JEWISH NEWS THE CHICAGO February 20 - 26, 2015/1 Adar 5775 www.chicagojewishnews.com One Dollar RABBI OF THE HALF-CENTURY Chicago Rabbi David Spitz celebrates 50 years in the rabbinate Jews running for office in Chicago Special Focus on Education section Larry Layfer on living, giving as a Jew Mormon Jewish deli 2 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 In Salt Lake, a Mormon Jewish deli By Anthony Weiss JTA SALT LAKE CITY – Going back to his very first bite of a Reuben more than 50 years ago, Randy Harmsen has always loved deli food. So when he decided to open his own restaurant, the Salt Lake City native followed in the footsteps of his heroes, who founded establishments like Katz’s in New York, Langer’s in Los Angeles and Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Mich. But although Harmsen’s 9th South Deli is stocked with deli classics like succulent pastrami and crunchy pickles, it differs from the predecessors who inspired it in at least one key regard: Unlike the Jewish founders of Katz’s, Langer’s or Zingerman’s, Randy Harmsen is Mor- mon and a former bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. Harmsen first sampled deli food as a teenager in 1963 at the delicatessen of Lu Dornbush, a Dutch-born Holocaust survivor who maintained a shop in downtown Salt Lake City, and was immediately taken with the cuisine. As he subsequently traveled for work – he ran an engineering firm – Harmsen always made a point to seek out delis in whatever city he happened to be in and try their offerings. Part of the appeal, of course, was the taste. In addition, as Harmsen learned more about the history of Jewish immigrants and their foods, he came to see a parallel between deli food and the fare of the early Mormon pioneers. “It was a low-priced soul food for the Jewish popula- tion,” Harmsen said. “When it first came they were quite a poor population, so they learned to make delicious food out of very simple things. We did the same thing with very basic foods and try to make them savory by using some spices.” However, Harmsen says, Mormon food – famously heavy on casseroles and Jell-O molds, along with starches and boiled meats – wasn’t always as much to his liking. Like many Mormons, Harmsen also sees deeper connections between the Mormon experience and that of the Jews. Harmsen’s great-great-grandfather, William Clayton, was part of the original Mormon settlement of Navuoo, Ill. Clayton accompanied Brigham Young in the wagon train of Mormon pioneers who fled persecution and ulti- Randy Harmsen came to see a parallel between deli food and the fare of the early Mormon pioneers. (JTA) We’re Committed to Your Lifetime of Learning! At Park Plaza, inspiration comes in many forms. We provide a full array of classes that keep our residents engaged and involved in meaningful activities. From live music and performances to studying Russian to computers, current event discussions and book clubs, there’s always something new to learn. Our residents take great pride in discovering new interests and sharing these accomplishments with family and friends. With a choice of luxury apartment rentals, social events, daily exercise and so much more, our residents thrive in a vibrant, care-free environment. Call to arrange a visit and see how senior living is meant to be! Pri startces in at g $ 1,750 6840 N. Sacramento Avenue, Chicago Y www.park-plaza.org Y 773.465.6700 (Yehuda) mately founded Salt Lake City. (“If I were in Israel, I’d be a sabra,” Harmsen quipped.) That migration is known as the Mormon Exodus. Harmsen and his wife are also deeply involved in the Mormon church. He has twice served as a bishop, a volunteer position overseeing approximately 500 people. They lead the music for a Mormon children’s group for ages 3 to 11, with Harmsen playing piano and his wife leading the singing. Harmsen has eaten his way through delis across the country, and he rates the original kosher Second Avenue Deli, which was on New York’s Lower East Side, as the best he’s tried. But the most important deli he visited on his journey to restauranteur was Zingerman’s. He was introduced to its fare by his son, who attended the nearby University of Michigan. Harmsen tried the Reuben and was floored. He became a devotee, and when he decided to sell his engineering business a few years later and thought about opening his own Jewish-inspired deli, he returned to Zingerman’s for advice. “They said, ‘You want to make a million dollars in a delicatessen?’ and I said, ‘Well, that would be nice.’ They said, ‘Start with 2 million,’” Harmsen recalled. But they agreed to help Harmsen launch his dream. He studied the deli business at Zingerman’s for about 30 days over the course of a year, then hired a general manager and sent her to train there for two weeks. Harmsen also took research trips to New York and Los Angeles to find the best source of pastrami, and ultimately found his favorite at Langer’s Deli, which directed him to its supplier, RC Provision. He then leased a space in a renovated Victorian house in the eclectic shopping district SEE DELI ON PAG E 1 6 3 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Last Jews of Yemen eye exodus By Mohammed Ghobari Reuters A few worried families are all that remain of Yemen’s ancient Jewish community, and they too may soon flee after a Shi’ite Muslim militia seized power in the strife-torn country. Harassment by the Houthi movement – whose motto is “Death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam” – caused Jews in recent years to largely quit the northern highlands they shared with Yemen’s Shi’ites for millennia. But political feuds in which the Jews played no part escalated last September into an armed Houthi plunge into the capital Sanaa, the community’s main refuge from which some now contemplate a final exodus. Around six Yemeni Jews from the same family arrived in Israel recently. “Since last September, our movements have become very limited for fear of the security situation, and there are some members of the community who preferred to leave Yemen,” sighed chief rabbi Yahya Youssef, sitting in his apartment within a walled compound next to ministry of defense. Dressed in the traditional Yemeni flowing robe, blazer and headwrap, Rabbi Yahya’s lined face is framed by two long curls on each side. Along with Hebrew he and his co-religionists speak Arabic, value local customs and are wary of life beyond home. “We don’t want to leave. If we wanted to, we would have done so a long time ago,” Yahya said as his infirmed old father rested in the sun outside their home. Jews evacuated from the Houthi stronghold of Saada province in 2009 to the government-guarded compound have dwindled from 76 to 45. A group of 26 others live in a city north of the capital. Their total number is down from around 200-300 just a few years ago and now makes up a tiny fraction of Yemen’s 19 million-strong population. Yemen’s Jewish community numbered over 40,000 until 1949, when Israel organized their mass transfer to the newly-established state. Those who stayed say they had lived in peace with their neighbors in the Muslim Arab country. Boredom and isolation reign at the Jews’ lodgings in their unlikely ghetto in a luxury enclave called “Tourist City” near the now-evacuated United States embassy. Cut off from the carpentry and metalworking shops that were their renowned trade for centuries, residents now subsist on small government allowances that they say barely meet their living costs. Young men who venture into the souk often tuck their distinctive curls up into their headwraps for fear of bullying. Boys are no longer eager to grow them in the first place. Israel-linked organizations have in the past repeatedly helped whisk Jews out of Yemen, but Israeli government spokespeople declined comment on the matter, citing reluctance to endanger Yemen’s Jews by association with Israel. “There are certainly discussions going on over options available regarding the Yemenite Jews,” said an Israeli official briefed on immigration matters. Yemeni Jews demonstrate outside of the Cabinet office in Sanaa. INSPIRING JEWISH TEENS HAS NEVER BEEN MORE CRITICAL THAN IT IS TODAY. SPANNING OVER 200 CITIES AND SIX COUNTRIES, NCSY IS THE WORLD-RECOGNIZED LEADER IN JEWISH OUTREACH. In 1954, NCSY was established by the Orthodox Union to help Jewish teens ﬁght assimilation and develop strong Jewish identities. Sixty years later, its mission remains the same. 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OU KOSH ER | NCSY | YACHAD | OU ADVOCACY CENTER | OUTORAH.ORG OU JOB BOARD | J EWISH LEARN I NG I N ITIATIVE ON CAM PUS | J EWISH ACTION WWW.OU.ORG | FB /ORTHODOXUNION T @ORTHODOXUNION ISRAEL FREE SPI RIT-TAGLIT B I RTH RIGHT ISRAEL | COM M U N ITY ENGAGEM ENT SYNAGOGU E SERVICES | OU ISRAEL | OU PRESS | OU ALU M N I CON N ECTIONS 4 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Jewish News ■ French Prime Minister Manuel Valls excoriated a former minister from his party for suggesting that Valls was under Jewish “influence” because his wife is Jewish. The statements made about Valls and his wife by Roland Dumas, a Socialist former foreign minister, “do nothing to honor the republic,” Valls said. In an interview aired on BFMTV, Dumas said about Valls, “He has personal alliances, everyone knows he is married to someone – a distinguished person – who has influence over him.” Valls is married to Jewish violinist Anne Gravoin, and in 2011 he said during a public appearance that his marriage connected him “in an eternal way” to Israel and the Jewish people. Many French Jews admire Valls for his outspoken opposition to anti-Semitism and executive actions to prevent it. ■ A former SS member, now 93, was charged in Germany as an accessory to the murder of 170,000 people, mostly Jews, at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The district court of Detmold must now decide whether to allow the prosecution to proceed after charges were filed. The man, one of several former guards who have been investigated and charged in recent months, has not been named. The man reportedly has admitted to being stationed at the camp from early 1942, but he denies having any involvement in murder, according to the state prosecutor of Dortmund. Investigators say the accused was involved in murders from January 1943 to June 1944 involving Jews deported from Hungary, mass shooting operations and the “selection” of ill and weak deportees on the arrival ramp for extermination, the German broadcasting agency WDR reported. He also allegedly knew that the systematic murder could not have taken place without assistants like him, according to the charge. It is possible that the accused will not be tried due to his age. ■ A woman in Boise, Idaho, allegedly harassed and physically attacked her Jewish neighbor in order to convince her to convert to Christianity. Marguerite Haragan, 58, was charged with two counts of malicious harassment in the attack, which police have labeled a hate crime, the KTVB television station in Boise reported. She could face up to five years in prison for each count. Haragan first harassed the alleged victim, who was identified in court as A.G., with phone calls. She went to A.G.’s home and banged on her window while shouting that she “better believe in Jesus,” and that she would not leave until A.G. did, the Idaho Statesman reported, citing a recording of Haragan’s arraignment. When AG opened the door to get Haragan’s license plate number, Haragan slapped her in the face, pulled her hair and threw her to the ground, then kicked her in the stomach before pressing her foot into A.G.’s throat until the Jewish woman said she would believe in Jesus. Haragan returned to the home two days later and wrote “death” on A.G.’s mailbox. The court barred Haragan from talking to A.G. or going near her, according to KTVB. ■ Rabbi Barry Freundel secretly recorded more than 150 women undressing at the mikvah adjacent to his Washington synagogue, prosecutors reportedly told a meeting of victims. The meeting at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington for Freundel’s alleged victims was the first time women from the community learned of the scope of the peeping Tom videos, The Associated Press reported. Only six of Freundel’s alleged victims have been identified by name. Freundel, 63, was arrested last October on six charges of voyeurism after investigators discovered secret cameras installed in the mikvah shower room and additional recording devices in his home. His Orthodox synagogue, Kesher Israel, immediately suspended him and later fired him, ordering him to vacate the shul’s rabbinic residence. But Freundel, who reportedly separated from his wife after his arrest, has refused to leave the residence, and the congregation has taken the case to the Beth Din of America. Freundel has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. ■ Taylor Swift reportedly has been offered as much as $2.5 million to perform in Tel Aviv likely in June, when the American pop singer’s new concert tour arrives in Europe. No contracts have been offered. Swift’s representatives have been holding talks in recent weeks with four producers and agents to have the Grammy Award winner play Tel Aviv. Swift, 25, has sold more than 30 million albums and 80 million digital single downloads. JTA Contents THE CHICAGO JEWISH NEWS Vol. 21 No. 20 Joseph Aaron Editor/Publisher 6 Torah Portion Golda Shira Senior Editor/ Israel Correspondent 7 Arts and Entertainment Pauline Dubkin Yearwood Managing Editor Joe Kus Staff Photographer 10 Cover Story 12 Focus on Education Roberta Chanin and Associates Sara Belkov Steve Goodman Advertising Account Executives Denise Plessas Kus Production Director 16 CJN Classified Kristin Hanson Accounting Manager/ Webmaster Jacob Reiss 18 Death Notices Subscriptions Manager/ Administrative Assistant Ann Yellon of blessed memory Office Manager 18 By Joseph Aaron 19 Community Calendar www. chicagojewishnews .com Some of what you’ll find in the ONLINE version of Chicago’s only weekly Jewish newspaper DAILY JEWISH NEWS For the latest news about Jews around the world, come by everyday and check out what’s making headlines. ARCHIVES Look back at articles from the past, including recipes, Torah portions, Joseph Aaron’s column and more. Product and establishment advertising does not constitute a Kashrut endorsement or endorsement of products or services. Believing in providing our readers with a range of viewpoints, the Chicago Jewish News does not take editorial stands on issues. The opinions expressed by any of our columnists are theirs and theirs alone and do not necessarily represent the position of the newspaper. The Chicago Jewish News (ISSN 1084-1881) is published weekly by the Chicago Jewish News Front Page Council in Memory of Chaim Zvi. Office of publication: 5301 W. Dempster, Skokie, Ill. 60077. Subscription by mail: $40 for one year. Periodical postage paid at Skokie, Ill. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Chicago Jewish News, 5301 W. Dempster, Skokie, Ill. 60077. PHONE NUMBER (847) 966-0606 Advertising Ext. 18 Circulation Ext. 21 Editorial Ext. 13 Production Ext. 19 THE FORUM Express your views on a Jewish issue in the news or about any article you’ve read in the Chicago Jewish News. You can even get into a discussion with others. MAZEL TOVS Someone you know celebrating a simcha, a bar/bat mitzvah, engagement, wedding, birthday, anniversary? Send them congratulations. Classified Ext. 16 Accounting Ext. 17 FAX (847) 966-1656 CONDOLENCES Send a message of condolence to those who have lost a loved one. COMMUNITY CALENDAR You can not only check out what’s coming up in the Jewish community but you can add your event to this comprehensive calendar. PERSONALS Find Mr. or Ms. Jewish Right. For Israel Advertising Information: IMP Group Ltd. 972-2-625-2933 Like Chicago Jewish News on Facebook. 5 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Why there is no Chabad house in Havana a Lubavitch publisher. Aisenbach said he had strong ties with Adath Israel’s former president, Alberto Silverstein, who welcomed his emissaries into the congregation. But by 2007 Silverstein had By Josh Tapper JTA HAVANA – On the freshly painted, salmon-colored walls of Alberto and Rebeca Meshulam’s apartment, two portraits of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, frame the entranceway leading to a wide, airy vestibule. Miniatures of the same portrait sit atop a glass-covered countertop near an image of the Meshulams’ son, Moises, taken at the Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva in Buenos Aires that he attended for a decade. Despite the iconography, and their kosher kitchen, the Meshulams are not strict adherents of the Hasidic movement. But in Cuba, a country without a permanent Chabad outpost, the Meshulams – he’s a retired physician, she’s a homemaker – are proud supporters. Their home in this city’s tranquil Nuevo Vedado neighborhood has become a de facto headquarters for the handful of mostly Latin American Lubavitch emissaries who visit the island on major Jewish holidays. The Meshulam family home is, according to Rebeca, the “beit Chabad for Cuba.” There are reasons Chabad doesn’t have a house of its own, stemming from a years-long dispute with Cuba’s 1,500 member Jewish community. Indeed, over the past eight years, relations between Chabad, the haredi Orthodox outreach organization, and Cuban Jewish leadership have deteriorated to the point where Lubavitch emissaries will not step foot in the city’s Orthodox synagogue, Adath Israel. Meanwhile, Havana’s Conservative Beth Shalom, the largest synagogue in Cuba, decries Chabad’s ongoing presence here as illegal. The roots of the hostilities lie in differing interpretations of halachah, or Jewish law, especially over the question of who should be considered Jewish. While exact figures are unknown, there is a high rate of intermarriage inside the Cuban Jewish community, according to Beth Shalom president Adela Dworin, who knows of only 20 or so Cubans – including herself – born to two Jewish parents. But since 1992, when the country changed its constitution to allow for freedom of religion, hundreds of Cubans have been converted by visiting Conservative rabbis, Dworin said. Chabad, however, does not recognize non-Orthodox conversions. Shimon Aisenbach, the director of Chabad’s Cuba operation, Chabad Friends of Cuban Jewry, or CFCJ, acknowledged that emissaries have barred stepped down and a conflict had arisen with the synagogue’s new leaders. Aisenbach said members of Adath Israel told him flatly they didn’t care if their religious leaders were not halachically Jewish. Do you experience the intense pain, tenderness and swelling of gout? Rebecca and Alberto Meshulam, 70 and 78, respectively, in front of a portrait of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The Meshulams host Lubavitch emissaries at their Havana apartment throughout the year. (JTA) Cubans they don’t consider halachically Jewish from their programs – a practice Dworin called “discriminatory.” In recent years, Chabad has also drawn the ire of some in the Jewish community here for skirting a Cuban law that requires all visitors on religious missions to carry religious visas. Each year, dozens of American and Canadian Jewish missions – sponsored by synagogues and Jewish organizations such as B’nai B’rith – arrive in Cuba lugging bags of clothing and medical supplies. The Lubavitch emissaries who enter Cuba from across Latin America and Canada come instead with tourist visas. Máriem Martinez Laurel, the press secretary and cultural attaché at Cuba’s embassy in Ottawa, acknowledged that religious travelers sometimes sneak into Cuba on tourist visas by deceiving their local consulate. “If they are going to do religious work, this is not correct,” said Martinez Laurel, who had not previously been aware of Chabad’s work on the island. “They cannot do any religious work with a tourist card.” Aisenbach, who runs CFCJ out of a basement office at his home in a suburb north of Toronto, said his group submitted religious visa applications in the past but they were never processed in a timely fashion. When asked why CFJC no longer applies for religious visas for its emissaries – or attempts to establish a permanent residence on the island – Aisenbach said he believes that Cuba’s Office of Religious Affairs would rule against Chabad, given Dworin’s close ties to the government. “The government knows about me and knows about my work,” Aisenbach said. CFCJ has worked in Cuba since 1991, the same year that many international Jewish organizations, including the American Joint Distribution Commit- tee, rushed in to provide aid following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s chief benefactor at the time. According to Aisenbach, that first year Chabad shipped nearly 2,000 pounds of clothing and medicine, shoes and Spanish-language prayer books to Jews across the island. In 1998, Chabad reported that it had imported seven tons of kosher food over the previous five years. In those early years, Chabad was tolerated, even embraced. At Adath Israel, a two-story building behind a barbed-wire gate in Old Havana, pictures of Lubavitch emissaries posing with synagogue members adorn the foyer walls and many of the synagogue’s prayer books come from Gout and kidney problems? If a healthcare provider has told you that you have decreased kidney function, local doctors need your help with a research study testing an investigational medication. 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Mon. - Sat. 9-5:30 Closed Sun. www. chicagojewishnews . c o m T h e Je wi s h N ew s pla ce in cybe rs pace Living, giving as a Jew Our work must be a help to the whole community By Lawrence F. Layfer Torah Columnist Torah Portion: Terumah Exodus 25:1-27:19 “Speak to the children of Israel that they give to Me an offering, everyone whose heart is willing … and let them make Me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:1-8) “In our scripture reading of the morning, we are once again reminded that G-d commanded the children of Israel to make contributions to the Holy Tabernacle and for its sacred worship. When this part of the Bible was written, contributions were made regularly, not only to the sacred Tabernacle, but also for the purposes of local charity, which Jews have always regarded as one of the most important features of community life. “In those times, also, Jews gathered contributions to free slaves and to redeem captives, granting them assistance, until they were completely restored as happy human beings. The giving of all these contributions was regarded as a sacred duty on the part of the people. Today, even as in ancient times, our charities are as varied as they are many. Now, even as then, they have not only a local but also a world-wide character. “We, too, have the duty of redeeming captives from the shattered and hate filled lands of Europe and Asia, and from the poverty-stricken ghettos of North Africa, from Arab-owned countries to the free and hopefilled land of Israel. They look to us, their people, for help, for our money, our machinery. Ours is the duty to give so that they may live. Organized relief is the only possible solution for their problems. Contributions of material gifts and of effort and time are desperately needed from all of us who are prepared to give willingly with our whole hearts.” The above is quoted from words my wife spoke on this Lawrence F. Layfer Torah portion at her bat mitzvah 51 years ago, for which she graciously thanks her father for “some help with editing.” It spoke to the communal need to give, through a willing and generous spirit, in order to create a group ready to be responsible for one another. A start on this lesson was given to the newly liberated Israelites by Moses when they were asked to donate for the building of the Tabernacle in the desert. After donations of precious metals, jewels, woods and skins, the gifts were used to construct and decorate the structure by those of talent amongst the Israelites. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks considers the “most effective way of transforming individuals into a community … (is by) setting them a task they can only achieve as a group.” Both the desert Tabernacle and its heir, the Temple in Jerusalem, are lost to us, and the sacrifices offered are no longer a current part of Jewish life. The structures have been replaced by local synagogues, and the sacrifices by prayer and acts of kindness, for in Proverbs (21:3) it is taught: “Charity and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifices.” The buildings may have changed, but the sense of community and commitment remains, re-developed fresh every generation. Rabbi Warren Goldstein writes in an article titled “Klal Mensch: The dependence of community on individual commitment, that “the Community of Jews is such a fundamental principle that Maimonides writes one who separates from the paths of the community … has no portion in the World to Come. Attachment to the Klal (commu- The “most effective way of transforming individuals into a community … (is by) setting them a task they can only achieve as a group.” nity) means entering into their troubles. It means talking responsibility for the welfare of Klal Yisrael in every respect, from its physical to its spiritual needs … to give and to help others in all areas of life. The ultimate goal of living a Torah life is to become a giver. The Torah says that ‘the boy (Moses) grew up … and Moses grew up and went out to his brothers and saw their suffering.’ “The Maharal explains the repetition of ‘grew up’ as the first time it appeared it referred to Moses’ physical growth and the second time to his moral and spiritual growth … going out of his way to see the suffering of his brothers (when) he could have remained in the privileged and protected environment of the palace, yet he gave it all up for Klal Yisrael. Rabbi Solomon Wolpe explains that becoming a Klal Mensch is achieved by taking more and more responsibilities throughout life … to assume communal responsibility. According to Rabbi Simon Shkop, the definition of holiness is to give to others, and in doing so we emulate G-d who does everything for the benefit of His creatures … included in G-d’s commandment ‘you shall be Holy’ is that all our work and toil should benefit the community, in imitation of G-d, for all gifts and blessings are given by G-d to the individual as a custodian who is duty-bound to share these gifts … to be a Klal Mensch is to believe and participate in the future destiny of Klal Yisrael.” My bar mitzvah was on the same day and year and in the same city as my wife’s, and my speech was also “edited” by my father, who defined his hopes for me on that day as “entering manhood in my religion. I realize that with this comes many obligations and many responsibilities … I hope and pray to the Almighty that He may direct my future by granting me the wisdom and foresight … to take advantage of all the opportunities available to me to direct my development so that I may become learned so as to seek knowledge, and be kind and charitable.” The lesson of parsha Terumah, as my wife and I learned, calls to both the individual and the community. As Hillel said (Avot 1:14): “If I am not for myself who will be for me, but if I am only for myself, what am I?” Lawrence F. Layfer M.D. is vice chairman of medicine at North Shore University Health System, Skokie Hospital. 7 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Arts & Entertainment An innovative ‘Property’ Lyric presents a world premiere klezmer opera By Pauline Dubkin Yearwood Managing Editor Lyric Opera of Chicago’s upcoming (Feb. 24-March 15) mainstage production, a 40-yearold opera called “The Passenger,” centers on several Polish citizens haunted by their past roles in the Holocaust, including a former SS officer at Auschwitz and a possible prisoner of hers who meet on an ocean liner in the 1960s. “It’s a story of the Holocaust, but it’s not a Jewish story,” says Cayenne Harris, director of Lyric Unlimited, a three-year-old initiative that encompasses company activities that are not part of Lyric’s mainstage season and reaches out to various Chicago communities. So the leaders of the organization decided to commission a work that would focus on the Jewish story as a companion piece to “The Passenger.” “We started out knowing we wanted to do a klezmer opera, but we had no idea of a story,” Harris says. “We began having conversations with Eric Einhorn, who is directing the opera and is Jewish. He was interested in thinking about second and third generation Holocaust stories and he looked at any number of possibilities.” Eventually he and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann came across a graphic novel by Israeli author and illustrator Rutu Modan of the same name. They thought it might be right for a small-scale opera, Harris says. “With a novel there are too many words, how can you choose which ones to use?” she says. “But a graphic novel adapted well to a musical setting.” The result was a 90-minute chamber opera (six singers, six musicians), also titled “The Property,” with music by upcoming young composer Wlad Marhulets and libretto by Fleischmann. It runs Feb. 25-27 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts in Chicago, with two additional performances March 4 and 5 at the North Shore Center Wlad Marhulets for the Performing Arts in Skokie. The story takes places in the early 2000s and centers on a recent widow, Regina Segal, who after her husband’s death, travels from her Chicago home to Warsaw, her birthplace, along with her granddaughter, Mica. Her goal is to reclaim the family apartment that was seized by the Nazis. Mica, meanwhile, is eager to connect with the past, which her grandmother refuses to speak about. It soon becomes clear that there is more at stake than property as Regina meets a former lover and her granddaughter finds her own love interest in a Polish tour guide. Ultimately Regina shares secrets with her granddaughter and both women come away from the experience with a renewed understanding of the Holocaust and each other. “It’s really about the granddaughter beginning to understand more about her grandmother and what the experience of having to flee Poland meant,” Harris says. Musically, she says, “it’s a fusion of klezmer and opera. It’s not just a set of traditional klezmer favorites.” Composer Marhulets was born in Belarus and raised in Poland, then came to the United States to study composition. He has had some major commissions from orchestras and written some music for films but, Harris says, klezmer is his first love. As for “The Property,” which is in English with a little Polish and Hebrew, Harris calls it “quite an intimate piece. The set and costumes are quite simple but very effective. This is not a piece about the Holocaust, it’s a family story, and people from many different backgrounds might appreciate it but especially Jewish families, but it has a huge Polish element as well.” In Chicago, Harris says, there is a “healthy relationship” between the Jewish and Polish communities. “The story is a celebration of both cultures.” She’s hoping the work will draw audience members who don’t normally go to opera, including fans of graphic novels, she says, “to see what happens when you turn one into opera. And for people who love klezmer, it’s an opportunity to hear klezmer in a new way. It is priced quite affordably so it can be accessible to everyone. It’s not your usual high-priced opera ticket. There is something here for everyone.” “The Property” runs Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 25-27 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago and Wednesday-Thursday, March 4 and 5 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. Tickets start at $20 at both venues. For tickets, visit www.lyricopera.org/property. THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 8:00 | FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 1:30 | SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 8:00 BEETHOVEN TRIPLE CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA | RICCARDO MUTI conductor | STEPHANIE JEONG violin | KENNETH OLSEN cello | JONATHAN BISS piano | LIGETI Lontano | BEETHOVEN Triple Concerto | TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 2 (Little Russian) Beethoven’s noble Triple Concerto artfully showcases the lyrical expressiveness of the violin and cello, beautifully played by CSO members Stephanie Jeong and Kenneth Olsen and world-renowned pianist Jonathan Biss. JONATHAN BISS CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA | RICCARDO MUTI Zell Music Director CSO.ORG / 312-294-3000 Artists, prices and programs subject to change. These performances are generously sponsored by the Randy and Melvin Berlin Family Fund for the Canon. Global Sponsor of the CSO 8 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Arts & Entertainment Oscar nominee ‘Ida’ traces void left by Poland’s murdered Jews By Anthony Weiss JTA For the past few decades, Holocaust films have been common – and often victorious – fare at the Academy Awards. But this year, the Polish nominee in the Foreign Language Film category ventures into the less frequently explored territory of the Holocaust’s aftermath. “Ida,” writer-director Pawel Pawlikowki’s stark black-andwhite film, is an unsparing look at the discomfiting void left behind after the obliteration of Poland’s Jews. Set in 1962 Poland, the film tells the story of Ida, a young Catholic novitiate living a life of simple devotion at a rural monastery as she prepares to take her vows as a nun. But the rhythm and ritual of her life is disrupted when she learns that she must visit her previously absent aunt before she can be initiated. Against her will, and wearing her habit like armor, Ida journeys to Warsaw. The aunt, Wanda Gruz, is the diametric opposite of Anna – a worldly, disillusioned Stalinist now devoid of faith of any kind. From the start, Wanda cannot resist taunting Ida for her piety and innocence. For Wanda, life is pain, leavened by alcohol, cigarettes, music and an anonymous parade of men. She is also Jewish – and so, she reveals, is Anna, born Ida Lebenstein, whose family was killed in the Holocaust. Almost despite themselves, Ida and Wanda find that they share a mutual affection, and Wanda agrees to take her niece to search for the remains of their family. The contrast between the traveling companions could not be more stark. Passing a roadside shrine, Ida stops to kneel and pray while Wanda lounges against the car smoking. Reaching a village, Ida goes to the church, Wanda to the bar. What they find is a Poland determined not to remember or to care. From the occupier of the family’s old house they meet hostile denial. From villagers in the family’s old hometown they meet shrugs and blank stares. In a hitchhiking young saxophone player they find the drifting, sensuous pursuit of whatever comes next. But Ida and Wanda also force one another to confront things with which they, too, have failed to reckon. For all her disapproval of Wanda, Ida cannot fail to see all that the larger world offers. And Wanda, in her growing connection with Ida, is forced to excavate long-buried memories, loves and agonizing losses. Of all the movie’s great voids, perhaps none is greater than Judaism itself. For Ida, the discovery that she is Jewish is an odd, almost incomprehensible piece of trivia, one of the few threads tying her to a past she never knew. Wanda, twisted by pain and grief, neither seeks nor desires any connection with Jewish life. She is a modern communist, devoted to the party but stripped of belief in anything but the perfidy of man. Yet these two wounded vessels are the sole Jews in the film. Beyond them there is nothing. No rabbi, no community, no culture, no memory – only an abandoned graveyard. Given this, it is little surprise that “Ida,” like its characters, has an uneasy relationship with Poland. The film has been Agata Kulesza, left, and Agata Trzebuchowska co-star in the Polish film "Ida,” an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film about an aunt and niece looking for family lost in the Holocaust. (JTA) widely hailed as a masterpiece and lavished with critical praise and awards, including Best Foreign Language Film from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. But it has also met with criticism from Polish nationalist groups that have accused the film of tarring Poland with the sins of the Nazi invaders. Pawlikowski also shares another element with his characters, namely a Jewish past. His Gil Shaham violin David Michalek visual artist Bach Complete Sonatas and Partitas SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 3:00 “Gil Shaham could give the inimitable Jascha Heifetz a close race in the razzle dazzle department.” CHICAGO TRIBUNE SYMPHONY CENTER PRESENTS Artists, prices and programs subject to change. father’s mother was Jewish and was murdered at Auschwitz. Like Ida, Pawlikowski didn’t learn this history until he was an adult. His father, an avowed secularist, never discussed it. “Everyone talks of it as being about Jewish-Polish relations,” Pawlikowski told the Guardian newspaper last year. “I don’t want to step into that minefield. For me, the film is about what it is to be Polish.” GIL SHAHAM BACH SIX SOLOS WITH ORIGINAL FILMS BY DAVID MICHALEK CSO.ORG / 312-294-3000 / Group Services 312-294-3040 9 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Arts & Entertainment Does Brian Williams’ punishment fit the crime? Labor Day, a time of new starts. That’s actually a good time for By Uriel Heilman JTA know what his path to return is. SEE WILLIAMS ON PAG E 1 6 JOIN US FOR THE LYRIC AND MIDWEST PREMIERE OF A POWERFUL AND HAUNTING REDISCOVERED WORK Weinberg The Passenger Brian Williams reader of the news – because that’s really what anchors do these days – then what does a six-month suspension do? It’s long enough for NBC to lose its position as the leader among networks in the nightly newscasts, and for viewers to get accustomed to a new anchor. But then why bring Williams back in six months? Stories about helicopter-gate (is anyone else using this term?) will just crop up again ahead of his return, and I don’t understand how six months of sitting in the corner facing the wall (and foregoing a paycheck) will make Williams more honest or trustworthy. If NBC really wants to take a stand, why not get rid of Williams for good? If it’s that the network wants to be seen as punishing Williams but doesn’t want to lose an anchor who has been good for business, then wouldn’t a shorter punishment make more sense? A month, say, would be enough time that it would be more than a slap on the wrist but short enough that the broadcast conceivably could move beyond the scandal in a few weeks’ time. I called a couple of Jewish guys I know who deal in crisis PR, among other things, to see what they thought about NBC’s handling of the Williams affair. “Six months is shocking,” said Stu Loeser, a former spokesman for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “I think it surprised everyone. It’s attention getting. It shows that Brian Williams’ NBC bosses take this seriously. This is a big deal. This is not stepping down for two weeks, this is not taking a vacation.” Loeser, who now runs a media strategy firm in New York, said he believes six months is perfect amount of time. “You need something that breaks through. If it’s two weeks, people won’t buy it,” Loeser said. “Six months puts him back in play at the end of summer, before Feb 24 - Mar 15 A gripping story about the Holocaust, told from the perspective of victim and perpetrator. New York Classical Review calls the production “strong and unaffected” with “breathtaking melodic and structural invention...The Passenger stands as proof of the need to perform important works like this to a wider audience.” KARL FORSTER/BREGENZ FESTIVAL By now, anyone interested enough to have read about the issue knows the basic facts: Longtime NBC anchor Brian Williams lied about having been on a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq in 2003. In truth, he was on a different helicopter that landed unimpeded about a half hour after the other chopper was forced down by hostile fire. The apology Williams offered when the truth of the matter became impossible to ignore (thanks to a reporter from Stars and Stripes) was deemed insufficient by the commentariat and, eventually, by NBC. Williams essentially said it was an honest mistake – “I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” was how he put it. But critics said it was an outright lie and that his failure to own up compounded the original lie with a dishonest apology. Now NBC has suspended Williams without pay for six months and is undertaking its own internal investigation to determine what else Williams has said doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. There are a couple of things that are confounding to me about this whole turn of events. The first is the most obvious: that a man this likable, this good-looking, this … tall could have peddled this untruth for so long. Who could ever have imagined he was lying through those picture-perfect white teeth? (Except for the ignored military veterans who have been grumbling about Williams’ dishonesty for years, of course.) Shame on you, Williams, for ruining what had been up till now a happy relationship. Not that I watch “NBC Nightly News,” of course. Though I grew up on Tom Brokaw and still find his South Dakota lilt and peculiar staccato the ultimate authoritative voice in news, as an adult I don’t think I ever sat down to watch the early evening TV news, and now I don’t even own a TV. But I did like Williams’ cameos on “30 Rock,” stints on “Saturday Night Live” and guest appearances on the “Daily Show” with Jon Stewart (whose just-announced retirement from the show is a real tragedy, if we’re already bemoaning the loss of a news anchor). What really confounds me about the Williams affair is this ill-conceived punishment. I just don’t get it. If the guy lied and is no longer a credible him to come back into the public consciousness. I don’t exactly Lyric Opera presentation generously made possible by Richard P. and Susan Kiphart, Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel, the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation, Sidley Austin LLP, Manfred and Fern Steinfeld, and Helen and Sam Zell, with additional support from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music program. 3 1 2 82 7 56 00 | LY RI CO PER A .O RG LO NG LIVE PASSION 10 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 RABBI OF THE HALF-CENTURY Chicago Rabbi David Spitz celebrates 50 years in the rabbinate By Pauline Dubkin Yearwood Managing Editor It was a different world when Rabbi David Spitz graduated from the Reform movement’s rabbinical school 50 years ago. All of his colleagues were male. Reform congregations operated in the classical mode in synagogues built to look like cathedrals, with old-style Germanic music at services. Reform Jewish camps didn’t exist. The government of the United States, and many of its citizens, didn’t look favorably on the young State of Israel. Rabbi Spitz, in retirement now, reflects on the changes that have occurred since that longago day. Many of them he welcomes with delight. Others worry him. Spitz also reflects on his varied career as both a chaplain for the Veterans Administration and a congregational rabbi, most of it spent in and around Chicago. He’ll be honored for his 50 years in the rabbinate by the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis at its convention March 15-18 in Philadelphia, along with other rabbis who have attained that milestone. F or Spitz, the path to the rabbinate began in an apartment in the Bronx, N.Y. and the Reform congregation across the street, where his family was active. After graduating from the City College of New York, Spitz attended the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and was ordained in 1965. He went on to serve as a U.S. Army chaplain, a stint that included time at a base in Kansas and two years in Ouijongbu, Korea, where he covered the entire country ministering to American soldiers, Marines and Air Force personnel of all religions. Spitz also worked with two groups of Korean civilians through the U.S. Information Service, an enriching experience for him, the warm, animated rabbi said in a wide-ranging tele- phone interview from his winter home in Florida. “The armistice was still in effect, with occasional outbursts,” he says. The U.S. government “was eager to have better relations with the people of Korea, so they used to have these groups.” There was a high school group and a college group. “They would practice their English and have discussions, and they would basically talk about life in Korea, and ask me what life was like in the United States. It was an experience I found very worthwhile,” Spitz says. Back home, he embarked on a path that put him in contact with the pioneers of the Reform Jewish camping movement, which, he says, began with the Chicago-based Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in 1950 but didn’t reach the East Coast until the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was then serving at a small temple and in the summers directing the arts and crafts program at the Reform movement’s Camp Harlam in Pennsylvania, where he was among the first camp employees to develop an arts and crafts program that related to themes of Jewish values, history and Hebrew language. The notion that Jewish camps and schools could use the arts to help teach Jewish values was a new one, he says, and he wrote several articles on the topic and tried to inspire other school and camp directors to include the arts in their curriculum. The small religious school he taught at in Hollywood “was way ahead of the curve,” he says. “I was able to convince the school to get a really sophisticated art program, something that was not being done and that even today is not widely done in the schools.” Spitz then served at several congregations, including Temple Beth-El in Hammond/Munster, Ind., for several years and eventually moved on to a congregation in Rochester, N.Y., where, he says, momentous changes in his life and career occurred. He was elected president of the local ministerial association, through which in turn he enrolled in the Colgate Rochester Divinity School’s program lead- Rabbi Spitz preparing to bring Passover supplies to U.S. Army troops stationed in "Freedom's Frontier," the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea, 1967. With him is a Korean chaplain. ing to a degree in pastoral counseling, and found a new career as a chaplain. “It was an important transition period in my life. I had been serving congregations for 10 years and then I got my doctorate in counseling,” he says. “But I felt I needed to do something ‘rabbinic’ with my time, so I took (a position at) any little congregation that came along.” That happened to be a congregation in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. At this point Spitz was still a bachelor. That was soon to change. “In the congregation there was one woman who was available,” he says with a chuckle. “She was the ritual chairperson, and she was going through a divorce. We got together, started dating, one thing led to another.” They ended up marrying on the eve of a rabbinic convention, which proved convenient for their honeymoon – their hotel was tax-deductible. Rabbi Neil Brief, longtime spiritual leader of Ezra Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation in Skokie, is Spitz’s lifelong friend and colleague (all the way back to their childhoods in, respectively, Brooklyn and the Bronx), and he was slated to perform the ceremony. But the wedding came just at the infamous moment when a neo-Nazi group was threatening to march in Skokie, and Brief didn’t feel he could leave with such a grave threat to his community looming. Spitz found a Toronto classmate to perform the ceremony instead. Sue Spitz had a young daughter, Ellesa from her first marriage; together the couple raised two more children, Tammi and Marc (“Is the world ready for another Marc Spitz?” Spitz asks with a laugh, referring to the Olympic swimmer of the same name) and now have five grandchildren, who they clearly dote on. In fact, Spitz tells a delightful story about his daughter putting on the Grateful Dead and his toddler granddaughter asking to hear Mozart instead. “(Grandchildren) skip a generation in many ways,” he says, noting that he introduced a grandson to the joys of building model trains and a granddaughter to opera. W ith his new bride, Spitz came to Chicago, where he found an en- during career as a chaplain with three VA hospitals in the area, remaining in that position for 26 years until his retirement in 2003. He also served as the first rabbi of Congregation Or Shalom in Vernon Hills for the congregation’s first four years; led a havurah, B’nai Chai, for more than 30 years; and served as the rabbi of Temple Menorah in Chicago for eight years, until it closed its doors in 2011. But it was as a military chaplain that Spitz feels he provided his greatest service. At the VA hospital, he provided care to all patients and their families, not just Jewish ones, although he specialized in working with Jewish patients and held religious services for them and their families. As he got to know and work with Muslim patients, “I had a special attachment to the Muslim community,” he says. “I felt that Judaism is closest to Islam” of all other religions. He came to know Muslims’ requirements for halal meat, so close to kashrut, for prayer carpets on the floor and “all the different type of things that go into the spirituality of being a Muslim,” he says. As a chaplain, he naturally had to deal with returning vets 11 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and says the VA has been a leader in research into the syndrome. ‘We’ve been moving in the right direction in recent years,” he says of the attitude toward and treatment of troubled returning veterans. “Once we left off having compulsory military service and worked with a volunteer army, the public would be cut off from what it’s like to be a vet. They are beginning to realize these are the people that ensure the freedoms we enjoy. The world is a dangerous place, and we need a strong military to keep us free.” He is still disturbed, however, by high suicide and divorce rates among returning vets and feels these problems need to be addressed more strongly by government. And everyone can help, he says, by simply saying to a vet, “Thank you for your service.” Spitz continues to serve as vice-commander of North Shore Post #29 of the Jewish War Veterans, one of the largest posts in Illinois. The group meets monthly to hear a speaker and plan ways to be of help to veterans, he says, and members do some service work at VA hospitals. Historically, he says, the Jewish War Veterans organization played a major role in combating American anti-Semitism by showing that Jews served in the military in proportion to members of other religions. “There were rumors that Jews weren’t patriotic, didn’t want to serve,” he says. “That was completely false and we backed it up with history.” Which of his two duties – chaplain or congregational rabbi – did he prefer? Spitz answers with good humor. “I had a ball, just a wonderful time in whatever I did professionally,” he says. “In terms of influence, large numbers of people, creating an environment to produce future rabbis, cantors and educators, nothing can beat the congregation.” But, on the negative side, “there’s a lot of politics, a lot of appeasing of ego to raise the funds you need. Chaplaincy also has its pluses and minuses,” he says. “You are dealing with people caught in a crisis situation.” Yet, when working as a chaplain, “I never took any work home with me. I had time with my wife, my kids, days off, time to travel. In a congregation I felt constantly tethered to my responsibilities.” L ooking back at the changes that have occurred in the Jewish world in the last 50 years, Spitz recalls an article published around 1960 in Newsweek, predicting that “by the end of the 20th century there would be no Orthodox Judaism,” he says. “Of course they were wrong. We’ve seen a rejuvenation of interest in tradition. And whoever thought the Chasidic movement would gain the relevance it has gained in the Jewish community?” Yet outside of the Orthodox world, “we’re faced today with problems of commitment,” he says. “Unless we find good ways of doing it we’re going to lose this generation of Jews who support Jewish causes, support Israel, congregations. (Younger Jews) are very much into a general spirituality and often that’s at the expense of making a commitment to their own history and roots. It puts a tremendous pressure on the new leadership to find ways that are exciting” to draw Jews back into organized Jewish life. “Everything I can think of has evolved,” he says. “Take Jewish music. When I was a youngster growing up, it was the old Germanic style, operatic. Today it’s much more toward folk music, more modern types of melodies,” a sea change he attributes to the Jewish camping movement and singer-songwriters like the late Debbie Friedman. And he wistfully recalls a trip he took to Germany sponsored by a foundation dedicated to helping American Jews and rabbis find out more about the Germany of today. Attending services in a Berlin synagogue, he enjoyed “the music of the synagogue, the feeling of the synagogue. It was a magnificent building, with an organ and the old-style classical Reform type of service. It just filled my heart even though it is not what we do today. I remember it with a tremendous amount of fondness.” In America, “many synagogues are having trouble with attendance,” particularly in the liberal Jewish community, Spitz says. “They’re constantly doing a soft shoe with all kind of programs to bring people in, but attendance is certainly very low. We’re constantly looking for ways to change that trajectory. It’s not easy, but it has made us creative.” His modest prescription: “There’s a search for spirituality. Synagogues have to find a way of showing that what they have to offer will heighten spirituality, connectedness with the infinite,” he says. Younger Jews “are not going to be impressed by a cathedral type service. The younger generation wants to be in smaller groups, where they can sing along, not have a cantor who sings for them. Religious institutions either have to meet these needs or suffer the consequences of perishing or being irrelevant.” There is one change in the Jewish landscape that Spitz can heartily endorse: the ordination of women as rabbis. In fact, he says, “I thought it was one of the best things that ever happened to the rabbinate.” With the caveat that he doesn’t mean to stereotype, he Rabbi Spitz with a clay sculpture he did of his grandson. says, “All of my classmates were male. Women coming into the rabbinate gave it a much softer feeling than it had been in the days when I was a student – less competitive, more cooperative.” Women rabbis, he says, “asked different questions. They are more concerned about how a particular practice or law might affect an individual.” He is also impressed at how “women created their own midrashim, their own stories that tell about who (in history) were just glossed over.” A sermon he heard about Asenath, Joseph’s wife, impressed him. “She is not widely known,” he says. “(Joseph’s) generation perpetuated Judaism and she had a tremendous influence, but she is just glossed over, she is just a name, we don’t know anything about her.” Another midrash that interests him is about Sarah, Abraham’s wife. “What was Sarah doing when Abraham was taking Isaac up to the mountain? Women are asking the questions we should have all been asking all along,” he says. But it’s not just the reputation of biblical women that benefitted from women joining the rabbinate, Spitz says. He believes that the phenomenon has changed the whole nature of the institution. “I can’t get over what has happened,” he says. “In my generation you became a professional and you were pretty much married to your career. You worked it exclusively. Now you have women saying, I can take this position but I do have small children, I have to be with them at bedtime, I need to be able to give my husband the type of attention he needs. Make it a three-quarters time job so I can honor the other responsibilities that are important to me.” That attitude, he believes, “has freed us all. It’s made the rabbinate a better place for the men too. I think it’s the greatest thing that has happened. Men are devoting more time to their families too. We have stay-athome dads. Men want to have more quality time and help in every aspect of rearing their children. I think because women have become more free, men have become more free. It’s a win-win situation for all of us.” R abbi Spitz is fully retired now and he and Sue spend the coldest six months of the year in a condo in the Florida sunshine. He has renewed an interest in arts and crafts from his earliest days as a Jewish educator and is working on several projects. Meanwhile, out of long habit, he ponders the Jewish future. “You do see a certain amount of straying away, but you also see a certain amount of return, people coming back whose parents had strayed away, but they are more interested,” he says. “It is part of the whole dynamism. I think we will continue as a people.” He sees many positive signs in Jewish life. “Whoever thought that Israel would play such a vital role in the non-Jewish community?” he says. “Most Americans are sympathetic to it. I remember when it wasn’t that way. John Foster Dulles (Secretary of state under President Dwight D. Eisenhower) and his State Department were not very sympathetic to Jews. Now it’s just the opposite. There is sympathy across party lines. The U.S. has come to an awareness that the future of our American way of life is strongly dependent on a strong Israel. Talk about changes! That to me was a big one, and it’s great to watch.” In addition, he finds cheer in the fact that Judaic studies are much more accepted in universities than previously, and in the Hillel movement. “Another generation would not consider sending their child to a Jewish day school,” he says. “Now it is a possibility for many Jews. I think we’re going to be strong. “We’re seeing some amazing things that just keep on unfolding,” he says. “Just as you think it can never happen, it does happen. I’m very bullish on the future. The young people coming out of HUC are different from my generation. They are wonderful. I think we have a very nice future ahead of us.” 12 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Focus on Education In Japan, the Holocaust provides a lesson in dangers of nationalism By Cnaan Liphshiz JTA FUKUYAMA, Japan – In the auditorium of this country’s main Holocaust education center, a teenage actor explains the dilemma that faced a Japanese diplomat during World War II. “My conscience tells me I must act a certain way, but doing so means defying my commanders,” says the actor portraying Chiune Sugihara, the Empire of Japan’s wartime vice consul in Lithuania. In 1940, Sugihara rescued 6,000 people by granting them transit visas to Japan in de- fiance of Tokyo’s orders. Some of them survived the war. To Western ears, the play’s message of placing independent thought above blind obedience may seem banal. But in an increasingly militaristic Japan, Sugihara’s story is instructive – a tool for sensitizing children to the dangers of nationalism not only in Europe, but also in Japan. “It’s a bold position to take in a society that has remained ultra-conservative and extremely hierarchical,” said Alain Lewkowicz, a French Jewish journalist who has studied Japanese society’s attitudes toward the Holocaust. Since it opened in 1995, the Fukuyama Holocaust Education Center – situated just outside Fukuyama and about 60 miles from Hiroshima, the site of an atomic bomb in 1945 – has welcomed tens of thousands of Japanese schoolchildren. Founded by Beit Shalom, a Kyoto-based Christian pro-Israel organization, the center relocated in 2007 to a larger, donor-funded 20,000square-foot facility. (Beit Shalom’s theater troupe’s is now preparing for its first international tour in nine years. The group, which will perform in the United States this spring, is composed of 20 Japanese girls who sing in Yiddish and Hebrew about such themes as life Members of the Small Hands choir of the Beit Shalom congregation speaking about Anne Frank at the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama. (JTA) The next Chicago cohort begins March 8. For more information, visit spertus.edu/certiﬁcate Shout-Out A Public Expression of Thanks, Admiration, and Respect The Certiﬁcate in Jewish Leadership, jointly sponsored by Spertus Institute and Northwestern University, is a prestigious program that prepares participants to skillfully lead Jewish organizations, fostering a bright and vibrant Jewish future. Participants in the third Chicago cohort recently completed their work. These outstanding professionals and lay leaders will be awarded their certiﬁcates at Spertus Institute on April 21. We congratulate them on Uheir accomplishment. Becky Adelberg Manager of JCC 20s & 30s and JCC PresenTense, JCC of Chicago Peter Bensinger, Jr. Partner, Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP and Trustee, Spertus Institute, Lurie Children’s Research Institute, and Chicago Sinai Congregation Issac Brubaker Day & Overnight Camp Director, Jewish Council for Youth Services —Camp Henry Horner Steven Dishler Director of International Affairs, Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Anne Greenstein Executive Vice President of the Board, Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago and Trustee, Institute for Jewish Spirituality and Quest Academy Rabbi Zev Kahn Executive Director, Jewish Education Team Aleeza Lubin Director of Jewish Enrichment, BBYO Debra Weiner Associate Director, Donor Relations and Marketing, Keshet Lora Zygman Spertus Institute is a partner in serving our community, supported by the JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Assistant Project Manager, Hebrew Union College in wartime Jewish ghettos.) At the heart of the building is a Holocaust museum with a display about the buildup of hate against Jews in Germany and replicas of the infamous Arbeit Macht Frei sign at the Auschwitz gate. The center also features a replica of the Amsterdam room inside the annex where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis, as well as objects that belonged to her family. The garden is home to a statue of the teenage diarist and a sapling that is actually a cutting from the tree that once grew outside the building where the Frank family hid. While Anne Frank is well known in Japan, the strong alliance and similarities that connected the island nation to Nazi Germany – during World War II, Japan, Germany and Italy made up the Axis alliance – are rarely taught in schools here. Similarly, speaking about Japanese war crimes of the 1930s and ‘40s – including mass murder in Nanking, China, and the forced sexual slavery of tens of thousands of Korean women – is largely taboo in a country whose rightwing prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has repeatedly visited a shrine that was built for some of the perpetrators. Abe’s visits to the Yasukuni shrine remains a major point of contention between Tokyo and the capital cities of Beijing and Seoul. China and Korea have warned Abe not to backtrack on his partial admission to Japan’s wartime atrocities when he delivers a speech on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the war’s end. Abe has promised “a departure from the postwar regime” and said he regretted that he had not visited Yasukuni sooner. Meanwhile, he has been expanding Japan’s military capabilities to unprecedented levels after ending in July a ban on operations abroad that had been established soon after World War II ended. His government is also encouraging military recruitment and exploring for the first time in decades the possibility of acquiring offensive weapons. Against this backdrop, independent NGOs like the Holocaust Education Center are “taking up the educational task that the government is neglecting on purpose because it wants to promote a more nationalistic agenda,” said Naoki Maruyama, a professor of history at Japan’s Meiji Gakuin University. The passage in 2003 of controversial education reforms that reintroduced such nationalistic elements as obligatory anthem singing, patriotism lessons and the flying of the national flag in schools, he added, suggests that it might be a while before schools tackle any of these divisive issues in a manner comparable to what has been done in postwar Germany. “We have not given much attention to educating children to think about why the war happened and how to prevent a reoccurrence,” said Makoto Otsuka, a reverend at Beit Shalom and the center’s director. “More than anything else, this is what the Holocaust Education Center tries to do.” Japanese educators, he added, typically teach about the use by the United States of atomic weapons in Japan to “show how much Japan suffered as the victim,” but have failed to follow the example of Germany, where “it is now required to look back objectively at the facts of history.” Neither the Holocaust nor Japan’s wartime occupation of CONTINUED O N N E X T PAG E 13 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Focus on Education CONTINUED F RO M P R E V I O U S PAG E Asian countries and human rights abuses against prisoners of war are mandatory subjects in the national history curriculum of schools. And the Holocaust Education Center here does not deal directly with Japan’s war crimes American Collegiate Adventures (800) 509-7867 www.acasummer.com American Collegiate Adventures offers the ultimate in pre-college summer programs for high school students completing 9th through 12th grades. Choose a truly sensational summer! Picture weekdays of learning and recreation, weekends of action and adventure – all spent with a great group of new friends. Enjoy great courses, community service, internships, SAT & ACT Prep and activities, pursue a new passion, and perfect your sports skills. This summer, choose the best of both worlds. Build knowledge and confidence for college during the week, and get weekends full of once in a lifetime adventures! Make this summer unforgettable, leading you toward a college career that helps you get the most out of learning, and of life. Make this summer an ACA summer! American Friends of Bar-Ilan University (847) 423-2270 www.afbiu.org American Friends of BarIlan University (AFBIU) increases awareness of, and support for Israel’s fastest growing university, where over 33,000 students from diverse backgrounds come together in an academic environment which embraces Judaism and Zionism. These principles are core to Bar-Ilan University’s (BIU) groundbreaking initiatives in the sciences, law, nanotechnology, engineering, business, the humanities and its Medical School in the Galilee. BIU is Israel’s only university where every student is required to take a core curriculum in basic Jewish Studies, with the option of selecting from more than 1,000 subjects ranging from modern Jewish history to Biblical archeology. To learn more about BIU’s initiatives to improve the quality of life for all Israelis, call Ari E. Steinberg, director of the Greater Chicago Region either, said Akio Yoshida, the museum’s deputy director, citing the “need to focus on that uniqueness of the Holocaust to prevent it from blurring with other events that were war-related, including the actions of Japanese troops in Korea and China, or the atomic bomb.” Office of the AFBIU, at (847) 423-2270 or e-mail [email protected] Grand Valley State University www.gvsu.edu/find Grand Valley State University has established a reputation for creating unique learning opportunities that attract top students from across the Midwest and around the world. Its liberal education focus emphasizes critical thinking, creative problem solving, and cultural understanding. Through personalized learning enhanced by active scholarship, we accomplish our mission of educating students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies. Academic Excellence. With 85 undergraduate and 34 graduate degree programs, Grand Valley offers an academic experience one would expect from a small private college and the programs and resources only available from a major university. Virtually all of the university’s areas of academic study incorporate its liberal education focus into the learning process. The result is that graduates are better prepared to meet new challenges with confidence and professional expertise. First-rate Faculty/Realworld Research. Grand Valley faculty members love to teach and believe that research mentoring is the greatest form of teaching. Through active, engaged scholarship in student-directed research projects, they inspire students’ passion for learning and self-discovery, by incorporating academics with professional work. It’s a core value that makes Grand Valley different – and creates a more personal, interactive, and meaningful learning experience for students. Plus, all classes are taught by faculty members, not teaching assistants, assuring first-rate learning opportunities in every class. Outstanding Location. Our amazing campuses in Allendale and Grand Rapids, S E E E D U C AT I O N ON PAG E 1 4 Instead, Yoshida said he hopes that teaching the Holocaust in Japan “will expose chil- dren to the process of indoctrination that preceded the murders, and leave it to them to make the final conclusion about which path they want their society to take.” BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY: Innovation and Jewish Inspiration Where Scientific Come Together Improving electric car batteries is what drives Prof. Arie Zaban, who says his inspiration comes from reading the Bible and Jewish sources, as well as other fields of research. Prof. Zaban and his team at Bar-Ilan University’s Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials have developed an affordable, longer-lasting AluminumAir battery for electric cars. He has sold this battery technology to the Israeli start-up company, Phinergy, which plans to use it in electric cars by 2017. To learn more about Prof. Zaban’s research, go to www.afbiu.org or contact Ari Steinberg at 847-423-2270 or at [email protected] Jewish and Zionist values are central to Bar-Ilan’s initiatives in the sciences, law, nanotechnology, engineering, business, the humanities and its Medical School in Safed. 14 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Focus on Education Education CONTINUED F RO M PAG E 13 Michigan’s thriving, second largest city, include state-of-theart learning, living, and research centers and provide unique opportunities for internships and Get more experience employment in leading-edge industries, including the life sciences, health care, sustainability, and engineering. Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center (847) 967-4800 www.ILHolocaustmuseum.org Education is humanity’s most effective tool to create meaningful, lasting change. The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center hosts a wide array of dynamic public programming–survivor talks, film discussions, book signings, and rotating exhibitions–all designed to teach universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice and indifference. The Museum’s innovative student and educator workshops feature thought leaders and activities that powerfully connect the Internships, study abroad, Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning is a pluralistic and multidisciplinary home for mindful and integrated Jewish learning and practice. Orot brings a new paradigm for Jewish study and engagement to the Chicago area. Orot believes ON PAG E 1 6 THE WONDER OF DISCOVERY! 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Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning is building a new paradigm for Jewish learning orotcenter.org 15 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 CHICAGO ELECTION 2015 Three Jews running for office in Chicago Re-elect DEBRA SILVERSTEIN Our Alderman • 50th Ward Real Progress, Real Results By Pauline Dubkin Yearwood Managing Editor The lament that few Jews are entering local politics continues to ring true. In the upcoming Feb. 24 city of Chicago contests, just three Jews are running for office, two for aldermanic posts and one for mayor, of course, as Rahm Emanuel seeks reelection to a second term. In the 50th Ward, which includes the heavily Jewish West Rogers Park neighborhood, Ald. Debra Silverstein, who first won her office four years ago after a runoff with the ward’s longtime alderman, the late Bernie Stone, is running for reelection. Silverstein says she has accomplished change for the better in many areas of the Far North Side ward, considered to be the most diverse in the city in terms of ethnicity and religion. “I’m very proud of what the 50th Ward looks like four years after I became alderman. There are huge improvements,” she said in a recent phone interview. She cited improved relationships with police commanders in the ward and said she attends every CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy) meeting. “We have business owners meeting with the police commander monthly. We go through issues and encourage everybody to call the police” if they witness suspicious activity, she said. She also cites a liquor moratorium, in which businesses can’t sell alcoholic packaged goods in the ward. Silverstein said she has also taken measures to curtail antiSemitic incidents in the ward after several synagogues and homes were targeted with antiSemitic graffiti. “I’ve met with the rabbis of all the synagogues multiple times and called in the principals of the day schools, encouraging them to be in touch with the police and give the police blueprints of their building so the police know how to get in,” she said. “The (police) commander says the first step in being safe is to have a plan, and we’ve accomplished that and are continuing to build on that. Everybody should be aware, be careful and call the police” when necessary. One particularly contentious issue under Stone’s tenure was the condition of Devon Avenue, which is home to numerous ethnic restaurants and shops. Silverstein said she has made many positive changes there, including a multi-milliondollar streetscape improvement • Fighting Crime • Developing Our Community • Fostering Educational Improvement • Improving Our Economy Mark #51 Partial List of Endorsements: • Chicago Sun Times • Chicago Federation of Labor • Fraternal Order of Police • Citizen Action/Illinois • Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle • Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky • Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart • State Senator Ira Silverstein • State Representative Lou Lang • Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin Developing a Community for All Ald. Debra Silverstein Mark Thomas that includes widened sidewalks, space for restaurants to have outdoor cafes, newer lighting, bumpouts (sidewalk extensions so pedestrians have more room) and increased safety measures. “For the past 30 years nothing has been done on Devon,” she said. “Now it’s a national marketplace. If you drive down Devon, you see license plates from all over the Midwest. We’re trying to get more businesses to come and showcase the street. For the past two years it’s continued to grow. There’s a farmers market but we consider it a community market.” To decrease crime in the ward, Silverstein said, she regularly holds multi-jurisdictional task force meetings with Chicago police, Evanston police and the Cook County sheriff’s office. “Officers are checking on parolees, issuing warrants for outstanding arrests, conducting prostitution stings and checking stores for problems with selling cigarettes or liquor illegally. These efforts have been very successful,” she said. In the educational area, “I have very strong relationships with all the principals in the ward,” she said. “All of the (public) schools have received a Plus1 (highest) rating, and I was able to allocate over $7 million to the public schools. Each one of the schools got something – air conditioning, new lockers, new lighting or playground equipment.” In addition, she said, all eight parks in the ward received new equipment, and at Indian Boundary Park, a state-of-the-art nature center replaced a dilapidated zoo. “Before I became alderman, only about five streets had been resurfaced in three years,” Silverstein, formerly an accountant and owner of a tax service, said. “I have resurfaced over 100 streets and obtained $1 million in state funding for piggyback lighting,” streetlights that have two lighting sources. For the future, if reelected, Silverstein said she wants to “continue moving in the right direction and make the 50th Ward an even better place. I plan to work on economic development, get all of our businesses filled and eliminate any vacant storefronts and buildings, and also make sure the community stays safe. We have mosques, temples, synagogues – it’s a very diverse area, and we need to make sure everybody stays safe.” In the last four years, “people realized I have an open door policy,” she said. “I have open office hours Monday evenings and I’m out in the community all the time.” She urged residents to contact her office with any issues they may have. Opposing Silverstein on the ballot is Peter Sifnotis, a 28-yearold former Marine who is currently a student at Northeastern Illinois University. In the 44th Ward, which encompasses the Lakeview neighborhood, Mark Thomas is challenging Ald. Tom Tunney, a restaurant owner who has been alderman for 12 years. Thomas is the longtime owner of The Alley, Taboo Tabou and other “counterculture lifestyle” shops in the Belmont and Clark area and has been a Lakeview resident, entrepreneur and community activist for decades. In a recent phone interview, Thomas said that in previous campaigns he supported Tunney and helped him get his campaign signs up. He said he has been friendly with Tunney for 25 years and invited him to be on the board of the Lakeview Merchants Association, which Thomas said he started 25 years ago. The relationship with Tunney began to fray, he said, about three years ago when Tunney SEE ELECTION ON PAG E 1 6 Visit Debra at www.DebraSilversteinForAlderman.com or call 773.465.1216 16 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Election CONTINUED F RO M PAG E 15 tried to bring a Wal-Mart to the community, a move that Thomas said 88 percent of residents were against. “That was the beginning of when Tom and I came to a parting of the road,” he said. Thomas said the main reason he is running is to cut down on crime in the ward. “The community is in trouble. Crime is horrible,” he said. “Belmont and Clark is the third worst CAPS area on the North Side of Chicago. Business has gone down. What is causing all the empty stores in this community?” He said the neighborhood has lost its sense of community, and “everything comes back to that. The biggest issue in the election is the single fact that for us to fix the economy for the 44th Ward is that the first thing to do is clean up the crime,” he said. To help give residents more of a voice, Thomas said, he has developed a website in which all registered voters in the ward could vote on issues. “It would return a sense of democracy to the people,” he said. “The community would speak up about what they want in their community.” In terms of crime, he said, he would hire off-duty police, “put a four-way camera on the roof of their car and have them drive around during high-crime periods, and dial 911 when they saw people acting up. This is a district of crimes of opportunity – somebody grabbing an iPhone or purse, somebody forgetting to lock their garage door, somebody climbing in a window.” He said he would also launch a trolley service running through the whole neighborhood so people wouldn’t have to drive, easing congestion and parking problems. “We can rebuild foot traffic once people believe it is safe,” he said. On the controversial Wrigley Field renovation project, much of which Tunney has opposed, Thomas said that although “the Cubs need to be more polite to their neighbors,” he would have tried to reach a private compromise over the plans rather than the “battle” Tunney got into. “This (running for alderman) is the last thing I wanted to do,” Thomas, whose family attended Anshe Emet Synagogue when he was growing up, said. “But I am watching my community be in terrible, terrible straits – crime, empty storefronts. (Tunney) has run unopposed since 2003, and all he seems to be interested in is big developers, while small business is suffering.” Also in the race in the 44th Ward is Scott Davis, a project manager and Republican committeeman for the ward. CJN Classified CEMETERY LOTS UNDER A TREE SHALOM MEMORIAL PARK Single plot for sale. Hebron section. Estate 153 A. Value: $5295 Asking: $3750 (or best offer) contact Philip 773.848.3638 [email protected] CHOICE GRAVES – PRIVATE SALE Shalom Hebron - 3 Graves Best & Final Offer $3200 each Inclusive of deed & endowments Nebo – 4 Graves, $2600 each Carmel – 2 Graves. $2500 each Memorial Park Gan M’Nucha, 1 Grave $4000.00 Maple – 3 Graves $3000 each Larry – 847-778-6736 [email protected] 4 Lots Available Shalom Memorial Park Hebron Section 2 lots for $7,000 All 4 lots for $13,000 or Best Offer Call Edward (708) 524-1513 For only $40, you can place your classified ad in this space! To take advantage of CJN Classified page call 847-966-0606. FOR RENT APARTMENTS FOR RENT Two bedrooms and 2 bath apartments on the first floor of a totally renovated building - Walking distance to all the amenities and necessities of downtown Highland Park. In-unit washer and dryer, security system, granite counters, stainless steel appliances. Small pets accepted. Call Coldwell Banker at 847.681.4116 Deli CONTINUED F RO M PAG E 2 of this city’s hip 9th and 9th across the street from a yoga studio, and decorated with assistance from his wife. The 9th South Deli opened in February 2011 and promptly earned positive reviews from local publications (albeit with complaints about the “New York prices”). Sustaining a deli in Salt Lake City is no simple task, especially given that the Jewish population in all of Utah is under 6,000. Dornbush retired in 1978, Williams CONTINUED F RO M PAG E 9 Does he do it straight in the anchor chair or reporting from wherever the breaking news story of the day is? That remains to be seen.” In the meantime, Williams has to think hard about what he does with his time, Loeser said. “He is a multimillionaire who has been given six months of penance,” Loeser said. “He can’t just be seen in the social scene. You can’t just do rest and relaxation. The narrative matters, and he’s got to have a good answer for what he did on his spring and summer vacation.” As for NBC, the six months buys the network some important flexibility, Loeser said. NBC executives can use the time to Education CONTINUED F RO M PAG E 13 that the creative process of midrash–learning, seeking, excavating, interpreting, wrestling with, and rereading Jewish text–empowers one to read and write the text of one’s own life. At Orot, Jewish learning is a spiritual practice that opens a window into the complexity and richness of life. In our partnership with the Center for Jewish Mindfulness, Orot offers classes and programs that combine traditional modalities such as partnered study (chevruta) and lecture (shiur) with movement, dance, music, poetry, art, yoga, and mindfulness meditation. We offer weekly, ongoing classes, as well as periodic half-day learning retreats and workshops. In the fall of 2015, we will launch the Orot High School pilot program for area high school students. Come and learn with Orot’s esteemed faculty: Jane Shapiro, Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, Rebecca Minkus-Lieberman, and Rabbi Sam Feinsmith. Orot is a recipient of the prestigious Joshua Venture Group Dual Investment program fellowship and a mem- shutting down his place. The city had trouble maintaining a deli afterward. The Chicago Deli, which opened in 1994, lasted only a few years before closing. The market became even more crowded when Feldman’s deli opened in late 2012. (A third Jewish deli, Kosher on the Go, largely caters to observant Jewish customers.) Feldman’s owner, Mike Feldman, who is Jewish and grew up in Newark, N.J., said that a visit to 9th South left him convinced that there was still an opening in the city for a truly traditional deli. “The difference is that we grew up with deli, so we do all the traditional things the oldfashioned way,” Feldman said. “There’s a couple times when I’ve been in his deli, and I could tell he didn’t grow up with it.” Feldman cited the rye bread and the mustard, in particular, as not meeting his standard for authenticity. (9th South offers a choice of dijon, yellow or whole grain mustard, while Feldman’s uses a spicy brown deli-style mustard.) Harmsen acknowledges that the opening of Feldman’s has likely cut into his business. “I think Salt Lake is a little small to have two Jewish delis, but our doors are still open,” he said. run trials for a replacement anchor without locking into a longterm contract. It’s a strategy, Loeser observed, that NBC could have used for “Meet the Press,” which still hasn’t found the right permanent replacement for the late Tim Russert. Steve Rabinowitz, a former media strategist for President Clinton and now president of Rabinowitz Communications, a Jewish-heavy PR shop in Washington, said that by issuing such a harsh suspension, NBC executives showed how seriously they take the credibility of their news operation and their responsibility to the public. But Williams’ response fell short, Rabinowitz said. “The onair apology was the right thing to do, but then he went into radio silence,” Rabinowitz said. “What he did wrong was he didn’t make himself available for aggressive interviews, where people could really see his angst, the pain, his remorse, the regret,” Rabinowitz said. “They should have called Letterman or gone on a competitor’s air or done an interview with the media critic for The New York Times.” As for whether Williams’ original apology for distorting the Iraq War story was dissembling or not, Rabinowitz said he’s not so sure. “When I read his apology, I thought it was plausible,” Rabinowitz said. “It’s possible that over time he started out telling the story accurately and then it muddled and then it became outright untrue.” Whether or not Williams can reestablish the public’s trust – and whether NBC will give him the chance to do so – remains to be seen. ber of the inaugural UpStart Chicago Accelerator cohort. 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Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership offers dynamic learning opportunities, rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. Based on the belief that a learning Jewish community is a vibrant Jewish community, these opportunities are designed to enable personal growth, train future leaders, and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Graduate programs, professional workshops, and mentorships are offered in the Chicago area, as well as in select other locations across North America and through distance learning. Spertus Institute’s leadership programs for Jewish professionals, under the umbrella of the new Center for Jewish Leadership, are tailored by our world-class faculty and staff to meet individual and community needs. Spertus Institute’s public programs – including films, speakers, seminars, concerts, and exhibits – are offered at the Institute’s Michigan Avenue facility, in the Chicago suburbs, and online. Visit us at spertus.edu. 17 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 By Joseph Aaron CONTINUED F RO M PAG E 18 returned from the Munich Security Conference where I met with some very senior U.S. officials. The way they describe it they are ballistic about Netanyahu. This mindset is common wall-to-wall in all corridors of the [U.S.] administration; the Armed Service Committee, the intelligence community, the State Department, the Defense Department. I heard only one thing, and that is that this shouldn’t happen.” Bibi’s speech will not change one mind. Bibi’s speech will say nothing he hasn’t said before. All Bibi’s speech has done is alienate Democrats, enraged the Obama administration, worried Israelis, and made him seem like a conniving thug oblivious to the feelings of even his most ardent supporters. And yet, while it’s bad enough that Bibi is damaging Israel’s standing in the world, even worse is that he is portraying Israel as a place to run away to, trying to scare Jews into making aliyah, alienating both European governments and European Jews in the process. Barely had the terrorist attack at a synagogue in Copenhagen occurred that Bibi went into full fear mode. “Jews have been murdered again on European soil only because they were Jews and this wave of terrorist attacks – including murderous anti-Semitic attacks – is expected to continue ... We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe.” It didn’t take long for true Jews to respond. Jews should come to Israel out of desire, not fear, said former Israeli president Shimon Peres. “Come because you want to live in Israel.“ “Terror is not a reason to move to Israel,” said Denmark Chief Rabbi Yair Melchior. “People from Denmark move to Israel because they love Israel, because of Zionism. But not because of terrorism … If the way we deal with terror is to run somewhere else, we should all run to a deserted island,” Melchior said. Danish Jews were angry, just as French Jews were when Bibi did the same thing after the terrorist attack at a kosher supermarket in Paris, because they have seen that, this time, their governments are with them, all the way. Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt visited the synagogue, laying a bouquet of flowers at its gate, and vowing that Denmark “will do everything” it can to protect its Jewish community. “Jews are a very important part of Danish society,” she said. “I say to the Jewish community - you are not alone … The Jewish community have been in this country for centuries. They belong in Denmark, they are part of the Danish community and we wouldn’t be the same without the Jewish community in Denmark.” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said “My message to French Jews is the following: France is wounded with you and France does not want you to leave … I regret Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks. Being in the middle of an election campaign doesn’t mean you authorize yourself to make just any type of statement.” French president Francoise Hollande called Netanyahu encouraging European Jews to move to Israel, “crude electioneering … The comments are not helpful and I think people will ignore them … We’re not prepared to tolerate a situation in this country or in any country in Europe where any Jews feel they have to leave.” Bibi has turned Israeli into such a corrupt, coarse place, one where he spends lavishly on himself while millions live in poverty, where he ignores the law, where he alienates its best friend for his own political ends, where he promotes aliyah by trying to terrify Jews. He also doesn’t seem to get that if you scare Jews into leaving, many, as have a lot of French Jews, go to Australia and Quebec and the United States, and that many of those who do move to Israel make “Boeing Aliyah,” meaning they live in Israel on the weekends but fly to France each week to their job. But Bibi isn’t about what is Jewishly right or what is the smart thing to do. Bibi is all about scaring Jews, whether it’s Jews in Europe about anti-Semitism or Jews in America about Iran. His only concern is himself, his only way of operating is spreading fear, not inspiration. In hearing Bibi call for a mass exodus of Jews from Europe, Jewish journalist Rob Eshman called his words “cowardly.” “The idea that when trouble comes, we run to Israel just doesn’t sit right for many reasons. First, Israel is not safer for Jews. I can think of many good, positive reasons to immigrate to Israel, but avoiding terrorism isn’t one of them. Statistically, you are far less likely to die violently from war or terror in Denmark, Paris or London than in Israel … “If Bibi were concerned solely with the safety of Europe’s Jews, he would urge them to go to the United States, where anti-Semitism is negligible, and where, since 1948, some 330,000 Israelis have found safe, comfortable homes. It surely doesn’t help Bibi’s cause to be spending half his time telling Jews to run to Israel, and the other half warning that any day now, an Iranian nuke could obliterate Tel Aviv … The civilized world has faced down fanaticism before on European soil, and it can do so again. If the battle is not yet lost, why does Netanyahu sound like he’s surrendering?” Because Bibi is, in fact, a coward. And that’s the nicest thing I can think to say about him. Specialized Dementia Care You can take a much-needed break, knowing your loved one’s daily needs are being met by a professional team that can keep them engaged. Mitch Abrams Managing Director Helping the whole family, who are now living with dementia Call us to schedule a free evaluation. ; Caregivers with intensive training and experience www.TheHomeCareSpot.com (847) 480-5700 ; Activities based on social history, hobbies ; Help with daily living needs ; Interactive, engaging care experience The Chicago Jewish News gratefully acknowledges the generous support of RABBI MORRIS AND DELECIA ESFORMES 18 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Death Notices Nina Batterman, beloved daughter of Irene (Dr. Sheldon) Siegel and the late William Zev Battermen. Loving sister of Alyssa Rocke and Pamela (Jarrod) Spadino. Cherished aunt of Marlee Rocke, Kori (Ronnie) Aquino, Julian Greenwell, Chase, and Wylie Spadino. In lieu of flowers remembrances to Lakeside Congregation 1221 County Line Rd., Highland Park, IL 60035 or Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, 225 East Chicago Avenue, Box 4, Chicago, IL 60611 or your preferred charity would be appreciated. Arrangements by Mitzvah Memorial Funerals. Robert S. Brody, age 86, passed away peacefully of natural causes with his family by his side. He is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years Eda (nee Josephs), his four children, David (Barbara Mendelson), Richard (Beate Dafeldecker) Joan (Thilo Garkisch) and Michael (Cheryl). He will be missed dearly by his ten grandchildren Elizabeth, Rachel, Adam, Emma, Isaac, Leo, Mimi, Felix, Josephine and Aaron. Born in Chicago, he later moved to Skokie to raise his family, where he made many lifelong friends. He enjoyed the practice of law for more than 50 years, read- ing World War II histories and eating butter pecan ice cream. Quite the extrovert, Bob had a quick wit and was known for his outgoing, easy personality. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s name can be made to the charity of your choice. Arrangements by Mitzvah Memorial Funerals. Lester Charmatz, age 86. Beloved husband of Joyce Kagan Charmatz, nee Simon and the late Patricia Charmatz, nee Sadie. Cherished father of Andrew Charmatz (Sara Witt) and James Char- matz. Loving step-father of Irv (Ali) Kagan and Jeffrey (Amy) Kagan. Devoted grandfather of Phoebe, Peri, Sammy, Joey, Benjamin, Sophie and Noah. Dear brother of the late Arthur (survived by Barbara) Charmatz. Contributions in Lester’s name to the Jewish National Fund or Keep Chicago Beautiful would be appreciated. Arrangements by Mitzvah Memorial Funerals. Sarane E. Katz (nee Engberg). Devoted and loving wife of “Joe” (Dr. Joseph) for 61 years. Proud mother of Dr. Aron (Diane), Robin (residing in Israel) and Marty (Kathy) (residing in California). Adoring grand- mother of 8: Gaby and Michael Katz, Rabbi Zak, Adam and Zoe Kaplan, Kayla, Talia and Brooke Katz. Dear sister of Stephen Engberg. Dr. William Kayen, devoted family friend. Contributions may be sent to Keshet, The Chicago Botanic Garden or North Shore Congregation Israel. Arrangements by Mitzvah Memorial Funerals. Still Directing! Mitzvah Memorial Funerals 630-MITZVAH (630-648-9824) Names you have trusted for decades... Still here to serve you when needed Lloyd Mandel I.Ian “Izzy” Dick Seymour Mandel In December of 2014 Izzy and Seymour celebrated their 91st and 80th birthdays respectively. This make them the two oldest practicing and most experienced licensed Jewish funeral directors in the state of Illinois. Izzy and Seymour serve the families that call them through Mitzvah Memorial Funerals. Combined with Lloyd Mandel, Bill Goodman and Larry Mandel, Mitzvah Memorial Funeral has the most experienced staff of Jewish funeral directors in Chicago with over 200 years of combined experience. Mitzvah Memorial Funerals also provides the lowest price! In most cases we save families $2000-$5000 versus what Chicago Jewish funeral homes with chapels charge for the same or similar services and casket. If your Synagogue has a discounted funeral plan that we are not currently a provider of you can still choose us. We guarantee to be at least 25% less!* Founder, 4th generation Jewish Funeral Director, also licensed in Florida (no longer with Levayah Funerals) Seymour Mandel 3rd generation Jewish Funeral Director, Past President of the Jewish Funeral Directors of America (J.F.D.A.) (Formerly with Piser) William Goodman Funeral Director, Homesteaders Insurance Agent (no longer with Goodman Family Funerals) Ian “Izzy” Dick Oldest licensed Jewish Funeral Director in the State of Illinois Lawrence “Larry” Mandel If you have already made pre-arrangements elsewhere you can switch to us. In most cases we will refund your family thousands of dollars. 4th generation Jewish Funeral Director, Homesteaders Insurance Agent (Formerly with Piser) 847-778-6736 We also offer pre-arrangements and fund through Homesteaders Life. Find out why Mitzvah Memorial Funerals was entrusted to direct more than 800 funerals since opening. www.comparemitzvah.com *Guarantee is on base price of funeral plan including services, casket and miscellaneous items. Not included in this are the cemetery charges, vault and cash advance items. 500 Lake Cook Road, Suite 350, Deerﬁeld, IL • 8850 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, IL 630-MITZVAH (648-9824) • www.mitzvahfunerals.com By Joseph Aaron Bibi is terrifying It is hard to exaggerate how destructive to Judaism Prime Minister Netanyahu is being, both internally and externally. Yes, here I go again pointing out how the leader of the Jewish state is doing such damage to us. Lots of Jews are concerned today about ISIS. But the fact is the far greater threat to the well-being of the Jewish people is BIBI. No, I’m not being unfair and no I’m not overblowing it. Bibi trades in fear, wallows in the negative, behaves without a trace of concern for what is right, what is moral, what is Jewish. Let me point to two trivial examples to show how, in ways big and small, Bibi acts the opposite of how we have a right to expect the leader of the Jewish people to act. The first example: it is against Israeli law to feature children under 15 in political ads. And yet the first ad Bibi released in the current campaign featured four children well under the age of 15. When it was pointed it that he broke the law, Bibi said the commercial wasn’t meant to be aired, was released by mistake. Liar. It was a commercial that was very slickly produced by his campaign. If it’s against the law to use kids, and if he in fact didn’t intend to release it, why did he make it in the first place? And yet there’s Bibi himself standing in a kindergarten class with all those kids. And to make it even worse, when Israel’s election commission ordered him to remove the ad from the internet, he did not. Beyond that, he released another commercial showing him sitting on a sofa, eating popcorn and watching on TV the very commercial with him and the kids. And there he sits laughing. Maybe a small thing but here you have the prime minister of Israel shamelessly violating the law, then lying, then mocking his own criminality. Some example that sets for the people of Israel. One of the reasons that in the last month alone, more than eight top commanders of the Israeli police have been arrested for corruption and sexual harassment. Example two. A report has just been released showing the incredible amount of money Bibi and his wife spend on their makeup, their hair, on takeout food and drink. Taxpayer money. Showing just how fast and loose he plays with the peoples’ money, the report revealed that patio furniture paid for by the state and intended to be used at the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem, instead wound up at one of Bibi’s private homes, in the superrich city of Caesarea. Yes, named after Caesar. But far more serious, Bibi seems to relish insulting and deceiving Israel’s best friend in the world, the United States. This week we learned from John Boehner’s own lips that he purposely didn’t tell Obama administration officials about his invitation to Bibi to address Congress and that Bibi went along with the subterfuge. Does Bibi not see that going behind the back of the president of the United States, colluding with his political enemies, is not the way to win friends and influence people? What is nuts is that Bibi claims he is duty bound to come talk to Congress because Iran is such a threat to Israel. Does he really think doing what he’s doing is the way to get the United States to agree with him? Did he not see a CNN poll which showed that 63 percent of Americans side with Obama, and believe that Boehner should not have invited Netanyahu without first informing the president? Does Bibi not see how the senior Democrat in the Senate, two Jewish senators, Rep. Charlie Rangel, a longtime supporter of Israel, House icons John Lewis and James Clyburn, all are intending to boycott his speech, as is Vice President Biden? Does alienating supporters of Israel help his case or hurt it? And what can Bibi possibly say that he hasn’t said a million times before? Everyone knows his views on Iran. All his giving the speech is doing is turning friends into foes. As former U.S. ambassador to Israel, and Jew, Martin Indyk put it, “One has to think about what exactly is going to be achieved by this speech. Is it really going to turn around the minds of the president of the United States and his negotiators? Will they suddenly wake up and say, ‘Oh we’re negotiating a bad deal here, silly us, we’ll change our minds’? Will it convince a veto-proof majority in the Senate that they should act in a way to sink the deal? … The speech is not going to be able to achieve anything.” Added Indyk, Israel’s enemies are currently “celebrating because they love to see a split between the United States and Israel.” And a split Bibi has wrought. Reported one Israeli journalist, “I just SEE BY JOSEPH AARON ON PAG E 1 7 19 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 Community Calendar Saturday seum.org or (847) 967-4800. 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 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 Congregation Beth Judea Men’s Club holds World Wide Wrap followed by complimentary breakfast. 8:15 a.m., Route 83 and Hilltop Road, Long Grove. [email protected] or (847) 634-0777. 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 BethEl, 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. ILHolocaustmu- Temple Sholom of Chicago 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., 3480 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. RSVP, [email protected] JUF/Jewish Federation hosts “PJ Shares: Helping Our Community,” Purim program for families of children 2-8 with intellectual/ developmental disabilities. 4-5:30 p.m., Takiff Center, 999 Green Bay Road, Glencoe. $10 family. juf.org/pjshares. 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. Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs hosts Man and Youth of the Year Dinner for Chicago/Milwaukee area honorees. 5-8 p.m., Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah, 3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette. $45. Registration, http://www.midwestregionfjmc.org/event-r egistration. Seymour J. Abrams Cheder Lubavitch Hebrew Day School and Philip and Rebecca Esformes Cheder Lubavitch Girls School hold “Celebration 36,” honoring David and Lois Temkin, Eyal and Lee Sigler and Rabbi Dovid and Rivky Flinkenstein. 5:30 p.m., Loews Chicago O’Hare, 5300 N. River Road, Rosemont. $150. Reservations, (847) 675-6777. Yeshiva University Torah Mitzion Kollel of Chicago hosts annual dinner with shiur by Rabbi Steven Burg. 5:30 p.m., Holiday Inn Chicago North Shore, 5300 W. Touhy, Skokie. $125, $90 under age 30. RSVP, (773) 973-6557. Continuum Theater presents staged reading of “I’m Not Like You” by Itta Chana Englander. 7 p.m., Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago. $10. Tickets, continuumtheater.org or (800) 838-3006 Ext. 1. Monday February 23 Congregation Beth Judea Men’s Club holds informal get- together for adult males. 7 p.m., The Beer Market, 1270 S. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills. [email protected] com or (847) 634-0777. SPOTLIGHT Temple Jeremiah holds Purim Carnival for Families with Special Needs followed by Purim Shpiel based on the theme of “Frozen.” 10-10:45 a.m. Sunday, March 8, 937 Happ Road, Northfield. RSVP encouraged to Caren, [email protected] Include name, number attending, age of the individual with special needs and nature of the special needs. 7:30-9 p.m., Glenview Grind, 989 Waukegan Road, Glenview. (847) 729-0111. Tuesday February 24 Keturah Hadassah holds Game Day Party to raise funds for Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower surgical equipment fund. 1 p.m., Mayer Kaplan JCC, 5050 Church St., Skokie. $18. (773) 761-6862. Thursday February 26 CJE Senior Life presents “Policy, Advocacy and You: Success in Community Living” celebrating Jewish Disability Awareness Month highlighting success stories from older adults and people with disabilities in Illinois. 8:30 a.m.-noon, National Louis University, 5202 Old Orchard Road, Skokie. Registration and special accommodations, (773) 508-1121. Northbrook Community Synagogue’s Women’s Havurah hosts ChallahMaking Event with folk dancing while dough rises. Ingredients and bread-making bags provided. 12:30 p.m., 2548 Jasper Court, Northbrook. $5. [email protected] northbrookcommunitysynagogue.org or (847) 5099204. Saturday February 28 Beit Yichud presents “Shir Share Shabbat,” a new davening experience. 10 a.m., 6932 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. [email protected] org. Debbie Sue Goodman, Jewish author and comedian, presents An Evening of Comedy and Spoken Word. Sunday March 1 Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation presents Purim Shpiel, “Lil Orphan Esther.” 8 p.m., also 1 p.m. Sunday, March 1 and Sunday, March 8. 4500 W. Dempster, Skokie. $20 adults, $10 children under 12, advance; $25 adults, $12 children under 12, door. (847) 675-4141. Congregation Beth Judea presents Purim Shushan Wonderland for pre-K and younger members and nonmembers (with adult); wear costumes for grogger making and Purim play followed by special tot hour. 10 a.m. Route 83 and Hilltop Road, Long Grove. RSVP [email protected] bethjudea.org or (847) 634-0777. Libenu Foundation hosts 5th annual “Share the Dream” Gala featuring musical guests Rogers Park. 811 p.m., private residence. $125, $65 Young Leadership. Reservations and location, libenufoundation.org or (847) 982-0340. Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah holds Purim Playstation Carnival. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Dress as your favorite video hero. Lunch available for purchase. 3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette. (847) 256-1213. 20 Chicago Jewish News - Feb. 20-26, 2015 THE ILLINOIS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM & EDUCATION CENTER IS DEDICATED TO PRESERVING THE LEGACY OF THE HOLOCAUST BY HONORING THE MEMORIES OF THOSE WHO WERE LOST AND BY TEACHING UNIVERSAL LESSONS THAT COMBAT HATRED, PREJUDICE AND INDIFFERENCE. THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2015 5:30pm 6:30pm R ECEP T ION DI N N ER H YAT T R E G E N C Y C H I C AG O 2015 Humanitarian Awards Dinner HONOR I NG Renée and Lester Crown H U M A N I TA R I A N S W H O H AV E M A D E A S I G N I F I C A N T I M PAC T O N C H I C AG O A N D O U R N AT I O N KEYNOTE SPEAKER WALTER ISAACSON, CEO, THE ASPEN INSTITUTE F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N & R E S E RVAT I O N S CALL 847.967.4821 EMAIL [email protected] V ISIT HUMANITARIANAWARDSDINNER.ORG DINNER CHAIRS RENÉE FLEMING JOHN W. AND JEANNE M. ROWE WALTER ISAACSON BUD SELIG HANK PAULSON MSGR. KENNETH VELO J.B. PRITZKER MILES WHITE THE ILLINOIS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM & EDUCATION CENTER IS A PARTNER IN SERVING OUR COMMUNITY, SUPPORTED BY THE JEWISH UNITED FUND/JEWISH FEDERATION.
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