To This Week's Issue!

January 16 - 22, 2015/25 Tevet 5775
One Dollar
As Carol Ruderman marks her first year as
director of Shalva, she talks about its mission
to raise awareness about domestic violence
in Chicago’s Jewish community
On King’s birthday,
a Jew remembers
Rabbi Gordon on how
we are all disabled
Joseph Aaron on
embracing good times
What now for French Jews?
Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
After attack, spike in emigration could deplete France’s Jewish community
By Cnaan Liphshiz
PARIS – Taken alone, the
Cacher kosher supermarket near
Paris is nothing that French Jews
haven’t seen before.
Arguably, the 2012 attack
that caught the Toulouse community unprepared was more
traumatic because children were
killed. And the 1982 attack on
the Goldenberg Jewish restaurant in Paris was deadlier than
the supermarket attack and involved more assailants.
Yet the deadly hostage siege
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at Hyper Cacher, which came
amid a dramatic increase in attacks on French Jews, may
nonetheless be the watershed
moment that changes the community’s dynamics for the foreseeable future. That’s because it
compounds the problems that are
already depleting the community’s ranks.
“These events are having
such a profound effect because
they target people who go to synagogue and eat kosher – the
group that in France is simultaneously the beating heart of the
community and the population
likeliest to leave for Israel because of its Zionist attachment,”
said Avi Zana, director of the Israel-based Ami Israel association,
which facilitates aliyah from
France has Europe’s largest
Jewish community, with any-
New French immigrants to Israel seen during a welcome ceremony at
the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem. (JTA)
where from 500,000 to 600,000
members. Most live in Paris and
are Sephardic, and about half belong to some Jewish social or re-
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ligious framework. Community
life is robust, and the country has
hundreds of Jewish schools.
But a number of coinciding
factors – including attacks by Islamists with combat experience
gained in the Middle East, the
French far right’s rising popularity, economic stagnation and an
increase in taxation – is creating
record levels of Jewish immigration to Israel and elsewhere.
Last year, a record number of
French Jews – more than 7,000,
twice as many as the previous
year and three times as many as
in 2012 – moved to Israel.
Before the attack on Hyper
Cacher, where an Islamist killed
four Jews, the Jewish Agency estimated that 2015 would bring
10,000 French Jews to Israel. But
the attack will require a reassessment, Jewish Agency Chairman
Natan Sharansky said. Moshe
Sebbag, the rabbi of the Grand
Synagogue of Paris, said he expected 15,000 French newcomers to Israel this year.
The rise in French aliyah –
Hebrew for immigrating to Israel
under its law of return for Jews –
can be tied at least in part to last
summer, when several French
synagogues and Jewish shops
were attacked during demonstrations against the Gaza war.
“We may well see 30,000
Jews from that group leave for Israel in the coming three years,
and that would mean the departure of 15 to 20 percent of the affiliated community,” Zana said.
“This has the potential, unfortunately, of considerably weakening some of the community’s
institutions. The community
needs to prepare for it.”
Daniel Benhaim, the Jewish
Agency’s chief envoy to France,
speaks of 50,000 Jews who are
expected to move to Israel by
“In an affiliated community
of 200,000, that’s already a critical mass whose departure will
deeply impact the internal dynamics remaining community,”
he said, referring to Jews who are
somewhat observant and attend
PAG E 1 0
Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
Pursuing justice in Alabama: Recalling rough summer of ‘65
By Edmon J. Rodman
How big of a “We” were the
Jews in “We shall overcome”?
Since the nationwide release
of “Selma” a week before the national holiday commemorating
the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.,
I have wondered about the extent of Jewish participation in
the civil rights movement. Was
it just the Selma marches? Was
our support also financial, in the
voting booth? Or something
Albert Vorspan and David
Saperstein concluded in their
1998 book “Jewish Dimensions
of Social Justice: Tough Moral
Choices of Our Time” that “Jews
served in the forefront of the
fight to end racial segregation in
education, public accommodations and voting.” But wanting
to hear it from someone who was
actually in the “forefront,” I
spoke with a Jewish recruit in the
David Sookne may not
sound like someone who served
on the front lines of our nation’s
battle for civil rights. The semiretired mathematician and computer programmer is exacting in
speech and even tempered.
He’s also blessed with an excellent memory: Sookne can
name the people in the Roosevelt administration down to
the level of the undersecretary.
So he vividly recalls his
seven weeks spent in Alabama’s
rural Crenshaw County as a foot
soldier in the voter registration
campaign for blacks organized by
King through the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference. It was the summer of 1965
– after the Selma marches but
before the passage of the Voting
Rights Act that would be one of
their outcomes.
Sookne, then 22 and enrolled in a doctoral program in in
theoretical mathematics at the
University of Chicago, signed up
after following the news stories
about the Freedom Riders and
Freedom Summer – a campaign
to register black voters in Missis-
sippi in 1964 in which several
supporters and volunteers were
murdered, including two young
Jewish men.
After first driving home to
Springfield, Md. – his parents
didn’t want him to go – he
headed for Atlanta.
Sookne had already had his
first taste of the risks involved
with working for civil rights.
During spring break in ‘65,
he was among three dozen University of Chicago student volunteers in Somerville, Tenn.,
helping to build a structure to be
used as a meeting place for voting rights activities.
In the local home of the organizer, John McFerren, who was
black and a World War II veteran, Sookne heard a car pull up
outside, a “pop-pop-pop” and the
car pulling away.
“McFerren went to the living room wall and pulled something out,” Sookne recalled. It
was a bullet from “a .22,” he recalled McFerren saying.
“‘They are just trying to
scare us,’” McFerren said, according to Sookne. “If they were
trying to kill us, they would use
something bigger.’”
“That was my introduction
to the danger of voter registration,” Sookne said.As part of the
training in Atlanta, Sookne and
hundreds of volunteers heard
King speak, as well as Bayard
Rustin, a pacifist and civil rights
leader. He also went through
about a weeklong training session that would help prepare him
for the domestic battle ahead.
“We practiced various things
like not reacting to insults,” said
Sookne, who had a student deferment from service in the Vietnam War. “We also practiced
curling up on the ground, protecting vital organs in case we
got beaten up.”
At the end of the week, the
volunteers were given their assignments, and Sookne drove his
pale green Volkswagen Beetle in
a caravan that stopped first in
Montgomery, Ala. From there he
drove to the small town of Luverne, where he met up with six
others, including organizer Bruce
Hartford, also Jewish, who had
found the group housing in a
local residence.
Sookne recalled that about
five minutes after they reached
town, they were met by the local
police chief, Harry Raupach.
“He told us to write down
name, address and next of kin,”
Sookne said, “just in case something happened to us.”
He also recalled that Raupach, who was originally from
the North – “and not a Klansman,” Sookne said – saved the
PAG E 1 2
and Jewish Inspiration
Where Scientific
Come Together
Creating a DNA vaccine
for Alzheimer’s disease
is the mission of Dr. Eitan Okun and his team at the Leslie and Susan
Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan
University. By researching why people with Down syndrome are more
prone to getting Alzheimer’s, Dr. Okun is making strides to develop a
vaccine that will prevent Alzheimer’s in this high-risk group. The success
of this project could lead to a general use vaccine.
Dr. Okun is also conducting research to provide a better understanding of
other neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s
disease and ischemic brain stroke.
An ardent Zionist who lives on a kibbutz near the Gaza border, Dr. Okun
says in part his research is driven by fulfilling the mitzvah of honoring
the elderly – and most especially his father, who has dementia. He says,
“It is my hope that by gaining a fuller understanding of what happens to
our brains as we age, we will be able to help more people live fuller, more
cognitively healthy lives.”
To learn more about Dr. Okun’s research to prevent neurodegenerative
diseases, go to or contact Ari Steinberg at
847-423-2270 or at [email protected]
Jewish and Zionist values are central to Bar-Ilan’s initiatives in the
sciences, law, nanotechnology, engineering, business, the humanities
and its Medical School in Safed.
David Sookne, front left, and Bruce Hartford, third from right, in Alabama during a voter registration drive. (JTA)
Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
Jewish News
■ The manager of the Paris kosher supermarket that came
under attack plans to move to Israel, his brother told a German
newspaper. Patrice Oalid, 39, who was shot in the arm and is recovering in the hospital, told his older brother, Joel, that after
barely surviving the attack, and seeing his customers and employees killed, he cannot stay in Paris any longer, Joel Oalid said.
■ An arrest warrant was issued for a man who is believed to
have murdered his mother three years ago in Florida before moving to Israel. Authorities believe that Thomas Gross, 61, who
has dual American-Israeli citizenship, killed his 78-year-old
mother, Ina Gross, in her Lakewood Ranch home on Jan. 9, 2012.
Gross would need to be extradited from Israel to be prosecuted.
The details of the murder are unclear, but the Manatee County
Sheriff’s Office confiscated several towels found near the victim’s
body and a knife from her kitchen as evidence, the Bradenton
Herald reported. Gross’s sister, Ellen Gerth, said her brother will
“now understand he cannot continue to live a life of freedom and
enjoy a life while my young mother was prematurely murdered
because he was a selfish person and a very unhealthy person.”
Gerth said the murder was likely for money. “My brother was unraveling financially, had been unraveling financially for many
years,” she said.
■ The Israeli Foreign ministry is investigating sexual harassment charges at its Los Angeles consulate. According to a report
by the Israeli news site Ynet, an internal report by the ministry
looked into claims that a staffer sexually harassed a colleague.
When threatened with dismissal, the alleged harasser, who is an
HIV-positive U.S. citizen, threatened to sue the consulate on the
grounds of discrimination. According to Ynet, ministry officials
determined that U.S. juries tend to be sympathetic in such suits,
and it could cost the Israeli government millions of dollars. The
ministry is currently negotiating with the employee to terminate
his employment, it said.
■ Twice as many Jewish-Americans identify as Democrats over
Republicans, but the GOP has made strides, according to the latest Gallup polling. The poll showed 61 percent Jewish support for
Democrats and 29 percent for Republicans – marked gains for the
GOP since 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president and
garnered significant Jewish support. In that year, 71 percent of
Jewish respondents leaned Democrat and 22 percent Republican.
Gallup said that the 7 percent hike corresponded with similar
gains for the GOP in the general public, although to a slightly
greater degree among Jews. “As is the case with other Americans, Jewish Americans’ political leanings vary significantly by
religiosity, gender and education,” Gallup said in describing the
results. “Jewish men are more Republican than Jewish women,
highly religious Jews are more Republican than less religious Jews,
and Jews with lower levels of education are more likely to be Republicans than those with more formal education.”
■ The Anne Frank House had a record number of visitors in
2014 – the fifth straight year the Amsterdam museum has set a
new mark. The museum, located at the site where the young diarist hid from the Nazis with her family, had nearly 1.23 million
visitors last year, 32,006 more than in 2013. The majority of the
visitors came from outside the Netherlands. Some 140,000 of the
visitors in 2014 were Dutch.
■ A Polish university will symbolically reinstate 262 doctorates,
mostly of Jewish academics, annulled by the Nazis almost eight
decades ago. The University of Wroclaw, in the Polish city of the
same name, announced that it will restore the degrees at a ceremony. The announcement is somewhat complicated by the fact
that the degrees were issued by a university that no longer exists,
the French news agency AFP reported. Under German rule, the
city and the university had been known under the German name of
Breslau. After World War II ended in 1945, the city became a part
of Poland and the university was dissolved. Its students and teachers became a part of the University of Cologne in Germany, while
the university campus was reorganized as the University of Wroclaw. “It’s a symbolic gesture,” University of Wroclaw spokesman
Jacek Przygodzki told AFP. During the Nazi regime, universities regularly stripped degrees and titles from Jews and other scholars seen
as hostile to the Nazis, and the then-University of Breslau stood
at the forefront of this dubious practice. “By the standards of Germany, Wroclaw University was at the forefront when it came to
withdrawing titles: its senate was extremely zealous,” German historian Kai Kranich said.
Vol. 21 No. 15
Joseph Aaron
Torah Portion
Golda Shira
Teen Summer Programs
Senior Editor/
Israel Correspondent
Pauline Dubkin Yearwood
Managing Editor
Cover Story
Joe Kus
Staff Photographer
Death Notices
Dining Guide
Roberta Chanin
and Associates
Sara Belkov
Steve Goodman
Advertising Account Executives
Denise Plessas Kus
Production Director
Your Money
Kristin Hanson
Accounting Manager/
CJN Classified
By Joseph Aaron
Jacob Reiss
Subscriptions Manager/
Administrative Assistant
Ann Yellon
of blessed memory
Office Manager
Community Calendar
Correction: The photo on the cover of our Jan. 9 issue of Rabbi Debra
Newman Kamin was taken by Lois Bernstein Photography.
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Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
Why did
Cameron Diaz
have a Jewish
By Gabe Friedman
Recently Cameron Diaz
married Benji Madden, the guitarist for the popular punk rock
band Good Charlotte, at her
Beverly Hills home.
In an interesting twist, the
couple had a Jewish ceremony –
despite the fact that neither appears to be Jewish.
Diaz’s father was Cuban, and
her mother has English and German ancestry. Madden, who
started Good Charlotte with his
twin brother Joel, was born to
Robin Madden and Roger
Combs. There is no evidence that
he has any Jewish ancestry.
Furthermore, while some
high-profile celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna have
converted to Judaism or shown interest in Kabbalah, it is not readily
apparent that Diaz and Madden
have done either of these.
So why the Jewish wedding?
US Weekly reported that the
ceremony was complete with
crushed glass, heartfelt chants of
“mazel tov” and even a traditional Yichud ritual, during
which the newlyweds were left
by themselves in a private room
after they said their vows.
One possible clue to a solution could lie in Madden’s middle name, which, according to
his Wikipedia page, is Levi. Perhaps there is some kind of conversion or interest that the
tabloids have missed there.
The other possible phenomenon at work is the Jewish wedding’s transformation into a chic
cultural statement.
Rachel Shukert expands on
this in Tablet:
For the first time in the history of America, Jewishness –
and not just the bagels-and-lox
part – is aspirational. There’s a
Seder in the White House, and
rabbis gave the invocation at the
conventions of both major political parties … Ralph Lauren built
an empire giving us all WASP
anxiety; now the WASPs want to
be Jews.
Cameron Diaz
Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
Torah Portion
Jan. 16
Jan. 23
The first ADA recipient
Like Moses, we
are all disabled
in some fashion
By Rabbi James M. Gordon
Torah Columnist
Torah Portion: Vaera
Exodus 6:2-9:35
On July 26, 1990, President
George H.W. Bush signed into
law the Americans with Disabilities Act. Commonly referred to
as the ADA, this federal legislation prohibits discrimination
against people with disabilities,
in a similar manner as civil rights
laws prohibit discrimination on
the basis of gender, religion, race
and national origin.
Some of the more visible accomplishments of the ADA include public sidewalk curbs that
are now wheelchair accessible,
elevators in multi-storied public
buildings, and telephones that
are specially equipped for hearing-impaired people. Protection
under the ADA is also available
for people with learning and
other cognitive disabilities in educational and work environments, as well as for those with
speech impediments.
If one were to research the
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model for the federal Americans
with Disabilities Act, one would,
in great likelihood, discover that
it is an adaptation of similar legislation found in various (progressive) U.S. states or foreign
countries, or, perhaps, that it was
inspired by a U.S. senator or congresswoman with disabled children. What you will not find is
that it was inspired by and modeled after the world’s first documented act of accommodating
for a person with a disability.
This accommodation enabled a
man to succeed in a professional
role that shaped both Jewish and
world history.
The original model/inspiration for all ADA-type legislation
is found in last week’s Sidra
(Parashat Shmot) and reaffirmed
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in this week’s portion (Parashat
Vaera) when the Almighty recognized Moses’ disability – a
(possible) speech impediment –
and refused to take no for an answer, and then accommodated
Moshe Rabeinu by providing
him with the world’s first press
secretary/spokesman – his older
brother Aaron.
After being rebuffed several
times in an attempt to dodge the
“divine draft” to become the
next leader of B’nei Yisrael (the
Children of Israel), Moses decides to play the “disability card”
by insisting that he is incapable
of fulfilling the duties of this office, because he has a speech impediment: “ … loh ish d’varim
anokh … ki kh’vad peh u-kh’vad
lashon anokhi – I am not a man of
words … but rather I possess a
heavy mouth and heavy tongue.”
(Exodus 4:10)
After denying Moses’ claim,
the Kadosh Baruch Hu concedes
and appoints Aaron as his
spokesman. With Hashem’s guidance, Moses and Aaron are now
able to communicate effectively
in their role as leaders. In Parashat
Vaera (Exodus 6:12), in response
to the Almighty’s command that
he (Moses) speak with Pharaoh
requesting that he free the Israelite slaves, along with articulating one of the 10 Kal
VaChomer’s (a fortioris) in the
Torah, Moses, once again uses
what he perceives as a disability as
a reason why he will not be successful: “Va-ahni ahrahl s’fataim –
and I have uncircumcised lips.”
CHaZal (Our Sages of
Blessed Memory) have used
these two verses to try to properly diagnose Moses’ speech impediment. Based upon Exodus
4:10, some of the interpretations
include that Moses was: (1) a
stutterer (Rashi); (2) unable to
produce all the sounds made with
one’s tongue and lips (Ibn Ezra);
(3) not fluent in Egyptian (Rashbam); (4) not fluent in Hebrew;
(5) not comfortable speaking before royalty (Sforno); (6) not glib
(Onkelos); (7) at such a high
spiritual level that he could not
effectively speak with human beings (cited in the name of Rabbi
Schneur Zalman of Liadi).
Based upon Rashi we learn
that “ahrahl s’fataim – uncircumcised lips” (6:12), means “ahtoom,” that is, “sealed” or
“blocked” lips; it is further related in the name of Rabbi
Yitzchak Karo in his work
“Toldot Yitzchak” that these two
words (“ahrahl s’fataim”) teach us
that Moses was unable to pronounce the labial sounds, as also
mentioned by the Ibn Ezra
Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
It’s real
Lucky man
I must take issue with
Robert Kandelman who, in his
letter to the editor, derided the
claim of global warming.
Yes, today it is about zero degrees outside but the fact is that
average global temperatures have
been steadily rising for quite a
number of years. Glaciers are receding or even disappearing. Ice
floes in the Arctic seas are fewer.
We are suffering more extreme
weather events and finally, I do
believe the global scientists who
have studied and continue to
study global climatology. Even
Tom Skilling agrees with them
and I am sure he knows more
about climate than Kandelman
I read with interest your article on Rabbi Debra Newman
Kamin. I noted that at several
places in the article, the question
of what to call the husband of a female rabbi was mentioned, but
not answered. As a member of
the congregation at the time, and
still, I remember what the answer
to the question was. You call the
husband of a female rabbi “lucky.”
George Blinick
Prospect Heights
Midrashic literature (“Yalkut
Shimoni” 166 & other sources)
attribute the origin of Moses’ disability to an episode when he was
a young child. It is related that
when Moses was a youngster he
was brought before Pharaoh and
tested to see if he, as an “outsider,” would one day pose a
threat to the King. The Pharaoh’s
advisors placed two items in front
of young Moses: a precious stone
(shohahm) and a hot coal. (Some
say that the first object was a
crown, rather than a jewel).
Young Moses started reaching for the precious stone. Realizing that Moses’ life was in
danger, as an agent of the
Almighty, the angel Gabriel
stepped in and moved Moses’
hand away from the shohahm
stone and to the hot coal. Moses
picked up the coal, and like
many children do with almost
any object that they can grasp,
placed it in his mouth. The burning coal injured his lips and
tongue which, in turn, caused a
speech impediment.
No matter whether Moshe
Rabeinu’s speech impediment
was caused by a birth “defect,”
physical injury or was simply a
manifestation of his great humility or discomfort for public
speaking/advocacy, the fact is
that had the Almighty not provided an accommodation for him
(or chose to miraculously heal
Moses before He offered the job
to him), Moses would not have
been able to perform his duties as
the political-spiritual leader of
the Children of Israel. According
to Midrash Tanchuma (Yitro 8),
the Almighty eventually did cure
Moses of his speech impediment
Dr. Lawrence Layfer
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(and all of the Israelites of their
ailments), but not until the time
of Matan Torah (The Giving of
the Torah).
An obvious question is, if
G-d, is omnipotent, why didn’t
He simply cure Moshe Rabeinu’s
speech impediment at the site of
the Burning Bush? Why did the
Almighty insist on “complicating matters” by bringing onboard a spokesperson to aid the
“disabled” Moses?
One of the KBH’s main roles
is to serve as a “father” figure and
parental role model to all individuals and societies. We commonly
refer to G-d as “Av” (father) or
Avinu (our father). It is this Torah
columnist’s opinion that by forcing Moses to accept the reality
that, only with proper accommodation, he would be able to overcome the challenges that his
disability raised, the Almighty
sent a most important message to
parents of all generations as well
as to all civilized societies.
Recognizing that no child is
perfect, and that we are all
“handicapped” in some way, with
some shortcomings actually qualifying as “disabilities” under the
ADA, a responsible parent must
do all that s/he can to help their
child overcome or compensate
for this deficiency, thus clearing
the way for the youngster to mature into a healthy adult who can
fulfill their maximum potential.
May we be blessed to learn
from the Almighty’s “ADA reaction” to Moses’ disability claim,
and become even better – more
accommodating – parents,
grandparents, citizens and community leaders.
Rabbi James M. Gordon,
J.D., is the assistant rabbi of Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation
A.G. Beth Israel (Traditional-Orthodox) in Lincolnwood.
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Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
As Carol Ruderman marks her first year as director of
Shalva, she talks about its mission to raise awareness
about domestic violence in Chicago’s Jewish community
By Pauline Dubkin Yearwood
Managing Editor
A famous football player
knocks his fiancé, now his wife,
unconscious in a casino elevator,
and suddenly domestic violence
is at the top of the news.
To Carol Ruderman, it’s an
old story.
Ruderman is the executive
director of SHALVA, the nearly
30-year-old agency that addresses
domestic abuse in Jewish life
with education, counseling and
As she marks her one-year
anniversary in the position, Ruderman reflects on the past year,
the goals of the agency and how
a brief flurry of headlines – about
Ray Rice and other domestic
abusers – has affected SHALVA,
the oldest independent Jewish
domestic abuse agency in the
United States.
HALVA’s goal remains
the same as always – to
address domestic abuse
in Jewish homes and relationships,” Ruderman said in a recent
phone conversation. “My goal is
to make sure the women who
need our services are getting in
the door. And educating the
community is a top priority.”
SHALVA’s services include
a 24-hour crisis line; culturally
sensitive individual and group
counseling; legal information
and court support when needed;
financial assistance; rabbinical
and community advocacy and
training; referrals to other agencies; and prevention and educational programs.
The crisis line, Ruderman
explains, is answered by a licensed therapist. Most agencies
use an answering service, she
SHALVA doesn’t have a
shelter, but “when somebody
needs a shelter, we make referrals,” she says. “We develop a
safety plan either within the
home or with family and
With domestic violence so
much in the news lately, “I think
it has had an impact,” Ruderman
says. “Outreach is so important,
and it has opened doors for us.
People are more receptive, realizing it’s going on. It has brought
the conversation to a national
More people, she says, are
realizing the importance of domestic abuse education and “not
to blame the victim. There is definitely heightened awareness.
These terrible things are happening, but there is better awareness.”
Barbara Siegel, SHALVA’s
clinical director, agrees.
“Our numbers are higher,
but it doesn’t necessarily mean
it’s because of” increased publicity among celebrities, she said
during a recent phone interview.
“Years ago when Oprah and Dr.
Phil started talking about domestic violence our numbers increased dramatically.”
She attributes the higher
numbers of clients to a generally
increased awareness of domestic
violence in both the Jewish and
general communities.
“I started (at SHALVA) 18
years ago, and if a woman told a
rabbi, or a friend, or her mother
what was going on in the house,
they were told, this is not a big
deal. Today people are saying,
this isn’t OK,” Siegel, who supervises SHALVA’s clinical staff,
says. “I see that shift. I see that
shift with rabbis. Years ago you
couldn’t talk about this, so anything that’s out there has to help
the cause.”
Carol Ruderman
omestic abuse education
and prevention, Ruderman says, starts with an
understanding of just what domestic abuse is (see separate
“It can take many different
forms, and it is not always physical,” she says. “Often it doesn’t
start that way. The earlier people
seek help the better. It’s important to see the warning signs and
understand what they are.”
That’s one reason that
SHALVA offers programs on dating and healthy relationships, to
combat any possible abuse before
it starts.
“It’s important to understand the difference between a
healthy and an abusive relationship. We try and educate as many
people as we can to hear our important messages,” she says.
“If it’s not physical there’s
nothing to point to,” Siegel adds.
“If you tell a friend (about verbal
or emotional abuse) they say, oh
yeah, my husband does that.
Well, not really. People struggle
with what is abuse. What is the
difference between an unhealthy
relationship and an abusive one?
People call us and we say, this is
not abuse. It’s a bad marriage.
The purpose of abuse is to gain
control. But I do think there is
more light on the subject, which
means more chances for there to
be services for women in need.”
uderman has more than
20 years of experience in
the non-profit sector,
getting the public to listen to important messages, as she puts it.
Before joining SHALVA she was
regional director at the American Cancer Society, where she
led the organization’s education
programs, managed patient services and advocacy efforts and
oversaw employee management
Before that she was the costudio director for the Recording
for the Blind and Dyslexic, managing volunteers who recorded
textbooks for those unable to use
standard print materials. She
holds an MBA from the Univer-
sity of Chicago and has served as
vice president of the Jewish
United Fund’s Young Women’s
At SHALVA, meanwhile,
she has big news to announce:
The Jewish Women’s Foundation
of Chicago recently awarded the
largest grant in its history to
SHALVA’s Legal Liaison Program. The $75,000 grant –
$25,000 a year over three years –
helps support a program in which
SHALVA clients, when clinical
staff identifies a need, are referred to a legal liaison.
The liaison explains legal
documents and procedures to the
client, facilitates communication
with the victim’s attorney and
Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
addresses issues such as child custody, bankruptcy and orders of
protection as well as helping to
recruit attorneys to provide pro
bono or affordable legal representation to the client.
Ruderman says that legal issues are a critical need facing
clients. The liaison will provide
outreach and legal education and
“educate people in the legal community about how abusers use
the court system,” she says.
“One of the biggest issues
women face is the legal system,”
Siegel says. “We’re not a divorce
agency. We give information and
they have to make their own
choices” about whether to leave
an abusive relationship. “It’s so
easy to say you should just leave,
get a lawyer. But that’s extremely
costly. Some charge $250 to $500
an hour.”
In addition, she says, “once
you enter into the family court
system, you can be there anywhere from five to eight years.
Some (abusive) men are lawyers
themselves and they represent
themselves. They use the court
system to abuse their wife. They
feel they need to win. Well, nobody wins, especially the children.”
The agency is looking for attorneys who can help clients
with paperwork and related
tasks, she adds.
These services – and all the
others that SHALVA provides –
are free to the client. That’s important because “very often
clients look on paper like they
might have money, but they
don’t, Ruderman says, explaining
that “financial abuse,” one of the
types of abuse SHALVA identifies, “can occur in a wealthy
household where the woman
only has access to a small budget
and it is not enough to cover all
the household expenses.”
Financial abuse, in fact, occurs in 39 percent of cases
SHALVA handles, Ruderman
says. As for the rest, 89 percent
of clients report emotional, verbal or psychological abuse; 47
percent report physical violence,
which can include shoving and
pushing; and 15 percent report
sexual violence.
The financial realm can also
be a kind of barometer to fluctuations in domestic abuse, Siegel
“During the recession we
saw a tremendous increase in
clients. It’s not that a bad economy causes abuse, but if you have
a man who has a propensity to be
abusive, he loses his job, he’s
home all the time, his wife has a
job and he doesn’t ….” she says.
During that recession, “our
numbers were doubling,” Siegel
says. “For a year, two years, it was
really frightening. Many of our
women are educated women. If
they have a job and he doesn’t
can you imagine?”
At the end of the recession,
the number of clients returned to
pre-recession levels, she says.
HALVA provides individual and group counseling – always free of
charge – and, Ruderman says,
“what is unique about us is that
we work with clients for as long
as it takes to do the work they
need to do. There is no limit.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is a systematic pattern of power and
control for the sole purpose of
manipulating a partner in an
intimate relationship. It does
not discriminate, occurring
equally among all sectors of society. It can happen to people
of all racial, religious or socioeconomic groups.
Children who grow up in
an abusive environment may
suffer physically, psychologically, emotionally and/or socially, often repeating the cycle
of abuse.
There are many types of
domestic abuse.
Emotional/Verbal Abuse:
Threats, intimidation, derogatory and humiliating comments, blame, coercion, isolation,
brainwashing, using children as a
weapon, electronic harassment
via e-mail, beepers and/or cell
Economic Abuse:
Control over finances,
minimal access to money, prohibiting employment, control
of spending on household necessities such as food, rent,
monthly bills, school tuition.
Physical Abuse:
Withholding of medication, food, sleep, transportation
or other necessities, physical restraining, hitting, shoving,
kicking, biting, slapping and
choking, destruction of personal property or pets.
Sexual Abuse:
Forcing victims into sexual
activities against his/her will,
harassment, flaunting extramarital affairs, withholding sex
and/or affection, internet infidelity.
Following and/or placing
person under surveillance
thereby causing that person to
be in reasonable apprehension
of immediate or future bodily
harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint.
Abuse is never justified.
If any of these examples
apply to your relationship, call
SHALVA for a free confidential consultation. For more information, call SHALVA,
(773) 583-HOPE (4673).
(Information from SHALVA
Barbara Siegel
Other domestic abuse agencies
have a cap.”
One issue that SHALVA
personnel often confront is what
Ruderman calls “the myth of
abuse in Jewish homes” – that is,
that it doesn’t exist.
“We’ve definitely made
progress there,” Ruderman says.
“I think we’ve done a really good
job. But people can know (that
there is abuse) intellectually but
emotionally they don’t. We have
very educated people coming
here, and sometimes it is very
hard to admit they are being
abused.” She cites the recent case
of a Largo, Fla. woman, Rochelle
Tatrai-Ray, CEO of Gulf Coast
Jewish Family & Community
Services, who was allegedly
killed by her estranged husband.
“There is still education to
be done. There is a lot of selfblame,” she says. “Many Jewish
women are taught they have to
create shalom bayit (peace in the
home) and they feel a sense of
She points out that if you’ve
been in a Chicago-area synagogue – or at least the ladies
room of one – you’ve no doubt
seen SHALVA flyers hanging
from the doors of the stalls, offering information about domestic
“Now we’re putting them in
men’s bathrooms too,” Ruderman says. “We’re known for our
bathroom flyers and we’re always
looking for more places to put
Referrals, she says, come not
only from those who have seen
the flyers but from friends, family members, rabbis and other
clergy. The agency actively works
with rabbis in the community
and has an outreach program
aimed at friends helping friends.
“We have daughters calling for
moms and vice versa,” she says.
The agency also advertises its
services and partners with other
domestic violence agencies.
Clients, Ruderman says,
come from all spectrums of the
Jewish community, fairly evenly
divided among the branches. In
terms of the Orthodox community, that’s new. The agency has
seen a 19 percent increase in that
population since April 2013,
when a government grant allowed the hiring of an Orthodox
outreach coordinator. Ruderman
says she expects that number to
go even higher.
“We haven’t always had so
many Orthodox clients,” Ruderman says. “You have to be culturally sensitive and understand
the special needs of clients, although that’s true across the
board.” SHALVA, she says, was
founded by 12 Orthodox women
and its bylaws are Orthodox. The
23 board members come from
across the Jewish spectrum and
have included men as well as
Siegel praised Chicago’s Orthodox community and beit din
“Chicago is one of the only
(cities) that gets it,” she says.
“We worked with the Chicago
beit din and they were terrific.
Years ago we couldn’t even go
out to speak” because domestic
violence wasn’t talked about.
“That was true of all segments of the Jewish community,”
Siegel says. “This is not a secret
anymore. No one can say it isn’t
happening. That’s a big deal.”
In the future, naturally, “We
want to put ourselves out of business,” Siegel says with a laugh.
More realistically, “we really
need to break the cycle of abuse.
It is learned behavior. Many
women who are in abusive relationships were raised in households where that went on, where
their fathers were abusers. What
is important is breaking that
cycle. We need to educate men
about what abusive behavior is,
how things are supposed to be.
They may not know any differently.”
Alcohol is popularly thought
to play a role in domestic violence
but, Ruderman says, “alcohol does
not cause domestic violence but
episodes will escalate if somebody
is under the influence. Both issues
have to be addressed at the same
time, but it is not a causal factor.”
SHALVA refers men who
are abusers to special programs at
other agencies and does outreach
to men’s groups. In synagogues,
the agency works with bar and
bat mitzvah students and their
parents in coed groups focusing
on healthy relationships.
Siegel says she has several
goals for the coming year. One is
to reach a younger demographic
– women between 25 and 40. “If
they are not affiliated with a synagogue they don’t know who we
are,” she says. “It’s hard to find
areas to do outreach. That’s one
of the new initiatives.”
Another, very important,
Siegel says, is talking to men in
the community. “The only way
this is going to stop is when good
men say, this is enough and step
up to the plate,” she says.
But, with groups like B’nai
B’rith and synagogue men’s clubs
on the decline, it’s difficult to
find groups of men to talk to,
Siegel says. When she and others
do speak to groups of men, they
imagine a scenario in which, for
instance, a man feels uncomfortable with the way a friend is
treating his wife.
“Men are afraid to speak
up,” Siegel says. “What do you
say to someone you are uncomfortable with? We give them a dialogue. We talk about leading by
example, about keeping their
sons and daughters safe. You
wouldn’t want your daughter to
be in (an abusive) situation, and
you wouldn’t want your son to be
an abuser. They are very receptive. The problem is finding
Siegel says she tells them,
“You’re the good guys. How do
we further this?”
Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
Death Notices
Luise Rainer, Jewish Hollywood star
NEW YORK (JTA) – Luise
Rainer, the first actress to win backto-back Academy Awards, died at
her London home. She was 104.
The daughter of a middle-class
Jewish family that later escaped
Nazi Germany, Rainer was born in
Dusseldorf in 1910 and later spent
part of her upbringing in Austria.
In 1935, she sailed to the
United States and starred in her
first Hollywood film, “Escapade.”
She won the Oscar for best actress
in 1936 and 1937 for her roles in
“The Great Ziegfeld” and “The
Good Earth” respectively.
She quickly became disenchanted with Hollywood and her
success. After 1938, she left the
film industry and moved back to
Europe, where she lived until her
death. During World War II, she
appeared at bond rallies in the
United States and entertained Allied troops in Italy and North
Rainer was the oldest person
alive to have won an Academy
Eleanor Gertler, nee Estrin,
age 92. Beloved wife of the
late Max. Cherished mother
of Martin (Debbie) Gertler
and Elaine Marcus. Dear
bubbie of Emily and Jordan
Gertler, and Allison and
Adam (Amber Williams) Mar-
cus, and great-grandmother
of Ramsey, Lillian and Vange.
Sister-in-law of Jean Kernes.
Dear sister of Clara (the late
Alex) Tobias and the late
Ethel (Moe) Jacobs, Minnie
(Leo) Lavine, Rose (John)
Bernardi, Joe (Zelda) Estrin,
and Jack (Bea) Estrin. Loving
aunt to many nieces and
nephews in Chicago and her
Arrangements by Mitzvah
Memorial Funerals.
Isaacson, Carol. Beloved
wife of 45 years of Dr. Jo
Isaacson. Cherished mother
of Carol (Mark) Barash, Bud
(Robyn) Isaacson, and Elizabeth (Joshua) Cohen. Loving
grandma of Talia and Josh
Barash, Ben (Liz), Megan,
and Lauren Isaacson, Aaron
and Abigail Isaacson, Maya,
Hayle, and Leah Cohen. Devoted daughter of the late
Abe and the late Doris
Schmier. Dear sister of Celia
(the late Peter) Copeland
and the late Marilynn
Collins. Sister in law of Morton Collins. Also survived by
many loving nieces and
nephews. Arrangements by
The Ira Kaufman Chapel in
Southfield, Mi. (248) 5690020. Interment at Beth El
Memorial Park in Livonia,
Ralph J. Pildes, age 100,
beloved husband of the late
Sylvia nee Temkin. Loving father of Michael (Susan)
Pildes, Ellen (Walter Miller)
Antler, Lisa (Michael Sehr)
Pildes, Victor (Anita) Pildes.
Cherished grandfather of
Daniel, Abram, Emma, Gigi
(Ramiro), Gabriel, Ariel, Russell, Jeffrey. Adored greatgrandfather of Carrie. Fond
brother of Annabelle (Morris) Horowitz and the late Eva
(the late Nat) Goldstein, Ruth
(the late Morris) Melnikoff,
and Harriet (the late David)
Lubin. Dearest son of the late
Isadore and Lena Pildes. In
lieu of flowers, remembrances to the Roger Baldwin
Foundation of the ACLU: 180
N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL
60601 would be appreciated.
Arrangements by Mitzvah
Memorial Funerals.
Jewish institutions.
In parallel to the increase in
aliyah, there has been in recent
years an increase in emigration
by French Jews to Canada and
the United States, Zana said.
“There are not statistics on
that movement, but it is definitely significantly smaller than
the movement to Israel,” he
Schools are a major concern
pushing Jewish parents to make
aliyah, according to Zana.
“On the one hand, parents
increasingly are apprehensive
about enrolling their children in
public schools because of rampant anti-Semitism there,” he
said. “On the other, they are
afraid to put them in Jewish
schools because they are targets
for attacks. So Israel seems like a
good choice.”
Yvan Lellouche, a Jewish
grandfather who is seeking to
make aliyah in the coming
months, said that he fears for the
15 children from his extended
family who attend a Jewish
school near Hyper Cacher.
“Every minute they are
there, I fear for their safety. I fear
for my safety as well,” he said.
Speaking at the Knesset,
Joel Mergui, president of French
Jewry’s religious affairs organ, the
Consistoire, said children are
likewise frightened.
“It is hard to describe how
afraid our children are to go to
Jewish schools in France,” he
Some Paris Jews are feeling
the aliyah-related depletion already in their own synagogues,
including Bernard Mouchi, president of the Jewish community of
Courneuve – an impoverished
and heavily Muslim suburb of
“Fifteen years ago this was a
large Jewish community of over
1,000 families,” he said at his
synagogue, where 30 men congregated on Saturday evening
under police protection. “Now
there are 100 families, and we are
actually a community of pensioners.”
“Many made aliyah,” Mouchi
said. “Others left for safer areas
around Paris.”
In light of this phenomenon generally, Chlomik Zenouda,
vice president of France’s National Bureau for Vigilance
Against Anti-Semitism, said,
“The community will need strong
leaders who will know how to
downsize the community’s institutions and basically shut it
Meanwhile, the accumulation of French-speaking Jews in
Israel is creating a snowball effect
because it is drawing newcomers
to join friends and family who
left while reassuring them of a social infrastructure that would facilitate
according to Karin Amit, a researcher with the Ruppin Academic Center’s Institute for
Immigration and Social Integration who has studied French
“There seems to be a momentum for aliyah that is fueling
itself in a way within the Jewish
community of France,” said
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Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
Your Money
Money and happiness
By Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
Los Angeles Jewish Journal
Let’s start with an old question: can money buy happiness?
Few would argue that money has
no impact upon their day-to-day
contentment. Who among us
doesn’t long for more leisure
time, property, and financial security? Most research and philosophy, however, does not support
the proposition that the mere accrual of vast sums of wealth
would simply make one happy
and fulfilled.
Daniel Kahneman, the
famed Israeli-American psychologist and Nobel Prize winner in
economics, wrote: The belief
that high income is associated
with good mood is widespread
but mostly illusory. People with
above-average income are relatively satisfied with their lives
but are barely happier than others in moment-to-moment experience, tend to be more tense,
and do not spend more time in
particularly enjoyable activities.
Moreover, the effect of income on life satisfaction seems to
be transient. We argue that people exaggerate the contribution
of income to happiness because
they focus in part, on conventional achievements when evaluating their life or the lives of
Kahneman developed the
concept of focusing illusion to
explain this behavior. He suggested that when an individual
considers the importance of a
single factor upon his happiness,
that person tends to greatly exaggerate the weight of that factor, neglecting to consider
numerous other factors that contribute to happiness. Kahneman
concludes, “… Happiness depends on other factors more than
it depends on income.”
In “Zen and the Art of Making a Living,” Laurence G. Boldt
wrote, “Society tells us the only
thing that matters is matter – the
only things that count are the
things that can be counted.” It is
the intangibles, the content of
the mind, heart, and soul that
truly last with us.
We have
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Tal Ben Shahar, a prominent psychologist researching
happiness, reports a significant
shift in the way that young college students prioritize their
goals: In 1968, college freshmen
were asked what their personal
goals were: 41 percent wanted to
make a lot of money, and 83 percent wanted to develop a meaningful philosophy of life. The
pattern was significantly different in 1997, when 75 percent of
freshman said their goal was to
be very well off financially, and
41 percent wanted to develop a
meaningful philosophy of life.”
This shocking research is evidence that this generation’s
young people have become
largely preoccupied with, and
value, the attainment of personal
wealth much more so than previous generations. This valuation
of money and level of disregard
(over time) of developing a
meaningful philosophy of life
should warrant concern as we
have come to an understanding
of the ill effects of single-minded
pursuit of money has on society.
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Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife illustrates just
how terrible the consequences of
an insatiable pursuit of money
can truly be. A one-time chairman of the Republican Governors
candidate for the Vice Presidency in 2012 (and a possible future Presidential candidate),
Governor McDonnell was found
guilty of federal corruption
charges that he and his wife accepted more than $165,000 in
gifts (including trips on a private
jet, a Ferrari auto, and a Rolex
watch, along with lucrative
shopping trips for his wife) from
a diet supplement business owner
who used the gifts to extract endorsements from the couple. Remarkably, the defense strategy
was to allege that the couple had
a failed marriage, and thus they
were incapable of conspiring to
accept gifts together, a charge
that has been refuted by several
members of the former governor
and his wife’s staff. That the McDonnells would literally jettison
their marriage for the sake of a
legal defense indicates the corrosiveness of their unbridled and
insatiable greed.
However, the type of behavior exhibited by the McDonells
shouldn’t be particularly surprising, as research tends to support
the debasing effect of money on
one’s character. According to social
Lehmiller, “Wealthier people engage in more dishonest and unethical behavior, and these traits
may follow them into the bedroom. In fact, research has found
that power and wealth are linked
to a higher likelihood of infidelity.”
Former Governor McDonnell would have done well to
heed the words of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt, who won
an unprecedented four consecutive Presidential elections (to put
that achievement in perspective,
neither major party has won four
consecutive Presidential elections since then). A wealthy
man, Roosevelt nevertheless
used his immense talents to
enact the reforms of the New
Deal. He once said: “Happiness
is not in the mere possession of
money; it lies in the joy of
achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” Our character is revealed by what brings us
Let us remember these
words as we pursues a more equitable outlook on our financial
considerations. Let us find the
deep joy hidden within the most
meaningful treasures in our
group more than once from being
beaten up.
Knocking on people’s doors
at a time when the passage of the
Voting Rights Act seemed imminent – the law would make registration easier – made signing up
voters a hard sell. So the group
members turned their efforts toward another goal: integrating
local restaurants.
In the town of Brantley, they
ran into trouble.
“They didn’t want their allwhite restaurants integrated,”
Sookne said.
At a nonviolence training
session on a ball field there, he
recalled “three carloads of young
men in their late teens and 20s”
pulling up, with perhaps five of
them getting out.
“They told us we better get
out of Brantley or they would
beat us up,” Sookne said.
Hartford, who was also present, has written that the locals –
he refers to them as “All Klan” –
had “ax handles and chains and
Sookne said the volunteers
made a dash for his VW.
On the highway trying to
make it back to Luverne, he
could see that two cars were in
close pursuit, with perhaps others farther behind. When the
highway widened a few miles before the relative safety of Luverne, Sookne recalled one of
the cars passing, pulling in front
and boxing him in.
“We slowed to about 25
miles per hour,” Sookne said.
He took a turnoff and veered
left “onto a winding gravel road
where the VW had an advantage.” His car pulled ahead, but
turning onto a second highway
to Luverne, the Klansmen were
still in pursuit.
Suddenly, Hartford recalled,
a couple of cars “filled with black
men armed with shotguns” got
between the VW and its pursuers. Hartford, who was in the
car, believes some people in
Brantley had called them about
the situation.
“They escorted us back into
Luverne. The Klan didn’t want
to mess with them,” Hartford
In the fall, back at college,
Sookne received a letter from
King sent to all the SCLC volunteers – 20 to 30 percent of
whom were Jewish, both Sookne
and Hartford estimate.
“It is a rare privilege in life
to participate in the fulfillment
of an idea whose time has come,”
the letter began.
For Sookne it was also a way,
he said, of expressing “Tzedek,
tzedek tirdoff” – “Justice, justice
you shall pursue.” Even if, as it
turned out, he was also being
Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
By Joseph Aaron
Jews are secure and free and can live Jewish lives to the fullest. Yes, don’t
be a child, of course, there are those who hate us, those who wish us
ill, those who do us harm, yes, Jews are still being killed for being Jews.
But look at the numbers, look at the reality, look at how many support
us, come to our defense, stand up for us.
We are living in a great time to be Jewish and it is a desecration
of that to take things like the incident in Paris and make of what it is
not, feel threatened, feel that nothing has changed for us, believe we
must focus much on being scared instead of focusing mostly on building Judaism, showing our kids the beauty and wonder and fulfillment
of living Jewish lives. Acting ourselves in a way that embraces being
Jewish, understands how much living an authentic Jewish life adds to
your life, that being Jewish is a source of joy and meaning, not a target painted on your back.
If you don’t see how Jewish life now is so different than what used
to be for us, consider how the French government has reacted to what
took place in that kosher supermarket in Paris.
For most of Jewish history, certainly for the Holocaust, it was governments that turned against us, that went after us, that did nothing
to protect us, that directed the savagery aimed at us.
Not now. French president Francois Hollande went on national
TV after the incident at the supermarket and called it “a “dreadful antiSemitic attack.” He went to a memorial service at a synagogue in Paris
to honor the dead Jews.
France’s prime minister, Manuel Valls, said “France will no longer
be France” if Jews leave the country. The soul of the French republic
would be at risk if there were a mass exodus of Jews from France, he said.
“If 100,000 French people of Spanish origin were to leave, I would
never say that France is not France anymore,” said Valls, who is the son
of Spanish immigrants. “But if 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer
be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”
The third most important figure in the French government, Segolene Royal, flew to Jerusalem to attend the funerals of the four men
killed at the supermarket. In her eulogy, Royal pledged France will not
tolerate anti-Semitism and will “unfailingly” fight it. “Anti-Semitism
has no place in France,” she said.
“I want to assure you of the unfailing determination of the French
government to fight against all forms and acts of anti-Semitism … Each
hit suffered by a Jew is a hit suffered by the French people … It is our
duty to protect the place of the [Jewish] community in our country,”
said Royal. She then awarded the four Jews the Order of the Legion of
Amazing words from the French president, prime minister and
minister. Words never heard during the Holocaust from any government official in any country in the world.
And they offered more than words. They also acted. The government promised to deploy thousands of troops throughout the country to protect shuls, Jewish schools, Jewish neighborhoods. The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said that 4,700 security forces and
police officers would be posted to guard the country’s 700 Jewish
schools and other institutions.
During the Holocaust, throughout our history, governments have
used soldiers and police to persecute Jews. France is using its military
and police officers to protect Jews.
Too many Jewish leaders today, most especially Prime Minister Bibi,
paint such a dark picture of Jewish life, always looking at the negative,
always warning about the catastrophic, always focusing only on the
tragic and scary. Attending the shul ceremony with President Hollande,
Bibi amazingly used the solemn occasion to talk about the threat of Iran
getting nukes, his psychopathic obsession, failing to understand the significance of having a president of France standing beside a prime minister of Israel in a Paris synagogue to memorialize four Jews.
Everything to Bibi is always so bleak, Jews are always in danger,
enemies lurk everywhere, no one in the world seems to care, Israel is
on its own, can only rely on itself.
And so he, of course, opportunistically took what happened in that
kosher supermarket to urge French Jews to move to Israel as soon as possible – before it is too late.
I despise when Israeli officials paint Israel as a place for those running away from danger, as a haven, rather than as a wondrous, spiritual, vibrant place with so much to want to run to, as a home, the Jewish home.
Yes, our hearts break at the loss of Yoav Hattab, Philippe Braham,
Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada of Paris, as they did for Rabbi
Aryeh Kopinsky, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Rabbi Calman
Levine and Rabbi Moshe Twersky of Har Nof, as they did for Gilad
Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel of the West Bank, may all their
memories be for blessing. But in mourning these precious Jewish souls,
we must be very careful not to bury the bright present the Jewish people are living in, the brighter future we should be working to build, under a misguided and wrongheaded sense that the past is alive and well.
It is not, and it’s time the Jewish people learned to embrace and enjoy
the wonderful reality in which we live.
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Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
Vive le Judaisme
The Jewish
News place in
It is not the same.
No, it is not the same. Nowhere close. Nothing like. Completely
Jews are a panicky, neurotic people. And, of course, we have
good cause and much reason to be so. For thousands of years, many
were, in fact, out to get us. Many did, in fact, get us.
When your history is replete with pogroms and expulsions and persecutions, with an Inquisition and a Holocaust, it is no wonder you look
over your shoulder, are hyper attuned to the slightest warning sign.
So there is understandable reason that Jews are as they are. But there
comes a time when, to put it succinctly, we need to snap out of it.
It is, indeed, long past time. The world has completely changed
for Jews. For the better, for the safer, for the more secure. And no, no
other generation of Jews could say that like we can say that.
There is today a powerful state of Israel. Jews play important roles
in all parts of the society of the world’s most powerful country, the
United States. Jews live in freedom and are able to live as Jews in every
corner of the world.
Those are the facts. And we need to remember them at times like
this, after what just happened in Paris. At a time like this it is very easy,
our natural tendency, to think it’s the Holocaust all over again, that
Jews are not safe anywhere, that everyone is out to get us, that nothing for us has really changed.
If you feel that way, you are a Jew living in the past, reacting to what
was for us, not to what is for us. Yes, I know a Muslim animal took over
a kosher supermarket in Paris, just because it was a kosher supermarket,
and that he murdered four Jews inside, just because they were Jews.
Horrible, heartbreaking. But not just like the Holocaust. Not
anything near like the Holocaust. And to think it is is to show both a
stunning ignorance of history and a sick delusion about the present.
In the Holocaust, six million Jewish men, women and children were
systematically murdered. Six million. All the countries of Europe, the governments of Europe turned against the Jews, went after the Jews, while the
countries of the world did nothing to stop it, looked the other way.
That was then. This is now and now is nothing like then.
There are two reasons why it feels so bad now, both the result of
technology. The first is that now we know everything that happens
everywhere in the world immediately. We could sit in Chicago and
hold our smartphones in our hands and connect to a French TV station showing live pictures of the police assault on the supermarket, see
the body of a dead Jew lying near the entrance of the store. We saw it
as it happened.
And so because we get so much information so quickly, things
seem like they are out of control, make us feel overwhelmed and vulnerable. And because of technology, the internet and twitter and
Facebook, we get to know the victims as people, know the names of
the four Jews killed in that store, where they lived, how many kids they
had, what they did for a living. We hear from their wives and fathers
and daughters. It makes it all very personal and so makes it all feel like
the world is indeed out to get the Jews.
In just the last six months or so, we had the kidnapping and murder of those three yeshiva students in the West Bank. And we had the
gruesome butchery of those four rabbis in a shul in Har Nof. And now
we have the execution of those four people doing Shabbat food shopping in a Paris kosher supermarket.
We know all their names, know all their stories. And we know all
the details of how they were killed and why they were killed. And so,
on a kishke level, it feels like the whole world is going after the Jews,
is killing Jews, that Jews everywhere are not safe, that it is like the Holocaust all over again.
But it is not. We need our heads to remind our kishkes of today’s
reality for Jews. Take the incidents I just listed. Altogether, we are talking about 11 dead Jews. Please understand. I am not diminishing the
tragedy of that. As Judaism teaches, each person is considered like a
whole world. And so to lose 11 Jews is no small thing. Especially these
11, all of whom, by all accounts, were amazing Jews. All of whom left
behind grieving wives and parents and children.
My point is to keep perspective. 11 Jews is not six million Jews.
These three incidents, including the latest in Paris, were each perpetrated by one or two barbaric individuals. The Holocaust was the
work of governments and armies and hundreds of thousands as part of
a systematic, sophisticated extermination effort.
This is not another Holocaust and we should not think it is, feel
like it is, react as if it is. We are blessed to be Jews living at a time when
PAG E 1 3
Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
Community Calendar
January 17
Congregation B’nai Tikvah
holds Grandparents Havdalah Service with food,
music and crafts. 5 p.m.,
1558 Wilmot Road, Deerfield. (847) 945-0470.
Congregation Beth Judea
holds Magical Havdalah
Night for children 7 or
younger and their parents
with interactive Magic by
Randy. 6:30 p.m., Route 83
and Hilltop Road, Long
Grove. $5 member family in
advance, $10 non-member
family in advance, $5 additional at door. Registration, or (847) 6340777.
January 22
JCC Chicago’s Theater presents “King Artie and the
Knights of the Rad Table.”
7 p.m., also 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, noon and 2:30
p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25 and
Sunday, Feb. 1, Mayer Kaplan JCC, 5050 Church,
Skokie. $16 adults, $11 ages
7-12, $6 ages 6 and under. or (847)
January 23
Congregation Beth Judea
presents American Jewish
Committee Regional Director Amy Stoken speaking
on “The Rising Tide of
Anti-Semitism” during
Shabbat service. 7:30 p.m.,
Route 83 and Hilltop Road,
Long Grove.
or (847) 634-0777.
January 24
Beth Hillel Congregation
Bnai Emunah holds Camp
Shabbat service led by
teens celebrating Jewish
campers, followed by campthemed Kiddush. Wear your
camp t-shirt. 9:30 a.m.,
3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette. (847) 256-1213.
With the 2016 election heating up and with Republicans controlling the
House and Senate, on Wednesday, Jan. 28, from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.,
North Shore Congregation Israel and Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish
Living, 1185 Sheridan Road in Glencoe, will host a political discussion
with the heads of two major Jewish organizations. Alan Solow, who
was chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and a leading Democratic advocate; and Fred Zeidman, who
was chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and a leader of
the Republican Jewish Coalition, will review the 2014 election and the
political future for the American Jewish community. For more information, visit or call (847) 835-3232.
Beth Hillel Congregation
Bnai Emunah presents Film
Festival Evening featuring
television episode hosted
by Bill Kurtis on notorious
Jewish gangsters in America followed by discussion.
7:30 p.m., 3220 Big Tree
Lane, Wilmette. $10. (847)
January 18
Jewish Child and Family Services presents “Nechama: A
Workshop to Comfort the
Bereaved Among Us” for
the newly bereaved and
their loved ones. 11 a.m.12:30 p.m., North Shore Congregation Israel, 1185
Sheridan Road, Glencoe.
ElizabethCohen or
(847) 745-5404.
Illinois Holocaust Museum
and Education Center
shows film, “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley, the Original Queen of
Comedy.” 1-3 p.m., 9603
Woods Drive, Skokie. Free
with museum admission.
Reservations required,
[email protected]
Continuum Theater presents its first play and new
work, “G-d’s Honest
Truth,” followed by talkback on “The Holocaust in
Jewish life and education –
regaining our balance.” 7
p.m., Temple Chai, 1670
Checker Road, Long Grove.
or (800) 838-3006, Ext. 1.
Park Plaza is expanding and renovating
to accommodate the needs of our growing number of residents:
New synagogue, multi-use room, new spa-like bathrooms,
state-of-the-art physical therapy facility, and a stunning new lobby!
If you are looking for an active, vibrant retirement community
call Yehuda at 773.465.6700.
Park Plaza. Best Independent Living for Active Seniors!
January 19
Jewish Child and Family
Services holds parents support group. 7-8:30 p.m.,
Response Center, 9304
Skokie Blvd., Skokie. $15
couple. [email protected]
or (847) 745-5411.
ing a
6840 N. Sacramento Avenue, Chicago Y Y 773.465.6700
Chicago Jewish News - January 16 - 22, 2015
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