Chicagoan Karen Walanka is working to get Jews to have a better

THE CHICAGO
JEWISH NEWS
February 13 - 19, 2015/25 Shevat 5775
www.chicagojewishnews.com
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ARTmatter
of the
Chicagoan Karen Walanka is working to get Jews
to have a better appreciation of Jewish artists
Aiming to put legalizing pot
on Jewish agenda
Why Jewish families should
vaccinate their kids
Rabbi Bronstein on
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Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Aiming to put marijuana legalization on the Jewish agenda
By Rebecca Spence
JTA
“You know, it’s a funny
thing, every one of the bastards
that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ
is the matter with the Jews, Bob,
what is the matter with them?”
That was President Richard
Nixon speaking to his top aide,
H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, during a
recorded White House meeting
back in 1971.
Fast forward some four
decades, a new nonprofit group
based in Portland, Ore., is hoping to prove Nixon right. Le’Or,
founded about a year ago with
seed funding from Dr. Bronner’s
Magic Soap Company, wants to
convince American Jews that
ending marijuana prohibition belongs on the progressive Jewish
communal agenda alongside
marriage equality and immigration reform.
“Our goal is to erode the
stigma, so that the Jewish community at large can see that supporting marijuana legalization is
not just the right thing to do, it’s
E
the Jewish thing to do,” said Roy
Kaufmann, who founded Le’Or
with his wife, Claire.
The Oregon governor’s
speechwriter by day, the Israeliborn Kaufmann, 36, is a staunch
opponent of America’s decadeslong War on Drugs. Launched by
Nixon in the 1970s and expanded during the Reagan era,
the ongoing drug war has resulted in an unprecedented number of U.S. citizens – and a
disproportionate number of
African-American males – being
sent to prison for drug-related offenses.
Part of the answer, legalization advocates say, is to make
marijuana a controlled substance
on par with alcohol and cigarettes. In November, Oregon,
Alaska and Washington, D.C.,
joined Colorado and Washington state in legalizing recreational cannabis use. The four
states will tax and regulate sales
of the plant, while D.C.’s law,
which sanctioned possession
only, has yet to take effect following a congressional move to
block its implementation.
Meanwhile, medical mari-
juana is now legal in 23 U.S.
states. While cannabis is still
prohibited under federal law, as
the tide shifts toward legalization, even Congress is softening
its stance. Last December’s government spending bill included a
bipartisan amendment that
blocks the U.S. Justice Department from using funds to target
patients or collectives in states
with medical marijuana programs.
The seeds of Le’Or – “to illuminate” in Hebrew – were
planted when the Kaufmanns
began to lament the lack of Jewish communal involvement in
pushing for marijuana legalization.
“There’s a disconnect between the civil rights issue and
the number of Jewish people
who, let’s be honest, enjoy the
cannabis plant,” said Claire
Kaufmann, now a marketing and
branding consultant for the burgeoning cannabis industry. “It
seems to me to be a contradiction.”
Specifically, it outraged the
couple that while white Americans – themselves included –
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Roy and Claire Kaufmann, the founders of the nonprofit Le'Or, with
their children. (JTA)
could casually smoke marijuana
and get away with it, their black
counterparts were far too often
arrested and incarcerated for the
same low-level crime.
A business school graduate
and the mother of three young
children, Kaufmann, 35, said she
never imagined she’d wind up
working in the marijuana industry. The Portland resident became involved, she said, because
of her commitment to drug policy reform, not to reap the kind
of profits that have given rise to
a new crop of cannabis entrepreneurs in what has been dubbed
the “green rush.”
“My real passion is the racial
and economic injustices,” said
Kaufmann. “I see marijuana legalization as the gateway issue to
a much larger and more uncomfortable issue around prison sentencing reform.”
According to the Southern
Povery Law Center, black people
use drugs at about the same rates
as whites but are three to five
times more likely to be arrested
as a result.
In 2012, Roy Kaufmann led
the first campaign to legalize
marijuana in Oregon. He was
struck by how few rabbis and
Jewish communal leaders jumped
on board. After the failed bid, he
turned to Dr. Bronner’s to back
his idea for a Jewish pro-cannabis
group.
Dr. Bronner’s has played a
leading role in hemp and marijuana legalization efforts since
2001, when David Bronner, the
company’s president and grandson of the spiritually minded
German-Jewish
soapmaker,
launched a successful lawsuit
against the Drug Enforcement
Agency to allow hemp imports
into the United States. The
Vista, Calif.-based company uses
non-psychoactive hemp oil imported from Canada in its allnatural line of soaps.
While Bronner, 41, was
raised Protestant, he also grew up
reciting the Jewish Shema prayer
and said he feels a strong connection to his Jewish roots. His
grandfather’s universalist “All-
One” message – touted on famously wacky soap labels with
references to Rabbi Hillel and
Jesus – remains at the core of the
company’s progressive philosophy.
“The major drug reform
groups in the country are already
led by Jews, and they’re doing it
out of a deep-seated commitment
to social justice,” Bronner said.
“Furthermore, Israel has been a
real pioneer in cannabis.”
One of the world’s only
countries with a national medical marijuana program, Israel
has long taken the lead on marijuana research. THC, the psychoactive compound in the
cannabis plant, was first identified in 1964 by Israeli scientist
Raphael Mechoulam, for example. And just this year, an Israeli
research company announced
that it had developed an oral
patch so that medical marijuana
users can ingest the drug without
inhaling smoke.
Bronner himself helped
jump-start Israel’s $40-millionyear medical marijuana industry
more than a decade ago when he
donated $50,000 to the country’s
first dispensary, Tikkun Olam,
which takes its name from the
Jewish mystical tradition of repairing the world. In 2014, the
Magic Soap Company donated
more than $100,000 to both the
Oregon and Alaska legalization
initiatives, and some $250,000 to
the D.C. campaign.
But Bronner’s activism has
been more than monetary. In
2009, he planted hemp seeds in
front of the Drug Enforcement
Agency’s D.C. headquarters to
protest the U.S. ban on hemp
farming, and three years later he
locked himself in a steel cage
with a dozen industrial hemp
plants – they contain only trace
amounts of THC – in front of the
White House.
Last year, President Barack
Obama signed into law a farm
bill that included an amendment
to allow industrial hemp farming
for research purposes. The
SEE MARIJUANA
ON
PAG E 2 0
3
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Netanyahu’s U.S. speech exposes partisan fault lines on Israel
By Ron Kampeas
JTA
WASHINGTON – The
controversy over whether Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to
Congress next month is worrying
pro-Israel Democrats about its
possible impact on the 2016 elections. Even more worrisome,
some Democrats say, are the
voter trends underpinning the
current tensions.
The invitation to Netanyahu made by John Boehner,
the Republican House speaker,
without consulting Democrats or
the White House, and its fallout
have exposed partisan fault lines
on Israel. President Barack
Obama says he will not meet
with Netanyahu during the visit
and some top Democrats are saying they will not attend the
speech.
But shrinking attention
spans mean bad feelings over the
speech will be ancient history by
2016, despite GOP promises to
keep it alive, said Ann Lewis, the
senior adviser to Hillary Rodham
Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign on Jewish and women’s issues.
“I do not think this is a longlasting one,” said Lewis, who is
widely expected to advise the former secretary of state, U.S. senator from New York and first
lady in a 2016 presidential run.
Of greater concern to Lewis, she
said, is the increasing number of
“don’t knows” in surveys of
younger Democrats that include
questions about support for Israel.
“As I’ve looked at those
numbers, I see support among
Republicans has gone up, support
among Democrats has stayed the
same, with a higher number in
the ‘don’t know’ column,” she
said. “That says to me we’ve got a
lot more work to do.”
Obama cited the dangers of
a partisan divide on Israel when
he was asked at a news conference about the speech.
“This isn’t a relationship
founded on affinity between the
Labor Party and the Democratic
Party or the Likud and the Republican Party,” he said. “This is
the U.S.-Israeli relationship that
extends beyond parties and has
to do with that unbreakable
bond we feel and our commitment to Israel’s security. The way
to preserve that is to make sure
that it doesn’t get clouded with
what could be perceived as partisan politics.”
“The reason you look at
polls is to figure out what to do
next,” Lewis said, and what’s
next includes aggressive pro-Israel campaigning among young
progressives.
The bad feelings are becoming somewhat of a partisan matter, with Democratic leaders in
Congress saying the speech is a
bad idea. Some top Democrats,
including Vice President Joe
Biden, Sen. Patrick Leahy (DVt.), the top Democrat on the
Judiciary Committee, and Rep.
James Clyburne (D-S.C.), the
third-ranked Democrat in the
House, as well as prominent
members of the Congressional
Black and Hispanic Caucuses,
are vowing not attend.
At the same time, Republi-
Benjamin Netanyahu
cans are gearing up to count
heads at the speech and campaign against Democrats who
don’t show.
“If these Democrats would
rather put partisan politics ahead
of principle and walk out on the
prime minister of Israel, then we
have an obligation to make that
known,” Matt Brooks, who directs the Republican Jewish
Coalition, said.
Boehner invited Netanyahu
to address Congress a reprisal, in
part, for Obama’s support for nuclear talks with Iran without
consulting the White House, a
breach of protocol, or Democrats,
a departure from tradition.
Tamara Coffman Wittes, director of the Center of Middle East
Policy at the Brookings Institution, said support for Israel was
increasingly contingent on
worldviews that divided along
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Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Contents
Jewish News
■ A Polish federation of strongmen announced its partnership
with an organization whose work includes moving and preserving
Jewish headstones. The cooperation between the From the
Depths commemoration group and the Polish Strongman Federation began last year, when two of the sport club’s athletes helped
move two headstones from the garden of a resident of Warsaw.
During and after the Holocaust, countless Jewish headstones were
used in Poland for construction, pavement and even decoration.
Some of those headstones – many of them dilapidated or brittle
– are inaccessible by vehicles, making manual lifting the safest
and most practical way of moving them to a place where they can
be loaded onto a vehicle to be transported to the Jewish cemetery,
where they were taken or to another cemetery. Several strongmen will assist From the Depths this year to return dozens of Jewish headstones that were used to build a river dam.
■ An official in a militia organized by Iraq’s Yazidi minority has
issued a public call for Israeli assistance. Lt. Col. Lukman
Ibrahim, speaking to Al-Monitor, said the militia needs weapons
and aid, and would like Israeli assistance so it can fight Islamic
State, or ISIS. He said the Yazidis support Israel and fight similar
enemies. Israel has yet to respond to the Yazidi request. The militia, with 12,000 members, was organized to defend against ISIS,
which has persecuted and killed the minority since capturing
Yazidi cities last year. Most of the fighters are untrained. “We appeal to the Israeli government and its leader to step in and help
this nation, which loves the Jewish people,” Ibrahim was quoted
as saying by Al-Monitor. “In the Holocaust, the goal was to annihilate an entire people, the Jews. IS has a similar plan – to exterminate an entire people, the Yazidis.”
■ The Washington synagogue that dismissed Rabbi Barry Freundel after he was charged with voyeurism is trying to evict him
from his synagogue-owned residence. Kesher Israel launched a
case with the Beit Din of America to oust Freundel, who was arrested in October on charges that he spied on women, among
them his students and converts, who used a ritual bath adjacent
to the Orthodox synagogue. “We were informed in late December that Rabbi Freundel did not have plans to leave the house,”
Elanit Jakabovics, the president of Kesher Israel, said in an email
to congregants. “So, we began informal conversations to resolve
this issue with Rabbi Freundel and his attorney, but to no avail.”
JTA
THE CHICAGO
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Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Point of View
Why Jewish families should vaccinate their kids
By Jamie Rubin
Kveller via JTA
Since the news of the recent Disneyland measles outbreak and the subsequent chatter
on Facebook began, I discovered
I have at least four Facebook
friends (and likely a few more)
with healthy, non-immunocompromised, vaccine-aged children
who have decided, for non-medical reasons, to not vaccinate.
For some of these friends
and acquaintances, the news was
not surprising considering their
views on other issues. With one
friend in particular, though, it
felt like a betrayal, one that I just
can’t get past. Here this person
was, in my community, in my
home, and I never knew how
they felt and what steps they
were taking to separate themselves from the herd. I spent
some time thinking and talking
about it with another friend and
realized one of the major reasons
it bothered me so much is because this family is Jewish.
I naively assumed Jews always vaccinate for lots of reasons
– we are a religion that values
life, after all. Many of us are doctors, and there is no question in
the medical community that vaccinating is the right choice for
healthy children and in the best
interest of everyone’s public
health. We are also known to
have champion hypochondriacs
among us (certain “Jewish
mother” stereotypes come to
mind) who won’t leave much to
chance if there is the promise of
a cure or a preventative measure
for just about anything.
But mostly I assumed Jewish
parents vaccinated because we
have, more than many other
groups of people, a deep sense of
community within us. We are the
people who don’t let mourners
mourn alone. We don’t even let
dead bodies rest in solitude until
after they are buried. The first
Jews to come to America in the
late 19th century set up the Hebrew Free Loan Society, which
still operates today. Our food
banks feed our neighbors, Jewish
or not. For a Jew, being communal is not an option, it’s an obligation. We can’t even have
a minyan unless 10 of us are
there. We are a group of people
who Show Up.
I see childhood immunizations through this same communal lens: Just as I pay my taxes for
the good of the community, save
water during a drought or don’t
get behind the wheel if I’m
drunk, I vaccinate my kids not
just to protect them but to cover
yours, too. I always assumed my
fellow Jews were naturally inclined to do the same for me.
And we’re not just doing it for
each other either, we are doing it
for those who can’t. I’m doing it
for my relative who is immunosuppressed. And for my neighbor’s newborn twins. And for the
stranger at Target on her third
round of chemo.
I get so frustrated when parents say, “This is a personal decision we are making for our
family.” It’s not. Unlike the epic
debates about co-sleeping vs.
sleep training or formula vs.
breast milk, this is one of the
only parenting decisions that actually effects everybody. It is not
a personal decision, it is a public
health decision, and I don’t
think we can be reminded of that
enough. Your choice to take the
risk that your kid can ride out a
case of the measles unscathed
means you are making that
choice for dozens of other people
your child comes in contact
with. Unless you move into a
cave or to a private island, there
is no escaping community; we
are all in this together.
I can no longer say nothing,
and I’m tired of accommodating
people who are offended by the
views of the entire medical community. There is a place where
personal freedom ends and public safety for the entire population begins.
I don’t like to judge other
people’s parenting decisions, but
when it comes to vaccines I have
no choice. Just as I would speak up
if someone in my community
posted a homophobic rant or used
a racist slur, I have started to speak
up about this among my Jewish
friends and now to the world at
large. As far as I am concerned, the
anti-vax position is indefensible. If
you’re a Jew with no medical reason to not vaccinate your children,
you are forgetting how connected
we all are to one another and
that it’s our responsibility to consider the community when we
consider ourselves.
Just as we are obligated to
celebrate in each other’s joys, we
are commanded to care for and
protect each other, too. This isn’t
just about you.
As a former U.S. Ambassador to the United
Nations (2005-2006) and a regular contributor to major news organizations, John Bolton
has continuously been one of the strongest
supporters of the State of Israel and often the
lone voice of reason in a tumultuous region.
He is uniquely qualified to share his opinions
and thoughts about the continued conflicts
Israel endures and how the US can best support the Jewish nation.
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Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Speech
CONTINUED
F RO M PAG E
3
party lines.
“You do see an increasing
partisan gap on that issue that’s
rooted in populations in the
United States, those that tend to
vote more heavily Republican
evangelicals and those that tend
to vote more heavily Democrat
blacks and Hispanics,” said
Wittes, who was deputy assistant
secretary of state for Near Eastern
affairs in Obama’s first term.
The evangelical community
tends to take a more hawkish ap-
proach to Israel policy. Meanwhile, said Wittes, “blacks and
Hispanics, who are an increasingly important base for the
Democratic Party, tend to look
at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
more through a human rights
lens and that tends to make them
more interested in seeing the
United States look for a compromise.”
But she noted that it would
take “some time” for the trends
to manifest into electoral politics.
“I would not draw a direct
line between this Boehner
speech issue and what’s going to
happen in 2016 elections,”
Wittes said.
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Torah Portion
Being there
A simple phrase
can be fraught
with meaning
By Rabbi Herbert Bronstein
Torah Columnist
Torah Portion: Mishpatim
Exodus 21.1-24
“Ascend up unto Me on the
mountain and be there!” (Exodus 24.12)
At times we have all been at
elaborate social events, “fancy”
parties at which there were a lot
of people around, but very few, if
any really, really there! If that
sounds contradictory, did the
thought ever enter your mind
that at some such gatherings people were not being their own real
relaxed spontaneous selves, but
rather putting on an act? Has the
thought ever even fluttered
through your own mind as you
were entering such a party, “How
shall I behave, how shall I present myself? What manner should
I put on in this particular group?”
As if one’s own person was a
show? A mask?
In this respect, I once saw a
cartoon in which two persons are
depicted who are actually standing right next to each other back
to back faced away from each
other but wearing masks on the
back of their heads, which are
facing one another and smiling.
Or for that matter, you may have
had the experience of being apparently engaged in conversation
with another person who is at
the same time glancing over your
shoulder scanning the group for
other people?
Such thoughts came into my
mind when I came across a seemingly negligible phrase in the
Torah portion, Mishpatim. At
first, it seemed superfluous because it added nothing at all to
the content of the passage. Here
is the sentence: “Ascend up unto
Me on the mountain and be
there!” (Ex. 24.12)
Why the phrase “be there”?
Obviously, G-d’s instruction to
Moses is “go up on the mountain”
– fine! It seems superfluous, even,
forgive me, stupid some might say,
to add the phrase “be there.” If he
gets to the top of the mountain,
obviously he is there. But mindful
of the ancient rabbinic dictum
that there is no sentence, no
phrase, even no word that is extra
in the Torah but is meant to express some additional, even important meaning, I took another
look at the seemingly superfluous
phrase, “be there.”
The Hebrew phrase that
seems superfluous can only be
Rabbi Herbert Bronstein
translated “be there.” It cannot
mean anything else. Yet translators, perhaps so worried that the
phrase is obviously superfluous,
have translated it differently
from its plain meaning “be
there.” One translator has it as
“stay there,” another, “remain
there”; one goes so far as to translate the simple phrase “while you
are there.
Only the original Jewish
Publication Society Hertz translation sticks to the only possible
real meaning: “And be there!”
Pondering all of this I came
across a simple yet profound
commentary by the Chasidic
master Menachem Mendel of
Kotzk (1787-1859). Considering
the increasing recognition over
the years of his uncompromising
concentration on the philosophic materialism and hyper-individualism of modernity, his
views cannot be disregarded.
His comment on “be there”
is seemingly simple and yet profound: “At first there seems to be
a difficult contradiction (in this
phrase). If Moses has gone up the
mountain, then of course he is
obviously there. Why the additional phrase, even the strong
emphasis on the words: and be
there. (The Torah intends) from
this emphasis that even though a
person may exert great strength
and effort in ascending to a
height, that once he has
achieved this, he is not there at
all. He indeed stands physically
at the top of mountain but his
head is occupied elsewhere. The
main point is not just the ascent
but being fully present in whatever you are doing and not ‘being
in two places’ – up and down, at
the same time.”
So much for modern multitasking!
We can also understand the
meaning of the importance of
the seemingly negligible phrase
“be there” through a current popular spiritual teaching. An item
in popular contemporary religious spirituality, which derives
from a Buddhist tradition, “right
mindfulness,” has become a very
popular cultural item in our time,
either as a meditative teaching
for the improvement of one’s personhood or as a therapeutic approach to increased mental
health.
The idea is that each and
every moment in whatever each
of us is doing we should endeavor
to be fully aware, fully present in
each and every act, whether
walking in nature, in meditative
contemplation or, as a Zen saying
goes, “washing the dishes.” In
this approach we find a parallel
reverberation of the rabbi of
Kotzk’s interpretation of “be
there.”
But we find it already in the
teaching of much more ancient
Jewish rabbinic teaching. We
should, of course, endeavor to
regularly live a life of order in religious observance. Prayer, for example. We should have ordered
prayer in our lives as with other
regular Jewish observance. Just
because it should be regular, in
order, set, this regular practice of
Jewish observance is called
“kevah” or “regular,” “set. But it
should not be done without
“kavvanah,” feeling, devotion,
with the fullness of one’s presence. The ancient rabbi Shimon
ben N’tan’el had long ago said,
“Be careful to fulfill the mitzvah
of saying the daily shema and
tefilah. But do not make it
merely perfunctory but a devoted
act, a heartfelt plea for mercy and
grace from G-d.” (Pirke Avot).
Just one more story to emphasize the point: The great
Chasidic Rabbi Levi-Yitchak of
Berditchev (1740-1814) came
over to certain persons at the end
of the Amidah section of worship, which is prayed individually
and quietly, and said to one of
them
enthusiastically
and
warmly, “Welcome back!” and to
another “Well! Hello again!”
When asked to explain this
seemingly bizarre behavior, the
rabbi answered: “I sensed that
during the Silent Prayer you
weren’t really here. You went
through the prayers but you were
really in the marketplace wondering how each of the goods in
your store were selling. When
you returned at the end of the
prayer, I greeted you back! To the
second person he said: And you
were off at the seaport wondering
if your agents were taking good
care of your shipment and negotiating the best price. And then
at the end of the prayer, you
came back and I did the courteous thing, as I should, welcoming
you warmly back to our group.”
Rabbi Herbert Bronstein is
senior scholar and rabbi emeritus of
North Shore Congregation Israel
(Reform) in Glencoe.
7
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
THEMaven
Chicago Jewish News
JEWS IN THE NEWS…
Ellen B. Carmell
■ Ellen B. Carmell has been
named executive director of the
Jewish Women’s Foundation of
Metropolitan Chicago.
“Ellen is a wonderful match
for JWF, which has grown into
one of the preeminent Jewish
women’s foundations in the
country,” said foundation board
chair Gerri Kahnweiler. “She
has a long commitment to a
wide range of Jewish communal
efforts, and a strong focus on advocacy to further social change
and strengthen families and
communities. She is a recognized leader, both locally and
nationally, and is skilled at
working collaboratively to accomplish programmatic goals.”
“I’m thrilled about this opportunity,” Carmell said, “because the mission of the Jewish
Women’s Foundation resonates
with me on many levels, both
personally and professionally.
I’m particularly drawn to this
unique model of social-change
philanthropy as a means to positively impact the lives of Jewish
women and girls.”
Since its founding in 1997,
the foundation has raised a
pledged endowment of over
$8.6 million, and awarded more
than $2.6 million to 134 projects.
■ Elly Bauman is the new executive director of Beth Hillel
Elly Bauman
Congregation Bnai Emunah.
■ Chicago, that super sports
town, has produced two new
star athletes.
Shlomit Braun and Rita
Gordon, both graduates of Ida
Crown Jewish Academy who
now play for Yeshiva University in New York, have been
named to the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic All-Conference Team for the 2014
soccer season.
Braun, a Skokie native and
senior at Yeshiva’s Stern College for Women, “had a solid
season for the Maccabees,” the
women’s soccer team, according
to a conference announcement.
She helped the team earn a
place in the 2014 conference
women’s soccer playoffs, netting
one goal in each of four games
and an assist in one.
Gordon, also a senior who
will graduate next January, is a
first-year member of the team,
switching this year from her former sport of basketball. She
“played tenacious defense all
season” and netted the team’s
final goal of the year in its season finale win. Gordon is a native of Lincolnwood.
The two women, who are
roommates at college, said during a joint telephone interview
that much credit for the team’s
stellar performance must go to
their coach, Gabe Haber, and
the closeness and coordination
of their teammates.
“I’ve been playing soccer
since I was five years old. It’s
one of the reasons why I came
to Stern, to play soccer,” Braun
says. “This year I felt like our
coach made us all feel special
and helped us to show our real
talent. Playing soccer is my life.
The recognition she and
Gordon gained throughout the
year was a sweet reward for hard
work, she says.
“It feels good to finally be
recognized my last year at Stern
and throughout the season, and
to see my roommate recognized,” she says. “With all the
time we put in – we practiced
every single night – it feels very
good to finally be appreciated.”
“For me, it shows the quality of the coach,” Gordon says.
“Coming from a different sport,
switching to soccer, he was able
to fit my unique way of playing
and personality and put it directly into the sport in the most
positive way. I was able to be
recognized for my talents, which
was really nice,” she says of the
All-Conference honors.
Both women played soccer
at Ida Crown, but Gordon concentrated more on basketball.
She switched to soccer this year
without playing or traveling on
Friday nights or Saturdays.
Far more important, they
say, is the bond they have
formed with their teammates.
“We’re a very close-knit
team,” Braun says. “We talk
every single day and we’re always there for each other.
Rita Gordon
Shlomit Braun
because, she says, “basketball
just wasn’t working out on the
court anymore. But I still believed in the idea of a team,
what a team does for a person. I
have a strong belief in a team
and wanted to be part of a team.
It helps out with time management and everything else.”
She decided to try out for
soccer and, she says, “Thank G-d
it was a very very good decision.”
She will play on the team again
during the fall season.
Braun, who graduated from
Stern this year, will follow her
plans to become a child life specialist, working with terminally
ill children and other children
with cancer.
“But I still have plans for
soccer,” she says. “I want to
continue playing, maybe be a
coach. I don’t want to give it
up; it’s part of who I am. My
whole family plays – one of my
sisters is on the team with me –
and it’s really nice.”
Gordon, who is majoring in
psychology and biology, plans to
study physical therapy, which
means three years of grad
school.
Reflecting on their stellar
soccer year, both women say
that not being able to play on
Shabbat has not had an adverse
affect on their team. The schedule is planned far in advance,
they say, and allows the team to
get in all the required games
CHICAGO FILM
EDUCATES GERMAN
STUDENTS…
■ Shortly before the terror
attacks in Paris, a Chicago
Holocaust documentary
brought home the consequences of bigotry and intolerance to students in Hamburg,
Germany.
About 160 high school
students and teachers listened
as survivors and refugees at
the Selfhelp Home in Chicago
tell their stories in “REFUGE:
Stories of the Selfhelp Home.”
The award-winning film by
Chicagoan Ethan Bensinger
explores the lives of six Holocaust survivors and refugees
from Germany and Czechoslovakia.
The film was the centerpiece of a daylong program
about memory and the Holocaust organized by Hamburg’s
government to mark the 20th
anniversary of the HamburgChicago Sister City relationship. A separate screening and
reception was held the same
evening at city hall co-sponsored by the U.S. Consulate
General in Hamburg.
Dominique Lars Ziesemer,
a television journalist and the
program’s moderator, said the
students were tremendously
moved by the film. “You could
When we try getting girls to
join the team this is what we
stress: we’re a family. Our
friendships last forever.”
Gordon agrees. “Considering that it was my first year, I
didn’t know anyone on the
team,” she says. “Now we are all
best friends.”
see the faces full of tension,”
Ziesemer said.
He said the film accomplished what teachers try and
sometimes fail to do – make
the Holocaust real to kids. For
many of the students, it was
the first time they heard eyewitness testimony from Jews
who lived through the Holocaust. After the film, students
said it was important to them
to hear the experiences of the
last-remaining survivors. They
said the stories affected them
greatly.
Ziesemer said Germany
must keep showing Holocaust
films, like ‘Refuge.’ They “tell
us, the younger people, what
had happened and how deeply
humans can fall, so hopefully
it will never happen again.”
“Each student or man or
woman, who sees Ethan
Bensinger’s film can’t say, I
didn’t know,” Ziesemer said.
Bensinger said it was very
clear to him that the leaders
of the city of Hamburg recognized the importance of Holocaust education and dialogue
especially at this point in history.
“This is an especially important time for us to bring
Holocaust education to Germany,” said Bensinger. “In recent months there has been a
disturbing increase throughout
SEE FILM
ON
PAG E 2 0
From left, Ethan Bensinger, U.S. Consul General Nancy Corbett, and
Steffen Burkhardt of Hamburg University.
8
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Community Calendar
Saturday
February 14
Congregation Or Torah and
Kehilat Chovevei Zion host
Yael Ziegler, author of
“Ruth: From Alienation to
Monarchy” speaking on
Shabbat morning and Shabbat afternoon respectively.
For more information contact each of the shuls: ortorah.org and
skokieshul.org.
North Shore Congregation
Israel and Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living host
Steven T. Katz, head of Elie
Wiesel Center for Jewish
Studies, Boston University
speaking on today’s antiSemitism in France. 1:30
p.m., 1185 Sheridan Road,
Glencoe. aitzhayim.org or
(847) 835-3232.
Temple Beth Israel hosts
journalist and author
Martin Fletcher for dinner,
dessert and presentation on
his new book, “Jacob’s
Oath.” 6:30 p.m., 3601 W.
Dempster, Skokie. $20
members, $25 non-members. Dessert and presentation only, $10 members, $15
non-members. RSVP,
tbiskokie.org or (847) 6750951.
Congregation Beth Shalom
hosts Havdallah, Dinner
and a Movie with dinner,
showing and Reid Schultz’s
review of film “The Attack.” 5:30-10 p.m., 3433
Walters Ave., Northbrook.
$15 members, $20 nonmembers. RSVP, [email protected] or
(847) 498-4100 Ext. 46.
Congregation Kol Emeth
presents play, “Crimes of
the Heart.” 8 p.m., also
2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15.
5130 W. Touhy, Skokie. $22
members, $25 non-members. OldWorldTheatre.com
or (312) 857-8487.
Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation AG Beth Israel
shows Israeli Academy
Awards Best Picture, “Fill
the Void.” 8:30 p.m., 7117
N. Crawford Ave., Lincolnwood. RSVP required,
(847) 676-0491.
munity Center, 5050
Church, Skokie. $20-30.
Free for students. elementstheatre.org or (800)
319-7809.
Monday
Sunday
February 15
North Suburban Synagogue
Beth El hosts journalist and
author Martin Fletcher for
presentation on his new
book, “Jacob’s Oath” followed by book signing. 10
a.m., 1175 Sheridan Road,
Highland Park. RSVP, [email protected] or (847)
432-8900 ext. 234.
Temple Judea Mizpah holds
social action field trip for
high-schoolers and older to
unpack food and stock
shelves at food pantry.
Noon-1:30 p.m., the Ark,
6450 N. California, Chicago.
RSVP, [email protected] or
(847) 676-1566.
Illinois Holocaust Museum
and Education Center
shows film, “The Pawnbroker.” 12:30-3:30 p.m., 9603
Woods Drive, Skokie. $10
members; $15 non-members. Reservations required,
www.eventbrite.com/e/face
s-of-humanity-film-seriesthe-pawnbroker-tickets15354493704.
JCC Chicago holds Musical
Theater Workshop for
ages 8 and up. 1-3:30 p.m.,
Mayer Kaplan JCC, 5050
Church, Skokie. $39. Register, gojcc.org/theater or
(847) 763-3514.Beth Hillel
Congregation Bnai Emunah
hosts annual Zemer Am
Choral Festival Concert.
4:30 p.m., 3220 Big Tree
Lane, Wilmette. (847) 2561213.
Elements Theatre Company
presents Shakespeare’s
“The Merchant of
Venice.” 7 p.m., also 2:30
p.m. Monday, Feb. 16.
Mayer Kaplan Jewish Com-
SPOTLIGHT
A community-wide melaveh malke and
farbrengen will be held in honor of
the first yahrzeit of Rabbi Daniel
Moscowitz, former director of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois, at 8:30 p.m. on
Saturday, Feb. 21 at Synagogue Free,
2935 W. Devon, Chicago. Guest
speaker will be Rabbi Shmuel Lew ,
Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz
Chabad shaliach in London. No charge
to attend. For more information, call (773) 262-2770.
February 16
Congregation Rodfei Zedek
Sisterhood presents Chamber Music Concert featuring works by Beethoven
and Cesar Franck performed by Elaine B. Smith,
Van Bistrow and Lizbeth
Bistrow. 11:45 a.m., 5200 S.
Hyde Park Blvd., Chicago.
(773) 752-2770.
Congregation Beth Judea
holds Young Families Mitzvah Program to stock food
pantry at the Ark. Bring
kosher canned goods for
donation. 3 p.m., the Ark,
6450 N. California Ave.,
Chicago. [email protected]
yahoo.com or (847) 6340777.
Wednesday
February 18
CJE SeniorLife holds Parkinson’s Support Group for
Caregivers. 1-1:45 p.m.,
Weinberg Community for
Senior Living, Gidwitz
Place, 1551 Lake Cook
Road, Deerfield. (847) 2367853.
The Chicago Community
presents Jerusalem U’s new
film, “Beneath the Hemet:
From High School to the
Home Front” with film star
lst Lt. Eden Adler and coproducer David Coleman.
6:30 p.m., Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3751 N. Broadway,
Chicago, also 7 p.m. and
7:45 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23,
AMC Northbrook Court,
1525 Lake Cook Road,
Northbrook. $10 advance;
$20 cash door. (Photo ID required for admission. All
bags subject to search.)
Tickets, BeneathHelmut.
com/Chicago.
Ezra Habonim, the Niles
Township Jewish Congregation Men’s Club hosts
Movie Night featuring
films of Maxwell Street and
South Haven. 7:30 p.m.,
4500 W. Dempster, Skokie.
(847) 675-4141.
Thursday
February 19
Oakton Community College
presents “Jewish Artists
SPOTLIGHT
Temple Sholom presents concert featuring its Shir Shalom Choir joined by
Kol Zimrah and the Jewish Community
Singers of Metropolitan Chicago honoring Cantor Aviva Katzman’s 25 years
at the temple. 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb.
22, 3480 N. Lake Shore Drive,
Chicago. RSVP, (773) 435-1533, or
[email protected]
and the Perception of the
Crucifixion” with Nathan
Harpaz. 2-3:15 p.m., Room
P103/104, 7701 N. Lincoln
Ave., Skokie. je[email protected]
Belmont Village of Buffalo
Grove presents LeAndra
Haight, LCSW, speaking on
Stress Management for
Caregivers. 5:30 p.m., 500
McHenry Road, Buffalo
Grove. RSVP, [email protected] or (847)
537-5000.
Congregation Beth Judea
hosts dinner and conversation with Rabbi Jeff Pivo on
“How To Make Holidays
Meaningful and Fun for
Children.” 6-7:30 p.m.,
Route 83 and Hilltop Road,
Long Grove. $12. Reservations required, bethjudea.
org or (847) 634-0777.
Congregation Yehuda
Moshe hosts “Grand PrePesach Wine Tasting.” 6-9
p.m., 4721 W. Touhy, Lincolnwood. $10. (847) 673-5870
Beit Yichud presents Vocal
Yoga and Song Circle
Workshop with Leah
Shoshanah. 7-8:30 p.m.,
6932 N. Glenwood Ave.,
Chicago. $15 online, $20
door. Registration, [email protected]
Friday
February 20
Congregation Beth Shalom
presents Shabbat with a
Twist for children up to Pre-K
with challah making, stories
and song. 11-11:45 a.m.,
3433 Walters Ave., Northbrook. (847) 498-4100.
Saturday
February 21
Congregation Beth Shalom
holds Dancing With The
Stars dance competition. 7
p.m., 3433 Walters Ave.,
Northbrook. $18 advance,
$25 door. (847) 498-4100.
Beth Hillel Congregation
Cantor Aviva Katzman
Bnai Emunah shows film
documentary, “This Old
Song” about the Bene
Menasha and “The Matchmaker.” 7:30 p.m. 3220 Big
Tree Lane, Wilmette. $10.
(847) 256-1213.
Sunday
February 22
Jewish Child and Family
Services presents Help and
Healing Workshop: Jewish
Mindfulness led by Rabbi
Jordan Bendat-Appell, Orot
Center for New Jewish
Learning. 10:30 a.m.-noon,
location to be determined.
[email protected] or
(847) 745-5404.
Jewish Genealogical Society
of Illinois holds meeting
featuring Zalman Usiskin
speaking on “Making a
Family Tree Coffee Table
Book.” 2 p.m., Temple
Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road,
Northbrook. (Facility opens
12:30 p.m. to use library
materials and ask questions.) (312) 666-0100.
Spertus Institute for Jewish
Learning and Leadership
presents Yohanan Petrovsky-Stern speaking on
“The Golden Age Shtetl:
A New History of Jewish
Life in East Europe.” 2
p.m., 610 S. Michigan Ave.,
Chicago. $18, $10 Spertus
members, $8 students. spertus.edu or (312) 322-1773.
Illinois Holocaust Museum
and Education Center hosts
“Through Soviet Jewish
Eyes,” exhibition opening
event and book signing. 2-4
p.m., 9603 Woods Drive,
Skokie. Free with Museum
admission. Reservations required. ILHolocaustmuseum.org or (847) 967-4800.
Moriah Congregation hosts
former U.S. Ambassador to
the United Nations John R.
Bolton at its Biennial Distinguished Speaker Event. 5
p.m., 200 Taub Drive, Deerfield. $40. moriahcong.org
or (847) 948-5340.
9
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Arts & Entertainment
Argentina’s very Jewish Oscar nominee
By Diego Melamed
JTA
BUENOS AIRES
If
Damian Szifron’s “Wild Tales”
(“Relatos Salvajes” in Spanish)
wins an Academy Award for Best
Foreign Film, it will be Argentina’s third Oscar and the first
for a film directed by an Argentine Jew.
The film, which combines
humor, suspense and violence,
consists of six independent segments, many featuring Jewish
characters and details taken from
Szifron’s life. The final segment
revolves around a Jewish wedding, complete with klezmer
music.
SM
SM
Szifron, 39, had already established himself as a popular TV
writer/director before entering
the film world. His series, “Los
Simuladores” (“The Pretenders”)
in 2002 won the Argentine
equivalent of the Emmy.
“The Pretenders” featured
numerous Jewish characters
based on real people from the
small Jewish community center,
Bet Am del Oeste” (Bet Am of
the West), which serves a middle-class Jewish population in
the western section of Greater
Buenos Aires. In fact, the fictional characters bear the names
of real people from Szifron’s
childhood.
Perhaps his newfound international film clout will enable
Szifron to pursue project he mentioned at a Cannes Festival press
conference: a film about how his
grandfather escaped the Nazis by
jumping from a concentration
camp-bound train.
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Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month
Hands-free Sesame
smartphone opening worlds
for physically disabled
By Raffi Wineberg
JTA
Keshet Annual
Rainbow Banquet
KESHET
A RAINBOW
OF HOPE FOR
INDIVIDUALS WITH
SPECIAL NEEDS
with Keshet
March 8, 2015
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers
5:30 p.m. Reception 6:00 p.m. Dinner
Honorees Simon Lesser and Carol Patinkin
Keshet Parents, Board Members, Volunteers
Giora Livne just wanted to
buy flowers for his wife.
But for the 65-year-old
quadriplegic, who lost all but the
smallest movements in his neck
in an accident nine years ago,
that small act of spousal romance
was out of reach.
He was determined to
change that.
Livne is the co-founder of
Sesame Enable, an Israeli company building what is believed to
be the first completely hands-free
smartphone. The Sesame Phone
is designed for people with spinal
cord injuries, ALS, cerebral palsy
or other disabilities that hamper
the use of hands and arms – a
population that has been on the
outside looking in at the smartphone revolution.
Three years in the works, the
Sesame is a Google Nexus 5 Android smartphone that comes
equipped with proprietary headtracking technology. An advanced
computer vision algorithm and
the phone’s front-facing camera
track user’s head movements and
allow them to control a cursor on
screen. The cursor is essentially a
virtual finger, letting users do
what others can with a regular
smartphone.
Sesame recently won a Verizon Powerful Answers Award,
which came with $1 million in
prize money. The company previously received a grant from Israel’s Office of the Chief
Scientist, which was matched by
a private angel investor.
Meanwhile, the company is
using the $38,000 it raised from
a recent crowdfunding campaign
– the Indiegogo video showed
Livne using the phone to order
flowers for his wife – to donate
Sesame phones to people in its
target market. At approximately
$1,000 per phone, Livne plans to
give away about 30 phones to
people with disabilities nominated by their peers. The five recipients so far include a former
Israeli soldier who was injured in
S E E S M A RT P H O N E
ON
PAG E 2 0
F O U N D A T I O N
Share
The
Dream
The Libenu Foundation’s 5th Annual Gala
“Celebrating Possibilities”
Featuring Musical Guests
“Rogers Park”
February 28th, 2015 | 8:00 pm
Sumptuous Dinner Buffet
Wine and Cocktails
Indulgent Desserts
Complimentary Valet Parking
Community Service Awardee Jan Schakowsky
United States Congresswoman from Illinois’ 9th District
Employer of the Year Awardee Athletico Physical Therapy
Premier provider of physical therapy services throughout the Midwest
Guest Speaker Edward Asner
Seven-time Emmy Award winner and Advocate for individuals
with special needs
Banquet Chairmen
Barry and Elizabeth Bennett
Mark and Shari Coe
Mark and Carla Frisch
Sidney and Lisa Glenner
Avi and Batshie Goldfeder
Robert and Debbie Hartman
Jeff Hay
Craig and Robbi Kanter
David and Ronna Ness-Cohn
Jules and Carol Pomerantz
For more information call Keshet at 847.205.1234 or visit KESHET.ORG
KESHET, A PARTNER IN SERVING OUR COMMUNITY, IS SUPPORTED BY THE JEWISH UNITED FUND/JEWISH FEDERATION OF METROPOLITAN CHICAGO
At the home of
Ronit and Abie Gutnicki
2936 W. Lunt Avenue
Chicago
For more information contact
847. 982.0340 ext. 227
www.libenufoundation.org
agazine | 773-583-4001
| February
2015
Libenu
Foundation
is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit corporation
The Chicago Lighthouse North
(847) 510-6200
www.chicagolighthouse.org/north
Coinciding with Jewish Disabilities
Awareness Month, The Chicago Lighthouse North facility, which serves the
north and northwest suburbs, is observing
its third anniversary.
Located at 222 Waukegan Road in
Glenview, the agency offers many of the
same world-class services in vision care,
assistive technology and other areas that
are provided by the main 109-year-old
Chicago Lighthouse at 1850 W. Roosevelt
Road, on the city’s west side.
Among them are a low vision care
clinic offering rehabilitation services to
maximize the remaining vision of people
experiencing significant vision loss; a technology center providing access to computers with magnification capabilities and
other adaptive technology devices; A Tools
For Living retail store featuring assistive
items for independent living such as talking watches and clocks; and an array of
enrichment programs for all ages, most
offered at no cost.
For more than 100 years, The
Lighthouse has been lighting the way for
thousands of people in need throughout
the Chicago area. As a not-profit social
service organization, it is dedicated to providing comprehensive care to people of all
ages with visual impairments, regardless
of their ability to pay.
For further information about our
Lighthouse North location in Glenview, contact Melissa Wittenberg at (847) 5106200 or visit http://chicagolighthouse.
org/north. For further information about our
headquarters in Chicago, contact Dominic
Calabrese at (312) 666-1331 or visit
http://chicagolighthouse.org.
CJE SeniorLife’s LINKAGES
(773) 508-1694
www.cje.net/linkages
The challenges that arise as one
gets older can be complicated. But for
aging adults who have children with disabilities, their concerns are even more
complex since they often have growing financial, social, emotional and physical issues of their own. CJE SeniorLife’s
Linkages program supports older adults
who have adult children with disabilities.
One of only a few programs like it in the
country, and the only one in Chicago,
Linkages is unique in that it offers a way
for older adults to connect in an effort to
reduce feelings of isolation and discuss
the best ways to access community aging
and disability resources in Illinois.
To raise awareness for Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month, CJE’s Linkages
program has collaborated with a number
of Chicago organizations to host its third
annual policy event, “Policy, Advocacy
and You: Success in Community Living,”
on Thursday, Feb. 26 in Skokie to help
seniors, adults with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who work with
them.
Learn more about CJE’s Linkages
program, including upcoming events, support group, vital resources, and the latest
newsletters, at www.cje.net/linkages.
For more information on the Linkages proCONTINUED
O N N E X T PAG E
11
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month
CONTINUED
F RO M P R E V I O U S PAG E
gram or to register for the “Policy, Advocacy and You” event, contact Rosann Corcoran, Clinical Supervisor and Linkages
Coordinator, at (773) 508-1694.
Keshet
(847) 205-1234
www.keshet.org
Keshet is the premier provider of
educational, recreational, vocational and
social programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities operating according to
traditional Jewish values. Keshet was
founded in 1982 by a small group of
Jewish parents concerned about the futures of their children with special needs,
and looking for ways to provide them
with a Jewish education and identity.
Keshet’s goal is to enable children
with disabilities to participate as fully as
possible in the mainstream of community
life while providing an excellent education. Woven into the fabric of everyday
life, Keshet programs enrich the lives of
these young people as well as those in
the greater community.
The following are testimonials from
Keshet parents and friends that illustrate
the powerful impact Keshet has had on
our community:
“As parents, Scott and I were more
nervous about Zoe going away to
overnight camp than she was. She had
the time off her life! Thank you Keshet!”
“Michelle can’t wait for Sundays
and Keshet Buddy baseball. She loves
being part of the team and has a look of
pure joy on her face throughout the
game. Thank you Keshet!”
“One of the aspects we love about
Keshet is its seamless integration between
special and typical kids. The Keshet summer camps are the only time during the
year where our special son gets on the
same bus as his typical sibling and they
go to the same place. Keshet programs
give them this wonderful opportunity to
have fun together, as siblings.”
At Aspen, wounded IDF vets learn to ski – and overcome obstacles
By Uriel Heilman
JTA
After Yinon Cohen lost his
legs in an accident involving a
rocket-propelled grenade, it wasn’t clear he’d ever be able to walk
again, much less ski down a peak
in the Rocky Mountains.
A fresh-faced soldier in the
Israel Defense Forces’ elite
Golani brigade, Cohen was in an
advanced weapons training
course in February 2003 when his
sergeant inadvertently fired an
RPG, an explosive weapon capable of piercing armored vehicles,
straight into his legs.
Just moments before, Cohen
had been nodding off, and his exasperated sergeant ordered him
to stand for the remainder of the
class. That ended up saving
Cohen’s life. Had he been seated,
Cohen would have been struck
in the torso and almost certainly
killed. Instead, he found himself
dazed in the smoke-filled room,
trying to piece together what was
happening as soldiers around him
panicked.
When he awoke a day later
in the ICU unit of Rambam
Medical Center in Haifa, a psychologist delivered the grim
news: He had lost both legs
below the knee. Cohen’s response was instinctive, he recalls.
Looking at his parents’ tearstained faces, he said, “Be thankful that I’m alive.”
Then his father recited the
Kiddush – it was Friday evening
– and they all cried.
the snow about one day a week,
Mintz got the idea for it from a
program for wounded U.S. veterans whom he spotted one day on
the slopes.
Golshim, which brings about
a dozen Israelis each winter, is focused on skiing and physical activity. The group eats breakfast
and dinner together at the
Chabad center, and most nights
local community members join
the group for some kind of program or recreational activity. The
program is free for the Israeli participants.
“Imagine someone without
legs coming here to ski and a
week later skiing down Aspen,”
Mintz said. “They feel they can
do anything after that. The local
SEE SOLDIERS
ON
CJE SeniorLife … Enriching the Quality
of Life for Older Adults and Families
of Older Adults with Disabilities
CJE offers vital support to older adults
with disabilities and their families through:
Linkages
The only program like it in Chicago devoted to families
who have adult children with disabilities, it offers:
t Support Group – Parents of adults with disabilities
meet for support and sharing.
Libenu Foundation
(847) 982-0340
www.libenufoundation.org
The Libenu Foundation is a not-forprofit organization that provides kosher
housing and vocational opportunities for
Jewish adults with developmental disabilities. Libenu, from the Hebrew word meaning “our hearts” reflects a heartfelt
commitment to enabling adults with disabilities to maximize their independence
and self-determination in an inclusive
community setting. Predicated on a philosophy of inclusion, Libenu believes that
these individuals must have residential
and employment opportunities that enable them to live with dignity and respect,
in a setting that is comfortable, safe, reassuring and familiar.
Help support Libenu by attending
the 5th Annual “Share the Dream” Gala
on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. at the
home of Abie and Ronit Gutnicki, 2936
W. Lunt Ave., Chicago. For further information and reservations contact (847)
982-0340, ext. 227, email [email protected] or www.libenufoundation.
org.
Fast forward to 2014, and
Cohen, a native of the Tel Aviv
suburb of Petach Tikvah, found
himself standing on a snowy
mountain 8,000 miles away and
more than 8,000 feet above sea
level, insisting to his incredulous
ski instructor that he didn’t need
any special equipment other
than his prosthetic legs to ski
down.
It was Cohen’s first day on
the slopes as part of Golshim
L’Chaim – Ski to Live, a Colorado program that brings
wounded Israeli veterans and
victims of terrorism to Aspen to
learn how to ski – and boost their
spirits.
Now in its eighth year, Golshim is the brainchild of Aspen’s
Chabad rabbi, Mendel Mintz.
An avid skier himself who is on
t Monthly Information Meetings – Guest speakers
discuss current topics about disabilities.
t Social Events – Twice-yearly gatherings for
celebrating and socializing.
t Quarterly Newsletter – Provides updates on
current disability issues and events.
Consumer Assistance
Our Resource Specialists provide information and
referrals about long-term services for adults with
disabilities and other government and community
resources.
For more information call 773.508.1000.
CJE SeniorLife™ is a partner in serving our
community, supported by the Jewish United Fund/
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.
3003 West Touhy Avenue | Chicago IL 60645
773.508.1000 | www.cje.net
835.2.2015
PAG E 1 8
12
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
ART matter
of the
Chicagoan Karen Walanka is working to get Jews
to have a better appreciation of Jewish artists
By Pauline Dubkin Yearwood
Managing Editor
Karen Walanka is not an
artist.
There wouldn’t be anything
extraordinary about that except
for the fact that the Deerfield
woman is the new president of
the American Guild of Judaic
Art, a national organization designed to promote contemporary
Jewish art and artists.
How Walanka came to hold
that position is a story that really
begins with her wedding, 43
years ago. She and her husband
received four Chanukah menorahs as gifts. They didn’t want to
return them, so they began a collection. Fast forward to today:
the Walankas have more than 40
menorahs, as well as many other
Judaic ritual objects.
Walanka, in other words,
became a collector. She is the
first non-artist (“I do needlepoint, but that’s all”) to become
president of the guild, which was
founded in 1991 and has more
than 100 members, including
several from Chicago.
Its mission, as stated on its
website (jewishart.org), is “to celebrate the rich diversity and sacred beauty of Judaic Art around
the world, and to establish a
community for those who are inspired to fulfill the commandment of hiddur mitzvah by
creating, collecting & exhibiting
Jewish art.”
The guild also sponsors an
initiative to promote Judaic art
with Jewish Arts Month, which
takes place in March, designed to
coincide with several Torah portions that describe how Moses
appointed an artisan, Bezalel, to
oversee and design and creation
of the Mishkan, the tabernacle
used in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. (Check the website for special online initiatives
and educational programs related
to Jewish Arts Month.)
If Walanka’s name sounds
familiar to Chicago-area residents, though, it’s not because of
her collecting. She retired last
year after nearly 23 years as executive director of Moriah Congregation,
a
Conservative
synagogue in Deerfield. One of
her duties involved putting together the synagogue’s justly
famed juried art show, the largest
in the area, an event that every
two years allows the public to see
and purchase (and in many cases
meet the creators of) Judaic art
in all its forms.
Through her involvement
with the show, Walanka, along
with the congregation, joined
the American Guild of Judaic
Art and got to know many of its
members.
“It seemed like the thing to
do,” the warmly enthusiastic
Walanka said in a recent phone
conversation. “The congregation
joined both to promote Jewish
art and to promote ourselves to
Karen Walanka (photo by DejaViewsUSA.com)
the artists in the guild. Over the
years we’ve publicized our shows
through the guild and many guild
artists have applied and been juried into the show.”
And here let’s pause a moment to consider just what Judaic
art is and is not, a point that
Walanka considers very important. She notes that many local
galleries hold shows of work by
Israeli artists. That’s a worthy
project, she says, but “there is a
difference between the art
(some) Israelis do and the work
done by the members of the
guild. Guild members do Judaic
art, either ritual items” (say a
menorah or seder plate or
mezuzah) or thematic items (a
picture of Moses receiving the
tablets, for instance).
“It could be Hebrew calligraphy, papercuts, scenes from the
Torah – all have Judaic art in
them. Being a Jewish artist and
doing Judaic art are different
things,” she says. In the Moriah
show, she notes, except for some
jewelry, “the work has to be either ritual or thematic.”
Meanwhile, over the years,
Walanka’s involvement with Judaic art deepened as she traveled
to meetings of various Jewish organizations, which often had art
shows attached, and she kept up
with the artists and board members of the guild.
In 2012, the then-president
of the organization called her.
“We were kibitzing, and he asked
me if I would consider curating
their online exhibition for that
year” – an exhibition of guild
artists that stays up for a full year
on the group’s website. She did so.
Then, in 2014, she engaged
in informal conversations with
guild board members about extending the organization’s reach
to include collectors.
Collecting is a subject that
Walanka has strong opinions
about.
“Lots of people in lots of synagogues, especially in smaller
communities, may not know you
can have five different Chanukah
menorahs, different seder plates.
I must have five different papercuts in my house that are renderings of the parsha of the week
when my husband and I got married,” she says. “It was the one
where Jacob built the ladder, so
we’ve collected ladders over the
years by Jewish artists. They are
all different.”
“Radwin Family Tree” by Leah Sosewitz from Highland Park, who often
uses laser and paper cutting in her Judaic art.
One well-known artist and
guild board member, Flora Rosefsky, suggested to Walanka some
ways the guild could begin to educate Jews, especially ones in
smaller communities, about Judaic art.
“If you could get three or four
artists to loan to a synagogue three
or four of the same artifact – seder
plate, dreidel – just to begin to
educate Jews that there is such a
medium as Jewish art, it could be
a ritual object or it could be a
modern painting or a thematic
piece,” Walanka says. “Some of
this work will be purchased, and
this is the goal of the guild.”
She is surprised, she says, at
the number of Jews – many well
connected within the Jewish
community – who know little or
nothing about Judaic art. “We
constantly run into people who
are very active in the community
but have never heard of the Moriah show, even though we advertise and send out postcards.
It’s still very insular.”
After she retired from Moriah, Walanka says, “I wasn’t sure
what I was going to do.” But as a
member of the congregation, she
continued to work on the art
show (the next one will be in February 2016). With the guild, “my
goal was to get some collectors besides Karen Walanka to join,” she
says. “The collectors would support and help these Judaic artists.
For most of them it’s hard to make
a real living. One conversation
led to another and next thing I
knew I was president.”
Another goal now is to interest smaller synagogues – perhaps in places like Munster, Ind.,
Milwaukee, Racine, Wis. – in
putting together a small exhibit
of Judaic art. “That would begin
to introduce the subject of Judaic
art into the communities that
may never have known it,” she
says. “You have to have a certain
mentality to understand that, for
instance, you can have a number
of dreidels – dreidels can be
metal, glass, wood.”
She recalls that when she
was first married and received
the four menorahs as gifts, “we
got that you could like more than
one menorah. When my daughter was small, we would have par-
13
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
ties every night and people
would all have their own menorahs. The last night was like a fire
hazard,” she says with a laugh.
“But it’s the concept.”
The Moriah show, she says,
has ingrained in many people’s
mind the concept of hiddur mitzvah, or beautifying the mitzvah –
making everyday items objects of
art. “I get it, my friends get it, but I
think the greater community may
or may not get it,” Walanka says.
Being a collector of Judaic art
“is more than going into someplace like Hamakor (Gallery) or
Rosenblum’s (World of Judaica)
and buying something beautiful.
That’s important and we should
support those places, but (it’s also
important) to support the artist.
At the Moriah show, the artists
come and you can talk to them.
Once you know the artist, it becomes a whole different thing, a
thing of ownership.”
She recalls that, when she
looks at her wedding presents
from so long ago, “I can still point
to something and say, oh, my
mother’s closest friend gave me
that, or my friend so-and-so made
that. That’s what we want to expose people to. If you look at a
piece of art and you know who
made it, it brings that extra depth
to you. That’s very important.”
For people who want to start
collecting, Walanka has some
advice.
“Start with something
small,” she says. “Go into any
synagogue gift shop or Judaica
store and buy a mezuzah, or some
other ritual item – it doesn’t matter what it is, a Kiddush cup,
menorah, seder plate, dreidel.
Start with one, and if you like it
get another one. When people
know you do this they’ll start giving them to you. But start small.”
When she has to give a wedding present, she usually chooses
a menorah, mezuzah or seder
plate, hoping the gift will be the
start of a collection.
Another way, she says, is to
go to a Judaic art website, either
the guild or the site of an individual artist, find something you
like and buy it. Many collectors
are now active on social media,
she notes.
Encouraging synagogues to
have art shows, even small ones,
is another way to help people become interested in collecting Judaic art, she says. “When we
started the Moriah show, we
bused people in from Northbrook
Court,” she says. “I thought,
who’s going to take a bus? Now
people stand in line for it.”
At the guild, meanwhile,
she and other members “are
thinking outside the box,” she
says with satisfaction. “You have
a president who is a collector.
There’s a new website. They are
on Facebook, LinkedIn, doing
social media stuff. The more you
do, the more likely you are to get
people’s attention. People will
see something and be like, I want
to have that in my home.”
Chicagoan uses his family history to create Jewish art
By Pauline Dubkin Yearwood
Managing Editor
Howard Schwartz has two
passions: art and history.
Both go back to his teenage
years. Schwartz, a Chicago artist
and retired art teacher, can almost pinpoint the day, when he
was 17 years old (he’s 62 now)
when he realized how conjoined the two obsessions were.
“I always liked to draw and
do art,” he said in a recent
phone conversation. “One day
my father came home from
work (the family owned shoe
stores, beginning with Louis
Schwartz Shoe Co. on Maxwell
Street) with a picture of a greatuncle that his uncle had
brought him when he came in
to the store.”
The great-uncle had died
in the Holocaust. “My father
knew I liked that kind of stuff” –
that is, creating artwork from
photographs, especially family
photographs, Schwartz says.
“I thought, that’s all that’s
left of this man is this photograph,” he continues. “I used
that picture and it started a lifelong interest in family history.
This was before ‘Roots’” and before tracing one’s ancestry became the common pastime it is
for many people today.”
Schwartz started working
on a family history; 45 years
later, he says, “I’m still working
on it, researching it. It’s not just
names and dates; I have all
kinds of artifacts and documents.” He has documented
Chicago neighborhoods where
his family had businesses; family history reaching back to his
great-grandparents; pogroms in
Europe; and the Holocaust. As
of today he has amassed 15 cases
of photos, documents and artifacts, most relating to his own
family’s history.
Nurturing his other passion, Schwartz majored in art at
the University of Wisconsin
and eventually received a master’s in fine arts. He continued
making art and, after graduation, “pieced together a living”
teaching painting and drawing
part time at Oakton Community College, a now-defunct
Skokie arts center, and other
venues. Eventually he became
the full-time art teacher at
Glenbard West High School in
Glen Ellyn, a position from
which he retired last year. He is
married and has three grown
children.
Meanwhile, in his own
work, he continued exploring
what he calls “the long tie between what I do for art and the
history of my family. I was inspired by these images and photographs,” he says.
Explaining further, he writes
on his website (https://howardschwartz.wordpress.com).
“I have always felt towards
my ancestors that I was, in some
way, literally there with them. I
was a part of them, and, as in
the theory of genetic memory,
they continue to live on
“Resnicks in Chicago,” art by Howard Schwartz.
through me. In my art, these
generations merge. Sometimes
portraits of my children pose
with their great grandparents.
The heavy textures and layering
of media are used as a device to
portray these overlapping and
worn looking images of time.”
One of his paintings, for instance, titled “Resnicks in
Chicago,” depicts his grandfather, who was a rabbi in
Ukraine but in America earned
his living as a shochet (ritual
slaughterer) on Maxwell Street.
The artwork shows his grandfather and grandmother, with her
mother in an insert below, and
the two men who owned the
meat market where he worked
holding bloody knives.
Many of Schwartz’s most
recent paintings are mixed
media, often depicting individuals from his family history or
bygone Chicago neighborhoods, such as Maxwell Street
and the Milwaukee and Ashland area, where his family
owned businesses.
“My grandfather came here
as a shoemaker and started out
on Maxwell Street,” he says. “In
1944 he got to Milwaukee Avenue. In a lot of my pictures
shoes show up. Shoes are symbolic” – not only because his
family owned shoe stores, but in
a more emblematic, broader
sense.
“You go to the (U.S.)
Holocaust (Memorial) Museum
and you see piles of shoes,”
Schwartz says. “They symbolize
the people who have come before us.”
Over the years Schwartz’s
art has become more abstract
while retaining its core subject
of family history and, more
broadly, Eastern European Jewish history.
“I’m not an illustrator,” he
says. “I don’t try to illustrate
scenes. The images come from
the photographs, which are sort
of frozen in time. I use those images as they are, then the art
takes over. I try to make them
more expressive and ‘painterly’
by putting them into an art situation, not an illustration.”
His art has changed over
the years, Schwartz says. “It
used to be more specific and
look like the photograph” that
was the inspiration, he says.
“But little by little the space
around the figures became more
and more important, and I
started playing up the subjects
Howard Schwartz
and textures.”
Schwartz has had several
shows, including one at Northwestern University and another
at a gallery in Freeport. He received a grant from the state to
finish a large work, a three-paneled drawing that depicts a family group of 24 people in a
pencil drawing on wallpaper.
“They are sort of ghostly figures
coming through the wallpaper,”
he says.
“All the people in my
paintings are Jewish, but not all
relate to my family history,” he
says. “A lot of the images are inspired by the history but then
the art takes over, the art then
becomes the most important
thing. I’ll get rid of people (in
the paintings), change people
around. The history is just a
jumping-off point.”
At the same time Schwartz
continues to research his family
history and the history of many
Chicago neighborhoods and
hopes to publish something
about it eventually.
“A yeshiva in Cincinnati
asked me for a copy,” he says.
“When people hear about it
they wished they had started
(researching their own family’s
history) when they were
younger. I have boxes and boxes
of material that a lot of people
would find interesting.”
Among them is such memorabilia as his grandfather’s
ledger book – in Yiddish – from
his Maxwell Street days.
Schwartz’s goal now is to
get more exposure for his art.
He would like to show it alongside some of the photos, documents and artifacts that inspired
it.
“That way it becomes a
complete work,” he says. “You
can see the paintings and the
inspiration for them. That is my
goal.”
“I have always felt towards my
ancestors that I was, in some
way, literally there with them. I
was a part of them.”
14
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Death Notices
Ida Kainov, nee Brown, age
97. Beloved wife of the late
Nathan. Loving mother of
Noreen (Kenneth) Walter.
Devoted grandmother of
Lauren,
Kathleen
and
Rachel. Dear sister of the
late Flora Lee (survived by
Emanuel) Karbeling. Loving
Aunt of Michael (Ann), Kenneth (Valerie), and the late
Jerome (survived by Margaret) and Howard (survived
by Margery) Karbeling.
Arrangements by Mitzvah
Memorial Funerals.
Edna Sultan, nee Finkelstein,
93, beloved wife of the late
Leonard, devoted mother of
Harve (Chrystal), Michael
Sultan (Craig Davis), Larry
(Rici) and Greg (Carol Johnson) Sultan. Loving grandmother of Joanne (Erik)
Morales, Suzan Sultan (Jeremy Mann), Sean (Serena)
Sultan,
Michele
Sultan
(Chris) McKee, Eric (Erica)
Sultan, Bradley (Sara) Sultan,
Jodi Shapiro, Nikki (Mike)
Lubesnick, Charles Rita and
David (Amy) Rita. Great
grandmother of 11. Dear sister in law of Florence (Jerry)
Sultan.
Special care was
given by Cece and Pura. In
lieu of flowers, memorial
contributions in Edna’s
name to Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah, 3220
Big Tree Lane, Wilmette, IL
60091, or the charity of your
choice would be appreciated. Arrangements by Mitzvah Memorial Funerals.
Allen Leslie Dubner, 19322015, died Feb. 9 of natural
causes at Bethany Terrace
Nursing Centre in Morton
Grove. Allen was a devoted
husband to his wife Joy, and a
loving brother to Nina (Leon)
Hertzson of Long Island, NY;
he was a caring step-father
to Beth (Jack) Lammers,
Verne (Julie) Noparstak, and
Claire (Jeff) Newman; and a
doting grandfather to 6 stepgrandchildren (Sean, Nathan,
Theodore, Samuel, Richard,
and Chas). Allen was born in
Chicago to Joseph and Luba
Dubner. He attended Roosevelt High School and the
University of Illinois, where
he made many lifelong
friends. As a manufacturer’s
representative, selling home
furnishings and specializing
in lamps, he trekked across
the Midwest region. Through
his expertise in Contract
Bridge, he became a Life Master in the game, and he spoke
several languages with a fluency that allowed him to
communicate easily with people around the world.
Arrangements by Lakeshore
Jewish Funerals,(773) 6258621.
Milton Warman, “Papa the
Great”, patriarch of the
Warman Clan, 92, loved
dearly by his family. Born in
Chicago in 1922, resident of
Orland Park and Lauderhill,
FL., veteran of WWII, served
as a deputy Coroner, Cook
County, and built custom
homes in the Chicago area.
Milt worked in the floor-covering business for more than
40 years. First as a partner at
Warman and Sons Furniture
and Carpeting; then he
started Coloramic Tile and
Carpet Fair, where he
worked with his son, Rick,
until his retirement. In semiretirement he traded at the
Midwest Commodities Exchange in Chicago. He was a
golfer, story-teller, joketeller and beloved by all
who knew him. He is survived by his wife of 70 years,
Shyrl, sister Adele Ballis, his
children Rick (Barbara) Warman, Caryn (Rick) Matalone,
and Shellie Warman: his 7
grandchildren, Jeffery (Meg)
Alexander, David (Deena)
Alexander, Daniel (Hillary)
Warman, Susan (Jay) Zuckert, Scott (Debra) Matalone,
Jay Warman, and Dana War-
man: and 12 Great Grandchildren, Megan Moulton,
Brandon and Madeline
Alexander, Samantha, Max
and Madison Alexander,
Spencer, Wyatt, and Jesse
Warman, Simon, Sydney,
and Adam Zuckert. We love
you Papa. Condolence call
information can be obtained
by emailing [email protected] In lieu of
flowers, please send memorials to the American Heart
Association. Arrangements
by Lakeshore Jewish Funerals (773) 625-8621.
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15
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Summer Day Camps
ChinaFriends
(773) 525-6000
www.chinafriends.org
Since 2005, ChinaFriends has been teaching
Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture to both children
and adults. Classes are offered seven days a week and
taught by our experienced
and talented staff of native
Chinese teachers. We are
unique as a language school
in Chicago in that we specialize just in Chinese. Our curriculum, methods, and
materials are tailored to meet
the specific and varied needs
of our students.
We take a systematic,
spiral-up approach aimed at
building up capabilities and
internalizing the language
through practical application
and consistent usage. Although ChinaKids (now ChinaFriends) was originally
founded with the focus on
providing language classes
at our center, over the years
we have branched out to provide off-site private and
group instruction.
Fred’s Camp
(773) 818-8027
www.fredscamp.com
The #1 Day Camp for
Summer Fun in the Chicago
Sun Since 1994! Fred’s
Camp has the key ingredients to make your child’s
summer special. We encourage a warm family atmosphere at camp. We provide
personalized attention to
each camper’s individual
needs. We recognize and respect our campers as unique
individuals and provide a
flexible and challenging program designed to enrich their
development.
Sports Broadcasting Camp
(800) 319-0884
playbyplaycamps.com
The nation’s #1 Sports
Broadcasting Camp for boys
and girls 10-18 returns to
Chicago for our ninth year
July 6-10 at the Holiday InnSkokie. Campers will learn
from the pros in the industry.
Meet sports celebrities, make
sports anchor, reporting, and
play-by-play tapes. Host your
own sports talk radio shows,
participate in trivia and stump
the schwab contests, as well
as sports taboo and password games. Day and
overnight sessions available.
fwparker.org/summers
Francis W. Parker
School’s Summer Programs
at Parker 2015 offers exciting
summer educational pro-
grams and recreational activities for students entering JK
through 12th grade. Our
campus offers access to
many fun-filled day camp activities, enrichment courses,
sports conditioning camps,
performing arts classes and
a wide range of STEM-based
course offerings.
SUMMER
Programs at Parker 2015
Educational and Recreational Activities
for Junior Kindergarten through 12th grades
Register online at fwparker.org/summers
Summer Programs at
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(773) 797-5104
PRIVATE SUMMER DAY CAMP
Located on the Lincoln Park Campus of DePaul University
Co-Ed • Pre K - 8th grade
June 22 - August 14, 2015
Extended morning & afternoon hours available
Fred’s Camp - Where Your Child’s Happiness
is our Greatest Concern.
REGISTER TODAY!
(773) 818-8027
www.fredscamp.com
SUMMER 2015
Beijing Summer Camp
We offer a multi-faceted program including instructional swim, field trips,
sports & games, special activities and more.
plus optional Xi’an/Shanghai excursion*
We are a family owned business.
Nation’s #1 Sports Broadcasting Camp
THE AWARD-WINNING
SPORTS
BROADCASTING
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LANGUAGE
IMMERSION
$2995
DEPARTING
CHICAGO 6/20
RETURNING
7/5 OR 7/12
is back for our
10th year in Chicago
JULY 6 - 10, 2015
• Boys and Girls age 10-18 will have an
opportunity to learn from the pros in
the industry
• Make sports anchor tapes from a
TV studio
• Make play-by-play tapes of the Super Bowl and NBA Finals
• Make reporting tapes at a professional stadium
• Meet sports celebrities… and much more
Day/Overnight sessions available
For more info call 800.319.0884
or visit www.playbyplaycamps.com
facebook.com/sportsbroadcastingcamps
youtube.com/sportsbroadcastcamp
This landmark experience will expose beginner to advanced students, ages 11-18, to half
day Chinese classes complemented by half day of fun workshops and Beijing classic tours.
For further enrichment, students can join an optional weeklong Xi’an and Shanghai trip.
FEE INCLUDES:
DOES NOT INCLUDE:
• hotel accommodation (2 students per room in close
proximity to the school) with 24 hr supervision
• international airfare
• 1:10 teaching ratio
• local transportation if arriving/departing
separately from the group
• separate local guide and logistics manager
• Chinese tourist visa
• private coach and driver for all excursions
• personal expenses
• admission tickets and fees for all tours and activities listed
• activities not included in the itinerary
• all meals, drinking water and snacks
• all gratuities, fees and wages for local experts, venders
and assistants
* optional Xi’an/Shanghai excursion is additional $1495
(includes domestic travel)
ChinaFriends’ Zhaoyi Liu will personally lead this group from start to finish. Parents are welcome to attend (parent fees and schedule TBD).
F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N A N D T O R E G I S T E R , P L E A S E E M A I L Z H AOY I @ C H I N A F R I E N D S . O R G
16
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Senior Living
Nobel laureate Martin Karplus shows his photos
at embassy of country he fled at 8
By Menachem Wecker
JTA
WASHINGTON – The
opening of an exhibit at the Austrian Embassy in Washington of
more than 50 photographs by an
84-year-old Jewish Nobel laureate was something of an amateur
hour – twice over.
Both Austria’s ambassador
and Martin Karplus, the photographer, referred to the pictures –
postcard-style views of Europe in
the 1950s and a more recent series on China and India – as
hobby rather than high art.
Then at a reception, many
of the approximately 250 guests
handed their phones to strangers
to snap pictures with Karplus –
amateur shots of themselves with
an amateur photographer.
“I’m not a photographer,”
said Karplus, a Harvard professor
emeritus who shared the 2013
Nobel in chemistry. “I’m an amateur at this.”
Karplus fled his native Vienna as an 8-year-old with his
family. Like many European Jewish refugees, he barely returned
to Austria for years. Then everything changed.
“Once I got the Nobel Prize,
Austria suddenly realized that I
was an interesting person,” said
Karplus, who will receive an
honorary doctorate in May from
the University of Vienna, which
will also exhibit his photographs.
The photos, which span continents and decades, show people
and landscapes that Karplus encountered on his world travels.
One photograph from the
1950s shows Karplus’ parents in
Rockport, Mass., standing in
front of what appears to be a
well-known fishing shack often
referred to as the most painted
structure in the United States.
His father holds his hat in hand
while his mother holds her husband’s arm. The work is a study
in verticals – a pole behind the
father, the wharf pylons and distant telephone lines – balanced
by the deep blue of the water visible in the bottom right corner.
A photograph of an Indian
boy taken in 2009 fills the composition with the barefoot,
crouching boy. The photo is
overwhelmingly heavy on cool
blues and grays, except for a
bright orange bike in the top
right corner. The boy’s gaze, intense as he stares at what appears
to be rags in his hands, evokes a
secular Madonna cradling her
child.
Martin Karplus, left, and Austria's U.S. ambassador, Hans Peter Manz, at the opening of an exhibition of
Karplus' photographs at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, (JTA)
Many other photos in the
exhibit, such as a picture of boats
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taken in Hong Kong in the
1960s, offer the sort of pretty colors and composition that one
would expect of postcards – or
perhaps an Instagram feed. But in
this case, the shots are taken by a
Nobel Prize winner.
“Now that I have a Nobel
Prize, somehow my value as a
photographer has increased a little bit,” Karplus said. “When you
get a Nobel Prize, you’re supposed to know everything.”
Karplus initially exhibited
his photos at a two-month show
at the Austrian Cultural Forum
in New York last year. Angelika
Schweiger, the cultural officer at
the forum and the curator of the
embassy exhibit, heard about
Karplus from colleagues in New
York and decided to bring his
work to Washington.
Though he is now celebrated
by Austrian public institutions,
Karplus freely acknowledged in
an interview how shocked he was
to discover on a trip to Austria a
decade ago how prevalent antiSemitic sentiment was in the
country.
“Unlike Germany, which
basically admitted its guilt, Austria still says to many people, ‘We
were invaded by Hitler,’” Karplus
said.
Hanno Loewy, director of
the Jewish Museum of Hohenems in Austria, agrees that the
country was “late in comparison
to Germany” with critically examining its past.
“For long, the myth of Austria as the ‘first victim’ of the
Nazis prevailed,” he said.
An artist statement on
Karplus’ website notes that his
parents gave him a Leica camera
after he earned his doctorate in
1953 and that he subsequently
started photographing his European travels.
“Meeting people and being
exposed to their cultures, art, architecture, and cuisines was an
incredible experience, which has
had a lasting effect on my life,”
reads the statement. Karplus only
began exhibiting his work in
2005.
But for all his achievements,
Hans Peter Manz, Austria’s ambassador to Washington, declined to claim Karplus as his
own.
“Remember when the German pope was elected? Suddenly
[the Germans] were saying, ‘We
are pope,’ which is ridiculous,”
Manz said. “The same thing happens when one of these guys wins
a Nobel. Suddenly you find out,
‘Ah. He’s Austrian.’ The guy left
when he was 8 years old. When I
introduced him, I didn’t mention
it. He did. To claim any piece of
his Nobel as a national success is
ridiculous.”
17
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Senior Living
Survivors return to Auschwitz
determined to share
their stories
By Toby Axelrod
JTA
KRAKOW, Poland (JTA) –
What kept you alive? Did your
non-Jewish friends reject you?
Could you ever forgive?
Those were some of the
questions posed by Jewish young
adults to Holocaust survivor
Marcel Tuchman at the Galicia
Jewish Museum here.
“What kept me alive was
having my father with me,” said
Tuchman, 93, a physician from
New York who was born in
Poland and survived several concentration camps, including
Auschwitz. “And another thing
was the hope I had that one day
I will be able to tell the story to
the likes of you, so you can tell it
to the next generation.”
His meeting with young
Jews was one of many such encounters taking place in and
around Krakow on the occasion
of the 70th anniversary of the
Soviet army’s liberation of
Auschwitz, where an estimated
1.1 million people were murdered – many of them gassed.
In a tent set up around the
gaping
entrance
to
the
Auschwitz-adjacent Birkenau
concentration camp, survivors
and their companions were
joined by dignitaries from more
than 40 countries for ceremonies
that may well mark the final time
that so many Auschwitz survivors are together here again.
Halina Birenbaum, who survived Auschwitz as a child, described to the crowd of 3,000 her
impressions of the Nazi camp 45
miles east of Krakow, calling it “a
bottomless pit of hell that I could
not get out of.”
“All around us was electric
barbed wire. Rows of barracks,
stinking mud ... a disgusting mass
of people all in lousy wet rags,
with numbers and shaven
heads,” she said. “Those gray
faces with legs like sticks, wearing those muddy clogs. Nothing
reminded you of anything
human.”
Roman Kent, president of
the International Auschwitz
Committee, which was founded
by a group of Auschwitz survivors, said his experience in the
camp was “more than enough to
keep me awake at night until the
end of time.”
He added: “How can I ever
forget the smell of burning flesh
that permeated the air” or “the
cries of children torn from their
mother’s arms.”
While survivors cannot forget, others simply must remem-
ber. Otherwise, Kent said, “the
conscience of mankind would be
buried alongside the victims.”
The event also featured the
screening of a short documentary, “Auschwitz,” co-directed by
the famed filmmaker Steven
Spielberg, who started the Shoah
Foundation.
In a moment of disequilibrium, survivors watched the film
about their former place of imprisonment, sitting in front of
the very gate through which cattle cars once passed, delivering so
many Jews to their deaths. Just
outside the tent, a light snow was
falling on the remaining barracks
of Birkenau, surrounded by
barbed wire.
Ronald Lauder, president of
the World Jewish Congress, addressed the crowd.
“Auschwitz never goes
away,” he said. “This awful place
stands as a reminder that propaganda leads to anti-Semitism ...
that anti-Semitism will grow if
nobody speaks out.”
Anti-Semitism, he said,
“leads to places like Auschwitz.”
He added: “After the recent
events in Paris and throughout
Europe and around the world, I
cannot ignore what is happening
today. Jews are targeted in Europe once again because they are
Jews.”
The ceremony was the culmination of several days of
events and meetings attended in
total by some 300 Holocaust survivors. Few of them were actually
liberated at Auschwitz. But all
passed through its gates.
Today they are in their 80s
and 90s, and fit enough to have
traveled from Israel, America,
Argentina and elsewhere.
A group of survivors who
was to visit the Auschwitz exhibit never got beyond the infamous gate, marked “Arbeit
Macht Frei” – so crowded was
this threshold with eager journalists who had come from
around the world. And yet the
hubbub didn’t seem to faze them
a bit. In fact, most of the visitors
seemed determined to tell their
stories to all who inquired.
“I know that we’re getting
old and have to make sure that
the memory doesn’t die with us,”
said Irene Weiss, 84, of Fairfax,
Va., who traveled with her
daughter Lesley. Her key message
to today’s youth: “[Don’t] be deceived by demagogues.”
Spielberg, whose Oscar-winning movie “Schindler’s List” was
filmed partly in Krakow, told the
survivors, “I found my own voice
and my own Jewish identity
thanks to you.”
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18
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Senior Living
Soldiers
CONTINUED
F RO M PAG E
11
community gains more than we
give. It’s truly inspirational.”
The logistics are daunting,
starting from transporting the
wounded Israelis from Israel over
multiple flights. Some come with
a spouse or sibling to assist in
their care, and on the mountain
each Israeli may be escorted by
up to three or four instructors.
Medications must be managed,
doctors must be consulted and
Golshim keeps oxygen on hand
in case the altitude becomes difficult for the visitors.
For the ski instruction, Golshim L’Chaim hires Challenge
Aspen, an organization that runs
adaptive ski programs for people
with physical and cognitive disabilities, including wounded
U.S. soldiers. Many participants
ski with specially equipped
chairs, tethers and outriggers –
poles with mini-skis on the bottoms.
“Our goal is to have the soldiers become as independent as
possible,” said John Klonowski,
director of Challenge Aspen’s
military program and a veteran
ski instructor with the Golshim
L’Chaim groups.
“The learning curve is pretty
quick. It doesn’t really matter if
you’re in adaptive equipment,”
he said. “We’ll get folks out on a
ski hill, and they have an opportunity to feel like they’re just like
everyone else. Especially for people in wheelchairs, this is one of
very few opportunities to be out
of the wheelchair. Once you’re
out there, everybody’s doing the
same thing – feeling the speed,
the wind in their face, out in the
great outdoors.”
When Cohen turned up his
first day, the instructors presented him with a monoski, a
chair connected by a shock to a
fat ski.
“I said no, I’m doing it on
my legs,” Cohen recalled. “They
thought there was a language
miscommunication. In the end I
did it on the legs.”
Always athletic, Cohen had
tried not to let his disabilities
limit him. His initial rehab after
the RPG explosion had lasted
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Golshim L'Chaim-Ski to Live brings about a dozen wounded Israeli veterans and terrorism victims to Aspen each year to learn how to ski.
The 2015 program is slated to include veterans of the 2014 Gaza war.
nearly a year. Because his knees
were spared in the explosion, he
was given prosthetics and slowly
was able to learn to walk anew.
Cohen joined other Israelis
on their post-army trips to the
Far East and South America,
though instead of trekking he
rode horseback or on scooters.
Back in Israel, he enrolled in BarIlan University, studying criminology.
“Without strong faith in G-d,
I couldn’t have gotten through it,”
Cohen said, noting that the part of
his legs left intact were what had
been covered by the tzitzit ritual
fringes he wears every day. “You
talk to the man upstairs and you
know you’re not alone.”
But there were limitations.
Cohen couldn’t run. He often
found himself the subject of curious stares. And like many
wounded veterans, he struggled
at times to keep his spirits up.
At Aspen, Cohen says, his
success skiing gave him a new
boost.
“When I skied all the way
down, I saw that anything is possible,” said Cohen, now 31. “I
came back to Israel and it gave
me strength to believe in myself.
If I look at myself as handicapped, people will treat me that
way. If I consider myself a
healthy person, people will look
at me that way.”
Ariela Alush, 37, who also
was on the Golshim L’Chaim
program last year, said her Aspen
trip proved transformative for
her.
Alush was vacationing with
two friends in Egypt’s Sinai
Peninsula in October 2004 when
terrorists detonated a car bomb
just a few feet from her bungalow.
She suffered a spinal injury, a
head fracture, a broken hand and
shrapnel in her ear; one of her
friends was killed.
After two years of ear surgeries and rehab, Alush eventually was given a clean bill of
health. But she remained traumatized by her experience, disoriented and anxious. She was
fearful of traveling overseas and
never took vacations. After the
bombing, she temporarily lost
her sight, and she associated the
idea of vacation with the darkness that had befallen her in
Egypt.
“When you have post-traumatic stress disorder, you never
feel safe. You’re always bothered
by something,” Alush said. “But
as soon as I got to Aspen I felt
embraced by the Jewish community there. I felt like I was in a
safe place. I experienced something primal. Just as in Sinai I
had my first difficult, dark experience, Aspen was a good, positive experience of light.”
But when Alush tried skiing,
her first bad fall triggered a flashback to the bombing in Egypt 10
years earlier. She couldn’t get up.
Alush panicked. A ski patrol rescue team was called in to bring
her down the mountain. For two
days Alush sat disheartened,
traumatized anew.
Then one of the program
participants gave her a camera.
Alush, a film student, perked up.
She filmed the snow, the mountains, her friends on skis. Slowly,
she says, she felt she was regaining control through the camera
lens. Finally, she felt ready to try
skiing again.
“I only skied for two days
that week, and not even alone.
But the therapeutic value of the
experience was, in my eyes,
worth everything,” Alush said.
“In Aspen, something in my pace
of life changed. I went back to Israel and I returned to work in a
different way. I went back to
working on my movie, I had ambition again. Something new had
awakened in me.”
This year’s Golshim L’Chaim
program will include several soldiers injured in last summer’s
Gaza war, according to Mintz.
“When you see what these
people have gone through and
what they’re able to do, it’s mindboggling,” Mintz said. “It puts life
in perspective.”
19
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Health & Fitness
Your Money
Pomegranate juice a vehicle for
Chasidic help and healing
More than 6,000 Israelis on list of
secret Swiss bank accounts
By Uriel Heilman
JTA
NEW SQUARE, N.Y. – Get
Rabbi Shulim Greenberg talking
about the health benefits of
pomegranate juice and he sounds
like a homeopathic nutritionist –
with a Yiddish accent.
Every January, the Hasidic
charity run by Greenberg obtains
some 40,000 pounds of California pomegranates, squeezes them
into juice and ships the product
in eight-ounce plastic bottles to
ailing Jews.
The recipients – mostly residents of the haredi Orthodox
strongholds of Brooklyn, Lakewood, N.J., and New York’s
Rockland County, where the
New Square Hasidic village is located – apparently believe in the
nectar’s healing powers.
“People think it heals, but it
doesn’t heal,” Greenberg says on
a tour of the juice production
line during its annual two-week
run in January. “It’s keeping
the blood count up, mainly
for people taking chemo. If the
blood count is good, the body has
strength to fight the illness.”
Many manufacturers of food
and dietary supplements promote
the supposed health benefits of
JERUSALEM (JTA) More
than 6,000 Israelis have secret
bank accounts at the Swiss
branch of the HSBC British
bank that had documents leaked
to the Internet.
The documents, which
showed 100,000 private individuals from over 200 countries
holding the secret bank accounts, were obtained by the
Washington-based International
Consortium of Investigative
Journalists.
The 6,222 Israeli-connected
people on the list, which is from
2007, reportedly hold some $10
billion in the accounts. Seventeen of the Israelis hold a total of
over $100 million. Only about
half of those on the list associated with Israel hold Israeli citizenship, according to the
documents.
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For two weeks every winter, laborers work in two eight-hour shifts
daily to squeeze the 40,000 pounds of pomegranates used in Chesed
24/7's juice. (JTA)
pomegranates, which are high in
antioxidants, and the fruit also
occupies a prominent place in
Jewish tradition. Pomegranates
are said to have 613 seeds – the
same as the number of mitzvahs,
or commandments, in the Torah.
Pomegranate
decorations
adorned the Holy Temple in
Jerusalem and the robes of its
high priest. Greenberg says there
is also a reference in a medieval
Jewish commentary to the fruit’s
healing qualities.
But scant scientific evidence
exists to establish these hypothe-
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ses as fact, and in 2010 the Food
and Drug Administration issued
a warning to the nation’s largest
pomegranate juice manufacturer,
Pom Wonderful, for making unproven claims about the fruit’s
disease-fighting properties. It is
Pom Wonderful that donates the
pomegranates to Greenberg’s
charity, Chesed 24/7.
None of that has deterred
Greenberg, who says his product
differs from manufactured pomegranate juice in one small but
crucial way: His juice is unpasteurized.
“Pasteurized is garbage,”
Greenberg said of the heating
process meant to kill bacteria
and prevent spoilage. “The
whole natural is out.”
The pomegranate seeding
work is painstaking. Some 40
manual laborers working in two
eight-hour daily shifts stand
alongside a row of tables banging
on pomegranates with kitchen
mallets to release the seeds. Before bringing their bins to the
juicers, they sift through the
ruby-red kernels to weed out any
stray membrane – a process that
is repeated by a rabbinic supervisor wearing a plastic beard protector. His concern is not kashrut
but quality control.
In the early years of the
pomegranate operation, Chesed
used manual juicers to produce
the liquid. Now a modified machine designed to grind beef gently presses the kernels to release
their juice into a large vat, spitting out the bitter dross generated from the centers of the
kernels into waste buckets.
Once the juice is bottled, the
bottles are placed in a subzero
freezer in a rented facility in upstate New York until they are
ready to be shipped. In all, the
operation produces 20,000 to
25,000 juice bottles.
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20
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
Marijuana
CONTINUED
F RO M PAG E
2
amendment was co-sponsored by
Jared Polis, a Jewish Democratic
congressman from Colorado who
recently introduced a bipartisan
bill to allow hemp production for
commercial purposes as well.
Jewish advocacy groups,
however, have largely hung back
on issues of marijuana legalization and drug policy reform. But
according to Doug Kahn, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of San
Francisco, “the lack of engagement on this issue by the organized Jewish community is not
because it’s a taboo issue, it’s because we have to set priorities.
And this issue has not emerged
as a priority.”
“The core priority for us has
been addressing the sentencing
disparity between white Americans and black Americans who
are convicted for drug-related offenses,” said Barbara Weinstein,
the RAC’s associate director.
For some prominent Jews,
however, it’s not merely about
whether or not to prioritize other
issues, but about actively working to block marijuana legalization.
In Florida, where a November bid to legalize medical marijuana lost by 3 percentage points,
Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson pumped $5 million into the
campaign to defeat its passage.
The casino mogul’s Israeliborn wife, Miriam, is a drug addiction specialist who runs a
rehabilitation center in Las
Vegas and believes that marijuana is a “gateway drug” to
harder, more dangerous substances – a belief that legalization
advocates dispute.
But if Le’Or has its way,
Florida could indeed legalize
medical marijuana in the next
election cycle – and California
might well take the next step and
allow recreational use.
“We’re talking about some
of the biggest Jewish communities in the U.S.,” Roy Kaufmann
said. “I look at 2016 and I think,
‘This is an opportunity to start
building something now.’”
Film
CONTINUED
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Europe of forms of anti-Semitism that have not been seen
since the 1930s.”
Even before the horrific series of attacks by Islamic extremists that left more than 16
dead at the offices of French
satirical paper Charlie Hebdo
and a kosher grocery store in
Paris, anti-Semitism has been
on the rise. Over the summer, a
synagogue in Wuppertal, Germany, was firebombed, and
crowds in many European cities
have chanted that Jews should
be gassed.
Bensinger said he was encouraged by how warmly he was
received in Hamburg and by
how well both the young people
and members of the city administration received his film.
Smartphone
CONTINUED
CJN Classified
F RO M PAG E
F RO M PAG E
10
the Entebbe raid of 1976 and a
little boy in the United Kingdom
with muscular dystrophy.
Prior to the phone’s development, Livne said he was “completely dependent” on people
around him. Simple things like
making a phone call – no less a
private one – were no longer possible, as someone needed to dial,
hold the phone and hang up for
him.
“My life quality jumped from
the Stone Age to the smartphone age,” he said.
Now Livne regularly texts
and sends WhatsApp messages
to his friends and three children,
and the phone has helped ease
some of the social isolation experienced by many disabled people,
especially the young.
“Disabled people are the
largest and loneliest population
in the world,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman
Family Foundation, which advocates on behalf of people with
disabilities in the Jewish community.
A smartphone is not just a
window into the social world; it’s
necessary for many lines of work.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that only 17.6
percent of persons with a disability are employed.
“We live in an age where
you have to use technology to
compete and function in the
workforce, and if that technology
isn’t built in a way that allows
you to participate, you are essentially frozen out of the workplace,” Ruderman said. “This
isn’t just for one individual; we
are talking about millions of people around the globe in the same
situation.”
Livne came up with the idea
Bensinger comes from a
German Jewish family who fled
Nazi Germany in the 1930s and
eventually settled in Chicago.
The documentary grew out of a
series of interviews with the last
remaining survivors and
refugees at the Selfhelp Home
on Chicago’s North Side.
Ruben Herzberg, principal
of the Klosterschule in Hamburg, said the level of antiSemitism may be lower in
Germany, than in countries like
France and even England, because of the tremendous
amount of education about the
Holocaust in German schools.
For Herzberg, the former
president of the Hamburg Jewish Community, teaching about
the Holocaust is very personal.
“What is important to me is
that I’m a Jew,” said Herzberg
who was born in Israel. “My
grandparents were killed in
Auschwitz. Teaching about the
Holocaust means teaching
about my family.”
Herzberg said at least 10
percent of his students come
from Muslim families. When
asked whether this affects how
his school teaches about tolerance and bigotry, Hertzberg
called the Holocaust “a very
special question for immigrants
in Germany.”
“It can be a struggle to
make the Holocaust relevant to
them,” Herzberg said. They’ll
say ‘okay, the Germans killed
the Jews but I’m not from Germany and it’s not my problem. ‘
” Herzberg tells them the antiMuslim racist graffiti they see
on the subway stations is no different than the anti-Jewish graffiti of 70 years ago.
He also tells them, “If you
don’t understand the Holocaust,
you will never understand how
to prevent atrocities like that –
perhaps to you own family.”
Lisa Pevtzow
for Sesame after seeing a TV
demonstration for a game controlled with head movements.
With a background in electrical
engineering, he immediately recognized the technology’s potential to help him.
“Being [an] engineer, and especially an electrical engineer, I
had so much envy for the people
who could use the new gadgets,
and my engineering mind helped
me come up with the idea,” he
said. “When I saw them playing
the game with head gestures, it
just clicked to me.”
He called up the TV station,
which put him in touch with the
game’s designer, Oded Ben Dov.
Turns out Ben Dov and Livne
lived just three blocks from each
other.
After meeting with Livne,
Ben Dov closed his software
house and began working on
Sesame.
“Once I met with Giora, my
focus switch was pretty immediate, said Ben Dov, who has a
background in mobile development and computer vision. “I realized there was a real need.
“With games, you can make
1,000 of them,” he said, shrugging. “But here there was a real
use for this technology.”
Ben Dov said the first
phones that were ordered via Indiegogo will be shipped in
March, and a larger tablet version will be released later this
year.
Sesame is just one of many
Israeli technology start-ups in a
country hailed as the Start-Up
Nation. And Ruderman said
there is a growing emphasis on
creating technology solutions for
people with disabilities. Notably,
the Israeli company VoiceITT
recently developed an application called Talkitt that enables
those with motor, speech and
language disorders to communicate using their own voice.
Where Sesame differs from
Talkitt and other ultra-popular
Israeli tech products like Viber
and Waze is that it is not an application. Because Sesame’s software controls the whole phone,
the company needed to gain
something called root access so it
could preinstall the technology
in its labs and sell the phone
touch-free out of the box.
The step is necessary, although one that keeps Sesame’s
operational costs high.
“Since our users couldn’t operate a phone before, it’s not really a question of them just
downloading an app because
they didn’t have a phone to
begin with,” Ben Dov said. “The
first phone they buy will be the
touch-free Sesame Phone.”
It’s an exciting prospect for
some like Jacob Williams, a seventh-grader who was in a car accident when he was six weeks old
and has been a quadriplegic and
on a ventilator ever since.
Michael Dadey, the assistant
vice principal at Jacob’s Pennsylvania school, stumbled upon
Sesame when researching handsfree devices for Jacob.
“All Jacob has ever talked
about to people is being able to
use a phone,” Dadey said in an
email interview. “Most teens
can’t wait to get a driver’s license
– Jacob knows that will probably
never happen for him – so the
next big moment for him in his
life is to have his own smartphone.”
For Ben Dov, the prospect of
helping change lives has been
transformative.
“It’s been incredibly rewarding,” he said. “I have learned so
much. … These devices are literally a window into the entire
world. We called it Sesame because it indicates our desire to
open up worlds for people.”
In fact, the phone turns on
with two simple words: Open
Sesame.
21
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
By Joseph Aaron
CONTINUED
F RO M PAG E
Get Home Care
22
Obama made at the recent National Prayer Breakfast. In it, he made
the historical point that while today it’s Isis that is acting in horrific
ways, in the past it was others from other religions who have done the
very same. “This is not unique to one group or one religion,” he said.
“There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique
to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”
People committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. Indeed
they did. As Jews know all too well. How many Jews over how many
years in how many places have paid a bitter price at the hands of Christians believing they were acting in the name of Christ? Indeed, Hitler,
a devout Christian, believed the Nazis were acting in the name of
Christ, a notion reinforced by the pope at the time, by Christian teachings at the time. So no you don’t have to go back 1,000 years to the
Crusades, just 70 to the Holocaust to see Christians committing the
most barbaric of acts, mass murder on a truly stunning scale, all in the
name of Christ.
The other thing that struck me about the president’s speech
was, could you ever imagine anyone ever saying this: “Lest we get on
our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that people have committed terrible deeds in the name of Moses.”
Terrible deeds in the name of Christ? Yes, history is full of examples. Terrible deeds in the name of Allah? Yes, today’s headlines are
full of examples. But terrible deeds in the name of Moses? Can’t really think of any, then or now.
That says a lot, and a lot good, about the Jewish people. Look, I’m
not saying we’re saints or that some Jews haven’t done some terrible
things. Meir Kahane comes immediately to mind, as does Baruch
Goldstein, the madman who slaughtered 27 Palestinians in the Cave
of the Patriarchs, as does some of the actions committed during Israel’s
War of Independence and, as a new movie shows, done even during
the Six Day War, with those who were Israeli soldiers then admitting
they did some not very pretty things.
So no we’re not perfect, but as a religion, as a people it is pretty
much unimaginable for us to be accused of committing terrible deeds
in the name of Moses. That’s not how we roll, that’s not who we are.
Amazing enough, considering all Christianity and Islam are
guilty of doing, but even more amazing because we sure have good reason to take our anger out on others, to do unto others some of what
has been done to us, to seek vengeance for our suffering.
Almost everywhere in world we have lived, we have been persecuted, gone after just because of who we are. And yet we have never
become like our tormentors, have never responded to what has happened to us by acting like those who did it to us. We have never used
our religion as an excuse, a reason, a pretext to commit terrible deeds.
Very much to the contrary, we have always picked ourselves up,
dusted ourselves off and began building. Raising families, educating our
kids and ourselves, supporting institutions, turning to G-d for help and
salvation. We don’t use Yiddishkeit as a weapon, but rather as a guiding light.
As one watches the behavior of Isis, beheading people, raping
women, burning people alive, one sees believers using their religion
to justify the most despicable acts. And sees many other adherents of
Islam either stay silent or cheer the barbarians on.
As one looks back at history, at the Crusades, at the Inquisition,
forcing people to convert or be killed, burning at the stake, one sees
believers using their religion to justify the most despicable acts. And
sees popes and priests and ministers, egg them on, provide them theological justification.
One sees no such thing when it comes to the Jews. We have given
so much to the world, great doctors and scientists and philosophers and
entertainers, but never great evil. We have shown the world that “even
if you’re justified, you still act dignified.” We have shown the world
that our way is to commit great acts of kindness and sanctity and goodness in the name of Moses, in the name of Hashem.
Obama made an important point. It’s easy for Christians today to
point fingers at Islam but they are in no position to do so. And while
he didn’t explicitly say it, he reminded us that there is only one religion on earth of whom it is inconceivable to say they have committed terrible acts in the name of Moses.
Moses taught us many things, things that we have used to heal,
to build, to learn, to grow, to create. We have not, do not, will not
commit terrible deeds thinking that’s what our religion expects of us.
We know that’s not the case. Which is why when a Kahane or Goldstein comes along, we are the first not to cheer him or proclaim him
a hero, but to denounce him.
For all our faults and flaws, Jews are an amazing people, Judaism
an amazing faith. And that prayer breakfast speech that invoked
Christian history to put Islamic behavior in perspective, reminds us
of who we, as a people, are and how we, as a people, are. It is something we should be very proud of.
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22
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
By
Joseph
Aaron
In the name of Moses
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Either I’m getting older or the world is getting crazier.
Fact is, I am, thank G-d, getting older. Got a big milestone birthday this year. More about that some other time, provided, of course,
I have the strength. But the fact also is that the world is not getting
crazier.
Though, I must admit, it sure sometimes feels like it.
Take the last few days where we learned that Brian Williams, one
of the most trusted men in America, is a big fat liar pants on fire.
Learned that Bruce Jenner, once the world’s greatest athlete, will soon
become a woman. Learned there are an incredible number of wackos
in this world, mostly ironically right-wing gun toting Fox News
watching nuts and left-wing granola eating tree hugging nuts, who
don’t believe in having their kids vaccinated. Thanks to G-d and a lot
of Jewish scientists, diseases once almost eradicated are making a
comeback because too many are buying the baloney peddled by that
eminent physician, and Playboy bunny, Jenny McCarthy.
So, yes it does seem like the world is going nuts, anchors becoming liars, manly men becoming girly women, major politicians like
Chris Christie and Rand Paul afraid to say yes of course you should
have your kids vaccinated, for fear of offending the hicks who vote in
the Iowa Caucus.
But the truth is the world is saner and safer than ever before in human history. And yes, I’ve heard of Isis or Isil or Is or whatever you want
to call that band of evil butchers, so insane that they were negotiating
for the release of a prisoner they had burned alive a month before.
But if you look back at history, and certainly at Jewish history, you
will see that the world was a much harsher, scarier place then than
now. The difference is that we know a lot more now, know everything
that happens everywhere and know it immediately.
Here’s an interesting little nugget for you. There are more facts
in one day’s Chicago Tribune than the average person in the 14th century would learn during his entire life.
The point is that things do seem nuttier, even though they
aren’t, because there is this never ending bombardment of news coming at us, on our smartphones, computers, via twitter and Facebook.
You know, when I was a kid, if you left your house, no one could
reach you by phone. Impossible. In that wired world, you were completely untethered. And if someone called you at home and you
weren’t at home, you would never know.
Now our wireless world has us wrapped around its little fingers.
We are reachable all the time at any time at any place. We can hold
in our hands a small device that immediately alerts us to any news
story, happening anywhere, as it’s happening. We are constantly dealing with texts and emails and voicemails and on and on.
It’s enough to drive you nuts. Which it does, which is why we
think everything is nuts, the world is out of control. It isn’t, but it sure
feels like it.
Which is why some historical perspective is needed and so valuable. Yes, there are dangers and conflicts, but no major war anywhere.
There is but one superpower, us, and we’re good guys not trying to grab
the land of others or rule over others. Thanks to modern medicine, we
live longer, better, healthier lives. Almost everyone has a refrigerator to
keep their food fresh and safe, something not to be taken for granted.
Which is why I was so pleased by recent speeches made by National Security Advisor Susan Rice and by President Obama. In presenting the administration’s 2015 National Security Strategy, Rice
noted that “Yes, there’s a lot going on. Still, while the dangers we face
may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or the Cold War. We can’t
afford to be buffeted by alarmism and an instantaneous news cycle.”
Bingo. And did you hear the part about today’s threats not being
“existential.” Ah, existential threats. Why can’t Bibi Netanyahu be
more like Susan Rice?
Bibi loves to throw around the term “existential threat.” Iran is
an existential threat to Israel, he says over and over. He never stops
talking about it, mostly because he so wants to please his now dead father. His father, you see, was an historian whose research led him to
the conclusion that the world has always hated Jews, will always hate
Jews, that no one has ever helped the Jews and no one will ever help
the Jews. His father’s focus was the Spanish Inquisition and so Bibi has
decided today’s Inquisition is Iran.
But enough about Bibi. What struck me as containing some
very important truths Jews should take notice of was the speech
SEE BY JOSEPH
AARON
ON
PAG E 2 1
23
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
ADVERTISEMENT
in Our
Midst
A Letter toExtremists
the World
from
Jerusalem
Insanity: doing the same think over and over again and
expecting different results.—Albert Einstein
Since the handshake on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993—
almost 22 years ago—there persists a willingness on the part of some American
Jewish organizations to deny that perhaps our "Palestinian" Arab partners are
not as interested in peace as they are in winning – a victory that doesn't include a
State of Israel. In candy-filled celebration of dead Jews, the Arabs glory in
emulating their Nazi mentors. Amiram Goldblum of Peace Now admitted,
"The name 'Peace Now' is... a source of embarrassment for me. I can't
even put the movement's sticker on my car. ... I feel people would say,
'What idiot is driving this car?' I listen to people who were talking of peace
yesterday. ... These people don't understand anything." Having sold their
pliant followers a phony bill of goods, they are too vested in their peace
agenda, willfully blinded in their refusal to see reality.
J Streeters, Peace Now-niks and Kool-Aid-imbibing "Pinky Rosenthal"
(Moe, Curly and Larry, respectively) would like to believe the fault lies with
successive Israeli governments including that of dovish Ehud Barak who, after
Camp David 2000, embarrassingly came back to reality. In a speech at the
World Policy Conference in December 2011, Barak said, "[Ariel] Sharon
evacuated the Gaza Strip and took out every last soldier and civilian, gave
instructions to tear down all buildings...so as not to supply any excuse to the
Palestinians. And what happened? Hamas fired over 10,000 rockets at Israel."
What outcome from the disengagement did Barak expect? Hamas touted
the Gaza withdrawal as their great victory. Yet, as if Barak wasn't pathetic
enough, after Sharon's stroke in 2006, Ehud "peace-at-any-cost" Olmert was
designated Acting Prime Minister. In New York at an Israel Policy Forum
event, Olmert infamously whined, "We are tired of fighting, we are tired of
being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our
enemies." Rousing words of encouragement to homicidal Arab murderers? At
another leftist love-fest, Olmert predicted that the pullout from Gaza "will
bring more security, greater safety, much more prosperity, and a lot more
joy for all the people of the Middle East. [How did that work out?] We want
them to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors [kumbaya]. Friendship
is within reach if we will be smart [?], if we will be prepared to take risks [i.e.,
more dead Jews] ... and if we will spare no effort to convince them, not by
fighting with them but by sitting with them and talking with them [insert laugh
track here] ... so the Middle East will indeed become...a paradise for all the
world!" [Hamas' "blessed shahid" hopefuls lined up for their one-way trip to
Virgin Paradise, merrily building their tunnels of death, to the tune of "I Love
Paris in the (Arab) Spring Time."]
If history foretells the future, pro-Palestinian uber-leftist Ha'aretz columnist
Gideon Levi once noted that "everything the Arabs have gained has come about
through force... after intense terrorist violence. ...The shortsighted Jewish
[peace movements] are playing into the hands of Israel's foes and are in
large part responsible for the continuation and extension of the terror."
(Chicago Jewish Star, 12/26/02)
It was Cicero who wrote in 42 B.C.E:
A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it
cannot survive treason from [enemies] within. An enemy at the
gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his
banners openly. But the traitor... infects the body politic. ... A
murderer is less to be feared.
Yet today there are still a few loony leftists in our community who are tied for
their very lifeblood to the two-state solution fraud, demanding Israel withdraw
to indefensible borders which an eloquent dove, former UN Ambassador Abba
Eban z"l, dubbed "Auschwitz borders."
But no worries for Kool-Aid-guzzling Jeremy Ben-Ami, cheerleader for the
J Street Obamacrats, who writes,"Israelis will have the opportunity... to tackle
the issues of regional peace." Israel will solve the conflicts of Syria, ISIS,
Yemen, etc. Really? He asks, "Will [Israel] take steps to safeguard its Jewish
character while remaining a democracy, or will it slide in the direction of deeper
isolation, occupation, intolerance and xenophobia? ... As they face these
questions, they need to hear from the pro-Israel, pro-peace community here in
America. Here at J Street we refuse to let the extremists win." After 22
years of broken promises of peace, over 2000 dead Israelis, and Mahmoud "Mr.
Moderate" Abbas inciting his Palestinians and blessing terrorists as holy
martyrs, Who are the real extremists?
Abbas' election as president was rigged. When Hamas was finally allowed
to participate in the election, Abbas and his band of terrorist hustlers not only
lost, but were unceremoniously thrown out of Gaza, while this U.S.
administration continued to support Abbas even after including Hamas – a
registered terrorist organization – in a unity government.
And then there is "Jiminy" Klutznick, real estate mogul and Peace Now-nik
since 1981, the current chair of Americans for Peace Now. You'd think he'd be
worn out after 34 years of being wrong so often; but obviously at this point he
has too much vested in his Peace Now-ing. APN "fights for democracy and
tolerance in the face of extreme right-wing hate violence." Do his lofty
platitudes apply to his Palestinian bastions of democracy and tolerance? The
latest poll in Israel (12/9/14) by Khalil Shikaki of the Palestine Center for Policy
and Survey Research "shows strong Palestinian support for violence and for a
new uprising against Israel. ...The Hamas militant group would win presidential
elections if they were held today." Democratic? Tolerant? "Jiminy" insists
"there is a Palestinian partner who is willing to negotiate," it's just that no one
can seem to find him! Not to leave his Pal pals hanging, "We now need an
Israeli government with the political will to reach an agreement with a
Palestinian leadership that can deliver." Which Palestinian leadership is that?
Fatah? Hamas? I guess the Let's Make a Deal twins, Barak and Olmert, weren't
giving away enough. In 1993, Arafat's first promise was to amend the
Palestinian Covenant. Didn't happen. In fact, ten agreements later, it still hasn't
happened. "Jiminy" is in real estate; he should know something about signed
agreements—except when it comes to his Pal pals.
But perhaps Mr. Peace Now is at his most devious when he heroically
boasts, "It was Peace Now that tipped off the world to what others were
ignoring: ... a plan for construction of a new settlement in East Jerusalem –
Givat HaMatos. That move came on the heels of the takeover of seven
properties by settlers in Silwan, an ancient Arab neighborhood in East
Jerusalem." Mr. Peace Now is not stupid—just deceitful. It is not in East
Jerusalem—a purposely inflammatory phrase—and it never was ancient Arab
land. Working to block construction of low-cost homes for poor, Jewish
Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, the ignoble Mr. Peace Now must take great
pride in his discrimination against fellow Jews.
But even more deceitful is his reference to the "takeover of seven properties
in Silwan." I guess it was a real estate conundrum for "Jiminy" the real estate
mogul. He knows Jews purchased the properties legally, yet he deliberately
terms it a "takeover," intentionally misleading his supporters while asking for
their money. Playing on the ignorance of his Peace Now supporters, honesty
doesn't seem to be in his playbook of cheerleading for his Pal pals.
And then there is "Pinky" the Opinionator –"Mr. Pollyanna," who doesn't
like Bibi. "If only Bibi would stop being so difficult ..." and according to his
foggy crystal ball, "We all know what the 'final solution' will be." Really? But
what upsets "Pinky" is that Israel's good friends, the "surrender monkeys" of
Vichy France, voted yes to a virtual Palestinian state. Mon Dieu! Perhaps he's
overlooking that France is currently scared out of its multicultural wits!
But"Pinky" is certain—just as he was about Oslo and Arafat—that "all
Israel has to do is recognize reality, ... make reasonable compromises [like
Gaza], understand that a Palestinian state is not only inevitable but in
Israel's best interest [Come again?], get on the right side of history [Is that
Muslim/Arab history for non-believers?] ... recognizing that Jerusalem
should be Palestine's capital too." It sorta takes your breath away when an
Orthodox Jew, not affiliated with Neturei Karta, advocates dividing Jerusalem to
"share" it with a bunch of depraved terrorists. For "Pinky," Arafat was never the
obstructionist; and Abbas looks so darn credible in his impeccably tailored
Armani, as he denies the historic Jewish connection to the Land. After so many
years and so many columns devoted to his illusory peace, is the reality that
difficult to comprehend, or is the fraud too difficult to accept? Ever faithful to
the demography-fabricators of the Left, "Pinky" clings to the canard of the
"demographic time bomb" conclusively debunked by American demographic
researchers. "Pinky" puts more stock in the lies of our enemies than in the
rigorous analysis by American and Israeli demographers confirming today a 68
percent Jewish majority from the river to the sea, excluding the cesspool of
Gaza. "Pinky," the weekly preacher of good news for the Jews, grudgingly
dismisses the good news about the 450,000 Jews in Judea/Samaria growing lots
of Jewish families and having lots of Jewish babies. Yet, if Jeremy, "Jiminy"
and "Pinky" are so enamored of a two-state solution transferring Jews out of
Judea/Samaria, are they equally willing to transfer to that virtual Palestinian
state all the Arabs currently residing within the green line?
Surprisingly, there came a clarion call from a former leftist-turned-realist.
His profundity makes me smile. Rabbi Danny Gordis writes:
... One can already hear the lip smacking, the self-congratulatory
satisfaction of those who believe that in helping to force Israel's
hand, they're doing Israel a favor. ...A North American Jewish
woman said to me, "I'm working to make Israel better."
Really? The hubris of the certainty was astounding. Are you
sure that Israel is "better" when it has both less land and
170,000 rockets pointing at it? Are we sure that Israel is "better"
when settlers, some of whom represent the most vibrant, selfless
form of Zionism, will be told that their project is to be
abandoned? ... Are we sure that a move to the never-recognized
pre-1967 lines will not then lead to a push to the once-recognized
1947 lines? One day, we are likely to have only choices even
worse than the ones we have today. ... ("A Dose of Nuance: A
tale of Too Many Certainties" – 2/6/14)
I am kvelling! Menachem Begin would have been proud.
"Auschwitz borders," incitement of terrorists, dead Jews ... These things
don't seem to bother Moe, Curly and Larry (Jeremy, "Jiminy" and "Pinky").
Putting Jewish lives in the crosshairs is no big deal. Yet, in the words of a U.S.
War College General who analyzed Israel's minimal security needs, "Any
American Jew who talks about giving up the West Bank is no friend of Israel.
And any Israeli who talks about giving up the West Bank is suicidal." Your
call: U.S. War College analysis versus the vacuous, peace-mongering quisling
triplets: Who are the real extremists? Is reality really that tough to grasp?
Shabbat Shalom, 02/13/15
Jack "Yehoshua" Berger
24
Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 13-19, 2015
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