August 15 - 21, 2014/19 Av 5774
One Dollar
A Jewish police officer wins a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department
after years of being taunted with ugly slurs; and the University of Illinois hires,
then unhires, a renowned academic known for sending vicious anti-Israel tweets
Finding meaning in
Rosh Hashanah services
Rabbi Kurtz on
virtues of humility
The importance of
Barack and Bibi
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
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Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
Jewish News
■ A Jewish school in Denmark informed parents that its pupils
are no longer allowed to wear religious symbols near school
grounds. The private Caroline School in Copenhagen informed
parents of the policy in a recent letter, the Jyllands-Posten daily
reported. The letter said it was not permissible for students of the
seventh through ninth grades to leave school premises if they are
wearing visible Jewish symbols. “If a boy wears a kippah, we will
ask him to put in a cap so it is no longer visible,” principal Jan
Hansen said. Hansen said the measures were part of his schools
“level of security, which is higher than in normal schools.” He
added: “Unfortunately, it is the consequence of being a Jewish institution, but it something that we and the students are used to.”
Hansen also said the move was “pure preventative.”
■ A French senator apologized for any misunderstandings connected to her praise for a campaign featuring fake pictures of Israeli leaders murdering Disney cartoon characters. N athalie
Goulet of the Union of Democrats and Independents party made
the endorsement on Twitter, reported, in posting on
her account the images of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bludgeoning a dying Pinocchio. Other pictures showed
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni stabbing Cinderella and former
Israeli President Shimon Peres choking Peter Pan. “Very powerful campaign against children mass murder,” Goulet wrote about
the pictures. Mehdi Thomas Allal, who heads the anti-discrimination department of the human rights group T erra Nova, accused Goulet of “presenting Jews as killers of children, echoing
many such caricatures in the perio d before World War II” in an
Op-Ed he wrote for the online edition of the Le Nouvel Obser vateur weekly.
■ A white supremacist convicted of killing four people in three
states – one because his name sounded Jewish – was sentenced to
two life sentences for two of the murders. David “Joey” Pedersen,
34, was sentenced in a federal court in Portland, Ore., for the
murder of Cody Myers of Lafayette, Ore., and Reginald Clark of
Eureka, Calif., to concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole. Pedersen already is serving life a life sentence in
prison in Washington State for the murders of his father and stepmother in Everett, W ash. He and his girlfriend, Holly Ann
Grigsby, 27, were arrested in October 2011 after a monthlong
killing spree that spanned California, W ashington and Oregon.
Grigsby reportedly told investigators that Myers, a Christian, was
killed because his name sounded Jewish. Grigsby reportedly told
police that she and Pedersen were on their way to “kill more Jews”
in Sacramento, Calif., when they were apprehended. The 24-page
indictment charged that Pedersen and Grigsby were members of
a criminal enterprise that aimed to promote a white supremacist
movement. The pair robbed their victims to finance the campaign, stole their cars to escape and murdered them to eliminate
witnesses and avoid capture. The enterprise, according to the indictment, also targeted Jewish leaders and members of prominent
Jewish organizations. Pedersen researched the names and addresses of Jewish organizations in Seattle, Portland and Sacramento to identify potential targets for elimination but never
followed through.
■ Germany’s most widely read daily newspaper , Bild Zeitung,
published the faces of the 64 Israeli soldiers killed in the current
conflict in Gaza.Together with short biographies of a few soldiers,
the images appeared in the paper under the headline “Israel’s War
Against the Hamas Terrorists: Faces of the fallen.” Among those
profiled are Benaya Sarel, 26, who was about to marry; newlywed
Liran Adir, 31; Eitan Barak, 20, the first Israeli soldier to die in
Operation Protective Edge; and Matan Gotlib, 21, an avid mountain climber who was about to finish his three years of military
service. Gotlib’s brother Omer, 31, told Bild that Matan was planning to travel the world, as many young Israelis do after completing their service. “Do you know any big brothers who look up
to their little brothers? I admired you,” he said. The report, by
Anne-Christine Merholz, describes the soldiers as “64 sons,
friends, husbands who will never return to their families. They
died for their homeland, fighting Hamas in Gaza.” Bild, which
has a circulation of at least 3.5 million, is published by the AxelSpringer company, which has a strongly pro-Israel editorial stand.
Its articles of association, which date back to 1967 and were most
recently updated in 2001, include a commitment to promote reconciliation between Jews and non-Jews in Germany and to support Israel’s right to exist.
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Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
How Obama and Netanyahu can make up
By Ron Kampeas
WASHIN GTON – President Obama and Israeli Prime
N etanyahu are not the best of
friends – that seems pretty clear
by now.
But following reports during
the Gaza conflict of cut-off
phone calls, tough talk of “demands“ and eavesdropping, it
may be time for them to figure
out a way back to steadier
And so we asked an array of
experts on the U.S.-Israel relationship what the two leaders
must do to restore a relationship
that both say is critical for their
Deus ex machina: A crisis
will bring us together
Aaron David Miller, a Middle East negotiator under Democratic and Republican presidents,
remembers the last such breach
between U.S. and Israeli leaders
– when George H.W. Bush was
president and Y itzhak Shamir
was prime minister – and it was
worse, he says. That is, until Iraq
invaded Kuwait in August 1990.
“The only thing that will improve the relationship is the
emergence of a joint project that
affords both of them the oppor tunity to get on the same page
and succeeds and makes them
look good,” said Miller , now a
vice president at the W ilson
Center. The first Persian Gulf
War and the subsequent Madrid
peace talks are ”what saved the
Bush-Shamir relationship.”
“You need a set circum stances that compels the United
States and Israel to operate in a
way that not just manages something but accomplishes something and makes them look
good,” Miller said. “That’s the
only thing that will do it – phone
calls and warm statements won’t
do it.”
Let’s talk big picture
Tamara Cofman W ittes,
who served as deputy assistant
secretary of state for Near East affairs in Obama’s first term and
now is director of the Center for
Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, says Netanyahu
and Obama should talk
not about the specific near-term
issues they face but about what
they want to get done and what
kind of legacies they wish to
“Both of these guys have a
clear sense of what they were put
there to do,” Wittes said. “Both
of them have a clear sense of
what they want to leave behind.
And I am confident that one of
the things both of them want to
leave behind is a strong and solid
U.S.-Israel relationship. That
The relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seen here after Obama's arrival in Israel, has been
marked by reports of tensions. (JTA)
broader, deeper conversation will
help them get past practical differences.”
Honey, we’ve both changed
since we were young and in love
Haim Malka, the deputy director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies, says
their big-picture talk should
focus on how America and Israel
each are changing.
“Young people in America
don’t have the same kind of perception of Israel as their parents
and grandparents – in part because they grew up at a time
when Israel has been a strong
military power. They don’t see
the same threat their parents
did,” said Malka, who in 2011
wrote a book about the future of
the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
The U.S. and Israel need a serious conversation about the relationship, the tension points in
the relationship and why it’ s
Martin Indyk, who until
June was the top U.S. Middle
East peace negotiator and is now
a Brookings Institution vice president, says the United States
must recognize Israel’s shifting alliances.
Israel, as opposed to past
crises in the relationship with
the United States, “is strong economically, strong militarily and
has a range of relationships
across the world with other pow-
ers beyond the United States,”
Indyk said at a Brookings event
on the Gaza war aftermath, citing India, China and Russia as
examples of Israel’s burgeoning
friendships. “They feel more independent of the United States
than they have in the past that
they can stand on their own two
“They also feel they have relationships in the Arab world
that they never had before,”
Indyk added, noting that Egypt
explicitly sided with Israel during
the recent Gaza war , and
Arabia and
several other Sunni-led countries
did so tacitly.
We need to talk about that
Both leaders also need to address third rails – like the $3 billion in defense assistance Israel
receives from the United
States, Malka said.
“There has to be an honest
discussion about the sustainability of U.S. military aid and about
how that affects the relationship,” he said. ”Does Israel want
to continue to be a dependent
country, or does it want to graduate to a different kind of status?”
Maybe we shouldn’t talk at
The solution for the animosity that N etanyahu and Obama have for one another is tokeep
them apart and have a fixer mediate, said Robert Danin, who spe-
cialized in the Middle East in
high-ranking positions in t he
George W. Bush administration
and assisted Tony Blair in his capacity as Middle East peace mediator.
“President Obama and
Prime Minister Netanyahu now
have over five years of accumulated baggage, so I don’t see how
they are going to reconcile,” said
Danin, now a senior fellow at the
Council on Foreign Relations.
“What appears to be sorely
lacking right now is a trusted and
discreet private channel between
the two leaders,” he said. “Y ou
need a trusted emissary who operates below the radar who can
go back and forth between the
White House and the Prime
Minister’s Office. This person
can quietly solve problems, clarify misunderstandings and serve
to manage the relationship.”
Maybe everyone should
just shut up
Stop the leaks is the advice
of Jonathan Schanzer, a vice
president at the Foundation for
Defense of Democracies.
“So much is flying back and
forth that does not make either
leader look competent and does
not make the relationship look
solid,” said Schanzer, who was a
terrorism finance analyst under
President George W. Bush.
“It makes very little sense to
me that this administration has
allowed for leaks given how tight
their communications are,” he
said. “From the Israeli side, we
know leaking is a contact sport.
Netanyahu needs to do a better
job of keeping his right flank in
Natan Sachs, a fellow at the
Brookings Center for Middle
East Policy who focuses on Israel,
said each side needs to better understand how leaks play out on
the other.
“In Israel, when a junior
minister criticizes the United
States, it’s understood he’s speaking for himself. In America, it’ s
assumed that the government
thinks that way,” he said. “Israelis
have to be much more careful in
the way they speak. The converse is that Americans need to
take it more with a grain of salt.”
Deal with Iran already
The Iranian nuclear program issue is deeply distorting
the relationship, Schanzer said.
Dealing with Iran’ s suspected
weapons program needs to come
to a head.
“Whatever tensions existed
during this latest round of violence with Hamas, tensions
would not have been as high
without the backdrop of Iran nuclear,” he said. “The fact that this
has gone on for years without
conclusion and the Israelis have
been told and told to wait, it’ s
pushed both sides to a place
where we do not want tensions
to be.”
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
Torah Portion
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Finding G-d in humility
Greatest people
are also usually
the most humble
By Rabbi Vernon Kurtz
Torah Columnist
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Torah Portion: Ekev
Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
Judaism extols the value of
anava – humility, as a positive
approach to life. Abraham
protests before G-d: “Here I venture to speak to my Lord, I, who
am but dust and ashes.” Moses,
the greatest of men in Jewish tradition, is described as the most
humble: “Now Moses was a very
humble man, more so than any
other man on earth.” According
to Louis Jacobs, “Greatness and
humility, in Hebraic tradition,
are not incompatible. They complement each other. The greater
the man, the more humble he is
expected to be and is likely to
We Jews are asked to emulate G-d and to imitate His actions. In our T orah reading of
this Shabbat, Moses informs the
Children of Israel: “For the Lord
your G-d is G-d supreme and
Lord supreme, the great, the
mighty, and the awesome G-d,
who shows no favor and takes no
bribe, but upholds the cause of
the fatherless and the widow, and
befriends the stranger, providing
him with foo d and clothing.”
The juxtaposition of these two
verses, the first about G-d’ s supremacy, the second about G-d’s
care for the poor, teaches us that
G-d, on the one hand, is all powerful, and on the other, tends to
those who live on the margins.
Based on this verse, Rabbi
Yochanan in the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Megillah 31a,
states: “Wherever you find the
greatness of the Holy One,
blessed be He, there you find His
humility.” He then goes on to
substantiate this concept by
quoting verses written in the
Torah, repeated in the Prophets,
and stated a third time in the
This passage found its way
into our service at the end of
Shabbat. In the quiet meditations read just before Havdalah,
we recite this passage. Its presence there is to remind us that as
we return to our weekly concerns, we should not be so caught
up in our own interests. W e
must emulate G-d not only with
our rest on Shabbat, but also by
our actions throughout the com-
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz
ing week.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
tells two stories of individuals
who made a great impression
upon him. One was John Major,
the British prime minister , and
the other was Prince Charles. He
writes that as chief rabbi in
Britain he and his wife were expected to hold dinner parties
with people both within and outside the Jewish community. Usually, at the end of the dinner
party, he found that the guests
would thank the hosts. Only
once, though, did the guest not
only thank the hosts, but also
asked to be allowed to go into
the kitchen to thank those who
made the meal. Rabbi Sacks felt
this was an act of great sensitivity. The person who did it was
John Major, then British prime
In 2001, on the 300th anniversary of Bevis Marks, the oldest synagogue in Britain, Prince
Charles came to the synagogue.
He met members of the community as well as leaders of AngloJewry. What impressed Rabbi
Sacks is that he spent as much
time talking to the young men
and women who were doing security duty as he did to the
guests. People recognize that
when royalty comes to visit, security must be tight and usually
these individuals are not noticed.
However, this time Prince
Charles did notice them and, according to Rabbi Sacks, made
them feel as important as anyone
else on that glittering occasion.
Greatness is shown in the
way one acts toward another
human being. When we recognize our gratitude to others, and
in turn to G-d, we understand
our place in the universe, exhibit
humility, and become better
human beings.
The first time G-d appears
to Moses is at the burning bush, a
thorn bush in the midst of the
desert, to show G-d’s presence in
all things, even in the lowliest of
matter. The rabbis tell us that
one of the reasons that the Torah
was presented by G-d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai is that
it finds itself in the midst of a
mountain range with many
mountains higher than it. When
Elijah wants to find G-d he flees
into the desert and soon recognizes that G-d is not found in the
fire, the wind, or the quaking of
the earth, but in the “still small
voice.” If G-d’s presence, Torah,
and voice are found in these
lowly places, how much more so
should we recognize our humility
in the world around us?
Dr. Byron Sherwin has written, “Pride is dangerous because
it is a form of the greatest sin –
idolatry. Idolatry means treating
something other than G-d as if it
were G-d.” He writes, “Humility
is the opposite of pride. Authentic humility is meant to be a
strength, not a weakness … Humility can serve as a conduit to
articulating human meaning …
Humility is not the enemy of
self-esteem, but of pride. Humility is a necessary ingredient in
the creation of an artful life, a life
of meaning, goodness, and significance.”
Jewish life is filled with debates and conflicting opinions.
N o book emphasizes this more
than the Talmud. In a passage in
Eruvin we are taught a most important lesson. After a lengthy
disagreement on a major issue, a
Bat Kol, a heavenly voice, is
heard saying: “The utterances of
both the School of Shammai and
the School of Hillel, are the
words of the living G-d, but the
law agrees with the ruling of the
School of Hillel.” Why, the rabbis asked: “Because the followers
of Hillel were kindly and modest.
They not only studied the rulings
of the School of Shammai, they
even mentioned these rulings before own.”
The Talmud continues:
“This teaches that whoever humbles himself, G-d raises up, and
whoever exalts himself, G-d
humbles. From the person who
seeks greatness, greatness flees,
but the person who flees from
greatness, greatness follows.”
Greatness is found in a humble nature, recognizing our place
in the universe, adding our contribution to the community. We
feel good about ourselves when
we follow our Jewish teachings
and emulate G-d’s traits. It is a
lesson we should all learn and
take to heart.
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz is the
rabbi of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El (Conservative) in
Highland Park.
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
Senior Living
The importance of friendship at every age
On a regular basis, Hedy
Ciocci, B.S.N., Administrator of
the Selfhelp Home will answer
some of the many questions we
have around aging. Hedy specializes in dementia care, and has
extensive experience working
with families and elderly patients.
Recently, Hedy interviewed
Polly Levinson, Licensed Social
Worker and Resident Services
Manager for the Selfhelp Home
on the importance of personal
connections and the health risks
caused by loneliness.
Ask Hedy
life with meaning and purpose.
There are many ways to do this.
Some people like to go to an exQ. How does loneliness ercise group, a discussion group,
factor into the decision to move or just get together and listen to
into a senior living community? music. Activities in a group setA. I find that the two main ting are great for encouraging inreasons people start looking into teraction. It is about having
this type of living situation is be- someone waiting for you and excause they or their families are
pecting you to be there, as well as
concerned about their health, or missing you when you are not
concerned about the older adult there. It can be as simple as havliving home alone and feeling
ing lunch regularly with someisolated. Older adults need to
one. In a senior living setting,
bolster their social support as
many people eat with the same
many have experienced loss,
group at each meal. Someone
which could mean loss of a
would notice if you didn’ t come
spouse or close family or friends, to the dining room for a meal
loss of physical and/or cognitive and would call you if you weren’t
abilities, or even the loss of struc- there. It is important to know
ture that comes with the routine that someone else cares. It can
of work and family life. Many
be as simple as that. These types
don’t have children that live in of connections can make all the
the area or the children can’ t difference in a person’ s mental
come to visit due to other comand physical well-being.
mitments like work and family
Q. Why is it sometimes
life. Older adults can’t rely solely harder for older adults to make
on family members for their so- these connections and develop
cial connections and often,
new friendships?
phone calls are often just not
A. The opportunity to enenough to feel engaged with the gage and be around people with
world around you. People of all similar interests is more limited
ages need to have social connec- for older adults, unless they actions and a lack of them can lead tively seek classes or hobbies
to lead to feelings of loneliness.
they enjoy. Once you get away
Q. What are some of the from the workplace and your
physical and emotional risks to children aren’t in school, your
being isolated?
community involvement is reA. There are studies that
duced and your chances to meet
have shown that isolation can
new people become more limlead to elevated bloo d pressure, ited. Older adults may also have
poor sleep patterns, increased
a harder time connecting with
stress, anxiety, depression and younger people because their life
immunity can be reduced as well. experiences are so different. It
Of course, you can be surrounded can be easier to be around people
by people and still feel lonely. It who are your own age as they can
is not about the number of peo- relate to your experiences, have
ple around you; but the quality of similar health or aging issues and
those connections. When you
there is a certain frame of refer are with others who have similar ence.
interests and you can make some
Q. People age 65 and
of personal connections with
older are the fastest growing age
people who care about you, feel- group today. What suggestions
ings of anxiety and depression
do you have for helping them
are greatly reduced.
make new connections and deQ. Why is remaining velop friendships?
“connected” to people so imA. I encourage people to
portant and what are some ways get involved in groups they
to do so?
enjoy. That might be a walking
A. People need to feel that club, a social group or even a senthey still count and make a dif- ior center. There are places like
ference regardless of how old we the Northshore Senior Center or
are. You need to have a reason to North Shore Village, which proget up in the morning and live a vide a huge variety of programs,
activities and social opportuni ties. Mather Lifeways offers a
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Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
A Jewish police officer wins a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department
after years of being taunted with ugly slurs; and the University of Illinois hires,
then unhires, a renowned academic known for sending vicious anti-Israel tweets
By Pauline Dubkin Yearwood
Managing Editor
Chicago Police officer
Detlef Sommerfield took a vow
when he became a cop to “serve
and protect” the public. But the
Chicago Police Department neither served nor protected Sommerfield from a sergeant who for
years subjected the Jewish officer
to the worst kind of anti-Semitic
remarks and actions.
Sommerfield was awarded a
$540,000 judgment against Sgt.
Lawrence Knasiak, who has since
retired. Sommerfield won a
$30,000 judgment in 2012 over
the same incidents.
Sommerfield’s attorney, Joseph Longo, said one of the most
troubling aspects of the case was
that Knasiak taunted Sommerfield
and other officers openly at roll
call in front of many of other, often
higher-ranking officers and nothing was done to stop the abuse.
(Sommerfield did not return calls
asking for comment. A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department said the department had
no comment on the matter.)
In addition, Longo noted,
when Knasiak retired in 2007 he
was twice commended by the
Chicago City Council for his
“dedication, professionalism and
personal sacrifice” during an “illustrious career” of 30 years.
Joseph Longo
Among the remarks Knasiak
is alleged to have addressed to
Sommerfield were “Burn Jew
burn”; “Hitler should have killed
all of you Jews”; “Jews and Ger mans are just like n—-—-s, you
couldn’t get rid of them then and
you can’t get rid of them now.”
A “joke” he told asked how
you fit 1000 Jews in a car . The
answer: “In the ashtray.”
Knasiak often greeted Sommerfield with a Nazi salute, address him as “F—-ing Jew boy”
and called his attention to a
swastika logo he had on hand.
“Other sergeants were standing right next to him and nobody
was doing anything” when these
insults were being hurled at Sommerfield, Longo says.
Sommerfield also charged in
the court case that Knasiak assigned him to the least desirable
duties, required him to work
alone and forced him to use his
personal vehicle rather than a
police car for work-related matters.
Sommerfield was born and
raised in what was then W est
Germany, Longo, who came to
know him well over the course of
the trial, says. He grew up hear ing stories about family members
who were massacred by the Nazis
during the Holocaust.
“His grandmother would frequently cry while telling what
happened,” Longo says. “(Sommerfield’s) uncle was shot and
killed when he was just 14 or 15
years old in the corridor of the
apartment complex. The N azis
would not let (the grandmother)
remove the body and he just lay
there for days. His great-aunt,
they just took her away one day.”
Hearing such stories, “he
grew up with all this pain,”
Longo says.
Those childhood experiences and his grandmother’s influence instilled in Sommerfield
a desire to stop people from mistreating others, Longo says. He
came to the United States alone
as a young man (he is now 53)
Detlef Sommerfield
and became a Chicago police officer in 1994.
“He was trying to get away
from all that pain of his childhood, and his sergeant was constantly reminding him of it,”
Longo says. Knasiak also appar ently directed discriminatory remarks to police officers of other
races and ethnicities as well.
Sommerfield complained to
his superiors when the abuse,
which went on for five or six
years, began, Longo says. “They
did nothing,” so the officer filed a
report with the department’s Internal Affairs Division and with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In his discrimination charge
to the EEOC he wrote that the
department “has subjected me
and other officers to a racially
hostile work environment. (The
CPD) has allowed a supervisor to
consistently use offensive racial
remarks about Jewish people,
Germans, African-Americans
and Mexicans.”
The agency completed its
investigation in five months, ruling in favor of Sommerfield.
The IAD, however , took
three years and two months to
complete the investigation,
Longo says.
The final report, released on
April 30, 2007, recommended
that Knasiak be suspended for 10
days for making “disparaging remarks by using racial slurs and
derogatory comments” directed to
Sommerfield and other officers.
The report came out a
month and half before Knasiak
was due to retire and “he didn’ t
serve day one of the suspension,”
Longo says. “He had been telling
everybody that he was going to
retire for two years. CPD didn’ t
do anything to him, not even an
oral reprimand.”
Knasiak continued to serve
as a sergeant until he retired.
“That tells you something about
the Chicago Police Department,” Longo says. (Knasiak has
reportedly relocated to Arkansas
and could not be reached for
“The EEOC completed the
investigation in five months and
they get thousands of charges a
year. It took the IAD three years.
Do they get thousands of
charges? No,” Longo says.
“Even while we were suing
(Knasiak) – we filed the first lawsuit in 2006 – they still didn’t do
anything,” he says.
During the trial Knasiak denied making the hateful remarks,
according to the Chicago T ribune. He testified he felt Sommerfield was angry at him
because he had reprimanded him
on the job for disobeying orders.
He told the jury he felt “railroaded.”
Sommerfield’s co-workers
testified that he would often step
into the restroom to get away
from Knasiak, according to the
Tribune. His wife, Lorena, testified that the harassment affected
him and he stopped going out
and doing things that he had formerly enjoyed.
Sommerfield is still working
as a Chicago policeman but “he
lost a promotion to be a canine
handler because Knasiak had issued a complaint against him. He
was next in line to be promoted.
The sergeant charged him with
insubordination but the jury didn’t buy it,” Longo says. Sommerfield served a five-day suspension
on the charge.
Longo says he believes his
client was satisfied with the results of the most recent trial.
His own take is that in the
recent past, at least, “cops could
get away with blatant behavior .
It tells you something about the
culture. This was one of the
largest districts in the Chicago
Police Department and that
gives you a flavor of the entire
department. It was happening to
other minorities – other ser geants would say n——-s, spicks,
etc. There are lieutenants who
would say this, high-ranking officers.”
That may change as a result
of the Sommerfield trial, he says.
“The Police Department is taking a very big interest in this
While no local Jewish or ganizations were directly involved in the Sommerfield case
(Longo says he contacted several
organizations before the latest
trial but none responded), executives at the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Chicago say they
watched the outcome closely and
are taking steps to make sure
such incidents don’ t happen
“I shared with our friends in
the highest levels of the Chicago
Police Department what happened to their fellow officer, not
once or twice but in repeated
fashion over many years,” Jay
Tcath, the federation’s executive
vice president, said in a recent
phone conversation. “It’s hard to
believe that in this day and age
that such sentiments are expressed openly and are heard by
everyone present.”
He says he spoke with senior CPD leaders and “they shared
their outrage over what was done
and what was not done, and their
bewilderment that these things
happened over a number of
years. They said were such allegations brought to their attention today they would not
countenance them. They assured
me that today the Chicago Po-
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
lice Department is not our fathers’ or our grandfathers’
Chicago Police Department.”
They agreed that “it should
have been nipped in the bud at
the lowest level possible. If it
reached the highest levels, there
is something wrong with the
command structure,” Tcath says.
With its thousands of officers, there is bound to be some
bigotry in the ranks, he says, but
“the test is how do you respond
to it when that bigotry surfaces?
In this case, the Chicago Police
Department failed miserably.”
Department leaders told
him they were not aware of the
allegations but after they looked
into it, they confirmed Sommerfield’s version of events.
Tcath says that to day the
Chicago Jewish community has
an excellent relationship with
the department, several of whose
leaders have gone on Israel missions with the federation.
“Who the right people were
years ago are not the right people
now,” he says. “Now the culture
has changed, and the right thing
would have been done sooner today at every level of command.”
The federation, he says,
“works very closely with the
Chicago Police Department. We
rely on them for a lot of things
that make our community safer .
We don’t hold back and our
friends in the PD don’ t want us
to hold back if things like this
occur. They honestly want to be
the department that serves and
protects all people, and they
warn their officers to reflect the
diversity of Chicago. They recognize they failed in this case.”
The Simon W iesenthal
Center and particularly its
Chicago office have claimed a
large share of responsibility for
the University of Illinois’ controversial decision not to hire
Steven Salaita, a professor who
has made crude, strongly worded
and what many consider anti-Semitic tweets about Israel.
Salaita was an associate professor of English at V irginia Tech
who resigned that post to take a
tenured position as a professor in
the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. He was to
have started that job this week.
An expert on Native American and Arab American litera ture and on indigenous peoples,
Salaita wrote a book in 2011 titled “Israel’s Dead Soul,” in
which he criticizes Zionism. His
other five books include “AntiArab Racism in the USA” and
books on Arab and Arab-American fiction.
But it was Salaita’ s tweets
since the Israeli-Gaza conflict
began that caught the attention
of the W iesenthal Center and
others in the Jewish community.
Those tweets include “If N etanyahu appeared on TV with a
necklace made from the teeth of
Palestinian children, would anyone be surprised?”; “Keep BDS
(referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement)
going! The more time Israel
spends on it, the fewer resources
it can devote to pillaging and
plundering”; “All life is sacred.
Unless you’re a Zionist, for
whom most life is a mere inconvenience to ethnographic supremacy”; “I fully expect the
Israeli soldiers who murdered two
teens in cold bloo d to receive a
commendation or promotion”;
“Zionists: Transforming ‘antiSemitism’ from something horrible into something honorable
since 1948” and many more.
(Salaita could not be reached for
The Wiesenthal Center, a
Los Angeles-based organization
that fights anti-Semitism and
hate speech, first became involved when a University of Illinois student contacted her ,
Alison Pure-Slovin, director of
the center’s Chicago-based Midwest Region office, said in a
phone call.
“He forwarded us informa tion (on Salaita) and asked if
there was anything we could do
to help that he doesn’t continue
on” at the university. “We sent a
statement out about it immediately,” she said.
Pure-Slovin said she also
contacted “one of our donors
who is a huge donor to the U of
I,” real estate magnate Sheldon
Good. “He got involved sustaining our position that the president should look into what kind
of chatter this person is spewing,”
she said.
“He was very helpful,” she
said of Good. “He has a wonderful relationship with the university.” (Good could not be
reached for comment.)
In a letter to Robert Easter ,
the relatively new president of
the university, Rabbi Meyer H.
May, the center’s executive director, “questioned the qualifications of a professor who would
liken Israel, the only democracy
in the Middle East, to a radical
extremist group who crucifies
civilians and then posts the
videos, like trophies, on
YouTube,” May wrote, quoting
one of Salaita’s tweets.
“What possible prestige can
Salaita add to the UI faculty
when in truth, he is a misguided
‘academic’ who spews such venomous and mendacious analogies?
How is the Jewish campus community to be assured that UI cares
for its safety and responsibly vets
incoming faculty when the university hires a professor who recently tweeted … ‘Why would
Hamas even try to use children as
human shields? Israel has proved
for decades that it has no problem
shooting them,” May said.
Pure-Slovin said that she
and the center were concerned
that “his politics would cross
over into his teaching. The University of Illinois is a very Jewish
university, and it didn’ t seem to
be in the best interests of students and faculty to have someone with that kind of view .
Maybe if he wasn’t so verbal and
out there with it – but he was
using social media to put out his
own agenda.”
She said Salaita’ s tweets
“were not just saying, I’m antiZionist, but were fueling hate.”
May said he spoke to the president of the university and “they
had already made the decision
(not to hire Salaita) the day before
my letter reached him. It was our
interest drawing attention to it.
(Salaita) was already under internal university scrutiny.”
The university’s public affairs office issued a statement:
“As a matter of University policy
and practice, we do not comment publicly upon nor discuss
generally any personnel matters,
including matters involving employment or tenure.”
By the next day it was generally known and reported that
the university’s offer to Salaita
had been rescinded.
Since Salaita had not been
formally hired by the university
he would not have to go through
a hearing or other processes that
would be necessary if he were already a member of the faculty.
Salaita’s un-hiring generated
a fair amount of controversy online, with some academics and
others holding that under the
tenets of academic freedom a professor should not be fired for his
views. The Illinois chapter of the
American Association of University Professors issued a statement
supporting Salaita and stating that
if he were not hired, the university
would be violating the principles
of academic freedom.
But another UI professor ,
Cary Nelson, wrote in a controversial article in the journal Inside Higher Education that,
although Salaita has the right to
make any tweets or statements
he wants, “his right to make most
of these statements does not
mean I would choose to have
him as a colleague. His tweets …
are likely to shape his role on
campus when 2015’ s Israeli
Apartheid Week rolls around,”
Nelson wrote.
Later in the article he wrote,
“Will Jewish students in his
classes feel comfortable after they
read, ‘Let’s cut to the chase. If
you’re defending Israel right now
you’re an awful human being’
(July 8) (or) ‘Zionist uplift in
America: every little Jewish boy
and girl can grow up to be the
leader of a murderous colonial
regime (July 14) …?”
The Wiesenthal Center’s
May said in a phone conversa tion that he doesn’t believe this
is a free speech issue.
“Our problem is never with
a person who has a political issue
with Israel,” he said. “What we
don’t like is when the opinion
crosses into the area of hate,
when it becomes more hate
speech than free speech.”
If a pro-Israel professor, for
Steven Salaita
instance, began verbally attacking Palestinians and Muslims or
calling them sub-human, “we
would be equally against the appointment,” he said. “If a person
has a political view, that’s America, and we enjoy the debate.”
It’s when that debate “extends into a diatribe against people, or something like the ‘Nazi
inversion’ (equating Israelis to
N azis), that’s not anti-Israel,
that’s anti-Semitism to its core.
It is offensive and abhorrent and
reveals what the intention of the
speaker is.”
He said he applauds the university’s decision and considers it
“a great case of the University of
Illinois standing against antiSemitism, standing for justice.”
Laurie Zoloth, professor of
Religious Studies and professor
of Medical Humanities and
Bioethics at Northwestern University and the president of the
American Academy of Religion
weighed in on Salaita’s remarks
by email from Cambridge, England, where she is on sabbatical
as a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge.
She wrote: “I am in England,
on sabbatical, where one can
hear a lot of anti-Israel sentiment
to be sure, but even a continent
away, Dr. Salaita’s shockingly
profane and vitriolic social media
comments are seen as quite extreme. Two things need to be
said: first, that there is a differ ence between the rights and duties of citizens to speak freely, and
one would hope, honestly, in the
public square, and the duty of
N ations to allow such free
speech, and the rights of professors to speak as scholars, and the
duties of universities to allow this
“No one is challenging Dr .
Salaita’s right to say anything he
wishes. He should not be sur prised or offended then if others
judge his speech to be sophomoric and personally offensive in
addition to just plain incorrect,
for while he has a right to say
anything, others have the same
right. When faculty join the
community of the university ,
other faculty consider them as
life long colleagues, not just as
producers of books. W e ask:
What sort of teacher will the
candidate be? What sort of citizen of the university? Dr. Salaita
expressed his ideas publicly, and
they raise concerns.”
She quotes three tweets in
1. “So, how long will it be
before the Israeli government
starts dropping white phosphorous on American college campuses?” (May 23, 2014);
2. “You may be too refined
to say it, but I’m not: I wish all
the f—-ing W est Bank settlers
would go missing” (June
19, 2014, in response to the kidnapping of Israeli teenagers);
3. ”Let’s cut to the chase: If
you’re defending Israel right now
you’re an awful human being”
(July 8, 2014).
“The first remark is ungrounded and untruthful,”
Zoloth writes. “It incites fear for
no clear reason, without justification, and this makes one wonder about the scholar’s ability to
judge competing truth claims;
the second one is both profane
and lacking in empathy , advocating the erasure and elimination of an entire group of men,
women and children simply because of ethnicity. It raises the
question of judgment again, and
seems to put forward the idea
that kidnapping of civilians is
“The final one is ad
hominum and is a particularly
narrow and tragic idea, especially
for a free speech advocate such as
himself. This statement would be
terrifying to undergraduates in
his classes, and it is not acceptable as a statement in academic
Zoloth continues: “Freedom
to speak truth to power is a serious and noble obligation of citizens, and for scholars, from
Socrates on, the task of a scholar
is parrhesia – to teach the truth
in public. To equate that duty
with the venomous profanity and
terrible hatred that is put forward
in these ‘tweets’ is to make a
mockery of the duty of scholarly
free speech.”
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
Death Notices
Israeli filmmaker Menahem Golan
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filmmaker Menahem Golan, who
produced more than 200 movies,
including several popular action
films of the 1980s, has died.
Golan, who also directed
Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude
Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone
and Chuck N orris, died in T el
Aviv. He was 85.
Golan, a co-founder with his
cousin Yoram Globus of the Cannon Group production company,
reportedly lost consciousness outside his home in Jaffa while walking with family members. He was
pronounced dead after an hour of
attempts to resuscitate him.
Globus told the Hollywoo d
Reporter that Golan was “undoubtedly a founding member of
the Israeli cinematic landscape,
locally and all of its appeal internationally.”
Golan produced such films
as “The Delta Force,” starring
Norris; the “Death Wish” sequels
with Charles Bronson; “Masters
of The Universe” starring Lundgren; “Cobra” starring Stallone;
and “Bloodsport” with V an
He also produced the iconic
Israeli films “Sallah Shabati”
starring Israeli actor Chaim
Topol, and “Operation Thunderbolt,” based on the Israeli raid on
Entebbe airport in Uganda.
Golan was born in Tiberias
in northern Israel, the son of Polish immigrants. He changed his
last name from Globus after the
1948 War of Independence for
patriotic reasons.
He was the recipient of the
Israeli Film Academy’ s Ophir
Award for Lifetime Achievement
and The Israel Prize.
Rabbi Yaacov Arar, Athens chief
rabbi for four decades
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ATHENS, Greece (JTA) –
Rabbi Yaacov Arar, who served
as the chief rabbi of Athens for
over four decades, has died. He
was 76.
A native of Larissa, a town
in central Greece, Arar took up
his post as chief rabbi of Athens
in 1964 and served for 46 years.
“He was a man of deep
knowledge, professionalism, kindness and love for his people,” the
community said in a statement.
“We also express our gratitude for
the valuable contribution to our
community and hope you rest in
Arar was buried in Israel, according to his wishes.
Jesse Steinfeld, anti-tobacco
surgeon general
Dr. Jesse Steinfeld, who fought
vigorously as surgeon general to
warn the public of the dangers of
smoking, has died.
Steinfeld, who served in the
post from 1969 until President
Richard Nixon forced his resignation in 1973, died in Pomona,
Calif., from complications resulting from a stroke. He was 87.
Nixon appointed Steinfeld,
who used his office as a bully pulpit to become an outspoken and
pointed critic of tobacco until his
Steinfeld was the first sur geon general to warn the public
of the dangers of secondhand
smoke and called for a smoking
ban in most public areas. He also
insisted on the warning on ciga-
rette labels, “The Surgeon General has determined that smoking
is hazardous to your health,”
which was stronger and more definitive than previous warnings.
During his tenure as surgeon
general, Steinfeld also warned
against the deleterious effects of
television violence on children,
the dangers of pesticides and carcinogens in food.
The son of Jewish immigrants from Hungary, Steinfeld
grew up in West Aliquippa, Pa., a
suburb of Pittsburgh. According
to the Washington Post, he was
inspired to study medicine by the
premature death of his father , a
heavy smoker, from a heart attack when Steinfeld was 5 years
Gerald R. Slutsky, age 84.
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grandfather of Sarah Slutsky,
Andrew Slutsky, Joshua Segal
and Noah Segal.
brother of the late Ben (Ann)
Slutsky, Louis (survived by
Charlotte) Slutsky and Ann
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dedicated attorney for almost 60 years. In lieu of flowers contributions in Gerald’s
name to the University of
Chicago Cancer Research
Foundation, c/o Dr. Mitchell
Posner, would be appreciated. Arrangements by Mitzvah Memorial Funerals.
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
Rosh Hashanah synagogue services: meaningful or just a marathon?
By Maayan Jaffe
There are four sounds that
the shofar makes on Rosh
Hashanah. The tekiah is a basic
note of mo derate length. Shevarim breaks the tekiah into
three short notes. Teruah breaks
the tekiah into nine smaller
notes. Tekiah gedola takes the
standard tekiah and makes it
three times as long.
Synagogue services, too,
have varying lengths. There are
short services, such as the
evening service on Rosh
Hashanah, and even shorter ones
like the weekday afternoon service (mincha). In fact, mincha
can be so short that Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg of T emple
Beth El in Birmingham, Ala., has
seen Israeli bus drivers “jump off
the bus, daven (pray), and jump
back on the bus without losing
much time on their route.”
The same can’t be said for
shacharit (morning service) and
mussaf (additional service) on
Rosh Hashanah – far from it.
“The Rosh Hashanah morning service is designed like the
tekiah gedola,” Konigsburg said.
“The theme of the day is the
coronation of G-d as ruler of the
universe. A coronation is filled
with pomp and ceremony , and
that is what the Rosh Hashanah
service is all about.”
It sounds nice in theory, but
realistically, how many Rosh
Hashanah services have you
spent in the hallway chatting
with your friends? Or maybe
you’ve even done it quietly in
the back of the sanctuary , bemoaning the length of the rabbi’s
speech or the operatic perform ance of the cantor, which to you
has little meaning or attraction.
“I understand having kavanah (proper intention) on
Rosh Hashanah, but to elongate
something that normally goes
25-30 minutes to an hour seems
pointless,” laments Gabriel
Lewin of Pikesville, Md. “And
while I appreciate the need for
shuls to raise money and to sell
off honors, like getting an aliyah
[to the Torah], the problem is it
turns into 35 minutes of grandstanding… and it also wastes a
lot of time that could have been
spent doing something more kadosh (holy).”
Lewin said he doesn’ t like
the lengthy mishaberachs, blessings that are added during the
Torah reading. Though he’ s a
chazzan himself, Lewin said he
finds fault in cantors who “like to
hear themselves sing” and turn
the prayers into a performance.
Hannah Heller, also of
Pikesville, says she remembers
being “frustrated as a child in
shul when davening seemed endless and the people talking was
such a distraction that I wondered why I had to be there all
those hours.”
Today, Heller said she still
finds Rosh Hashanah services to
be long, but they are also very
meaningful for her. It was a matter of finding the right synagogue
in N etivot Shalom, a mo dern
Orthodox establishment where,
according to its website, “everyone has a voice.”
“Those who lead the davening do a lot of catchy , popular
tunes and people are encouraged
to sing along,” says Heller , noting that the tunes make her a
part of the service.
Heller says the speeches at
N etivot Shalom are kept to a
minimum and given not only by
the rabbi, but also by members of
the congregation. And while a
lot of traditional singing takes
place, “the person who leads davening avoids making it a cantorial performance and, instead,
makes more of an effort to include everyone and help them
feel that the prayers are relevant
to each of us. … If congregants
feel involved, they will be far
more interested in davening and
less concerned with watching the
Heller also finds that being
prepared can make a difference.
She brings – and the synagogue
provides – Jewish books in English for moments when the
liturgy is too heavy or she is
struggling to stay focused. One
book she recommends is “Rosh
Hashanah Yom Kippur Survival
Kit,” by Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf,
but she notes that there are many
others for that situation.
In addition, Heller recommends that synagogues offer preholiday primers to assist
congregants in understanding
the prayers. She says recording
tunes for participants to learn in
advance can be helpful, too.
“The real problem with all
services is not that they are too
long, it is that people are not engaged by the service,” says
Konigsburg. “An opera is very
long with lots of singing, unless
you have read in advance the
story and know what musical
highlights to pay attention to.
When we understand the service
and are engaged by it, we don’ t
really consider the passage of
time. When we don’t understand
the music or the words, then yes,
it seems to drag on and on.”
Konigsburg says that rabbis
and cantors can work hard to en-
gage their members, but ultimately, “each of us is responsible
for our own spirituality.”
Lewin realized that lesson
not too long ago and decided to
find a synagogue that was a better fit. Now, he prays in a service
at a private home with 40 or 50
like-minded individuals instead
of a larger Baltimore shul.
“You have to know your self,” says Lewin, noting that one
should not reflexively attend the
synagogue his family went to and
assume it will somehow meet his
needs. “Don’t be afraid to go
somewhere else. Be honest about
what you want and find it. In big
cities, it all exists.”
Andrew Lavin attends Temple Beth Israel in Port Washington, N.Y. He says he also used to
find the length of the High Holiday prayer experience challenging, but as he has gotten older, he
finds synagogue to be “one of the
few places in the world where I
can get peace and quiet and solitude and get into my own
Lavin, however, says he does
not judge others who feel differ ently.
“No one says you have to get
there at the beginning of the
service,” he says. “I think you
should go the length you want
and feel comfortable with that. If
you can be spiritually fulfilled in
just a few hours, then that’s good.
… It’s a new year, so let go of the
meshugas (craziness) and be
hopeful for the future.”
Konigsburg says, “The Rosh
Hashanah service is not a
marathon, but an appropriate entrance to a Jewish New Year.”
Skokie Valley
Agudath Jacob Synagogue
A cornerstone of the Skokie Jewish
community for more than 60 years, we invite
you to our warm, welcoming and inclusive
congregation for High Holiday Services.
Orthodox Services will be led by:
Rabbi Samuel Biber & Chazzan Eytan Dallal
Traditional Services will be led by:
Rabbi Dr. Gerald Teller & Chazzan Baruch Shifman
Join us year round for inspirational services and activities
that will be enriching for you and your entire family.
• Daily Minyanim
• Prominent Scholars-in-Residence & Lectures
• Adult Education Classes & Shiurim
• Youth Programming
• Chesed Projects
Introductory membership plans and
individual High Holiday seats are available.
Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob Synagogue
8825 East Prairie Road
Skokie, IL 60076
847-674-3473 • • [email protected]
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
Community Calendar
August 17
Congregation Beth Judea
holds Block Party with
food, games, athletics,
swimming and entertainment. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.,
Vernon Township Pool and
Picnic Area, 16652 N. Buffalo Grove Road, Buffalo
Grove. $5 adult, $4 under
age 12, $20 family, plus
swimming entry fee to Vernon Township of $6 adult,
$4 under age 16. Registration, [email protected]
org or (847) 634-0777.
August 18
Congregation B’nai Tikvah
hosts Family Fun Evening
for new and prospective
members with hot dogs
and treats, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
1558 Wilmot Road, Deerfield. Reservations required,
(847) 945-0470.
August 19
Sweet Singers of Congregation Ezras Israel perform
program of Yiddish, Hebrew, Israeli and English
songs. 2:30 p.m., Brookdale
Place, 8975 W. Golf Road,
Niles. (773) 764-8320.
Congregation Beth Judea
holds Fun and Fitness Night
with workouts (bring your
own attire), chocolate and
wine. 7 p.m., Adult and Pediatric Orthopedics, S.C.,
555 Corporate Woods Parkway, Vernon Hills. $15.
RSVP, (847) 634-0777.
August 20
Jewish B2B Networking
presents Speed Networking
for Chicago’s Business Professionals. 11 a.m.-1 p.m.,
Evanston Public Library,
1703 Orrington, Evanston.
$40. Registration required,
Chicago YIVO Society’s
Summer Festival of Yiddish
Culture presents Rabbi
Barry Schechter speaking
on “Yiddish and Laughter.”
2 p.m., Evanston Public Library, Community Room,
1703 Orrington Ave. (847)
Congregation Beth Shalom
and Congregation Beth
Judea present Rabbi Jordan
Bendat-Appell, co-founder
and director of the Center
for Jewish Mindfulness,
leading workshop titled
“From Broken House to
Two Cemetery Plots
Shalom Memorial Park
Prime location: IV Carmel, Estate 1315
Currently $4,950, asking $3,950.
Please contact Bob at:
847/209-5451 or
[email protected]
Memorial Park
Gan M’Nucha
12 Prime Lots
available together or will divide
847 651-2636
1 Plot only
Section V, Lot 230,
Grave #5
$4,500.00 obo
in Makom Shalom Annex Section.
Currently selling for $4,500 each,
asking $2,500 + transfer fees
Felix Dayan (847) 877-3485
[email protected]
August 21
CJN Classified
4 Lots Available
Shalom Memorial Park
Hebron Section
$4000 each or best offer
Call Seymour Berman
(561) 394-0011
Leaky Hut: The Spiritual Arc
of the Season of Awe,” 7-9
p.m., Congregation Beth
Shalom, 3433 Walters Ave.,
Northbrook. $5, Beth
Shalom and Beth Judea
members, $10 non-members. Register, (847) 6340777.
Sweet Singers of Congregation Ezras Israel perform
program of Yiddish, Hebrew, Israeli and English
songs. 2:30 p.m., Park
Plaza, 6840 N. Sacramento,
Chicago. (773) 764-8320.
Ezra-Habonim, the Niles
Township Jewish Congregation Men’s Club hosts
power-point presentation
by Esther Manewith,
“Bringing Yiddishkeit to
the Former Soviet Union”
highlighting work of
Lubavitch Chabad. 7:30
p.m., 4500 W. Dempster,
Skokie. (847) 675-4141.
August 22
Beth Hillel Congregation
Bnai Emunah presents outdoor musical, “Shabbat at
the Shul Under the Stars,”
followed by barbecue dinner. 5:30 p.m., 3220 Big
Tree Lane, Wilmette. Reservations, (847) 256-1213.
JCC Kehilla holds Shabbat
on the Lake with dinner
and activities for 20-30year-olds and young families. 5:30-10 p.m., Chicago
lakefront park between
Barry and Wellington
streets on inner Lake Shore
Drive. $10 advance, $15 on
site. Register, or (847) 763-3629.
Congregation B’nai Tikvah
holds Simchat Shabbat
Under the Stars with instrumental accompaniment for
family, friends and prospective members followed by
Oneg. 6:30 p.m., 1558
Wilmot Road, Deerfield.
(847) 945-0470.
To take advantage of
CJN Classified page
call 847-966-0606.
Northbrook Community
Synagogue shows film
“Sandlot” at “NorComSy
Drive-In.” 9 p.m., parking
lot, 2548 Jasper Court,
August 24
Chicago Jewish Historical
Society holds South Haven
and Benton Harbor bus
tour led by Leah Axelrod. 8
a.m.- 8:30 p.m. departing
from Bernard Horwich JCC,
3003 W. Touhy, Chicago, or
8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. from Marriott Hotel, 541 N. Rush,
Chicago. Pack meal or snack
to enjoy at last tour stop,
Sinai Temple in Michigan
City, Ind. $88 CJHS members, $93 non-members.
Reservations, or (847) 4327003.
Ezra-Habonim, the Niles
Township Jewish Congregation presents “Sundays
with Rabbi Weill” featuring
stories and playtime for
children to age 6 and the
young at heart, 9-10 a.m.
4500 W. Dempster, Skokie.
Reservations (847) 6754141.
Jewish Genealogical Society
of Illinois holds meeting
featuring Robin B. Seidenberg speaking on “Treasures in Print: Finding and
Using Historical Newspapers.” 2 p.m., Temple BethEl, 3610 Dundee Road,
Northbrook. Temple library
opens at 12:30 p.m. for use
of genealogical materials. or (312) 666-0100.
StandWithUs presents
“ABCs of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Workshop.” 7:30 p.m.,
Congregation K.I.N.S. of
West Rogers Park, 2800 W.
North Shore, Chicago. $5
advance, $10 door. [email protected]
August 26
For only $40, you can
place your classified ad
in this space!
view Grind, 989 Waukegan
Road, Glenview. (847) 7290111.
August 23
Jewish comedian Debbie
Sue Goodman presents “An
Evening of Comedy and
Music.” 7:30-9 p.m., Glen-
Keturah Hadassah presents
Dr. Eileen Ladin-Panzer discussing her novel, “A Life
Less Lived,” at general
meeting. 12:30-3 p.m.,
Mayer Kaplan JCC, 5050
Church, Skokie. $3. (847)
August 27
The Abington hosts Memory Support Group Meeting
with presentation by Dr.
Kieran Nicholson, medical
director, Family Home
Health and Centered Hospice. 6 p.m., 3901 Glenview
Road, Glenview. RSVP, [email protected]
or (847) 729-0000 Ext. 120.
August 28
Consulate General of
Poland hosts evening commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liquidation
of the Lodz Ghetto featuring Chazan Alberto Mizrahi
of Anshe Emet Synagogue,
photo and film displays of
Lodz before the Shoah and
the Ghetto, 5:30-8 p.m.,
Union League Club, 65 W.
Jackson, Chicago.
[email protected]
Beit Yichud hosts Maggid
Carna Rosenholtz, MA leading an experiential workshop on “Elul: Becoming
Whole Through Teshuvah.”
6:30-9:30 p.m., 6932 N.
Glenwood , Chicago. $40
suggested donation.,
[email protected] or
(847) 910-1556.
WTTW-Channel 11,
Chicago’s local PBS station,
airs “Great Performances:
Rejoice with Itzhak Perlman
and Cantor Yitzchak Meir
Helfgot.” 8 p.m.
August 31
Chabad Community Center
of Rockford presents
“Learning from the Past;
Living the Present; Looking
to the Future,” first Midwest appearance of Anne
Frank’s childhood friend
and stepsister Eva Schloss of
London. 4-5:30 p.m., UIC
College of Medicine Auditorium, 1601 Parkview Ave.,
Rockford. $15 adults, $5
students. Tickets,
com/events or (815) 9858594.
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
By Joseph Aaron
because of Hamas not the Israeli army. Period.
Hamas began the war, Hamas purposely puts its rocket launchers in schools and homes, Hamas uses its own civilians as human
shields, Hamas wants dead Palestinian women and children because
it knows that people seeing that gets things twisted and the Israeli
Army gets blamed for what Hamas has caused.
You know, since the war began, I’ve been getting a lot of heat
from both sides. The right is mad at me because they feel I have not
been as outraged as I should be by the outbreak of anti-Semitic acts
and words in Europe, America and other places in the world. And the
left is mad at me because they feel I have not been as outraged as I
should be by the firepower the Israel Defense Forces have aimed at
Gaza and the resulting civilian deaths.
I do find the anti-Semitism disturbing but I also know that many
of those committing it are doing so because they are ignorant and hateful and so use any opportunity to spew ugly at, do ugly to the Jews. I
also know governments this time are protecting us, that Jews this time
feel powerful enough to speak out and stand up, and that a lot of this
is the world’s unease at the Jews having a state that can defend itself.
And I do find the deaths of innocent Palestinians disturbing but
I also know that Israel does all it can to avoid that, does not at all want
that and would not fire one bullet at Gaza if only Hamas would stop
shooting thousands of rockets at Israel. The pure simple truth is that
the Israeli Army is as moral an army as there has ever been. Don’ t
blame it, don’t blame Israel for what Hamas has brought on innocent
I’d like to share with you a small part of a letter written by a captain in the Israeli Army to give you a sense of the Jewish warriors who
are fighting to protect the Jewish state.
“To the Palestinian people of Gaza: We don’t hate you. We don’t
wish you ill. We want only to live in peace side by side with you. When
you come out of wherever you’ve been able to take refuge, ask yourself why Hamas never built you any shelters to protect you. They’re
great at digging tunnels after all. They’ve dug them under our border,
intending to murder as many of our civilians as possible; our women
and children, gathered in agricultural village dining halls. Not soldiers,
not warriors, but our women and children and old people.
“So they’re good at building tunnels. Why didn’t they build any
for you to take shelter in? Then look at your neighborhoo ds, which
are destroyed now because they housed the entrance points to those
tunnels, not next to your homes but in your homes!
“They turned your homes and neighborhoods into rocket launching sites and weapons storage depots. Not by accident, but to make you
vulnerable, to insure, in fact, that you would be in harm’s way no matter how many warnings Israel issued before it attacked. Ask why Hamas
told you to ignore those warnings and that it was your duty to stay in
those neighborhoods that they had turned into military targets.
“You’ve gone to war against us three times in the last five years.
You’ve initiated each one and we’ve begged you, before each, not to
launch more rockets at us. But each time you were promised a new divine victory. The rockets would be the sword that would defeat us. We
invented Iron Dome.
“The tunnels would be Hamas’s “surprise” that would “open the
gates of hell to us.” W e’re inside those tunnels right now . Blowing
them up. And who has paid the bitterest price? You. Is it worth it? Are
you getting something out of all this?
“Here’s an idea. You’ve tried war three times in five years? T ry
something new. Try peace. You don’t even have to call it peace. . Just
stop trying to kill us and prepare to be amazed at how good your lives
will become. But what about the siege? The so called “siege” which
is nothing more than a sanction regime, was put in place because you
keep trying to kill us! So stop.
“You’re smart people. You’re industrious people. Stop trying to kill
us and you won’t need to be a martyr to get into Paradise. You’ll have
Paradise on earth. You can become the Singapore of the Middle East.
You have beautiful beaches that can be developed for tourism. You’re
on the Mediterranean for Goodness sake! You are creative and hard
working and talented. Put those talents to use at trying to improve your
lives instead of trying to end ours.
“You don’t even have to love us. You don’t even have to like us.
In fact you can continue to hate us, if that gives you some sort of emotional comfort. It won’t bother us. Knock yourselves out. Just stop trying to kill us,
“Give it a decade. Try it. We’re not going anywhere. You won’t
defeat us. You won’t destroy us. You won’t cast us into such despair that
we leave the land we’ve yearned for, worked for, sweated and bled for,
for two thousand years. We won’t withdraw from the Middle East. Because we live here. Our religion wasn’ t born in Poland. It was born
here. Our language wasn’ t born in Russia or America or France or
Ethiopia or Yemen or Morocco. It was born here. And I promise you,
we won’t become war weary. We can’t afford to.
“Just stop trying to kill us.”
Jewish News
The Rosh Hashanah Issue
publishes Sept. 19th.
Space reservation deadline:
Tuesday, Sept. 9
To advertise in this special issue
call 847.966.0606.
The Chicago Jewish News
gratefully acknowledges the generous support of
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
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The Jewish
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No, he wasn’t Jewish. At least not technically.
But in so many ways, Robin W illiams was very Jewish. Indeed,
he would frequently refer to himself as “an honorary Jew.”
And professionally he was. He would incorporate the use of Yiddish and Jewish humor into his comedy. In many of his skits he channeled a stereotypical elderly Jewish lady, or a New York rabbi. And he
played several Jewish characters on film, including “Jakob the Liar,”
where he portrayed a Jewish shopkeeper in Holocaust-era Poland, as
well as in the film “Seize the Day” alongside Jewish-American actor
Jerry Stiller, and as Armand Goldman in “The Birdcage.” There is also
the famous scene from “Mrs. Doubtfire” where Williams, along with
Jewish-American actor Harvey Fierstein, sing a rendition of “Matchmaker” from “Fiddler on the Roof.”
A few months ago, while on set for his short-lived TV show “The
Crazy Ones,” Williams a picture of himself wearing a white yarmulke
and saying “Too late for a career change? Rabbi Robin?”
And he was an honorary Jew personally. Williams was one of the
entertainers at the 2005 banquet for Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of
the Shoah Visual History Foundation. “Ladies and gentlemen,”
Williams said in a Yiddish accent, “Welcome to Temple Beth Prada.
This evening’s meal will be milchidik, fleishadik, and sushidik.”
Rob Eshman, a Jewish reporter who attended the event, noted
that Williams stayed until the very end of the evening, something
most big time Hollywood types do not do. And so Eshman went over
to Williams. “You were hysterical,” I said. “Thank you,” he said.
“And you stayed to the end,” I said. Williams looked at me with great
sincerity. “This means a lot to me,” he said. “Of course.”
Which gives you context to my favorite story about Williams. He
was appearing on a program on German TV when the interviewer
asked him, “Mr. Williams, why do you think there’s not so much comedy in Germany?”
Williams answered, “Did you ever think you killed all the funny
In every way except birth (he was born in Chicago by the way)
Robin Williams was Jewish to his core. He was a great friend of the
Jewish people, a supporter of Jewish causes and someone who understood us and showed his love for us. Which is why comedian Steve
Martin was so right in his tweet reacting to Williams’death when he
called him a “mensch.” And why it was entirely appropriate that The
Jewish Federations of North America posted a photo of Williams on
their Facebook page along with the caption, “W e mourn the loss of
the great actor, comedian Robin Williams, z”l.” Z’l being the Hebrew
abbreviation for ‘of blessed memory.’
At a time when Jews are not so much feeling all the friends we
have and very much hearing from those who wish us ill, with ugly
demonstrations taking place in many parts of Europe and even the
United States, it is right for us to remember Robin W illiams, who
cared about us and was, in a very real sense, part of us.
Which is much more than I can say about someone who really
is one of us. Howard Schultz is a Jew. He is also the CEO of Starbucks
and someone who has just acted as disgracefully as a Jew possibly can.
Howard Schultz’s Starbucks recently issued a statement denying “rumors that Starbucks or Howard provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army. Neither Starbucks nor the
company’s chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz, provide financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army in
any way,” the statement said.
Look, I know Starbucks is not a Jewish company and that even
though its chairman and president and CEO are all Jewish, namely
Howard, that does mean he needs to support Israel personally or
have his company do so.
But there is just something about this story that makes me very
sad and very sick. That he so went out of his way to disassociate himself from Israel and “its army” is not something I believe any Jew should
do and certainly not one as prominent as Howard Schultz. Yes, famous
Jews have a special obligation to be proud of who they are and to stand
by and with Israel.
Doesn’t mean you have to like or support its politics or its actions.
But I got to tell you this emphasis in the Starbucks statement about
the “Israeli Army” I found especially galling.
I know, I know all those heartbreaking scenes on TV of dead
Palestinian children, women. I am not at all making light of that but
the simple pure truth is those Palestinian children and women are dead
PAG E 1 3
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
Chicago Jewish News - August 15 - 21, 2014
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