
53
54

Noshes

CHROME TURNS TO GOLD: The horseshoe fits for this Cinderella

CHROME TURNS TO GOLD:

The horseshoe fits for this Cinderella

 
California Chrome, the winner of this year’s Kentucky Der- by — it was run on

California Chrome, the winner of this year’s Kentucky Der- by — it was run on May 3 — is a for-real Cinderella story, as are his owners and trainer. The horse is owned and was bred by Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, one an engineer and the other a press op- erator, who live, respec- tively, in a small city in far Northern California and in a small Nevada town near Lake Tahoe. Neither earns much money, but they took a chance and bred two horses, worth $10,500 together. That yielded a foal, California Chrome, who showed early promise. When Chrome was two years old, they told ALAN SHERMAN, 45, a trainer based part-time in the San Francisco area, about him. Sherman talk- ed to his father and boss, trainer ART SHERMAN, 77, and they agreed to train him. Coburn told a Sacramento newspaper that he chose Art Sher- man because “He’s a regular guy. He doesn’t have a huge barn. He can spend quality time with every horse. You can tell Chrome likes him, and he really loves this horse.” Like Chrome, Art Sher- man had modest be- ginnings. He was born in Brooklyn, where his

father, the son of Rus- sian Jewish immigrants, scraped out a living in construction. In a recent telephone interview, Sherman told me that his father’s brothers were doing a bit better in Los Angeles so they moved there in 1945, when he was 7, and his father opened a small barber- shop. The family wasn’t reli- gious, Sherman said, but they sent him to Hebrew school for awhile. He left when his teacher, a rabbi, hit him, and he never returned. Meanwhile, Art was only 5’2” when he was 15, so a barbershop customer encouraged him to become a jockey. Nobody he knew rode horses, but he found his way to a track and found that he could learn what he needed by working at a nearby ranch that trained jockeys. Art had only mod- est success as a jockey. In 1980, he became a full-time, licensed trainer and gradually he became pretty successful. But un- til Chrome, he never had a really big-time thor- oughbred. Chrome won five big races in a row before the Derby and entered the race a heavy favorite. Pundits say that he has a good chance

of being the first horse

“Michael Douglas Su ers Hora-Related Injury

– Headline in Tablet, after the actor reported being in pain after getting “carried

You know they put you up in the chairs over the

top — I think something happened there.”

away at my son’s bar mitzvah

something happened there.” away at my son’s bar mitzvah Art Sherman with California Chrome since 1978

Art Sherman with California Chrome

since 1978 to win the Triple Crown —the Derby, the Preakness Stakes (to be aired on NBC, on May 17 at 4:30 p.m.), and the Belmont Stakes, set for June 7. Art Sherman was loath to predict any- thing about the Triple Crown. He said he is just enjoying the atten- tion that is going to the oldest trainer, ever, of a Kentucky Derby win- ner. “I have been photo- graphed more times in the last few days than in my whole life — people on planes are asking for my autograph,” he said. Meanwhile, Art’s other son, STEVE SHERMAN, 47, is having a banner year as a trainer at a Northern California race track. No, Art Sherman didn’t

become a religious Jew

with age. His wife of 53 years, Faye, isn’t Jewish. Still he’s a “pretty Jewish guy” — mentioning how much he loves eating lox and eggs with one of the several Jews who own horses he trains. He also fondly recalled that he, his wife, and his nieces loved their trip to Israel two years ago. The new season of “The Bachelorette” on ABC begins on Monday, May 19, from 8 to 10 p.m. ANDI DORF- MAN, 27, who publicly rejected the titular star of last season’s “Bach- elor” program, is the first Jewish woman to be the star of “The Bachelor- ette.” Dorfman usually is described as beautiful and very smart — she is an assistant district at- torney in the county that

Dorfman usually is described as beautiful and very smart — she is an assistant district at-

includes Atlanta.

–N.B.

Barbara Walters
Barbara Walters
county that includes Atlanta. –N.B. Barbara Walters On TV: Walters Retires ● On Friday, May 16,

On TV: Walters Retires

On Friday, May 16, BARBARA WALTERS, 84, retires from her ABC show, “The View,” and from regular on- air work. That same day, at 9 p.m., ABC will mark this milestone with a two-hour retrospective of her career. Walters told TV Guide that “I made this choice.” She added that she still will be executive producer of “The View” and would do “something” for ABC in the event of the death of a major figure she knew. Walters said her biggest regret was never being able to interview Queen Elizabeth or a pope. On the other hand, she said that the thing that she is most proud of is: “That there are there are so many women in television now. That’s my legacy.” Top female TV anchors were quoted praising Walters and her groundbreaking interviews. Katie Couric said, “Her [MENACHEM] BEGIN and Sadat interview was historic. It was just unheard to have these two adversaries together.”

–N.B.

California-based Nate Bloom can be reached at

Middleoftheroad1@aol.com

Want to read more noshes? Visit facebook.com/jewishstandard

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Local

‘Never again’ for everybody

SSDS broadens its Holocaust curriculum

Lois GoLdrich

W hen Jewish schools teach about genocide, they stress the mass killing of Jews during World War II.

That is entirely as it should be. Still, says Beryl Bresgi, librarian and coordinator of Shoah studies at the Solo- mon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, these studies should go even deeper. “We teach the Shoah as a unique event that happened to the Jewish people, but it has universal implications,” she said. “It should be ‘never again’ for everybody.” “The Shoah should be studied within the context of the world and the choices that people make,” added Ms. Bresgi, who recently visited Rwanda together with Ruth Gafni, Schechter’s head of school. The trip came about through a “conflu- ence of things,” Ms. Bresgi said, explaining that the direct cause was a donor’s inabil- ity to participate in a mission to the Afri- can nation and his suggestion that she and Ms. Gafni take his place. “He lost both of his survivor parents and wanted to donate a Shoah center at Schechter,” Ms. Bresgi said. “We were working on that.” As they were speaking sometime last spring, “he said, ‘You won’t believe it; I have Stephen Smith in my office.’” Dr. Smith is the executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation. As it happened, the New Milford school already had been in touch with the foundation’s IWit- ness program, which uses the collected, indexed, and catalogued testimony of hun- dreds of Holocaust survivors. It also pro- vides resources for educators to build cus- tomized activities based on that testimony. “Dr. Smith knew we were looking into the IWitness program,” Ms. Bresgi said. “We made a nice connection.” In February, the donor — a supporter of both Schechter and the Shoah Founda- tion — was invited to go to Rwanda with the foundation to see the work being done by the organization with testimony from both perpetrators and survivors. “It was both complicated and interest- ing,” Ms. Bresgi said. “He couldn’t go, so he invited Ruth and me to go on the mission.” She said she had already begun think- ing that as the culmination of the school’s Shoah program in eighth grade, she would like students to make digital recordings of the stories of survivors from their own community. The trip to Rwanda, she thought, might give her some new insights into that project.

thought, might give her some new insights into that project. Blaize Wamukwaya sings for SSDS students.

Blaize Wamukwaya sings for SSDS students.

Since the school had decided to embrace the Shoah curriculum “Facing History and Ourselves” — which confronts the issue of the Holocaust and human behavior — “this seemed like a good opportunity to learn and investigate.”

seemed like a good opportunity to learn and investigate.” We teach the Shoah as a unique

We teach the Shoah as a unique event that happened to the Jewish people, but it has universal implications.

Beryl BreSgi

Ms. Gafni and Ms. Bresgi, the only school educators on the trip, joined foundation supporters as well as educators from the foundation itself. “It lasted eight days,” Ms. Bresgi said. “We were on a bus with two Rwandan survivors, working as Shoah Foundation

cataloguers. There are a lot of schools there.” The language of instruction is English, she added. “Five or six secondary schools are using the testimony of Holocaust survivors,” she said. “The students were fascinated that genocide could happen to Europeans.” Ms. Bresgi said that the messages of the trip still are emerging — she returned shortly before Pesach and then she and Ms. Gafni went to Poland with the school’s eighth graders, who had a chance to visit the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and speak with some survivors there. Then Ms. Gafni went on to Israel with the students, and Ms. Bresgi returned home. Whatever the final outcome of the Rwanda visit, it already has borne tangible fruit. First, the school made a connection with the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, founded by the late Anne Heyman. ASYV, a residential community in rural Rwanda, cares for young people who were orphaned during and after the genocide there in 1994. It is modeled on a similar program created for Jewish children in Israel after the Holocaust. “These children were born into destruc- tion,” Ms. Bresgi said. “There was no infra- structure, no roads, no running water. Twenty years later, look at what’s been

done. Through great investment from the West, they have a strong government, and women have been empowered. Their slo- gan is ‘remember, unite, and renew.’” “There’s a strong sense of ‘don’t for- get, don’t allow denial,’” she said. But so is “the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation. “It’s a waste of time to indulge in revenge. It helps both the perpetrators and victims, who are living together. There is no diaspora.” “Reconciliation is powerful.” During the trip, Ms. Bresgi said, she asked a man who had suffered great loss about the idea of revenge. “I’m more interested in getting my mas- ter’s degree than in killing my neighbors,” he said. In addition to forging a connection with the youth village, Ms. Gafni and Ms. Bresgi learned that eight residents of the village were planning a visit to the United States. Happily, the school was able to join the group of host organizations. The young Rwandans visited the New Milford school on Yom Ha’atzmaut. Leah Silberstein, the school’s direc- tor of communications, said the visit included learning, impromptu singing, and a joint game of soccer. But most of the

6 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

Local

visit “revolved around exchanging stories about each other’s lives and enjoying each other’s music.” After Blaise Rwamukwaya, 20, men- tioned that the eight visitors would be happy to sing for their hosts, “nearly 50 SSDS students and faculty leapt from their chairs in the school’s library and made their way to Makom Shira, the school’s music room, for an impromptu concert,” Ms. Silberstein said. “Agahozo-Shalom students surprised everyone with their version of such American pop songs as John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ and Bruno Mars’ ‘Count on Me.’” They also sang an a capella South African hymn. “SSDS students responded with a spon- taneous rendition of ‘Let It Go,’ from the animated film ‘Frozen,’ followed by ‘Hatik- vah,’” Ms. Silberstein said. “The SSDS students were spellbound as Innocent Nkundiye, the 22-year-old self- proclaimed poet of the group, performed a spontaneous poetry slam he called ‘We are the New Blood of Rwanda,’ referenc- ing his generation’s efforts to help heal and rebuild Rwanda after the genocide.” In addition, Ms. Silberstein said, when Jacky Tuyisenge, 18, told the SSDS mid- dle school students that she has fully embraced the value of tikkun olam,

that she has fully embraced the value of tikkun olam, Agahozo-Shalom and SSDS students gather at

Agahozo-Shalom and SSDS students gather at the New Milford school.

repairing the world, a concept she learned at Agahozo-Shalom, an SSDS seventh-grader replied, “That is what we learn here every day, too.” Ms. Bresgi is proud of the school’s approach to teaching about the Shoah. While students learn about the events that

have befallen the Jewish people, the new curriculum helps show that “this happens to other people” — a lesson the Rwandans’ visit brought home forcefully. “Children should have a sense of their responsibility to speak out even in mid- dle school, to see what needs to be done

locally and help out,” she said. “They should have the awareness of injustice. We don’t expect them to join the U.N. and solve the world’s problems, but we want to raise awareness of their responsibility and empowerment, starting right here. And that’s pretty big.”

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OpENs MAY 16, 2014 Discover the rich history of O´swieçcim, Poland—the town the Germans called
OpENs MAY 16, 2014 Discover the rich history of O´swieçcim, Poland—the town the Germans called

OpENs MAY 16, 2014

Discover the rich history of O´swieçcim, Poland—the town the Germans called Auschwitz—through photographs that trace the life of the town and its Jewish residents, from the 16th century through the post-war period.

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Local

Breast cancer and bone health

Demarest doctor does groundbreaking study based on Israeli data

AbigAil Klein leichmAn

Does breast cancer affect bone health? It is very likely that there is a connection, according to Dr. Ethel Siris of Demarest. Just before she headed off to her grand- son’s bar mitzvah in Jerusalem, Dr. Siris spoke to the Jewish Standard about the groundbreaking study on breast cancer and osteoporosis that she is co-leading at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva. Dr. Siris (pronounced like “Cyrus”) is a professor of medicine at Columbia Uni- versity Medical Center and directs its Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center. She also is a past president of the National Osteopo- rosis Foundation and a member of the National Bone Health Alliance’s executive committee. “I do some public policy work and take care of a lot of patients,” she said. She shares some of these patients with Dr. Larry Norton, medical director of the Evelyn Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Healthcare in Israel is wonderful because everybody gets

Healthcare in Israel is wonderful because everybody gets it, but resources are limited.

Dr. EthEl SiriS

Breast-cancer patients always have been assumed to be less susceptible to osteopo- rosis, and vice versa. “This simplistic con- cept did not account for the fact that many of our patients had both breast cancer and osteoporosis, and we needed to look at this,” Dr. Siris said. Although long-term medications to con- trol breast cancer can lessen bone density because they lower estrogen levels, Dr.

lessen bone density because they lower estrogen levels, Dr. Dr. Ethel Siris speaks at the Soroka

Dr. Ethel Siris speaks at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva.

Norton suspected that breast cancer itself impacts bone metabolism. So with funding from the New Jersey- based Cure Breast Cancer Foundation,

a retrospective study of 15,000 breast-

cancer patients began in 2010 at Soroka, which serves all of southern Israel. Prelim- inary results were published in the jour- nal PLOS One, and the study moved into a seven-year prospective phase. “The retrospective study taught us that when people with breast cancer have frac- tures, those fractures seem to occur at better levels of bone density. Normally, the risk of fracture goes up as density goes down,” Dr. Siris said. “It seems breast-cancer patients had bet- ter bone density than peers who did not have breast cancer. Something unusual is going on here, and it also happens in peo- ple with type 2 diabetes and those who take large amounts of steroids. “It could be that density alone does not address the quality of the bone. Steroids and diabetes, and maybe breast cancer,

impact the quality of the bone even if it is dense and does not have metastases. This

is a totally new concept, and a compli-

cated, fascinating area to explore.” The Israeli hospital’s diverse population

of Jews from different ethnicities, as well as Bedouin Arabs, provides an unusually rich testing environment. “Soroka was carefully chosen for this research,” Dr. Norton said when he was visiting Israel in April with colleagues, including Dr. Siris, for a cancer conference at the Beersheva teaching hospital. “It is one hospital serving many people in one geographic area; it keeps immacu- late records; it has superb clinicians and great science; and it has Ben-Gurion Uni- versity right there.” The “immaculate records” can be cred- ited in part to the Israel Health Founda- tion, formed in America at the request of Israel’s Clalit health maintenance orga- nization, which runs Soroka and other hospitals. “Healthcare in Israel is wonderful because everybody gets it, but resources are limited,” Dr. Siris said. “I enthusiasti- cally got involved in the IHF, and one of the efforts is to support Soroka. We now have good electronic medical records there partly as a result of the IHF.” Years ago, as a member of American Friends of Soroka Medical Center, Dr. Siris helped raise funds to buy bone-density equipment for Soroka. She recognized its

potential for U.S.-funded research. Hundreds of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer at the southern hos- pital are being matched with cancer-free control partners who have similar clinical characteristics. “We will collect data on them so that over time we can look at what happens to their bone density and what corre- lates with ultimately having fractures,” Dr. Siris said. Cure Breast Cancer Foundation founder Andrew Abramson of North Caldwell, whose wife Lisa has suffered three bouts of breast cancer, says this is the first Israeli study his foundation is supporting. “It was a byproduct of research we’re done in New York with Dr. Siris,” he said. “My wife is on the verge of osteoporosis, so she could very well be helped by the results of these studies.” Dr. Siris first got interested in Israeli healthcare when her son, Benjamin (Boruch) moved to Israel in the late 1990s. She and her husband, Sam, a psychiatrist, began visiting several times a year. “We wanted to give back, so when IHF got organized it was an obvious opportunity for me to share knowledge and expertise with the excellent people in Israeli healthcare and raise some money for them,” she said. “The current study is an example of how the IHF’s efforts are helping to do good things in Israel and will help others around the world.” Dr. Siris notes that her son was hosted in Teaneck and Bergenfield homes several years ago, when his first wife was being treated at Sloan Kettering for osteosar- coma, or bone cancer. After she died, he wrote a book called “Noa’s Strength,” using the name Boruch Sirisky. It was published by Mosaica Press. In the book, Benjamin Siris expresses his gratitude to these Bergen County families. He has since remarried and now has four children. The eldest just celebrated his bar mitzvah, and his New Jersey grandparents were proudly in attendance. The Sirises also have a daughter, Sara Siris Nash, a psychiatrist at Columbia University Medical Center.

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8 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

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Local

Close calls of a major league umpire

Major league baseball umpire Al Clark talks about his ups and downs

Phil Jacobs

numbers.

Al Clark talks about his ups and downs Phil Jacobs numbers. minor leagues. His first game

minor leagues. His first game as a Major League umpire was

in Arlington, Texas; the contest was between the hometown Rangers and the Minnesota Twins. “Yes, I remember it,” he said. “It was great. I don’t remem- ber my feet ever touching the ground. I worked third base for that game. “I lived a dream,” he continued. He also had many major moments. Among them:

• He was scheduled to umpire

the 1989 World Series. That game was postponed when an earthquake stopped everything

in the San Francisco Bay area.

• He umpired the 1978 playoff

tiebreaker game between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, when Buckey Dent hit his leg- endary three-run home run to

give New York the win.

your time could be troublesome. Depres- sion is a huge enemy of inmates. I wasn’t going to allow that to happen to me, and

I wasn’t going to allow it to define who

I am. “I had 26 straight years of success and then I fell down,” he continued, “We are all one decision away from having every- thing taken away from us.” Mr. Clark said he remains humbled by his experiences — experiences that he calls a “rags to riches to screw-up to redemption to being okay” story. “I feel privileged to have been employed by Major League Baseball for

26 years,” he said. “I lived a dream every day. On one stretch of three consecutive days I umpired games at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Fenway Park in Boston, and Camden Yards in Baltimore. If you are a

fan of baseball like I am, it doesn’t get any better.” Yes, there was a totally Jewish moment for Mr. Clark. As the 1998 season wound down, with Rosh Hashanah just days away, Shawn Green, a Jewish player for the Toronto Blue Jays, came to the plate against the Milwaukee Brewers. Jesse Levis, another Jewish player, was catch- ing for the Brewers that day. “I took off my mask and swept off home plate, and while my mask was off

I said ‘good yom tov’ to Shawn and to

Jesse. They responded to me and to one another with a ‘good yom tov.’ That hap- pened in a major league baseball game.” Mr. Clark said he ran into anti-Semitism only once and that was before he went to the majors. The career of Denny McLain, a 31-game winner with the Detroit Tigers, was com- ing to its end. Mr. McLain was playing for a minor league team. After a game in Indianapolis, Mr. McLain attacked Mr. Clark. What was this “Jew bastard was doing in our game?” Mr. Clark reports Mr. McLain as saying. “There’s no place for your kind in our game.” He reported the incident, and Mr. McLain received a league suspension. He is not a fan of any particular team, Mr. Clark said. Instead, he’s a “fan of the game of baseball.” “It is a tremendous game. I loved being on the field,” he said. So here is one more number. Mr. Clark umpired 3,392 baseball games.

L ike players, coaches, and

managers, Major League

Baseball umpires have

Al Clark’s was 24. He wore it on his uniform shirt for 26 seasons. But that’s not the number that Mr. Clark keeps above his bathroom mir- ror, where he can see it every day. The number that does hang there, 26140-50, was assigned to him by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He wore it for the 120 days he was incarcerated

after a baseball memorabilia scheme resulted in a mail fraud conviction in

2004.

Three years before, Mr. Clark had been fired abruptly, when the league learned that he had traded in the first- class airline tickets it had given him for seats in the economy section. He pock- eted the difference, and used it for per- sonal travel. It was a steep decline for a man who once had to make split-second decisions in stadiums packed with fans and who could call such places as Yankee Stadium or Shea Stadium “my office.” He had been a top-tier umpire, who worked two World Series and two All-Star Games; suddenly he was teach- ing fellow convicts how to umpire a baseball game in a worn-out prison recreation yard. It’s no wonder that the book he wrote with sports writer Dan Schlossberg is called “Called Out But Safe: a Baseball Umpire’s Journey.” Mr. Clark, 66, will be in the metropolitan area this weekend to sign the books — which are published by the University of Nebraska Press — and answer questions. See bottom of the article for times, locations and dates. Mr. Clark now lives in Williamsburg, Va., but he grew up in Trenton, where his family belonged to an Orthodox shul, Ahavas Yis- roel Congregation. His excitement was tangible over the phone as he talked about how he was the shul’s shofar blower during high holidays. “I enjoyed studying Jewish history and Judaism itself,” he said. “Friends called me the Yiddishe umpire. I never hid my Juda- ism during my career. I was never embar- rassed by it.” Still, when there were games to be played on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, Mr. Clark went to work. “My name was not Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg,” he said. (Those two Jewish Hall of Famer players famously did sit out Yom Kippur.) “As a young umpire I was too timid to ask for the Jewish holidays off. Once the precedent was set, because I did work dur- ing the high holidays early in my career, I had to keep working on the holidays.”

Former umpire Al Clark signs copies of the book where he talks about his career and his legal battles.

Mr. Clark grew up around professional sports. His father, Herb, the sports editor

for the Trenton Times and the Trentonian, covered the New York Yankees. Mr. Clark starting umpiring in local youth leagues when he was in junior high. “Look, no one grows up wanting to be an umpire,” he said with a laugh. “I grew up wanting to be a major league baseball player. But there’s this harsh reality that says you’re not good enough.” Mr. Clark attended Eastern Kentucky Uni- versity as a health and physical education major. But he did not complete his degree; instead, he graduated from umpire school. He went to work in the low minor New York Penn League before he was promoted to the MidWest League, which had teams in small towns throughout Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. When he did play high school baseball, during his junior and senior year, Mr. Clark was a catcher. He thinks it is the catcher’s vantage point that led him to his career as an umpire. “As a catcher, I saw the same things that the umpires did,” he said. “I liked the idea of being in control. There is a Type A per- sonality one needs to be an umpire. Once I got my driver’s license at age 16, I started umpiring wherever I could all through high school and college. I

umpired amateur leagues and semi-pro leagues all through central New Jersey.” Mr. Clark got the call to the big leagues in the spring of 1976, after spending time in the

• He was behind the plate on September

5, 1995 when Baltimore Oriole Hall of Famer Cal Ripken tied Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games.

• He was third base umpire the next eve-

ning, when Mr. Ripken broke the record.

• He umpired in the 1983 and 1989 World Series.

• He umpired in the All-Star games of 1984 and 1995.

• He was on the umpiring staff for the

opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore; Jacobs Field in Cleveland, and the ballpark in Arlington, Texas. Mr. Clark said that he covered his career low points “honestly and straightforwardly” in his book. “I went away for 120 days to federal prison camp,” he said; the prison is in Petersburg, Va. “I do believe in turning something that is negative into a positive. So I asked if I could take about 40 inmates and teach them about officiating. We went out onto the intramural fields at the prison with the hopes that some of those guys would learn something and use what they learned after jail. “I learned in jail that if you don’t occupy your mind with something sub- stantial, doing something to help others,

You can meet him away from the field:

May 17 — Bookends Book store, ridgewood, 11 a.m. -1 p.m. May 18 — Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, campus of Montclair state University, 2-4 p.m. May 19 — arm & hammer Ballpark, trenton, 5-7 p.m. May 23 — somerset Patriots minor league baseball team, somerset, 4:30 -7 p.m. May 24 — diamond nation, Flemington, 10 a.m. -2 p.m. May 25 — Unionville Vineyard wine tasting party, ringoes, 4-6:30 p.m.

10 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

Local

Local YU’s tennis team won its division championship this year. DAviD Spiegel YU’s tennis team makes

YU’s tennis team won its division championship this year.

DAviD Spiegel

YU’s tennis team makes history

AbigAil Klein leichmAn

T he Yeshiva University Macca- bees men’s tennis team made history on April 27, when it became the university’s first

athletic program ever to earn a berth in a National Collegiate Athletic Associa- tion tournament. The distinction was won automatically when the Macs bested Mount Saint Mary College in the championship round of the 2014 Skyline Conference postseason tournament. Though the Macs did not get far in the NCAA Division III men’s tennis champi- onship — they lost to Skidmore College 5-0 in the opening round on May 8 at Mid- dlebury College in Vermont — the team’s head coach, Ira Miller of Tenafly, still was pumped about the unprecedented accomplishment when talking to the Jew- ish Standard three days later. “I was very proud of the team’s per- formance,” Mr. Miller said. Before work- ing with the Macs, he coached the tennis teams at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck for 15 years, and before that he did the same at Drew University in Madi- son for seven years. “We showed we can compete with a nationally ranked team. I think we also learned what we need to do to go even further into the tournament.” The Macs’ season ends with a 13-3 over- all record. Mr. Miller noted that the team won 10 of those 13 matches with a score of 9-0. YU’s appearance at the Division III championship was historic for another reason as well. It was the first time that NCAA officials needed to change the schedule for a regional round due to Jew- ish Sabbath observance. “Originally, the men were supposed to begin playing on Friday, and if they won they would play the next match on Satur- day,” Mr. Miller said. “If we won on Fri- day, we weren’t going to play on Saturday unless it was very late at night. So they

decided to start our regional round a day early, on Thursday. “In the history of the NCAA, they never had to accommodate anybody for Saturday play. In the 1950s, Brigham Young Univer- sity said they wouldn’t play on Sunday, and others have since followed suit, but this was the first Saturday exemption.” YU has been part of the NCAA Division III since 1956. The nonprofit association regu- lates athletic programs at colleges and uni- versities throughout North America. The Skyline Conference includes YU, Mount Saint Mary, Farmingdale State, Maritime, Mount Saint Vincent, NYU Polytechnic, Old Westbury, Purchase, Sage, and Saint Joseph-Long Island. Macs team member Avi Seidman of Ber- genfield, a YU sophomore who finished the season with a 4-0 record, said that for him the highlight of the season “was the camaraderie that we had. We took it match by match and everyone worked hard. No one messed around. We knew where we wanted to go and took it step by step.” Mr. Seidman first played competitive ten- nis at the Frisch School in Paramus. He said he attributes YU’s Skyline Conference vic- tory to the coach, who began working with the Macs in January and instituted a rigor- ous training regimen. “He brought all the drills and focus that we needed as a team. It was an incredible season and everyone tried their hardest.” In relation to the loss to 20th-ranked Skidmore, “We weren’t prepared to play a team at that high a level,” Mr. Seidman said. “As we get better, we will get better draws,” Mr. Seidman said. “We need to start playing tougher teams. Next spring, we will set out to defend our conference champi- onship and hopefully make it deeper into the NCAA tournament.” Meanwhile, Mr. Miller will direct the Adi- das summer tennis camp at Ramapo Col- lege in Mahwah, for boys and girls, from 8 to 18 years old. He’s holding a free clinic there on June 1 from 1 to 3 p.m.

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Freeing Gilad

Noam Shalit tells local students how Hamas released his son

Joanne Palmer

Some questions every parent hopes never to have to answer:

How far would you go to rescue your child? How brave would you be? How resourceful? How resilient? How smart? How crafty? How compliant? How non-compliant? Noam Shalit had to face those questions. In 2006, his son, Gilad, then 19 years

old, a corporal in an Israel Defense Forces’ tank unit, was kidnapped by Hamas in an attack that killed three IDF troops and wounded three others. Gilad, also shot and hurt, was forced through tunnels back into Gaza. Gilad was held in captivity for five and a half years, and released — pale, weak, and with a still-mangled hand, but alive — in

2011.

Noam Shalit has been touring Bergen and Rockland counties, talking about his son’s captivity and his family’s response to it, not to sell anything but to thank the American Jewish community for the sup- port that helped keep him and his family from sinking. Last week, he spoke to stu- dents at the Solomon Schechter School of Bergen County in New Milford. After the presentation he talked more about his experiences, and about Gilad’s. The first they heard about the episode that would mark their lives was a few lines on a radio news broadcast, Noam Sha- lit said. “It was a Sunday morning, the beginning of a regular summer week. We were at work, my wife and I, and I heard a report about an incident.” He is trained as an industrial engineer, and his wife, Aviva, was a secretary. “But as far as I knew, that wasn’t where Gilad was stationed. “And then, at 9:30 a.m., they called me to the City Hall office, and I saw the IDF representatives, and they told me. “It was a very big shock, and I had a strong feeling of déjà vu. I had faced army officers like that 40 years ago, when they came to tell us that my twin brother, Yoel, was killed in the Yom Kippur war.” Later, when he returned home to Mitzpe Hila in the Galilee, his street, where “we don’t usually see anything but cats and dogs, was full of journalists and reporters and trucks from media from all around the world. Until then, I had never seen a microphone in front of me.” That changed quickly. For the first two years, the Shalits “kept a relatively low profile,” Mr. Shalit said. “But then we realized that the government was in no hurry to get him back.” It’s not

The students listened intently as Noam Shalit told them his son’s story. ssDs letters and
The students listened intently as Noam Shalit told them his son’s story.
ssDs
letters and photographs to prove that he
was still alive, and the Israeli government
negotiated for his release, but no agree-
ment ever was reached, and there were
no more signs of life from him. He is now
presumed to be dead, but no one — except
his kidnappers and eventual executioners
— knows where, when, or how he died.
That was a precautionary tale Mr. Shalit
took to heart.

Noam Shalit told Schechter students about how his son was captured, how he was freed, and how it all felt.

leslie BarBaro

that government officials didn’t want his son returned, Mr. Shalit elaborated, “but the price they were willing to pay wasn’t high enough.” It also wasn’t that they weren’t acting in good faith, “but in Israel there is what I called the trust system. It’s ‘you can trust me — until you can’t.’ I know it, so I was very alert to it.” Mr. Shalit knew that if his son contin- ued to be out of sight, soon he’d be out of mind, and soon after that he’d no longer be anything. Including alive. In part, that knowledge was instinctive, and in part it came from his friendship with Tami Arad. Her husband, IDF aviator Ron Arad, had been kidnapped by Hez- bollah in 1986. His captors released a few

year after Gilad was captured, the

bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwas- ser, two other young IDF soldiers who had been taken prisoner, were released. “And then, when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was forced to resign in 2009, we demanded that he conclude the crisis before he stepped down from office.” He

didn’t, so “we went for the first time to protest in Jerusalem, during his last days in office. He and his supporters established a headquarters and engaged a public rela- tions firm. “We upgraded our campaign gradually until the summer of 2010, when we saw that we now are facing four years of captivity, and nothing would happen.

“I told Prime Minister Netanyahu that

four years of captivity with no results, no

light at the end of the tunnel that wasn’t

a train, was for us a causus belli,” a rea-

son to wage war. A public relations war, he meant. “I told him that we are going to the

A

public,” Mr. Shalit said. “We were going to test our case publicly.” Mr. Shalit and many supporters marched from the Galilee to Jerusalem. It took 11 days in the heat of an Israeli sum- mer. “We were roughly 10,000 people every day.” Overall, about 200,000 people participated in the march in some way. In Jerusalem, the group settled in a park across from the prime minister’s home. Mr. Shalit and his supporters erected a tent, where he spent most of his daylight hours for the next 15 months. “We set up a sign in from of the house, with a counter showing the days of Gilad’s captivity,” he said. “We updated the counter every day. “The prime minister could not ignore us. He saw us every day when he goes out to work, and every evening when he comes back home. And his family couldn’t ignore us.” This happened at just about the time social media took off, and Twitter and other platforms made Gilad Shalit’s plight and his father’s fight to rescue him a cause celebre. In order to spearhead the struggle for his son, Noam Shalit had to quit his job, sup- porting himself on his company’s generos- ity, and on the kindness of both friends and strangers. “Of course, when you live in a tent you don’t need much,” he said. Gilad Shalit eventually was released in a

12 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

Local

prisoner exchange, which always is touchy and controversial. “The prisoner exchange was the idea of the Egyptians, who were mediators at the time,” Noam Shalit said. “But Olmert made a huge strategic mistake when he asked Hamas leaders to issue a list of 450 prisoners to be released. Once they issued the list — with the names of the most hardcore prisoners — they didn’t want to withdraw from it. ‘You told us to provide the list, and we did. So what do you want now?’” they asked. Although negotiations had been under- way for some time, it was not until the third negotiation that they bore fruit. That time, the special coordinator for captive and missing soldiers, as the lead nego- tiator was called, was David Meidan. “He was a senior officer of the Mossad at that time,” Mr. Shalit said. “He was able to read the map much better than his predeces- sors. He was born in Egypt, he is fluent in Arabic, and he knows our cousins the Palestinians very well.” Through all sorts of backchannel shortcuts, as well as more straightforward diplomatic channels, a deal eventually was cut. According to polls, 70 percent of Israelis were in favor of the exchange, although no one saw it as anything other than painful.

“Nobody, including us, was happy to see prisoners going free,” Mr. Shalit said. “It was especially hard for the families of terror vic- tims. Unfortunately, the government failed to create any other alternatives.” “It was Sukkot eve 2011,” he continued. “David Meidan texted me a message to say that they had reached a deal. Still the cab- inet had to approve the deal — and it was Netanyahu’s right-wing cabinet. I doubted that he could lead the cabinet to approve it, but eventually there was a lot of support.

to approve it, but eventually there was a lot of support. I am in favor of

I am in favor of two states for the two people. I believe that one state for the two people would be a disaster for Israel and the Israeli state.

Noam ShaliT

Twenty-seven out of 30 cabinet ministers voted in favor of it.” And so, on erev Simchat Torah, Palestin- ian prisoners were released, and Gilad Sha- lit was let free. “Gilad talked very little about his captiv-

ity, and we don’t want to pressure him,” Noam Shalit said. He offered a few details, among them the fact that “his love for sports kept him sane. He had the chance to see some soccer channels that his cap- tors allowed, and he made a ball out of rolled-up socks, and used a garbage can for

a basket.” He craved sunlight, and when he

first was released he would ride his bike, pedaling freely in the light, going where he chose. Now Gilad Shalit is in college in Herzliya, studying economics and sustainability. He has a girlfriend. “He is recognized wher-

ever he goes, so his life is different now,” his father said. “He has some disability in his hand — he was not treated well, and when he came back he had a complicated opera- tion. Otherwise he is quite well. His first year in university was not easy after eight years of disconnection from school, but he

is looking forward to finishing.”

Noam Shalit’s life also has changed. He ran unsuccessfully for Knesset as a member

of Shelly Yachimovich’s Labor Party, at her request, and is not interested in trying again. He sells real estate, does some teach- ing for the IDF, and goes on the occasional speaking tour — not for money, but to say thanks. When he is asked what he thinks of pris- oner swaps in general, he is careful in his reply. “I am in favor of peace negotiations, and of separation from the Palestinians,” he said. “I am in favor of two states for the two people. I believe that one state for the two people would be a disaster for Israel and the Israeli state. “We need to separate from the Palestin- ians, and to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal, including releasing Palestinian prisoners. I’m not sure about the timing, or if there are other ways to do it, but I believe that eventually there will be a peace agree- ment, and at the end of the conflict Israel will have to release the Palestinian prison- ers, one way or another.” So an onlooker is left with the question — how did he do it? How did he manage to get his son out of captivity and back into the sunlight, free from Hamas? How did he manage to shift public opinion and political reality? Where did his strength come from?

who is David?

who is Goliath? KUWAIT pop. 2.6M ISRAEL BAHRAIN pop. 7.9M pop. 1.2M LEBANON pop. 4.1M
who is Goliath?
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OMAN
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pop. 6.5M
There’s no lack of media coverage on
Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy
with civil rights and a free press. What is
lacking is objective coverage. This tiny
Jewish nation, the size of New Jersey,
with less than eight million people, a
quarter of them non-Jewish, generally
receives inaccurate, harsh, even hostile
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QATAR
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Local

Local girls win national Bible contest

AbigAil Klein leichmAn

Two seventh-graders at the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey in River Edge swept the top two spots in the Hebrew middle school division of the 55th annual National Bible Contest-Chidon HaTanach on May 11 at the Manhattan Day School. Tehila Kornwasser of Teaneck won first place, and second place went to Nechama Reichman of Englewood. In the Hebrew high school division, Shalva Eisenberg of Passaic placed second. Her older brother, Yishai, tied for first place in the International Bible Contest for Jewish Youth in Jerusalem last year. Because her score was high enough, Shalva has qualified to join the first-place winners at the international round in Jeru- salem next May. The Hebrew middle-school contestants had to answer detailed questions about peo- ple, places, and events in the books of Gen- esis and Judges, as well as parts of Psalms and commentaries on Genesis by Rashi. The high-school syllabus also included parts of the book of Ezekiel. Tehila said the most difficult part of the quiz was the second half, which requires contestants to identify minor differences between similar verses in the syllabus mate- rial. Altogether, contestants must answer about 125 questions. Last year she placed fifth, and also launched a bat mitzvah fundraising project

fifth, and also launched a bat mitzvah fundraising project Tehila Kornwasser is on the left and

Tehila Kornwasser is on the left and Shalva Eisenberg is on the right. Behind Tehila is Avi Shaver of Minneapolis, English division winner, and behind Shalva is Benjamin Kepecs of Riverdale (SAR High School), Hebrew high school division winner. On the left is Bible Contest Coordinator Rabbi Ezra Frazer and Lerone Edalati, project manager at the Jewish Agency. On the right is Rabbi Dr. Mark Licht of the U.S. Chidon Steering Committee.

for the Babian family of Israel, whose finan- cial straits were publicized after their son Elior tied with Yishai Eisenberg for first place internationally. Tehila attributes her performance to “a love for learning Torah, which I got from RYNJ and my amazing family, the help and support of my Chidon teachers, and an insane amount of studying.”

As a first-place winner, Tehila has won a place in next spring’s international round. She and Nechama studied with a group coached by Reuven (Ruby) Stepansky of Passaic. Mr. Stepansky has a record of coaching local Bible Contest champions, including Asher Brenner, then an eighth-grader at YBH of Passaic-Hillel, who won first place in the

at YBH of Passaic-Hillel, who won first place in the Tehila Kornwasser, left, and Nechama Reichman

Tehila Kornwasser, left, and Nechama Reichman with RYNJ teacher and Bible Contest coach Sharon Motechin.

Hebrew middle school division last year with a perfect score. He started coaching three years ago at the request of the Eisenberg siblings’ father, Sa’adia. “I believe that Hashem has given me the enthusiasm of learning and allowing the Tanach, and learning in general, to be an integral part of life,” he said, adding that he tries to convey his enthusiasm and attention to details. “I make the learning fun by includ- ing germane but tangential material as it relates to the Tanach, such as Hebrew grammar, history, and Jewish law,” he added. “For the students, I believe the fun is a key aspect.”

Tanach and Israel — perfect together

Local student talks about international Bible contest in Israel

ShirA lichtmAn

“This has been the best experience of my life,” Daniel Peyser of Teaneck said. Dani, a senior at the Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck, was talk- ing about making it into the international round of Chidon HaTanach and being sent to Israel to compete in the finals, which took place on Yom Ha’atzmaut. Dani always had been drawn to the sto- ries of Tanach — but his love for Israel was even stronger than his love for Tanach. As he grew up he began to appreciate the cen- trality of Israel in Tanach; Israel is the set- ting for so many of its stories. Dani heard of Chidon HaTanach for the first time when he was in seventh grade. In eighth grade he signed up for weekly pre- paratory classes in school. He didn’t do so well then, but he didn’t give up. In 10th grade he took another shot at it. By then he was more familiar with the text and had acquired the skills to study it on his own. He had a tutor over the summer.

The more he studied, the more he got into it, and the more he felt that he was devel- oping a personal connection with Tanach. Dani had been taught different parts of Tanach his whole life, but only as he read them over and over again was he able to appreciate their meaning and the way all the parts came together. Adopting a habit of studying every day, Dani learned that “consistency is most important.” That year, he placed fifth nationally. Still Dani refused to give up on his dream

— of winning first place, and its guaranteed trip to Israel

In 11th grade he was at it again, this time

placing second, one spot short. Oh well, he figured…

A few months later he learned that the

top contestant in his region dropped out. His dream was coming true — he was going to Israel! Dani had been to Israel many times to visit family and friends, but never on a pro- gram. His goal was to win the nationals so that he could go to Israel. He wasn’t there

to win. He didn’t expect to win. Being part of the pro- gram and getting the expe- rience of meeting new peo- ple from around the world who shared his passion for Tanach was what interested him the most. But not only did he make it to Israel, he also man- aged to place second in the diaspora competition

and eighth in the interna- tional one. The highlight for him was meet- ing kids from all over the world (France, Turkey, Colombia, Netherlands, Finland, Croatia, Costa Rica, and Uruguay). “It’s amazing,” he says “It really feels like kibutz galuyot here.” The group studied together, giving each other advice and tips even though they were competing. “It was so nice,” Dani said. Being on stage, live on national TV, was nerve wracking, Dani said. But they

live on national TV, was nerve wracking, Dani said. But they Dani Peyser were all in

Dani Peyser

were all in it together. Just before he went on stage, Dani tried lightening up the mood by telling his fellow contestants to put their notes down and try to enjoy the experience. Dani did not want to look nervous on stage. This was more important to him than answering correctly. He tried his best to appear friendly and cheerful. Cheering him on in the audience were his aunts, cousins, and his sister, Avital. Dani knew where Avital was seated and he looked in her direction often, trying not to think about the fact that millions of people were watching him on live TV. Dani didn’t expect to win. He knew he was up against geniuses who knew Tanach by heart. He felt fortunate and privileged to be on stage with them. Dani was proud of himself for learning all the material and placing at the top of the U.S.

14 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

Local

Nechama gave kudos to “most of all, Hashem,” and to

her coaches — Mr. Stepansky, RYNJ teacher Sharon Mote- chin, and Rabbi Moshe Stavsky of the Bais Medrash of Bergenfield and the Ramaz Upper School. “In addition,

I would like to thank my school for introducing me to

Chidon HaTanach. I very much enjoyed this wonderful experience, especially because I experienced it with my classmate and good friend, Tehila Kornwasser.” Though she did not qualify for a trip to Israel, she may reenter the competition any time through 11th grade. Shlomi Helfgott of Teaneck, a student at the Yavneh Academy in Paramus, placed seventh in the Hebrew mid- dle school division. Altogether, 134 students participated in the contest. At this year’s international round, broadcast on live television in Israel on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day), May 6, North Jersey students Elisheva Friedman of Passaic and Dani Peyser of Teaneck were among the 16 finalists. Rabbi Ezra Frazer, coordinator of the National Bible Contest for the Jewish Agency for Israel, related that when he was introduced on stage in the 1995 International Bible Contest, host Avshalom Kor mispronounced Teaneck as “Teanock,” and was corrected by head judge Yosef Burg. “This year, when Dr. Kor introduced Dani Peyser, he said, ‘Dani Peyser of Teaneck, New Jersey — a city that has provided us with many Tanach champions,’ which speaks to the tremendous number of children from this region who have represented the United States in the Interna- tional Chidon over the past 20 years.” “As a young Chidon participant in Teaneck, I felt that the Chidon’s values — dedication to Torah study and con- necting that study to a love of Israel — corresponded to the core values of my community,” Rabbi Frazer con- tinued. “I believe that the continued success of children from northern New Jersey in the Chidon reflects the fact that we have many communities in this area that continue to cherish these values.”

category in the diaspora chidon. “I’m so fortunate to have even made it to olami,” the international con- test, he said. “I’m just so happy to be a part of this. “The people are amazing.” The contestants went on trips together, and had team building exercises. It was surprising to find that the group had much more in common than just Tanach. During one of the activities the kids paired up and had to find at least five similarities between them. Dani was amazed to learn how much he had in common with these kids he never met, from all around the world. “The program broke down so many barriers,” he said. “Everything from personal, religious, cultural, and age barriers were broken.” Dani will be studying in the Ma’ale Adumim yeshiva in Israel next year and hopes to make aliyah and join the army soon after. His new goal is to finish Tanach. “Just having the basis is so great,” he said. Only after having that foundation of the general knowledge can he delve deeper. His knowledge of Tanach strengthens his connection to the land and to Judaism, and he hopes to use it in to pursue other aspects of his Torah learning. As they hiked through the mountains of Israel, the kids tested each other on the various things that happened in those places in Tanach. “That’s what

it was about.” Dani said. “Learning Tanach in Israel

was a perfect combination.”

SOLOMON SCHECHTER DAY SCHOOL OF BERGEN COUNTY

SOLOMON SCHECHTER DAY SCHOOL OF BERGEN COUNTY Eli Ungar: 2014 Tree of Life Recipient Recognizing his
SOLOMON SCHECHTER DAY SCHOOL OF BERGEN COUNTY Eli Ungar: 2014 Tree of Life Recipient Recognizing his
SOLOMON SCHECHTER DAY SCHOOL OF BERGEN COUNTY Eli Ungar: 2014 Tree of Life Recipient Recognizing his

Eli Ungar:

2014 Tree of Life Recipient

Recognizing his extraordinary work and dedication to Schechter

Mazel Tov

to our honorees, whose leadership lights a path for others

to our honorees, whose leadership lights a path for others Thursday evening, May 29, 2014 at

Thursday evening, May 29, 2014 at 6 PM

29 th of Iyar, 5774 s"ga, rhhtc y"f

Hilton Pearl River Pearl River, New York

rhhtc y"f Hilton Pearl River Pearl River, New York Ruth Gafni: 2014 Shirley and Harris z”l

Ruth Gafni:

2014 Shirley and Harris z”l Shapiro Community Award

Presented to a Schechter leader who is a role model for the Jewish community

RSVPto celebration@ssdsbergen.org www.ssdsbergen.org/annual-community-celebration

RSVPtocelebration@ssdsbergen.org

www.ssdsbergen.org/annual-community-celebration

275 McKinley Ave., New Milford, NJ 07646

275 McKinley Ave., New Milford, NJ 07646 Phone: 201-262-9898 Fax: 201-262-3026

Phone: 201-262-9898

275 McKinley Ave., New Milford, NJ 07646 Phone: 201-262-9898 Fax: 201-262-3026

Fax: 201-262-3026

Local

SSDS marks 40th anniversary with honors for leaders

Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County celebrates its 40th anniversary by honoring Eli Ungar, its board president, and Ruth Gafni, its head of school, during its 40th annual community celebration on Sunday, May 29. The party, set to begin at 6 p.m., is at the Hilton Pearl River. Mr. Ungar, who is completing a three- year term as president, will receive the Tree of Life award, which recognizes his work and dedication to Schechter. A product of local Jewish day schools, he was president of Brown University’s Hil- lel, later joining the boards of Brown Hil- lel Foundation and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. He also chairs the board of the Jewish Home Family. He is a co- founder of Antheus Capital, a private real

He is a co- founder of Antheus Capital, a private real Eli Ungar Ruth Gafni estate

Eli Ungar

a co- founder of Antheus Capital, a private real Eli Ungar Ruth Gafni estate company. He

Ruth Gafni

estate company. He and his wife, Harley, live in Englewood. They have three chil- dren, all SSDS students. The Shirley and Harris z”l Shapiro com- munity award will be given to Ruth Gafni, Schechter’s head of school since 2008. The award is presented to a Schechter

leader who is a role model for the Jewish community. Before she went to Schech- ter, Ms. Gafni, who is from Givatayim, Israel, was the director of special needs and English as a Second Language pro- grams and coordinated the gifted and tal- ented program in the Ridgewood public schools, where she was honored as edu- cator of the year. In 2013, Ms. Gafni was a contributing author in a book, “Grow- ing Jewish Minds, Growing Jewish Souls.” She lives in Fair Lawn with her husband, Yigal. The Gafnis have two daughters. Tickets and ads for the tribute jour- nal are on sale at Schechter’s website, www.ssdsbergen.org. For information, call Amy Glazer, director of institutional advancement, at (201) 262-9898, ext. 277.

AIPAC Bergen/Rockland event in June

AIPAC’s annual Bergen & Rock- land dinner is set for Wednes- day, June 11, at 6:30 p.m. The pro-Israel activists will celebrate the organization’s mission: to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of Israel and the United States. The buffet dinner, with its

accompanying keynote talk, is a way to thank local AIPAC club members.

keynote talk, is a way to thank local AIPAC club members. Jeremy Bash The speaker, Jeremy

Jeremy Bash

The speaker, Jeremy Bash, was chief of staff for CIA director and defense secre- tary Leon Panetta. Mr. Bash has spearheaded a num- ber of key national security initiatives throughout his career. Debbie and Mickey Har- ris of Demarest and Nina

Kampler and Zvi Marans of Teaneck are the evening’s co-chairs, and

more than 120 area couples are serving as vice chairs or host committee members. AIPAC club membership starts at $1,500 per couple; and two seats to the celebration are included in the donation. The evening will include catering by Foremost, music, and a reception. The location will be provided when the res- ervation is made. For more information, call AIPAC’s Bergen and Rockland direc- tor, Arielle Brenner, at (917) 210-6327 or email her at abrenner@aipac.org.

Basketball star at Ben Porat Yosef

Ben Porat Yosef in Paramus was rocking last week when CMEK, a basketball program for youngsters, hosted a free training session with Tamir Goodman for student athletes and their parents. Mr. Goodman, who invented Zone 190, a basketball-training device that enables players to harness their skills by repli- cating game-time scenarios, demonstrated his invention with children participating in cutting-edge basketball drills.

Goodman grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family in Baltimore, with six brothers and two sisters. He began playing basketball when he was 5 and garnered national attention in high school, averaging 35.4 points per game for the Talmudical Academy of Balti- more. He earned recognition in Sports Illustrated and was interviewed by ESPN,

in Sports Illustrated and was interviewed by ESPN, Tamir and Chad Mekles Tamir leading basketball drills.

Tamir and Chad Mekles

and was interviewed by ESPN, Tamir and Chad Mekles Tamir leading basketball drills. For more information

Tamir leading basketball drills.

For more information on Tamir Good- man, go to Zone190.com. For information on upcoming CMEK programs, special events, and camps, go to www.CMEK.com

60 Minutes, and Fox Sports. In 11th grade, he was ranked

the 25th-best high school player in the country even dubbed the “Jewish Jordan” in Wikipedia. Event highlights were when Simon Fis- chman and EJ Heumann (both in pre-k at Moriah) scored on the 10-foot hoops.

Teaneck shuls have upcoming Shabbat events

Cantor Yaakov Motzen

On Shabbat, May 16 to 17, Cantor Yaakov Mot- zen will be ba’al tefillah at Congregation Rinat Yisrael in Teaneck. Kabbalat Shabbat ser- vices are at 7 p.m., and Shabbat morning dav- ening begins at 9 a.m. Cantor Motzen’s career spans 45 years in many countries. The shul is at 389 West Englewood Ave. For information, call (201) 837-2795.

Avi Silverman

On Shabbat, May 17, at 6:45 p.m., Avi Sil- verman of Nefesh B’Nefesh will discuss “Medinat Yisrael: Does it Still Inspire?” at Con- gregation Beth Aaron, Teaneck. The shul is at 950 Queen Anne Road. For informa- tion, call (201) 836-6210 or go to www. bethaaron.org.

Professor Aaron Koller

Aaron Koller, associate professor of near eastern and Jewish studies and assistant dean at Yeshiva Col- lege, will focus on “Submissiveness vs. Assertiveness in the Jewish Tradition” dur- ing Shabbat, May 23 to 24, at Congregation Rinat Yisrael in Teaneck. He will give an introductory talk on Fri- day evening, before Ma’ariv. On Shabbat, his topic during the 9 a.m. minyan will be “On the Economics of Shemitta and Yovel.” At 6:40 p.m., he will talk about “Bar Kokhba in Rabbinic Thought” and after Minchah, at 7:40, the subject will be “The Aqeda: Submission or Assertive- ness?” For information, call (201) 837-2795.

or Assertive- ness?” For information, call (201) 837-2795. Support group aims to help people live within
or Assertive- ness?” For information, call (201) 837-2795. Support group aims to help people live within
or Assertive- ness?” For information, call (201) 837-2795. Support group aims to help people live within

Support group aims to help people live within their means

The Jewish Family Service of Bergen and North Hudson is starting a support group, “Establishing Financial Freedom,” begin- ning May 27. The group’s goal is to help guide people through the process of living within their means. The group will meet every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon at JFS, 1485 Teaneck Road, in Teaneck. For information, call (201) 837- 9090 or go to www.jfsbergen.org.

16 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

Local

Local The a capella group Six13 Schlossbergs are GBDS honorees Dr. Sy and Elaine Schlossberg will

The a capella group Six13

Schlossbergs are GBDS honorees

Dr. Sy and Elaine Schlossberg will be honored for their con- tinuous leadership and sup- port of the Gerrard Berman Day School, Solomon Schech- ter of North Jersey, at “Gala in the Garden,” to benefit Acad- emies at GBDS, June 8, at 6:30 p.m., at a private home in Franklin Lakes. The evening includes food, an auction, and a live

performance by the a capella group Six13. Berman Society members are invited for a lakeside champagne recep- tion at 5:30 p.m. Leah Matsil and Howard Greenberg and Michal and Zachary Levison are the event chairs. For information, call Amy Silna Shafron at (201) 337-1111 or go to gerrardbermands. ejoinme.org/gala.

(201) 337-1111 or go to gerrardbermands. ejoinme.org/gala. Dr. Sy and Elaine Schlossberg Michael Oren to receive

Dr. Sy and Elaine Schlossberg

Michael Oren to receive honorary degree at Touro

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambas- sador to the United States from 2009 to 2013, will receive an honorary degree at Touro’s 40th annual commencement exercises at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center on May 26. More than 700 candidates are set to receive baccalaureate and associate degrees from eight of

Touro’s schools: Lander College of Arts and Sciences–Flatbush; Lander Col- lege for men in Queens; Lander College for Women –The Anna Ruth and Mark Has- ten School in Manhattan; the School for Lifelong Education in Brooklyn; Machon

the School for Lifelong Education in Brooklyn; Machon Michael Oren L’Parnasa– Institute for Profes- sional

Michael Oren

L’Parnasa– Institute for Profes- sional Studies, also in Brook- lyn; Touro College Los Ange- les, and Touro College South in Miami. At the conclusion of the 2014 commencement season, the Touro College and Univer- sity System is expected to have awarded approximately 6,000

doctor of philosophy, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of phar- macy, juris doctor, masters, and bacca- laureate and associate degrees to students from 32 schools and colleges in the United States and around the world.

Local named to Ben-Gurion high post

and around the world. Local named to Ben-Gurion high post Diane Romirowsky The American Associates of

Diane

Romirowsky

The American Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev welcomes Diane Romirowsky of Teaneck to the organization as a major gifts director for the North- east, including greater New York and New England. Ms. Romirowsky has more than 25 years of experience

as a major gifts development professional, working with high net- worth donors and family foundations on behalf of Israel universities, educational institutions, and other prominent Jewish

nonprofit organizations. Before she joined AABGU, Ms. Romirowsky was a development consultant at the United States-Israel Bi- National Science Foundation; before that, she was develop- ment director at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Ber- gen County in New Milford.

She also has held develop- ment positions for two other American friends groups of Israeli universities, and she was a development professional at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Emunah luncheon to honor empowered women

Emunah will pay tribute to “Empowering Women” at its spring luncheon on May 20 at the Prince George Ballroom in Manhattan. Dr. Ruth Gruber, the distinguished journalist, writer, photographer, and her- oine, who used her talents to rescue fellow Jews during and after World War II, will be the

guest of honor. Sheryl Schainker of Teaneck and Melodie Scharf are the luncheon chairs. Proceeds from the event will support Emunah’s girls’ educational and vocational high schools and its college for young women in Israel. For information, call (212) 564-9045, ext. 306.

in Israel. For information, call (212) 564-9045, ext. 306. Dr. Ruth Gruber Keep us informed we

Dr. Ruth Gruber

Keep us informed

we welcome announcements of events. announcements are free. accompanying photos must be high resolution jpg files, and allow at least two weeks of lead time. not every release will be published. Please include a daytime telephone and send to:

NJ Jewish Media Group 1086 Teaneck Rd., Teaneck, NJ 07666 pr@jewishmediagroup.com (201) 837-8818

Harlem Hebrew is a dual-language public school of academic excellence located in NYC CSD 3.

Harlem Hebrew is a dual-language public school of academic excellence located in NYC CSD 3. We seek dedicated, caring, teachers committed to guiding students while working with an exceptional team of colleagues in an innovative program for the 2014–15 academic year. K–2 Opportunities include:

• Full Time General Education teachers — NYS Certified

• Full Time Special Ed teachers — NYS Certified

• Full Time Hebrew Language teachers (must be fluent readers, writers and speakers of modern Hebrew)

Positions offer: Competitive salary and benefits package. Looking to hire candidates with strong classroom management skills. We are an EOE.

Qualified individuals please forward your resume and cover letter to:

jobs@harlemhebrewcharter.org

Editorial

Time for Israel to focus on hate crimes

I n December 2011, swastikas and white supremacist slogans were discovered on Temple Beth Israel, the Reconstructionist

congregation in Maywood. Two weeks later vandals struck again at Temple Beth El in Hackensack. And then the attackers escalated, as people consumed with hate often will, and they threw Molotov cocktails into the upper story of Congregation Beth El in Rutherford, where Rabbi Nosson Schuman and his family were sleeping. At this point the Bergen County Prosecutors Office made the investiga- tion a top priority, and soon afterward they arrested the first suspect. Detec- tives discovered that the ingredients for the bombs came from Walmart, and then released pictures from the store’s security camera. Say what you want about America’s growing number of surveillance cam- eras, but they help capture criminals. Two weeks ago, anti-Semitic slo- gans were spray-painted in Brooklyn’s Manhattan Beach neighborhood. A former New York Police Department

officer soon was arrested. He had been caught on a security camera. Last week, two Maryland high school students were charged with hate crimes, accused of drawing swas- tikas on a synagogue and a school bus. “It doesn’t matter to us what their motives were,” Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told the Washington Post. “What they did was a hate crime of the most hurtful and offensive nature.” The suspects were caught on surveil- lance video. This week, swastikas were again drawn on a synagogue. This time, in Jerusalem. The attack on a Conservative Moreshet Yisrael synagogue in down- town Jerusalem follows a growing surge in vandalism against Muslim and Christian targets in Israel and the West Bank, believed to be committed by radical Orthodox Jews. Only a handful of arrests have been made. And many people, including former heads of Israeli intelligence, charge that Israel is not serious about investigating the matter. One proposal is for Israel to classify

these crimes as terrorism, allowing for greater latitude in investigations. We’re not fans of this idea. Instead, we think that Israel should borrow the approach of the American govern- ment, which makes tens of millions of dollars available for security grants for religious institutions, primarily synagogues. As it happens, Israel has a ministry of religions, with a budget reported to be $100 million. While 20 percent of Israel’s population is Muslim or Chris- tian, non-Jewish religious institutions receive only 5 percent of this budget. We’d like to propose that Naftali Bennett — who is the minister of reli- gious affairs, as well as minister of the economy and head of the right wing Bayit Hayehudi party — allocate a couple of million dollars to provide every mosque and church and non- Orthodox synagogue in Israel with a video surveillance system. Israel long has affirmed the principle of support- ing minority religious rights. Security cameras are a cheap investment in a priceless principle.

-LY

Bring them home

I t doesn’t matter whether you are

Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. It is

impossible not to feel waves of

overwhelming heartbreak when

you think about the 200-odd Nigerian girls who were taken from their school by an armed Islamist group calling itself Boko Haram. Like the Taliban, this savage group sees nothing worthwhile in educating girls. The kidnapping is exactly what Nigeria, which is trying to raise its economic image, didn’t want to see happen. It particularly didn’t want it to happy now. The country hosted the World Economic forum last week. There, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan thanked foreign nations for their support in the fight against Boko Haram. It seems this nightmare comes too

soon after the attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban because she championed education for girls. How could anyone put the trigger to the head of an innocent girl? Much less do so because she wants to be edu- cated? What could so threaten grown men? Is it the fear that through edu- cation, girls might live independent lives? The Boko Haram are no better than the Taliban. Both have guns and use them to inflict fear. We worry that Boko Haram will sell these kidnapped children into the growing epidemic of the world slave trade. Almost 150 years ago, our nation fought a war to end slavery, but although it is unimaginable to us, slav- ery continues around the world. We

must take action when young girls are captured and sold into slavery. Slavery, especially into the sex trade, cannot be allowed to happen. Not ever again. And even if our prayers are answered and these kidnapped girls are brought home safely, we will still worry about whether girls and young women have the same opportunity to live lives of hope that their brothers have. And we also know that there are countless other young girls who we still must find and save, even in the United States and in Israel. These girls could very well be our sisters and daughters, our future sci- entists, educators, doctors, and world leaders. We need to bring our world’s chil- dren home now. Eradicate slavery. It must be our priority.

-PJ

TruTh regardless of consequences

Why “never again” happens again and again

I n my last column I recounted how last month I traveled to Rwanda, at the invitation of President Paul Kagame, to speak at Amohoro National Sta- dium to mark the 20th anniversary of the geno-

cide. A survivor took the microphone, and in a slow voice, recounted episodes from the slaughter of the

country’s minority Tutsis. The stadium was filled with the sounds of women quaking, men thundering, children shrieking. The

sounds were of the trauma of people reliving the hor- rors as they were recounted. The UN’s secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, got up and said that never again must mean just that, never again. But even as he said it, children continued to be gassed in Syria. Women were being machined gun to death in South Sudan. Chris- tians were being slaugh- tered in the Central African Republic. And why?

Because the world has yet to embrace Jewish values. The Jews were the ones

who taught the world that every human being — Jew, Christian, Muslim, and atheist; white, black, and every shade in between — were created equally, all in the image of God. The Jews were the ones who gave the world the Ten Commandments, with its fiery exhorta- tion, “Thou shalt not murder.” And the Jews were the ones who declared, in the book of Leviticus, “Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.” Let my Christian brothers speak of loving your enemies. Let my Catholic friends tell me to turn the other cheek. When it comes to mass murder, I can- not but reject both New Testament teachings. Instead, I embrace Solomon’s proclamation in Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” I will embrace what King David proclaimed regarding the wicked, “I have hated them with a deep loathing. They are as enemies to me.” Because Lincoln hated the abomination of slavery he fought to stop it, as he said in 1854 in Peoria, “I can- not but hate slavery. I hate it because of the monstrous

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Rabbi

Shmuley

Boteach

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of Englewood has just published “Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer.” Follow him on Twitter @rabbishmuley.

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18 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

 

Opinion

injustice of slavery itself.” Because Churchill hated Hitler, he inspired a nation to fight the beast. The French, who did not hate Hitler, collaborated with him instead. Loving victims might generate compassion for their suffering. But hating the perpetrators generates action to stop their orgy of mur- der. While innocence should evoke compassion, evil should evoke only contempt. Our organization, This World: The Values Network, whose gala dinner is this Sunday, Lag B’omer, is dedicated to the spread of uni- versal Jewish values. In so doing, we seek to bring healing and jus- tice to a world that seemingly cannot be healed. Where the Greeks spoke of fate, the Jews spoke of destiny. We Jews reject the disempowering belief that our future is scripted in

Lag B’omer at the pyramids

WASHINGTON — On the outskirts of Cairo, on a blistering hot afternoon in May 1942, British Army chaplain Rabbi Louis Rabinowitz ordered the driver of his military transport truck to pull over for a group of uniformed women who were hitchhiking. “We want to go as far as the pyra- mids,” one of the women explained. “Her accent betrays that she is not English, and instantly I realize that

that she is not English, and instantly I realize that dances in the shades of the

dances in the shades of the Pyramids.” They arrived to find dozens of young Jewish soldiers igniting a huge bon- fire. “Round and round they danced the Horah with increasing enthusiasm and tempo,” the rabbi recalled. “‘Ben Yohai!,’ ‘El Yivne Hagalil!’, ‘Anu Olim Artzah!’ The flames throw the eager, laughing, joyous arcs into vivid relief. From time to time, a figure would detach itself from the whirling circle,

Rafael

Medoff

the stars, that what we will become already has been decided from the moment of our birth. We do not accept that life must be tragic, and we are doomed to live out a future over which we have no con- trol. To the contrary, the Jews gave the world the idea of choice, of setting moral goals that are within our reach to attain. When I was a boy, I saw my parents argue. I had little peace. As

   

they are the Jewish Palestinian A.T.S. [volunteers in the British armed forces], the first Jewish Amazons in history!” the rabbi recalled in his memoir. “With a grin, I lapse into Hebrew.” (Imagine the women’s surprise!) “I shall be very glad indeed to take you,” the rabbi said. It would be the most remarkable Lag B’omer he would ever experience. Thirty thousand Jewish men and 4,350 Jewish women from Mandatory Palestine volunteered to serve in the British Army during World War II. Although horrified by the British White Paper, which cut off most Jewish immigration to the holy land, they were eager to take part in the Allies’ war effort against the Nazis. The women served in units known as the Pales- tine Auxiliary Territorial Service, and some were assigned to British positions in Egypt. There, along with their male comrades, they played important roles in bolstering the British fight to halt General Rommel’s advance across North Africa. One of the most famous missions carried out by these Palestinian Jewish soldiers is described in the 1943 book “The Forgotten Ally,” by the renowned journalist (and Christian Zionist) Pierre van Paas- sen. Twenty soldiers, German Jewish refugees, donned German military uniforms. With their flaw- less accents, they managed to infiltrate Nazi lines in western Egypt. When their true identities were dis- covered, the saboteurs opened fire on the enemy; according to the sole survivor, they managed to kill more than 100 Germans. The women hitchhikers for whom Rabbi Rabi- nowitz stopped were on their way to meet up with comrades at the pyramids for a Lag B’omer celebra-

and with an ecstatic cry of triumph would leap high over the burning pile, to land safely and triumphantly on the other side.” Standing there in the silhouette of the pyramids, Rabbi Rabinowitz was moved to offer a d’var Torah with a message that uniquely linked past to present:

child of divorce, the statisticians told me that I was likely to live out the same fate. But at my bar mitzvah I had the privilege of one of the last private audiences with my great teacher, the Lubavitcher

a

“I spoke of Bar Kochba and of Rabbi Akiva, of his disciple, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, who is so inti- mately connected with Lag B’omer; of [Bar Koch- ba’s] war for Jewish independence; of the long and weary exile of the Jewish people; of the significant fact that from that time we had not until the present day seen Palestinian Jews enrolled and organized to fight for the freedom of humanity and their own future.” But the connection to Pharaoh, builder of the pyr- amids, was even more significant, he said. Pharaoh, after all, had ordered the murder of all Jewish male babies for fear they would grow up to be soldiers who would turn against him; but he let the Jewish female babies live. “What possible military value could there be in women?” the Egyptian ruler reasoned. Surely girls posed no threat of becoming Jewish fighters. “And now, 4,000 years after,” Rabbi Rabinowitz declared, “these Palestinian A.T.S. were showing, in no uncertain way, within sight of these Pyramids,” that they too could fight for the Jewish nation. These “Jewish Amazons,” as the rabbi proudly called them, were living proof of the failure of the enemies of the Jewish people. “As I left them that evening,” he wrote, “my mind was filled with the vivid conviction — these mighty Pyramids will crumble to dust before the Jewish peo- ple will perish.”

JTAWIreServIce

rebbe, who looked at me penetratingly. In his blue eyes I saw a sea of infinite compassion as he said to me, “You will grow to be a light to your family, your school, the Jewish people, and the entire world. Believe it, and it will be so.” We Jews reject the evolutionary model of men as inseminators who will always gravitate to many women. We teach instead that every man must honor one woman. Who would have believed at our higher academies of learning today we would have an epidemic of one of five women facing sexual assault? This is a disgrace, and there is no excuse. My Judaism taught me that whether or not I stayed married had nothing to do with parental history or biology and everything to do with personal choice. Would I take my wife for granted or show appreciation for a soul mate? Would I criticize or would I compli- ment? Would I be selfish or selfless? The future was entirely in my hands. It was my choice. And there is no more empowering idea in the world than the Jewish emphasis on personal accountability and choice. My Palestinian brothers and sisters condemn Israel and blame

it

for the spread of Hamas violence. If you stopped humiliating us

with checkpoints we will stop blowing up buses, they say. Yet the Jews of Germany, as Alan Dershowitz argues, were subjected to the most inhuman cruelties, but they never took it out on German schoolchildren. Victor Frankl spent three years in Nazi death camps. In his classic “Man’s Search for Meaning,” he says the Germans took away every- thing from him. The pleasure of love, by gassing his wife. The joy of hope, by exterminating his family. The exultation of freedom, by incarcerating him behind barbed wire. His very humanity, by brand- ing him with a cattle iron. And his human dignity, by forcing him to defecate in a bucket. But there was one thing they could never take from him — his choice of how to react to it. They wanted him to claw like an animal, but he could still choose to share his last morsels of bread with those who were even hungrier than he. They wanted him to surrender all to despair but he could still choose to live with faith and belief. I have watched how the media already has picked apart our din- ner. It is a motley collection of opposites, they say. Sheldon Adelson, they said, believes in the Republican Party. Sean Penn is a social- ist. Chris Christie said something objectionable about Israel. Rick Perry said one thing in a debate that should overshadow any other achievements. To all of them I respond not with Christian but with Jewish values.

tion. “The Galilean village of Meron [site of the most famous Lag B’omer festivities] transported to Gizeh,” the rabbi marveled, “and Palestinian songs and

 

Rafael Medoff is director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

a u.s. army transport plane flies over the pyramids in egypt in 1943. KeYSTONe/GeTTYImAGeS

a u.s. army transport plane flies over the pyramids in egypt in 1943.

KeYSTONe/GeTTYImAGeS

could not care less what people believe. I don’t much care how they vote. And I don’t much care if they make verbal gaffes. What do I care about is what they do. Judaism is a celebration of righteous action. In Judaism it’s not belief in a savior that will get you into heaven. It’s the good deeds you do — the mitzvot you perform — that will create heaven on earth.

I

Opinion

Advertisements for ourselves

Jews in “Mad Men” and beyond

“Mad Men” is back. The AMC series created by Jewish writer, producer, and director Matthew Weiner has returned for its final season, having taken us through that most transformative of decades, the 1960s. And while the main character, Don Draper, isn’t Jewish, there is something hauntingly familiar about the story of a man who adopts a different name and identity to hide his true back- ground, and then works his way up from poverty to a comfortable middle-class exis- tence. Reflecting the experience common to all European immigrants during the first half of the 20th century, Draper personi-

fies the belief that in America it is possible to shape and fashion your own individual identity, to recreate yourself in your own desired image. In some ways he seems to echo the Jew- ish-American novelist Norman Mailer, who was known for his media savvy and pen- chant for self-promotion. In fact, he called his 1959 anthology of short pieces “Adver- tisements for Myself.” The message of commercial advertising, taken as a whole, is that we can become whoever and whatever we want to be sim- ply by buying the right products. And the title of the series is a pun based on the fact that New York City-based advertising firms all used to be located on Madison Avenue. Much like Hollywood, it was an industry in which Jews were quite prominent. In fact, Thomas Cahill included advertising in his celebratory book, “The Gifts of the Jews,” a remark that generated some criticism among reviewers. But “Mad Men” avoids this association. Draper and his part- ners are WASPs, and it’s not until season five that they hire a Jewish copywriter, Michael Ginsberg. Much like the famous beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Michael is quite talented and creative, although his gifts are not given the respect that they deserve by Draper and his partners. There even are instances where he is used sim- ply as a token Jew — for exam- ple in an attempt to secure an account from Manischewitz. Still, the character is given a compel- ling background — he was born in a concentration camp. And like Draper, Ginsberg tries to dis- guise his origins. His ethnicity, however, makes it impossible for him to construct an entirely new identity as Draper did. In the most recent episode, “The Runaways,” Ginsberg again parallels Draper in suffering a

nervous breakdown, but in much

more extreme fashion. He suc- cumbs to paranoid delusions and engages in self-mutilation; the catalyst for his action was the agency’s addition of a main- frame computer. The episode includes an homage to the scene in “2001: A Space Odys- sey,” where the homicidal com- puter HAL reads the lips of the two astronauts he is supposed

to be aiding, thereby learning of their decision to shut him down. Presumably Ginsberg had recently seen this movie, which was released on New Year’s Day 1968. It is worth noting that “2001” is considered one of the greatest films ever made, and its director, Stanley Kubrick, one of the most important film directors of all time. Kubrick was one of many prominent Jewish-Americans who grew up in the Bronx during the early and mid-20th century, and the strong distrust of authority evident in his films would have struck a resonant chord with any child of the Holocaust. Moreover, the Nazis, being meticulous record keepers, were quite fond of the technological forerunner of

the computer, tabulating machines of the sort produced by IBM, the company that became the pre-eminent computer manu- facturer of the postwar era. (It often has been noted that moving each letter of IBM back one step in the alphabet yields HAL, the name of the computer). While Michael Ginsberg is a minor char- acter on “Mad Men,” he remains a major

Dr. Lance Strate

Dr. Lance

Strate

example of Jewish stereo- types. He is clever and funny, but also awkward and often inappropriate in social situations, and otherwise nervous and neurotic. (In his case, his neurosis intensified into psychosis.) It was prob- ably the influence of all of

those immensely popular Woody Allen movies of the ‘60s, but for a long time it seemed as if any Jewish-American male character who appeared on a TV sitcom or dramatic series was cut from the same cloth: whiny, nervous, short, unattractive, not handy or athletic, smart and intellec- tual, but not exactly leadership material. After all, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy may have been Jewish, but Cap- tain James Tiberius Kirk was just another WASP, and his first officer, Mr. Spock, was an alien from the planet Vulcan — albeit one who incorporated some Jewish influ- ences. While the Enterprise was popu- lated with a veritable melting pot of crew members, there never seemed to be a Shapiro or Levine out there on the final frontier. Of course there have been exceptions, like Gabe Kotter on “Welcome Back, Kot- ter,” Barney Miller on “Barney Miller,” Jerry Seinfeld on “Seinfeld,” and Josh Lyman on “The West Wing,” but these characters’ ethnicity — and especially their religion — was rarely mentioned or acknowledged. At the same time, the Jewish identities of

stereotypical characters, such as Miles Silverberg on “Murphy Brown,” Joel Fleis- chman on “Northern Exposure,” and Ross Geller on “Friends,” were continually on display, and very much an integral part of their characters. This fall, a new sitcom was introduced, a vehicle for Robin Williams, called “The Crazy Ones.” Clearly inspired by “Mad Men,” the series is set in a Chicago-based advertising firm and features several Jew- ish actors, including Sarah Michelle Gel- lar (of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fame), Amanda Setton, Brad Garrett, and James Wolk. What is remarkable about Wolk’s character, a copy writer named Zach Crop- per, is that he is extremely confident, like- able (he is the favorite of the agency head, Robin Williams’ character Simon Roberts), handsome (he is a veritable ladies’ man), and maybe a little bit shallow, although certainly a talented and innovative pro- fessional. And he is Jewish. In fact, in an episode called “Zach Mitzvah,” it turns out that he once was a very successful bar mitzvah DJ, and he reprises that role in order to please a client. Not only does the Cropper character counter the typical stereotype of the Jew- ish male, but another character, art direc- tor Andrew Keanelly, embodies many of those stereotypical attributes. He is intel- ligent — but also insecure, awkward, and jealous of the favor shown to Zach. You might expect his character to be Jewish — but he is identified as not Jewish. For this reason, I believe that “The Crazy Ones” merits our respect and recognition. Unfortunately, however, the series failed to catch on with television audiences and garner the kinds of ratings its creators had hoped for, and so CBS has cancelled it. And truth be told, it’s no “Mad Men.” But as far as Jewish characters go, Zach Cropper has been altogether refreshing. Series creator David E. Kelley has a track record of creat- ing interesting and unique Jewish characters in programs such as “Picket Fences”, “Chicago Hope,” “The Practice,” “Boston Public,” and now “The Crazy Ones.” For that he deserves our kudos.

Dr. Lance Strate of Palisades Park is a professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University in the Bronx and president of his synagogue, Congregation Adas Emuno in Leonia. He is the author of the just- released “Amazing Ourselves to Death: Neil Postman’s Brave New World Revisited.”

to Death: Neil Postman’s Brave New World Revisited.” “Mad Men’s” Jon hamm as don draper and

“Mad Men’s” Jon hamm as don draper and Ben feldman as Michael ginsberg

20 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

f

f

f

Letters

Take care of victims

“Taking care of the victims” (May 2) is a column that had to be written. Its intent is spot-on. I would com- ment that so-called Orthodox Jews, no matter who they are, are not Orthodox when they veer off the Torah path. It is a terrible shame that one of the sis- ters is disassociating herself from the community, based on her horrific experiences, rather than based on what the Torah says about how we should live. I understand why someone would judge a Torah way

of life by those who claim to lead such a life, but this is frequently not the case. That’s why we are taught to choose our spiritual guides and friends very carefully.

Joanne asher, West Orange

Appreciating the Glustroms

I thank you so very much for this tribute to Rabbi

Simon Glustrom (“Up from the South,” May 2). Hav- ing been introduced to Rabbi Glustrom and his lovely wife Helen so many years ago, I have treasured their friendship throughout the years. I have enjoyed Rabbi and Helen’ combined sharing of wisdom, encourage- ment, and the embodiment of all that love brings to define the word friend. All that I have treasured, learning from my beloved grandparents and parents, are within these two blessed people. My love and grat- itude go out to them, with all blessings.

hana Bogen, Brooklyn

Texas — not our homeland

Anthony Weiss’ May 3 page 3 story, “A ‘New Israel’ in

Texas?” was enlightening and interesting. However, it ignored one historical and biblical tie, which is to the land of Israel itself. I personally found very interest- ing the idea of settling European Jews in the Alaska

territories, which was the subject of an entertaining, sophisticated and quirky Michael Chabon novel, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.” This novel, in large part

a murder mystery and alternative history of the after-

math of World War II, centers around the fictional Jewish communities in Alaska. It is far more enter- taining if the reader is a Yiddish speaker, or at least familiar with enough Yiddish phrases that have crept into the American English Language. I didn’t mean for this letter to be a book review. I

intended to point out that Mr. Weiss’ article neglects entirely the role of the land of Israel itself, where visitors can see the Valley of Elah, where David slew Goliath, and can visualize the confrontation; the road to Calvary, which Jesus was forced to walk, carrying the cross on which he was crucified; or the Temple Mount, where Mohammed’s mount, Al-Buraq, stood. These are places that exist, even if the events around them may not be universally accepted. They don’t exist in Texas. A homeland is more than a long- term diaspora. It is a place that touches a person’s heart and soul.

eli uncyk, New York City

No to J Street

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jew- ish Organizations was absolutely correct in rejecting an application from J Street (“Who will set the table?” May 9). Since its inception, the organization has seemed to define its policy positions as simply the exact oppo- site of the rest of the Jewish community. Its shadowy financing was shown to simply be a front for George Soros, whose ability to fund anti-Israel activities seems to know no bounds. J Street lied about receiving these funds. According to Federal Election Commission

filings, dozens of Arab and Muslim Americans and Iranian advocacy organizations donated tens of thousands of dollars to J Street. The fact that our enemies donate to this group speaks volumes about its nature. The Jewish community in America has a wide array of positions, but there are limits to any discussion. The BDS boycott movement is simply anti-Semitic in nature, yet it enjoys a dialogue with J Street. Iran has announced its inten- tion to incinerate Israel, yet J Street serves as its apologists. The Goldstone report was probably the worst libel against the Jews since the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, repudiated even by its own author — but it was embraced by J Street. The real damage and immediate danger of J Street is that

it provides cover to any politician who now opposes any position of the rest of the Jewish community. While the political power of the American Jewish community contin- ues to evaporate as our numbers and influence diminish, J Street has prevented us from speaking with a unified voice. Its opposition to the sanctions on Iran confused our allies and aided our enemies. In our world talk translates to bul- lets; sanctions can serve as armor; and defamation can dam- age as much as an earthquake. J Street sadly provides no support to Israel and drowns out our community’s voice at home.

dr. scott david lippe, Fair Lawn

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Cover Story

Feting ‘Fiddler’

By ‘Raising the Roof,’ Folksbiene honors musical’s first half century

Joanne Palmer

H ow did a poor milkman from a godforsaken mud-slicked Yid- dish-inflected shtetl in tzar- ist Russia come to dominate

stages around the world for half a century?

And why will so many Tevyas — and Gol- des, and Tzeitels, and Motels, and Hodels, and Perchicks, and Chavas, and Yentas, and Lazar Wolfs — all be together on one stage at one time? Somehow, the specificity of the musical’s time and place — a world so

particularly and hauntingly late 19th cen- tury Ashkenazi that a Sephardic Jew who lived, let’s say, 200 years earlier would find it bafflingly foreign, and a modern secular Israeli would see it as anthropol- ogy — and its profound universality, which touches on themes of family and growth and loss and change and separation and abiding love familiar to everyone every- where, combined to make magic in “Fid- dler on the Roof.” The fact that it’s a wonderful show also doesn’t hurt, said Alisa Solomon, a theater critic and Columbia School of Journalism

professor who wrote about it in “Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof.” Because of the convergence of so many things — “Fiddler” turning 50, its lyri- cist, Sheldon Harnick, turning 90, and the National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene entering its 100th year — the theater’s artis- tic director, Zalmen Mlotek of Teaneck, is creating a huge semi-centennial celebra- tion, called “Raising the Roof,” at Manhat- tan’s Town Hall on June 9. “Fiddler” is about families (among many other things), and many of the actors who

have been in it have created their own families through it. Ms. Solomon will talk about the play, and Mr. Harnick will remi- nisce. Joshua Bell will carve time out of his schedule to perform, and a klezmer band headed by Frank London will play behind him. Actors will reproduce some of the musical’s set pieces. Hearts will swell, and eyes will well. Just as “Fiddler” brings together the universal and the specific, it also brings together two worlds that often intersect but are distinct from each other — Broad- way and Yiddish culture. If those two

together two worlds that often intersect but are distinct from each other — Broad- way and

22 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

Cover Story

worlds, in fact, can be thought to have had a child — brash, bustling Broadway would be the father, and then there is — oh, this is too easy! — a Yiddische mama — that child would have been “Fiddler on the Roof.” The Folksbiene has chosen to produce “Raising the Roof” — which also is this year’s annual fundraiser — because its mission, as Mr. Mlotek sees it, is “to bring people from the outside — not from the Yiddish world — into our audience, to see the kind of work we do.” That has not always been the case. “My predecessors gave their lives for the theater,” Mr. Mlotek said. “They maintained this theater. From

Mr. Mlotek said. “They maintained this theater. From ‘Fiddler’ manages to keep running brilliantly on the

‘Fiddler’ manages to keep running brilliantly on the tracks of both the universal and the particular at all times.

ALISA SOLOMON

1915, when it was founded, to 1998, when I took over, there was not one season with- out one play going on. “When I took over, I broadened the base. I said that this is not just about the- ater — it is about Yiddish culture. I brought in people from the wider spectrum of Jew- ish life, who had a connection with Yiddish theater.” For the gala, “we engaged two directors,

Raising the Roof

Who: the Folksbiene theater and many Fiddler alumni

What: a performance celebrating “Fiddler on the roof’s” 50th anniver- sary

Where: town hall, 123 west 43rd street, Manhattan

When: Monday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m.

For tickets: 212-213-2120, ext. 203

For more information: www.nation- alyiddishtheatre.org

The original Broadway production with Zero Mostel front and center. Zero Mostel as Tevye and
The original Broadway production with Zero Mostel
front and center.
Zero Mostel
as Tevye and
Joanna Merlin
as his oldest
daughter,
Tzeitel.

Erik Liberman and Gary John La Rosa, who have had extensive experience with ‘Fiddler.’” In fact, Mr. La Rosa had worked with Jerome Robbins, who directed and choreographed the original production, “so it’s a direct connection to the original concept,” Mr. Mlotek said. “We’re reaching out to all these artists, and their answer immediately is yes. They are donating their services, flying in from all over. There will be at least 100 people on that stage. “Just the fact that we’re celebrating this icon of the Broadway musical under our auspices shows something about the way that Yiddish culture found its way into Broadway,” he said. “‘Fiddler’ manages to keep running bril- liantly on the tracks of both the universal and the particular at all times,” Ms. Solo- mon said. Her favorite example is the wedding scene at the end of the first act. “If you stop your ears and just watch it, you will see that it is unmistakably and in careful detail an Ashkenazi Jewish wedding,” she said. “There is a chuppah, and the ring on the index finger. But if you close your eyes and just listen, you hear ‘Sunrise, Sunset.’ It’s a waltz; the song is a popular American style. The lyrics are universal. “So if you are a Jewish audience

member, you feel completely at home with what you saw; if you’re not, you are not barred from emotional entry to that scene. It is open to you — and you also see a set of charming customs.” “Fiddler’s” creators were sure that any- thing that would not be immediately obvi- ous to its audiences would be defined, Ms. Solomon continued. Case in point:

the lyrics “To life, to life, l’chaim; l’chaim, l’chaim, to life.” “Fiddler” was very much of its time and place in that “it catches some of the promi- nent concerns of the mid-1960s — the ris- ing civil-rights movement, what tolerance is, what bigotry and prejudice are,” she said. And it touched as well on the new mood of rebellion among college students. “When Perchik is introduced, he insults someone,” she said. “Someone asks him ‘Where do you come from?’ and someone else answers ‘From the university. That’s

where they taught him to speak like that.’ “It’s set in 1905, and it is very coherent and has integrity within that period, but it also is speaking very directly to the con- temporary concerns of the 1960s.” As she pointed out, those concerns still vex us today, so the show has aged well. At the deepest level, “It’s all about change — and that never gets stale.” Addressing the charge that “Fiddler” is schmaltzy, she said that it is not. “Robbins wanted to move away from the sentimen- tal.” The Sholom Aleichem stories upon which the musical is based are dark, but the treatment those stories had received in the 1950s had been grossly sentimental. “The first act ends in a pogrom, and the second with exile,” she pointed out. Mr. Harnick said that when he and Jerry Bock, wrote the show’s music, they had no idea that “Fiddler” would be popular. “We had hoped that we’d get good

Cover Story

Cover Story “Fiddler” is popular around the world. At left, a Japanese production, with fiddler atop
Cover Story “Fiddler” is popular around the world. At left, a Japanese production, with fiddler atop

“Fiddler” is popular around the world. At left, a Japanese production, with fiddler atop a Japanese house; at right, “Fiddler” in India.

reviews, and run maybe for a year or two,” he said. The two men worked separately — Mr. Bock on the music, Mr. Harnick on the lyr- ics — and then they’d get together in Mr. Bock’s basement studio in his house in New Rochelle. Meanwhile, Joseph Stein

was somewhere else, writing the book. “When we’d finish a song, we’d call his wife, Patty, to come down so we could get her reaction. We played ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ for her. I know from experience that when I sing I don’t like looking at the person I’m singing to, so I looked away, and when I

looked at her face she was crying. “I said, ‘Is the song that bad?’ and she said ‘No. It’s very touching.’” The same thing happened when he played it for his sister, “and then I thought ‘Wow. This must be special.’” The first song the two men wrote for

“Fiddler” was the dream song, which was based directly on Sholom Aleichem’s story; that was for a scene that they knew would have to stay in the show because it was integral to the plot. “If I Were a Rich Man” also was drawn from the stories. “There are sentences in various stories

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24 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

Cover Story

Cover Story Zalmen Mlotek Sheldon Harnick where Tevye talks about wishing he were rich, and I

Zalmen Mlotek

Cover Story Zalmen Mlotek Sheldon Harnick where Tevye talks about wishing he were rich, and I

Sheldon Harnick

where Tevye talks about wishing he were rich, and I was able to use them. Some of his work lent itself to lyrics; for other songs I had to rely more on my own imagi- nation,” he said. Asked about the first Tevye, the mythic one, the extraordinary and inimitable Zero Mostel, Mr. Harnick paused and sighed. “Zero was … difficult,” he said.

“He was so imaginative, so creative, that he tended to improvise on stage, rather than doing exactly what the director had asked him to do. “Sometimes that was fine, and some- times it was funny, and sometimes it led to problems. Sometimes an actor would deliver a line to him, and turn around — and he wasn’t there.”

The play’s first tryouts were in Detroit. “Jerry Robbins had staged ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ so that Zero had a canister of milk with him — he was, after all, a dairyman — and at one point he raises his hands to heaven, and then, when he puts his arms down, by accident he puts one of them in the can. When he takes it out, it’s all wet, and he is just supposed to wring it out, and to look to God as if to say ‘This too you have to do to me?’ “By the third day, the song was 10 min- utes longer. Zero used it as a way to show all the things that you could possibly do with that bit. He would use it as perfume behind his ears. He would use it to grease the wheels of his cart. He milked it. “And then, on the third day, he sighs, he raises his hands to heaven, he lowers his arm into the can — and then he is in shock, because there was nothing in the can, and his arm was dry. Robbins had to do that to get him to stop. He could endure no criticism, no matter how gently put, “but no matter what he did, audiences adored him.” Some time before “Fiddler,” Mr. Mostel

had been run over by a bus. “They took him to a hospital and he was conscious, and heard them say that they would have to amputate his leg,” Mr. Harnick said. “He begged them not to do it. He said that he was a performer, and he would be lost without it. They did save it, but after about seven months in ‘Fiddler,’ we got a letter from his doctor that said he can’t do seven performances a week, and asking if he could be in for three months and then out for three.” Of course, that was impossible. No one would go to see a “Fiddler” headlined half of the time by Zero Mostel during the half of the time when Tevye would be somewhere else. So Mr. Mostel went out with the first national road company, where he could rest more and put less stress on his leg. “Zero was sure that the grosses would fall after he left, but they didn’t,” Mr. Harnick said. He was replaced by Luther Adler, of the famous Yiddish stage Adlers, whom Mr. Harnick liked, and then by the man the lyricist considers to have been possibly the best of a stellar group of

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Cover Story

Tevyes, Herschel Bernardi. Mr. Harnick is more interested in the show’s universality than its Jewishness, but he is fascinated by the way other cultures find their own specificity in it. It once ran simulta- neously in London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Helsinki, and he saw all four of those performances. “When we got to Finland, we saw that they had left out some of Tevye’s monologues” — the particularly Jewish ones — “so we asked.” The answer? “‘Well, you must realize that there are very few Jews in Finland. Maybe 4,000. So there is nothing Jewish

about the show that appeals to Finns. But what does appeal to us is that this is a small country next to a large country — the Russian bear. Russia is our problem.’” “They had cast a 6’5” actor as the constable, and when he walked out on stage, that was Mother Russia walking,” Mr. Harnick said. “So the show had a lot to say to the Finns — but not particularly about Jews.” Moishe Rosenfeld, the president of Golden Land Concerts and Connections, is producing “Raising the Roof,” as he has produced many other Folksbiene performances.

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“It’s going to be a beautiful night,” he said. He places “Fiddler in the Roof” in the context of the world out of which it grew. “It’s about the east- ern European experience,” he said. “It’s not just about Yiddish culture, although that is central to us at the Folksbiene. It is also about the life, the ethics, the rela- tionships with the neighbors, the thousands of years of diaspora that Jews live through, that is so central to who we are as Jews and as people. “Nothing else before, no piece of art, had brought that to the whole world as ‘Fiddler’ does. “Yes, there is Chagall,” he added. “But that’s why ‘Fiddler’ included Chagall.” (The musical’s title is taken from a painting by Marc Chagall that shows a violin player precariously keeping his footing on a roof as he plays his instrument; it’s all about balance, as always both particular and universal.) “It’s a major part of the modern American Jewish experience,” he continued. “Nothing else that was pre- sented artistically ever captured such a tremendous part of the American Jewish consciousness. It was ubiquitous when it was on Broadway, and the film, and all the revivals! Whenever it travels, it sells out. “Tevye was a wise working man who struggles with good and evil, who struggles with choices and struggles with love versus tradition.” As it was then, so is it now. Joanne Merlin was the first Tzeitel, the oldest daughter. “‘Fiddler’ was very meaningful to me, because my parents both were born in Russia,” she said. “My mother came over here as a baby, but my father was born in a shtetl, and my grandparents had lived there all their lives.” Of the actors in the original production, “only Tevye and Lazar Wolf and I were Jewish,” she said. “The rabbi and the innkeeper were too, and a lot of the smaller parts, but I think it’s important for people to know that. “These are actors. Hamlet is very rarely played by a Dane. “Jerry Robbins was very fastidious about teaching us

‘Fiddler’ catches some of the prominent concerns of the mid-1960s — the rising civil- rights
‘Fiddler’ catches some of the prominent concerns of the mid-1960s — the rising civil- rights

‘Fiddler’ catches some of the prominent concerns of the mid-1960s — the rising civil- rights movement, what tolerance is, what bigotry and prejudice are.

ALISA SOLOMON

26 Jewish standard MaY 16, 2014

Cover Story

Cover Story Boris Aronson, a Tony-winning scenic designer, created this view of Anatevka. all the history

Boris Aronson, a Tony-winning scenic designer, created this view of Anatevka.

all the history of the Jews in Russia, we went to an Ortho- dox wedding, and he brought in all kinds of resource material,” Ms. Merlin continued. “The dancing was based on authentic chasidic dancing. “When we opened in Detroit, we thought that once the Jewish audience all has seen the show, it will close. We had no idea of the universality of the piece. But it’s played in 28 languages, all over the world, and for a long time it was the longest-running show on Broadway.” Mr. Robbins had pursued Ms. Merlin — who at the time did not realize how well she could sing — for “Fiddler,” and later he uncovered her nascent talent as a casting director. That happened because Ms. Merlin, then the mother of two young children, was about to leave the show, and suggested her own understudy as a perma- nent replacement although the casting director did not think it was a good idea. Ms. Merlin prevailed, and her understudy got the part. Who was that understudy? Bette Midler. Erik Liberman is a co-director of “Raising the Roof.” He had toured with the show before making his Broad- way debut in “Love Music,” and when he was asked to be in the gala evening, “I had so many ideas about what could possibly make this evening incredibly memorable and historic that they asked me if I could come aboard as one of the creators,” he said. “We decided that we wanted it to be the largest reunion possible for the people who created these roles, so we went on a major investigative hunt for them. We found people who are retired, or in their 90s; we found everyone who is alive and well and kicking. Some of them made their Broadway debuts as little children and some in their 40s. “We are creating this as a testament to the timeless and ongoing nature of this show. It is a gift that keeps

on giving.” Mr. Liberman said that before he first was in “Fiddler,” in 2009, “I hadn’t even seen the show. I was the only person alive who hadn’t seen it. “I remember my grandparents telling me about escap- ing the pogroms, but I didn’t understand. It wasn’t until they had passed and I did the show that I felt that I could truly honor their memory. “The gift that the show gave me was the chance to understand myself as a link in a chain.” He is excited about the guest performers, who include Topol, “who hasn’t been back on a New York stage in 24 years,” Jerry Zaks, and Andrea Martin, along with many others. “We are reuniting three trios of sis- ters — from the Broadway run, the film, and the 1981 Lincoln Center revival,” he said. “There will be three Motels and five Yentas. “We have been collecting anecdotes from all of them,” he continued. “We are releasing them as part of our social media campaign.” That campaign will be on Facebook at folksbiene and on Twitter as @folksbiene. “When Hal Prince,” the original producer, another huge Broadway name, “didn’t think the show would do well, because it hadn’t been lifted to that universal level, he said that the only person who could do it was Jerry Robbins,” Mr. Liberman said. “Jerry kept asking Joe Stein and Jerry Bock and Shel- don Harnick, for months, what the story is about. They kept saying it’s about a milkman. They were going for plot rather than thesis. “And then one of them finally broke through, and he said that it was about the dissolution of a way of life. And then Jerry rendered it into something that anyone could identify with. That was his gift.”

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Opinion

A fearsome test for French Jews

Ben Cohen

F rance has a rich Jewish history and a vibrant Jewish community of approximately 500,000 souls. At the same time, France is a country where

anti-Semitism has deep, seemingly immutable roots.

Modern Zionism evolved partly as a reaction to the Dreyfus trial at the end of the 19th century, while in the middle of the 20th around 90,000 Jews were murdered during the Nazi Holocaust. In our own time, France has provided fertile ground for Holocaust deniers, known in local parlance as “nega- tionistes.” During the last 10 years, we have witnessed

a horrifying hate crime involving the kidnapping and

murder of a young Jew, Ilan Halimi, an Islamist terror attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse that claimed the

lives of three children and a rabbi, and a burgeoning anti-Semitic social movement that takes as its symbol an inverted Nazi salute known as the “quenelle.” Small wonder, then, that French Jewish leaders are continually asked whether their community has a future

in the long-term. Nonethe-

less, it is a question — as I discovered when I met with

a delegation from CRIF,

Ben Cohen

Ben Cohen

the representative body of French Jewry, in New York this week — that the leaders answer with patience and

good grace. At the head of the delegation is Roger Cukierman, the elder statesman of French Jews, who first was elected

as CRIF’s president in 2001. Sitting in the offices of the

World Jewish Congress, where he also serves as a vice president, Mr. Cukierman was candid about the pro- found problems the community faces, while empha- sizing its extraordinary durability. “There have been Jews in France for the last 2,000 years,” he said, listing Rashi, the great 11th-century rabbi and Marcel Proust,

the 20th-century novelist. Even as he acknowledged the many instances of anti-Semitic persecution through the ages, Mr. Cukierman noted simply and proudly, “We are still here. And we are not the only country where anti- Semitism is developing. It may develop in America also.” Still, there is a genuine urgency about the situation in France. A recent survey of global anti-Semitism issued by Tel Aviv University reported 110 violent attacks on French Jews in 2013, the highest single number for any country. More alarming is the fact that although Jews

make up just one percent of the French population, they are the target of 40 percent of racist assaults in the coun- try. It isn’t surprising, then, that David Tibi, a Jewish leader in Paris, recently declared, “We no longer have

a place in France.” Mr. Cukierman is insistent that Jews do have a place

in France, adding that anti-Semitism emanates from

three distinct sources, rather than being a general phenomenon. First, there is the far right — and par- ticularly the National Front party — which traditionally has been the home of Holocaust deniers and Vichy-era apologists. Second, there is the far left, whose aggres- sive promotion of the BDS campaign against Israel “affects the comfort of living in France for Jews,” Mr. Cukierman said. Third, there are the “banlieues,” run-down suburbs that are home to many young

run-down suburbs that are home to many young Dieudonné M’bala M’bala is the French comedian who

Dieudonné M’bala M’bala is the French comedian who popularized the Nazi-style “quenelle” salute.

AxiS for PeACe viA WikimediA CommonS

disaffected Muslims, who frequently are responsible for violent anti-Semitic acts. Any mention of the banlieues inevitably leads to a discussion of Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the notorious comedian whose attempts at humor often are little more than crude Jew-baiting antics. It was Dieudonne who popularized the quenelle, the anti-Semitic gesture that became internationally known when it was performed by the French soccer star Nicholas Anelka, a friend of Dieudonne’s, during a match in England. Among the many challenges in responding to Dieudonne is his appeal to young people in France, many of whom are attracted by his anti-establishment stance, his hatred of Israel, and his mockery of the Holocaust. So brazen is Dieudonne that he recently suggested to Ilan Halimi’s mother, Ruth, that the two of them embrace the idea of “reconciliation” — this in spite of the fact that Dieudonne has openly defended one of the murderers of her son. Ruth Halimi, of course, rejected Dieudonne’s overtures, but his general appeal remains strong. Using conventional methods, like anti- discrimination legislation, to counter him merely boosts his reputation. Dieudonne, Mr. Cukierman said, brings together the “extreme right with the black and Muslim population.” How to reverse this trend is an especially knotty ques- tion. Yonathan Arfi, a young CRIF leader traveling with Mr. Cukierman, observed that European Jews histori- cally have adopted a so-called vertical approach to anti- Semitism, pushing for government agencies to address the problem. But nowadays, Mr. Arfi said, the approach is becoming more horizontal, engaging and dealing directly with the twists and turns of public attitudes to Jews, their religion, their culture, and their political loyalties. France, in that sense, increasingly seems like a lab- oratory for both contemporary anti-Semitism and our response to it. I left my conversation with the CRIF del- egation with two abiding impressions: that the Jewish presence in France will be sustained, and that, as the young leaders accompanying Mr. Cukierman proved, there is no shortage of fine minds to take the community forward. How they manage the persistence of French anti-Semitism, however, will be the most fearsome test they face.

JnS.org

Ben Cohen, JNS.org’s Shillman analyst, writes on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics. His work has been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Haaretz, Jewish Ideas Daily, and many other publications.

A supplement to The Jewish Standard and Rockland Jewish Standard SPRING 2014
A supplement to The Jewish Standard
and Rockland Jewish Standard
SPRING 2014
SPRING 2014EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS S-2 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard N Y C ’ S
SPRING 2014EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS
S-2 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard
N Y C ’ S
U L T I M A T E
M I T Z V A H
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Active events engage celebrants from karts to hoops

HEIdI MAE Bratt

W hen Ari Orski was planning a recent holiday office party for his colleagues at the Secaucus branch of Ernst & Young, he envisioned having the soiree at

a venue with a little more pizzazz than the usual catering hall or restaurant. Not only did he get pizzazz. He got out of the rat race – at least for the duration of the party – and into another kind of race when he decided to hold the holiday bash at Pole Position Raceway, a go-karting wonderland in Jersey City where would-be racers, both young and old, come in to start their adrena- line engines. There were 150 Ernst & Young employees, men and women, 25 to 60 years old, big boss-

es alongside the support staff at that holiday party. “It was just great,” says Orski. “We got to show our competitive spirit when we raced and then socialized afterward with food and drink. People were just thrilled.” Likewise when Vito Brunetti of Hawthorne threw a surprise birthday bash for his buddy Edward Villerosa, he also chose Pole Position

Raceway. “It was unique party and a great expe- rience,” says Brunetti, 38, whose guest list included 40 people, who finished four races in the course of the party. More and more celebrations and events are being held at sporting venues that offer something physically challenging or a sports diversion for guests. From go-kart racing to trampoline bounc- ing to playing ping pong to dunking a basket- ball in the middle of a restaurant, these sports and entertainment venues are hosting more life cycle events, such as bar and bat mitz- vahs, anniversary parties, birthday bashes, in addition to events for corporate team build- ing, company parties, new product launches, or family reunions. These days, people are looking for unique party experiences, something that is multi- tiered, an interactive good time. “They’ve done the bowling alleys and they’ve done the golf courses,” says Karen Davis-Farage, who owns Pole Position Race- way, which is housed in an 80,000 square-foot former pharmaceutical warehouse, with her

S-4 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard

SPRING 2014EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS

Jewish Standard SPRING 2014 E VENTS & CELEBRATIONS Dining room with 42 sports screens and open

Dining room with 42 sports screens and open free-throw basketball court at Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine, NYC.

Israeli-born husband, Eyal. “Here we offer people something that they’ve never done before. The racing is high-performance fun. It’s clean. It’s green. It’s safe. It’s high-tech and very cool- looking.” Bounce! Trampoline Sports in Valley Cottage, N.Y., is a popular destination for school groups and parties and fun-seeking individuals, but it has also hosted cor- porate team-building parties and other events for such companies as Merck and other businesses such as the Waldorf-Astoria, says Michael Gross, a managing partner of Bounce!, which opened in Rockland County about two and a half years ago. At these events guests get to jump on the giant trampolines – no skill necessary – or play a sweat- inducing game of trampoline dodge ball or slam- dunk basketball. Plenty of party rooms at Bounce! are equipped to handle the after-the-activity-meeting when folks are ready to have a bite and get down to business. “It helps to give them a real spirit of fun outside of the workplace and really builds camaraderie,” says Gross. “Besides,” he adds with laugh, “where else do you get to throw a dodge ball at the boss?” Some venues, like West Rock Indoor Sports & Enter- tainment Complex in Nanuet, N.Y., can mix sports and fun, and help create fantasies. The venue boasts over 100,000 square feet of space, which can be tailored to feel like an intimate environ- ment or vast hot spot, and includes two full-sized basketball courts and 25,000 square feet of turf fields, in addition to a lounge with 12,000 square feet, says James Miller, the owner of West Rock Indoor Sports & Entertainment Complex. When Dr. Richard Goldstein of Woodcliff Lake was

Complex. When Dr. Richard Goldstein of Woodcliff Lake was Slam dunk basketball at Bounce! Valley Cottage,
Complex. When Dr. Richard Goldstein of Woodcliff Lake was Slam dunk basketball at Bounce! Valley Cottage,
Complex. When Dr. Richard Goldstein of Woodcliff Lake was Slam dunk basketball at Bounce! Valley Cottage,

Slam dunk basketball at Bounce! Valley Cottage, NY

also makes it a very centrally located spot for business clients and corporate guests to gather for anything from an informal happy hour gathering to a more offi- cial networking event, says Rinderer. Closer to home, the Jewish Center of Teaneck is also raring to go with sports-themed parties that can be held in its refurbished facilities, including its redone pool and a brand new fitness center. The Jewish Center of Teaneck has been a magnet for an array of sports-like parties, which included a recent Ladies Night Out, in which some women rented the pool and had a local caterer bring in victuals. Also recently, a bat mitzvah turned into a physical fun time for the girls, who under the guidance of coun- selors had fun with hula-hoops and did double Dutch jump roping and other activities that appeal to tweens, says Rose Sigler, the administrator at the Jewish Center of Teaneck. Likewise, a few bar mitzvah parties have also used the gym for basketball, flag football, and other fun sports. In Mahwah, Down Town Sports is a great venue for parties such as bar and bat mitzvahs. With its two full-size basketball courts, boys especially into basket- ball can be out there shooting hoops like their sports heroes, says Adam Brown, manager of Down Town Sports. The space also has several other sports options, including volleyball and dodge ball and it is perfect for parties where guests want to do these sports.

making a bar mitzvah for his second son, Bennett, there was no question that he would go back to the venue in which he made his son Harry’s bar mitzvah. “It is a gigantic space,” says Goldstein, a podiatrist with a practice in midtown Manhattan. “With the right vision and the right people, you can create anything.” Anything is what they did create, says Goldstein. With the help of Miller’s team, the bar mitzvah for the Goldstein family included a “Napa Valley” garden party replete with a stone bar, a full-on New York City disco, and a lounge for all the youngsters to hang out and relax. On the other side of the Hudson River, spanning the entire stretch of 10th Avenue from 37th to 38th Streets in Manhattan, Clyde Frazier’s Wine & Dine, the eponymous high-end sports restaurant named for the former basketball great, is a natural place for team building, says its staff. The 10,000-square-foot restaurant, which serves new American cuisine, has a lounge section with an open basketball court, a long bar, and another dining area with an open kitchen. Throw in 42 screens that play sports from basketball to football and a famous owner, who stops by a few times a week to meet and greet his guests, and all this spells a great spot for cel- ebrations and events from corporate team building to parties for youngsters, says Sam Boudloche, catering sales manager for Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine. In an email from Walter “Clyde” Frazier, the former Knick says that his restaurant should top the list as a destination because of its “friendly atmosphere and positive vibes. We’re the only restaurant with a free throw court inside.” Also in Gotham, another restaurant, Slate, offers a space that is also a food and fun emporium, offering such diversions as billiards, foosball, and ping pong in a night club restaurant atmosphere, says Kyle Rinderer, events coordinator for Slate. Its location on W. 21st Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues near both Chelsea and Flatiron in Manhattan

Sixth Avenues near both Chelsea and Flatiron in Manhattan T h e n e w s

The new swimming pool at The Jewish Center of Teaneck

West Rock Indoor Sports & Entertainment Comlex, Bardonia, NY

Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-5

S-6 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard

SPRING 2014EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS

Food Glorious Food

Caterers make a big impact with small portions

HEIdI MAE Bratt

L ess is more?

When it comes to catering, yes.

Less of some things, more of

other things, say area caterers who

are doing their events and celebrations in a lighter, brighter, and more aestheti- cally pleasing way these days. The new wave of catering no lon- ger equals plated meals of heavy foods following a heavy-duty smorgasbord of chafing dishes brimming with such past favorites as Swedish meatballs and stuffed cabbage . The cuisine at affairs today is cre- atively and internationally inspired, with lots of small bites, tapas-type tasting, variety and choice galore, and movement, movement, movement. “People want to move around at a party. There’s an interactive flow, a lot of passing around, and a variety of food

stations,” says Elvira Grau, owner of Space in Englewood. “People just don’t want the boring chicken or fish dish anymore. People want variety.” In fact, says Yossi Abadi, owner of Pal- isadium in Fort Lee, even weddings are following the trend of more buffet-style dining rather than a sit-down, multi- course dinner. Les Friedman, a partner at Northern Valley Affairs at Temple Emanu-El in Closter, agrees. “It’s not like years ago with the large portions and big chafing dishes,” says Friedman. “It’s more tapas-style smor- gasbord done on individual small plates.” Even main courses are served buffet- style with a variety of stations. “People don’t want to stop and sit for their courses,” says Friedman.

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Dessert has also become a moving affair. Gone are the big dessert tables or the slab of cake served at each place setting in favor of a butler-style service where waiters pass around tapas-styled des- serts such as frozen cheesecake lolli- pops or cake pops. Of course, sushi is still a big favorite, and Chai Ko of Teaneck makes the most

of it, says Yamin Dayan, owner of Chai Ko. But even sushi is newfangled. Instead of sushi rolls, more people are asking for sushi cones, which come shaped in traditional seaweed wrap or in a colorful array of soy paper wrap. Mediterranean cuisine is also very popular, and Dayan has brought his

See FOOD page 8

colorful array of soy paper wrap. Mediterranean cuisine is also very popular, and Dayan has brought
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S-8 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard

SPRING 2014EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS

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www.BarMitzvahBouncer.com www.jstandard.com Food from page 6 Sushi is a centerpiece at Chai Ko of

Food

from page 6

www.BarMitzvahBouncer.com www.jstandard.com Food from page 6 Sushi is a centerpiece at Chai Ko of Teaneck. some

Sushi is a centerpiece at Chai Ko of Teaneck.

some foods that are healthfully pre- pared. Grilled vegetables, such as whole ears of corn, fennel, kohlrabi, and red onion are on the menu. People are even asking for wild salmon. Stations offering exciting varieties on favorites also are the rage, featuring

See FOOD page 10

gyro machine and grill to many outdoor events for grilled meats and shwarma. David Attias of Prime

Caterers in Englewood offers

a European and chic flare

to his innovative dishes. He serves fresh fish sushi, but also takes the Japanese favor-

ite to a new place by offering a sushi roll made with pastrami

or roast beef or Kobe beef.

“We want to be different and innovative,” says Attias. “We work a lot on our presen- tation as well as making sure the food is very fresh.” Pairings are big, too, says Noam Sokolow, director of catering of Rave, based in Englewood and New York City. For example, pairing

sliders with beer or a tuna taco with a margarita. Hearty retro dishes, like spaghetti and meat- balls, may still be seen on the menu, but now served as hors d’oeuvres, smaller and more elegantly. Deena Greenstein, of Deena Green- stein Events/Five Star Caterers, says people are also interested in a farm- to-table dining experience with whole-

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Jewish Standard, Jewish Community Jewish Standard, News, Rockland Rockland Jewish Jewish Standard Standard S-7 S-9

S-10 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard

SPRING 2014EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS

Food

from page 8

grilled chicken, sliders, pulled chicken, or barbecue. Also popular are desserts that resemble home-style favorites, such as apple cobbler or Rice Krispy treats, Greenstein says. Rebecca Martin, director of catering at Fairway, advises that if one doesn’t want to jump into the trend for the full menu, one ought to make at least part of the meal a memorable standout. “Have some exciting signature items, something outside of the box,” Martin says. “Instead of a plain salmon, do a black cod. Or, if you want to do salmon,

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do a kicked-up version like salmon with pistachio.” These days the diner also wants to know exactly what he or she is eating, says Bob Shorr, owner of Har- old’s Kosher Market in Paramus. “They come in and always ask what is inside the dish,” says Shorr, who adds that big sellers are vegeta- ble or faux chopped liver, made with mushroom, egg, or zucchini; Brussels spouts; salads with a light vinai- grette; and butternut squash and spinach. Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor, N.Y. is serving up

its elegant affairs at its Hudson Valley venue following

a multimillion dollar renovation. The venue is also fea-

turing a variety of food at its several stations, including

a wok station, pasta station, carving and more.

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Sokolow of Rave offers this advise to someone who is making an event. “Hire a professional,” he says. “Many people are try- ing to wear many hats these days, but they may not be certified professionals with experience and education. Having a professional is especially important when you are making a milestone event.”

important when you are making a milestone event.” Chic is in at Prime Caterers. Having an
important when you are making a milestone event.” Chic is in at Prime Caterers. Having an

Chic is in at Prime Caterers.

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9:30 am - 6 pm · Closed on Monday · www.m-fashions.com

2013 R C E H ADER OI C E S’
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R C E H ADER
OI C E S’

FIRST PLACE

SPECIAL OCCASION

DRESS SHOP

Orchestrating your simcha Beverly Levitt W hile it’s a given that you want your special

Orchestrating your simcha

Beverly Levitt

W hile it’s a given that you want your special simcha to have spectacular food, beautiful decorations, and danceable

music, the best gift you can give your guests is adding a healthy dollop of fun into the mix. Lynn Buono, owner of Feast Your Eyes Catering in Philadelphia suggests interactive buffet tables where guests can pick, choose, season, spice, and drizzle ingredients to customize their courses. The goal is that guests of all ages have endless possibilities and instead of glancing askance at the same old buffet lineup of prosaic pieces of chicken and poached salmon waiting to be speared and plopped on to a plate, they can pick and choose from exciting entrées and then accessorize, spice up, or sauce down, and create a plate as colorful, original, or conservative as they desire. Take these interactive dishes influ-

enced by the French:

For a lovely beginning to a dairy meal, picture a steaming tureen of roasted tomato soup surrounded by copper containers of fresh herbs such as winter savory, thyme, basil, rosemary, or tarragon and edible fresh or dried flowers including lavender, nastur- tiums, and calendula. Add to that two Provencal sauces — rouille (a melange of olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron, and chili peppers) and a spicy roasted eggplant puree. For the dénouement,

a dollop of crème fraiche nestled in a

bowl of Provencal pottery and a marble slab of aged cheese, including a proper knife or grater and dishes of Dijon mus- tard and coarse French salt. For an unforgettable final ending,

a colorful dessert table with platters

of empty puff pastry shells and col- orful containers of fresh fruit fillings — raspberry, blackberry, apple, pear, plus those same luscious mixtures that

flavor tarte au citron and chocolate

mousse. Add crystal goblets of freshly whipped cream with a dash of Tahi- tian vanilla, a Limoges dessert plate of Valrhona chocolate pearls, and any- thing else that strikes your fancy so that guests can individualize their own French tarts. For a bit of savory, a cheese cart, filled with favorite soft French chees- es at room temperature and sitting on wooden cutting boards or marble slabs, with a serving knife for each variety. Fill rustic baskets with breads, crackers, fruits, and nuts. We love clus- ters of plump green, purple, red, and black grapes firmly attached to their stems; a lazy Susan of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blue- berries; apple and pear slices; walnuts, almonds, and pecans; and green and black olives. And for that pièce de résis- tance, a crystal bowl filled with fine chocolate truffles. That display of goodies can be an ice- breaker with the heretofore unknown person standing in front of you. Here are some practical party-giving pointers.

Get OrGanized

If there’s a first word of successful party giving it’s “lists.” “Organization doesn’t come easy, so when I plan any party my mantra is lists, lists, and more lists,” says Buono. “Make one for every aspect of the party — including a timeline of what to do when — and check it off as each task is accomplished.”

theme the Party

Buono emphasizes that a party should have a certain feel. Instill a sense of sur- prise and cohesion by choosing a theme that you can have fun with and then be consistent from the décor to the des- sert. And that carries over to the flow- ers and the colors you’re going to use for the dishes and linens. Even the bar should accent the menu. Since the style of Provence is casual yet elegant it seemed the perfect tem-

Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-11 Affordable Elegance
Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-11
Affordable Elegance

Have your special event at the Jewish Center of Teaneck where families have celebrated for over 80 years.

Two beautifully appointed ballrooms with a capacity of 50 to 500 people, serviced by your choice of a wide variety of the nest kosher caterers. For something different, there’s also a gym and pool. All amenities you would expect from a ne catering establishment, but in a synagogue.

The Jewish Center provides fun gym and swim parties for all occasions.

The Jewish Center provides fun gym and swim parties for all occasions.

Center provides fun gym and swim parties for all occasions. Celebrate a birthday, Bar or Bat
Center provides fun gym and swim parties for all occasions. Celebrate a birthday, Bar or Bat

Celebrate a birthday, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, graduation or any other special event with a memorable and unique party. Parties take place in the JCT full-sized sports/basketball court or heated, indoor pool and private party room.

party. Parties take place in the JCT full-sized sports/basketball court or heated, indoor pool and private

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Conveniently located just 3 miles west of the George Washington Bridge Rabbi Lawrence S. Zierler · Sandy Hausler, President · Rose Sigler, Administrator

S-12 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard

SPRING 2014EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS

d,

al,

st

plate for a new way of entertaining in the 21st century.

the invitatiOns

From the first announcement of your event, guests get a glimpse of what to expect. If Provence is your theme, design invitations with a Provencal palate of French blue, mustard yellow, burgundy, burnt orange, and hints of rust. Add the happiest flower in nature — the sunflower — or the most sophisticated, the stylized French lily. For a bit of whimsy, include the Gallic rooster.

dOn’t reach tOO hiGh with yOur menu

Balance the menu with spectacular, centerpiece dishes and less complicated recipes with fewer ingredients. Figure out what can be prepared in advance and what must be made that morning or at the last minute, whether by your caterer or in your kitchen.

what yOu’re drinkinG shOuld accentuate what yOu’re eatinG

Everyone has a favorite French wine, but cocktails are once again en vogue so, if you are doing a French bis- tro theme, for example, serve Kir Royale (Cassis and Champagne), French 75 (gin or cognac, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar), or two of my favorites, Aperi- tif d’Absinthe (Pernod licorice liqueur, wormwood extract, water, and sugar) or Dubonnet Rouge with a twist of lemon. Many cocktails can be made in pitch- ers, instead of mixing to order. Or consider a Cham-

pagne punch with floating fruit and dry ice. You’ll need to buy or rent a cut-glass punch bowl with a glass or plastic ladle.

Pace the Party & use a timeline

For the first hour put out an assortment of hors d’oeuvres, and set up the soup tureen (if soup’s on the menu) complete with a glass or plastic ladle and an assortment of tea cups. No need for soup spoons, but you’ll need serving spoons for your accoutrements. For this course guests aren’t bogged down by a heavy plate, which makes it easy to mingle. Observe the guests; if they look hungry and like they want to sit down, begin setting out the entrée. Add a nice touch to the party and a warm flow to the next course by making a toast — perhaps honor- ing your son, guests who have traveled far to get here, or saying something about the year so far, or even the season. After dizzying your guests on great Cham- pagne, it’s on to the main course. After 45 minutes or so you can start setting out the salad, then 30 minutes later, the dessert, the cheese (if a dairy meal), dessert wine, coffee, and tea.

traffic Patterns and seatinG arranGements

Create a comfortable traffic pattern, making sure guests are not waiting in a long line for their food. If your party and room are big enough, have two identi- cal tables of food. Organize them by how one would go through the line: first the china, silverware, napkins, then dishes

that go together, grouping the entrée and its accoutre- ments, making it easy to accessorize dinner plates. Even at a buffet, guests will want to sit down. If you don’t have enough chairs, consider renting. But you don’t have to have a seat for every guest. That’s the fun. There will always be guests who still want to mingle, whatever the course.

fOrkable is key

It’s fun to be portable — not bogged down by a heavy plate and unwieldy utensils. Some courses, such as the hors d’oeuvres, require no utensils, simply napkins and small plates. For the soup, guests will drink right from their cups. For the entrée and salad, simply a fork. And for the dessert and cheese course, rien.

rentinG is nO lOnGer a dirty wOrd

Paper and plastic or china and silver? Because we’re conserving on silverware, you might opt for thick, lovely paper plates and quality flatware. Since we’re being “forkable,” we’re not using much silver at all. But if you do want to use china, crystal, and beautiful linens, consider renting. It saves time with cleanup, and how sad it is to ruin that antique tablecloth of mom’s. This last New Year’s Day, my friend spilled sauce on mom’s favorite tablecloth. It cost $18 to launder — and the stains didn’t come out. Better put the antique cloth away. If, however, you have a crew in the kitchen and a helper clearing stray dishes and goblets of wine, thereby preventing disastrous spills, go for it.

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Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-13

Five sTar caTerers

Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-13 Five sTar caTerers The $59 wedding is back! New menu options
Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-13 Five sTar caTerers The $59 wedding is back! New menu options
Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-13 Five sTar caTerers The $59 wedding is back! New menu options
Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-13 Five sTar caTerers The $59 wedding is back! New menu options

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S-14 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard

SPRING 2014EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS

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hosting an afternoon tea party

Beverly Levitt

a n impending shidduch is just one

reason for sharing a cup of tea.

Sealing a business deal, having

a heart to heart with a long-lost

but newly found friend, celebrating your daughter’s engagement or naming her new baby, congratulating your son on his gradu- ation, wishing bon voyage for your daugh- ter on her first trip to Israel — the taking of tea has an intimacy and grace that a cup of coffee or even a flute of Champagne can only aspire to. During a mild early summer, an after- noon tea party (we are not talking politics) is a stress-less yet elegant way of entertain- ing for almost any simcha. Tea sandwiches are classic, easy to prepare, and best served cold or at room temperature. Desserts can be created at home or ordered from a near- by bakery. When sending out invitations to the party, don’t call it “high” as in “high tea” but rather “afternoon,” as in those long hungry hours between lunch and dinner. Although authentic high tea is still taken in Great Britain by hungry youngsters, theatergo-

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ers tiding themselves over until their late supper, or less affluent citizens who grab a hearty savory late in the day and forget dinner altogether, the popular tradition of mid-afternoon tea was inaugurated in the mid-19th century. As the story goes, when the duchess of Bedford served tea and “breadstuffs” to her friends at 4 p.m. because everyone was hungry and couldn’t wait until dinner, they enjoyed it so much it became a national ritual so delightful it turned into a party. Today, afternoon tea is so popular that the Ritz London’s Palm Court has a three-to-six-month waiting list, according to Executive Chef John Williams. There are five seatings, but his most popular is at 3 p.m. The master chef is a traditionalist for his afternoon tea menu and the elegant sandwiches have few, but very specific, ingredients. Cucumber sandwiches are a must, but served only with cream cheese and chives. Mustard cress is the star of its own sandwich, with a dollop of egg mayonnaise. The smoked salmon is always on sourdough, accented by butter, black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. His tuna is mixed with shallots, chives, and crème fraiche mayo. Desserts at the Palm Court range from fruit tarts to chocolate delice to a mango-topped sponge cake and

a thick buttery fruitcake. Chef Williams’ favorite teas are Darjeeling first flush, picked from the tiniest, most tender leaves, Earl Gray infused with bergamot, an infusion of Lemon Verbena, fresh mint tea, and South African Rooibos. It is definitely PC to follow the lead of afternoon tea experts for the party we’re about to orchestrate. We’ve offered slight variations to some of the petit layered sandwiches, but feel free to be creative and create your own favorites.

the tea

Tea connoisseurs describe its subtleties as they would

a prized glass of wine. The well-dressed tea table offers guests several varieties of tea.

• Darjeeling tea is considered the “Champagne” of

teas and is described with the same reverence as a fine

bottle of wine. It is considered a lighter afternoon tea, but the taste varies depending on the time of year the leaves are harvested.

• Lapsang Souchong or Tarry Souchong is a smoked

tea with the heady aroma of an oak fire. Delicious alone or with milk and honey.

Lemon Verbena is a smooth, citrus-flavored herbal

tea.

Moroccan Mint is made by taking fresh leaves and

branches of mint and infusing them with hot water and a little sugar or honey.

• Rooibos tea from South Africa is ruby red, smooth,

and comforting. Delicious with lemon or milk and honey.

• White Peony Tea is delicate, refined and filled with

healthful anti-oxidants. White tea is the new green.

• Chai is basically black tea brewed with selected spices and milk.

buyinG tea

Try to find small-farm teas that are hand-picked and not machine-processed. Buying tea in bulk rather than in a package usually yields fresher, higher quality tea.

Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-15

brewinG the Perfect POt Of tea

1. Choose a good teapot — clay, porcelain, or silver.

Fill pot with hot water to warm it, and then discard the

water.

2. Start with great-tasting cold water, such as spring

or filtered. Do not overboil — this depletes the oxygen

and tea will taste flat.

3. Add one heaping teaspoon of loose tea per six-

ounce cup. For stronger tea add one extra teaspoon for the pot. Brewing teas loose rather than in a tea ball or, heaven forbid, a bag, allows the leaves to open fully and release their flavor.

4. For black tea, as soon as water comes to rolling

boil, turn off heat, wait 10 seconds, and then pour into the teapot. Stir the tea; cover and let it steep for three to five minutes. When brewing red, white, or green teas, or fresh mint tea, water should be well below boiling. Steep for five to eight minutes.

6. Until you are familiar with a particular tea, take

a sip after a few minutes. Pay attention to taste rather

than color. When you like the flavor, place a fine strain- er over a cup and pour your tea through it. You should have a perfect cup of tea.

the tea sandwich

Some hints from a party planner extraordinaire in “Effortless Entertaining with Colin Cowie”:

Tea sandwiches are diminutive and delicate. It takes only one or two bites to finish one, so each piece must be flavorful and distinctive.

The bread should be very thin. You can ask your bakery to cut it horizontally instead of vertically or buy

a loaf of unsliced bread and slice it yourself. Or you can use a rolling pin to flatten it. For most of the sandwiches you can use a spread made of equal parts of softened butter and cream cheese, white pepper, and a dash of Tabasco.

the table

Since most afternoon tea parties are not sit-down affairs but encourage guests to mingle and graze, the tables should not only be gracious and inviting but carefully organized. Amid the lovely linens and sump- tuous spring flowers, create a tea area with all the accoutrements, a sandwich section with accompany- ing napkins and plates, and a tray of desserts. There are lovely three-tiered platters available that are per- fect for a tea party. Guests pick up a lightweight plate that they will fill with bite-size sandwiches and sweets. Utensils are not usually offered, as guests will be walking around nib- bling from their petit plate of treasures and taking a sip of tea. In my grandmother’s china closet, I found kidney-

of tea. In my grandmother’s china closet, I found kidney- shaped Depression glass plates with an

shaped Depression glass plates with an indentation for the tea cups. These are perfect for a garden party, as everything can be placed on one plate. Since tea parties are becoming a popular way of entertaining, expect some resourceful manufacturer to bring them back. If you’re not lucky enough to have a set in the family or to find them at a nearby antique store, select dishes,

cups, and glasses that are lightweight and lend them- selves to being carried around. Dress the table with a variety of linens and laces, flowers, and your most beautiful silver, crystal, and china. It’s a lovely touch to offer sherry, port or Champagne with the tea. I could also suggest a small pot of coffee but that would be missing the point entirely.

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S-16 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard
S-16 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard

SPRING 2014EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS

choosing a caterer

Joan G. Friedman

i n “The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Choos- ing a Caterer” (Penguin), authors Phyllis Cambria and Patty Sachs

provide recipes for success. Here are

some pointers culled from the book:

• Attend other parties and speak to

the hosts afterward. Did all go as they

planned? Were they completely happy with their caterer? How did you find the caterer at that event? Were you

impressed? Your rabbi will also be able to advise you about a number of cater- ers.

• Questions to ask prospective cater-

ers include: How long have you been in business? What is your specialty? Can you accommodate menu adjust- ments for special dietary requirements, themed menus, or family recipes? What types of food and beverages can you provide on my budget? Do you cook from scratch or do you prepare dishes elsewhere and bring them in? Do you use fresh or frozen food? How is the food transported? How soon before the event will the food be delivered? What is the minimum amount of guests you will work with and when do I have to give you a final head count? May I have contact information for

your last six clients and also customers who had a similar event to mine in the last year? Included in the book are:

• expert tips on negotiating a good

deal for your catered event;

• tasteful advice on planning a menu

your guests will love;

• helpful tips on how to get your money’s worth;

• Information about guarantees, refunds, and gratuities;

• and straightforward advice on

everything from checking references to signing the catering contract and han- dling legal and insurance issues. You’ll read that “Success Starts with the Right Ingredients” and “All About Food and Drinks,” as well as “Finding a Caterer” with references, “Getting Up Close and Personal with the Caterer,” and “Meeting the Whole Team.” The authors say that there are two times you will want to see your pro- posed caterer in action. One is just before an event. The other is when the party is in progress. You will want to meet every key person, do a thorough kitchen inspection for hygiene and potential safety issues, and attend a pre-event wait-staff meeting to evaluate your catering manager’s performance. Dressed properly, in order to appraise their performance, you will also want to stop in to an event where the group is working. You’ll learn about party themes, add- ing your personal touches, and equip- ment. In selecting the perfect menu, you will want to pass your guests’ needs on to the caterer. Evaluating proposals and discuss- ing costs and contracts are an impor- tant part of your affair, and this book will help you every step of the way. An important addition to the rest of your plans, it is available in your local book- store or online at www.idiotsguides. com.

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Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-17

Celebrate like a king at medieval times

Kosher meals available for joust watchers

m ost children only know of knights and princesses through stories. Adults experi- ence action by sitting on the couch watch- ing Game of Thrones or Vikings. Using your

imagination is encouraged but why not give your mind a little food for thought to help it grow. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Lyndhurst, N.J., gives you the opportunity to take a journey to the middle ages. Surrender to an age of bravery and honor and wit- ness epic battles of steel and steed. From ringside seats, discover a feast of the eyes and appetite with more action, more fun, and more excitement than ever before! As you witness live jousting tournaments and marvel at awe-inspiring horsemanship and falconry, Medieval Times serves a four-course meal fit for roy- alty. In this mystical place, little girls become princesses and children can get knighted by the king himself! Adults can enjoy an entertaining night out with friends and family. Souvenirs are in abundance and a bar is available for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and slushies. Time to party! Have a birthday, special occasion, corporate event, school trip or just a friendly group outing? Medieval Times is still the perfect place for you! Special pricing for groups of 15 or more is offered. Upgrade packages that include special seating, pho- tos with the king or princess, banners, programs, and behind-the-scene DVD’s are available as well. Need a place for a business or personal party? Ask about our venue rental. Renting a castle? How cool is that! For those who keep kosher, there are two options. One kosher meal is already included in the ticket price. This consists of a chicken leg with gravy, roasted pota- toes, and green beans almondine for your meal and Italian ice for dessert. A more extensive meal can be requested, and Medieval Times will bring it in from The Kosher Experience in Teaneck. It consists of toma- to bisque soup, garlic bread, oven-roasted chicken, herb-basted potato, spare rib, fresh fruit or lemon ice. This meal is glatt kosher and is under the supervi-

ice. This meal is glatt kosher and is under the supervi- sion of the Rabbinical Council

sion of the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County. Two rounds of Pepsi, iced tea, or water as well as coffee or tea will be served during the show with either kosher meal option. Both kosher meals must be ordered ahead of time so please make sure to mention which one you’d like when you make your reservation. Fun for the family? Sure! But it’s also a fantastic

place to gather with a group of friends to let loose for an adventurous time! A little competition goes a long way. Wear your color crown proudly and cheer on your knight as he shows his skill and heads into battle! Take a deep breath, don’t blink because the show is about to begin. For more details or to make your reservation go to medievaltimes.com or call 1-888-WE-JOUST (935-

6878).

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S-18 Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard

SPRING 2014EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS

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www.jstandard.com

the beautiful

Banias

Whether you’re going to Israel for a honeymoon or a bar mitzvah celebration, it’s worth a trip to the Golan Heights

ABIGAIL KLein LeiChman

t he first thing you need to know about

the Hermon-Banias Nature Reserve in

the Golan Heights is that you will be

tempted to dive into the crystal rushing

is that you will be tempted to dive into the crystal rushing The Banias spring rushes

The Banias spring rushes though a canyon-like channel toward the highest

springs or at least stick your feet in the cool

waters. However, access to the Hermon Stream has been strictly forbidden since the early 1990s, in order to preserve the delicate ecology. That comes as a surprise to people who visited the site in the years after Israel took control of it from Syria in 1967, says licensed tour guide Josh Even-Chen. “Often when I take repeat visitors there, they expect to go swimming, which you could do in the 1970s and 1980s,” says Even-Chen, who has been to Banias (also

waterfall in Israel.

Yossi Zamir/Flash 90

spelled “Banyas”) multiple times. And you will want to go back more than once, even if you can’t dip your toe in the stream. Banias is one of the most beautiful – and therefore one of the most- visited – of Israel’s 14 nature reserves.

named FOr the GOd Pan

The Banias Spring comes out of the foot of Mount Hermon and flows through a canyon leading to the

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Jewish Standard, Rockland Jewish Standard S-19

30-foot Banias Waterfall (Mapal in Hebrew), the lon- gest such cascade in Israel. The Hermon Stream meets the Dan River farther along, and together they feed the Jordan River. In ancient times, the spring gushed from a cave in the limestone bedrock down into the valley and into the Hula marshes. You can still see the cave, though the water in modern times seeps from the bedrock below it. The site was originally named “Panias” after the Greek god Pan. There are remains of a temple, court- yards, a grotto and niches for rituals dedicated to the worship of Pan, dating to the beginning of the Com- mon Era. Since there is no “p” sound in Arabic and the region was long under Syrian rule, the village that grew up around the spring came to be called Banias. “The time period most famous here is the Roman one, because it was the most prosperous,” Even-Chen says. “On the site was a very large complex of build- ings focused on the worship of the god Pan of the wild. From the god Pan, we get the word ‘panic,’ referring to something popping up in the wild.”

the ‘natUre’ Side OF the reServe

You can enter Banias from two separate locations, each with its own ticket booth and each popular for different groups.

If the waterfall is your main destination, Even-Chen

suggests entering the reserve from Kiryat Shmona on the west side, known as the Falls entrance. “There are multiple trails through the entire park,

and the shortest takes 10 or 15 minutes in each direc- tion, leading to the impressive waterfall,” he says. “It’s flowing all year round, but there is more water in the winter since it’s fed from snow melting on Mount Her- mon.”

A few years ago, the Israeli Nature and Parks Author-

ity built a suspended circular walkway across the gorge. “You’re walking on the vertical cliff halfway from the top of the cliff and riverbed, and it’s really cool,” says Even-Chen. “That has opened a view of the Banias

that was never visible before.” The walkway takes just over an hour to complete. “I

highly recommended it for families, but you can’t take

a stroller so put your toddler in a back carrier,” he rec- ommends. Another trail runs along the riverbed from one side of the park to the other. You’ll need two cars to accom- plish this hike unless you want to walk two hours back to the parking lot where you started. “En route to the waterfall, you get to see — but not wade into — concrete pools built in the river by Syrian officers in the 1960s,” says Even-Chen. “The river at that point is fed by natural springs whose temperature

is warmer than the frigid waters of the river bed, and it

was a great place to swim.”

a Bit OF ChriStian hiStOrY